Me !

I am not the same today as I was yesterday, neither am I, what I will be tomorrow. I am being moulded in the Potter's hands. He's still working on me to make me all I ought to be !

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My Roots, my identity

India is known for its rich diversity evident in its culture and customs within and across states. These differences spread over its traditional dress, food habits and language among many others. Off late, I have gotten thinking about my roots. I was born in Kerala the south western state of India but spent the most part of my childhood and all of schooling years in Muscat, Oman in the Middle East. Living in the Middle East and attending an Indian school adds its own unique blend to my life story. I did my college education in Tamil Nadu the south eastern state of India and worked in Delhi, North India for a while. After marriage, we have set up temporary base in the 'Gulf', working and raising family. For the most part of my life, I have been out of my home state.  Being a Syrian Christian weaves its own thread of influence into the fabric of my life, which in some ways I was fortunately unaware of till marriage.

Were I to base the roots of my identity on food habits and preparation, I would for the most part be a Syrian Christian Malayalee. If my permanent residence address, husband's ease of conversational language and choice of diet 😉determines my roots, then I would be a Tamilian. Though Malayalam is my mother tongue, it is unfortunate that I cannot read or write the language despite sporadic attempts to learn the alphabets. I fit the definition of a 'third culture kid' in many ways. I know there are far more complicated cases of third culture kids, nevertheless I have said enough about confusing identities.

In the midst of these thoughts swirling on my mind, I was reminded that my identity lies beyond earthly roots and the sifting sands of time. As a Christian, Jesus is my root and I remain in him. He is the solid foundation of my faith. Though many denominations and variations in expressions of faith have crossed my path, I am glad that the Jesus is the Vine and I am his branch. When my heart is disheartened with relationships that dole out conditional love, I rejoice and am eternally grateful to be rooted and grounded in God's unconditional love. Jesus is the root of my life that holds fast through every storm and heartbreaking upheaval of life. It is indeed fortunate that I need to fear no drought with his streams of living water that nourish my roots fixed in him.

Where does your identity connect to your roots?  Will it hold fast through the storms of life?

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” 

 Colossians 2:6-7 says Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Ephesians 3:16-19 That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God

Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree

Monday, January 2, 2017

Baggage Scan

Baggage screening is a mandate at the airport. The Luggage Scanner is a machine that can construct an image showing not just the position of objects, but also roughly what they’re made of and their density. 'Current airport X-ray scanners produce images in orange, blue and green. Each color corresponds to a material category—orange means organic material (food, paper, marijuana), green is for medium-dense non-organic materials like plastic soda bottles, and blue means metals or hard plastics'. Security personnel scrutinize the image to detect weapons and dangerous explosives as well as other prohibited items. The offenders could be willfully carrying such baggage with evil intent or they could be unaware of their dangerous content. The intended outcome of the whole exercise is safety and security.

My heart and mind undertake a similar, yet more sophisticated scan when it passes through the scanner of God's word. This hi-tech scan judges the thoughts and motives of my heart -Hebrews 4v12 (b). The explosives within are exposed. Those concealed and dangerous thought patterns and deceitful darkness of anger and bitterness are revealed. This scanner reveals the contaminated and corrupt content within - all moral filth (James 1v21), bitter envy and selfish ambition (James 3v 16), malice and deceit, hypocrisy and slander (1 Peter 2v1). I must confess that some of these contents have been willfully packed while others I have carried about ignorantly. At the end of this process, I am asked to make every effort to be spotless and blameless ( 2 Peter 3v 14). The intended outcome is safety and security, both mine and those around me :-)

Yet, unlike the latest security scanners at the airport, God and his word replaces the explosive luggage of my heart with a deposit of eternal value that blesses me and others in my life. His divine power gives me everything I need for life and godliness through my knowledge of him and mine to possess are his very great and precious promises enabling me to escape the corruption of the world and allowing me to participate in his divine nature. I am urged to add to faith, goodness and to goodness, knowledge and to knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. (2 Peter 1 v 3-7). That was a long paragraph of deposits but worth a 'repeat-read'

His anointing is the 'icing on my cake' for it remains in me to help me discern the the truth of every input to my heart and mind. It is my prerogative though as a child of God to cooperate with the Holy Spirit by remaining in him. ( 1 John 2v 27)

If God's word were to scan your heart and mind, what would it reveal ?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

01 Jan 2017 - A new year , A new day !

I herald every year
with loaded resolutions
and great expectations.
A new day always beckons
my lofty dreams and
scheduled goals.

In the midst of my reverie,
I could barely hear
the gentle whisper so dear.
Yet the still small voice rang clear,
speaking into the silence
at break of day.

In the Psalmist words,
the reminder revived aloud..
'My times are in His hands'.
Ah, I am not the master of time !
In that moment, my vain timeline
held no promise anymore.

I see God at work, hence diligent I must be,
being his heart, his hands, his feet,
wherever he will have me.
Then and there, in his will and purpose
laid before the dawn of time,
my life shall find its meaning!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Simon Peter

Andrew is 'picture perfect' - a disciple of John the baptist, spiritual , unselfish, a loving brother, great faith in Jesus, humble and so on. The "first thing" Andrew does (John 1 v 41) after meeting Jesus is to tell his brother Simon, and bring him to see the Messiah.

I wonder why Simon went to see the Messiah. Was it curiosity ? Was it to appease Andrew ? Simon was brash with a temper like the tempest. He was the sea hand who probably didn't care much for sermons. But here he was ... before Jesus. The bible says Jesus "looked" at Simon. In Greek that "look" describes a concentrated, penetrating gaze. I wonder what it is that Jesus saw ?

Did Jesus see a cussing, blunt and raw fisherman, as crude as they come ? Those strong and cracked hands and rugged appearance ? Did the smell of fish hit Jesus nostril ? We know Jesus looked beyond what was on the outside -  for Man sees the outward appearance but God sees the heart. 

Here was the man whose personality tossed and turned like the waves he was accustomed to. There was no stability for a fisherman. Everything depended on his catch and a hard bargain. No soft conversation and cushioned bed for the night - only hard labor on a rough sea. This was no learned scholar like Paul who would come later. Here was a man, raw in speech and action.

I believe Jesus saw the doubt in Simon's heart, his insufficiency and inadequacies. A heart that says, "Lord I don't fit, I am no good. I'm just an ordinary fisherman. What can the kingdom of God have to do with me? My brother - he's the good one Lord. I am full of weaknesses, I don't amount to much other than fishing. I am impulsive, short tempered and fearful. How can I ever be of any spiritual good to anybody when I need you more than everybody?" 

I love Jesus' response !! He said, " You are Simon the son of Jonah" - Jesus knows Simon for who he is (present) and where he has come from (past). His history is not a mystery to Jesus. Jesus does not rehearse Simon's faults and lay the charge sheet out before him. His very next statement is "You shall be called Cephas (Peter)". Cephas is translated "Stone or Rock". Simon's name was changed by a man who has seemingly just seen him for the first time. The Word which created every cell in Peter's body speaks 'Life' into his life. Jesus saw Simon for who he was going to be - Peter. 

The anointing of the Holy spirit would transform the fearful Simon who denied Jesus thrice before the servants in the High Priests courtyard to be the bold witness preaching up a storm before people from every nation who had come to Jerusalem. The angry fisherman who sliced off the ear of the high priest servant would heal the sick with love and compassion in Jesus name. The Lord held Peter close and helped him to Trust and Obey.

I think about Peter and I say, I have hope !

Friday, September 2, 2016

Race to grace

I could attribute it to the fact that Thomas the Apostle stepped foot in my home-country ( Kerala) or just blame it on my genetic disposition, but I need proof before I can blindly accept the stated conclusion in most situations. My need for evidence is an instinctive response blurted as a 'Why' before I realize it.

I don't just wonder how mountains will be scaled, some valley traversed rather I need statistical data that it can be done. Now that's fine when those mountains and valleys are real ones - but when 'they' are people or work situations in life, its often quite hard to predict the outcome as the variables are too many in the equation. Most often (more truthfully, 'Always') it was when I have done 'my share' of the 'working' that I ask for help. My working does not always turn out as neatly as those done on the right hand side of the maths notebook page. Mine can take over the whole page and proceed as scribbles and scratches with no final solution.

I was just thinking how often I exhaust my resources such as the internet ( how did we live life before Google ?) , people(parents, friends , siblings , subject matter experts the list goes on ) to arrive at the best solution to problems. All these resources definitely have their place but they are all finite in their capabilities and each bring their limited perspectives. God seems so far away when life is breathing down my back and I am bending and breaking over the load of my burden and my resultant brokenness.

I must admit with shame, that to ask and seek help from an infinite God with his limitless power and strength is often my last resort. My heart pours forth its helplessness and I confess like the father of the tormented son in Mark 9:24 - Lord help my unbelief ! My unbelief in your strength and power to provide for all my needs (Physical, emotional, social - whatever) in every circumstance of my life.

Now, that for me is normally where the 180 degree turn begins and I race into a loving heavenly fathers arms ! Rest of the story, is grace !

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

God in flesh

How I wish you were here, 
in flesh and blood...
My hands reach out in longing,
for the warmth of your embrace.
If only I could see you with my eyes,
and know you were near..
If only I could hear you with my ears,
and know your will, loud and clear..

How I long,
to feel the touch of your hands,
the promise to wipe my tears that fall..
How I long
To walk beside you,
to talk my heart out to you..

Yet dear Lord,
with this gift of faith you have given me
my heart sees my Immanuel,
God with me...
my ears hear your word,
as your presence fills my soul...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Watching over you !

We were at the hospital 2 weeks ago when I was down with high fever. The air conditioning in the waiting room was too cold for me. Even the warmest spot of the room had me shivering. I decided to step outside the room. That way the summer breeze would keep me warm while I waited for my turn. Joanna was content playing a game on the phone.

After a while, Lloyd arose to clarify some concern at the reception. I watched through the glass pane on the door, as he stepped away. Hardly a moment later, Joanna turned and realized that both of us were nowhere to be seen. She immediately rose from her seat and frantically looked around. Though I could see her through the glass pane on the door, she couldn't see me.I quickly opened the door, stepped into the waiting room. Relief flooded her face. I reassured her that I was watching her and she was not alone.

I heard myself say," I am watching you Joanna from outside the door. You carry on playing." I had barely heard my mouth speak those words, when a still small voice spoke straight to my heart. "I am watching over you too, my child. I never let go." The words in Psalm 121 echoed in my heart - "The protector of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps, The Lord watches over you". The voice was undoubtedly the calm reassurance of God, for no other voice can speak peace to my soul.

Frail as we parents are, we fail often in watching (both physically and spiritually) over our little ones. What peace and joy to rest in the shadow of the One who watches over us all. The Father up above watches you and me with love.