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Showing posts from July, 2013

Necessity of Adversity

We may think we have true Christian love until someone offends us or treats us unjustly. Then we begin to see anger and resentment well up within us. We may conclude we have learned about genuine Christian joy until our lives are shattered by an unexpected calamity or grievous disappointment. Adversities spoil our peace and sorely try our patience. God uses those difficulties to reveal to us our need to grow, so that we will reach out to Him to change us more and more into the likeness of His Son. From Jerry Bridges's Trusting God : Even When Life Hurts It is a very helpful reminder that we only know ourselves partially. It is only when we are truly under adversity that our true character comes out. Adversity is therefore an essential part of revealing the imperfect aspects of our lives that need to be brought and under the submission of Christ. Trouble is even though we know that truth it is very tempting to not to see the bigger picture - namely that God is working all things…

Designed for Discovery

The capacity of the universe to surprise appears to be infinite. UK scientists have recently discovered that plants have a built-in capacity to do maths, which helps them regulate food reserves at night. A fact which has allegedly "amazed" because they did not them.
Mathematical models show that the amount of starch consumed overnight is calculated by division in a process involving leaf chemicals. Overnight, when the plant Arabidopsis cannot use energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into sugars and starch, it must regulate its starch reserves to ensure they last until dawn.
Experiments by scientists show that to adjust its starch consumption so precisely, the plant must be performing a mathematical calculation - arithmetic division. The scientists told BBC News, “They’re actually doing maths in a simple, chemical way - that’s amazing, it astonished us as scientists to see that. This is pre-GCSE maths they’re doing, but they’re doing maths.....This is the first…

Leadership is Lonely

I recently read Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders by Joel Manby a quite popular CEO in the United States. The book seeks to challenge leaders to allow integrity and faith to guide their decisions by outlining seven principles that break down the natural walls within corporate cultures, empowering managers and employees, disarming difficulties, and cultivating an atmosphere that builds long-term success. The book is not perfect, but its got many gems like this one : Leadership is a lonely business. When we rely only on our own perspective, we miss our blind spots. We do the best we can, but if we have nobody telling us the real truth, we will not improve over time. The unfortunate news is that the more senior you are in your organization, the more difficult it is to get the truth about how you’re performing. Finding someone you can trust to give you honest feedback is a rare gift that all leaders need but few receive. You will have to find these companions on…

What is Eternal Life?

The definition given by the Lord Jesus Christ : Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3) What is does it mean to “know the only true God, and Jesus Christ”? It is having Jesus' truth in us and living in Jesus. It us in Jesus and Jesus in us! Jesus now becomes our very life. How does this happen? Apostle John answers this in his first letter : "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12) In short, Jesus makes us really live by living in us. When we repent we now have a real and interactive relationship with him.
Jesus in us changes everything! He is now never far away, but becomes truly God with us! It means we have an infinite resource to draw on for strength, comfort, love, etc! We have an awareness and experience of God.
That is having eternal life! And of course that life gr…

Cost of Secrets

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In The Amazing Spider-Man Peter Parker’s uncle has passed away at the hands of a armed robber. He is now being looked after by Aunt May. One day he turns up late at home and finds Aunt May waiting for him, when the following exchange takes place: Aunt May: Where were you? Peter Parker: I was out. Aunt May: Did you get the eggs? Peter Parker: Nope. Forgot the eggs! I'm gonna get it now. Aunt May: No, you most certainly will not! Not at this hour! [Peter turns away from his aunt] Aunt May: Look at me, Peter? Take off the damn hood and look at me. [Peter takes off his hood and turns to face his aunt, his face looking beat up] Aunt May: Where do you go? Who does this to you? Peter Parker: Please go to sleep, Aunt May. Aunt May: Please tell me. Peter Parker: Aunt May, please, please please go to sleep! Aunt May: I can't sleep! Don't you understand? I can't sleep! [there's a moment of silence] Aunt May: Peter, listen to me. Secrets have a cost, they're not for free. Not now, no…

Denying Evil

Max Pemberton writing recently in the Daily Telegraph argues that paedophilia is a illness :
It is too easy to see paedophiles as caricatures of evil, devoid of emotions and reason, but that view helps no one. In fact, the majority of those who find themselves attracted to children are tormented by their predilection. According to the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases, paedophilia is a mental illness, yet there is scant investment in resources to help treat paedophiles. I find this dichotomy quite false. Of course paedophilia is a form of addiction and therefore by definition it is a physical illness that has left its addicts helpless and tormented. And it is also equally true that it is a spiritual illness of sin and evil in our world.  It is a spiritual disease because it is perversion of God's created natural order. 
What is important is for us to realise is that there's no conflict between these two facts. On the contrary one pressupposes the other. Sin by nat…

Taking Control of Your Time

Like most people I struggle with managing time and ensuring that my day to day activities are being spent on things that add genuine value and are ultimately God honouring. So I am always keen to read books that are helpful in this area. The recent one I read was the Harvard Business School's Taking control of your time . It is a collection of pieces written by various experts on the subject. Here are seven insights that are worth remembering : 1. When launching any important piece of work, visualise the end result. Conceive as much detail as possible the desired outcome of your individual effort, or that of your team.
2. The goal of enlightened time management is to allow you to spend most of your time on work that is truly important, but relative non-urgent.
3. Avoid meetings with more than 12 participants. Nothing will be accomplished. And before calling a meeting, you’ve really got to ask yourself, ‘What is the point?’ Do I really have to have this meeting’?
4. Do your own anal…

Empty Religion

Two weeks ago, as I was leaving the supermarket I was approached by a beggar who I knew very well was going to waste the money in my pocket if I gave it to her. So I said initially no, and headed to my car. I rationalised she was going to "waste it" or "feed the habit".
As I sat in my car, God whispered quietly - "how many times have I given you something even after you have blown it? I never keep a record with you or ask whether Chola deserves to breath the air today after wasting it yesterday. So why don't you for once show the same grace to this woman?"
I humbly repented while in my driving seat before turning the ignition. And lo and behold, the woman came to knock on my window. I rather was stunned. And gave her the money I had. I was thankful for her. Now of course the woman most likely conned me. But I also know God used that opportunity to teach me grace.
What I have found even more interesting is how God has reinforced that message. On my w…

The Incredulity of Thomas

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Caravaggio’s painting of the remarkable moment of Thomas's doubt leaves one with many thoughts. The first thing that struck me is that Thomas appears being led by Jesus to place the hand on the wound in his side. He is almost reluctant as evidenced by his one hand gesture. He is not grabbing Jesus. Instead he remains slightly distant. The other disciples here whilst examining the wound closely as well as Thomas function more as an encouragement to help him look at that which he had wished for. Thomas's bold declaration prior to the appearance of Christ appears to have now turned into shame. Confronted with the evidence of the risen Lord, the weight of the appearance appears too much to bear. Caravaggio seems to say that the doubting man cannot ultimately face the truth he seeks. It is almost too heavy for him. Therefore he needs Christ's help to make sense of reality.
Which brings me to a related and more obvious second truth in the painting. Thomas's eyes appear dark…