Sunday, April 20, 2014

When you do something beautiful - John Lennon

"When you do something beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle yet most of the audience still sleeps." - John Lennon

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Top 10 Jesus Christ Quotes - Pastor Jack Wellman

Here is a wonderful collection of quotes from Jesus Christ by Pastor Jack Wellman along with his explanation for each:
It is hard to pick only 10 of Jesus’ quotes because everything He said was powerful.  Here are 10 quotes from the gospels from Jesus Christ that I believe have eternal implications.

John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’”

Too often we cast stones at other believers when we are not without sin.  I have frequently said that if I have a stone to cast, it would have to be at my own self.  Jesus did not say that the woman caught in adultery was without sin but those who are without sin can cast the first stone.  Everyone left of course and Jesus said, “Now, go and sin no more” (John 8:11).  This verse is often taken out of context but Jesus was clear that this woman had sinned and commanded her to not sin any more.  Incidentally, why wasn’t the man brought along with this woman for he was also caught in the act of adultery.  What a double standard by these religious hypocrites.

John 13:1 “Now before the Feast of Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

What Jesus is saying at the very end of this verse is not that He loved them to the end of His life or up to the last hour of his physical life.  When He said that “he loved them to the end” He was really saying that He loved them to the uttermost, to the maximum or to the ultimate means possible.  So if you read what Jesus was really saying, this verse could have much more profound meaning; “when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own that were in the world, he loved them to the max.” What a difference that passage makes when we see what Jesus was actually saying.  If we don’t understand this, it is like Jesus only loved them until the end of His physical life.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I love this.  If we are worried about tomorrow, we are borrowing trouble from tomorrow and paying interest on it ahead of time.  I heard a pastor once say that only about 17% of what believers worry about actually comes true.  What a waste of energy worrying is. What is the “therefore” there for?  It is because Jesus had been talking about our natural tendencies to worry about where our food, clothing and shelter would come from (Matt 6:25-28).  Jesus was rebuking them because they (and all of us) often worry about things in the future that never come to pass.

John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to hear, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

Jesus has conquered the grave. He declared victory over death.  He brings life to those who will die.  Even if we die, and 1 out of every 1 people does, we will live again if we have trusted in Christ.  This means “whoever.”  Jesus is not just talking to those who were listening or only to Martha whose brother Lazarus had died but to “whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall live again.”  This is not only good news…it is the best possible news.

Mark 2:17 “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus is a friend of sinners but He is opposed to the religious hypocrites (James 4:6).  Jesus said that he came to call the sinners and was rebuking the Pharisees because they said that Jesus was eating and drinking (associating) with them.  Jesus clearly said that it is the sick (sinners) who are in need of healing (Isaiah 53).  Those who think that they are already perfect (i.e. the Pharisees) don’t believe that they need forgiveness.  How wrong they were.

John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

By saying this, Jesus declared all other religions invalid.  There is no other way to heaven by which men and women can be saved than through Jesus Christ, period (Acts 4:12)!  Jesus thus destroyed “universalism.”  Universalism is a belief that ultimately everyone will be saved or go to heaven.  Sadly, many Christians hold to this belief but they are badly deceived.  Jesus did not say that I am “a” way or “a” truth, or “a” life but He is the one and only way…THE way, not A way.  He is the one and only truth. He is the one and only way to eternal life.  Many people believe that there are many paths to God. Let me say that there are only two paths to God. One is through Jesus Christ and eternal life (John 3:16) and the other path is to eternal condemnation (John 3:18, Rev 20:11-15).  I strongly suggest the path that is through Jesus for no one will go to heaven where the Father is unless they go through the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12, 16:30-31).
Read this related article with 15 Words of Jesus from the Bible on What Christians Want To Know.

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that they world might be saved though him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

This may be the most famous quote known, by believers and non-believers.  The love of God is no more vividly displayed to the saved and to the lost than on the cross by Jesus willingly giving His own life. This love is also displayed by the Father for it is the Father Himself that gives His Son Who died for the ungodly.  Believe in Him and you will not ever have an eternal death (John 3:16).  If you choose to not believe, you stand condemned already (John 3:18). This “whoever” shows that God has a passionate desire that no one should perish (2 Peter 3:9) and everyone has freewill to believe in Him. We can choose life or death (Duet 30:19). It is entirely up to us.

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This was a new commandment given by Christ.  We are to love one another.  In what way?  In the same way that Jesus loved us.  How did Jesus love us?  He willingly served us, He willingly died for us.  That is a hard love to live out.  It is a powerful witness tool for the lost because He said “”By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” When Christians attack other Christians over non-essentials like tongues, we damage the gospel message to unbelievers. I have heard non-believers say that “If that is Christianity, I want no part of it.”  Who could blame them?  Jesus said “By this all people will know” and this “all people” most certainly means unbelievers.

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”

The word “blessed” literally means “to be made happy.”  So we can see that Jesus is saying “you will be made happy or joyful” when you are reviled, persecuted, and lies spoken about you because we name the name of Jesus.  This blessing is spoken of by Peter when he wrote that we should “not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”  Wow.  Did you catch that?  You receive the “Spirit of glory” which means we can glorify Christ in our sufferings and persecutions.  Peter said it shouldn’t surprise us.  The real surprise would be if we are never persecuted for Christ’s name sake.  If we are never persecuted for His sake, maybe we ought to see if we are a Christian or not. Many deny Christ by their silence and this should get the attention of those who think they are saved but really aren’t because someday Christ will deny them (Matt 10:33, 7:21-23).

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

This is another of the Beatitudes or some call The Sermon on the Mount.  Those who have a hunger for God’s righteousness will be satisfied someday.  That means that they will have the satisfaction of a hungry man eating a full meal.  They will be blessed because whoever has this thirst for righteousness can drink from the Living Water (John 7:37-39) and will never be thirsty again (John 4:13-14).  David described it in Psalms; “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God”  (Psalm 42:1).  I remember when I was very young and was on my first hunting trip we were hunting for deer and we saw a deer whose chest was heaving from exhaustion because hunters were trying to kill him.  This deer was drinking deeply from a creek bed. It appeared that he was dying of thirst. I believe this is the image David spoke of when he said that his soul panted after God.  For those who are desperately hungry and thirsty for the Word of God…indeed for God Himself, some great day they will be satisfied.

Conclusion

If you have read these quotes, maybe you can see how deeply satisfying God is.  For those who choose to believe in Christ, they await their eternal home of glory.  Jesus wants us to come to Him for eternal life and doesn’t want anyone to be lost. If you have no guarantee of eternal life right now, put your trust in the Lord and He will save you.  Today is your day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2) or it is your day of condemnation (John 3:18).  It is your choice.

Article by Pastor Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Life is strange - Translation of a Meerabai poem

"Karam ki gati Nyari"
- Meerabai



Life is strange

Deer have large eyes
but wander in the forest

Cranes are white
Sweet Koyal is black

Small rivulets are sweet
The magnanimous ocean salty

Those lacking intellect rule
Wise men are on the street

Life is strange

Who cares for the king?
Meera sings for true love

Similarity in Mantras from Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Jainism and Buddhism

There is one striking similarity in the  key mantra from these religions: Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Jainism and Buddhism - "Learning."  The other main religions of the world (Christianity and Judaism) don't seem to have one key mantra.  Here are the mantras:

Gayatri Mantra (Hinduism)

S. Radhakrishna has provided one of the better explanations of the Gayatri mantra:
"We meditate on the effulgent glory of the divine Light; may he inspire our understanding."

Mool Mantra (Sikhism)


Namokar Mantra (Jainism)

"Namokar Mantra" (णमोकार मंत्र) is the fundamental prayer in Jainism and can be recited at any time of the day. While praying by reciting this mantra, the devotee bows with respect to Arihantas, Siddhas, spiritual leaders (Acharyas), teachers (Upadyayas) and all the monks. This worship the virtues of all the supreme spiritual people instead of just worshipping one particular person. It is important to note that the Namokar Mantra does not mention the names of even "Tirthankaras" and Siddhas.

By saluting them, Jains believe they receive the inspiration from them for the right path of true happiness and total freedom from the karma of their soul.Jains do not ask for any favours or material benefits from the "Tirthankaras" or from sâdhus and sâdhvis. This mantra simply serves as a gesture of deep respect towards beings they believe are more spiritually advanced and to remind followers of the Jain religion of their ultimate goal of "Nirvana" or "Moksha".


Namokar Mantra by jules75002

Tisarana: Buddhism


I go to the refuge of the (pure) intellect
I go to the refuge of the  (pure) religion
I go to the refuge of the (pure) conglomeration

Kalma (Islam)
That there is no God to be worshipped except Allaah (the one God) and that Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) is His Messenger.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

The end of suffering is more important than Knowing about God in Buddhism


Do Buddhists Believe in God? -- by Kusala Bhikshu
(A talk given at a high school in Los Angeles.)

Photo - Bob Heide


Why is it... The Buddha never talked about the One God of the desert, the Judeo-Christian God? Does this mean that all Buddhists are atheists and don’t believe in God? Did the Buddha believe in God?

These are some of the questions I would like to try and answer today.

The Buddha was born 500 years before Christ, in what is now Nepal. His dad was a king, his mom was a queen, and his dad wanted him to take over the family business (the kingdom) when he got older.

The kind of world the Buddha was born into was magical. Everything seemed to be alive. The trees, mountains, lakes, and sky were living and breathing with a variety of gods in charge. If you needed rain you asked one god, if you needed it to stop raining you asked another. The priests of India did all the religious work, and got paid for it.

In India at the time of the Buddha you became a priest if you were born into the right family, and not because of the school you went to, or the grades you got. 

There were other kinds of religious people as well.

Mendicants were men who left their family, friends, and jobs to find the answers to life. They did not live in homes or apartments, but lived under trees and in caves, and would practice meditation all day long. They wanted to really be uncomfortable, so they could understand what suffering was all about.

Many kinds of meditation were practiced by these mendicants. In Tranquility Meditation for instance, you think about just one thing, like looking at a candle or saying a word over and over. When the mind becomes focused in oneness, you experience a great peacefulness.

Even if the mendicants were sitting in the rain on a cold day, they were still content. They found in their meditation practice the essence of happiness.

Renunciation is when you give up all the things that make your life pleasant. Sometimes the people with money and power in India would buy a lot of stuff to make themselves happy and their lives more comfortable, thinking that happiness and comfort depended on what they owned.

When the mendicants could see their own suffering clearly, after many years of renunciation, they understood that happiness was not dependent on the things they owned, but the kind of life they lived. 

Even all the gods in India could not end the suffering of one human being.

At the age of 29, the Buddha stopped praying to the gods to end his suffering and the suffering of others. He left his family and friends, went to the edge of the forest, took off all his clothes and jewelry, covered his naked body with rags of cloth, cut off his hair and started to meditate.

He became a mendicant, and It took him six years of hard work and much suffering, but in the end he was able to stop his suffering forever (Nirvana) and help others stop their suffering as well.

Did the Buddha believe in God, the One God of the desert, the God of the Christians, Jews and Muslims?

Well... No... He didn't... Monotheism (only one God) was a foreign concept to the Buddha, his world was filled with many gods. The creator god Brahma being the most important one.

At the time of the Buddha, the only people practicing the religion of the One God of the desert, were the Jews. Remember, it was still 500 years before Christ came into the world.

The Buddha never left India. The Buddha walked from village to village... In his entire lifetime he never went any further than 200 miles from his birthplace.

The Buddha never met a Jew... And because of this, he never said anything about the One God of the desert.

There is also nothing in the teachings of the Buddha that suggest how to find God or worship the god's of India, although the Buddha himself was a theist (believed in gods), his teachings are non-theistic.

The Buddha was more concerned with the human condition: Birth, Sickness, Old age, and Death. The Buddhist path is about coming to a place of acceptance with these painful aspects of life, and not suffering through them.

Please be clear on this point... The Buddha is not thought of as a god in Buddhism and is not prayed to. He is looked up to and respected as a great teacher, in the same way we respect Abraham Lincoln as a great president.

He was a human being who found his perfection in Nirvana. Because of his Nirvana, the Buddha was perfectly moral, perfectly ethical, and ended his suffering forever.

Does that mean that every Buddhist in the world is an atheist?

No!!! I have met a lot of Buddhists who believe in God. I have met a lot of Buddhists who don’t believe in God... And a lot of Buddhists just don’t know.

All three points of view are OK if you’re Buddhist because the end of suffering is more important than God in Buddhism.

Sometimes a student will ask me how everything in this world got started... "If you don’t have God in Buddhism then who or what caused the universe?"

When the Buddha was asked how the world started, he kept silent. In the religion of Buddhism we don’t have a first cause, instead we have a never ending circle of birth and death. In this world and in all worlds, there are many beginnings and ends. The model of life used in Buddhism has no starting place... It just keeps going and going.

Now having said that... If you’re a Buddhist it’s OK to believe God was the first cause... It really doesn't go against the teachings of the Buddha, his focus was on suffering... It's also OK to believe science has the answer… Like the big bang theory, etc... Some Buddhist’s don’t even care how it all started, and that’s fine too. Knowing how the world started is not going to end your suffering, it’s just going to give you more stuff to think about.

I hope you can see that God is not what Buddhism is about... Suffering is... And if you want to believe in God, as some Buddhists do, I suppose it's OK. But, Buddhist's don't believe God can end suffering. Only the teaching's of the Buddha can help us end suffering through wisdom and the activity of compassion.

In his whole life and in all his teachings the Buddha never said anything about the One God of the desert.

A wise man once said:

1. I do not take it to be true;  2. I do not take it to be false;  3. I do not say you're wrong;
4. I do not not say you're right;  5. I do not say it is true or false;  6. It is both wrong and right, true and false at the same time.

Such is the dilemma of relative truth. It is just the finger pointing.


Friday, April 4, 2014

All is sound, that is it


Hari Om Tat Sat

-Swami Satyananda Saraswati

‘Hari Om Tat Sat’ is a very ancient mantra from the Vedas. ‘Hari Om’ is one mantra and ‘Om Tat Sat’ another. I have joined the two in ‘Hari Om Tat Sat’. ‘Hari’ represents the manifest universe and life. ‘Om’ represents the unmanifest and absolute reality. By the word ‘reality’, I mean total existence. You may even use the word God. Reality, existence, God, Brahman, the absolute are all synonymous terms pointing to one being, but they do not really define it.

This reality has two stages. One is the absolute, the other is manifest. This gross universe, the millions of suns, moons and stars, space, that which is beyond it and beyond this little earth, as far as we can go, are all manifestations of that reality, not a creation of reality. There is a difference between the process of creation and manifestation. You take cotton and make yarn from it, and then a shirt. The cotton has become the shirt, it has not created the shirt. The cotton has transformed itself into a shirt. In the same way, there is a great invisible force. Nobody can see it and nobody has seen it, except for a few people who we call avataras.

The manifest reality, this world, is represented by the mantra ‘Hari’. ‘Om’ is the unmanifest reality, the unseen, invisible, uncreated aspect of the absolute. So, ‘Hari Om Tat Sat’ means ‘That is Truth’. That which I see with my eyes and that which is beyond my eyes are both the same, not different. The creator and the creation are not two. The creator has not created creation, but has manifested or transformed himself into creation.

All these truths are represented in the mantra ‘Hari Om Tat Sat’. When I say ‘Hari Om Tat Sat’, it reminds me that the seen and the unseen, are both one.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The power of truth never declines - Dalai Lama

The power of truth never declines. Force and violence may be effective in the short term, but in the long run it’s truth that prevails.


Without you, everything is False - Guru Nanak


Guru Nanak on Falsehood:
"Kood Raajaa Kood Prajaa Kood Sab Sansaar"

False is the king, false are the subjects; false is the whole world.
False is the mansion, false are the skyscrapers; false are those who live in them.
False is gold, and false is silver; false are those who wear them.
False is the body, false are the clothes; false is incomparable beauty.
False is the husband, false is the wife; they mourn and waste away.
The false ones love falsehood, and forget their Creator.
With whom should I become friends, if all the world shall pass away?
False is sweetness, false is honey; through falsehood, boat-loads of men have drowned.
Nanak speaks this prayer: without You, Lord, everything is totally false. ||1||

Guru Nanak on Truth
"Sach taa par Jaaniye Jaa Hriday Sachaa Hoye"

One knows the Truth only when the Truth is in his heart.
The filth of falsehood departs, and the body is washed clean.
One knows the Truth only when he bears love to the True Lord.
Hearing the Name, the mind is enraptured; then, he attains the gate of salvation.
One knows the Truth only when he knows the true way of life.
Preparing the field of the body, he plants the Seed of the Creator.
One knows the Truth only when he receives true instruction.
Showing mercy to other beings, he makes donations to charities.
One knows the Truth only when he dwells in the sacred shrine of pilgrimage of his own soul.
He sits and receives instruction from the True Guru, and lives in accordance with His Will.
Truth is the medicine for all; it removes and washes away our sins.
Nanak speaks this prayer to those who have Truth in their laps. ||2||

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Islam greatly encourages peace, love, kindness, and compassion - Alisa Khan



Here is an eye opening article on Islam with quotes from the holy Quran written by Alisa Khan:

The religion of Islam greatly encourages peace, love, kindness, and compassion. In the Holy Quran, there are several verses about these traits.

Prohibition of racism in Islam


The racism is strictly prohibited in the religion of Islam. The Holy Quran very successfully explains the reason of the creation of different races. Consider the following verse from the Holy Quran.
"O mankind! We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know and honor each other (not that you should despise one another). Indeed the most honorable of you in the sight of God is the most righteous." Chapter 49, Verse 13

The Holy Quran in this verse does not only tell that the racism is not allowed but it also tells that all the human beings are equal in the eyes of Allah Almighty. Only the Muslim who fulfils his duties is better in the eyes of God.

Islam prefers impartiality

These days the so-called Muslims attack the faith and belief of the people belonging to religions other than the Islam. However, in the Holy Quran, the impartiality is recommended and praised by the Almighty.
"God does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who have neither fought against your faith nor driven you out of your homes. In fact God loves the equitable." Chapter 60, Verse 8


Islam encourages forgiveness

The religion of Islam encourages forgiveness. Although forgiveness is something hard to practice, however Allah almighty promises too large a reward to ignore. Consider the verse of the Holy Quran, which is mentioned as follows.

"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden (paradise) whose width is that of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous - Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity or in adversity, who restrain (their) anger and pardon (all) men - for God loves those who do good." Chapter 3, Verses 133-134


Some kind deeds according to a verse of the Holy Quran

The following is a very beautiful verse from the Holy Quran.
"And what will explain to you what the steep path is? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage; or the giving of food in a day of famine to an orphan relative, or to a needy in distress. Then will he be of those who believe, enjoin fortitude, and encourage kindness and compassion." Chapter 90, Verses 12-17


In this verse of the Holy Quran, some of the kind deeds are explained which hold significance in the eyes of the Almighty. Human slavery is a grave problem even today. Islam has recognized the problem and encouraged people to free slaves. Other than that, feeding the hungry and/or poor is also a great deed in Islam. It earns many virtues for the people who do this. The orphans are given a lot of importance in Islam. Looting the wealth of the orphans either blatantly or by trick is a great sin.

All the Muslims should try to learn the Holy Quran to make sure that they are on the right path.