When you have to ‘stretch’ to love

Today, I would like to put up a Sunday blog post. I would like to share with you, the thoughts that passed through my mind when I was reading my Bible a few days ago. I pray that this will help you. Please feel free to join this discussion. Leave a comment or put up a post on your own blog. God bless you and have a great day.

I was reading Jeremiah and I got to chapter 15. When I got to verse 6, I was intrigued by what I read.

It says:

‘ You have forsaken me, says the LORD, you are gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against you, and destroy you; I am weary of relenting.’

Throughout the Old Testament, we see a God who is judgmental. He had brought out Israel with a mighty hand but they had forgotten him. But what interested me in this verse is the word ‘stretched’.

Why did the LORD have to stretch his hand?

Because the people of Judea had gone backwards and away from Him. Sin had brought about a distance between them. What we should remember is that the LORD stretched out his hand to destroy.

But today I am not here to talk about a God who destroys but a God who saves. . . . 

Come to the New Testament,

Look at the Cross. . .

What do you see there?

Stretched hands, stretched out willingly by God the Son, Jesus Christ. The hands that were stretched out to destroy in the Old Testament, were stretched out to save in the New Testament.

The picture of the cross also shows us the extent to which God the Father had to stretch out his hand to let His only Son die for a mankind that had run away from him.

To realize the importance of that sacrifice you have to think of who God is and about the state we were in.

God could be all that he is and remain in heaven. Why did he have to come down for you?

When I look into my life, I don’t see anything that deserves such a selfless sacrifice.

Do you know what the people of Judah got for their sin?

Verse 3 says:

” I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” declares the LORD, “the sword to kill, the dogs to tear, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.”

This is what they got. When you go to Genesis, you see how God appoints man above the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. The very things that man should have ruled over was now ruling over him. This was our case. The idols in our life we were meant to conquer was ruling over us. But through Jesus, all these have already been conquered. It is a gift. We don’t have to fight for it. We only have to accept it.

The thing is, you might think how cruel that punishment is. It is human to think so. But what I saw in this chapter is that even when God rebukes them he calls them ‘My people’. He loves them and the punishment saddens him more than it saddens them. But God is just and he has to do it.

But after the Cross that changed. . . .

In Jeremiah, we see how the treasures  that Judea had built up for itself was all taken to a foreign land( Babylon) and how the fire of God would burn against them.

But at the Cross, that fire that should have burned against us was exhausted and for all those who accept Jesus into their lives, their treasures are in heaven.

Oh, what love!!!!

The Cross is a brilliant picture of the love of God, pointing to the east, west, north and south talking of how God himself had to stretch out his hand towards mankind to save them.. . . .

This picture also gave me a challenge.

Am I loving the others around me like God loved me. Am I always ready to ‘stretch’ my hand out to those around me?

We are not perfect. But it also means that there is always room for change.

 

 

Elementary, Dear Watson!

We all love reading detective novels. They show a significant mixture of human psychology, practicality, adventure and pure common sense. You would have wondered why I gave such an interesting title to this blog post. ‘Elementary, my dear Watson‘ has been one of my most favorite lines from the Sherlock Holmes series.  Every time the doctor is confused with Holmes’ mixture of pure common sense and acute observation, Sherlock would laugh and bring us to this particular line. The explanation that would follow would reveal to us why this great fictional detective found a minute and overlooked piece of evidence interesting.

So what is this post about, anyway?

It’s about these minute and overlooked things.

Let’s break down our subject to small pieces.

What makes these things so minute?

The surroundings! It is because of the colossal things around it, that we categorize it as ‘not-worthy-of-attention stuff’.

Is that the way we should analyze a situation?

Imagine there were two earths. One with a population of 7.125 billion people and the other with a population of 7.125 minus 1.

Will you agree with me if I said the two earths were the same?

Well, you shouldn’t!!

Why not?

Because the extra person is going to live for decades. He is going to smile at many, who will share the happiness by smiling at many others, who in turn will . . .  . .

Well, you get the idea.

And that’s just one human gesture. It can travel all over the world and make a colossal change.

Every minute thing in life is important. If we look into our lives, taking in every detail, I believe we would thank God much more because we would realize the ‘beauty in the small things’ as I call it. And sometimes they are the most enjoyable ones too.

When you face a problem, look into it. Don’t just look at the trunk of the tree, look to the branches because usually, they are the ones that bear the fruit. Yes, it’s important to make sure you get to the ‘roots’, but to know the depth of your problem, look to the branches.

So next time you use this theory and point out a magnificent beauty somebody never noticed before and they ask you how you noticed it, just tell them,

“Elementary, my dear Watson!!!”

Champion

via Daily Prompt: Champion

According to me, a champion is someone who is a champion at heart, not just one who is a champion at his art. In a world that is frowning and staring out for answers and results, we forget there is always a question. It starts in the mind.

Champions are of many types. But today I’d like to highlight two:

  1. Champions at heart who were able to portray their art because of a string of serendipities.
  2.  Champions at heart who remain so because they didn’t get the opportunity to portray their talents.

The world recognizes the first as ‘champion’ while the second is one too.

You could be the best singer of your time and you could pass by some kid on the street who is just as talented.

The world has seen the result of one’s hard work and God-given talent but ignored another who is in a way ‘the uncrowned king’.

We are all champions at ‘something’.

You could be a champion at something, but the world may never classify you as a champion just because they do not recognize you ability as worthy of championship.

So, remember that you are a champion always because you are unique. Because you will always be a champion at being you!!!!!!
Champion

The Smiling Homo Sapien

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We live in a world that is closely observing, to an unbelievable extent, the subtle movements in our life. We often fail to recognize the unconscious part of an analyzing human being, that observes the unconscious movements of another of its own kind. We do that because we have been through a similar situation. That situation makes us notice a situation similar to itself, when one passes by. Over time, man has given this phenomenon linguistically beautiful phrases like the ‘sixth sense’. You don’t know why, but you still know.

This ‘sixth sense’ varies in intensity. A baby won’t have the same sixth sense as an 80-year-old lady.

Why?

Because it has seen so little. Very few experiences to give it even a hint of what the result might be like.

But there is just one sixth sense you see even in a baby( with their eyes open).

When you smile, It returns the smile with grace. One that usually ends up in a short-period laugh and hiccups.

It does not care about your clothes, your smell, or your shabby looks. It takes into account the smile only.

Why?

Because that is what it first saw when it opened its eyes. Everybody was smiling. Its mother was smiling. If there’s one thing a baby knows, it is its own mother. It knows. The heart beat, the skin, it all gives comfort. A connection was made between love, comfort, food, happiness and a smile. When it comes across a smile the next time, it goes through the same emotions it had connected it with.

Why do you stand among a crowd and immediately notice someone who’s smiling at you?

Ask the baby!!

When you’ve already made a connection in your brain, when you see it again, your mind forces you to focus. Your mind wants to know if you are going through the same situation.

How is my theory?

I am not saying that this is absolutely true. But I guess it speaks for itself. The genius of our creator is so beyond our wildest imaginations.

What I am trying to say is, a smile is the most influential gesture in the life of a human being. Because it is one of the first gestures it uses to connect to many emotions.

We are all human beings. We can’t help liking somebody who smiles at us.

Why?

Because it is one of the basic foundations on which you build up many ideas and possibilities. Sometimes, beyond it, imagination is really hard.’

I say ‘one’ because there might be so much more.

The Bible tells us we have all been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are awed and also inspired at the same time with our own lives.

Explore for yourselves. But in the mean time, smile!!!!

STAIRCASES

The alarm goes off and you wake up to the sun sending out an orange glow. Your alarm clock shows 6:30. You blink, sit up on your bed, and then, you groan. Another day. . .

If I was reading a book, I would say that was a pretty bad start. All that beautiful graphic description only to end the sentence with a ‘groan’.

Sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? This a chapter in life for me too at times. You make that ‘groan’ because you are tired of going through the same mechanical steps every day. You want ‘change’. It’s normal human behavior.

But today I would like share with you why all this is important. Where and how you start is always important. How you go the distance is important. And the step before the last is just as important as the last step.

That’s why I want to talk to you about staircases.

When I learn about a new topic in Math at school, they first give me the easy stuff to work out on, before I move onto those problems that takes a significant quadrant of my clock. But most of the time I just skip those easy problems. Soon I find that I don’t have the interest to go through the tough problems. This is a mistake I’ve made again and again. You’ve got to enjoy and value the experience you get from doing the easy problems in life, to get boosted for the tough ones. You need all the motivation you can get. When you win a race. You say to yourself: ‘Good job, buddy. Way to go.’

But when you’ve brushed your teeth, you never say that to yourself.

In other words, you congratulate yourself on what you feel requires effort and determination.

Result: You’ve just forgotten to stock up your motivation.

Take the example of a staircase:

The distance from the first and the last step varies from staircase to staircase. But there is a rule that every staircase in the world follows. the distance between one step and the next is the same throughout. The distance between the first and the second step, is the same as that of the last step and the step before it. The effort increases but with each step  you cover the same distance. The motivation you get from moving up the first step helps you to tackle the next.

Remember that time when you were out of breath with one more step to go?

Remember how you pulled on, telling yourself that it was just another step like the one you were standing on right then?

That’s just it !

When you did that easy problem, you were covering the same distance you covered when you did that tough problem. You were just breathless to note that down.

When you climb up taking two steps a time, it requires much more effort in the end. The effort you put in at the end depends on how you value those steps you sometimes chose to climb over.

I’ve seen this in many successful people. When you take it one step at a time, value it and enjoy it, you learn to enjoy all your victories equally and this prevents you from ever stopping what you do best because you keep on aiming for another victory. You never make the mistake of thinking you’ve become the best you could be. You focus on the small steps.

Take it one step at a time and learn to value it. Each step is important.

So, keep those groans out of your life.

Remember, it’s another step. Learn to value it.

UNDERRATED COMPANY

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We all hate solitude. I have already published a post on that. Today, I would like to share with you something that passed through my mind. It’s one of those things that just flick past your mind when you’re bored. Luckily, I was able to retrieve it from my line of thoughts.

When did people start living together in groups?

When did the first form of civilization come into being?

Naturally, you’ll be surprised to see that I find it interesting. In fact I find it amazing.

When I was about 7 years old (that will be about 10 years back), I was taught of how civilization first came into being. People started living together for protection, due to proximity of water and good food, and to grow crops together.

But the problem is:

I don’t believe that’s the main reason!

Why?

Well, first of all you’ve got to relive the circumstances they had to go through. The world you see today is not the world they walked on. There was more food, more water and more area to settle on. Besides, in such a big world with evidently much fewer people, you only come across another human being in what could be days, or even months.

Imagine this:

You are somebody from the stone age or ice age or whatever they call it. You’ve found a piece of land with much food and water. You know it could last you for days. You have finally found a place where you can rest for a while. That’s when things change. Somebody else walks in on your turf and wants to share it with you.

Well, from what we learnt in History at school, one of them ends up dead. That’s a practical explanation we learnt to every encounter in connection with those times. But then, how did people form civilizations? It must have started from one person meeting another.

Trade. Perhaps. . .

But here’s my theory:

When you’ve been alone for a long time and you see someone like you, the fear that may grip you is accompanied with the curiosity of what his behavior would be like. And when you’ve once realized the joy of company, you will want more of it. You take the decision to face the dangers of life as a team. You realise that two hands are better than one. When someone else walks in on your turf again, you invite them in to join the group. More company. When the number grows, your urge for company turns into an urge for attention and recognition. This leads to trickery and domination of muscle power. Competition turns some into losers and others into leaders. Civilization is soon defined in time.

I believe it is a reason above all others. Why?

You may remember that time when you were just a toddler, and the kid who lived nearby came over to play. The peaceful visit ended in fist fights and tantrums all because he touched your ‘Teddy’. As time goes on you learn to share and receive.

Your love for company compels you to share.

Your love for company teaches you to accept the other’s differences and work together as a team.

Your love for company creates civilization.

Give company to many who may be missing it today. Even where there is no language, there is company. This is why we define having pets as having company.

Be a listener, be a company- giver. . . .

STRINGS OF IMAGINATION

“Imagination is a good servant but a bad master”- Hercule Poirot

‘Imagination’. The very word fills your mind with all kinds of images and memories. In a nutshell, imagination brings back to you a nostalgia that has its own novelty every time. Imagination is without a doubt, one of the most glorious faculties God has given to man. It is a gift every one has. We can all imagine. It shows to us the supernatural element in every human being. Our wanting to imagine the impossible.

We all have knowingly or unknowingly set apart a few minutes every day to dream and set a spark to our imagination. This is the time when we dream. We dream about people we lost in time. We dream about all kinds of possibilities our future may have in store for us. For me, it is the time before I go to sleep. During those few minutes, I dream and dream on.

The beauty of imagination is that when it leads you to dreaming, you lose track of all the other senses. You become like a dog in its sleep, with its one ear partly awake.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Remember that time when the teacher had to shout to wake you from a daydream? That’s just it. That’s when Imagination is the master. It takes control.

But when you sit down to paint or to write, you kick-start your imagination. You are in control. You are the master.

But let us not forget that many a revolutionary idea came from daydreams someone dreamed, somewhere on this planet.

For all we know, ‘blog’ must have been somebody’s daydream that turned true.

So why is imagination a bad master?  I’ll tell you why. . .

Imagination may not be so evident when it is at work. When you see someone. You imagine about them. You put them in different circumstances and evaluate what you see. But most of the time, you don’t even realize it. This is just a basic philosophy.

When I read the quote I have put in this post it made me think. Hercule Poirot, one of the greatest fictional detectives to rule the printed pages of a book, said imagination could be a bad master. Why did he say so?

It’s a simple explanation. Most of the time you get so carried away with your imagination, you fail to give more importance to the minute, and even the colossal evidences right under your nose.

When you see a person with a much more decent financial status and a well-to-do occupation than you, you imagine them living the ‘dream life’.  Your imagination compels you to forget the well-known proverb, ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’.

Many a time you let imagination rule your thoughts and how you evaluate others and yourself.

So how do you fix it?

Many things in life is an inverted parabola. You’ve got to keep imagination somewhere in the middle. Let it flow when you know that it will do you good. Pray about it.

God gave you imagination. Ask him to help you build it up and be its master.

Remember. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Use your imagination for others. Use your imagination to think positive.

For example,

When you’ve got a problem and you feel everyone around you is so lucky, remind yourself that the very fact that you are still standing like everybody else is because you were able to put in the effort. Because you received much grace from God.

Instead of thinking you are in a mess. Think of how you are stillstanding’ in the mess. Trigger your imagination. Use it to comfort you and to lift you up.

When your thoughts are right, your actions become right.

When your actions are right, the situation becomes right.

Its all about where you use your imagination to evaluate yourself.

So, good luck and may your imagination spark!

WHERE THE BEAUTY LIES.

All of us long to be beautiful. We believe it will gain us attention, praise and fame. If you show me a person who does not want to be beautiful, I will pay you. Seriously.

Our life is a highway. There are people who live on the fast lane, while there are people who keep to the side while others swish past them. There are people on great cars while there are people on lawn mowers. Well riding on a lawn mower is technically impossible, as is using it on a highway. Well, just humour me for a few minutes.

As I was saying, we define our pace based on the cars around us. You could be the fastest car on track until somebody else comes by, gives you a cheeky smile and overtakes your now ‘late 20th century’ car.

Keeping that in mind, let me tell you where the real beauty lies.

Imagine one of your friends is extraordinarily beautiful. He has just one problem – pride and a very domineering behavior. Another one of your friends is not a winner in looks  at all. But he’s always there for you and values you and your company.

Who will get the attention?

At first glance, the first friend will be the winner. But believe me when I say that in the long run, he’s going to get a lot of attention he doesn’t want.

The second friend, though he’s not good looking, will earn for himself many an ear. He will receive the positive attention many would give anything for. Because of his character, you will strive to find beautiful things in him, which will make him beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. In the case of the first guy, you will fight tooth and nail to convince yourself that he is not beautiful. Which will take away the beauty he already has in your eyes.

Well this is what it all comes down to:

You become beautiful when you make others around you feel beautiful.

When you look at a flower, you define its beauty by what you see. It’s not the same with a human being. A flower can’t think the way we think. It can’t talk to us like others do. This is why we define its beauty by what we see. But in our case, we can talk. We can hurt others or lift each other up with our words as we choose. We have the freedom to think and act and it impacts the way others see us. In other words, it impacts our beauty.

God made us to love others like he loved us. His creation shows his love for us. Wherever you look, you see beauty and the ‘genius’ behind it. Why should we be the ones to disrupt the beauty around us? Why should we be left out of the beautiful beings God intented us to be? Our happiness itself will give us beauty. Why is it that when you laugh, lots of good hormones are released in your body? It could have been the other way round. Why not some bad hormones? Why were we not created so? It is possible, though you may say I’m crazy. Someone up above intended us to be happy. Someone wanted us to laugh. Someone wanted us to be beautiful. 

In the Bible, Jesus says, ‘By this the world will know that you are my disciples, when you love one another as I have loved you’.

Love one another. Be beautiful. Show the world where the real beauty lies.

WHEN YOU HOLD BACK

Imagine this for me:

You go into your classroom with a brush and a palette. You are having art right now. One of your classmates is sprawled on his desk doing something with the greatest attention. You walk over to investigate. You see that he has been painting. Your look of surprise is unique as you see one of the best works in art you’ve ever seen under your classroom. You look at his face to tell him it’s amazing, when you realize it’s that wimpy kid who everyone makes fun of, or that bully who made fun of you years back. Everyone in the classroom has their eyes on you. You are confused. You literally just walk away without an other word. The boy’s eyes follows you and a vague pinch of disappointment is seen in his eyes but no one notices it.

Has this ever happened in your life. You hold back from who you should have been right then because you were afraid of what others may think. You let other people around you define you in a way that put you in pressure to turn away from doing the right thing! Who knows? Maybe that one act of care and kindness would have let him know that you’ve forgiven him or that you care about him.

When Jesus came into the world, people expected much more from what He said He was. They thought that to be the Messiah He had to be a King, not a poor carpenter. When He talked with sinners( whom the priests said were sinners) and ate with them, He was criticized. But he was King. He was the Son of the living God. That is why he was King. He came to save, not to judge.

When you are not being you, it means you are trying to be somebody else, somebody around you. You think you are being the better you. But the truth is that there is only one you. You are the only person who will ever be the best for you because you are unique. You can’t put your face on somebody else’s mind.

God made you unique. He did not want you to be somebody else.

You can change  though. For the better. But not like in the first paragraph of this post.

You can only change for the better by making decisions based on your morals and values. By doing what you know is right. But most of the time, even your morals suck. That is why we all need somebody greater than our own to guide us. In fact,we need God.

Let me tell you, those people around you, they won’t be there or even remember you 20 years from now. But that kind word will last until that person dies and he will remember you as a someone who held out a hand when others enjoyed him drowning in loneliness and regret.

Today, encourage someone. Lend a helping hand.

As someone said, “Nothing great happens when you hold back”.

MY UTOPIAN DREAM

I am still a student at school. I love my school and thank God every day for the opportunities it gives me. But there are times when I dream about a world where there are no schools. Why? I am not a bad student. I can be good at studies if I want to. But the reason I sometimes think about a school-free-world is because I think that sometimes it kills people. What are you talking about? You are crazy! Well, please don’t stop reading. By the end of this post I believe you will see what I mean.

Before I go any further I would like to ask you a simple question.

Which is the most interesting subject?

Now before I give you my answer, I would like to clarify one of my recent posts. In my post ‘Science and Philosophy’, I implied that Philosophy is more interesting and deserving more greatness because that was how I felt. It does not mean that everyone else should think so. In other words, it was not a generalized statement.

You can never say in general that one subject is greater than another.  Because you don’t have a perfect standard to evaluate them. The very factor that we are all different prevents this standardization.

Well, what does all this have to do with our education systems?

Actually, its not our education systems that are at fault. It’s us. . .

Today, we have this common belief that all those who are not academically ‘well to do’ are idiots and brainless. Well not everyone believes this and the  graph changes from place to place. But it still exists. What led to this conclusion. Are these kids really brainless?

No!!!!

We are all God’s creation and no human being is a waste or in any way inferior. Even the people we see around us who are disabled in some way, they are all valuable and they make a great difference in this world. It’s our conclusions that are wrong.

Look around you. Are all the people who changed the world for the better, kids who got through with straight As?

Nope!

Their situations or their mental composition did not let them to be one.

Most of the people who turned out to be the best in what they do were people who had to take risks and develop what they did best, even when the situations around them discouraged them. They had to take a giant leap of faith even when they did not have any guarantee that it would give them a secure and bright future. They knew they could only be the best by doing what they do best.

And believe me, the world is losing many of its bests because it is trying to evaluate  people based on a poor standard. The best is what helps the world to be its best. Everyone is best at something. If we don’t respect that, and make them believe that they will only be the best by doing something else, you’ve wronged them and you’ve literally killed their unique talents.

So what is my dream?

My dream is of a world where people will be able to do what they do best. A world where people are not labelled as brainless and inferior, but as unique and different. Let us see people for what they are than for what they are not.