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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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

Read more

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

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!

N-V-ous?

ME: But my lens is no match to what they have. I am ashamed of my pictures ma! But its OK, not complaining.
HER: Don’t worry pups, one day (in His time), God will show you if you need that extra blessing!

When I began typing the message, I knew that I was envious, and I immediately corrected my thoughts and was annoyed with my own self for even thinking this way. These are the moments in life when we compare and complain, but catching my breath back was surely a thankful moment.

 "a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions"

Why was I suddenly comparing and envying what I did not have? I am never going to be satisfied, when will it be ‘enough’ for me? And it was at this very moment of my making the comment with my wife that I was also made aware that the more I reply on God and practice gratitude for all he provides will I be able to overcome the dissatisfaction that comes from envy.

If I chose to always compare myself to others — checking my status and updating my profile, looking at how many likes I have and counting the number of comments — every single day just brings more trouble and pain. There’s no way for me to see my blessings because the glass is always half-empty. I am very thankful that I am immediately reminded that if I can trust God as the source of my happiness, I should not have any desire to compare myself to anyone else. Why am I not able to understand that I am loved and that He, remains in charge of my life, through pleasant circumstances as well as painful ones?

The greetings flow in today for us father’s, the wish is ‘Happy’ and my only prayer is that we can be happy father’s or mother’s always, everyday. It is not funny to just make it one day of the year to make a father or mother happy, it has to be everyday and, the only way we can achieve this is to be able to count our blessings.

We sat for hours inside this hut to capture The hooded pitta (Pitta sordida). It was dark, it was difficult but I am so thankful that even without a nice image, I am still very happy I got this image! Yes, I am sure if I had better ‘gear’, it would have been a much better picture but am I not thankful that I was able to get what I so desired to get – capture the image of this bird !

_DIL8028

That same day, we were fortunate to see the Hombron’s kingfisher or the blue-capped kingfisher (Actenoides hombroni), Wikipedia has just two lines to say about this rare bird, seen only in the southern part of the country and since 1980, only seen in 7 locations! Wow, isn’t this rare? Well, thankful that we get to spot this mother and her juvenile, not the greatest image again but, very thankful to be able to capture this!

_DIL7876
Female Blue Capped Kingfisher
_DIL7984
Juvenile Blue Capped

Friendships

We met a fellow countryman, he had decided to make the sacrifice of working outside the home country whilst the rest of his family remained home due to education and the broader family network. One year ago, we were at this same crossroad, wondering what was best. Its a very tough decision to make.

Last evening we decided that we must cook some dinner and visit our friend, just being with him and making him feel at home was very much appreciated by him. In the few hours we were with him, we listened, we discussed, we discovered how small the world was and our boys even upgraded his tech skills by introducing him to different social media platforms, helping him to stay connected with all that was going around him!

Can we take a moment to consider the people in our life? Is there anyone I can risk being brave enough to go deeper in relationship with? Call them today! Just like for me, if there’s an opening, just show up. Just take with you yourself! All we need to do is listen and seek to know and understand our friend better, it will do them so much good!

There was this inner feeling of encouragement I got, that there is power in presence. In the same way that God is with us, is it not possible to demonstrate His character and nature when we choose to be with others? When I think back of last night, I am just convinced that presence provides comfort, care, and a sense of security to others.

We are not here to solve life’s problems nor do we have the answer to life’s problems, and we don’t have to act like we do. I just felt like wanting to be with my new found friend, as he processed his life, and all we as a family can do is look to God for His help.

We are so caught up in our own world of activities and responsibilities that we seem to be inside this dark hole where we forget that friendship is crucial as we navigate life. We’re all hungry for meaningful connection and the kind of relationship where we can raid each other’s fridge and keep no hidden agenda. We want to be received ‘just as we are’ and we want to be encouraged to grow into who God created us to be. I just felt how much I was able to find God more, as we devoted to be with a friend and share a little bit of love.

#FOMO

Have you noticed #FOMO?

On one side of the coin, I need to figure out the meaning of hashtag first, as this is how I see it in social media! The other side of the coin reveals to me that its in fact a real deal!

#FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—was just added (new learning for me!) to the latest edition of a popular English language dictionary. It appears and, to an extent I am hearing this matter being discussed at home by our sons, that there’s an entire generation of people who are constantly worried they’re going to miss out on something. With the ease of accessibility to technology and the creativity that social media provides, there is this tremendous pressure to stay connected all the time, 24×7.

There is this intense and widely shared enthusiasm that everyone is craving to get the highest number of likes! The obvious question to me is that, at the end of my life, is it really going to matter how many Likes I got? Do I honestly believe that at my deathbed one day, I would be wishing to post some crazy post?

Last week whilst at work I observed so many who were struggling to get a hold of what they needed to do in their work responsibilities and, I began to connect the dots and understand that what I really should be afraid of is missing out on the persons in front of me who needs my help to be someone or something more meaningful in lives. The more we stay glued to our smart phone, we are missing out on our children growing up, missing out on enjoying an intimate marriage and missing out on deep friendships filled with meaning.

Our fear that we are going to miss out on something may cause us to miss out on what matters most!

The realisation is that life will not be about how many Likes we get but, it will be all about how much love we showed to others. I am personally being reminded that the only way people will know that I am a follower of Jesus is by how well I love other people.

The world will not know that we are His disciples by how many followers we have, by how many Likes we get, by how quickly we are to respond to emails, or by how many Bible verses we post!

We will be known as His disciples when others can see our love being acted out, when we get involved in the lives of other people, when we care for them right where they are, when we open up our heart — that’s when they will see something in us that they really want, THE one and only creator who first loved us!

Others won’t know us by ‘Likes’. They will know us by ‘HIS Love’.

Likes and Love