Saturday, March 30, 2013

You Can Dream Again!

Have you ever been in a situation where all hope seems lost and it’s like you’ll never come out of it? Have you ever had a situation that just proves impossible? Have you ever been in the middle of a crisis and you couldn't think of a way out? Have you ever believed so much in a thing and it didn't work out the way you planned it? You are not alone.

“Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone was rolled aside from the entrance”
John 20:1 – Living Bible

It's a dark Sunday morning. It’s been dark since Friday. It’s been dark as a result of events that took place in those longs hours between Friday and Sunday.

It has been dark because of Peter’s denial. He had denied his Lord and Master on three different occasions. On one occasion, he swore that he never knew him when confronted by a teenage girl. It was still dark.

It has been dark because of the disciples' betrayal. No one except John had the courage to travel with Jesus all the way. They were all scattered abroad. They ran for their dear lives. Permit me to say that it was not only Judas who betrayed his Lord. Majority of the disciples did. They fled when Jesus needed them most. It was still dark.

It has been dark because of Pilate’s cowardice. Read the account of Jesus’ betrayal and you’ll be amazed at the cowardice of a whole King. His name Pilate means close pressed or firm. You will agree with me that he was anything but firm on this particular day. He was being controlled by the crowd. He yielded to their wish even though he was dead sure it was a wrong thing to do. It was still dark.

It has been dark because of Christ’s anguish. He must have gone through so much pain. How about a slap from one of the military officers after blindfolding him? What about the crown of thorns placed on his head? What about the heavy wood he had to carry most of the way down to Golgotha? What about the stripes that had to go round his exposed body? Consider the spiting, cursing and humiliation. What about the spikes that went through the hands that healed the sick? Oh, what anguish? No wonder it was still dark!

It has been dark because of Satan’s glee. There was a party in hell over the events on Friday. As far as the devil and his cohorts were concerned, they were in charge now. The Son of God was dead and it was their time. It was still dark.

All these happened since Friday but it was still dark on Sunday morning. The only ember of light this morning was with a band of women standing at a distance from the grave. They were the last to leave Calvary and the first to arrive at the grave. However, this morning promises nothing except an encounter with a corpse. They never imagined this could be the 1st Easter. They were not hoping the grave would be vacant. There was a time they dared to dream such dreams but not now. It’s too late for the incredible. The feet that walked on water had been pierced. The hands that cleansed lepers had been stilled. There noble aspirations had been spiked to yesterday’s cross. Their dreams appeared dead and long forgotten.

Have you ever got to a junction like this in your life? A junction where everything seems dark? Where there seems to be no way forward? Where everything just appeared gloomy? Before you give up and throw in the towel, would you please follow me and see what happened afterwards?

Though it’s been dark hitherto, a miracle was just around the corner this Sunday morning. A double surprise was waiting for these women in quick succession!

First, the stone of the sepulchre had been rolled away! They must have been thinking of how to gain access to the sepulchre on their way there. But to their surprise, the stone was no longer there. As if that was not enough, they couldn’t find the body of Jesus in the grave again. While still wondering what could have happened, an angel explained to them that Jesus was risen as it had been written! “You cannot be looking for the living among the dead”, the angel said. Suddenly, the darkness since Friday began to lift! A fresh hope sprang up in these women and later in the minds of the disciples.

After all the darkness, light shone. The greater the darkness, the brighter the glory of light. No wonder it was a special Sunday morning, one that we still celebrate till today. It was a morning with a great message of hope. That resurrection morning had a great message – It is Alright to Dream Again! Yes it is. The resurrection of Christ gives you this opportunity to dream again! To believe, to hope!

Happy Easter.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Law Of Use

I often speak and write about Laws. I do this for a number of reasons. First, laws are universal. They apply equally to everyone. They are no respecter of persons. Everyone who jumps up will come down - the colour of his skin is immaterial neither is his ability to speak “conc” tongues. Second, laws are inviolable. No one can violate them without suffering the consequences. It takes a higher law to break a lower one. Thirdly, laws are immutable. They do not change. They hold true for ever and are the same anywhere, anyday, and any time. This simply means that laws gives predictability to events. If you follow a law strictly, you are guaranteed of the effect/reward.

I recently read again a story in the holy creed that amazed me. It is often referred to as The Parable of Talents. It opened my eyes to several points on what I call The Law of Use. May I please share it with you?

A certain man gave each of his three servants an amount of money, “each according to his ability” (Mt 25:15). This man (referred to as The Master) knew their ability and gave them opportunity anyway. His basic expectation to them all was to do business with it and make profit. The 1st one, who had five bags of money went and traded with it and got five more. The 2nd one, who had two bags, did the same thing and got another two. The 3rd servant, who got one bag, dug a hole in the ground and hid his mater’s bag of money there. Later, the master had his servants give account of what they had done with the resources at their disposal. In the same vein like this story, God has given us all something (ability, resource, insight, revelation), and He holds us accountable for what we do with it. One day, He will ask us to give an account.

The 1st two servants gave good accounts of what they had done with their talents and how they had made a 100% profit with it. The account given by the 3rd servant is worth examining.

He said, “Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.” (Mt 25:24-25).

Take note of a couple of points

- The servant claimed he acted out of fear of the master; he placed emphasis on master’s perceived hardness. He was shifting blames and justifying his actions.

- I suggest two motives: fear (servant afraid for his own well-being), or laziness (little wonder the master did not give him much responsibility even from the beginning).

- If servant was afraid but aggressive, he would have done whatever was necessary to earn a profit; but he was lazy, so he simply tried to protect himself.

- Master’s evaluation: “You wicked and lazy servant!” It is wicked to leave resources at your disposal unused! Hmmm……are you wicked too? What are you doing with all the untapped resources at your disposal? I think it’s bearable to be called lazy. But wicked? That’s not a good title!

- Quantity wasn’t as big a problem as laziness: “You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest”. It would just have been okay if he made an extra bag of money for his master. He would have made 100% profit too. I am sure that even 50% profit would have showed some efforts and would have been rewarded accordingly. Who wouldn’t be excited with a 50% profit, even in today’s world?

May I just summarize all these points simply? "Use it or lose it!"

God entrusts us all with resources so we can advance His kingdom and He would hold us accountable for those resources. If we do not use those resources effectively, we will lose them.

The Law of Use also applies to our day to day life. It governs the growth of individuals, corporations and nations. If you use the resources available to you, you will improve those resources and also develop new ones. Some other ideas/action points around the everyday life are -

*Exercise your muscles and they become stronger.
*Submit yourself to training and you improve your abilities.
*Read Bible and pray and you will grow spiritually.
*Exercising 5 minutes once a month won’t do much for you; exercising 15mins daily for 6 months will work “miracles”
*Invest money at 8% for one week, have little to show for it; invest it for 1 to 2 years and you get a good return on investment.

Even with a small, insignificant beginning, applying the Law of Use can produce great results.

You are lifted!