The best investment I know of.

Investing and saving for the future is something we all want to do, and we are taught to do right from a small age. We call people wise when they are not short sighted but rather save for the long term, saving for the future when they are not likely to be earning.

So how far into the future should we be saving our treasures? And do we know a way to invest our treasure so that it is not destroyed.

As I write this, the share market in India is going through a slump. People are wondering where to invest and are not sure how the economy will turn.

Image result for investing

If you wish to know of the best way to invest your treasures, your wealth, for the long term, read on….[ The best investment consultants in the world will not be able to come up with something better that what I am going to share here.]

Laying up treasures for ourselves

Jesus Christ said do not lay up for ourselves treasures on earth.

In the Bible in the Gospel of Mathew, chapter 6 he presents us with a completely different way of investing!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Serving money brings with it one free bonus, worry: Because money is impersonal, doesn’t satisfy our need for love and acceptance and relationships
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

[This is not what is advertised, rather one is told that life is all about these things]
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they? [This essential truth of the worth of human beings is not taught in schools, in fact they go to the opposite end here and say we are just llike the animals and birds]
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Mat 6:19-34 NIV)

Let these words sink in. They are profound and have influenced millions across the ages to see the world in a totally different way.

Now listen to what the Apostle Paul said “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
(1Ti 6:17-19 NIV)

Wow. God’s word clearly tells us what not to do and what to do.

What not to do:
Be arrogant
Put hope in wealth
What to do:
Put hope in God [who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment]
Do good
Be rich in good deeds
Be generous
Be willing to share

Ultimately investing in eternity is investing in relationships, firstly with the living and loving God who created you, and also with the people he places in your life. Hope you will do likewise.

Note: This will be truly possible only when you are  born again in the Spirit of the living God. Please do not try to put the cart before the horse. God bless!

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Living treasure Hunt

This summer, children in our building did something different. We organized a Living Treasure Hunt in and around the place where we stay, and wow! Did you know what they discovered?


These are just some of the living treasures discovered by our children.


We were really amazed at the amazing creatures they captured on camera, and the way they researched and presented their findings. It made us realize just how many living treasures are there around us, each made so wonderfully by God.



But first, a brief background on what this is all about.

It is summer vacations, and children are out playing almost the whole day. If it is too hot they end up consuming cool drinks, and digital audio video content, yes that means movies, games and what not.

This time we decided to do a totally immersive activity to make them engage with the world around them.

We called it the Living Treasure Hunt!

This is how I designed it:

Objective: Identify and document living creatures in and around Raj Sarovar

Skills

•    Observation

•    Photography

•    Research

•    Documentation


Conditions

•    Open to members of Raj Sarovar and their friends

•    Age limit: 4 to 19 years

•    Teams should have two or more members, atleast one of the team should be a resident of Raj Sarovar

•    Identify living creatures [Insects, animals and birds] upto gate at Link Road entrance You have to identify any living creature right from ants to birds yourselves

•    You shall not harm or kill any living creature for this competition

•    Document by Photographs taken by you, one close up and one with surroundings

•    You can use any camera or mobile phone, and use the Internet or any other resource to identify what you have captured.

•    Points will be awarded for the total number of creatures, correct identification with biological name and photograph quality

•    Winning Photographs will be put up on Facebook page and Notice board

We kept cash prizes for the top three winning teams.

The children immediately formed teams with their friends, and were up early with their cameras and notebooks. They excitedly discovered many insects, birds and small animals! After capturing the photos, the children discovered a way to identify these living creatures using Google Image search!

There were some insects which the kids could not identify even with Google, making them realize the limits of technology!




We used the help of BNHS experts and they willingly identified the pictures which I emailed to them. A big thank you to Rahul Khot and Divya from BNHS for giving your expert comments. BNHS has a very useful set of field guides which can be of use to find out more about what you discover. Kindly visit the following link to know more on field guides and other products by BNHS

http://www.bnhs.org/catalogue.html

You can buy set of six books herehttp://www.bnhs.org/shop/special-offers/set-of-6-books-detail.html

There are more offers if you check through the site.

The kids got the correct Biological name and details of most of the various creatures from the Internet, and made excellent Powerpoint presentations.


Team Photogenia and their presentation


The children who took part, with a senior lady from our Building who distributed the prizes.

You are free to use this Living Treasure Hunt in your locality or building! Let me know how it goes!

Thanks for reading J


What do you really, really need?

This may be pretty hard reading for many, as I am going to ask you deep questions on your life.

What do you base your esteem on?


Is it on your body, or perhaps your mind? Your skin colour, your hair, your clothes, the place where you stay, your family background or your grades in school? Or on your possessions?

It is natural for us to base our esteem on ‘self’. After all these things are what we can experience using our natural senses.

Is there a better reality on which to base your esteem on? Something super- natural?

You may well ask what is the problem with basing our esteem on ‘self’?

After all, you have been born in this family, privileged to get this education, worked hard to reach where you are presently, so naturally you ask the question: should I not be proud of my accomplishments?

Ask yourself, is this going to last? Will your hair last, or your health, or your wealth? Your fancy car?

Is there a better way, a more satisfying measure?

Yes, and for that you need to ask yourself the hard question: What is my real need?

What do I really, really need?

Is it recognition from people, name, fame and money?

Or is there something more deeper, more satisfying, and more lasting than these?

Jesus said in Mathew 6:19
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Mat 6:19-21 TNIV

Treasure:

What is taught to us by Jesus here?

  • Treasure is precious
  • We are preoccupied with it
  • Presently on Earth: it is affected by Moth, rust, or can be stolen
  • Protect it by all means
  • Provide happiness – temporary
  • Perpetual- anxiety and worry

So what is the advice given by Jesus?

Store your treasure in heaven!

What is your treasure?

What do you spend your time, energy and attention on?


What makes me do what I do? What is the method I use? What is the result?

Mat 23:5
“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;

Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next.

Mat 23:5 MSG

Eg: Why do you wear clothes? For others? To get attention/honour?

It is as if everything most people do is motivated by some sort of fear or guilt.

Fear in you is made use of by merchants.

Fear of ‘others’

What is your NEED?

When you dont get what you need, you satisfy yourself with substitutes. Then you never look for original.

What is my central need?

Unconditional love.

From childhood, the child looks for it and does not get it. Parents who have no idea cannot give what they do not have.


Ultimately it concludes that it is not going to get it, so start looking for substitutes like approval, recognition, honor from people. Then it will never look for the truth once it is satisfied with substitutes.

It is these substitutes that kill.

Fakes look like the original, but they do not deliver what you really need.

What is the result?

You start pretending that you have got the real thing:

Pretensions:

What you are inside and outside are both pretensions

Putting on a mask

Many types of people

Identity struggles result as the result of pretensions which have gone on for decades.

Children pretend to be what they are not because parents demand, do not allow them to be true.

Exaggerating.

Result of pretension? IF YOUR INSIDE AND OUTSIDE ARE NOT THE SAME YOU WILL END UP MENTAL.

Luk 5:36 Jesus then told them these sayings: No one uses a new piece of cloth to patch old clothes. The patch would shrink and make the hole even bigger.

Many breakdowns come because of continued pretensions. Trust is broken.

Why did you pretend? What others will think?

What happens in conflicts: Cumulative effect of pretensions

Remedial measures:

What does man do naturally?

Keep a distance so I won’t be affected. If I come closer there will be pain.

Inability to love the unlovable.

Why they are unlovable?

Trace the reason backward

1 John 4:7-8 NIV Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Love is from God:

The Living God is the only one source of unconditional Love, also called agape love.

[In the world: I love you means I want to make use of you]

Man when separated from God. has no unconditional love:

Jesus said:

And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.

I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda.

I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms.

How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?

Joh 5:40-44 MSG

So how can we love unconditionally? We cannot.

Man in the natural is without unconditional love

Unless we believe in Jesus, and become a source of unconditional love.

When we do not accept this unconditional love, what happens? The inner vacuum remains.

This vacuum inside is called lust. We want to fill the vacuum by fulfilling our lust. It never gets full.

What is the result?

Ecc 2:10-11 NIV I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Man without love has three major problems [present in every one]:

  1. Loneliness: Nobody cares for me, nobody understands me.
  2. Insecurity
  3. Inferiority: I am nobody, I want to become somebody

To fill the vacuum you are looking for love from People

You accumulate honor, acceptance…but do not get Love

Then what does man do? Try to save yourself…

Use self-salvation measures:  SIN

From Sin into Sin

Pretension: to save your image you tell a lie

Proving yourself

Promotion:

Power: competition destroys love, creates hatred

Comparison: To climb the ladder [Anything you cannot compare?]

Compromises result

Class struggle

These methods can make you successful, and are addictive. They can destroy.

He wanted love, tried all self-salvation ways, ended up getting Hatred.

Luk 9:24 NIV
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

The result?

Luk 9:25 What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?

What are you looking for?

Unconditional Love

Success: Efficiency, Achievement

How is it measured? eg: Houses, Cars.

By statistics alone. The world says: No numbers, no success.

Relationships:

How do you define a good child?

Is it by success? Can you love your child for who and what he is?

In the Kingdom of God’s evaluation is not on Success but on your Faithfulness

Four areas of faithfulness:

  • In Little
  • In Money
  • With someone else’s goods
  • Serving one Master

Jesus said in Luke 16:10-13 He who is faithful in the least is also faithful in much. And he who is unjust in the least is also unjust in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who shall give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Your real need is Unconditional Love

Have you ever felt the need of your Soul?

As the deer pants, my soul longs.

Even if you are successful to the nth degree, if the needs of your soul are not met, everything is a waste

When you enter in a crisis, you may realize this need.

Restored relationship with me is your need, is the counsel of your Creator.

He alone can give you unconditional love, as He demonstrated in Jesus Christ.

We are taught by the evil one that our need is more ‘things’.

We say he or she is doing very well, but inner life is miserable. Is this ‘doing well’?

Are we not brainwashed by the World?

A teaching which no one will accept, a teaching of Jesus:

Luk 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

If you think abundance is the basis, you will be greedy for more.

Luk 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

That could be our prayer request. Praying to God to answer ‘our’ prayers. Jesus says “who gave me this job?”.

What is His job?

Find the lost, save the sinners.

We think Jesus answers our prayer requests for marriage, job, education, marriage?

Unanswered prayers based on lust are answered by the one who gave you that lust, by the evil one. That is why people confuse the evil one with God. They think God is a desire fulfilling genie.

Whom do we believe?

God says this is not the life…World says this is the life.

What is Sin? Not believing in God

Holy Spirit convicts you of Sin: John 16:9
about sin, because people do not believe in me;

Root of Sin: my right is for myself

What is the basis of our prayer requests?

Don’t think those who are uneducated are living unhappy lives.

Why did God call a certain rich man [in the parable mentioned in Like 12] a fool?

If abundance of possessions is the basis of life, why was his life gone?

Luk 12:20-21 NIV
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

God calling someone a fool…is a severe judgment.

Do we realise that we all are dead? We are born dead, living dead, going to eternal death. It is mere existence. Protoplasmic activity. Man separated from God has protoplasmic activity for 70 to 80 years. Like the severed tail of a lizard which moves but has no real life. Movements we make are mere activity. We will all go to our death.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

At Creation, when God created Adam:

Gen 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

The presence of God in man as a Spirit was life.

After the Fall, Man became mere flesh. Life is not there.

Unless we realise that, we won’t feel the need for abundant life.

When Jesus Christ came, He said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. A parallel way to eternal life.

How can man get eternal life?

John 5:24 Jesus was very clear: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

I must believe the whole Gospel. Gospel literally means News that is too good to be true.

Interpretation of John 5:24 is….

1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

We must be ‘born again’.

What does it mean?

How are you born again?

1Peter 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

How?

Hearing the Word of God produces faith, you get convicted by the Spirit of your real nature, your need for forgiveness, and that you are loved unconditionally and forgiven by God in Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Unless you are born of water and the Spirit you cannot enter the Kingdom of God:

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

Not by any act that you do. Salvation is not by works. It is by Faith.

It is only then that your real need, your deepest desire is met, by the One who created you and loves you beyond measure.

So I base my ‘value’ on the fact that God loves me so much that He has sent His Son Jesus to die for my sins, restore me into a loving relationship with Himself, and give me eternal life. This value will never fade away, and no one can take it away from me. I will be foolish to base my value on my self-esteem [my body, mind or possessions]. I can boast only of ‘Christ esteem’ as Andrew Wommack puts it.

Thank you God!

Have a lovely day.