Montag, 17. November 2014

Religion / Divine Thoughts // Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy? Elsy Mathew, Bangalore

Divine Thoughts /  Elsy Mathew, Bangalore

Eileen Egan was a lay person who worked with the Missionaries of Charity for 30 years. She describes her experiences with Mother Teresa in her book, Such a Vision of the Street. One day, Eileen was reciting to Mother Teresa a 'litany' of problems, she had been faced with. Mother suggested that Eileen change her attitude: "Everything is a 'problem'. Why not use the word "gift"? From then on, there was a shift in vocabulary. Eileen describes one occasion when she was accompanying the nun on a trip, and had to face a long delay at an Airport. She was about to inform Mother of the 'problem', when she remembered Mother's advice and turning to the saintly woman, said, "Mother, I have to tell you about a gift." As soon as Mother Teresa heard of the delay, she settled down calmly to read her favourite book of meditations. Eileen concluded that after she had learnt the lesson, whenever disappointments or difficulties cropped up, they would be introduced with "We have a small gift here" or "Today we have an especially big gift." This attitude changed the mood and the approach to the mishaps.

Human life is neither a bed of roses nor a bed of thorns, but a perfect combination of both. The one who wants to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the morning will have to go through the dark hours of night. Those who want to cherish the sweetness of the roses will have to tolerate the presence of thorns. The happiness of human life is so entangled with sorrow that nobody can imagine one without the other. Just as it is impossible to separate the fragrance of a flower from its petals and the light of a candle from its flame, we cannot think of a life separated either from sorrow or happiness. In the beginning, the obstacles, on the way of life may appear really troublesome. But, nobody can take away the pleasure of having conquered them. In other words, life would lose its charm or music and become boring, if it were free from all the challenges.

The moon in the clouds.
Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy? The answer – you do. A group of boys and girls were asked to list the things that made them happiest. Here is the boy’s list: : A swallow flying; looking into deep, clear water; water being cut at the bow of a boat; a fast train rushing; a builder’s crane lifting something heavy; my dog’s eyes. And here is what the girls said made them happy: “Street lights on the river; red roofs in the trees; smoke rising from a chimney; red velvet; the moon in the clouds.” There is something in the beautiful essence of the universe that is expressed, though only half-articulated by these things. Many of us manufacture our own unhappiness. Of course not all unhappiness is self-created, for living conditions are responsible for not a few of our woes. Yet it is a fact that to a large extent by our thoughts and attitudes we distill out of the ingredients of life either happiness or unhappiness for ourselves.

God wants to make His children great fragrance in His holy presence all the time. He wants to enjoy the aroma that we produce in life. But for us to produce the aroma, we need to go through the process of grinding which is very painful. Through grinding, our Christ-likeness will come out with its fragrance. Grinding will change our original shape, colour and strength. We become smooth and soft when we are put in the mill to grind. We are easily manageable when our rough structure is removed through grinding. But if only we submit ourselves for grinding by God will we produce the fragrance. It is unthinkable that we dwell in His presence and do not produce a sweet savor. If we remain unchanged in our natural man, the aroma will not be feasible. This is why we go through the hands of our Lord who is the Great Perfumer. When we suffer in this life, we are going through the process of being made perfumes for the Lord. Our souls will have to be crushed in all its natural instincts as we are crucified with Christ. Sandalwood is a tree of fragrance, but unless it is cut and peeled, the aroma cannot be enjoyed. Of course, only a sandalwood tree which is willing to be cut and experience pain will have the privilege of spreading its aroma. But when the Great Perfumer of Heaven uses His axe of love, we will be compassionately cut into new shapes for Him and will produce great aroma for His glory. So no matter how painful every grinding or cutting is, it leads to the glory of the Lord through the godliness that will be exhibited in our expressions of behavior and attitude. If we resist His hand on us, we will remain without aroma.

Are you going through some uniquely painful experiences in life lately? Has your life become a grinding mill of the Great Perfumer? Are you being axed to transform your natural shape into aromatic structures? First of all, it is the privilege and right of the Great Perfumer because He owns you. Secondly, He cuts and grinds those lives which are surrendered solely to Him. In order for this to happen, you need to take your hands off your souls and must allow Him free hand. Remember, He is your owner as He created and recreated you. But He will not take your life to do what is pleasing to Him unless you allow Him absolute freedom. If He doesn’t reshape and remold you, it will not be possible for you to produce the aroma and fragrance that is expected of you. We must also remember that the fragrance which comes out of the lives of the suffering saints is not our natural aroma, but what the Great Perfumer has instilled in us through His Spirit. When He invests His aroma and glory in us, He also has the right to spread it around through us. We cannot deny Him what is rightfully His. If you are going through pain, agony, misery, intimidation, rejection, despising, depravity and similar challenges of great magnitude, you must realize that it is the loving hand of your Lord who is at work in you. When He grinds you, it is always an act of love, compassion and grace and not rough handling. He knows that your life on earth is fragile and so He will not put more pressure on you than what you can handle. So when you go through grinding, comfort yourself that the Lord is doing it lovingly and graciously. It then is your turn to thank Him for His pleasure in glorifying His name through the fragrance of patience and maturity in your life. Let your life be a sweet savoring sacrifice of praise today and aroma of a great testimony to His grace.

  A cocoon of a butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly! When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Nothing in life is always smooth-sailing nor goes according to plan, hardships are there to mould us into stronger individuals. Life is constantly about overcoming challenges; it's only through tough times that we become more resilient.
Everyone has gone through seasons when the challenges of life feel overwhelming. During those times, it’s easy to be tempted to talk about how bad things are. Maybe you received a bad medical report, or maybe you’re facing a financial obstacle. But the more you talk about something, the bigger it becomes in your mind. Instead, you’ve got to dig your heels in and say, “No, I am not going to give life to that defeat. I am not going to speak sickness over myself. I’m not going to speak lack. I’m not going to speak fear. I’m choosing a different report. I believe the report of the Lord which says I am blessed. I am favored. I am prosperous. I am healthy. I am whole. I’m a victor, not a victim.” Remember, even if you don’t see how things could ever work out, God does. Speak to those mountains in your life and declare God’s favor over those situations. Instead of talking to God about how big your problems are, talk to your problems about how big your God is! As you speak to your mountains, they will be moved, and you will move forward into the victory God has prepared for you!
“And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt,
you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done”

Few Things to remember in life:
Today before you say an unkind word…
Think of someone who can't speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food…
Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife…
Think of someone who's crying out to GOD for a companion.
Today before you complain about life…
Think of someone who went too early to heaven.
Before whining about the distance you drive…
Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job…
Think of the unemployed, who wish they had a job.
And if depressing thoughts seem to get you down…
Put a smile on your face and think: you're alive and still around.

But thanks be to God! For in union with Christ we are always led by God as prisoners in Christ's victory procession.
God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance.
For we are like a sweet smelling incense offered by Christ to God,
which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost
(2 Corinthians 2:14) 

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