Showing posts with label Learning and Living in God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Learning and Living in God. Show all posts

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Every Knee and Every Tongue [313/365]

Spoiler Alert: Spiritual Content Below. Godly guidance advised.

When people ask me how religious I am as a Christian, I tell them that I am not religious, but spiritual.
How could that be different in today's world?
It doesn't matter where you live today, with most 'progressive' governments driving their nations towards a more secular and multicultural society, professing your faith can be a very touchy thing.
In India, minority faiths like Christianity, Islam and Buddhism are drowned by the overwhelming Hindu population. In the US, the names- Jesus or Christ is prohibited as the government has been leaning towards making the country more acceptable to people of all faiths.
While secularism is fine, what I find disturbing is the current trend of people to pick and choose beliefs from many different religions to suit themselves.

A Muslim family keeping the statue of a 'Sleeping Buddha' at their home, because 'it gives them peace'. A Christian family that keeps 'Feng-sheu' plants and idols because they want to have the best karma. An Hindu family that keeps the statue of Mother Mary because they believe she answers their prayers too. Most Christians believe doing good to people around you is enough to reserve your place in heaven. While most religions compel you to do good, I don't think that will be enough.

While we are governed by rules and confused by laws when we are alive, what happens when a person dies?
The Holy Bible says, Every knee shall bow and every tongue (human and beast) confess that the Lord is God (Philippians 2:10). It didn't say many thousand Christians will bow and millions of followers will confess, but every knee and every tongue. Isn't that an humbling and awe-inspiring statement! I know I've always had goosebumps watching hundreds of animals bowing to Simba in the movie 'The Lion King'.
Try picturing every person that you know or have ever heard of, every person and creature who was ever born will stand in the front of the Lord in one great gathering of humanity and will all bow and confess of the one Lord. A gathering that will have the likes of Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Madonna, Pope John Paul and even Kasab. All of their knees will bend and every tongue will confess of the creator of heaven and earth and everything in between.

When people of other faiths read about the promises in the Bible, they scoff. I won't blame them. The path to the top could be different. Some take a meandering path, some a more cobbled path and some a road that is narrow yet less steep. 


In the fleeting transitory life that we live, ask yourself if you the combo meal of a religion is really satisfying your inner spiritual need?


Friday, January 27, 2012

Fight the good fight, Finish the race. [26/365]

When I first moved to India for my university studies, I was flummoxed at the reaction of my friends and college mates when I'd reveal my spiritual beliefs. They would bob their head in a half nod, half disbelief. I was after all the only Christian guy in a Hindu college.

Later, I'd learn that India is a predominantly Hindu society with a strong dislike towards Christians, especially outsiders migrating to their cities. Christians were a minority here.

As a child that grows up to understand limits, sharing a classroom with Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Sikhs teaches you valuable lessons in living in a multi-cultural society like India.
My closest friend from college was a staunch Brahmin who'd ordinarily not want to be 'mixing' with people other than Brahmins, let alone some beef-eating Christian.

Sometimes, my curious classmates would quiz me on what Christianity really means, and what makes us different.
What made a difference was how I would let my classmates know Christ.
Telling a non Christian how our Lord and Savior is the difference between hell and heaven is no easy task.
Talking about a religion can only do very little to convincing and satisfying spiritual thirst. But practicing what you preach wins over even the most skeptical critic.
I'm encouraged by 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, where Paul encouraged the people of Corinth, exhorting them to adapt, to run and most importantly, not be disheartened or give up.

The single most difficult task of a Christian when explaining about Christ is in being able to rein themselves in. Couple of pointers that has held me in good stead:
Curb your enthusiasm - Many of my christian friends is filled with joy when a non Christian shows interest in learning about Christ. While enthusiasm is important, it is also important that we don't appear as over zealous missionaries out to get our numbers.
Don't trash their beliefs - Whatever they believe in, and whoever they worship, it is important that a Christian remembers that every word that you speak should encourage, not dishearten. Promote growth, not hurt and be sincere not conceited.
Do what Jesus would have done - Evangelize. Not ostracize. Judgement is His. Not ours to dish out. While Jesus Himself lived in an era of many religions, He never trashed any particular religion. He only encouraged their followers to ask the right questions to get the answers.
Never give up - Much like how there will be just one winner in a race, understand that for every much publicized evangelist, there are 20 who have sacrificed all their worldly comforts so that the marginalized have a better chance at life. The prize that awaits them in Heaven is what matters.
Humble yourself - So important because no one would want to learn from you if you were not as humble as Jesus.
Many sects of Christianity and other world religions have leaders who've created an aura about themselves that makes them demi gods. Want to boast? Boast about God.
Ask Him - Duh! For guidance, for the Words that you need to speak. Because we can always go wrong when we rely on ourselves, when we rely on God, you are merely His instrument and cannot go awry.

More than a decade and many life trials later, many of my friends from college are still awed by Christianity. Many of them have visited a church and have been encouraged by the Word of Christ.

Do you have a neighbor, a friend or a colleague who'd like to know about Christ?
Let Philippians 2:8 be your talisman.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Always with you [11/365]

Learning how to ride a cycle is an integral part of a boy's growing up years much like how learning how to cook or apply make-up is in a girl's life.
I remember how I learned how to ride my BMX when I was a little boy.
My dad would always be behind me. I'd doubt if he's really holding the cycle steady but I was always sure that he was just a few steps behind me to hold me in case I was unsteady. Pompous as it sounds, I never fell off a bike learning. Many years later, despite his busy life, he'd always make sure that he attended every sport I played. A fond memory of how he rushed to the football field when an opponent tripped me, is still fresh.

My earthly father. He was always with me. Though he left me with a vacuum that can never be filled and I may not be able to hear him anymore and I may not be able to see him as much as I want to, but I still know that he is just a few steps behind me.

I'm reminded of Psalm 25:4-10 where the Psalmist describes the infinite love of God: Our heavenly Father. He's never left us. Immune to death but fully knowing the pain and tribulation that we as his children go through, He comforts us when we are unsettled. Heals us when we are ill, and leads us when we go astray.
We confess and He is eager to wipe clean all our transgressions and misadventures.

I quote a bumper sticker that I saw:
'If you feel God is far from you, guess who moved.'

Full of compassion, He wants a closer union with you. Always.


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