The Control Switch

Today’s youth are floundering in a sea of confusion. They do not know how they can make their future brilliant and bubbly. They know of only studies. God asked Moses, “What’s in your hand?” His shepherd’s staff became a powerful tool. Young people, don’t worry about what’s not in your hand. See what’s in your hand and make the best of your future. We’ll see seven aspects which are not under our control and correspondingly what’s under our control.

If we had the control switch over the world, the world would be a different place. Thankfully God has not given us the switch in our hand. But if God has the control key over certain things, He has given us certain other control keys. Let’s see what they are.

1. Death Is Not Under Our Control But Life Is.

Death is not something we can put a lid on. It comes when it comes. Most people are too busy to get ready to meet their death. We cannot say, “Wait,” to death. Life is a gift of God and we must live it to the full. Talking about life, Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life” (Mt 6:25). Why? Because it will make you unfruitful (Mt 13:22). Yet we worry about life all the time.

A man wanted Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance with him. This is a reasonable request which any of us would have asked. But it is here that Jesus spoke about greed and warned us to guard against greed. “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Lk 12:15). “All kinds of greed!” Greed of money, dresses, jewels, things, land, houses, possessions, studies, job, salary, fame... We must learn to be content at some stage with what we have and be praising God for His provisions. Life is not possessions. We must stop collecting this and that. The more we possess, the more our life is a wrong principle.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). If we want that abundant life, then we must denounce the abundance of possessions. This was the message Jesus gave to the man and the crowd.

Jesus told them a story (Lk 12:13- 21). A rich man reaped a bumper harvest. So we understand that this man was already rich. He was a hard worker who laboured in his fi eld to produce abundant yield. He had ground and many barns. Instead of thinking about supporting Missions or poor, his thought was about his unknown future. His worry was where to store the grains, because the existing storehouses were full. Already he had many bank accounts. He wanted to make one more F.D. The mind plans. It is in our control. It is our choice. When we have enough we must give away. The barns we have are enough. The house, the car, the jewels we have are enough. Don’t build another house or purchase one, or buy a luxury car or diamonds or platinum.

I have no place to store my grain.” He was already full and overflowing. This is the problem with most of us. “My” grain, “My” goods. Nothing is ours. We are stewards of God’s money. He extended his plan not only to store his grains but his goods as well. Note the “all.” All for himself and nothing for others (v18).

“This I will do” - What a wrong turn he took. He thought he was securing his future. He didn’t know he had a heart attack waiting to happen that night.

He wanted to pull down his barns. Not easy, costly. Today many pull down their good houses to build luxury houses, dispose a good car to buy a luxury car. Build bigger barns. Note the plural. This world is for bigger - everything mega. Big dreams. We are not happy with what we have.

“I’ll say to myself.” We assure ourselves. We plan our own plans. There is a way that seems good to man. He did not pray or refer to the Scriptures. Nothing for the Levite, stranger, fatherless or widow but all to the barns.

“Surplus” - When we have more than what we can use, it belongs to others. There is so much poverty in the world because we are rich. Don’t think, ‘The world is big, what can I do?’ Do something in your neighbourhood. If we can lower our standard, some poor can lead decent lives. “Laid up” - Why store the excess? Have a decent amount and let the rest go to God and the poor. “For many years” - How do you know you’ll live that long? Our times are in God’s hands. “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” - He wanted a lazy life of eating, drinking and merry making with no purpose, no goal. That’s what happens when we have plenty. We lose our vision, passion, purpose and goal. We tend to become lethargic and put on weight. This man who was a hard worker, who brought about a plentiful harvest now wants to take it easy.

Don’t leave too much for your children too. They won’t be motivated to work hard. Laziness leads to idle brain, sins and diseases. So give generously so that you’ll have riches in heaven. He was mistaken. Bigger barns means bigger burden, more anxiety, more thieves, more pesticides, more care... His entire attitude towards life changed. See how satan can turn God’s blessings to a curse. It made him rely on riches, not on God. This is the worst danger. We forget God (Pro 30:8,9). For everything we turn to money. Our life is planned according to the funds we have, not God’s will or leading. You pay, you don’t pray. Beware of riches.

But God interferes in your life. He changes your direction. He speaks to you through something, someone, a song, an article. He doesn’t want you to destroy yourself or lose heavenly rewards. He brashly calls you a fool. He asks you a question, “Tonight is your last night. To whom are you leaving all your labour?” God didn’t give him much time to get ready to face death. “Today.” Your life is short. Get ready. There is no fool worse than the one who lives for the world.

The life that you wanted to live will be demanded from you. This life is not your own. The comparison is: “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Am I richer towards myself or richer towards God? If your wealth outweighs the amount given to God, then you are a fool. There are two store houses for each of us - one here and one up there. Keep more up there, where you are going to reside permanently.

“Then” - After explaining how to be rich with God, Jesus told us not to worry. After the bumper crop, instead of rejoicing, he was worried. Jesus told His disciples not to worry about life. “Therefore” - The juice of the story is not to worry after giving away.

Jesus was zeroing on faithlessness. When we have a huge bank account, it shows our faithlessness. The less we have the more faith we will have.

“Do not be afraid little flock.” Do not be afraid to give away your riches. You have a kingdom coming. What you have is nothing compared to the kingdom. So sell your properties and give to the poor. If you have two houses, too many jewels, too many cars, sell and give to the poor.

We fear to part with our riches. Only a little flock will be able to choose this kind of life. The big flock are believers who don’t believe in a sacrificial life. “The Pharisees who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight’” (Lk 16:14,15). It is this little flock that will inherit the kingdom. Jesus came to give us abundant life. So live your life to the best without worry.

2. Circumstances Are Not Under Our Control But Our Responses Are.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Pro 24:10). Life can be cruel. We are tossed about with so many things. Each person handles life’s circumstances differently. Take the example of ditched girls. One may contemplate suicide while the other learns to recover. For each circumstance we can choose our response. We cannot escape the cruelties of life. Cancer, a terrible news, an accident, loss of a loved one, failures, natural calamities and the like, incapacitate us or we may even despair of life. Naomi, Orpah and Ruth responded in three ways. Naomi led the way to a future, Ruth followed suit. But Orpah decided to turn her back on the Living God. Hagar ran away but God told her to go back and she obeyed. Rachel was obsessed with suicidal thoughts. Ahithopel couldn’t face a failure and killed himself. Judas was tortured by his guilt and hanged himself. Job was severely tested but he hung on to God with hope. Job’s wife served God for the sake of worldly blessings, but when they flew away she started cursing God. Esther had no choice. How many questions would have bombarded her small brain! Every time Mordecai or his wife chided her, she must have thought, “Will this happen to me if my parents were alive?” But she faced her future boldly.

You have no control over what life throws at you, but how you handle them is entirely in your control. There is nothing that you and God cannot together handle in life. So never despair of life. Study the Scriptures to see how individuals responded to life’s situations and learn from those who acted courageously and completed their life successfully. The challenges of life must be faced undauntingly. Tomorrow it may be worse. If we have raced with men on foot and they have worn us out, how can we compete with horses? If we stumble in safe country, how will we manage in the thickets of Jordan? (Jer 12:5). Each trial is a gym where our spirit is made stronger. “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psa 121:2). You can manage life with the handle of despair or hope. Go ahead with life holding God’s hand.

Troubles do not last forever. One bad chapter doesn’t mean the story is bad. God has planned a glorious end for you (Jer 29:11). So choose your response carefully to each circumstance in life, to reach that end of the rainbow. Ask: “Lord, what is Your will for me in this situation?” What cannot be solved must be managed. When your heart sinks you must encourage yourself. When you tend to get depressed lift yourself up by singing songs, reading God’s Word, going out, friends and fellowship.

3. Others Are Not Under Our Control But We Are.

When Peter, saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me’” (Jn 21:21,22).

Each person is different. We are very much different from others. Most often this leads to irritation. We expect others to behave the way we like and that leads to friction and frustration. You complain and bicker which leads to relationship problems. The solution is learning to appreciate the variety in God’s creation. Especially in the family context, unless we learn to appreciate the differences in our making, there will be conflicts. Nobody is 100% good or 100% bad. We are a mix of good and bad. Our life’s aim is to increase the good and decrease the bad. This we try to do in others rather than ourselves. We are all in the making. “Why are you like this?” attitude is wrong. He is like that because he is like that. That has to be accepted. Men are different and women are different. God did not create Eve like Adam. The basic ingredient itself is different. Each man and each woman is different. So it is unfair to ask, “Look at her husband, why are you like this? “ Or, “Look at her, I want you to be like her.” Youth complain, “See how his parents are, why are you like this?” We fume and fuss but don’t realize we cannot change them.

The easier thing is to change ourselves. If your boss is a sexy person, learn to keep out of his way. If your husband/wife is an angry person, learn to keep your cool, answer softly and resort to prayer. If he enjoys new dishes, instead of grumbling, read some cookery book, or consult Google and rejuvenate your cooking skills. Abigail and Nabal were knotted together like a bald head with a knee. But she adjusted with him all his life. She learnt when to talk and when not. Euodia and Syntyche were not ready to change their minds or thinking to suit the functioning style of the other. They wanted the other person to change, resulting in a tug of war. You who teach others, teach yourself (Rom 2:21).

If you want to change yourself to suit the other person, study that person. Then tailor yourself, especially with whom you are closely associated. This results in your spiritual growth. It lessens your anxiety. It also is a silent message to your associate. First remove the speck in your eye. When you change, others change; when others change, the world around you changes. Let the change start in you. In acceptance is peace.

Hannah learnt to pray effectively, to trust the Lord, to expect a miracle, to be happy in her circumstances, instead of fighting with Peninnah. Jacob had a tough job getting along with his father-in[1]law Laban. The colours of the rainbow produce white. If we all work together smoothly, there will be peace. The Lord brings difficult people in our path to change us. Joseph was chiselled by his brothers to become a strong spiritual person. He who is holy must become holier still. Living with a difficult person makes us holier still.

4. God’s Gifts To Us Are Not Under Our Control But Our Gifts To God Are.

The gifts of the Spirit are given to us by God. “The Spirit distributes them” (1 Cor 12:11). We can pray for spiritual gifts but God decides whom to get what. We need not salivate over somebody’s gift. There is no one with no gift. While a teenager, I complained to God that He gave me none. God said, “You can talk.” There started my ministry. I started talking to any willing ear.

Most of us err here. We want this gift or that. Good. Rather we should discover the gift God has given us and develop and use them. That will be our gift to God. It may be an insignificant looking gift like teaching kids or bombastic like healing. If we faithfully use them, we get the same reward of a five talented person. If you are faithful in little, God will add more to you. All gifts are not mentioned, eg. writing, music, etc.(Rom 12:6-8). So try to find out the area where you shine and where God is using you. It may not be clear in the early years. But if you faithfully keep doing whatever you can for God, you will find your gift manifesting, emerging and growing. It could be an urge as for Dorcas who was ministering among the widows. Philip’s daughters were prophesying, encouraging, edifying and comforting others (1 Cor 14:1-3).

God has entrusted you with His gift. He expects you to use it and multiply it. A talent may be rudimentary, but do not be discouraged. Bless people with it and glorify God. It is a mustard seed. Water it and nurture it. If God is glorified, that is your gift to God. A Christian is for others. Being a Christian is a privilege and duty - our duty to God, ourselves and others. We are not only members of Christ but of one another. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Pet 4:10).

5. Time Is Not Under Our Control But Work Is

My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6).

You cannot stop the running of the clock. Time keeps moving whether you like it or not. “Time stood still,” or, “Time just flew,” are expressions of what doesn’t happen. Since the beginning of creation, time is running like a non-stop travelator carrying us. It will come to an end when we reach our destination, when there will be no clock.

The only thing that we spend without knowing how much balance we have, is time. Each person is given 24 hours a day, 24×60 minutes, or 24×60×60 seconds. If you don’t use it, you will lose it. Time lost cannot be retrieved. Time may not be in our hand but work is. Though we cannot control time, we can control the use of it. So sort it, plan it so that not a drop will be wasted. You may divide it as: Time for God, rest and sleep, work, family, self, ministry and miscellaneous (visitors, sickness, etc.). Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me. The night comes when no one can work” (Jn 9:4). On the cross He said, “It is finished.” Paul, Nehemiah and the Proverbs 31 woman used their time to the full. Passion, toil and training can help you soar. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, If you can’t walk then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward,” said Martin Luther King Jr. That should be your work ethics.

Give to God generously, atleast two hours a day - an hour of Bible Meditation and an hour of prayer. Rest, relaxation and sleep can be allotted 8 hours. Work takes up 8 hours. Commute is extra. It can be office work or house work, baby, etc. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t give 2 hours for God or go out for ministry when you have a baby. Ministers of God also should stick to this schedule. You are barely left with 6 hours for family, yourself and ministry. Divide it wisely. An imbalance in time management can create a disaster in your life.

Some opt to work 9-12 hours a day for the salivating six figure salary sake and pay in terms of health and family problems. Ministers of God must remember that we are not Jesuses or Pauls. Ministry overtime, neglecting your personal time with God and family will spell doom for your ministry. Some sleep a lot or remain glued to the TV. Pushing God to a corner will speak on all areas of your life. Neglect of family will leave you weeping at the end of your life.

Aim for quality in each section. Don’t bring office fi les home. Apportion your time wisely so that when time stops you won’t look back and feel sorry (Eccl 9:10).

6. Sicknesses Are Not Under Our Control But Health Is.

We read of many diseases in the Bible. How they come we don’t know. Diseases just come. Viral fevers, dengue, typhoid, cholera, poxes, cancers, heart diseases, strokes, and the like do not spare anyone. But many Diseases can be prevented. How?

a) Cleanliness: Keep your home and surroundings clean. Wash your hands before cooking and eating. Do not eat what dropped to the floor or wash and eat. Wash vegetables and fruits. Have regular baths and wear clean clothes. Avoid tight fitting outfits. Have mosquito mesh. Keep toilets clean.

b) Develop Healthy Habits: Avoid oily, fatty, salty foods and take plenty of vegetables, fruits and water. Use turmeric generously in your cooking. Add germinated lentils, fish, chicken (without skin and fat), curd, green leafy vegetables, beans and pulses to your regular diet in plenty; mutton, eggs and nuts in limited quantities. Cut down on sugar and processed foods. Hand pound rice is better. Let your visits to restaurants be limited. Hotel foods have more salt, sugar, colors and saturated fat and you tend to eat more because you have paid. Increase proteins and salads in your daily meal. Don’t think kids can eat anything. Healthy diet is for all ages.

c) Exercise Regularly: Heart attacks are occurring at younger and younger ages. Mobile and TV are modern culprits. Get moving. Do not be sitting for long hours. Take care of your weight. An abdominal waist circumference of 90 c.m. in men and 80 c.m. in women is ideal. Diabetes is the next killer. Avoid sweets and bakery stuff like poison. And never let people to force you to eat.

d) Medical Check-ups: Have your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure checked periodically. Have a regular doctor who knows your medical history. Read health articles and expand your knowledge. Healthy habits keep even some cancers at bay. Don’t flush your urine and motion without seeing them. Limit the use of plastics, non[1]sticks, food colors, preservatives and chemicals. Iron vessels are a healthier alternative. Stop smoking and drinking. Don’t encourage or pressurise children to marry relatives. Stick to your spouse to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

e) Faith in God: Spirituality blesses you with good health and de-stresses your brain. Many psychological disorders like depression can be avoided by trusting God. Believe in miracles. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Miracles happen even today. I myself am a walking miracle. I was terribly sick due to severe asthma and nobody expected me to live beyond five. Today at 77 (2023) I am as busy as ever. Since ten months I have stopped using the atomizer I have been using for the past 35 or more years, morning and evening. That is a miracle. Glory to God! Being close to God keeps the demon away. Even if you are afflicted with an incurable disease faith will sustain you to the end. Suicide is the most unwise thing to do. Live your life till the end.

7. Accidents Are Not Under Our Control But Safety Measures Are

Accidents can happen to anyone. They happen at the most unexpected moments. Many believers have died in accidents. The number of accidents have increased over the years. Most accidents are not under our control. Even if we drive carefully, another may crash on us. What we can do from our side is to take safety measures. Eutychus should not have sat on an open window, especially in the night, especially when Paul was preaching. Abimelech should not have gone near the wall. He should have been wearing his helmet. A tower in Siloam fell on eighteen and killed them. It was no fault of the victims. Let’s consider some preventive measures.

Walking - While walking on the road, do not use your mobile. Apply your mind to what’s happening on the road. If you need to use your mobile, go to the sidewalk and fi nish your work. Cross only at zebra crossing. In other places look both sides before crossing. Walk on that side of the road where you can see the vehicles coming.

Cycling - If there is lane for cycling stick to it or cycle close to the edge of the road. Be extremely careful while crossing the road or get down and cross.

Driving - If you are sleepy don’t take the risk. Your life is more important. Think of the safety of pedestrians. Never use your mobile while driving. People are sure to call you back or understand. Even if you don’t use your hand, your attention will be diverted. Please put on your seat belt even if you are in the back seat. It is wise to have a fi re extinguisher. Have regular servicing for your cars. Start early so you won’t have to rush. Never jump a red light. Yellow means wait. Never drink and drive. Never drive without a license.

Railways - Beware of crossing railway tracks because it is very difficult to judge the speed of the train. Never take the risk of alighting or boarding a train on the move. You can always alight on the next station or miss the train. So what?

Swimming - Learn swimming if it is not too late and teach your children to swim as early as possible. It is a life[1]saving measure. Wear a lifebelt while boating.

Flight - Listen to the flight attendant explaining an emergency, every time and understand it. When there is an emergency, don’t run for your luggage.

Bus - If you find the driver driving rashly or talking over the mobile, tell him not to do that and if he doesn’t listen, tell him that you will complain to the authorities, or tell him to stop and alight. If you see anyone smoking inside, raise an objection.

Motorbike - Most accidents of motorcyclists are due to over speed. Never exceed the speed limit and never carry more people than prescribed. Wear your helmet always even for short distances. Always ask the question to yourself, “This or my life?”

Rush to an open space if the earth quakes. Have fi re extinguishers in your home and office. Never leave your bore well open or terrace without a parapet wall.

Losing your cool when the unexpected happens can have dire consequences. But you can train your mind to handle chaos.

Ok, now, put on the seven control switches in your hand and have a blessed life!

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      Dec 05, 2022
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  •   367. December 31 Golden Girl
      Jun 06, 2023
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  •   051. Blessed Accident
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    7 Dec 1988 Dear Aunty, It?s been 2 months since we were in touch. I?m saturated with ?news? to give you and nearly bursting with curiosity to hear what?s been happening at your end. The last letter you wrote to me was an eye-opener. To more...
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    1. I am a missionary and so I work for God and not for an organisation. Though I am under the discipline of an organisation, whatever I do, I do with the fear of God. God is my Master and so I subject myself to the leaders. I quell any rebellious spirit t more...
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  •   Golden Girl
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    Sodom is always associated with wicked ''men''. But here God calls her as 'Sister Sodom!' more...
  •   Women,Leaven and Heaven!
      Sep 30, 2016
    Women,Leaven and Heaven! 'The Kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened ' ,said Jesus (Mt 13:33). more...
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  •   Is My Life Over?
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  •   A Teenagers Story
      Oct 04, 2017
    In the Bible we read about many teenagers. One such is David. When we are introduced to him, he is probably fifteen or sixteen, trying his more...
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    Creepers Without Support The Bible mentions ?pure religion? only once. ?Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unspotted from the world? (Js 1:2 more...
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The Control Switch

Today’s youth are floundering in a sea of confusion. They do not know how they can make their future brilliant and bubbly. They know of only studies. God asked Moses, “What’s in your hand?” His shepherd’s staff became a powerful tool. Young people, don’t worry about what’s not in your hand. See what’s in your hand and make the best of your future. We’ll see seven aspects which are not under our control and correspondingly what’s under our control.

If we had the control switch over the world, the world would be a different place. Thankfully God has not given us the switch in our hand. But if God has the control key over certain things, He has given us certain other control keys. Let’s see what they are.

1. Death Is Not Under Our Control But Life Is.

Death is not something we can put a lid on. It comes when it comes. Most people are too busy to get ready to meet their death. We cannot say, “Wait,” to death. Life is a gift of God and we must live it to the full. Talking about life, Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life” (Mt 6:25). Why? Because it will make you unfruitful (Mt 13:22). Yet we worry about life all the time.

A man wanted Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance with him. This is a reasonable request which any of us would have asked. But it is here that Jesus spoke about greed and warned us to guard against greed. “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Lk 12:15). “All kinds of greed!” Greed of money, dresses, jewels, things, land, houses, possessions, studies, job, salary, fame... We must learn to be content at some stage with what we have and be praising God for His provisions. Life is not possessions. We must stop collecting this and that. The more we possess, the more our life is a wrong principle.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). If we want that abundant life, then we must denounce the abundance of possessions. This was the message Jesus gave to the man and the crowd.

Jesus told them a story (Lk 12:13- 21). A rich man reaped a bumper harvest. So we understand that this man was already rich. He was a hard worker who laboured in his fi eld to produce abundant yield. He had ground and many barns. Instead of thinking about supporting Missions or poor, his thought was about his unknown future. His worry was where to store the grains, because the existing storehouses were full. Already he had many bank accounts. He wanted to make one more F.D. The mind plans. It is in our control. It is our choice. When we have enough we must give away. The barns we have are enough. The house, the car, the jewels we have are enough. Don’t build another house or purchase one, or buy a luxury car or diamonds or platinum.

I have no place to store my grain.” He was already full and overflowing. This is the problem with most of us. “My” grain, “My” goods. Nothing is ours. We are stewards of God’s money. He extended his plan not only to store his grains but his goods as well. Note the “all.” All for himself and nothing for others (v18).

“This I will do” - What a wrong turn he took. He thought he was securing his future. He didn’t know he had a heart attack waiting to happen that night.

He wanted to pull down his barns. Not easy, costly. Today many pull down their good houses to build luxury houses, dispose a good car to buy a luxury car. Build bigger barns. Note the plural. This world is for bigger - everything mega. Big dreams. We are not happy with what we have.

“I’ll say to myself.” We assure ourselves. We plan our own plans. There is a way that seems good to man. He did not pray or refer to the Scriptures. Nothing for the Levite, stranger, fatherless or widow but all to the barns.

“Surplus” - When we have more than what we can use, it belongs to others. There is so much poverty in the world because we are rich. Don’t think, ‘The world is big, what can I do?’ Do something in your neighbourhood. If we can lower our standard, some poor can lead decent lives. “Laid up” - Why store the excess? Have a decent amount and let the rest go to God and the poor. “For many years” - How do you know you’ll live that long? Our times are in God’s hands. “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” - He wanted a lazy life of eating, drinking and merry making with no purpose, no goal. That’s what happens when we have plenty. We lose our vision, passion, purpose and goal. We tend to become lethargic and put on weight. This man who was a hard worker, who brought about a plentiful harvest now wants to take it easy.

Don’t leave too much for your children too. They won’t be motivated to work hard. Laziness leads to idle brain, sins and diseases. So give generously so that you’ll have riches in heaven. He was mistaken. Bigger barns means bigger burden, more anxiety, more thieves, more pesticides, more care... His entire attitude towards life changed. See how satan can turn God’s blessings to a curse. It made him rely on riches, not on God. This is the worst danger. We forget God (Pro 30:8,9). For everything we turn to money. Our life is planned according to the funds we have, not God’s will or leading. You pay, you don’t pray. Beware of riches.

But God interferes in your life. He changes your direction. He speaks to you through something, someone, a song, an article. He doesn’t want you to destroy yourself or lose heavenly rewards. He brashly calls you a fool. He asks you a question, “Tonight is your last night. To whom are you leaving all your labour?” God didn’t give him much time to get ready to face death. “Today.” Your life is short. Get ready. There is no fool worse than the one who lives for the world.

The life that you wanted to live will be demanded from you. This life is not your own. The comparison is: “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Am I richer towards myself or richer towards God? If your wealth outweighs the amount given to God, then you are a fool. There are two store houses for each of us - one here and one up there. Keep more up there, where you are going to reside permanently.

“Then” - After explaining how to be rich with God, Jesus told us not to worry. After the bumper crop, instead of rejoicing, he was worried. Jesus told His disciples not to worry about life. “Therefore” - The juice of the story is not to worry after giving away.

Jesus was zeroing on faithlessness. When we have a huge bank account, it shows our faithlessness. The less we have the more faith we will have.

“Do not be afraid little flock.” Do not be afraid to give away your riches. You have a kingdom coming. What you have is nothing compared to the kingdom. So sell your properties and give to the poor. If you have two houses, too many jewels, too many cars, sell and give to the poor.

We fear to part with our riches. Only a little flock will be able to choose this kind of life. The big flock are believers who don’t believe in a sacrificial life. “The Pharisees who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight’” (Lk 16:14,15). It is this little flock that will inherit the kingdom. Jesus came to give us abundant life. So live your life to the best without worry.

2. Circumstances Are Not Under Our Control But Our Responses Are.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Pro 24:10). Life can be cruel. We are tossed about with so many things. Each person handles life’s circumstances differently. Take the example of ditched girls. One may contemplate suicide while the other learns to recover. For each circumstance we can choose our response. We cannot escape the cruelties of life. Cancer, a terrible news, an accident, loss of a loved one, failures, natural calamities and the like, incapacitate us or we may even despair of life. Naomi, Orpah and Ruth responded in three ways. Naomi led the way to a future, Ruth followed suit. But Orpah decided to turn her back on the Living God. Hagar ran away but God told her to go back and she obeyed. Rachel was obsessed with suicidal thoughts. Ahithopel couldn’t face a failure and killed himself. Judas was tortured by his guilt and hanged himself. Job was severely tested but he hung on to God with hope. Job’s wife served God for the sake of worldly blessings, but when they flew away she started cursing God. Esther had no choice. How many questions would have bombarded her small brain! Every time Mordecai or his wife chided her, she must have thought, “Will this happen to me if my parents were alive?” But she faced her future boldly.

You have no control over what life throws at you, but how you handle them is entirely in your control. There is nothing that you and God cannot together handle in life. So never despair of life. Study the Scriptures to see how individuals responded to life’s situations and learn from those who acted courageously and completed their life successfully. The challenges of life must be faced undauntingly. Tomorrow it may be worse. If we have raced with men on foot and they have worn us out, how can we compete with horses? If we stumble in safe country, how will we manage in the thickets of Jordan? (Jer 12:5). Each trial is a gym where our spirit is made stronger. “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psa 121:2). You can manage life with the handle of despair or hope. Go ahead with life holding God’s hand.

Troubles do not last forever. One bad chapter doesn’t mean the story is bad. God has planned a glorious end for you (Jer 29:11). So choose your response carefully to each circumstance in life, to reach that end of the rainbow. Ask: “Lord, what is Your will for me in this situation?” What cannot be solved must be managed. When your heart sinks you must encourage yourself. When you tend to get depressed lift yourself up by singing songs, reading God’s Word, going out, friends and fellowship.

3. Others Are Not Under Our Control But We Are.

When Peter, saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me’” (Jn 21:21,22).

Each person is different. We are very much different from others. Most often this leads to irritation. We expect others to behave the way we like and that leads to friction and frustration. You complain and bicker which leads to relationship problems. The solution is learning to appreciate the variety in God’s creation. Especially in the family context, unless we learn to appreciate the differences in our making, there will be conflicts. Nobody is 100% good or 100% bad. We are a mix of good and bad. Our life’s aim is to increase the good and decrease the bad. This we try to do in others rather than ourselves. We are all in the making. “Why are you like this?” attitude is wrong. He is like that because he is like that. That has to be accepted. Men are different and women are different. God did not create Eve like Adam. The basic ingredient itself is different. Each man and each woman is different. So it is unfair to ask, “Look at her husband, why are you like this? “ Or, “Look at her, I want you to be like her.” Youth complain, “See how his parents are, why are you like this?” We fume and fuss but don’t realize we cannot change them.

The easier thing is to change ourselves. If your boss is a sexy person, learn to keep out of his way. If your husband/wife is an angry person, learn to keep your cool, answer softly and resort to prayer. If he enjoys new dishes, instead of grumbling, read some cookery book, or consult Google and rejuvenate your cooking skills. Abigail and Nabal were knotted together like a bald head with a knee. But she adjusted with him all his life. She learnt when to talk and when not. Euodia and Syntyche were not ready to change their minds or thinking to suit the functioning style of the other. They wanted the other person to change, resulting in a tug of war. You who teach others, teach yourself (Rom 2:21).

If you want to change yourself to suit the other person, study that person. Then tailor yourself, especially with whom you are closely associated. This results in your spiritual growth. It lessens your anxiety. It also is a silent message to your associate. First remove the speck in your eye. When you change, others change; when others change, the world around you changes. Let the change start in you. In acceptance is peace.

Hannah learnt to pray effectively, to trust the Lord, to expect a miracle, to be happy in her circumstances, instead of fighting with Peninnah. Jacob had a tough job getting along with his father-in[1]law Laban. The colours of the rainbow produce white. If we all work together smoothly, there will be peace. The Lord brings difficult people in our path to change us. Joseph was chiselled by his brothers to become a strong spiritual person. He who is holy must become holier still. Living with a difficult person makes us holier still.

4. God’s Gifts To Us Are Not Under Our Control But Our Gifts To God Are.

The gifts of the Spirit are given to us by God. “The Spirit distributes them” (1 Cor 12:11). We can pray for spiritual gifts but God decides whom to get what. We need not salivate over somebody’s gift. There is no one with no gift. While a teenager, I complained to God that He gave me none. God said, “You can talk.” There started my ministry. I started talking to any willing ear.

Most of us err here. We want this gift or that. Good. Rather we should discover the gift God has given us and develop and use them. That will be our gift to God. It may be an insignificant looking gift like teaching kids or bombastic like healing. If we faithfully use them, we get the same reward of a five talented person. If you are faithful in little, God will add more to you. All gifts are not mentioned, eg. writing, music, etc.(Rom 12:6-8). So try to find out the area where you shine and where God is using you. It may not be clear in the early years. But if you faithfully keep doing whatever you can for God, you will find your gift manifesting, emerging and growing. It could be an urge as for Dorcas who was ministering among the widows. Philip’s daughters were prophesying, encouraging, edifying and comforting others (1 Cor 14:1-3).

God has entrusted you with His gift. He expects you to use it and multiply it. A talent may be rudimentary, but do not be discouraged. Bless people with it and glorify God. It is a mustard seed. Water it and nurture it. If God is glorified, that is your gift to God. A Christian is for others. Being a Christian is a privilege and duty - our duty to God, ourselves and others. We are not only members of Christ but of one another. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Pet 4:10).

5. Time Is Not Under Our Control But Work Is

My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6).

You cannot stop the running of the clock. Time keeps moving whether you like it or not. “Time stood still,” or, “Time just flew,” are expressions of what doesn’t happen. Since the beginning of creation, time is running like a non-stop travelator carrying us. It will come to an end when we reach our destination, when there will be no clock.

The only thing that we spend without knowing how much balance we have, is time. Each person is given 24 hours a day, 24×60 minutes, or 24×60×60 seconds. If you don’t use it, you will lose it. Time lost cannot be retrieved. Time may not be in our hand but work is. Though we cannot control time, we can control the use of it. So sort it, plan it so that not a drop will be wasted. You may divide it as: Time for God, rest and sleep, work, family, self, ministry and miscellaneous (visitors, sickness, etc.). Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me. The night comes when no one can work” (Jn 9:4). On the cross He said, “It is finished.” Paul, Nehemiah and the Proverbs 31 woman used their time to the full. Passion, toil and training can help you soar. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, If you can’t walk then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward,” said Martin Luther King Jr. That should be your work ethics.

Give to God generously, atleast two hours a day - an hour of Bible Meditation and an hour of prayer. Rest, relaxation and sleep can be allotted 8 hours. Work takes up 8 hours. Commute is extra. It can be office work or house work, baby, etc. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t give 2 hours for God or go out for ministry when you have a baby. Ministers of God also should stick to this schedule. You are barely left with 6 hours for family, yourself and ministry. Divide it wisely. An imbalance in time management can create a disaster in your life.

Some opt to work 9-12 hours a day for the salivating six figure salary sake and pay in terms of health and family problems. Ministers of God must remember that we are not Jesuses or Pauls. Ministry overtime, neglecting your personal time with God and family will spell doom for your ministry. Some sleep a lot or remain glued to the TV. Pushing God to a corner will speak on all areas of your life. Neglect of family will leave you weeping at the end of your life.

Aim for quality in each section. Don’t bring office fi les home. Apportion your time wisely so that when time stops you won’t look back and feel sorry (Eccl 9:10).

6. Sicknesses Are Not Under Our Control But Health Is.

We read of many diseases in the Bible. How they come we don’t know. Diseases just come. Viral fevers, dengue, typhoid, cholera, poxes, cancers, heart diseases, strokes, and the like do not spare anyone. But many Diseases can be prevented. How?

a) Cleanliness: Keep your home and surroundings clean. Wash your hands before cooking and eating. Do not eat what dropped to the floor or wash and eat. Wash vegetables and fruits. Have regular baths and wear clean clothes. Avoid tight fitting outfits. Have mosquito mesh. Keep toilets clean.

b) Develop Healthy Habits: Avoid oily, fatty, salty foods and take plenty of vegetables, fruits and water. Use turmeric generously in your cooking. Add germinated lentils, fish, chicken (without skin and fat), curd, green leafy vegetables, beans and pulses to your regular diet in plenty; mutton, eggs and nuts in limited quantities. Cut down on sugar and processed foods. Hand pound rice is better. Let your visits to restaurants be limited. Hotel foods have more salt, sugar, colors and saturated fat and you tend to eat more because you have paid. Increase proteins and salads in your daily meal. Don’t think kids can eat anything. Healthy diet is for all ages.

c) Exercise Regularly: Heart attacks are occurring at younger and younger ages. Mobile and TV are modern culprits. Get moving. Do not be sitting for long hours. Take care of your weight. An abdominal waist circumference of 90 c.m. in men and 80 c.m. in women is ideal. Diabetes is the next killer. Avoid sweets and bakery stuff like poison. And never let people to force you to eat.

d) Medical Check-ups: Have your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure checked periodically. Have a regular doctor who knows your medical history. Read health articles and expand your knowledge. Healthy habits keep even some cancers at bay. Don’t flush your urine and motion without seeing them. Limit the use of plastics, non[1]sticks, food colors, preservatives and chemicals. Iron vessels are a healthier alternative. Stop smoking and drinking. Don’t encourage or pressurise children to marry relatives. Stick to your spouse to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

e) Faith in God: Spirituality blesses you with good health and de-stresses your brain. Many psychological disorders like depression can be avoided by trusting God. Believe in miracles. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Miracles happen even today. I myself am a walking miracle. I was terribly sick due to severe asthma and nobody expected me to live beyond five. Today at 77 (2023) I am as busy as ever. Since ten months I have stopped using the atomizer I have been using for the past 35 or more years, morning and evening. That is a miracle. Glory to God! Being close to God keeps the demon away. Even if you are afflicted with an incurable disease faith will sustain you to the end. Suicide is the most unwise thing to do. Live your life till the end.

7. Accidents Are Not Under Our Control But Safety Measures Are

Accidents can happen to anyone. They happen at the most unexpected moments. Many believers have died in accidents. The number of accidents have increased over the years. Most accidents are not under our control. Even if we drive carefully, another may crash on us. What we can do from our side is to take safety measures. Eutychus should not have sat on an open window, especially in the night, especially when Paul was preaching. Abimelech should not have gone near the wall. He should have been wearing his helmet. A tower in Siloam fell on eighteen and killed them. It was no fault of the victims. Let’s consider some preventive measures.

Walking - While walking on the road, do not use your mobile. Apply your mind to what’s happening on the road. If you need to use your mobile, go to the sidewalk and fi nish your work. Cross only at zebra crossing. In other places look both sides before crossing. Walk on that side of the road where you can see the vehicles coming.

Cycling - If there is lane for cycling stick to it or cycle close to the edge of the road. Be extremely careful while crossing the road or get down and cross.

Driving - If you are sleepy don’t take the risk. Your life is more important. Think of the safety of pedestrians. Never use your mobile while driving. People are sure to call you back or understand. Even if you don’t use your hand, your attention will be diverted. Please put on your seat belt even if you are in the back seat. It is wise to have a fi re extinguisher. Have regular servicing for your cars. Start early so you won’t have to rush. Never jump a red light. Yellow means wait. Never drink and drive. Never drive without a license.

Railways - Beware of crossing railway tracks because it is very difficult to judge the speed of the train. Never take the risk of alighting or boarding a train on the move. You can always alight on the next station or miss the train. So what?

Swimming - Learn swimming if it is not too late and teach your children to swim as early as possible. It is a life[1]saving measure. Wear a lifebelt while boating.

Flight - Listen to the flight attendant explaining an emergency, every time and understand it. When there is an emergency, don’t run for your luggage.

Bus - If you find the driver driving rashly or talking over the mobile, tell him not to do that and if he doesn’t listen, tell him that you will complain to the authorities, or tell him to stop and alight. If you see anyone smoking inside, raise an objection.

Motorbike - Most accidents of motorcyclists are due to over speed. Never exceed the speed limit and never carry more people than prescribed. Wear your helmet always even for short distances. Always ask the question to yourself, “This or my life?”

Rush to an open space if the earth quakes. Have fi re extinguishers in your home and office. Never leave your bore well open or terrace without a parapet wall.

Losing your cool when the unexpected happens can have dire consequences. But you can train your mind to handle chaos.

Ok, now, put on the seven control switches in your hand and have a blessed life!

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