Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Jehovah Jireh: The Lord who provides

When you go to church, usually you hear a lot of testimonies and most times you wonder whether something like that would ever happen in your life. The thing is God does so many miraculous things in our lives that we sometimes don’t even realize it. But when that realization hits you, only then you see what a faithful God we serve. Today something similar happened to me. I joined an IIT for my Masters course with great expectations but I found the experience to be a little underwhelming. You have to run around a lot to get permission to use any facility even in your own department and getting permissions to use other department's facility is a nightmare. Anyway so yesterday after a lot of mails and waiting in the respective profs cabin for the permission for a particular facility, I finally got my tests done. Once I got the results I realized I made a big mistake in the sampling and hence my results were not usable at all. My heart literally sank because I knew there was no way to rectify this blunder of mine. I was not in a position to go ask for permission again because I knew if I try I would definitely be kicked out. So here I was completely distraught and somehow God reminded me that a month before I had made a booking to use this particular facility in some other lab but never got a slot for the same. But again I felt that there is no way I will get a slot today itself. Even if I go I would probably be humiliated or turned down. So I was very much hesitant to even ask.

I asked God for direction and the Lord showed me Philippians 2:16 and I felt that the Lord is telling me that I will not labor in vain. Believing in the word that God just spoke to me I went to that lab all the way praying for His guidance and His spirit to take over. And Lord answered my prayers. The person who was operating that instrument didn’t turn me down but helped me out immediately and performed the test for me which is completely unexpected, going by the way things usually go here. I literally told the guy there that I didn’t think you will help me.

 Just thinking about it now I realize that not only did God help me out in convincing the person in-charge to do the test for me but also that He knew one month before that I would need this test done today. Because to use any equipment in that lab we have to do online booking, get a form, get it signed from guide and submit there. I couldn’t do the whole process today because my guide is not here right now so there wasn’t any way I could get her sign. But the Lord’s planning is impeccable because a month back itself He made provisions for my work that I had to do today. With the form that I had got signed from my guide a month back I could use the instrument.

It is such a motivation to know that we serve a God that is so good and faithful. He makes a way for us when we don’t even think it exists. This was a big reminder for me that whatever happens my God is in control. Many a times, we feel discouraged when things don’t seem to be happening and everything keeps falling apart but during those times we must believe that our God knows better. He can see the full picture and knows that these tests and failures are necessary for the greater good. He shapes and moulds us so that we can become better versions of ourselves. I hope this comes as an encouragement to anyone who is feeling demotivated or burdened with the struggles of life. The lord will not let our labor be in vain.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

My thoughts on Women's day

So yesterday we celebrated women’s day. Well it is nice you know to have a day dedicated for yourself. Last year when I was working we celebrated women’s day at our office too. We got to wear casual dress and all our PCs had a happy women’s day screensaver. Well what more could we have asked! I mean a screen saver! And to top it off we get to wear something other than uniform! I mean what more could a woman possibly want with her life. Am I right?

Now I just saw a video about how this women’s day we women should get to flaunt it if we have it. By “it” I mean our cleavage. Somehow it made me feel a little confused. When did women’s day become about the freedom to flaunt our assets? I always thought that it was a day to celebrate women and the fact that we too are people who are allowed to have dreams, aspirations, to have the right to be born! I understand what the video wanted to convey, don’t take it the wrong way. I totally agree that it is OUR body and it is OUR choice to do whatever we want to do with it and when we do so we should not have to worry about prying eyes or predators lurking around in the corner. I totally get it. My concern is that this isn’t what it’s only about!  It is a celebration for equality. We have come a long way from the first women’s day celebration but there are still issues that we women face every single day which are far more important than the freedom to flaunt our breasts. And this day is supposed to be about that. One thing that I did like about the celebration in my office was that they themed it around pledge for parity. Now that makes sense because even today there are opportunities we women don’t get just because we are considered the “weaker” gender.

Now you would have my support if you start a campaign for equal job opportunities, or education because believe me there still are households where a boy is given preference over the girls for a good education. But if you make it about how I should be able to wear revealing clothes then I guess you missed the whole point of celebrating women’s day. Like if given a choice what would you want the right to walk around with a deep cut blouse without anyone batting an eye or the right to have education or may be the right to vote, or no gender discrimination, the right to decide whom you wanna marry, the right to be recognized for the efforts we put in every single day at our work place, in our house. This list can go on. I think it’s more about letting women know that we as individuals have a say in our lives that we can be whatever we want to be. Let’s not make it as trivial as the freedom to wear a plunging neckline. 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Confessions of an introvert

Have you ever been in a situation where you walk into a room thinking it’s gonna be empty but bump into an acquaintance and you  start thinking if you can casually make a run for it or is it too late and he is already waving at you? If yes then you probably belong to the community of socially awkward people such as me. You may wonder what is so hard in making eye contact and smiling at someone who is coming from the other end of the street. But every time I spot a familiar face in a crowd my brain just starts looking for possible evacuation routes! It’s not like I am anti-social or hate people or anything but I guess God wired me in a way that I prefer reading a book or binge watching a Friends season rather than hanging out in a club with a bunch of people.

The problem is not that it’s lonely or anything! People like me, we like the solitude. The problem is what do you do, when every time you go to the nearest tea stall to have your favourite masala chai, you meet that girl in your class with whom you have attended several classes but your relationship goes only as far as a smile to each other if you accidentally make eye contact and now you don’t know if you should strike up a conversation. Even if you somehow convince yourself and do decide to talk, what will you say? Isn’t it too late for introductions, it’s already been six months for crying out loud!
You know what’s worse that I always assume that people might feel that I am some stuck-up person, too proud to say hello. Who knows they might not even be thinking like that but my brain doesn’t get it. It gets insane sometimes when you see someone you know and one part of your brain tells you to go and say hi and ask them how it is going while another is screaming to start walking in the opposite direction. And you are in splits as to what to do and end up taking your phone out and suddenly become very interested in your wallpaper. What would I not give to be the carefree gregarious individual who doesn’t worry about what to say next to a person and not long for the kindle lying in my bag?

Well I have never been the person who feels comfortable in a party. I like spending time with my close friends and I am a chatter-box when I am around them. I like texting because it is much easier to express yourself to a screen than a human being. So yes I confess, I am a socially awkward person and while I am at confessing things, I guess am bit of a nerd too! But I like who I am. Yes some days I would like myself to be a bit more extroverted but only some days! One can say that come on it’s not rocket science you know talking to people but trust me, to people like me rocket science is much easier!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Demonetization: Shadow of things to come

It’s safe to say that most of us are sick and tired of everyone talking about Demonetization and what a great job Modiji has done. So I am not going to write about the efficacy or the impacts of the announcement made by our PM in his speech last month. There are ample people debating over its good intentions but poor execution. What I want to really talk about is the shock waves it generated all over India. Out of the blue everything came to a standstill; people didn’t know what to do with the money they had in their wallets which has suddenly become worthless, rich and poor alike.

Amidst all this chaos, the endless discussions and the changing of rules every other day this other thought came to my mind. Just as how this announcement took people by surprise, how many more all around this world will find themselves completely flabbergasted on the judgment day. Now many reading this blog will think I am insane. But bear with me for a few minutes more. Imagine how many will be taken aback when they will know that what they considered a myth or just a story the Christians believe in is actually true. How it will be when each one will be judged on every sin that one has ever done even the small lie one told to their teachers about their incomplete homework.
Now you may think why you should believe what the Bible says. The question is then that is the Bible reliable? To answer that, Bible is not just a holy book but it is a historical document whose reliability can be tested by the process called historiography. Fulfilled prophecies concerning nations and concerning Jesus, eye-witness testimonies, scientific facts mentioned in the bible predating their actual discovery itself prove that it is no ordinary book. External historical evidences supporting the events mentioned in the Bible gives additional evidence of its authenticity.

So knowing that Bible is true, I want to draw some parallels with the current situation. This time most of the people had no clue about the decision and the government wanted it to be that way, but unlike our prime minister who wants the black money hoarders to pay; God doesn’t want sinners to be taken off-guard. He doesn’t want anyone to perish and end up in hell rather he wants us to be saved, and yes I mean all of us even the worst of terrorists. That’s why He made sure that His people will tell others about what’s coming and how they could all save themselves. But there will still be many who would choose to not listen.
Just like in the existing state of affairs, where many are still under the ludicrous notion that it is all just a nightmare and soon people will come to their senses and will take the decision back, in future also many will bury their heads in the sand and continue denying the urgency of the situation even when all the signs will point differently. This is quite evident in the fact that even today many refuse to believe the fulfilled prophecies of the Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.
But at the same time unlike the current circumstances where many have been able to dodge the bullet; people won’t be able to masquerade their “illegal money” as some poor soul’s hard earned money. One can’t hide their sins from the all-knowing God even if they are smart enough to hoodwink the income tax authorities. Unlike this situation where many haven’t been affected by it at all because they aren’t hiding anything; the second coming of Christ is a matter that concerns and directly affects both the Haves and the Have Nots. Why? Because all men have fallen short of the glory of God which means all of us have sinned and deep down all of us know that it is true that we are far from God’s standard of holiness.

So what can be done? Take some time to introspect on your life, repent and be right with God. Believe in the one who was sent to redeem mankind because that is the only way. Jesus Christ is our ultimate lawyer who is going to take up our case in front of the father. His sacrifice on the cross has indeed made us perfect and blameless.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Woman- An Object or a Subject?

                Newspapers today are filled with stories of violence, hatred and intolerance especially towards the female sex. Almost every other day I read news that makes me cringe and makes me wonder how corrupted the world has become. I mean what else would you feel when you read about an 11 month old baby being kidnapped and raped for two hours and then left to die. Now the society will tell that it’s not his fault. May be the guy ate too much chowmein and was forced to rape an infant! I blame China for it, why do you have to put so much MSG in your products, causing such hormonal imbalances! (ATTENTION PhD SCHOLARS: There’s a research topic for your thesis. Guaranteed results, just don’t forget to acknowledge the Khap panchayat for it). I suppose now we should marry our daughters straight out of their mother’s womb because of course young girls **( read infants)** are vulnerable to rapes.  Or maybe she was wearing skimpy clothes. The infant should have known better than to lie around in such a provocative way.

Other day I read about a girl who was murdered by her jilted lover in Jaipur. I mean what right she had to break up with him. Didn’t she know that she didn’t have any say in her life? First wrong she did was getting in a relationship and then second she did was to dump the guy. Girls should know their position in this society. We are just here to be used by our male counterparts and any ambition or dream we might have for our lives must be nipped in the bud before it gives any of us even a small hope for a better future.

Now I believe most will understand my sarcasm in the previous two paragraphs. Those who don’t please get yourselves tested because you lack brains and not just basic social empathy.

You know what the problem is? The problem is how we see or perceive women. I came across this video by Jefferson Bethke where he mentioned this study on how people both men and women look at a woman’s body. It was observed that basically when we look at a woman’s body we process it using “local processing” and when we see a man’s body, we use what is called a “global processing”. This is much like when you see a big house, under the local processing you focus on the door or the other parts of the house while under the global processing you view the house as a whole. So you see the problem is how we objectify women. When God made this earth, He didn’t show any bias. He made both man and woman in his own image. It was only when sin entered in this world through disobedience of Adam and Eve that the perfect world created by God became the imperfect world where we women have to fight for our rights and to get recognition. Many people have this misconception that when God cursed Eve He commanded Adam that he should rule over Eve, rather God was just stating that this is what would happen because of what both of them did. Unless we start seeing people as how God made them we can’t really respect them.

This lack of respect and objectification is seen in our everyday behavior and not just in the lewd comments that women have to face on the streets. It happens everywhere, in schools, colleges, workplace, churches and even our homes. Why do we tell a girl to dress up in a full sleeve salwar suit? Why don’t we tell our sons, our husbands to not look at women with lust, not undress them every time one walks past them? Because believe it or not that’s what happens most of the time. Take it from a person who has been groped in buses and molested by a trusted man in the safety of home. Bible teaches women to dress up modestly because God doesn’t want us to have our self-worth based on the brand of clothes we wear or by the external adorning but He wants us to focus on the imperishable beauty of the quiet and gentle spirit. It’s not so that our men are not tempted! If that were the case no woman in a Burkha would ever have been eve teased or raped.
There are so many references where men are urged to have self-control, not to lust. Why is that so? Not because women are going on about showing off their bodies and using them to entice the innocent men and cause them to sin. It is because humans have become so perverted that we have stopped looking at each other as creation of God but just as commodities which are there to be used and thrown away. It’s the wickedness of man that is to be blamed when a girl gets killed by her so called lover, when a child is robbed of her innocence, when a Nirbhaya is brutally raped and murdered. No length of the skirt can ever be impugned for a man to look at a woman with lechery.

Women are not something to be kept as a show piece in our living rooms to enhance the beauty of the house, but they are the creation of God without whom life in itself has no means of survival. Both man and woman are the perfect images of God. We are not an object so stop treating us like one.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Loving the Unlovable

The other day I was standing in a queue in our Mess during lunch time. As I was waiting I couldn’t help but notice two girls standing ahead of me. They seemed very pretty and well-dressed and were probably undergrads. Now these girls were giggling and continuously looking back at someone in the mess. Now curiosity got the best of me and my eyes started searching for the source of what was giving the girls such a laugh. I realized that they were looking at a certain girl who was probably from Africa and had the extremely curly hair which she had braided in cornrows style. Now, I was a little perplexed and then I heard a few fragments of their conversation and I instantly felt repulsed by them. The whole incident gave me such a horrible feeling that I could hardly gulp down the food on my plate and the lack of any taste whatsoever in the food didn’t help much either.

Now you would think I want to talk about how bad the behavior was and they should be ashamed of themselves. Well yes, it was really bad and one shouldn’t judge anyone on their race or culture or anything else for that matter. But I want to bring something else also in perspective. Look at the other two girls in the picture and think about how you would perceive them. Whenever I see them I have this notion that they are probably horrible people. Am I wrong in thinking like that? Yes, I am.

My faith as a follower of Christ tells me to Love my neighbor as I love myself. Now it’s easy to love the girl who was being ridiculed but what was difficult was to even like, let alone love, the other two girls in the picture. Because Jesus didn’t tell to love only those who are good to you but everybody including those who have been horrible to you. Two of the most important commandments that Jesus has given us to follow are, that we need to love God above all and to love others as much as we love ourselves. At the moment I wanted to ask Jesus, as to what were you thinking giving us such a difficult commandment? How am I to do that? After some introspection I got this answer- “I am just asking you to do what I did, what’s wrong in that?”

Seems a little ridiculous, right? But unless you really look at the life of Christ you won’t understand that the commandments he gave us to follow are nothing more than what He Himself did for us. Now I know this begs for explanation! Humanity sinned and rebelled against God but He still loved us immensely so He made a way for us to come to Him and that way is Jesus. Even though, He is the king of kings, was born in a lowly manger and lived a common life as a carpenter till he was almost 30 years of age. He lived with people no different than us. He didn't cut himself off from "sinners" like the tax collectors (who were hated by Jews for they used to cheat them off their money), prostitutes, uneducated people, etc. Rather He healed them of their sicknesses, fed them, called them his friends and above all He forgave them when they became the same people who urged for his crucifixion. They did the very things He abhorred but he still loved them. I can’t find any reason for His love other than that He is God who absolutely adores His creation.

Jesus during his time on Earth broke a lot of cultural barriers as well. He made disciples out of fishermen; He taught the scriptures to the common masses and the so called “religious” crowds of that time used to really get offended by his teachings. The hatred between Jews and Samaritans was long standing. It was so fierce that they believed that they could get contaminated by even passing through Samaritan territory, in spite of them having the same ancestors. Jesus broke that barrier too by talking to the Samaritan woman and revealing to her that He indeed was the promised Messiah.

Now Jesus taught us a lot many things and one of those things was how to love those who are unlovable. We are living in times where we have stopped caring for anyone other than ourselves, where we have forgotten how to show affection. We are quick to judge and we are quick to hate anyone who doesn’t conform to our ways of thinking. We need to change our mindset if we want to make this world a better place. Let’s be different today; let’s find something to love about someone rather than hate them for the things they do. Let’s be a little more like Jesus today!

Monday, 22 August 2016

The one line Introduction

So this is my first blog! Finally!
I guess I should start with a few words introducing myself. So here it goes….

I am a believing Christian, a witness to Christ while pursuing engineering.

So it’s out there in open now. I am one of “those” people! We people get termed as the “Jesus Freaks” or the so called “religious” people.  I don’t take offence if somebody calls me Jesus freak but I don’t like being called religious. You would think aren’t these two the same! Alas, if people knew believing in Lord Jesus Christ and being Religious are two mutually exclusive concepts! (Remember your high school mathematics! Mutually exclusive: If A & B are mutually exclusive, it means that if A occurs then B doesn’t and vice-versa)

 How you may ask; let’s dig a little deeper…..

What did Jesus do on the cross of Calvary? He sacrificed himself taking the whole sin of mankind on Him. Though He Himself knew no sin yet He had to die the death of a sinner. But it didn’t end there. He was resurrected and because He died for our sake, now devil holds no power over us, on those who believe in His great sacrifice.

So you get the gist right! What Jesus did on the cross was so great that even today when we believe in Him we get the gift of eternal life. To have eternal life is to be reunited with God and be in an up close and personal relationship with Him just as you would have with your father. Now we never look at God in that way. We think He is somewhere far away may be throwing curve balls at you when you least expect. But in reality God is seeking people to have a relationship with because He really does love us.

But being religious is about trying to do everything in our might to you know somehow get in the good books of that far away God so that He will give us good things and may be forgive us for the wrongs we have done. To be religious is difficult because you have this whole burden of trying to make God like us through all our good deeds, going to church, charity etc. Reminds me of how engineering students try to reason with their impassive professors so that they won’t fail them for they missed out on the minimum attendance rule. But in the end all is in vain because one can’t do it on his own. You are bound to do something wrong and you can’t undo that. In this kind of process one has to live every second of life in a perfect way to have a clean track record just so as to become eligible to be near God. Impossible right!

But when you believe in Jesus you don’t need to do all the above painstaking things to gain favour because Jesus has already done all that that needs to be done. Rather now you do that of your own accord not for the rewards but because it is the right thing to do as believers and as people who love God. Like won’t you love somebody who actually died for you? And even when you go wrong occasionally you know that God still loves you and forgives you when you repent.

So yes I am a follower of Christ and that’s my one-line introduction.