Sunday, August 03, 2008


The last frontier is the frontier of forgiveness.
'I will never forgive
As long as I live.'

Under the scorching sun
The prophet sat,
Unable to comprehend divine compassion,
For what God would care
For the beasts of the earth and the birds of the air?

For what God would have relented
When Nineveh repented?
'How can I be merciful when they are so cruel?
There is no justice in this wicked world!'

O Lord, Your forgiveness
Is far beyond human selfishness.
On a perishing plant Jonah felt so much pity
He ignored 120,000 innocent children in a great city!

[Published under the name Tom Prato in]

Marah and Elim

Text: Exodus 15.22-27

Immediately after the wonderful deliverance at the Red Sea, and the song of Moses and Israel, we have the experience of Marah. What is the Lord trying to teach us here? We must remember that it is the Lord who is leading the Israelites, and He brings them into the wilderness of Shur. The wilderness is a place of trial and testing. Three days, and there is no water - an unpleasant experience. And then they come to Marah, where the waters are bitter - a very painful experience. This is like adding insult to injury!

The people are upset and they grumble at Moses [or rather, God!]. The Lord allows these unpleasant experiences in our life. And often we reach breaking-point. We get angry and upset with God. But actually God is allowing this unpleasant experience in my life. This is the cross I have to bear; this is the 'light affliction' which Paul mentions.

Moses cries out to God, and the Lord shows him a tree. The tree is thrown into the waters of Marah, and the waters become sweet. The tree is the cross, Gal 3.13, 1 Pet 2.24. We have to pray, 'Lord, give me grace to bear this trial. Help me to overcome!' We need the Lord's help in this bitter situation. This trial has been given to me by God. I have to accept it, submit to it, and ask God to teach me valuable lessons out of it.

What lessons? The Lord has brought me out of Egypt; but that is an outward deliverance. The Lord has to bring me out of my 'self-centredness'; which is an inward deliverance. The cross is applied to all the stubborn and self-willed areas of my life. It is a 'statute and regulation' in the believer's life. God tests us. What will our reaction be? What is it that comes out of us when we undergo a trial? Is it a flood of complaints, full of self-pity and self-centredness? God's grace is more than sufficient to help me bear that 'thorn in my flesh', 2 Cor 12.9. And in due course, God will remove that thorn.

In verse 26, God is emphasizing the matter of obedience. Faith and obedience go together; it is the 'obedience of faith', the 'submission of faith', the humility and patience and long-suffering and meekness of faith. 'I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians'. Those diseases were the plagues that fell on Egypt. God does not want to chastize us. We have to pray, 'Lord, take away that which is stubborn and stiff-necked in my life. Lord, I cannot do it, but You can do it!'

'I am the Lord who heals you.' He is dealing with our souls, the health of our souls; it is what Peter calls the 'salvation of our souls'. Our intellect, our emotions, our will - all brought under subjection to His will, His mind, His heart. We must have the mind and heart of Christ; and it takes a long time!

But here is the good news! Every trial properly accepted and borne with grace leads to Elim. The Lord is leading me step by step through the wilderness. There are trials and testings. But by His grace, I will overcome! I will overcome the complaint, the bitterness, the resentment. I will say, 'Lord, thank you for this bitter cup.' Every time we overcome, we come to Elim. There is abundance, an inward spiritual enlargement, reflected by 'twelve springs of water' and 'seventy date palms'. The twelve apostles [Luke 9.1, 2] were like twelve springs of water; the seventy disciples [Luke 10.1, 17] were like date palms. We become like springs of water; we provide sweetness and health like date palms.

The Reward of Perseverance

This verse cleverly illustrates the reward of perseverance.

Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl;
The one was wise, and a cheery soul;
The other one took a gloomy view,
And bade his friend a sad adieu.
Said the other frog with a merry grin,
"I can't get out, but I won't give in;
I'll swim around till my strength is spent,
Then I'll die the more content."
And as he swam, though ever it seemed,
His struggling began to churn the cream,
Until on top of pure butter he stopped,
And out of the bowl he quickly hopped.

The moral, you ask? Oh, it's easily found.
If you can't get out, keep swimming around!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Be Perfect with the Lord, your God

The chief hindrance in the way of obedience to this command [‘Be ye perfect with the Lord your God,’ Deut 18.13] lies in our misapprehension of what religion is. Man was created simply to live for God, to show forth His glory, by allowing God to show how completely He could reveal His likeness and blessedness in man. God lives for man; longing in the greatness of His love to communicate His goodness and His love.

It was to this life, lost by sin, Christ came to redeem us back. The selfishness of the human heart looks upon salvation as simply the escape from hell, with so much of holiness as is needed to make our happiness secure. Christ meant us to be restored to the state from which we had fallen – the whole heart, the whole will, the whole life given up to the glory and service of God.

To be wholly given up to God, to be perfect with the Lord our God, lies at the very root, is the very essence, of true religion. The enthusiastic devotion of the whole heart to God is what is asked of us.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Shoe Cleaning, Connaught Circle

Shoe Cleaning, Connaught Circle
Originally uploaded by Prato9x.
Captured this little girl getting her shoes/sneakers cleaned with a brush and presumably soap/detergent. She finds the process very interesting. The cleaner must have charged Rs 10 for the job.

What you gather from the photo is this:
1. The girl is from the South. She is presumably Tamilian. That is why you finding those shocking red socks worn with blue sneakers.
2. The girl's dress must have been purchased in a Delhi market, where lots of such fancy dresses are obtained cheaply.
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