Tame the tongue

The Bible says lots about the human tongue.  Four groups of meanings are predominant : (a) as an organ of speech; (b) by metonymy, for “language” used by the tongue; (c) by extension, to denote the whole person or personal traits; and (d) to indicate tongue-shaped objects.
First, in a biblical letter, Saint James cautions us about the use of our tongues for loose talk.  He writes: Just as a whole forest can be destroyed by a small fire, so the tongue is a fire that can stain the whole body.”  He continues, “All beasts can be tamed, but how difficult it is to tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, deadly poison.”  He commends wise people who use their tongues “to praise God and bless others.”
tame the tongueSecond, tongue refers to language.  Unlike India, which is multi-lingual, most nations are delineated along linguistic boundaries.  Their citizens are “of one tongue”.  Indeed, the word “tongue” derives from the Latin LINGUA, meaning “tongue”.  The Biblical “speaking in tongues” means “speaking many languages”.  Glossolalia is the “gift of tongues”  —— a gift of God’s Spirit ——- whereby prophets speak many languages, sometimes unintelligible to others.  By truthfully interpreting such tongues, one discerns what God plans as good for us.
Third, tongue can denote the whole person or personality types.  Of arrogant and boastful people, it is said, “Their tongue struts through the earth.”  The psalmist writes, “Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharp razor, you who practise deceit.  O deceitful tongue.”
Finally, the Bible refers to “tongues of fire”, “tongues of gold” and “tongues of the sea”, when speaking of tongue-shaped objects.  The spit of land protruding into the Dead Sea was simply called “The Tongue”.
The Bible says : “The tongue speaks of fullness of the heart.”  Though our words might be aimed at abusing others, they actually rebound on ourselves and reveal our own bad character.
—————-  Francis Gonsalves. 

Launch out into the deep

Launch out into the deep (Luke 5:4)  How deep he does not say.  The depth into which we launch will depend upon how perfectly we have given up the shore, and the greatness of our need, and the apprehension of our possibilities.  The fish were to be found in the deep —– not in the shallow water.
So with us, our needs are to be met in the deep things of God.  We are to launch out into the deep of God’s Word, which can open up to us such crystal fathomless meaning that the same words we have accepted in times past will have an ocean meaning in them, which renders their first meaning to us very shallow.
How-God-Helps-You-with-Impossible-SituationsInto the deep of God’s Word, that it becomes an omnipotent balm and food and medicine for the soul and body.  Into the deep, until it becomes a bright. dazzling, sweet, fathomless summer sea, in which we bathe and bask and breathe, and lose ourselves and our sorrows in the calmness and peace of God’s everlasting presence.  Into the deep, until we apprehend it in its infinite minuteness and goodness, and its far-sweeping provision and care for us.
Into the deep, until He becomes a bright, marvellous answer to prayer, the most careful and tender guidance, the most thoughtful anticipation of our needs, the most accurate and supernatural shaping of our events.  Into the deep of God’s purposes, until the mental eye is dazed with light, and the heart flutters with inexpressible anticipation of its joy.
Into all of these things God bids us launch.  He made us and He made the deep, and to its fathomless depths He has fitted our longings and capabilities.
Its streams the whole creation reach
So plenteous is the store
Enough for all, enough for each
Enough forevermore.
Joseph_Anton_Koch_006The deep water of the Spirit are always accessible, because they are always proceeding.  Will you not this day claim afresh to be immersed and drenched in these waters of life ?  The waters in Ezekiel’s vision first of oozed from under the doors of the temple.  Then the man with the measuring line measured and found the waters to the ankles.  Still further measurement, and there was water to the knees, and again to the loins.  Then they became waters to swim in —— a river that could not be crossed over.
How far have we advanced into this river of life ?  The Spirit would have a complete self-effacement.  Not merely ankle-deep, knee-deep, loin-deep ——- But self-deep.  We ourselves hidden out of sight and bathed in this life-giving stream.  Let go the shore-lines and LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP.

Fast with a smile

lent-wordcloud_2Wednesday, the 18th of February marked the start of the season of Lent.  It was Ash Wednesday.  Currently, Christians are supposed to observe fasting and abstinence, in preparation for the greatest feast —–Easter.
“Fast foods” from McDonalds and KFC are fashionable.  Simultaneously, there’s a fad to “fast from foods”.  Fasting is “in”., especially among youth to downsize bloated bellies or develop hourglass figures.  Besides, many people fast with myriad motives —- religious, political and economic.
Most religious traditions stipulate some form of fasting.  Some Hindus fast monthly on Ekadasi, Pradosha or Purnima, while others fast weekly on specific days : Vaishnavites on Thursdays, Shaivites on Mondays and Ayyappa-devotees on Saturdays.  Muslims fast during Ramzan.
Nirjala-Ekadashi-Photo-1-9213Though fasting is commendable, it could induce a holier-than-thou attitude, when the one who is fasting expects admirers to exclaim, “Wow”.  When one’s fasting is directed outward for recognition, it loses merit.  Fasting is most meritorious when done for egoless motives, surrendering oneself totally to serve God, as a sign of penitence, to fortify one’s faith, as grateful acknowledgement of Mother Nature’s bounty are, in symbolic solidarity, with those who have little or nothing to eat.
The Bible berates those who fast while exploiting others.  Acts of love like setting the oppressed free, sharing food with the hungry and providing shelter to the homeless make fasting creditable.
gandhi-fastingWhen people fast to protest injustice, besides being “political”, fasting becomes a sacred duty, as in Gandhiji’s Satyagraha.  Linked to this is fasting’s economic dimension ——- the “forced fast” of millions of poor who have no money to buy food.  Why not donate what we save from our fasting towards filling their empty bellies ?
The Sanskrit “upvaas” for fasting draws the devotee to dwell in God’s presence and delight in God’s providence.  That is sufficient reason to be happy, isn’t it ?  And, if fasting decreases weight and waistline, THAT’S ADDED REASON TO SMILE.
—– Francis Gonsalves.   

This & That…

(1) To succeed in life you need three bones : A WISH bone, a BACKbone and a FUNNYbone.
(2) Learn to be happy alone.  If you master this skill, trust me, nobody can take away your happiness away from you.  Be your own best friend, enjoy your own company and BE HAPPY.
(3) Any new idea or project is like a new-born sapling —– frail and fragile.  It needs utmost care and protection.  Exposing it, too soon, to the harsh sunlight and wind, can be DESTRUCTIVE TO ITS GROWTH. —– Amrit Sadhana.
(4) Dogs watch more TV now, because high-definition flat screens allow them to watch almost as clearly as humans, unlike the older ones (TV) with fewer frames per second.
 (5) Home is not where you live, but WHERE THEY UNDERSTAND YOU.
(6)  Tears irrigate the Bible : Esau weeps due to betrayal (Gen 27:38), David at Absalom’s death (2 Samuel 18:33), Peter after denying Jesus (Matthew 26:75)  We are pilgrims in this VALLE LACRYMARUM (Vale of Tears).  Tears are therapeutic for body and soul.  They help us cope with emotional storms.
 (7) Never judge : A BOOK by its COVER, a DOG by its BARK and a GIRL by her LOVER.
(8) COMMON SENSE, in an UNCOMMON DEGREE is what the world calls WISDOM. —-Coleridge.
(9) How do you keep your feet from getting cold ? Don’t go around Brr-foot.
(10) Never approach : A BULL from the FRONT, a HORSE from the REAR and a FOOL from ANY DIRECTION. — Confucius.

Tower Bridge of London

(11) Let no man pray that he know not sorrow.  Let no soul ask to be free from pain.  For the GALL of TODAY is the SWEET of TOMORROW and the MOMENTS of LOSS is the LIFETIME’S GAIN. —- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
(12) SOCCER is a Gentleman’s game played by HOOLIGANS and RUGBY is a Hooligan’s game played by GENTLEMEN.
(13) If you don’t pay your exorcist, YOU GET RE-POSSESSED.
(14) A baby’s ability to recognise the mother and a mother’s obsession with the child —— are both linked to the same part of the brain —– AMYGDALA.
(15) Man is born BROKEN, he lives BY MENDING.  The Grace of God IS THE GLUE.
(16) A LIBERAL is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel. —-Robert Frost.
(17) If you are going to make Rahul Dravid the face of Asian Paints, why bother having him stand in front of another wall ?
(18) INSOMNIA is nature’s way of saying, “You’re not done bugging people for the day.”
(19) Grant me the SENILITY to forget the people I never liked, the GOOD FORTUNE to remember the ones I do and the EYESIGHT TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE.
(20) The human being is a TRIUNE of body, mind and soul.  The BODY is the outer cover of the inner person and is called KSHETRA (field), while the inner being (the soul, the dweller of the body is known as KSHETRAJNA.  Body and Soul are woven together with the THREAD of BUDDHI (intelligence) and the NEEDLE of CITTA (consciousness).

Come apart and rest

In order to grow in grace, we must be much alone.  It is not in society that the soul grows more vigorously.  In ONE SINGLE QUIET HOUR OF PRAYER, it (the soul) will often make more progress, than in days of company with others.  It is in the desert that the DEW FALLS FRESHEST and the AIR IS PUREST. —-A. Bonar.
Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile
Weary, I know it, of the press and throng
Wipe from your brow the sweat and the dust of toil
And in My quiet strength again be strong.
Come ye aside from all the world holds dear
For converse which the world has never known
Alone with Me, and with My Father here
With Me and with My Father not alone.
Come, tell Me all that ye have said and done
Your victories and failures, hopes and fears
I know how hardly souls are wooed and won
My choicest wreaths are always wet with tears.
Come ye and rest; the journey is too great
And ye will faint beside the way and sink
The bread of life is here for you to eat
And here for you the wine of love to drink.
Then fresh from converse with your Lord return
And work till daylight softens into even
The brief hours are not lost in which ye learn
More of your Master and His rest in Heaven.

Noah’s Ark

Nestling on the snowy cap of Mount Ararat lodged in ice, lies the shadowy form of a boat, the size of a battleship.
Explorer and Bible Scholar, Antonio Palego says, he has found the real thing on Mount Ararat, in Turkey.  Using intricate calculations,based on the story in the BOOK OF GENESIS, the Italian Explorer, says the ARK has been preserved, in ice, for over 4000 yrs.  The huge boat is estimated at 156mts. long, 15.5mts high, 25mts. wide, with enough space to fit 800 trains.
According to the BOOK OF GENESIS, Noah built an ARK ——–300 cubits long (One cubit = 50cms), 50cubits wide and 30cubits high, and loaded 2 of every species on board.  The ARK was to be made of GOPHER WOOD.
Sceptics say, Noah would have needed to load 460 organisms, a second, into the ARK, to get 2 of each species on board—– within 24hrs.  A group of Scientists found evidence, of an enormous deluge, with 200 times the force of NIAGARA FALLS, roughly 7000 yrs ago, as glaciers melted, causing a huge splurge of silt, separating the then freshwater BLACK SEA from the MEDITERRANEAN.  But this pre-dated the Biblical Myth.
—–Asian Age.

Lead me in a plain path : (Psalm 27:11)

Many people want to direct God, instead of resigning themselves to be directed by Him; to show Him a way, instead of following where He leads.
I said, “Let me walk in the field”
God said, “No, walk in the town”
I said ,”There are no flowers there”
He said, ” No flowers, but a crown”.
I said,” But the sky is black ? There is nothing but noise and din”
 But He said, as He sent me back
“There is more”, He said, “There is sin”.
I said,” But the air is thick
And fogs are veiling the sun”
He answered,” Yet souls are sick
And souls in the dark undone”
I said, ” I shall miss the light
And friends will miss me, they say,”
He answered me,” Choose tonight,
If I am to miss or they”
I pleaded for time to be given
He said,” is it hard to decide ?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide.”
I cast one look at the fields
Then set my face to the town
He said,” My child, do you yield
Will you leave the flowers for the crown ?
Then into His hand went mine
And into my heart came He
And I walk in a light Divine
The path I had feared to see.
———George MacDonald.