One major life lesson I learnt after going through Commando training for 2 years is that as long as you don’t take the harsh words people say to you personally and literally, you can get a good laugh or two in the midst of criticism and brush it off easily.
Praise is not eternal and criticism is not final. If you’re affected, face it head on, confess eternal truths about who you are, pick yourself up and move on. Life is too precious to wallow in self-pity and to drown in the praises/citicisms of people.
Sometimes i wish someone can just be honest and guide me along with helping me to take note of certain social cues and hitting me in the head when i think+say something stupid or when should i be initiative instead of me having to try figure the things ppl normally figure out in secondary school. It’s like the older you grow, the less social error you’re allowed to make. And that’s not helping
“So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success. But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day. People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.”
Psalms 49:16-20 NLT
[Matthew Henry's Commentary] Believers should not fear death. The distinction of men's outward conditions, how great soever in life, makes none at death; but the difference of men's spiritual states, though in this life it may seem of small account, yet at and after death is very great. The soul is often put for the life. The God of life, who was its Creator at first, can and will be its Redeemer at last. It includes the salvation of the soul from eternal ruin. Believers will be under strong temptation to envy the prosperity of sinners. Men will praise thee, and cry thee up, as having done well for thyself in raising an estate and family. But what will it avail to be approved of men, if God condemn us? Those that are rich in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, have something of which death cannot strip them, nay, which death will improve; but as for worldly possessions, as we brought nothing into the world, so it is certain that we shall carry nothing out; we must leave all to others. The sum of the whole matter is, that it can profit a man nothing to gain the whole world, to become possessed of all its wealth and all its power, if he lose his own soul, and is cast away for want of that holy and heavenly wisdom which distinguishes man from the brutes, in his life and at his death. And are there men who can prefer the lot of the rich sinner to that of poor Lazarus, in life and death, and to eternity? Assuredly there are. What need then we have of the teaching of the Holy Ghost; when, with all our boasted powers, we are prone to such folly in the most important of all concerns!
As I was reading this, I can't help but think of the many times I desired (or even lusted) for things that don't matter. Things like fame, recognition, following what looks cool, etc. In fact, most of my interests are in things that have no eternal value. Take photography for instance: this takes up a lot of time and effort, eating into life a lot, but eventually it doesn't surmount to much. Even if I were to spiritualise it and say I wanna use it to glorify God, evangelise to people, and to serve, I still think it's not worth the time and effort invested. I could use the resources for something with higher returns, something that truly satisfies, something that give me an eternal purpose & perspective to pursue after. Something that lasts, long after the earth is gone. It's not that the temporal stuffs are bad; we have need of them as well. It is just that I don't see as much value in the things I used to chase after anymore, when we include eternity in the picture.
As I sat reflecting upon this, I see that much of what we're after are futile. Much of it is just for things that doesn't last long, and if I can say this, the devil has done a great job at deceiving us at focusing on the minors instead of the majors. Today as I read this verse, it sets me back on track to focus on what really matters, and liberates me from the unseen pressures of wanting to achieve something in this lifetime instead of fixing my eyes on eternity and building towards it.
Eternity is what my eyes are fixated on. And that is what I will spend my days building towards.
Today is supposedly our last day at Chai. One of our team members, Valerie, has flown back and the rest of us are staying for 2 more days to explore bangalore a little.
During this trip, we made many friends from Chai and also a few from the visitors that we interacted with. We get to bless the people through conversations and praying for some of them, and at the same time we are being blessed by their stories of struggles and breakthroughs.
Most of them are Christians, while a small handful are not, but they enjoy coming here because this place brings them a sense of peace and they get to talk to people here.
Just by being here for a week, I’ve learnt much through Benny Prasad, his team, and the way they operate. Benny travelled to every country in the world within the shortest time, earning him a guiness world record yet to be broken since 2010. He performed before kings, royalties, and magistrates, to the tribal people groups, and anyone in between. He would practice 10-14hrs a day, for years. After he accomplished this God-given task of travelling to every country to preach the Gospel and share his testimony, the Lord told him to buy this plot of land in bangalore, not knowing what he would do with it. So after he received the plan from God on what to do with this ground, he poured all (literally 100%, to the cent) of his finances and the subsequent 14 months of income + blessings into building this place and running the cafe. Knowing it was the Lord who blessed him so much, making him successful in ways millions can’t even dream of, Benny was able to let go of these successes and readily give it up to the Lord for his next assignment.
His humble and genuine heart can be felt while interacting with him. There is no ‘air’ around him. He carries on a heart of compassion not many in this world has. When he speaks, wisdom flows out from his lips. Even though he is a strict man when it comes to standards (such as time and integrity, amongst many others), he is far from being religious. Often during our conversations, he would insert small jokes (that is actually pretty funny), keeping things lighthearted. It wouldn’t take long before one realises that every rule/standard he sets has a valid reason behind it. None of it is set blindly.
The staff in Chai are amazing too. Siffo, one of the staff who joined just two weeks before we arrived, gave up her job of two years as a college prof (her dream job) to serve full-time here. Her testimony is a powerful one. In her own words, after a visit to a local mental hospital, she realised if it was not for the relationship she had with the Lord, she would have been one of the mental patients because the trauma/experience these patients faced were not even half of what she experienced growing up.
Joel, one of the new visitors to Chai, came on the 3rd day of our stay. He had wanted to commit suicide the day before, but the Lord intervened through his dad who sent him a short clip about Benny, just hours before his suicide attempt. That led him to watch more videos of Benny and decide to come to Chai the following day. Siffo told us that on the first day, he wouldn’t open up, he just sat there not saying anything. When he came back a second time, I spoke with him, and he was visibly much better already. The third time he came, was 5 days after his first visit. He was at the stage of talking and even being able to open up about his life without difficulty. No more thoughts of committing suicide. Amazing. Just in the span of 5 days, he transformed into a bright, lovely man. He gave me his favorite pen as an act of friendship and remembering him. On this particular day when he was on his way to meet us, the Lord warned him twice (without knowing it was God initially) about an accident that he’s about to be in, so he rode slightly slower than his usual speed. He got into an accident with one of those three-wheeled tourist taxi, when it changed lane without warning. He crashed into the taxi, causing a big dent on the vehicle, but his bike was unscathed (only minor paint scratches) and he didnt fly off the bike. He wasn’t even injured. The Lord protected him.
Today, Bobby, another one of the guys who came this week, responded when a call was given during the saturday service.
Also, I met a lady by the name of Molly, a single mom taking care of her autistic child. She is a prayerful person, who spends much time with the Lord after giving birth to Sujit, her autistic child. Our team spoke with her, prayed, gave her words we heard from the Lord, and ministered to her. She was truly blessed. Just before she left, we prayed with her for healing of her neck pain and her left leg. She told us about her left leg, but the Lord spoke to Val about her neck pain. We are hoping to hear good news from her before we go back home.
These are just some of the stories I’ve encountered that left a mark on me. There are more, but too many for me to write down now. This trip indeed has been a blessing to me, maybe more than it is a blessing to the people here. I came without knowing what I could give, but I left receiving more than what I can imagine.