Rise Up in God’s Strength!

(A motivational speech for those who are defeated and label themselves failures!)

Life is too short. You cannot afford to stay defeated. Rise up my friend. Today you are defeated. That is true. But what is not true is your belief that you are destined to fail. Who told you this lie? More importantly, why did you choose to believe it?

The moment you think that your resources are not enough, you are on the losing side already. Not many of the great achievers in the history of this world had much resources to boast about. But what they had was the desire–not just the desire; but a burning desire that never took NO for an answer. This burning desire to achieve was the lifeblood that helped them survive all odds and heartbreaks and make it.

Now I am not asking you to achieve something spectacular. What I am asking you is to stop telling lies to yourself. Why should you say, “I am not good enough?” Tell me honestly, isn’t that an excuse you have found out to stay in your comfort zone? Remember God created you unique with a purpose. If he created you to be a lamp giving light; you can never be comfortable hiding your light underneath a bowl. Let it shine.

The great promise of God to you is this: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” The eagle is a bird that undergoes a lot of change in its early years; its feathers change colour indicating growth as it matures and gains extraordinary strength to fly. God says that in this time of waiting and hoping even when nothing seems to happen, he is pouring out strength into you.

Photo source: https://leesbird.com/2009/09/25/b-o-b-eagle-renewal/

It is available to those “who hope in the LORD” as a modern translation reads. “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”*. Yes, God wants you to fly high. He wants you to move in the strength he gives. This is his promise. Would you dare to believe and act on it?

Let not your past failures prevent you from performing well in the present opportunity. Do not allow misgivings about your own ability stop your from giving your best at this time. God did not create you to be a failure. Maybe you have failed many times. But that does not make God give up on you. He is asking you to wait on him.

Now what does that mean? It means that you should stop looking to your friends to give the strength only God can give. No one else can substitute that. Again, waiting on God means to trust in God’s goodness, love and mercy towards you. It means to believe that God has plans, the best of its kind for you; plans to give you hope and a future.

My friend, do not give up just because you feel that you are not capable. God is more than willing to step into your inabilities and make you achieve awesome victories even when you are weak. No longer are you a helpless victim! Know that for certain! No more excuses. No more blaming your circumstances. Not any more of finding fault with people for your own wrong choices.

Therefore rise up in God’s strength. The time of waiting is over. It is time to say goodbye to all those wasted years; because now God is ready to repay you in double measure for all that lost time and opportunities. Only if you are willing to rise up and obey God with all your heart and soul and strength! Yes, rise up in God’s strength and soar on wings like eagles!

*Isaiah 40:31 NIV Bible.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Speech on the Importance of English

——–

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

— Romans 5:5–8 NIV Bible.

Motivational Speech on Women Empowerment: Myth or Reality?

Today, in contrast to the past centuries, we find women  literate, educated, and liberated to lead. We find their surge forward not only in the political front, but also in social life where they act as agents of change contributing  to economic development as well.

But first of all we need to understand what empowerment of women really means if we have to understand its impact.

Empowerment is about being given authority and power to do something.
Empowerment is about becoming stronger and confident.
Empowerment again means to become aware of one’s rights and privileges.
Empowerment also means the ability to control one’s life in a more meaningful and fulfilling way.

The term empowerment naturally presupposes a sense of powerlessness; doesn’t it? Well, with women it has been rightly so. As we look back at the centuries we find many dark ages where women in different lands were suppressed, treated as commodities, with no voice in decision-making and no role in deciding how social and community life evolved. But empowerment of women made a radical change in the whole situation.

And  this change has come about not without its struggles and sacrifices, protests and conflicts. This transformation passed through many difficulties when those who led with a vision to emancipate women were often viewed with suspicion from within the ranks of women themselves and opposed by the male-dominated hierarchies. Even today there are ripples and reflections of these tendencies. One can never say the world has seen gender equality and rights of women championed in the fullest sense.

But change did come.  From powerlessness, women have come to recognize that they are individuals made in God’s image and likeness just like men; and are valuable and precious in God’s eyes. They have come to celebrate their differences from men not as a reason for subjugation, but as a joyous gift of God to give an active support and contribution to the family first, to the workplace next and the community at large in a broader sphere.

In all these areas women have risen to greatness and power by utilizing available resources and increasing their influence in the decision-making process. The key to this change has been literacy and education. Economic freedom came through women finding employment in different spheres like nursing, teaching, management, and the like. Today, women have made their presence felt in the field of police, defence, sports, space exploration, research and development, social work, and many other fields as well.

But all this was not enough as they had to have a political empowerment which especially came through right for women to vote through some tough campaigning. Emmeline Pankhurst who helped women win the right to vote in Britain cannot be forgotten. Perhaps a day will come when the most awaited 33% reservation for women in the Indian Parliament would become a reality. If that happens it will be a grand day when the the voice of women will ring out more loud and clear in the central hall of the world’s largest democracy.

Personally, I have been motivated by many examples where empowerment of women is first of all felt by the masses through the vision of a pioneering lady. Be it Florence Nightingale who made nursing into such a structured and noble profession, Ida Scudder who in response to witnessing three tragic deaths of women in childbirth in Tindivanam in a single night in the late 1890’s responded to the challenge and heard God’s call to become a missionary doctor and establish the reputed Christian Medical College (CMC Vellore, first started for women), Amy Carmichael, who dyed her skin with dark coffee to make her skin brown to gain access to and acceptance with young girl children and rescued hundreds of them from a life of forced prostitution in Dohnavur, Pandita Ramabai, a scholar in Sanskrit who saved the lives of thousands of women in famine struck times through her Mukti Mission in Pune; the list goes on. Today, the need is to have women with such vision and burden for the upliftment of women.

There are countless examples in modern times; Malala Yousafzai is one young voice many listen to today. Her courage and words inspire; and she emphasizes the importance of education as a means of women empowerment.  As she said in an interview,

“The important thing to note is that it is not important whether Malala was shot or not — Malala is not asking for personal favors or support. She is asking for support with girls’ education and women’s rights. So don’t support Malala, support her campaign for girls’ education and women’s rights.”

I am sure there are several other names that come to your mind even as I speak. Indira Gandhi, Prathibha Patil, Rani Lakhsmibai of Jhansi, Kalpana Chawla, Indra Nooyi, Kiran Bedi, Arundathi Bhattacharya, Bachendri Pal, the list goes on. If you recognized some of these names, it is simply because women have learned to lead, have challenged existing norms of society and have taken a proactive role in changing traditions and rewriting history. Surely, women empowerment is a reality; isn’t it? I am sure you are compelled to agree.

Now let me point out that social reformation alone is not just enough for women empowerment. The mind-set of society also has to keep pace. To ensure this transition, laws had to be enacted. Several laws have been enacted to ensure the safety and protection of women especially in the workplace.

But it is sad that there still needs to be a radical change in the way women are viewed in society. A women gets educated, earns a well-paid job and then suddenly finds herself being bargained for in the marriage market. This is sad and tragic. In this world of commercialization, women are in many places regarded as liabilities rather than as assets. This has to change if women empowerment has to become a reality in the fullest sense.

Finally, top leadership is something that women can aspire and reach to. But massive change for the empowerment of women has to begin and be sustained at the grass roots level. Assurance of employment, maintenance of good physical and emotional health should also be priorities as far as women empowerment is concerned.

Kudumbashree, a community organization of neighbourhood groups in Kerala started by the government in 1998 has proven itself as a successful model of women empowerment at the grass roots level. Such models need to be multiplied across different geographic regions across the world where there is a felt need for women empowerment.

Before I conclude, let me point out one more historical moment of women empowerment. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead; it was Mary Magdalene who had the privilege of seeing the Risen Lord first and had the unique distinction of being the first witness to the fact of his resurrection. This was her testimony: “I have seen the Lord!” the echoes of which still resonates in many millions of human hearts even after 2000 years of its happening.

But the point is that Jesus by allowing Mary Magdalene to be the first witness was empowering women for all time. This is stunning because Jesus did not reveal himself first to his inner circle of disciples who were all men and Jewish law did not permit women to be witnesses. And in that society, men usually prayed thanking God that they were not born as women. The way Jesus treated women with respect and dignity will always empower them to claim their rightful share not only in God’s kingdom but also in homes and workplaces; in politics and economics as well.

Two more new areas of women empowerment cannot be left unmentioned in this 21st century:

One is of women’s active presence in the social media. Several women needs and priorities have been brought to light through intense campaigning through the social media. This is powerfully used to promote a cause, share a story, change public perception and even prevent negative stereotyping of women.

The second area of women empowerment in the 21st century is the need to have a massive drive for bringing school and college students into sports and games and outdoor activities. This coming together will not only help teenagers gain self-confidence and esteem; but also increase their physical and emotional health.

Let me now confront some bitter truths. Women empowerment is definitely a reality today. But the question is, Is it enough? Is there more work to be done? Without doubt, there are many places where the voice of women is still not heard. Discrimination still exists and even in the Corporate world we talk about the glass ceiling. The media sensationalizes crime against women which is growing alarmingly.

Domestic violence, dowry, gender discrimination, continue to be evils of our times. Politics is still male dominated even when half the population is female. The dignity of women and their worth as persons and individuals is often tainted by wrong portrayals in advertisements, movies and even in beauty pageants. The lot of sales gales in ever growing super market outlets looks glamorous with their uniforms and dignity it seems to afford; but some serious study should be done as to how difficult their days are in spite of the smiles they gift us with. The list of negatives can go on.

But there is hope. The voice of women will still be heard loud and clear in spite of attempts to silence them. More stories of women empowerment are being scripted in every village and city not only in our state and nation but across the boundaries. It can very well be the transforming reality of the present. Thank you.


Sources and further reading:
Florence Nightingale

Pandita Ramabai

In appreciation of the work of Pandita Ramabai for the advancement of Indian women, the government of India approved the issuance of a commemorative stamp of Pandita Ramabai in 1989 and later named her Woman of the Millennium.

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Brainyquote page

Ida Scudder

    Ida Scudder as a young girl heard three knocks at her door one night. Three men from different religious background came at different times with the same request to assist their wives in childbirth. Ida Scudder told her lack of medical experience and offered the services of her father, a doctor. But those men could not bear the thought of a male presence. The next day Ida Scudder saw the corpses of three women being taken for cremation. This incident which all her biographers note challenged her to earn a medical degree and come back to India and do something for the health and well-being of women.

A Student’s Inspiring Election Campaign Speech for the Post of School Leader!

Respected Principal, Beloved Teachers and my dear friends,

A warm good morning to one and all.

Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is with this vision I aspire to be your leader. If selected, I would love to lead by example not just in academic pursuits but in all co-curricular activities as well.

The focus of my talk this morning is about three R’s. They are
Reach,
Respect, and
Relationship.

First of all let me talk about Reach.
Most of us have potential. And many of us have not discovered what it is all about. One of my first priorities will be to create opportunities for everyone to display their skills and talent. We cannot do it on our own. We need the guidance and support and encouragement of our teachers.

I am sure they will extend all possible help in this regard. In fact we are blessed to have the opportunity to study in this School which has always set standards of excellence not only in academic results but more importantly in student-teacher relationship.

The second thought i want to share with you is about Respect.
Why is this important? This is important because we live in a world where mind, muscle or money power rules. Human rights are constantly being violated. Intolerance between communities is growing. It is in this context that respect for others should be taught and understood and appreciated in classrooms.

It is good to begin while we are young. I would like to create an atmosphere of respect in classrooms. We should learn to respect our parents, our teachers and elders. We should learn to respect the law of the land and be law-abiding citizens.

The third thought is about Relationship.
What is the point in studying in the same school and sitting on the same bench and not knowing what your friend’s difficulties in life are? We have become too selfish that we do not care for those who are hurting. So as leader one of my priorities will be to create healthy relationships in classrooms thus paving the foundation of friendships that will last a lifetime.

This is very important because today children are spending more and more time with gadgets; chatting, gaming, and living in a virtual world. I wish that our students would spend more time in face to face interaction and joyful communication thus cementing good relationships.

So these are my main thoughts:
One, Let us strive to reach our full potential.
Two, Let us create an atmosphere of respect.
And three, Let us also try to build lasting relationships.

So I seek your cooperation. For nothing can be done by a leader alone. A leader is one who has a vision and has the ability to share it.

This I have done with all my heart!
Now it is your turn to respond to this vision.

As cricket commentators say, a captain can only be good as the members of his team. No captain has succeeded without great team work. So I appeal to all of you my friends that we will achieve these goals through united effort, working hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder. Not one of you will be left behind.

Success to me is not one person achieving. It is about helping others achieve. It is about enabling others to realize their dreams. So let us begin to realize our full potential. Let us do this in an atmosphere of respect and sportsman spirit. In the process let us build lasting relationships.

Let me assure you my friends we are not going to be defeated, we will certainly win. And the beauty of the victory will be that we all shall win together and make our teachers and parents proud. So my dear friends, when you cast your votes remember me and my vision I have shared with you. Do cast your precious votes in my favour.

Reach, Respect, Relationship.
This is my vision, my dream and my goal. I cannot do it in my own strength but in the strength God shall provide. I cannot do it alone; we shall do it together.

Thank you.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Why Don’t You Fail?

If you have not failed, that means probably you succeeded in everything you did or you did not attempt to do anything at all.

The chances are that you never tried. Now why is that so? Most likely you were afraid to try because you feared to make mistakes. But then you already made the big mistake of not attempting.

What is the fear that keeps you from not trying. Isn’t it the fear of failure? Yes, it is!

What happens when you fail? The best thing that happens is that it shows you the stuff you are made of. Failures inspire you to do better next time, helps you learn from your mistakes and makes you desperate about winning. Failures can unmask your pretensions and show you your true character.

Failures also teach you humility. It teaches you that success is a process and not a destination. So there is no reality in classifying certain experiences of life as failures. What you probably call “failure” has done more to mould you into a person with strength of character than anything you achieved and termed as “success.”

So if you ask me, I prefer you to go and risk failure in something that you know to be good. The world may laugh at you. Let it do so.

But you go multiply your attempts. And when the nets come in empty after a long night’s hard work I hope and pray you will hear the voice of God saying, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch!”*

_______________________
*Jesus Christ (Luke 5:4 Bible)
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Run! Life Is a Race!

Image Courtesy: http://www.freeheartday.com/eric-liddell-the-olympian-who-ran-for-god/
Image Courtesy: http://www.freeheartday.com/eric-liddell-the-olympian-who-ran-for-god/

If life is a race, you have to run. Staying still is not progress. It does not matter if others get distracted and do not focus on the race. You need to keep on running forward.

If life is a race, the destination is ahead. You cannot run if you keep looking back. An occasional backward glance can help you know how much distance you covered. But look ahead and run. Forget the Past

If life is a race, you have to run with patience as well as perseverance. Train yourself early to endure hardships. Then you can discipline yourself to run the long distance of life.

If life is a race, you should know the goal towards which you run. Otherwise it is a meaningless run. Run so as to win the prize.

If life is a race, at some point joy comes from helping others to run and succeed in life as well. Even though you run to win, many of your friends need your encouragement.

If life is a race, and you did not know it, there is still time even though time is short. The one who starts late still has a chance to be rewarded. So it doesn’t matter you were slow to start. Success comes even to those who start late.

If life is a race, make sure that you finish. Do not yield to despair or be discouraged. Be strong. Know that God will act for those who trust in him. He will bring to completion what he has begun to do in your life. There is glory awaiting you beyond the finishing tape!

The Meaning of Life!
________________________________

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

— Hebrews 12:1z Bible.

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” — St. Paul

(Philippians 3:13, 14 Bible NIV).

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Do Cartoons Spell D.A.N.G.E.R.?

Cartoons are part of a child’s life. Whether watching cartoons is good or bad has been debated much as well.

One of the positive elements said about cartoons is that it helps a child learn words, especially English, at a very early age quite effortlessly. This happens when the child listens to cartoons and picks up words and phrases and repeats them.

Another positive is that many cartoons often depicting animals convey stories containing morals. This can help in the development of the child’s personality in a very positive sense.

As far as the attitude of parents is concerned, they opt for their children to watch cartoons so that they will be able to do something without children interrupting them. This is not good in the long run. Ideally, parents should make a deliberate effort to spend quality time with their children. They can play with them, go for visiting places together or even go shopping.

In other words, allowing the television and cartoons to take the role of parents spells D.A.N.G.E.R.

The danger of cartoons is that they invade every available space. Try going shopping for the needs of your children. Be it a snacks box, a pencil box, a bag or name slip, or rain coat or whatever else you can name, you get stuff with cartoon characters printed on it. Quite evidently it is a clever marketing technique employed.

Another danger is that cartoons introduce children to a world of violence at a very impressionable age. Many cartoons have violent fights. This definitely influences children. And some cartoons contain violence for which no punishment is given. Both the one who does the violence and the one who prevents it appear in all episodes. So what message does that convey about evil and violence in the real world?

Some parents have raised the concern that their children don’t listen to anything they say. But if they tell their children that this is how this particular cartoon character would like you to behave, they immediately obey. This trend is very dangerous because a child is giving more authority to a cartoon character than his or her real parents.

Again children who watch violent cartoons can easily show aggressive behaviour. They might try to imitate certain ways in which their favourite cartoon character reacts to situations. Such behaviour may not be acceptable to other children playing with them. This can cause friction and tension between children. It can become ugly if parents take sides and families get involved.

Yet another point is what cartoons do to a child’s imagination. Cartoons easily draw boundary lines in a child’s mind. A child easily thinks and acts the way his or her favourite cartoon does. It is very difficult for him or her to exercise creativity in more imaginative ways. In that sense the child is limited by the imaginativeness of the cartoons he watches.

On further thought there is the mixing up of reality and fiction. When children see cartoon characters jump from high rise buildings to the ground and suffer no harm, they can get a false notion that they too can do it and survive. Similar is the case when they see a lot of shooting and fight with lethal weapons.

And if parents watch cartoons with a very critical eye, they will see that a lot of subtle or subliminal messages about attractive dressing, boy girl relationships, supernatural and evil forces etc. are conveyed through cartoons which may not prove healthy for their children.

To conclude, let me remind that cartoons will be with us for a long time. Today’s generation grows up with images and catch phrases of cartoon characters all around them.

The challenge is whether parents will yield their moral leadership to cartoons or not. If parents can spend quality time with their children and help them discern what is good and what is bad; then there is hope for kids to have a better tomorrow.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Never Yield to Despair!

Trust in God is one sure way to fight despair.

Here are certain promises that God has made which can give you a sure reason to hope when your heart is ready to worry in despair.

When people close to you forget you, forsake you or reject you!
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget I will not forget you”. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me” —King David

When you are rejected by people you can trust in the One who came into this world which he himself created and was not recognized. He came to his own people but was rejected. You can approach him with confidence.

For Jesus Christ said, “whoever comes to me I will never drive away”. So when there is despair in your heart because of rejection especially from your loved ones, you have a refuge in Jesus. He will never fail your nor forsake you. So do not be discouraged.

When you lost opportunities in life and had wasted many years without any productive work!

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” is God’s promise to you for such a situation.

See, when locusts attack they come in battalions and even the sky is darkened because they fly together closely packed like a huge thick blanket. Nothing green remains in the area they have devoured. All is brown and barren when they leave.

So also it might have happened in your life. You might have made bad decisions, wrong choices, and engaged in projects doomed to fail. But God is able to redeem, restore, renew, revive and refresh your life. The only demand he makes is that you return to him with all your heart. Will you?

What if today you feel disheartened because you failed miserably yesterday!

It is interesting that the overwhelming impression about God that people have is of One who is ready to punish every sin, disobedience and mistake that we make. Of course, God is a Judge. And definitely there is a final judgement coming when all people in this world will be judged for the good or bad they did in their life.

But at the same time, God has given great importance to what we call Today. He gives multiple second chances for people to move in the right direction in life. “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

So if you are in a bed of despair, thinking that all is lost, why not stake your claim on God’s compassion toward you. They never fail. Moreover they are new every morning. God does not lie. He does what he says. He will still work a miracle in your life if you sincerely seek him with heartfelt tears and cries.

It doesn’t matter if nobody believes in you. God is still willing to invest in you.

Finally, what if all doors are closed! What if NO OPPORTUNITY exists!

God says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Yes, God is capable to creating a new opportunity for you. It does not matter who or what forces are against you. “What is impossible with men is possible with God” – Jesus Christ.

So dear friend, there is a better tomorrow for you. Today is a day of God’s mercy extending to you. Like a river flowing, it floods your heart and drowns all your despair. So rise in the newness of God’s strength and unfailing love towards you. You will live to see your heart’s longings and desires come true.

May God do it for you!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Quotations from the Bible are from the New International Version.
(Isaiah 49:15), (Psalm 27:10), (John 6:37), (Joel 2:25), (Lamentations 3:22, 23), (Isaiah 43:18, 19), (Luke 18:27)
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Open Up and Say “Yes” to Life!