My Favourite Nursery Rhyme

Dear Friends,

Is there any one among you who has never looked at the dark night sky? I hope there is none.

What made you look up? Certainly not the darkness. But the thousand points of light that twinkled and shined. Ins’t it?

Did it not make your heart leap to see those beautiful diamonds out there against the dark velvet black of the night sky? Yes, it did. As a young boy resting his head on his mother’s lap and gazing up at the night sky said, “Mummy, if the underside of heaven is so beautiful, I wonder what the real side would be like!”

But I am certain that it is not just beauty that attracts us to the stars. There is a sense of wonder, amazement, and mystery at these shining pearl drops in the sky. They make us look up. They make us think, “Who created all these?” We wonder at the wisdom of God the Creator and his power beyond imagination that makes the universe so densely punctuated with stars.

Above all, the twinkling stars whisper hope in our hearts. That is what the nursery rhyme, “Twinkle twinkle little star” speaks about. It talks about the bright and tiny spark lighting up the way for the traveller in the dark. In life’s journey as we encounter dark nights and uncertain days ahead, let us hold on to the hope held out by the stars. There is light to shine on our life’s journey.

It is because of this hope that “Twinkle twinkle little star” has always been my favourite nursery rhyme!

Thank you.
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“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” — Isaiah 40:25. 26 Bible NIV

“He [God] heals the brokehearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” — Psalm 147:3, 4 Bible NIV.

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!

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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!

2 Minute Speech on the Meaning of Life!

Good morning one and all.

Life is precious. It is God’s gift to you. It is so unique that there is no one else on earth like you. There never was; and never will be.

Life, again, is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to do good. Therefore it does not matter how long you live; all that matters is how well you live. And how many lives you are able to touch with love and encouragement.

Another thought is that life is always shadowed by death. All people have to face it. He or she is a wise man or woman who is prepared to meet death when it comes. It is a sense of readiness. It is also an expectation to pass through the bridge of death to life eternal.

Interestingly,the secret of life is best revealed to those who are not bound by their possessions. They are untouched by worry and the changing fortunes of life. They are people who do not live by adding things to life but by measuring their life by things they can do without.

Life above all is a stewardship. It is a trust entrusted to you. Such an understanding of life makes you keenly aware that you are answerable to God for all the time, talent, treasure, and opportunity he as gifted you with.

This is in tune with the Biblical truth that “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” The balancing truth is that wrongs faced in this world will be made right; that God will wipe every tear from the eyes of his children, and good done will be rewarded.

It is this hope that makes life worth living. And it is in loving relationships nurtured within family and friendships that make life beautiful. Life is also made purposeful by knowing one’s role in one’s family, or one’s place of work, or society at large; and playing that role well.

Finally, there is an irresistible hope at the end of life’s journey for those who have trusted the One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die*.”

Is there a better hope in life than this?

Thank you.
*Jesus Christ (John’s Gospel Chapter 11 Verses 25 and 26.)
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Open Up and Say “Yes” to Life!

Open up!

Many youngsters opt for suicide in a moment of impulse. Even though they think they have thought through every aspect of the problem; they are mistaken. If only they did open up and talk with someone they trusted especially members of family things would have been different. Precious lives can be saved if people are willing to open up and talk.

It is definitely a mistaken notion that “I have no one to care for me.”

Together! Sketch by Prasad Vignesh, BPPS Batch 68 & 140
Together! Sketch by Prasad Vignesh, BPPS Batch 68 & 140

If anyone is obsessed with such a thought and you know about it, encourage that person to open up and share with you his or her thoughts and feelings. With patience and love point out to that person that there are people who care.

Perhaps the most important thought to convey is that he or she need not fight their problems alone. There is a community of friends and loved ones to support them.

Today’s media, especially television and print media are full of glorified stories of suicide. They are too descriptive. It is influencing youngsters to think that suicide is some kind of bravado. No. It is simply cowardice. You need courage to live and fight against odds in life and come out successful. You don’t need courage to die.

Therefore let us feed our minds with good and wholesome thoughts. As St. Paul said, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV). Remember that right thoughts lead to right action.

This world will definitely be a better place if you shine your little light rather than snuff it out and leave pitch black darkness behind. For all that suicides leave behind is a deep sense of loss, unspeakable sense of the tragic, the seeming meaninglessness of wasted life and the thought that it all could have been prevented had that person just opened up his or heart to someone before it was too late.

Above all, each day brings new hope however great the darkness was during the night. You will have hope if you listen to the voice of God who speaks, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. Fear not, you are mine. Even if your mother forgets you, I will not forget you. Therefore be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” There is a better hope and a better tomorrow. Your future will not be cut off. So open up and say “Yes” to life.

When darkness overwhelms you, think on Jesus’ words of life:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” — (John 10:10 NIV)

He came to shed his blood and die that you might live and have life everlasting. If you are so much alone you have none to share your thoughts open up your heart to God who listens; pour out your deepest pain before him, and say “Yes” to life!
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

The Rain!

No one conveys emotions better than the rain.

Nothing else is so universal; yet so personal like the rain. There is a grandeur about the rain that has made it a compelling subject of great literature, art, movies, and music. Yet there is something that is so common about it that children love to play in the rain.

Nostalgia
Our hearts swell with joy when we think of childhood experiences of the rain. Nostalgic memories like a heavy downpour flood our emotions at that very thought. For no one misses the first wonder of the rain he felt as a child. Rain is so close to our hearts that “Mazha” (meaning rain in Malayalam) is one of the first words that we learn in childhood.

A child, as he watches the rain, soon learns that the cheeks of the clouded skies are but collected teardrops which pour down when too much to hold. So much like a child’s eyes that floods at a moment’s notice and rolls down. And clears when given a toy or a chocolate or a balloon!

Romance
Ah, then who has not felt the romance of the rain? The chilly winds, the slanting rain, the the murmur, the dark and gathering clouds, the lightning that strikes and the thunder-rolls; all have created magic like nothing else. In that respect rain has been a broad canvas on which rainbow colours of love have often been painted.

Though there are scenes in movies that show fights and also the sadness of partings while it is raining; its numbers pale in comparison with the theme of love and romance explored. For some reason that defies logic, the rain is a matter of the heart; like love is.

Therefore the absence of rain in nature as well as in human relationships creates anguish. For rain in spite of its occasional fury is a symbol of affection, care and compassion. It nourishes, refreshes, and leaves behind a sense of cleansing as it washes all the dust and debris away. No one can survive long without being an object of such tenderness in human life. Rain is therefore a symbol of hope and new beginnings in life.

Variety
Moreover, rain so perfectly mirrors our moods: the playful hide and seek of rain and sunshine (“kurukkende kalayanam” as we call it in Malayalam; meaning Fox’s Wedding), the thunderstorms and fiery lightning exposing our frightened thoughts and hiding places, the gentle rain that caresses the cheeks with its lovely dewdrops, the chillness that make us long for companionship; all are intertwined with our lives as well.

Or think of the variety of experiences rain gifts us with: a child rushes in to his home to make paper boats to float in the rushing water, another splashes into puddles of water that collects, still others make merry under the comfort of spread umbrellas or by wearing fancy raincoats, some others watch the rain from within a car with all windows up, while some find joy in walking alone in the rain and getting drenched to the skin! These are all experiences that are so much part of our life; aren’t they? It is also difficult to erase the memory of togetherness when someone had walked with a loved one in the rain!

What the Rain Said
Ah, it’s raining once again. And I think it is time to ask the Rain what message it has for us. As I ask I see its cheeks blush; but then with an openness rarely seen in today’s jealous world, the Rain spoke; hesitantly at first; but then in torrents:

“My love is like a pent-up flood that comes down to all in season. I do not ask whether you appreciate my coming or not. Yet I give of myself sacrificially and fully. I hold nothing back. It’s my hope and prayer that my arrivals bring you refreshing and my departures leave behind everything fresher and greener. And like blades of grass lift up their heads with dewdrops on them sparkling like diamonds to greet the sun emerging from behind the clouds, I am persuaded that you too will rise up from all defeats with renewed courage and resolve. I’ll be there to see you succeed, dear friend.”

The RainbowIMG_3316
So spoke the Rain. And thus spoke a prophet of long ago as words failed him when he saw the glory of God in a vision:

“Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.”

These are words of comfort; for God had promised that whenever he sees the rainbow appear in the clouds, he’ll remember us and show us mercy. Therefore let rain clouds gather; and let the rainbow appear!

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Biblical References: Ezekiel 1:28, Genesis 9:12-17.
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The Power of New Beginnings

The power of new beginnings is immense.It is like the burst of light that pierces the darkness and makes everything visible. Long years of patient waiting then gives way to the rise of dawn–of new hope, greater glory, immeasurable joy, and ultimate triumph.

The price one has to pay for such a rising is huge: Long years of being in the shadows; the scorching walk through the furnace of unjust criticism; the bitter gall of rejection by those who share not your vision; and the mockery of those whose concerns do not rise above gossip are, to name just a few, what is included in the price tag.

The response to such a high calling is generally one of shrinking back. The opposing forces seem so formidable. Yet these are the very things that chisels off the rough edges in us and shapes us into something enduring and of infinite worth. Only with such intense preparedness we are made ready for the opportunity that lies ahead.

When that opportunity comes; will it find you prepared? Or are you so much drained by those wasted years when all that you attempted met with only a small measure of success? Has the fire in you stopped burning or are there still a few embers left that can be fanned into a blazing flame one more time? This is the moment. Now is the time. Do not hesitate; do not hold back. But step out though it be into the unknown. You’ll find the path already cleared for you.

Who is equal to such a task? The man, who, in spite of all stones thrown at him survives; and with bloodied face but with undaunted spirit still rises from the sandy arena and fights yet another bout. He, who, even when he knows his strength is drained, is yet able to make one final attempt from resources hidden but kept in reserve; ready to meet this hour’s crisis. He, who with face like flint is resolute in his purpose and is solely concerned with finishing strong though the ordeal has taxed him to the very depths of his being; yes, he is the one who triumphs and is a more than conqueror.

Only such a man is equal to such a task. And I hope that man or woman is You!

Therefore, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” The doors that were kept closed were simply checks along the way that you might not lose yourself in mediocrity. Do not lament over what might have been! Leave such sentiments to the faint-hearted. But you, forget the past. Be brave; be strong! For out of gloom and despair the light will surely shine. As the Most High God had declared:

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This New Year, may God do a new thing in your life. Let this day find it being initiated. He will definitely complete the good work begun in you; and will bring to pass the plans He has for your life even as you trust in Him!

Quotes from NIV Bible: Isaiah 60:1, Jeremiah 29:11.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!