How to wait

The other day when I was waiting at the bus stop, a friend of mine saw me and walked up to me for a chat. A few minutes into the conversation, he asks me who I was waiting for. Now it may seem obvious to you lot, about why I was waiting at the bus stop, but I live among friends who take cabs to places and I used to do that too. Until recently, I discovered my spending habits far outweigh what I earn. And the fact that the bus costs me 5 times less than a cab, hit me like a truck and I started taking the bus. So it came as a shock to my friend when I told him I was waiting at the bus stop for a bus, because he is from a generation that waits at bus stops to meet friends (he is over 5 months younger than me, you see). Waiting at the bus stop, in Ross’ words, is like being given the “gift of time”. There is a lot of waiting involved and the buses are more unpredictable than Game of Thrones. I’ve seen a lot of people at bus stops that get restless and start freaking out, sometimes complaining loudly about the bus being late. I soon realized that the key to surviving that, is to be prepared for some waiting. I leave much earlier than I need to, so that I don’t get late to work and wait calmly for the bus to show up. This has helped me maintain my peace through the ride and show up to work, cheerful and focused at the task at hand.

That got me thinking (of course, it did). When God promises us something, be prepared for some waiting. Joseph had to wait for his God-given dreams to come true. David had to wait to be king. All of Israel had to wait to walk into the land flowing with milk and honey. All of Israel had to wait for the Messiah. Abraham had to wait for a son. There are so many instances in the Bible where there was a lot of waiting involved. But the thing to remember is that God fulfilled His promises. It is a great feeling when we receive promises and we’re so excited about what the Lord is going to do in our lives and we start to picture it. Then when we wake up the next day and see that nothing has changed, we get disappointed. Then the day after that, we see the same old life and we get frustrated. And the day after that, we start to lose hope. And the day after that we start to question if it really was from God. Then after that we live our life as we did and forget His promises.

Just today, I was making a work-related call and that person took a while to answer the phone. Meanwhile, my mind was working on some other things I had on my mind. By the time that person answered, I had to take a moment to recollect who I had called and for what reason. Isn’t it like that when we wait? We get bored and start distracting ourselves with other things and eventually forget what we were waiting for in the first place. While we wait, we must not just be prepared but we must train our hearts and minds to focus on His purpose. Once we lose sight of His purpose of those promises, we sentence ourselves to a longer wait.

We’ve been taught since Sunday School that God has a time for everything. He has the perfect time for His promises to come to pass in your life. And if He is making you wait, He is using this time to prepare you for what He has in store for you. Be prepared to wait, and be focused on His purpose.

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The post of sermons past.

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Found this gem from 10 years ago.

24.9.06

Magnify the Lord of your life, rather than the problems of your life. 

Gossip the Gospel 

2 Timothy 3:10-17

That was from 10 years ago! I remember noting it down from a sermon I was listening to, but can’t seem to remember who I was listening to and hence cannot give that preacher credit. (Sorry!)

What strikes me is that even after 10 years, I am still learning to focus on God rather than my problems. In fact, just last week I was talking about how I need to focus on the God of solutions than the problems of my circumstances. I’d heard a message 10 years ago that would have saved me a whole lot of trouble over the coming years, if only I remembered it.

But that’s the thing, I forget. I hear something, it helps me in my current situation and then that sermon is gone. Forgotten as circumstances change. Then I go through something similar. And somehow, that lesson has engraved itself on my heart. So I may not know where it came from, but they manifest themselves as words of wisdom. Like I didn’t know where that discussion came from last week, but those words were from a sermon I’d heard a decade ago. And then today, I found this note scribbled in a corner of my book. And I realized that this is where I’d heard it. Isn’t it amazing?

It may seem impossible to remember the hundreds of sermons you’ve heard over the years. But rest assured that the ones you’ve really learned from, will still be engraved on your heart and will be made accessible when you truly need it.

Project Psalms: Psalm 9

Have you ever felt like you needed victory over a situation? Difficult boss, passive aggressive coworker. A difficult neighbor or family member. A lost child. Desperate financial situation. Uncertain future. Have you felt caught up in a war that you didn’t exactly ask to be in, but find yourself in the center looking for a way to win?

Psalm 9 talks about a God of victories. Whatever the problem, whatever the situation, He is a God that that can overcome anything. The wicked are against you? No problem, the God of victories will fight by your side. Nations are against you? No problemo, the God of Angel Armies is fighting by your side.

But what’s more is that He isn’t a God who just fights those battles with you. He is a God who tends to the post-war situations as well. Shelter and refuge for those who need it, never abandoning them. The hope of the poor, the comfort for the widows and children.

So if you’re in a situation of helplessness, know that the God who is with you not only fights the battles but sees you through later on as well. So he will not just help you while you’re going through stuff, but will hold your hand through the consequences as well. The God of beginning and the End. He will surely see you through to the end.

The Fandom Culture

If you’ve never heard of it, it is a rapidly advancing culture. When I was little, we used to watch shows on a little television scene and the only chance we got to fangirl was when they showed us scheduled repeat telecasts. We had no way of knowing more about the actors who played the characters we loved, nor did we have access to frame-by-frame gifs of our favorite scenes that we could relive every moment of. We didn’t have any way of knowing how many people around the world liked the same shows we did, or what they thought about them.

Well, it’s a different world now. Fans wield power in both numbers and theories. Talent and intelligence combine to keep the fandom universe running. Fanfiction. Fan art. Meta. These may seem like just words to you, but they are bursting with talent. A whole new world where admiration and obsession have no boundaries. Where fiction has a higher place than the real world. Where you could drown yourself in fiction and live there and no one would judge.

So obviously, I am part of a few fandoms. Lately, I’ve been noticing that my thoughts are engulfed by these things. Not just the characters and the stories. But the actors and the theories, as well. I find myself drawn to reading fanfiction when I can’t sleep at night. I have to actively stop myself from binge-watching, or “researching” actors (I am so sorry, Colin Morgan. You too, Benedict Cumberbatch). It gets to a point where reality becomes a blur. These people who live half-way across the world, and you might never have the chance to meet, become so dear and precious to you that you worry when they don’t have enough good work in the pipeline. Those characters who don’t really exist dominate your mind and their problems become yours.

Now before you dismiss fandoms as silly or stupid, let me remind you: It is FULL of talent and intelligence. They can conduct a second by second analysis of scenes and provide lengthy theories that arise from something that may seem as miniscule a character’s smirk. They can write beautiful and engaging fiction revolving around those characters that they adore. They can draw and/or paint these actors beautifully. And ALL of this as a part of their hobby, in their spare time. Needless to say, I am quite impressed by this culture and the people in it.

But the part of me that knows the Truth and believes in Jesus, is wary about it too. This is what is happening in your very house with a young person in it. Their hearts that must belong to Jesus is being encroached upon by characters that don’t exist. What should be a means of entertainment or a pass-time has overtaken and consumed their life and time. So just remember, youth pastors and leaders: This is what you’re fighting against. This is what you’re up against. If only all these young people would find a way to use their talents for God’s glory, instead.

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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)

“Evangelism”

A few weeks ago, because I had a lot of time on my hands, I watched BBC’s Merlin. Now I know that the show has been off air for like 4 years now, but I’ve only recently had the time and the urge to watch it. I was surprised at how much I liked it. In fact, after I finished watching all the 5 seasons, I was in mourning for two whole days. (If you haven’t watched the show, something really sad happens at the end. And for those of you who have, I feel your pain.) During this time and for like 2 weeks after that I just wanted to talk to somebody about it. You know, reminisce the good moments and throw in a lot of “I can’t believe the writers did that!” and “I know I should have seen it coming, but THE FEELS!” You know what I mean? But unfortunately, my social circle comprises of really cool people who don’t get what it feels like to be hurt about something that happened to a fictional character. They’re busy, you know, what with living their lives and all. So I just went out of my way and got a former colleague interested in watching the show just so I would have someone to talk to about it.

Now here’s the thing: I am passionate about things like this. I mean I don’t just love shows and characters, I LOVE shows and characters. I will read up on them, watch and re-watch episodes, have really lengthy discussions about them and even quote them in day to day conversations. So if you meet me in person and I say something and start snickering like a buffoon, there is a high possibility that I’ve just quoted a fictional character. There is also a possibility that I have cracked a terrible joke that only I will ever find funny. But, either way, it will make you think that you’re talking to a mad-woman. (Which may not be entirely untrue, just saying)

So what got me thinking after those few weeks of Merlin-madness was, why am I not like that about Jesus? I mean, I do love Him and I do have a real relationship with Him. So why is my love for Jesus not adequate enough for me to want the world to know? What is keeping me from reading up on every text related to Him? What is holding me back from the potential lengthy discussions I could have about Him? What makes my love for those fictional characters stronger than my love for Jesus?

The answer, sadly, lies within me. I watch and re-watch the series I love. But I don’t read and re-read the Bible as much. I can watch back-to-back episodes but not be willing to push myself to read another chapter of the Bible. I can freely talk about Merlin, Sherlock, Iron Man, Captain America and the IT Crowd with my FRIENDS, but hesitate when talking about someone as real as Jesus.

This doesn’t make me any less of a Christian, it just means I am afraid to lose my friends. Before you start a riot, allow me to explain. All of my friends and colleagues know I am a Christian; that I am active in church and that I pray every day. They know that because of the way I live my life. But I have hardly ever made an extra effort to talk to them about the One who is such an important part of my life. Because I have seen a lot of people push Jesus onto other people, which makes them feel awkward and want to avoid them the next time. And this was the only way I’ve seen people “Evangelize”- either push too hard or not at all.

But here’s what I learned: If you are passionate enough about something and completely in love with something, you’d want the world to know about it too. So what limited me from “evangelizing” was that I was afraid to sell Christianity. Then I understood, I didn’t want to sell Christianity. Not really. I want them to know about Jesus. The Jesus that has loved me, without judging. The Jesus that has taught me to love myself and others. The Jesus that is always there for me. The Jesus that loves them and is always there for them too. THAT’S what I want to talk about. And then I found it exhilarating when I did. Pointing people in the direction of Jesus is more fulfilling than pointing people to the ones that follow Him.

So to wrap things up, Evangelizing is fun (for you and for the audience) only when the focus is on Jesus and not on everything else.