instigating a life, one story at a time…

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Round like a shot

There is so much wit, wisdom and laughter in this short anecdote shared by Tony Gladstone:

Going to bed the other night, I noticed people in my shed stealing things.

I phoned the police but was told no one was in the area to help. They said they would send someone over as soon as possible.

I hung up. A minute later I rang again. “Hello,” I said, “I called you a minute ago because there were people in my shed. You don’t have to hurry now, because I’ve shot them.”

Within a minute there were half a dozen police cars in the area, plus helicopters and an armed response unit. They caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the officers said: “I thought you said you’d shot them.”

To which I replied: “I thought you said there was no one available”.



Straining the strings of life

“Dad, Lapung is sick,” my daughter called out.

I was in the office tending to paper works that should have been put away weeks ago. Shoving the papers and files into the cabinet, I rushed over to the dorm where the little boy was staying with other 85 boys/girls, ages ranging from 5 – 17. It was a mild fever which was most probably caused by constipation. A small dose of medicine and one trip to the bathroom later, he was up and running with the rest of our 85 children.

Of the 86 children in our care, 52 of them were fully or partly sponsored. From school books to clothing to food, difficult at times but so fulfilling and enjoyable. When our world turned upside-down, we left the school and returned home. The school suffered, affecting the sponsored children. Many had to leave. May be, someday, someplace, I’ll get to meet them again and talk of the days we spent together and how God used the difficult moments in our lives to prepare us for better things. But at this point in time, my heart beats for them and how they’d be faring in life.


As the musician straineth his strings,
and yet he breaketh none of them,
but maketh thereby
a sweeter melody and better concord,
so God, through affliction,
makes his own better
unto the fruition and blessing
of the life to come.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey – R.I.P.


Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestselling motivational book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” also named “the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century” passed away peacefully Monday morning due to the residual effects of a bicycle accident he suffered this past April. He was in his 80th year. In his final hours, he was surrounded by his loving wife and each of his children and their spouses reports said.

To Stephen, more important than his professional work was his work with his family. Stephen was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and spent a considerable amount of time with his immediate and extended family, getting together for vacations, games, celebrations, birthdays, and events of all kinds, and having one-on-one time with each of his children and grandchildren, which he loved doing. Stephen truly believed that the greatest work we do is within the four walls of our own homes and was a model of a loving and committed husband and father to the end.

Recognized as one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, Stephen R. Covey had dedicated his life to demonstrating how every person can truly control their destiny with profound, yet straightforward guidance. As an internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author, his advice had given insight to millions.

Some of Stephen R. Covey’s milestones:
-Over 20 million books sold (in 38 languages)
-Authored four titles with sales exceeding one million copies each.
-Latest book, The 8th Habit , has sold nearly 400,000 copies
-International Man of Peace Award
-National Fatherhood Award (father of 9, grandfather of 44)
-Author of the best-selling nonfiction audio in history (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
-No. 1 best-selling hardcover book on family (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)
-International Entrepreneur of the Year Award
-Awarded eight honorary doctorate degrees
-Co-founder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, the leading global professional services firm with offices in 123 countries.

PostScript: Quite unusual for me to post this, but Dr. Covey through his books have played a major role in shaping my life-attitudes. His book Everyday Greatness was the first I purchased, and since then my love-affair with his books and his kind-of-thinking started. I must say I have been immensely blessed. RIP, Dr. Covey!

Traveling across the sky

Time is fleeting. It passes by so quickly.

Into deep summer, the year is half over, and only five-and-half months to be lived. Never knew that life was like a 100 metre dash.

When still a kid, Christmas, birthday and the winter holidays were the only time worth waiting for. Life then was like a marathon. Christmas never came. Birthdays were too slow to come. And the holidays were too few and far in between. Oh, the agony of that excited wait… If life can be lived as a kid forever, how much simpler, peaceful and friendly the world would be!

When you grow up, time usually catches you unaware. It was dry last week. You get older by a week, and it is raining cats and dogs. Not a happy situation for a person who has works outside to earn money. I was tempted to grumble until I read this:

          Rain clouds filled with lightning
          appear at God’s command,
          traveling across the sky
          to release their cargo –
          sometimes as punishment for sin,
          sometimes as kindness.

          Job 37:11-13
          Contemporary English Version

Do I still complain about the weather? God knows best what He’s doing!

The Lord’s Prayer


I cannot say…..

Our” – if I live only for myself.
Father” – if I do not endeavor each day to act like his child.
Who art in heaven” – if I am laying up no treasure there.
Hallowed be thy name” – if I am not striving for holiness.
Thy Kingdom come” – if I am not doing all in my power to hasten that wonderful event.
Thy will be done” – if I am disobedient to his Word.
On earth as it is in heaven” – if I do not serve him here and now.
Give us this day our daily bread” – if I am dishonest or am seeking things by subterfuge.
Forgive us our debts” – if I harbor a grudge against anyone.
Lead us not into temptation” – if I deliberately place myself in its path.
Deliver us from evil” – if I do not put on the whole armor of God.
Thine is the kingdom” – if I do not give the King the loyalty due him from a faithful subject.
The power” – if I fear what men may do.
The glory” – if I’m seeking honor only for myself, and
Forever” – if the horizon of my life is completely bounded by time.

Where on earth is heaven?

The large crowd had dispersed except for close family friends. Dusk would soon be approaching. And the inclement weather had made it difficult to walk on the muddied pathway. It was not a nice day to bid goodbye.

The minister offered words of prayer and the casket was lowered as family members lobbed handful of soil each on top of it. Soon it rested and after a final farewell it was filled with soil.

As the family members left the cemetery, the youngest of the sisters, Robie, broke the silence, “Dad, you said Mom is going to heaven but why did we bury her?”

And pointing her little fingers towards the sky she continued, “Is not heaven up there?”

I was lost for words! How would you respond if it were you?

A smile for alms

A smile costs you nothing, but is worth a great deal to those who are lifted up by it. The truthfulness of this expression was taught to me by a beggar in Hyderabad. After having tea with some friends, we stepped out onto the busy road only to be confronted by a young girl in rags who was asking for alms. I was still a student then. All I had that day was Rs.50, no change and no coins to giveaway. There was no way I could have shared. As I stared at her dirty but expectant face, my frown turned into a smile and sympathetically told her I was also short of money and couldn’t spare anything for her.

The next moment she exploded into a big smile. I will never forget her face, ever. The happiness and joy that shines on her face turned her into a beautiful girl though she was covered in rags.

A young girl who was used to rebukes, scorns and anger tasted love and sympathy that day. Perhaps, the first time in her life. That day I could not give her what she asked for but unknowingly I gave her the best gift ever – a smile, sympathy and love.

Remember, what sunshine is to flowers, your smile is to others.



Total commitment

During one summer over two decades ago, a friend invited me to visit his family inside Myanmar. On Sunday he preached on the subject of commitment and made this witty remarks:

A chicken and a pig were passing by a church and heard the beautiful choral singing. Said the chicken to the pig,“That was beautiful! Let’s show our appreciation by giving them a good ham and egg breakfast.” Replied the pig, “For you, that may be sacrifice; for me, that is total commitment.

How true it is with most Christians and also with the vast sea of humanity. We are willing to go a mile or so but would demand of others to go the whole distance….

God in the moon-lit sky

A story is told of a wicked father who took his young son with him when he went to steal potatoes from his neighbor’s field. When they came to the boundary fence, the father stopped and listened while his eyes searched from right to left. Silently, he began to climb the fence. Then the child spoke. “Dad,” he said, “you forgot something – you didn’t look up.”

Sudden guilt shamed the father; he took the lad by the hand and returned home.

It is always good to remember that God is not far from every one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being. He is not merely a spectator beholding the evil and the good, but He is the actual ruler, upholding all things by His power, watching over the actions of every person, yet preserving our freedom to make our own decisions.

Since He is watching over all our actions, we should indeed use our time and means in the faithful performance of those tasks God has assigned for us to do. In this we do not depend wholly upon our own strength, but our efforts are aided and guided by the providential care of a loving God!

Good pots and a good camera


An amateur photographer was invited to dinner with friends and took along a few pictures to show the hostess. She looked at the photos and commented, “These are very good! You must have a good camera.”

He didn’t make any comment, but, as he was leaving to go home he said, “That was a really delicious meal! You must have some very good pots.”

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