The God-Dependence!

God is faithful in the little things; provident in the big. But how often do we fall back to rely on this abundant providence? 

Sean and Lynette have been together for as long as anyone can remember. They met as kids when the lived in the same neighbourhood, went to school together. Even the long distance at college couldn’t separate them! Soon enough they got engaged but that is when things slowly started to change. They got jobs in different cities. God knows how much they needed it, so they decided to put off their wedding for a year. It began with missing calls, then missing their weekend dates and even their Skype dates. But they were committed to their relationship. Their dates always began with a prayer and they continued to pray for each other even when their relationship was on the rocks. They were faithful in the little things. Soon enough Lynette got a transfer and moved to the same city as Sean and they got married.

Today, as they look back at all their trials, they can only see God’s faithfulness through the years.

Ashley was a bright little girl. Always first in her class, regular to church and even spent her time helping out the lesser fortunate. Every time she had a problem, she looked to God. Sometimes her patience would get the better of her but that didn’t mean she gave up on God. After she graduated from college, she was without a job for a year. During that time, her grandmother passed away and her father fell seriously ill. She could barely support herself when she was expected to support her younger siblings. The God she trusted suddenly went missing, but she never gave up on her prayers. Even when the situation got bad, she trusted and followed God. Even when her heart was not in it, she prayed. Even when the pain and struggle got worse, she prayed.

In due time, God acted and her troubles vanished as quickly as they appeared. Her life was a vineyard of blessings and everyday she witnessed a new miracle. Her faithfulness was the blueprint of God’s providence in her life!

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

-Philippians 4:19

I love the confidence with which St. Paul states that verse. It is true that God is a multi billion-billion-gazillionaire! He can give us anything and everything we ask for, if it falls in line with His plan for us. God’s providence is directly proportional to the amount of dependence you have on Him. If you rely on the Maker for just the big things, you miss the opportunity to practice your faith in the little things. Like the little drops of water make the mighty ocean, you dependence on the little things is going to increase your faith in the mighty ones. So before you decide to walk on water, learn to jump in the boat with Him so He was lead you in the way He has prepared. The destination is waiting for you, the choice of the journey is yours to make. Be dependent, choose God.

Through Trial and Errors!

We sometimes go through seasons of trials in our life. We introspect trying to understand what we did to deserve it. The truth is, God takes us through certain trials, to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He shakes up our world when he sees us getting complacent with our lives.

Getting a job in a Hollywood-based animation company was a dream come true for me. When I had completed 3 years in the industry, this dream-company filed for bankruptcy. Although a new management took over the company, I wasn’t very hopeful. I decided to step out and start a company of my own.

With just three years worth of savings and a dream to make it big, I set out on an entrepreneurial adventure with a friend of mine. But things did not go the way we planned. I used most of my savings and my health took a hit because of the crazy hours I was putting in. The business did not work out for me; it left me broke and sick. I had to exit the company that I helped build. I felt like a monumental failure at the age of 28.

Now that I had lost everything, I decided to try something different with life. I changed my field of work. Through three years of freelancing I finally found my real calling in life. What I considered as a failure God used it to direct me to my purpose (Romans 8:28).

As I look back, I’ve realised that my greatest gain during this season of trial when I learned to surrender my life to God. I realised how badly I needed Him, and how badly I still need Him every step of my way. As you read this, you too may be going through a rough patch in your life. Do not give up. Pray to God to give you His strength to carry on, so that His purpose may be fulfilled in your life. Keep Him at the center of every aspect of your life and He will not let you down.

Written by Avish John Thomas, a freelance graphic designer and an illustrator from Hyderabad.

To be Based on the Assumption!

John 20:29 – “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

My name causes a lot of stir among people. Some are surprised, some confused and others are indifferent to it when they hear it for the first time. A lot of people laugh and call me an ass, but hey! That’s still a part of my name. Others assume its meaning and the rest just call me an assumption. No matter the joke, the last man person to be affected is me. Why? Not only because I’m so used to it, but also because my name is unique.

The etymology of my name goes back to one significant event in the history of the Catholic Church. Apart from being one of the three people who was assumed into heaven, Mother Mary was also born without original sin. Yes, she was immaculate from the time of her conception. This gave her the grace to be able to say “yes” to the angel and become a conduit for our salvation. So what exactly gave her the grace to say yes even when she couldn’t see? Let’s me shed some light there.

But, fun fact, out of all humanity, Jesus was the only one who got to pick his mother!

  1. She was filled with grace
    It wasn’t just the angel that proclaimed it, just her cousin Elizabeth and her child- John who also recognised this fact. Mother Mary was radiant!
  2. She was full of charity
    Imagine discovering that you’re pregnant and then rushing to the hill country of Judah to help your cousin who is also with a child! Just when you thought she got it easy, she decided to make a move and help her cousin with her pregnancy.
  3. She was obedience to the word of God
    Even though her plans and God’s plans never always matched, she said yes to him over and over and over again.
  4. She loved beyond measure
    She was hurt, she was broken and her heart was even torn into a million pieces, but she still picked the pieces up and loved; loved beyond expectation. Loved beyond measure.
  5. She was sacrificial
    There was a lot of sacrifices Mary made from the time she said yes, till the time she was assumed into heaven. For three years her son was absent from home and she watched Him die, that alone required tremendous sacrifice.

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  1. She trusted
    Even when she couldn’t see, even when she couldn’t believe, she trusted. She submitted her plans, her life and she complete will to be in union with that of the Father. She trusted even when she couldn’t see.
  2. She persevered
    Try, try and try till you succeed, perhaps this was the motto of Mother Mary’s life. She is an exemplary model for everyone going through difficult times. For better or worse, she was married to the will of God.
  3. She endured
    It was not easy being the mother of God, there would’ve definitely been days where she wondered why she was chosen, but she stood true to her calling and understood her vocation well.
  4. She was persistent
    She never ever ever gave up. From the time of the annunciation, to the time of His birth.. from the time He was found in the temple even till the time she watched Him die on the cross. She persisted and pursued her faith.
  5. She prayed
    Not once, not twice, but always! It is hard to stay in constant communion with God, but she managed to do it all the time.

Hold Your Ground!

Matthew 5:10 – “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Christians for long have been subject to persecutions. This dates back to the time of Jesus Himself where Jews dismissed His teachings and lifestyle. From hate crimes to matrydom, over the many years we have seen it all. But don’t you reckon that these persecutions have reduced now? It definitely isn’t as intense as it used to be (in most parts of the world). But oh how naive we are!

Persecutions still exist today, but not in the same form that they used to. When was the last time you went to church without your cellphone? How long can you actually go without needing the internet? How often have you ditched hangouts with friends to hangout in prayer?

Yes, persecutions still exist but they have disguised themselves well. Agreed that we can live our religion freely and practice and speak what we want, but isn’t most of our thoughts, our words and actions governed by something or someone we spend our time with? When a rotten apple is left in the company of good apples, the good ones will start to rot too. It is as simple as watching a video and sharing it with others. It doesn’t take long to go viral. Rottenness is like this. Similarly, birds of a feather flock together. Look back and reflect on how true this is. Recheck the company you surround yourself with. Is there anyone holding you back? Is there anyone whose negativity is clouding your day? Take a break from your phone, walk without it. Turn off the music and listen in to the voice of God. Get off the internet and read a book! If there are a million distractions around you, there are also a million ways to overcome it.

If there is anything you could change to make yourself a better Christian, what would it be? Just remember, persecutions will come; they will adapt, take newer forms and strike you harder than before, but you got to ask yourself – do you have enough faith to endure the beating, or will you fall down flat at the first shot?

Firm Faith!

Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Not so long ago, when I was on my way back home I heard this commotion that caught my attention. There was a passenger on the bus that travelling to a place she had never been to before. She had an idea about the name, but no clue about her destination. As she sat on her seat, the driver of the bus probed her about her destination. She confidently said, “Narayanapura! The driver was puzzled, because that stop passed a while ago. Did he forget to tell her? Did she forget to get off? What happened and why is she still on the bus?? By now he realised that this is her first time on this unfamiliar route so he informed her that her stop had gone by. She didn’t move. He told her again, this time he was angry. But she didn’t budge. By now he had stopped the bus, “What are you doing still sitting there? I told you your stop passed and you’re still here! How are you going to reach your destination now?” Sheepishly she smiled and turned around and pointed at a man. She said, “My brother knows the place. He is still on the bus so I know my destination has not arrived yet.”

Her statement released a lot of stress for the driver. He asked her brother what the name of the destination is. He said, “Nagawara”. The driver rived the engine. The destination was still a long way off.

When I look back at this incident, I’m amazed by the firm yet child-like faith that this young lady possessed. She did not know the route, or the destination or even the name. Yet, she sat there holding onto the comforting idea that her brother was in control and, that her brother had a plan. How privileged are we that we don’t just have a brother, but a father and friend accompanying us in the journey to a place prepared exclusively for you and me! A place that is filled with angels. A place so divine that every single fault, every single flaw and every single struggle is just overshadowed by the wonder and greatness of its beauty. Often we may get confused with our destination and believe that we have arrived, but the truth is –  the journey is long and the road is narrow. So unless you have a firm faith in your triune companions, the destination will still feel like its miles away.