Friday, December 12, 2014

Ukraine Plane Crash


Four children were engaged in the timeless "My Dad" argument.

Tim said, "My dad works for the largest computer company in the world, and he travels everywhere."

Kip replied, "Well, my father owns a shipping business with hundreds of boats, and even airplanes. I get to ride on boats and planes whenever I want."

Darryl chipped in, "My father works for the government, and he even gets to talk to the president sometimes. We have security men at our house all the time."

Stanley stood quietly for a moment, because his father had died not long before. Finally, he said, "My dad is in Heaven, and gets to see God every day."

The other boys tried to think of something to say that could top that, but nothing came to mind.

Nothing can top the Lord our God! He is above all else. Nothing compares to Him. Therefore, nothing else in this world is more worthy of our worship and devotion. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. His glory endures forever.

In closing.....

(I read about Dr. David Jeremiah quoting about a real life story that happened recently:)

   Last February, John Allen, a British lawyer living in Holland, smiled across the supper table at his wife and three sons, ages eight to fourteen. Someone snapped a picture. They were happy. A family vacation to Indonesia was in the works.

Five months later the five Allens boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, but somewhere over Ukraine the plane was blown out of the sky. The whole family perished in an instant, along with their fellow passengers.

We can’t comprehend the evil and calamity in the world. Such tragedies deeply upset and depress us, but they also represent a poignant reminder. Take every opportunity to cherish your loved ones. If you’re peeved with a family member, forgive them. If you’ve neglected them, give them a call. If you’ve rebelled against your dad or mom, go home with the humble attitude of a repentant prodigal. If you’ve been tense with your kids, give them an extra hug. If you live far away, work harder to stay in touch. Whatever it takes, take care of your family as well as you can. It’s at the core of God’s plan and provision for the world.

Blessings,


Raj Kosaraju

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sincere. Uncertain. Afraid.


One-word descriptions of my condition? Disillusioned. Stretched. Learning. Lonely. Determined. Sincere. Uncertain. Afraid.

But how can we live that pure life when our sin nature continues to tempt us so strongly? Our struggle is even harder because of the sinful world that surrounds us and presses in on us every time we turn on the TV or the radio. Even going to work, school or sport presents struggles if the people we’re with are worldly.

God will often call us to face difficulties because of our obedience to Him. But it’s in those times that we must remain steadfast in our faithfulness and, like Joseph, trust God to bring us through it. Face any hardship with faith and trust God!

From time to time I have seen people pour out their heart to the Pastor because their sins had been discovered and they were in serious trouble. They wept bitterly because they had devastated their marriage or ruined their reputation.

     But later someone would tell me they were back in the same situation.  They had not learned from their experience, and seemed determined to bring even more chaos into their lives.

     What was the problem?  The problem was lack of repentance.  Their tears were tears of self-pity---but not of repentance.  True repentance is a turning from sin---a conscious, deliberate decision to leave sin behind---and a conscious turning to God, with a commitment to follow His will.

He knows how we function, and He knows the pitfalls and dangers we face.  If He didn’t love us, He wouldn’t try to guide us in the right path.  But He does!  As Billy Graham says  we can be just as certain and just as worry-free about God's love and protection.  What is the evidence?  It is the Cross, where God fully expressed His love for us.  The Bible says, "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all---how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).  His love is certain.  He has never gone back on a single promise, and He never will. -

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wisdom of the World



“I will . . . lie down in peace . . . for you alone . . . make me dwell in safety” – Psalm 4:8

 Billy Graham says, by any measure drug and alcohol dependence has become one of our greatest social problems.  The issue isn't just illegal drugs; many depend on alcohol or over-the-counter or prescription drugs just to face each day or to get to sleep at night. We are not the masters of our fate. 

  We think we control our lives---but we don't.  In an instant life can radically change---a car accident, a heart attack, a pink slip, a child's raging fever.  Frustrated researchers conquer one deadly virus, only to discover one even more lethal.

I am not a doctor, of course, and I fully realize some drugs have a legitimate place under careful medical supervision.  But in my experience far too many people turn first to drugs or alcohol instead of to God.  Rather than face their problems and deal with them (with God’s help), they use drugs or alcohol to escape.

Opportunities never look as good coming as they do going. And they wait for no one, so you need to be attentive and grab them. They come in many forms, and they can come from any direction. But one thing's for certain: they can be seen and seized only in the present. Whatever has happened in your life, has happened. And since you can't undo it no matter how hard you try, wipe the slate clean and go on to what's next. We all make mistakes.

Lastly,

When it comes to choosing friends,  Author  Dr. Charles Townsend says look for: (1) People who influence you to be the person God intended. 'As iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other' (Proverbs 27:17 CEV). Relationships are the tools God uses to do this. When you're with somebody, ask yourself, 'Do I like who I am when I'm around this person? Am I more open, loving and honest? Or do I not like what I see in myself?' Choose people who make you a better person. (2) People who provide grace for the energy drain. When you're empty you need to be refuelled physically, spiritually and relationally. So surround yourself with friends who will listen, encourage and be there for you. (3) People who let you be real. 'A friend loves at all times' (Proverbs 17:17 NKJV). The best relationships are those where you know you're loved, you're free to be yourself, you don't have to put on an act and you can be honest about the difficult aspects of life. There's comfort and normality in friendships where you can be authentic. (4) People who help you grow in faith. You need friends who encourage you to pray, read the Bible and help you to see the 'big picture' concerning what's important in your life.

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Heroes



You are no stranger to trials. The lab report came back malignant. The school called, demanding that you pick up your child who has just been expelled. Your husband informed you that he no longer wants to be married to you. Your boss called you into his office to let you know that you are being fired. Financial disaster seems certain while dependable friends seem to vanish. Yes, storms will come, and bad things will happen – even to fully devoted followers of God.

No one would call George Smith a coward. Smith was a daring jet test pilot in the 1950's when the sound barrier was first being broken. He could face anything - until he had to bail out of a jet going 805 miles per hour. Smith survived, but was hospitalized for weeks. Smith shared his fear of ever flying again with one of the nurses who had become a friend. The nurse smiled and said, “I have an antidote to fear. It is courage. To have courage is to know the worst, and to discover that, in God's economy, the very worst can't really hurt you." Exactly!

God's Heroes    

                                Few of you were wise in the world's eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
—1 Corinthians 1:26–27

  I liked what Greg Laurie talks about heroes.

 In many ways, we have lost the meaning of the word hero. We throw it around so casually. If you can put a ball through a hoop, you're a sports hero. If you can play eight chords on a guitar, you're a rock and roll hero. If you can pretend to be something you're not, you're a Hollywood hero. We have a strange concept as to who our heroes really are.

I remember watching a well-known journalist interview an actor about his recent movie, which featured a politically troubled region of the world. When the journalist asked the celebrity what he thought should be done about the political situation there, the actor responded, "Who cares what I think?" and went on to point out that he was just an actor. All too often, we mistakenly think actors really are the people they portray. We think they are heroes when, in fact, they're just people like you and me.

A hero is someone who does something sacrificial, something courageous. There are heroes today, of course. We saw many of them in action on 9/11 and in the days that followed. But often, today's heroes are operating behind the scenes, and we never know about them.

As we look at heroes of the faith, those in Scripture and in contemporary history whom God put His hand on, one thing stands out: it seems that God has always gone out of His way to find individuals who did not necessarily look like heroes. And that is precisely the point. God isn't looking for a strong man or woman per se. Rather, He's looking for someone who will walk in His strength. (1)


(1) Today's devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Friday, November 7, 2014

A lot can happen over a Cup of Coffee











Let’s create a culture of kindness where acts of generosity and compassion permeate our days. These small acts of kindness are the force that will change the world. How might you contribute to that change in your “world” today?

While most people walk through life asking how they can be blessed, the question we ought to be asking is, “How can I be a blessing to others?” Here’s why: When we bless others, it means that we have so much blessing in our own lives that we can share with others; we can lend and not borrow.

When we bless others, we receive a joy that ironically is even greater than when we are the recipients of blessings from others. Most significantly, when we bless others, we please God, and God blesses us even more in return. We should start every day asking how we might be a blessing today.


Explaining what it means to be a social entrepreneur, Kosaraju said,“Being a social entrepreneur means leveraging business principles and sensibilities to create solutions that combat social issues.”

Advertisers bank on the idea that people really think this is as good as it gets. Modern man engages in ceaseless activity and amusement to distract himself from considering what comes next.  Ethical living – and leading – takes courage and conviction. It means doing the right thing, even when the right thing isn't popular or easy. But when you make decisions based on your core values, then you tell the world that you can't be bought – and you lead your team by example.

Once you identify your company's core values as well as your own, you can start to set the tone with your team and your organization. Actions always speak louder than words, so make sure you do as you would wish others to do.

It's what you do, not what you say, that demonstrates to your team what you care about. So, if your company values honesty above all else, then make sure you demonstrate that by being honest with everyone around you.

"I am passionate about the possibilities that occur when individuals see the world around them differently, and believe they can actually make a difference," he added.

"A lot of people have great vision and ideas but are held back by fear of failure and other people’s opinions. You have to inoculate yourself against those internal and external voices. You have to arrive at a place where you think you have a limited time to make your mark on this world".

Recently I came across three short stories about being a blessing to others. In the first story, a woman recalled finding an anonymous note on her front door that said, “Don’t worry; you were created awesome, not perfect.” This woman was going through a hard time, and these words were just what she needed. Years later, she “paid it forward” by placing encouraging notes on other people’s doors.

In the second story, a man was in the hospital with his sick wife when the person in front of him in line at the cafeteria paid for his meal. When he asked the woman why she did that the woman responded that she wanted to make his first day easier. It gave him the boost he needed to get through the day.

In the third story, a woman decided to anonymously send her new neighbors a pizza lunch wishing them a nice day.

What struck me about all three stories was how easy it is to be a blessing – and also how rewarding it is.

How might you be a blessing to others today? What small act of kindness can brighten someone’s day? When you focus on blessing others, God will concentrate on blessing you.


Just a small thought...

-1 Billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water

-Right now, almost 1 billion people on this earth do not have access to clean, safe drinking water.

 -The water they do have comes from unprotected sources, and often carries bacteria and diseases such as E. coli, Cholera, and Hepatitis A.

-63 Children die in Uganda each day from lack of clean water

-The small bodies of many children aren’t prepared to deal with the various bacteria, parasites, and diseases in unclean water. Many children die from diarrhea and dehydration.

A Four mile walk for water

In many countries, including Uganda, it is the job of young girls and women to collect water for their families. This often times means walking 4 miles or more to the nearest water source, and returning with a 40lb jerrycan full of water. And not even clean water. In addition to missing school, young girls and women often face the risk of assault while collecting water.


Water is hope

Clean water gives a village hope. Young girls are able to attend school instead of spending hours collecting water. Young boys and girls are no longer too sick or weak to attend school. A better education leads to an opportunity to earn a better living. Clean water is the first step to education, to the economy, and to ending poverty. Clean water is hope.

SUPPORT CLEAN WATER WITH YOUR COFFEE 

Three Avocados is a non-profit organization that was founded in February of 2010 as a creative solution to ending the global water crisis and educating children, starting with Uganda. 100% of our net proceeds provide clean water in Uganda and education in Nicaragua, with hopes to expand in the future. We aim to provide coffee lovers with a product that enables them to make a 100% socially responsible choice when purchasing coffee.

How Much of My Purchase Provides Clean Water

The simple answer is that anywhere between $0.50 and $3.00 per bag provides clean water. This amount is dependent upon the retail channel the coffee is purchased through. Purchases made online through our web site provide the most support for clean water.

You too can  make a difference.

Please visit:

http://www.threeavocados.org

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Friday, October 31, 2014

Where our restless Hearts will be


“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God" - Hebrews 4:5''

  Billy Graham says, we are the most entertained generation in history.  Television sets pull in hundreds of channels; professional sports teams and pop music groups take in (and spend) billions of dollars; million s of people own second and third homes for vacations; our children are upset if they don't get the latest computer games for Christmas.

I believe this frantic search for entertainment is a symptom of something deeper.  Some have suggested we are the most bored generation in history--and perhaps they are right.  Down inside is an empty place in our hearts--a restlessness, a search for inner peace and tranquility--that will not go away.  The irony is, the more we try to satisfy it, the less content we become.

     I know little about nuclear fission or uranium and other elements used in making nuclear explosives.  Yet I believe in the atomic bomb, and so do you.  But how can we believe that it exists, if we don’t understand it or have any scientific knowledge about the way it works?

     The answer is obvious.  Others understand nuclear fission even if we don’t, and other have seen what happens when a nuclear reaction takes place, even if we haven’t.  We read what they say, and we accept it as the evidence of reliable witnesses.

    I spend much of my time pursuing the pages of a book---the Bible.  In it I discover that centuries ago God acted and spoke, and reliable witnesses have written it down.  God even guided them as they wrote, so that now i read the very words of God Himself.

In the same way, Christians don't fail to live as they should because they are in the world; they fail because the world has gotten into them.  We don't fail to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit because we live in a sea of corruption; we fail because the sea of corruption has gotten into us.

    It can happen almost without our realizing it.  At one time we were dedicated to Christ, surrendered to the will of God.But little by little the chilling waters of the world crept in.  We became preoccupied with the things of this world rather than the things of Christ.

Only Christ can fill that empty space in our hearts, and He will as we open our lives to Him.  But God's Word also points us to the future--to Heaven, where our restless hearts will be at peace.  "There remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God. 

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Best ways to overcome adversity


Suffering is the common lot of the human race.  We see pictures on television of people ravaged by war or famine, and our hearts are touched (as they should be).  But all around you are people who suffer in others ways: loneliness, fear, rejection, disability, grief, poverty, discrimination, addiction, or a multitude of problems.

But God has compassion on us--He suffers with us.  He knows what we are going through, and He cares.  The greatest act of compassion in the history of the human race was the Cross, for there Christ suffered for us. He endured sin's penalty so we would not have to endure it ourselves.

Now He calls us to have compassion on others, for His sake--suffer with them, and to point them to the One who suffered for them.  The Bible says, "Be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble" (I Peter 3:8) - Billy Graham

“Neither death nor life,….nor things present not things to come,….shall be able to separate us from the love of God” – Romans 8:38-39

     There are two ways to respond to adversity; discouragement or trust.

     The problem with giving in to discouragement is that it only makes things worse, for with it may come bitterness, anger, jealousy, revenge, and so forth.  We may even try to escape through drugs or alcohol.  But do any of these solve the problem? No!

     God has a better way---the way of trust.  Sometimes He may show us that we were in the wrong.  When that is the case, we need to confess it, repent, and seek His forgiveness.  Sometimes, however, we can only accept what is happening and ask God to help us endure it and triumph over it.


     One of the best ways to overcome adversity, I've found, is to praise God right in the middle of the turmoil.  Turning to God’s Word will also encourage us, many of the Psalms, for example, were written in the midst of suffering and adversity.  Follow the Psalmist’s example. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2) – Billy Graham

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju