Eternity in Heart

Every time you lose someone you love, it’s a pause from the normal. Grief allows us to boldly ask the bigger questions – what is the meaning of life. What matters most? On a normal day, we may not give a passing thought to anything other than today. We run from one thing to another in a mad rush to accomplish big things.. But in the midst of grief, a deeper question arises. What is the meaning of life? I believe no one is an exception to these thoughts.

The writer of Eclessiastes says

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Eclessiastes 3:11

Our soul knows there’s more, or at the very least, it wonders if there could be more. However, its often easier to brush that feeling aside. Life is busy and there is much to achieve, much to accomplish. Who has the time to understand the meaning of life? “Life is too short”, we say and march on to do our next “important” thing. But what if this short life isn’t the only thing worth paying attention to? What if there is more and what if what’s more is much bigger than the life we live here? What then?

God has put eternity into man’s heart. Nothing we accomplish can bring us purpose and meaning unless it aligns with the eternity that God has planted into our hearts. Grief is good in a away, it allows us to pause and recognize the inevitable. May we never ignore what our soul needs – may we always be mindful of eternity. May we walk closely to the Shepherd of our Souls.

In Jesus’ own words,

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Mark 8:36

Masterpiece

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 NIV

https://isaiah.bible/isaiah-64-8

We are often quick to recognize how valuable our life is but we often forget who the author of that life is. Isaiah, one of the most popular prophets in the Bible recognizes God’s power because he had seen God’s glory, first hand. When you read the book of Isaiah in the Bible, you see magnificent dreams and visions. All of his visions were awe inspiring and no wonder Isaiah recognized God’s power and His sovereignty. Isaiah believed humans were the clever work of a magnificent God.

This passage leads to the question- where does our worth and value come from? Is it defined by what we have accomplished and how successful we are? If our value is defined by who we are, we must recognize that our perceived success and accomplishment last only for a time. Eventually they lose value and someone else becomes more powerful. If our worth and value is dependant on who we are and if we look for value within us – our inner self, we will be quickly disappointed. Isaiah recognized this and He wrote, “we are the work of your hand”. In our quest for independence, freedom and self reliance, we cannot reject the one who formed us and sustains us. The truth that we did not create ourselves and that we do not have to pull ourselves up when we mess up is true freedom. This journey called life wasn’t meant to prove whose the toughest or the strongest or the one with most grit. Life was meant to be lived in union with our Creator. When we break that union, we hurt ourselves in the process. We lose meaning and purpose for life. We are God’s masterpieces. When He created us, He created us with divine purposes, unique to each individual. When we align our hearts with His, we understand these plans. Would we allow our Maker, the Potter, to shape us and mold us?

Taste and See


My kids aren’t often interested in trying new kinds of food. When I tell them the menu, their first response is usually, I don’t like it. But after pursuing them to just try it, they usually take a nibble and sometimes it becomes their favorite.

In today’s time and age, I’ve heard people say that they don’t want to do anything with God. For them, God is either irrelevant and outdated or Jesus’ teachings are good to hear but not practical to follow. For some, the name “Jesus” is offensive because they’ve put Jesus in a religious and/or cultural box. The sad thing though is that most people come to this conclusing without really “tasting”. 

The Bible invites us in Psalms 34:8 to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” That means, not forming opinions based on vague biases and imperfect humans but to personally taste it. If your faith or lack thereof is dependant on faulty humans like me, there’s obviously going to be disappointment and in many cases aversion. Taste and see also means that social media battles and heresays cannot be the basis on which we “judge” God. Taste and See! Its not just an invitation but also a challenge!

Come to God with a heart of genuine surrender, with an intention to personally know Him and understand Him. Be willing to lay down your prejudices and allow Him to take the lead. Pick up that Bible and read about the life of Jesus. Read it in its entirety, even if some pages feel boring and unexciting. The Bible is the Word of God and what better way to know Him than to read His words. If you think that the Bible is not authentic, that it’s old and untrustworthy, consider this – the Bible is the most textually citicized book in this world. Critics and literary experts throughout the world agree to the textual authenticity of this book. This book is more reliable than Shakespear and yet we have no problem reading Shakespear’s work. The Bible is worth the read, just from a literary point of view but the Bible’s invitation to taste and see the Lord isn’t about literary or intellectual acumen. While the Bible is the starting point to knowing God, a simple reading or following rigid reading plan isn’t what the invitation means. Its an invitation to relationship with your Maker. The Bible isn’t the end but is the means to experiencing the heart of God.

Taste and See! Its an invitation to anyone willing to understand God’s heart, His love and His sacrifice! Taste and see that the Lord is Good!

Count The Cost

In the past, I had somehow come to think that devotion to God was a means to get good things in life. A good career, a great family, lots of money and a fancy lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong. These are sometimes good and can be benefitial to us and others around us but there is a problem to this kind of thinking… the number #1 problem being that this is not what God promises. Problem #2 is when we see someone suffering, we start thinking they have sinned and rightly deserve the suffering. If you read the gospel and Bible in its entirety, it becomes evident that Jesus did not promise an easy life. While its tempting to always expect comfort, riches and blessings and favor, in return for our devotion to God, the Bible very clearly says that trouble and pain and even loss don’t simply vanish by following God. If someone tells you that all your problems will end simply by believing in Jesus, its a lie. Jesus says being His disciple isn’t easy and that there is a cost to living a life walking in His footsteps. While it is true that salvation is a free gift made available to us through the sacrifice Jesus offered on the cross and we can never earn salvation by our good deeds or religious rituals, it is also true that being Jesus’ disciple isn’t a walk in the park. Jesus says “count your cost before following me”. There is a cost to following Him. We are called to take up the cross and follow him.
Following Jesus will always come with a cost(if it doesn’t, then its quite possible we have been following a pseodo-Jesus) but there is evidence that it is completely worth it. Irrespective of how successful our life looks like, we have a far greater treasure in Christ. Apostle Paul says,

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
Philippians 3:7‭-‬9 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/php.3.7-9.NLT

Apostle Paul says that even popular things like keeping the religious laws and rituals pale in comparison to the matchless grace offered by Christ.

Questions to ponder after meditating the scripture
Are you willing to count the cost? What holds you back?
Are you willing to lay yourself at the cross to be like Jesus, even when it gets really uncomfortable or are you merely affiliated to a religious faith and act however you want, disregarding the cost?
Are you using faith as a means to get good things or are you really following the one you claim to follow? 

What’s #1?

Growing up, I often heard my grandma quoting Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

I’ve heard her quote this verse so often that I’ve often wondered what it meant for me. I did not fully understand the meaning till I started living my life on my own, away from family and known environment, my first business trip to the United Kingdom. Living in a foreign country all by myself, making small and big decisions that would define my future was eye opening in many ways. I had all the freedom to do what I wanted and there really wasn’t anybody to ask me why. Up till the point, faith was part living in a community. I did what everyone did. Not a bad thing but when I was alone, I had a choice that wouldn’t be influenced by anyone. Very early during my stay in the UK, I made seeking God a priority. Be it finding a bank to open an account or finding a place to live or finding a church, I would invite God to take control and He always gladly did. I used to walk two miles everyday, up and down, to work. Those walks were key in my spiritual growth. I remember talking to Jesus, as I knew He was right there with me. I can still remember some of my prayers during those walks and the way they were eventually answered, not always as I wanted but always better than what I could have imagined. 1.5 years in Marlow, United Kingdom will always remain an important part of my spiritual journey.

Around the same time, I also began understanding, at a much deeper level, the meaning of Matthew 6:33. If you read the verse in context, we see Jesus talking to the crowds on how not worry about tomorrow but to focus on His kingdom and being righteous, today. He promises that God will provide for our needs if we will make His kingdom and righteousness a priority. This does not just mean physical provision. When God deals with us, He deals with our whole being – our body, mind and Spirit. When we set our eyes on Him and live with the priority that He sets before us, He takes care of our needs. I have been through good and bad seasons but He has provided what I need through every season. Sometimes a physical need is met. Other times its strength and courage to carry on through rough waters. Still other times its correction when I’m walking down the wrong path. Sometimes it a secret desire that comes true and sometimes its a dream redefined to make it better than what I could gave dreamed of. In sorrow and grief He has walked closer than a friend and what seems sometimes impossible is met with grace and comfort.

What’s the priority for today? I’ve come to recognize that the more we plan and control and worry about a meriad of things, the difficult it gets to prioritize on God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Shake of the weight of tomorrow. Also shake of the weight from yesterday. Set your eyes on Jesus today, the author and perfector of our faith. Lean into Him and let the intimacy with your Saviour lead you to righteousness in your word and deed. Ask Him your questions. Tell Him your doubts and wait for Him to answer you. Wait quietly for He speaks! And as we do this journey with our Creator, He will meet all our needs, including the breath that we need to breathe.

Not An Accident

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalms 139. I’ve used this chapter to ground me through various challenges in life. There is comfort in knowing that I’m fully and completely known by someone. My imperfections, my strengths and weaknesses, my challenges, fears and doubts, none of it is hidden. I refuse to believe that I’m an accident. I also refuse to believe that you are an accident. It is incredible to recognize that we are not results of random happenings but instead placed intentionally in the current time and space for a much bigger reason and purpose.

Accepting Psalms 139 as truth leads to two inferences. One, we are fully and completely known. Everything about us is an open book to the One who created us. Infact, he knows exactly what kind of choices we will make in our lives. Two, because He is mindful of every aspect of our lives, it goes without saying that He is mindful because our lives have value and purpose. After all, who will be mindful of something worthless and meaningless.

The idea of an all knowing God might scare some. There is no privacy?! But it has comforted me because I can be confident that no matter what the situation is, God sees me. I’m confident that no matter how badly I mess up, He isn’t surprised or shocked and He will willing take me out of it, if I let Him. It comforts me to know that no matter how much I choose to run and hide from Him, I can never go out of His reach. He is nearer than the very breath I breathe. There surely is a flip side to this. God knows and sees everything I do – both the good and the bad things. And like any good father, it breaks his heart when I make choices that aren’t good for me or for those around me. That can be a good or bad thing depending on one’s understanding of God. To someone who sees God as an angry diety waiting to punish in an instant, as someone who is calloused and distant, it might cause stress and fear. To someone who sees God as a Creator who loves His creation so much that He willingly gave His Son to die one of the most cruel forms of death, it will offer comfort and hope. And finally, to someone who doesn’t believe in God or intelligent design, it might give them something to laugh about, which is okay. Irrespective of where you stand, here’s one thing I want you to know, you are not an accident!

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
Psalms 139:13‭-‬18 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.139.13-18.NLT

Complicated Faith

I think we have made faith to be a very complicated matter. As humans, I think there is something innate in us to earn things instead of freely receiving it. When we see something that’s free or easy, we immediately think it must be cheap. We like to earn our way in faith too. We love complicated rules and traditions and rituals to exercise our faith. But the truth about faith is that its meant to be easy and free. Do you want to see what the simplified version of faith looks like? Look no further than James 4:8.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. 

As simple as that. Jesus died on the cross to remove the complicated wall between man and God. He paid a very heavy price to break the wall of rules, traditions and religious rituals to receive forgiveness for our sins. You see, when Jesus died on the cross, He wiped our sins clean. Completely and absolutely clean. So this rules, traditions and rituals that we have come to love doesn’t add anything more to what has already been accomplished. It’s as if my dad has already gifted me the nice car I’ve always wanted and the key is for me to take but I’m still working and slogging to make money so I can afford to buy it. Jesus has already accomplished our freedom from sin on the cross and He has adopted us as His heir into His kingdom. So what’s left for us to do? Simply come closer to Him. Simply climb into His lap and receive our inheritance. Simply enjoy His kingship over our life because our God is both our Daddy and our King. But for what ever reason, coming closer to God doesn’t come easily to us.  We like it complicated. We like to plead and please. Its done. “It is finished”, Jesus said on that wretched cross with His dying breath. It truly is finished. There is no more need to strive and complicate the matters. Come closer to Him and you will quickly realize that He never was far from you.

Pathway to Peace

We live in uncertain times. It’s almost as if everything is written on vapor and as if we stand on shifting ground. The pandemic has rewritten life and it has left, for many, a lasting impact. The pandemic has highlighted the truth about life and how fragile it can be. We feel like we have control over our situations but the truth is a small shift in our environment can cause a butterfly effect. Our life hinges on a delicate balance and we realize how utterly helpless we can be despite all kinds of technology and progress. And yet, we hold on to life like we own it. We do our best to retain control and we anxiously do everything to ensure we don’t loose control. We desire independence and freedom so much that we forget what true freedom is. Anxiety and stress replaces peace and rest.

How do we find rest and peace when nothing around us is predictable? The theme of rest and peace is often found in the Bible. Infact, rest is recorded in the very beginning of the Bible. God ordained rest as a way to remind us of who was truly in control. Even when we aren’t running 24×7, the earth spin, stars shine, sun rises and sets, vegetation grows and all creatures big and small get what they need. God has put reminders around us so we will remember who is in charge. Our hearts will stop beating at His command. We need him to even breathe the next breath. So how do we find peace and rest? Refocus. Refocus from self to God. When anxiety kicks in and stress is overwhelming, refocus!

One of the best ways to refocus is to simply praise God. Praise is putting God on the throne. Praise is surrendering our crowns and our pains at His feet and recognizing His power. While it is good to praise God when we receive a blessing, it’s even better to praise Him when things aren’t too good. Praising God helps us recognizing who He is. It helps us remember His character. He is loving, passionate, magnificent, all powerful and all knowing. He loves us enough to die and on the cross and powerful enough to come back alive. His ways are always better than ours. Praise allows us to have the right perspective. It allows us to recognize that we aren’t mini gods and we aren’t all knowing. Praise allows to recognize that a loving God knows how to use our pain and our suffering to bring good out of it.

I’ve recently recognized that praise has a direct impact in experiencing the peace of God that transcends all understanding. While prayer is the key that unlocks the door, praise is the pathway to the door. When we keep asking asking asking all the time, there is a high possibility that our prayers have become self focused. Praise on the other hand allows God to redirect our prayers. Praise allows us to pray selflessly because we now know it’s not about us, it’s about the Him. Praise is the pathway to rest and peace. Exalt Him. Glorify Him. Find rest and peace in Him.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Oh My Heart!

My kids were watching TV and I heard the all familiar phrase “Follow Your Heart”. I’ve heard other phrases along the same line, “You be who you want to be” or “Believe in your dreams”. All these phrases emphasize on the power of your heart and your thoughts. While I’m all for positive thoughts and mindset, I still cannot see the value of the phrase “Follow Your Heart”. Your Heart! The same heart that often goes into negative spirals from time to time. The same heart that can become puffed up and proud. The same heart that stores up anger and bitterness and fear.

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

That’s what God says about our hearts in the Bible. Our hearts can deceive us quickly. Think about it… a murderer thinks in his heart that it’s good to kill somebody and he follows his heart to take life. A person getting drunk thinks it’s good to get drunk and loose his mind and loses control over his actions. The heart is extremely deceptive. To our faulty heart, the good can look bad and the bad can look perfectly good. What then is the solution?

The same passage talks about it. The passage compares what it is like to trust in our hearts and what it is like to trust the One who fully knows our heart.

Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
    who draws strength from mere flesh…
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;….But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.

The Bible is clear. It stands in stark contrast to the  “Follow Your Heart” phrase. The one who created us tells us that our hearts cannot be trusted because our emotions are almost always unpredictable. However, there’s someone who is trustworthy. He cares for us enough to die for us. He desires the best for us and is willing to lead us if we would let Him. Let the Spirit of God lead you, not your heart.

Some practical ways to walk in step with God and allow His Spirit to lead you.

– Read the Bible, as often as you can. There is no magic formula here. Just pick up the Bible and read. The Words are meant to speak the truth and bring transformation to our hearts and minds. For me personally, it is one of the primary ways that God speaks to me. There are other ways that He can speak too but without the Bible, we will never be able to tell the voice of truth apart from other voices. Apply the words in scripture to your day to day circumstances.

– Talk to God. That’s prayer! Ask for His help in understanding what’s best for you. Be consistent in asking and don’t give up till your soul is satisfied. God will lead but sometimes His leading is simply for us to wait. In a culture where everything is quick and easy, prayer feels counterintuitive but they those wait have a profit that cannot be matched with anything else.

– If you are a parent, this is critical – teach your children to follow God’s voice instead of following their own hearts. Teach them to read the Bible and to have a conversation with God. Whether they learn anything else in life or not, this one thing is absolutely critical and I cannot emphasize this enough.

Good Good Father

A father’s love is special in every way, a love so special that it cannot be compared with any other kind of love. Even when it’s correction and discipline, a father’s love is covered in grace and compassion. There is usually a tenderness to the stern voice. A father’s heart longs for deep relationship with his children and while he may not always express it openly, he desires an intimate bond with his children. No one cheers a child better than a father. Be it a baseball game or a college graduation, a father knows how to cheer, sometimes loudly, sometimes silently. He walks with their children as long as he can, wanting the best for them.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, He opened it with the phrase “Our Father”, a reminder to refocus our identity in relationship with God. Our Heavenly Father, like our earthly father, is tender and compassionate. He desires the best for us. He desires that we have abundant lives and a deep intimate relationship with Him. When we mess up, like any good father, he corrects and disciplines us but his correction and discipline is always covered in grace and mercy. He cheers us on through different phases of our, even if we do not realize it. Like a good father, He provides for our needs at the right time, never too early nor too late.

Have you forgotten your identity in relationship with Him? It’s never late. He will never say no to a returning child. Have you missed your earthly father in your life? Lean on to your Heavenly Father. He loves you more than the your earthly father. He truly does.