Nov 29, 2015

Don't leave me and go | Manna for your soul

When we leave our families, when our loved ones leave us, separation is painful.



This past week, I lost my son. Well, not a human son, but Snoopy was a son in every other way. He came into my life 2 years ago as a month old pup. Fist-sized, he was love at first sight. The little bundle of fur filled a vacuum in my life. 
He taught me invaluable lessons of love, forgiveness and patience.
He would pine for me, when I was away and shower me with love when I was back. As a pup, he would go through separation anxiety when I was away even for a few hours. Through days of conditional training and incentives, I gradually made him feel secure and less anxious when I was not at home. 

But when I lost him a week ago, I went through excruciating separation anxiety. I shuttered myself from the world. Totally disconnected. I simply couldn't grieve enough. I was consumed with guilt and questions of 'What if..'. I wanted to dig a hole and bury myself. 
Many felt the pain I was feeling and then a good friend and fellow blogger said something that rang a bell in me - 'Snoopy came into your life for a reason. What was it?' 
Snoopy came into my life when I was reeling with a failed relationship. People who knew me well, understood how Snoopy filled my emotional needs as a father. 

He was my furry son and for the short time that he was in my life, he changed me in a way that sculpted me forever. 


I realized my shortcomings and my strengths and now as he is no longer with me, I remember the way he would look for me when we would play Hide & Seek, wait for me to wake up so that he could lick me again, wait for me to bathe him so that he could run all through the house and mess himself up, wait to be walked so that he could do his business and then walk me through the neighborhood. 
I still suffer from separation anxiety but I finally understand what the disciples went through when Jesus would tell them about His time to leave. In John 14:15-21, Jesus comforts His disciples by promising to send them the Holy Spirit.

God hasn't forsaken us. We have the Holy Spirit, just the way He promised us. He advocates and champions our cause. He waits for us, when we stray and rejoices when we return to Him. 
We have to trust Him just the way Snoopy would trust me when I would walk him through dark and unknown streets. 

Thankfully, we don't have to feel anxious about our unseen God. The Bible reassures us that no matter what, God is never too far from us. 

Nov 28, 2015

GuestSpeak: Hot under the collars

Our planet is getting hot under the collars. 
Global climate is the average climate over the entire planet. And the reason scientists and folks like you are concerned is that Earth's global climate is changing.

Greenhouse gases released from the industry burning fuels are the major factors for global climate change. Our oceans are a critical part of the climate system, with vastly greater thermal capacity than the atmosphere. Most of the net energy increase in the climate system in recent decades is stored in the oceans. A small, slow increase in their temperature has significant changes!

Globally, countries are facing challenges in dealing with environmental problems stemming from climate change. Countries with large populations are struggling because of global climate change. Citizen protests due to climate change across the world are growing every year.

Climate change is already beginning to transform life on Earth. Around the globe, seasons are shifting, temperatures are climbing and sea levels are rising. And meanwhile, our planet must still supply us – and all living things – with air, water, food and safe places to live. If we don't act now, climate change will rapidly alter the lands and waters we all depend upon for survival, leaving our children and grandchildren with a very different world.

Some of the most dangerous consequences of climate change are high temperature, changing landscapes, dwindling wildlife, and rising seas. 
I feel industries should have checks and balances in place to restrict the amount of pollutants into the environment. While growing more plants can control greenhouse gases, we as a global community must do everything it takes to do all we can to preserve our planet for our kids now, before it is too late.

This is a guest post by a good friend and fellow writer Vasu Hebasur
Opinions expressed here are personal and solely of the author's and we may not subscribe to it. 

Nov 22, 2015

GuestSpeak: When the world can live without fear

"Terrorism" comes from the French word terrorisme

Terrorism is the biggest threat to today’s world and not a single nation has been able to put an end to terrorism. Every day it is the biggest problem for global political leaders, every day innocent live are lost. Who should the people blame? Are the Government and the intelligence agencies lagging behind in their attempt to control terror activity? People who  are attracted to terrorism because of money are killing themselves as suicide bombers because they are not even bothered about their own life and family and to think this is all because of the lure of money.

People who subscribe to terror should get proper education and if it’s poverty then, global political leaders should think about providing opportunities, so when they have proper education people will not enroll themselves to terror and this could be one way we can remove the steady stream of terror recruits.

Recently, France suffered from terror strikes, where large number of people were killed when terrorists rained bullets on innocent people. 100s of beautiful lives and their dreams were killed. Their ambitions snuffed. Who should people blame for last week’s terror attack? Was it the intelligence that failed? Was it that they were not aware of the information? People have become scared to go out of their houses. Breadwinners fear to step out because they may never return alive..

This is not just France. Every major country has faced terror attack in the last 15 years. The Government should take serious steps to control terror activity so that innocent life can be saved and we can live without fear.

This is a guest post by a good friend and fellow writer Vasu Hebasur
Opinions expressed here are personal and solely of the author's and we may not subscribe to it. 

Nov 15, 2015

My Wounded Heart. A Pastor's Story | Book Review

Having known Dr Benny as my personal saint, counselor and pastor, I am honored that I was asked to write my first book review for his latest book My Wounded Heart. A Pastor's Story.

This book is recommended reading for anyone who has been hurt. Ever
If you have gone through times in your life where you doubted God's plan for you, then you need to read what Pastor Benny has to say. 

The first thing that you'll notice when you start reading the book is the Dr Benny's spiritual foundations. Partly autobiographical, reading this book makes you realise how God allows His children, even the ones He chooses to do His work, to go through a process of spiritual refinement. 

By the time I was mid-way through the book, I was welling up with tears and having gone through something similar in my workplace many years ago, I could understand his hurt. And this is exactly what I needed to read to heal. 

My Wounded Heart. A Pastor's Story gives you a glimpse into the personal and professional trials and tribulations that Pastor Benny went through and is a handy guide for anyone who wants to heal. 
There are many things I liked about the book. I loved the easy imagery that he puts in our minds. As I kept turning the pages, I found myself traveling along with him, through the countryside, the roads and the cowboys, feeling the same hurt that he felt, the betrayal, angst and the depression. 
His style of writing is relatable and easy going. His methods simple and his advice enriching. 

'My Wounded Heart. A Pastor's Story' is born out of years of experience living with and coming to terms with wounds that people can inflict on you, with practical advice on how to come out to the other side stronger than ever.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pastor Benny's book and I am sure you will too. 
In the words of Po, the Kung Fu Panda 'Wounds heal, scars fade away..'
Let the healing begin!

Nov 8, 2015

Got Comfort? | Manna for your Soul

Last week, when I wrote about how God has a purpose in everything and for everyone in this life, a lot of people wrote to me about how they aren't able to see a purpose in the suffering in their lives. 
Sometimes, we go through needless pain agonizing about how God could abandon us. Our prayers are wrapped around a bundle of deceit where we tell Him how we deserve better. 

About 15 years ago, when my dad was diagnosed with cancer of the colon, we were shattered. I remember the moment like it was an hour ago. I looked up the meaning of 'Oncology' as my dad's eye filled up with tears. Doctors gave him 3 years. After a colectomy, he went through months of painful chemo and radiation therapy. While he made peace with what happened and made the best of what was left until he passed on when the cancer spread to other parts of his body. I saw the pain, the anguish and the helplessness in the eyes of a man who once was on the other side of the petri-dish. 


I admired the way he fought the stigma and the debilitating effects of cancer. Unlike other diseases, there isn't much left to do, there isn't a way you'll come close to understanding how crippling the pain can be and through it all, I realized cancer is a very humbling disease. He might have wondered why God let this happen to him, but he never once uttered it. He still prayed for the destitute, the homeless, the poor and the orphaned. He could have become bitter, but he never did. 

Years after he left, I still think about the way he suffered and marvel at the way God used him to teach me lessons in compassion. I now know a lot more about cancer than I knew then. My heart utters a silent prayer everytime I hear about a person who has cancer only because I know the pain secondhand. More than what the body goes through, I know the inexplicable pain in the heart. 

I have volunteered among patients because I know they won't have too many other people who will want to be around them. I have seen patients in the terminal stages, who can't afford any more of the expensive treatment and are left to rot away. I have seen maggots in open wounds of patients who were left to die because 'it simply isn't worth their time and effort' anymore. I've seen patients who live their every day because they know they may not live to eat the next meal. 

Not many survive that long either. 

So I've tried as little as I could to bring a smile to their faces. To the faces of their caregivers. 
Many ask me what did daddy do to die early? I won't know. 
Was daddy a saint? No. 
Yet, God chose to use him so that his son would do the things he did to random strangers who are going through worse. 

Isn't this what 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 also teaches us?
Suffering doesn't have a religion. Maggots don't discriminate and diseases couldn't care less what your God's name is. 
When daddy in his final breath said 'I am happy', he meant it. The Lord isn't a delivery service, but He sure knows how to do things in the most powerful way. 

Today, if you ask me - 'Would you like to undo something in your past?', I would say 'No'. 
Our God is The God of All Comfort. The peace that He can give you is something you and I cannot even begin to wrap your head around. He can use you not in the way people use you. And the good news is - Nothing He has touched has ever gone awry. All that he asks is - to allow Him an opportunity to experience His comfort and to have the heart that will comfort others as well. 

Because He has never and won't ever let anything happen to you that He knows you cannot handle. 

Nov 1, 2015

Life's Greatest Secret Revealed | Manna for your Soul

Over the past couple of months, I've been meeting people from all faiths and one of the common questions I hear is 'What is the meaning of our life?', 'What is the purpose of our being on this planet?' 

In the Bible, the book of Psalms is perhaps one of the most evergreen prophetic verses in the old testament. Psalm 92 talks about being fruitful at every stage of your life. 
Psalms 92:12-14 tells us how God has a plan for your life and a way of using you*. 

You could be a Hindu, a Moslem, a Sikh or a Christian. No matter what we call Him, we are but clay in His hands. The true test of a believer is when you live your life as if it were your last. 

In the past, every time I was in a difficult situation, I'd curse God because I felt He was not protecting me from evil. Like a capricious child, I would fret and frown about why He abandoned me. My daily prayer time would be another opportunity to blame Him and justify myself and promises to be good and do good and offer more tithes. Sounds familiar right?
Over time, I realized that Gods sovereign rule will reign over our lives and He positions us exactly where we have to be at that point of time. 


The bedrock of Christianity is - Continuous spiritual growth and fruitfulness does not come automatically. But then again, if you look carefully this is the foundation of all religions too.

In John 12:24, we read about how to be fruitful we have to die to this world. Surprisingly this explains the fundamental beliefs of jihadis and religious fanatics. What this scripture actually means is to detach yourself from the tentacles of this world so that you can be truly spiritually fruitful. To be selfless, start with being less selfish. 

Social scientists have proven that each person has a direct influence on 20 different people. Over the past several years of blogging, I've made good friends with people from around the world. Anonymous people who share my views on several things. Now, I've never met these people, but the bond we share is no less strong. Today as I write exclusively on spirituality, I feel I am finally getting to do God's will in my life. But I was not always this way. 

It took years and months for me to get to this point where I could write about His word. 
Like bamboo that takes months and weeks to build roots and Palm trees that take 15-30 years to be productive, as a young believer I needed years of TLC from Him to get to where I am today. As a writer, this is how I serve Him. 

And the best part is - God promises us that whatever we do in His name will flourish. How powerful is that!

Verses 13-14 tells us that He is willing to use us anytime and anywhere. Looking back, I can now see how he has used me when I was going through painful separations from parents and loved ones, and I now realize that He put me through this so that I can now speak about it and comfort those who are going through pain in their lives. 


Author and christian minister Matthew Henry wrote 'The last days of saints are sometimes the best days and the last walk the best walk'. 

So why is He giving us all this? Surely, there could be something that He wants from us, right? Yes, there is. 
Like a parent who gives everything to their child but wants nothing but unabashed and unconditional love in return, God wants us to glorify him. That's all! In all that we do, He wishes that we glorify Him. 

Today, if you are wondering how He can use you where you are at this moment, consider this thought - Trees are not planted by accident and mountains are not an anomaly. You don't have to be a theologian. Like everything in nature on earth and in the little we know but cannot fathom and the vast universe of what we do not know, you are not an accident. Why?
Because if God could place us on a planet that was just the right place at the right galaxy on the right constellation on the right universe, then He surely has a massively grand plan for YOU*. 

God gives us the reason for lively praise for his goodness towards us and whether you are young child growing up or an old person into your sunset years, know that the best is yet to come when you let Him.

*But are you willing to let Him use you?

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