Happy Birthday!

 

A  month  rolled by, without  another, visit from Mala. I was kicking myself for my negligence to get her address.

Oh, here she comes. Her lip-gloss was gleaming. She was in high spirits.

“Hello aunty, how are you?”

“Fine, come in.”

“My Birthday falls on the twentieth and we have arranged a small tea. You must come.”

“Sit for a minute. What’s the hurry?”

“No aunty. I must be going now. I have to invite a few others. Some patients are waiting for you too.” She gave clear directions to reach her home.

“Bye”

“Bye”

She waved merrily.

*    *    *

I entered the house with hesitation after removing my slippers. Mala’s mother stepped out of the house and took my hands in hers.

“Please come in. Mala told me about you.”

The fast flashes from the video gouged out my eyes and I wished I had brought ear plugs. The teenagers were talking at the top of their voices and bursting their lungs in laughter. Mala’s friends were flying about the house like Hollywood stars, some in pants and some in midis and minis. Two young men were chatting with Mala’s brother. Mala’s beautiful dark eyes would flash on them and fleet away. One of them with a minor moustache followed Mala around the house with his eyes. This was teens’ world and I felt out of place and awkward.

Mala’s mother shouted, “Mala, stupid. Reduce the volume. Are you people deaf?”

Mala turned around and gave her a cold stare and walked off as if she never heard a word.

“These crazy teenagers. Freaks!”

She would have continued if I hadn’t patted gently on her lap. I thought of my daughter. Well, teenagers are teenagers. Sometimes it is wiser to keep your mouth shut when they are around. I managed the evening in an absent-minded chat with Mala’s mother. I invited Mala to come home and left.

The next day...

“Come in Mala. You looked enchanting in your birthday dress. It was lovely.”

“Thank you aunty. We had to shell out some eight hundred bucks for that.”

“My, my, things are so costly these days. Sit down madam. So how’s life?”

Mala pondered before she answered. I held my tongue. I wanted her to speak out.

“So, so.”

“You are not yourself Mala. Are you reading the Bible and praying regularly?”

“Uh... um ...I don’t know why I feel so dull. I am all mixed up.”

She twisted her hands above her head to demonstrate her expression.

“Yes?”

“The day I accepted Jesus, I felt like an angel. Today, I feel like a devil.”

I let out a small laugh at her sharpness but her face showed  she  was  serious  about what  she  was  saying  and honest too.

“I am glad you said you ‘feel.’ You were neither an angel nor are you transformed into a devil. I don’t see a poker tail behind you. You are still the sweet old Mala, real Mala.”

I pretended to search for a tail, trying to sound jovial. But her face told me, it was no time to joke.

“Honest aunty. I was so high. I even shared my experience with my friends.”

“And what did they say?”

“They ragged me. She’s in love with Jesus ya, they said. Love 0! Pooooosh. In ten days she’ll run out of steam and be back to normal,   they laughed. I too feel so aunty.”

“You are overemphasising your feelings Mala. We don’t stand on our feelings. Feelings keep changing like the clouds. The fact that you are a child of God never changes. Your name is written in God’s Book of Life.”

“Who told you that wonderful news?”

She threw the question on my face.

“There you are. C’mon now. This is the first ditch any believer falls into. You commit a sin. You feel guilty and you start doubting your experience of rebirth.”

“Exactly.”

“And the devil keeps telling you that you were not at all born again in the first place. It was your own imagination. How could a child of God sin? and all that kind of stuff.”

“You are absolutely right.”

“So you start doubting your salvation.”

“Are you a mind-reader?”

“Tell me now. You celebrated your birthday and you were jumping gleefully yesterday. But today you are down in the dumps. The excitement is gone. But your birthday remains an absolute fact. Do you understand?”

“Yep.”

“Your new birth is a FACT. God’s Word says you are forgiven, and you believe it. That is FAITH. The joy you experienced on the day of your rebirth is a FEELING. Fact first, faith next, feelings last. Your sins have been forgiven and forgotten. They need not condemn you anymore. The Bible says that your name is written in the Book of Life. Our salvation does not stand on the shaky foundation of our feelings, but on the finished work of Christ on the cross. Don’t believe the lies of the devil. Believe the truth of God.”

“I understand now. The thing is, sometimes I give in when my friends put pressure on me, but then I feel so guilty. That’s really why I was scared to come here.”

“A sharp conscience is a blessing in disguise for God’s children. Worldly people live in sin and enjoy it. But a child of God is so troubled by her conscience that when she sins she immediately cries to God for forgiveness and finds a means of escape from the sin. She is like a lamb that has accidentally fallen into the gutter and struggles to come out. But a sinner is like a pig that chooses to wallow in the gutter. The desire to live a God-pleasing life is in itself an evidence of rebirth.”

“But then why is it that we sin after being born again? What’s the point in being saved then?”

“We don’t grow wings overnight and become angels. We continue to live on this earth in an atmosphere of sin. Though you have a bath everyday, still you get dirty everyday. Just like that we trip and fall in sin at times. But the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, keeps washing us. Wilful sinning is different. I am speaking of falling in sin against our wishes. Only in heaven we’ll live in an atmosphere, free of temptation and sin.”

“Bapre...that’s a struggle indeed.”

“Jesus is a gentle Master, Mala.”

“Sure, sure. But what bugs me is that daily I ask forgiveness to God and then commit the same sins again.”

“I had the same problem when I was like you. But now when I look back, it’s all clear to me. Keep looking at a plant everyday and you feel it is just the same. But you go somewhere for a year and return, it has grown tall and blooming.  Daily growth is microscopic. Be regular in your Bible reading and prayer and you are sure to be growing. Rebirth is a crisis experience but growth is a lifelong process.”

“Hope to grow.”

“Before I forget, I want to talk to you about the videos you see.”

“Aunty, you have already told me once. But you are too old fashioned aunty. You don’t understand.”

“I know I am old fashioned. But sin is making its appearance everyday in a new fashion. So I don’t want you to be a fashionable sinner.”

“What’s wrong about watching songs and dances and movies anyway? Every story has a moral.”

She hit my arm with her hand as if demanding a pleasing answer.

“It’s not easy to answer that question Mala. A girl of your age should be able to decide what is good and what is bad. TV is good if used properly. Remember three things when you watch TV:

1.    You should not watch TV disobeying your parents.

2.    You should not waste your time or spoil your health by sitting before the TV too long.

3.    You should not watch TV at the cost of your devotional time and studies.

“If you have these three things in mind, your conscience will tell you when to see and what to see.”

Mala jerked her shoulders and pouted her mouth. I didn’t know what that meant. But I knew from experience that teenagers don’t pat you on the back for the free advice you give them. I didn’t know how to restart the conversation and groped.

“You see Mala, you must get some good friends who share your new desires. Don’t stick to the old gang who will lead you into temptation.”

 “True aunty. I am bombarded by a host of temptations.”

“The hunter never runs to pick up a dead bird. He chases the wounded one that tries to escape. Now that you are trying to escape the filth of this world, the devil is after you. But Jesus has overcome the world. He gives us power to resist temptations and overcome them. He will never allow temptations beyond our strength, rather provide us a way of escape. Cheer up.”

I pinched her cheek.

“Aunty, I feel so light, I feel like flying. Let’s pray.”

“We bowed our heads in prayer. The sparkle in Mala’s eyes seemed to have returned.

I kept gazing at the disappearing slender figure that brought to my mind, the words of Jesus -

“I appointed you that your fruit should remain...”

  Address for Correspondence Contributions

Dr. Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
 +91 9843511943
  lilianstanley@gmail.com

Blessing Youth Mission

Blessing Youth Mission
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
 +91-416-2242943, +91-416-2248943
  hq@bymonline.org
  www.bymonline.org

For Donation & Contributions...

Home & NRE donors

Name: Blessing Youth Mission
Account Type: Current Account
A/c No.: 37268642054
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: Siruthozhil,Vellore - 632 006
IFSC No.: SBIN0007274

Overseas Donors

Name: Blessing Youth Mission
A/c No.: 1074703964
Bank: Central Bank of India
Branch: Vellore
IFSC No.: CBIN0280887
MICR Code: 000016000
SWIFT Code: CBININBBMDR

Gulf Donors

A/c Name: T.Dickson Daniel Moses
Account Type: Saving Account
A/c No.: 35374362080
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: Siruthozhil,Vellore - 632 006
IFSF: SBIN0007274

Click here for more options

  Blessing Literature Centre

To buy books written by Dr. Lilian Stanley, kindly reach to us in the follwing address

Blessing Literature Centre
21/11 West Coovam River Road,
Chintadripet,
Chennai 600 002, India.
 +91-44-28450411, 8806270699
  blc@bymonline.org

                                  Happy Birthday!

 

A  month  rolled by, without  another, visit from Mala. I was kicking myself for my negligence to get her address.

Oh, here she comes. Her lip-gloss was gleaming. She was in high spirits.

“Hello aunty, how are you?”

“Fine, come in.”

“My Birthday falls on the twentieth and we have arranged a small tea. You must come.”

“Sit for a minute. What’s the hurry?”

“No aunty. I must be going now. I have to invite a few others. Some patients are waiting for you too.” She gave clear directions to reach her home.

“Bye”

“Bye”

She waved merrily.

*    *    *

I entered the house with hesitation after removing my slippers. Mala’s mother stepped out of the house and took my hands in hers.

“Please come in. Mala told me about you.”

The fast flashes from the video gouged out my eyes and I wished I had brought ear plugs. The teenagers were talking at the top of their voices and bursting their lungs in laughter. Mala’s friends were flying about the house like Hollywood stars, some in pants and some in midis and minis. Two young men were chatting with Mala’s brother. Mala’s beautiful dark eyes would flash on them and fleet away. One of them with a minor moustache followed Mala around the house with his eyes. This was teens’ world and I felt out of place and awkward.

Mala’s mother shouted, “Mala, stupid. Reduce the volume. Are you people deaf?”

Mala turned around and gave her a cold stare and walked off as if she never heard a word.

“These crazy teenagers. Freaks!”

She would have continued if I hadn’t patted gently on her lap. I thought of my daughter. Well, teenagers are teenagers. Sometimes it is wiser to keep your mouth shut when they are around. I managed the evening in an absent-minded chat with Mala’s mother. I invited Mala to come home and left.

The next day...

“Come in Mala. You looked enchanting in your birthday dress. It was lovely.”

“Thank you aunty. We had to shell out some eight hundred bucks for that.”

“My, my, things are so costly these days. Sit down madam. So how’s life?”

Mala pondered before she answered. I held my tongue. I wanted her to speak out.

“So, so.”

“You are not yourself Mala. Are you reading the Bible and praying regularly?”

“Uh... um ...I don’t know why I feel so dull. I am all mixed up.”

She twisted her hands above her head to demonstrate her expression.

“Yes?”

“The day I accepted Jesus, I felt like an angel. Today, I feel like a devil.”

I let out a small laugh at her sharpness but her face showed  she  was  serious  about what  she  was  saying  and honest too.

“I am glad you said you ‘feel.’ You were neither an angel nor are you transformed into a devil. I don’t see a poker tail behind you. You are still the sweet old Mala, real Mala.”

I pretended to search for a tail, trying to sound jovial. But her face told me, it was no time to joke.

“Honest aunty. I was so high. I even shared my experience with my friends.”

“And what did they say?”

“They ragged me. She’s in love with Jesus ya, they said. Love 0! Pooooosh. In ten days she’ll run out of steam and be back to normal,   they laughed. I too feel so aunty.”

“You are overemphasising your feelings Mala. We don’t stand on our feelings. Feelings keep changing like the clouds. The fact that you are a child of God never changes. Your name is written in God’s Book of Life.”

“Who told you that wonderful news?”

She threw the question on my face.

“There you are. C’mon now. This is the first ditch any believer falls into. You commit a sin. You feel guilty and you start doubting your experience of rebirth.”

“Exactly.”

“And the devil keeps telling you that you were not at all born again in the first place. It was your own imagination. How could a child of God sin? and all that kind of stuff.”

“You are absolutely right.”

“So you start doubting your salvation.”

“Are you a mind-reader?”

“Tell me now. You celebrated your birthday and you were jumping gleefully yesterday. But today you are down in the dumps. The excitement is gone. But your birthday remains an absolute fact. Do you understand?”

“Yep.”

“Your new birth is a FACT. God’s Word says you are forgiven, and you believe it. That is FAITH. The joy you experienced on the day of your rebirth is a FEELING. Fact first, faith next, feelings last. Your sins have been forgiven and forgotten. They need not condemn you anymore. The Bible says that your name is written in the Book of Life. Our salvation does not stand on the shaky foundation of our feelings, but on the finished work of Christ on the cross. Don’t believe the lies of the devil. Believe the truth of God.”

“I understand now. The thing is, sometimes I give in when my friends put pressure on me, but then I feel so guilty. That’s really why I was scared to come here.”

“A sharp conscience is a blessing in disguise for God’s children. Worldly people live in sin and enjoy it. But a child of God is so troubled by her conscience that when she sins she immediately cries to God for forgiveness and finds a means of escape from the sin. She is like a lamb that has accidentally fallen into the gutter and struggles to come out. But a sinner is like a pig that chooses to wallow in the gutter. The desire to live a God-pleasing life is in itself an evidence of rebirth.”

“But then why is it that we sin after being born again? What’s the point in being saved then?”

“We don’t grow wings overnight and become angels. We continue to live on this earth in an atmosphere of sin. Though you have a bath everyday, still you get dirty everyday. Just like that we trip and fall in sin at times. But the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, keeps washing us. Wilful sinning is different. I am speaking of falling in sin against our wishes. Only in heaven we’ll live in an atmosphere, free of temptation and sin.”

“Bapre...that’s a struggle indeed.”

“Jesus is a gentle Master, Mala.”

“Sure, sure. But what bugs me is that daily I ask forgiveness to God and then commit the same sins again.”

“I had the same problem when I was like you. But now when I look back, it’s all clear to me. Keep looking at a plant everyday and you feel it is just the same. But you go somewhere for a year and return, it has grown tall and blooming.  Daily growth is microscopic. Be regular in your Bible reading and prayer and you are sure to be growing. Rebirth is a crisis experience but growth is a lifelong process.”

“Hope to grow.”

“Before I forget, I want to talk to you about the videos you see.”

“Aunty, you have already told me once. But you are too old fashioned aunty. You don’t understand.”

“I know I am old fashioned. But sin is making its appearance everyday in a new fashion. So I don’t want you to be a fashionable sinner.”

“What’s wrong about watching songs and dances and movies anyway? Every story has a moral.”

She hit my arm with her hand as if demanding a pleasing answer.

“It’s not easy to answer that question Mala. A girl of your age should be able to decide what is good and what is bad. TV is good if used properly. Remember three things when you watch TV:

1.    You should not watch TV disobeying your parents.

2.    You should not waste your time or spoil your health by sitting before the TV too long.

3.    You should not watch TV at the cost of your devotional time and studies.

“If you have these three things in mind, your conscience will tell you when to see and what to see.”

Mala jerked her shoulders and pouted her mouth. I didn’t know what that meant. But I knew from experience that teenagers don’t pat you on the back for the free advice you give them. I didn’t know how to restart the conversation and groped.

“You see Mala, you must get some good friends who share your new desires. Don’t stick to the old gang who will lead you into temptation.”

 “True aunty. I am bombarded by a host of temptations.”

“The hunter never runs to pick up a dead bird. He chases the wounded one that tries to escape. Now that you are trying to escape the filth of this world, the devil is after you. But Jesus has overcome the world. He gives us power to resist temptations and overcome them. He will never allow temptations beyond our strength, rather provide us a way of escape. Cheer up.”

I pinched her cheek.

“Aunty, I feel so light, I feel like flying. Let’s pray.”

“We bowed our heads in prayer. The sparkle in Mala’s eyes seemed to have returned.

I kept gazing at the disappearing slender figure that brought to my mind, the words of Jesus -

“I appointed you that your fruit should remain...”

  Address for Correspondence Contributions

Dr. Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
 +91 9843511943
  lilianstanley@gmail.com

Blessing Youth Mission

Blessing Youth Mission
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
 +91-416-2242943, +91-416-2248943
  hq@bymonline.org
  www.bymonline.org

For Donation & Contributions...

Home & NRE donors

Name: Blessing Youth Mission
Account Type: Current Account
A/c No.: 37268642054
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: Siruthozhil,Vellore - 632 006
IFSC No.: SBIN0007274

Overseas Donors

Name: Blessing Youth Mission
A/c No.: 40103204148
A/c type: FCRA Current Account
Branch: New Delhi Main Branch
Branch Code: 00691
IFSC No.: SBIN0000691
SWIFT Code: SBININBB104

Gulf Donors

A/c Name: T.Dickson Daniel Moses
Account Type: Saving Account
A/c No.: 35374362080
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: Siruthozhil,Vellore - 632 006
IFSF: SBIN0007274

Click here for more options

  Blessing Literature Centre

To buy books written by Dr. Lilian Stanley, kindly reach to us in the follwing address

Blessing Literature Centre
21/11 West Coovam River Road,
Chintadripet,
Chennai 600 002, India.
 +91-44-28450411, Mob:8806270699
  blc@bymonline.org