Love Without Love?

I’ve been chewing on this scripture this morning.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:3 NLT

This scripture shines a light into our inner motives. Do I do the good things and help others out of genuine love or are there other hidden motives behind them. Do I serve the poor because I love them or is it because I FEEL good doing it? Do I sacrifice to boast about it later or is it an expression of true humility and love? Does my sacrifice make me feel self righteous, causing me to forget that it is God’s grace that saves me and not my good works? God tells us that we can serve and sacrifice (express love) without love and such love does no good.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬8 NLT

Gosh I’ve failed so many times in so many ways but praise God for His grace and love that refuses to give up on me!

Is Daddy Sad?

About an hour back, before my 2 year old daughter went on her afternoon nap, with sleepy eyes blurted out, “Amma, appa sad ayittu poitanagala?”, which means “Mom, did daddy go away because he was sad?”. My husband had come home for lunch and before heading back to work he said his good byes to his sweet daughter. But she was in no mood to say good bye or to even play with him. She was upset over something and he left hurriedly because he was getting late for work. Before going to sleep, my daughter remembered her mistake. And she asked me, quite seriously, if her daddy was sad because of her. I told her that he wasn’t sad.But she asked me the same question a second time to really make sure that he wasn’t sad. I reassured he wasn’t and when she felt confident that her daddy was happy, she quickly fell asleep.

Soon after the incident, the words “seek peace” flashed into my head. And that led me to believe that she was trying to seek peace with her dad, trying to reconcile if there was a mistake on her side. I was amazed to see how tender the hearts of children are! They have no ego and they make sure they are at peace with people around them as much as they can. I have seen her do the same at so many other instances and this is the first time my light bulb went on!

The Bible says,

As much as you can, live in peace with all men. Romans 12:18

As we grow up, we loose track of how God created us to be and start building walls. How awesome it would be if we could all be like children and ask important questions more easily!

The Story Behind My Name

Every name has a story behind it. No matter how trivial, the story makes the name special. I’ve got a story too, for each of the names I have. But today, I wanted to share the story behind the name I rarely use. Not many people know that I was named “Mercy” when I was born. As with most Indian children, my name took different forms before I was named finally named “J. Sukirtha Thanga Mercy”. As I grew up, I shed my two middle names and ended up being called “Sukirtha Joseph”. I still chuckle when I say my long winded name out loud. My first middle name “Thanga” was in memory of my late grandfather, Mr. A Thangadurai who passed away a few years before I was born. My second middle name “Mercy” was chosen by my father for a very different reason. My father still becomes emotional when he narrates the story behind that name, which is part of the reason why I still like that name.

Here’s the story:
When it was time for my mother to deliver me, I decided to stay inside her. She waited 11 days past due date and I still did not come out. So they eventually went to the hospital only to be met with angry doctors, who were extremely upset that my mum and dad had waited 11 days past due date! They admitted my mum immediately. My mum and dad were both young and scared but my dad had the biggest fear of his life when he came to know that I may not make it out alive. He was asked to fill out many forms and asked to sign that the hospital was not responsible if there should be a loss of life. Now imagine this happening in the 1980s in India, when emergency c-section were considered a huge risk and surgeries were abnormal. No one had ever had c-section in our family back then, so my dad signed the papers with a heavy heart and he stood there in the hospital corridors and cried out to God for His “Mercy”. He pleaded with God to save both lives, and he got what he asked for. I was born healthy despite the risky birth. And so my dad decided to name me “Mercy”, to remind us of God’s merciful gift of life.

Last night, I was asking God to show me what He wanted me to focus on and He led me to this scripture:

Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.
Psalms 22:9‭-‬10 NLT

That is word-to-word, my story in the Bible! He brought me out safely and I was thrust into God’s arms when I was born. I’ve grown up trusting in Him but I too have had my doubts and fears. I’ve been as confused as anyone else but God in His mercy has walked with me step by step. He was faithful to bring me into this world and has since been faithful no matter what life throws at me (trust me here ;)). I cannot imagine a life without Jesus and His love and mercy. If not for Him, I would have gone long back!My name “Mercy” holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of my father’s tears and prayers, it reminds me of the pain my mother endured, but more than everything else, it reminds me of God’s mercy, from even before I was born. As a cherry on top, to add more meaning to my name, both my children were born at “Mercy Hospitals”, to remind me that His mercy will continue onto future generations. What a blessing!

Someone Worth Dying For

This morning, I read the following passage from the Bible and couldn’t stop thinking about how this one passage sums up everything I believe in and yet how often I forget who I really am!

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
Colossians 1:15-20, 22 NLT (emphasis mine)

Christ, the visible image of God, did something amazing to make peace with everything in heaven and on earth. He says we are without a SINGLE fault – holy and blameless. The Judge says “NOT GUILTY”. But the judgement is no good unless we realize we are free indeed. We don’t have to live in the prison of sin and man-made rules to get us right with God. We are already in His presence – blameless and Holy, just like Jesus our God and Savior.

Think about this for just a moment. This realization could save the millions of people in depression who blame themselves for the past failures. It could bring hope to people contemplating suicide, who do not realize their worth. This could be the only true light for people sitting in dark prisons for the crimes they committed in a fit of rage. This realization could cause profound change in how we see ourselves. It could finally help us see ourselves from the eyes of our Creator – blameless and someone worth dying for!

Umbrella Dance

It was raining while we were travelling in our car the day before yesterday and my 2 year old daughter suddenly realized she needed an umbrella to dance in the rain. My husband and I reasoned with her throughout the entire trip and she finally agreed to use my umbrella for dancing when we got home. She got my pink umbrella after reaching home and she danced with it for a while and then came to me asking if it was mine or her’s. I said it was mine but I was sharing it with her. She didn’t like that. She wanted her own umbrella, not mine. And then the negotiations  began again. We slept that night and then first thing in the morning, she asked me where was her dad. I told her he was at work. Without waiting a moment, with utmost confidence she said, “Dad’s gone to work and then to the shop to buy me an umbrella”. We didn’t have any plans of buying her an umbrella, and so I decided to be honest with her. So I told her we will get her an umbrella later, just not today. But she said with determination, “No. Dad’s gone to work and then to the shop to buy me an umbrella”. She must have said that statement at least 15 times the entire
day and you know a mother’s heart. My heart was moved with compassion for the faith she had on her dad. Well, she got her umbrella that evening from her dad. When I saw her dancing with her new umbrella, I remembered the words of Jesus

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.    Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:7-11 NIV

I sometimes don’t ask for something that I need/want, thinking it’s too trivial to ask God for. But Jesus encourages us to ask. We may not get the exact fish we ask for but we can be sure we will not receive a snake either. Ask!