No! Ahh!!

The moment I hear the name ‘Noah’, my immediate reflection of this man of God is the challenge he had to deal with, the explicit faith he had and how he lived his mission. Little focus did I give to an interesting ‘side’ that is recorded of this great man, got me all thinking of the ‘grey matter’ in life that we deal with day in and day out!

“Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the elder son, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. When Noah awoke from his wine….”

A seemingly ‘natural’ or ‘real’ situation in life that when investigated proves to be well founded and true! I pictured the walk in backwards by Noah’s 2 sons and discover a different aspect of interpretation, call it progress, their is a gain of spiritual reward! Why because the not so pleasant scene now has becomes victorious as one is able to self reflect, the ability to stand still and do nothing but reflect and be quiet and pray and see the outcome of that moment.

We are faced with similar situations in life and the ability of backing away from temptation and lusts, rising when we fall, exhibiting tolerance, grace, and forgiveness. These are the little steps we take in the right direction.

I thought for a moment and analysed if we can honestly act it? After all, one of three brothers chose not to do anything for his own father but probably make a joke of it to his other two brothers. Can I walk in backwards? When the father woke up and found out who had helped him, he blessed them!

How easy is it to tolerate when faced with reality? Can I tolerate and forgive my very own flesh and blood if they disgrace or embarrass me?

‘Spirit’ Filled – Head and Heart

How would you react when when someone makes the comment “you are so nice when you are drunk”.

The hard fact is this; the generally quiet individuals with blush. Hard headed individuals like me are taken totally by surprise! This also leads me to understand further that my inner Spirit and my Flesh are both at war inside me and this causes a conflict relationship that creates a non-stop battle in my heart and mind. The fact remains clear; the Spirit and the Flesh can never be at peace with each other!

‘Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things.’ Proverbs 23:29-33

It is the ‘flesh’ side of the story that causes the problem, our neutral pathways are affected by the ‘flesh’. It is so difficult, oftentimes, for us to break old habits as for years we have been building habits that agree with the “flesh”. No wonder we are suddenly in conflict! We also learn that if we rely on the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, it subdues the flesh and therefore we can avail ourselves of His power as a spiritual weapon against sin!’

So I conclude that if I am in the ‘flesh’, I cannot please my God. But if I can ‘put to death‘ the deeds of the ‘flesh’, I can live a life that is ‘spirit filled’ and thereby produce ‘spirit filled’ fruit.

Read my post – https://wordpress.com/post/diljacob.com/704

 

LIGHT (of the world?)

When someone told me the other day that I am required to be a ‘light’ to others, my response was that I was not made like the ‘firefly‘ to be able to produce light!

‘ “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. ‘

The very purpose of light is to brighten up the darkness and yet, we are called to be a ‘light’ to others!

A few weeks back, I had this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the jungles deep south of the Philippines and witness this amazing sighting of the Philippine Eagle, perched up on this tree, maybe 500 meters high and it truly was something very spectacular! For one, this is a protected and very rare species to see in the wild, the other is that one never gets to witness this unless you are really very lucky! A dear surgeon friend who took me into the jungle and I, together with the forest rangers, spent hours just mesmerized and made use of every minute to take as many as 2,000 pictures between us!_DIL7059 I cannot explain the moment and the blessed opportunity, but what was interesting is that for the next 3 hours on our journey back, the next few days and even today, when ever we are together, out topic is all about this marvelous creation! We only spoke well of this bird, we talked about its habitat, its challenges, its future and everything positive in nature!

This got me thinking, if I was perched up on a tree, would anyone bother to look at me and take a picture of me and talk positive things about me? I know the answer, its obvious and it now makes me realize that I am not anywhere close to the beauty of nature where one could look at me and say that I can make a significant impact in their lives. It now makes absolute meaning when I recall what my dear friend (who celebrates his birthday today) said:Aravind

We are called to be intentional, we are called to assume responsibility, we need to work excellently and go beyond expectations but most important, we have to gain respect. People we look at our lives and see if something significant is happening through us.

The command ‘YOU are the light’ signifies that the world does not come to us, but we are to be out there, visible to everyone and live out out life purpose. People see us all the time, they either love us or hate us but how can I make that significant impact on others?

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

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SALT (of the earth?)

If you describe someone as the salt of the earth, you have a lot of respect for them as the type of person who deals with difficult or demanding situations without making any unnecessary fuss.

COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

Two weeks back, I was asked the question ‘so explain to me your purpose in life’? I got thinking, I had many ideas popping up but I was not able to really express myself. He further went on to explain that if I wanted to live God’s purpose in life, I had to be ‘Salt’ & ‘Light’. What?

Well, I love the meaning of ‘Purpose’, I keep making reference to Rick Warren who said, ‘be purpose driven’ and teaches us how to be more effective leaders. Research also shows that a sense of purpose is created throughout life’s journey and captures one’s values, goals and identity.

The greatest tragedy in life is life without purpose

Rick Warren

The first century Jewish leader said this – “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

During the time of this Jewish leader, salt was of paramount importance, it had very positive purposes and was a necessity then to preserve food as there were no refrigerators, the word salary comes from the Latin word for salt, the Roman Legions were sometimes paid in salt, the word salad literally means “salted”, and comes from the ancient Roman practice of salting leaf vegetables! Wars have been fought over salt. Venice fought and won a war with Genoa over the product, and it played an important part in the American Revolution. Towns like Liverpool flourished on the export of salt extracted from the salt mines of Cheshire and today, the Liverpool soccer stadium is where a salt mine was!

Salt was also used to express negative concepts; in the Middle Ages, salt was spread on land to poison it, as a punishment to landowners who had transgressed against society in some way!

Scientifically the word is progressing. Morally, we are decaying

Pastor Peter Tanchi

If I am therefore to be that salt, how can I stop the decay and help make our surroundings a better place? Is the world getting better? Am I doing anything to help, I mean ‘Anything’?

  • Human Slavery:  The world number of slaves today rages between 21-36 million. Labor Slavery -78%; Sex Slavery – 22%; and Child Slavery – 26% of total slaves. The buying and selling of human beings have become a valuable and profitable business.
  • Suicide: Over one million people die by suicide each year worldwide, the global suicide rate is 16 per 100,000 population. On average, one person dies of suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.
  • HIV/AIDS: There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016. Of these, 2.1 million were children (<15 years old).
    An estimated 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2016 – about 5,000 new infections per day.
  • War and Human casualty: Nothing makes this segment more poignant and real than numbers. Current ongoing major global conflicts, Syria, Iraq and the Islamic State (Since 2011, Syria and Iraq, between 400,000 to 500,000 casualties), Somalia or Somalia Civil War (Since 1991, Somalia and Kenya, 500,000 casualties), Afghanistan or War in Afghanistan (Since 1978, Afghanistan, between 1,240,00 to 2,000,000 casualties).

I see so much decay around and I can’t always control the trials I face, but I am the keeper of my “salt”, am I be bitter or better? Will I remain in the Salt Shaker or can I be shaken and sprinkled? Am I Less seasoned or can I be more flavorful, even in a very small way? Will I disappear into the background or stand out as an overcomer?

In the end, what good am I if I’ve lost my flavoring?

Salt Shaker

Selfish Ambition?

For me, the word “ambition” has a negative impact often, I am called to be a person who must “run in such a way as to get the prize” and “press on toward the goal” for which I have been chosen and called. The “goal” is to know this “someone” intimately but the prize is “eternal and everlasting”!

Whichever way I may interpret it, ‘ambition’ guides me to know and follow this “someone”, not just at home or at church, but at my workplace, the bus station, the restaurant and everywhere I go! This therefore requires that this “someone” has to be in total control over ‘my world‘!

Common to my workplace that I have observed over the years is the temptation to use others as stepping stones for our own success. We steal the credit for a subordinate’s or co-worker’s work, we withhold information from a rival for promotion, we shift the blame to someone not present to defend themselves, we take advantage of someone in a difficult situation, I have seen this, I am also guilty that I have had some connection.

Overall, this is selfish ambition! My thinking is purely my i-factor – its all about me, me, me and me!

I can make it my goal to know Him more and live for His glory wherever I am, but, it requires my total surrender and absolute willingness to know and follow Him. The outcome of such an ambition is also characterized by my concern for the welfare of others. As I grow in knowing Him, I know that I can develop a passion for Him and His redemptive purpose that I am here on this earth for.

I am not called to look at my own interests, but I am learning that it should and must be the interests of others! The i-factor is automatically dropped off!

As German Catholic theologian Johannes Baptist Metz has observed:

“We are all members of a species that is not sufficient unto itself. We are all creatures plagued by unending doubts and restless, unsatisfied hearts.”

We are, in other words, proud people who attempt at every turn to minimize our reliance on God and inflate our sense of self-importance. When our dreams exceed our reach, we have a choice. We can lose heart and despair or we can say thank you and wait for further guidance.

The answer lies in me submitting. I must submit to God whenever I put my ambition in the service of others ahead of myself. I want to rise to a position of authority and excellence, do you? How can we begin by helping others increase their authority and excellence? Can we invest in the success of those around us?

Humility

Tried a Stress Test?

I ask myself what is wealth if acquired at the cost of my health, what if I experience untimely death? But despite asking this, I just carry on and I don’t give it much thought!

A friend needed medical attention and promised me that the specialist will be met on Saturday but, with a few excuses, the appointment gets pushed under the carpet for perfect reasons! I told my friend that it seems you just don’t care! My comment only distanced my friendship, I am obviously not minding my own business right!

We do this all the time, our friends and family willfully enter jobs and we take on responsibilities where the health hazards are far too obvious to ignore. We are not only stressed-out but also close to being burned-out by the demands of our work and other responsibilities. All this for trying to achieve what WE think we need or what WE think is best for us! It might seem impressive that we are willing to pay the price of sacrifice, but do we ever get it that we will always reaps what we sow!

I came across this test, it opened my heart to an honest reality, it required that i have to be honest with my answers! I took the test, I encourage you to take it and see for yourself! Take Test!

Stress

I know this for sure, Neglect my body and one day it shall surely fail me! The world pushes me to do so much more that I just do not care about my own self……

If I neglect my family, one day it will be doubly hard to get the loyalty back from my family. I know this but……

Then, this one is a bit of a non considerrant – Neglect God and one day I will be too hard-skinned to hear His voice……

I think of all this and ask myself, Is it (really) possible to achieve success by maintaining a healthy balance of life’s crazy demands?

My Physical Reality: I read the Gospel accounts and see just how physically strenuous this persons ministry was. He hopped from one town to another-on foot! (when was the last time we walked to visit anyone!) He exchanged insights with the best of the scholars of His day. He was Physically ready!

I am mindful of the deeper truth: that my body is not my own and that I have been bought with a price! The only fitting response would be to glorify God with my body!

My Mental Reality: The mind is so powerful that what I think affects my direction in life. Too much knowledge makes me very proud and arrogant to the point that I become unreceptive to the real truth. The deeper truth is that the enemy’s first plan of attack is to influence my mind! I honestly need to renew my mind so that I can be transformed and come to know the will of God.

My Relational Reality:  I cannot escape relationships because I was created for relationships! The hard part is that relational health does not only mean that I need to be kind to the people I like, but it is also understanding and relating well with people from all walks of life. Eeehh?

My Emotional Reality: And where there are relationships, there are emotions! Emotions can either blind me or lead me to the truth, it can destroy or build relationships, it can deplete or uplift my physical well-being, it can paralyze or motivate me to achieve great things. Emotions are powerful, but I am very clear, it does not need to control me!

My Spiritual Reality: I can be an expert in all of the above  but what will this do to me if I am not tuned and aligned? I am certain that the central aspect of my growth are influenced by my spiritual health that enables me to be an Intellectual individual, have the right Personality, be Gifted to do what is good and to have the right Emotions. It also molds me to have the right Values, Attitudes, Behaviors and Outlook to life. I know it but , at times, I do not connect to the best resource I have.

I need help, I cannot do this alone and my accountability partner always is my spouse, she can help me check on my progress and encourages me when I feel like giving up. We are called to Challenge each other and encourage each other!

Greatest quality?

Do we believe that love could revolutionize the world? What are tangible ways that we could love better?

All of us are blessed with great qualities and gifts. Recently I was meditating on 3 qualities; Faith, Hope, Love! Little did I realize that one of the three is greater than the rest! I have read about it but, I had certainly talked about it but, honestly, I had not let this truly seep into a personal reflection and ‘application’ until I really began to let in ‘digest’ inside me!

We humans have this tendency to center our attention on anything based on our gifts and accomplishments, we call this our ‘experiences’. In management and Leadership, this is considered a key factor for success!

The worldly standard for defining success is by far, the standard of measure today!

FAITH: If I have faith as much as a mustard seed, then I can move a mountain! It makes me realize that because I have this positive and strong attitude, I can be above others! What I also do not realize is that this makes me proud and arrogant!

Experiences and nature also proves that faith can reach and grow people!

HOPE: My daily work routine required that I must have hope in a person and this I can do all the time! Its not necessary to love the person we have hope in, its more of our expectation of that person for what he or she is doing for us!

Experience and nature also proves that hope can reach and grow people too!

LOVE: Love never fails; it never comes short. Love involves caring and giving, selflessness and sacrifice. Love reaches and grows people far more than any other gift or quality. True love is a clearly a gift of God because one can know true love only as we come to know the love of God!

Experience and nature proves that love is not in our human nature, but in the nature of God. God is love. Therefore, when we love a person, we can have genuine hope in the person.

Without question, what our world needs more than anything else is love. If people loved each other, really loved each other, there would be no more war, crime, abuse, injustice, poverty, hunger, homelessness, deprivation, or immorality. Love is the one ingredient that could revolutionize society. Love is the greatest quality of human life. Love is the supreme quality, the most excellent way for us to live.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV https://www.bible.com/bible/111/1CO.13.13.NIV