Amitabh Singh

  • TipriTV.com                          
    I grew up in Calcutta, India, where a fairy tale starts with the Bengali phrase “Onek din aagekar kothah” (“Once upon a time”). Both “Once upon a time” and “they lived happily after” have been part of the English oral narrative tradition for a few centuries. Oxford English Dictionary tells us that “Once upon a time” has been used since 1380.
    One of my favorite fairy tales is about young Cinderella, suffering at the hands of her evil stepmother. There are over 350 known versions of this story. The oldest dates back to the first century BC, recorded by Greek historian Strabo about a Greco-Egyptian girl named Rhopodis. In a Chinese version, the heroine, Yeh-shen, is helped by a magical fish instead of a fairy godmother, and in the end, a golden shoe helps the prince find her. No matter the Cinderella story’s locale, almost all versions feature a heroine who is beautiful and kind, and a villain who takes the form of a cruel stepmother.
    Having watched the Disney film time and again, and over many years, I have ascertained four things from the Cinderella story.
    1.  Life is full of tragedies and suffering. We all experience times when it feels like we are walking barefoot, exposed and vulnerable, and in need of desperate help. Like Sleeping Beauty, we require a kiss of life to let loose death’s grip. Like Cinderella, we need a Fairy Godmother who will rescue us from life’s present challenges.
    Every good fairy tale must have a magical moment. The Fairy Godmother is that moment for Cinderella. With a flick of her wand, she provides Cinderella with beautiful clothes and a horse drawn carriage. In a single evening, Cinderella’s inconsequential life is woven into a wonderful world of possibilities.

    Like Cinderella, we do not deserve such magical moments. We long for them, but cannot earn them. The Bible reveals to us something extraordinary in the midst of this reality. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
    Even though we deserve nothing, those who follow Christ are given, free of charge, a magical moment with endless reward.
    2.  Whether stated or unstated, even a child feels a tug-of-war between right and wrong, knowing in his heart that the loving act is the one that ought to be done.
    In the Cinderella story, my two daughters’ most revere the Cinderella and Prince characters, and I don’t blame them, as I never liked the wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
    Even so, when I reflect on how I might have treated Cinderella had I been the stepmother, I’m not entirely sure I would have let her attend the ball. The more I think about it, the more ashamed I am to admit that I could very well have been inclined to see my own daughters marry the prince instead.
    Why is it, then, that universally everyone hates the stepmother and stepsisters, while still sharing some of their evil desires? Could it be that our inner consciences are responding to a universal principle that reflects the way we have been beautifully and wonderfully created, while our selfish tendencies are reflecting a break that has occurred in this universal principle of love?
    There is nothing new about God wanting people to love one another. Leviticus 19:18, in the Old Testament, states: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
    In the New Testament, John 13:33-34 asserts, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
    “How does one measure time?
    No, not in day, months, or years.
    It is measured by the most precious of all things: Love.
    Without which all beings and things,
    whether brave and/or beautiful, would perish.
    – Traditional Irish Blessing.
     3.  I am glad that there are some unchangeable truths that undergird our lives.
    In the 1697 French version of the Cinderella story, Charles Perrault may have confused “vair” (French for “fur”) with “verre” (French for glass). Now, we have Cinderella wearing glass slippers.
    After midnight, everything the Fairy Godmother magically created for the ball turned back into its original condition. The carriage turned back into a pumpkin, the horses into mice, the couchman into a horse, and the footman into a dog. How then, did Cinderella’s glass slippers not change when the clock struck twelve? As soon as the Prince discovered it, he went searching relentlessly for its owner.
    The Bible talks of many things that do not change, neither yesterday, today, nor tomorrow. Consider Jesus’ parable of the Lost Sheep.
    Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
    Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it,             he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:1-7).
    Jesus’ love for us will never change. He will search high and low until he finds and brings us home.
    4.  I admit that I am attracted to a God of grace, who commands that I love and who promises to search for me if I ever go astray. Even more, I am captivated by His perfect timing, and by His ways that are higher then my ways.
    I shudder to think about what might have happened had the pumpkin carriage not arrived at the right place and the right time, as the clock neared midnight. How would you have felt had you been Cinderella, standing there in front of everyone while your beautiful gown turned to dirty rags.
    I find God’s plan of salvation to be like a beautiful carriage, appearing at the right place and at the right time. Galatians 4:4 puts it this way: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son.”
    Jesus offers us his help and guidance. He came to us, and today he waits for us, always in the right place and at the right time.

     Now Are The Days Fulfilled
    Now are the days fulfilled,
    God’s Son is manifested,
    Now His great majesty
    In human flesh is vested.
    Behold the mighty God,
    By Whom all wrath is stilled,
    The woman’s promised Seed—
    Now are the days fulfilled.
    Now are the days fulfilled,
    Lo, Jacob’s Star is shining;
    The gloomy night has fled
    Wherein the world lay pining.
    Now, Israel, look on Him
    Who long thy heart hath thrilled;
    Hear Zion’s watchmen cry:
    Now are the days fulfilled.
    Now are the days fulfilled,
    The child of God rejoices;
    No bondage of the Law,
    No curses that it voices,
    Can fill our hearts with fear;
    On Christ our hope we build.
    Behold the Prince of Peace—
    Now are the days fulfilled.
    – Author Unknown

  • TipriTV.com                          
    I grew up in Calcutta, India, where a fairy tale starts with the Bengali phrase “Onek din aagekar kothah” (“Once upon a time”). Both “Once upon a time” and “they lived happily after” have been part of the English oral narrative tradition for a few centuries. Oxford English Dictionary tells us that “Once upon a time” has been used since 1380.
    One of my favorite fairy tales is about young Cinderella, suffering at the hands of her evil stepmother. There are over 350 known versions of this story. The oldest dates back to the first century BC, recorded by Greek historian Strabo about a Greco-Egyptian girl named Rhopodis. In a Chinese version, the heroine, Yeh-shen, is helped by a magical fish instead of a fairy godmother, and in the end, a golden shoe helps the prince find her. No matter the Cinderella story’s locale, almost all versions feature a heroine who is beautiful and kind, and a villain who takes the form of a cruel stepmother.
    Having watched the Disney film time and again, and over many years, I have ascertained four things from the Cinderella story.
    1.  Life is full of tragedies and suffering. We all experience times when it feels like we are walking barefoot, exposed and vulnerable, and in need of desperate help. Like Sleeping Beauty, we require a kiss of life to let loose death’s grip. Like Cinderella, we need a Fairy Godmother who will rescue us from life’s present challenges.
    Every good fairy tale must have a magical moment. The Fairy Godmother is that moment for Cinderella. With a flick of her wand, she provides Cinderella with beautiful clothes and a horse drawn carriage. In a single evening, Cinderella’s inconsequential life is woven into a wonderful world of possibilities.

    Like Cinderella, we do not deserve such magical moments. We long for them, but cannot earn them. The Bible reveals to us something extraordinary in the midst of this reality. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
    Even though we deserve nothing, those who follow Christ are given, free of charge, a magical moment with endless reward.
    2.  Whether stated or unstated, even a child feels a tug-of-war between right and wrong, knowing in his heart that the loving act is the one that ought to be done.
    In the Cinderella story, my two daughters’ most revere the Cinderella and Prince characters, and I don’t blame them, as I never liked the wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
    Even so, when I reflect on how I might have treated Cinderella had I been the stepmother, I’m not entirely sure I would have let her attend the ball. The more I think about it, the more ashamed I am to admit that I could very well have been inclined to see my own daughters marry the prince instead.
    Why is it, then, that universally everyone hates the stepmother and stepsisters, while still sharing some of their evil desires? Could it be that our inner consciences are responding to a universal principle that reflects the way we have been beautifully and wonderfully created, while our selfish tendencies are reflecting a break that has occurred in this universal principle of love?
    There is nothing new about God wanting people to love one another. Leviticus 19:18, in the Old Testament, states: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
    In the New Testament, John 13:33-34 asserts, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
    “How does one measure time?
    No, not in day, months, or years.
    It is measured by the most precious of all things: Love.
    Without which all beings and things,
    whether brave and/or beautiful, would perish.
    – Traditional Irish Blessing.
     3.  I am glad that there are some unchangeable truths that undergird our lives.
    In the 1697 French version of the Cinderella story, Charles Perrault may have confused “vair” (French for “fur”) with “verre” (French for glass). Now, we have Cinderella wearing glass slippers.
    After midnight, everything the Fairy Godmother magically created for the ball turned back into its original condition. The carriage turned back into a pumpkin, the horses into mice, the couchman into a horse, and the footman into a dog. How then, did Cinderella’s glass slippers not change when the clock struck twelve? As soon as the Prince discovered it, he went searching relentlessly for its owner.
    The Bible talks of many things that do not change, neither yesterday, today, nor tomorrow. Consider Jesus’ parable of the Lost Sheep.
    Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
    Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it,             he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:1-7).
    Jesus’ love for us will never change. He will search high and low until he finds and brings us home.
    4.  I admit that I am attracted to a God of grace, who commands that I love and who promises to search for me if I ever go astray. Even more, I am captivated by His perfect timing, and by His ways that are higher then my ways.
    I shudder to think about what might have happened had the pumpkin carriage not arrived at the right place and the right time, as the clock neared midnight. How would you have felt had you been Cinderella, standing there in front of everyone while your beautiful gown turned to dirty rags.
    I find God’s plan of salvation to be like a beautiful carriage, appearing at the right place and at the right time. Galatians 4:4 puts it this way: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son.”
    Jesus offers us his help and guidance. He came to us, and today he waits for us, always in the right place and at the right time.

     Now Are The Days Fulfilled
    Now are the days fulfilled,
    God’s Son is manifested,
    Now His great majesty
    In human flesh is vested.
    Behold the mighty God,
    By Whom all wrath is stilled,
    The woman’s promised Seed—
    Now are the days fulfilled.
    Now are the days fulfilled,
    Lo, Jacob’s Star is shining;
    The gloomy night has fled
    Wherein the world lay pining.
    Now, Israel, look on Him
    Who long thy heart hath thrilled;
    Hear Zion’s watchmen cry:
    Now are the days fulfilled.
    Now are the days fulfilled,
    The child of God rejoices;
    No bondage of the Law,
    No curses that it voices,
    Can fill our hearts with fear;
    On Christ our hope we build.
    Behold the Prince of Peace—
    Now are the days fulfilled.
    – Author Unknown

  • TipriTV.com        
    What’s In A Name?
    From an early stage in the writing of Round Pizza in a Square Box, I came up with its title, feeling that it provided a great analogy to the thesis of the book. I would like to share a little bit of that analogy with you.
    As summarized in my previous entry, Round Pizza in a Square Box gives an account of my life’s personal journey, mistakes, and lessons learned so as to provide another perspective to a much larger discussion.
    Through my years of charitable work in India, I have found that when visitors try to address a need in the East using a theorem or strategy from the West, they reap some results but not without a lot of wasted time, resources, and a fair amount of misunderstanding. It is like putting a round pizza in a square box. The pizza does not perfectly fit the package in which we place it, leaving a lot of empty, mismanaged, and unappreciated space.
    For those of us who have taken business classes where most challenges are easily solved through box-like business plans, we soon discover on the field that our training does not provide all the answers after all. Around the world, there are a lot of “round pizzas” that simply cannot be labeled, catalogued, stored away neatly, or turned into easy-to-understand dashboards. What they require instead are a policy of patience, a program of flexibility, and most of all, a sweet, learning spirit.
    This alternative approach becomes especially important when seeking to do something good for another country in need. Round Pizza in a Square Box demonstrates how a greater difference is made when we hold loosely to our Western notions and become sensitive to the cultures that likely function differently from our own.
    Round Pizza in a Square Box will be released early 2013. To preorder your copy, email your name, address, and phone number to amitabhsingh.info@gmail.com.

  • TipriTV.com        
    What’s In A Name?
    From an early stage in the writing of Round Pizza in a Square Box, I came up with its title, feeling that it provided a great analogy to the thesis of the book. I would like to share a little bit of that analogy with you.
    As summarized in my previous entry, Round Pizza in a Square Box gives an account of my life’s personal journey, mistakes, and lessons learned so as to provide another perspective to a much larger discussion.
    Through my years of charitable work in India, I have found that when visitors try to address a need in the East using a theorem or strategy from the West, they reap some results but not without a lot of wasted time, resources, and a fair amount of misunderstanding. It is like putting a round pizza in a square box. The pizza does not perfectly fit the package in which we place it, leaving a lot of empty, mismanaged, and unappreciated space.
    For those of us who have taken business classes where most challenges are easily solved through box-like business plans, we soon discover on the field that our training does not provide all the answers after all. Around the world, there are a lot of “round pizzas” that simply cannot be labeled, catalogued, stored away neatly, or turned into easy-to-understand dashboards. What they require instead are a policy of patience, a program of flexibility, and most of all, a sweet, learning spirit.
    This alternative approach becomes especially important when seeking to do something good for another country in need. Round Pizza in a Square Box demonstrates how a greater difference is made when we hold loosely to our Western notions and become sensitive to the cultures that likely function differently from our own.
    Round Pizza in a Square Box will be released early 2013. To preorder your copy, email your name, address, and phone number to amitabhsingh.info@gmail.com.

  • TipriTV.com                   
    Every year, the busyness and consumerism rampant during the holidays threaten to overshadow the real meaning of Christmas. In the flurry of our shopping sprees and indulgences, what does Jesus’ birth tell us about how we should celebrate the season?
    And what about those of us who face unemployment and financial stress? In times of recession, how do we trust that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”?
    The real story of Christmas is about finding God in a simple manger, instead of inside the most expensive and well-decorated home in town.
    The real wonder of Christmas is about the angel of God appearing to four smelly shepherds, instead of to fourteen fashionably dressed men in the city.
    The real spirit of Christmas is not about King Herod’s plot to kill the divine conspiracy of love.  It is the zeal of the Magi who came from the east to worship baby Jesus and offer him gifts.
    Often times, our excessive lifestyles and persistent troubles threaten to shadow the beautiful simplicity found in the very first Christmas. As you prepare to celebrate another holiday season, allow me to present three important and practical R’s in keeping with the simplicity of Christ’s birth.
    1.    Reducing: Think about reducing your credit card debt.
    Generosity vs. Greed
    During September 2011, CardHub.com released the results of their credit card survey. Consumer credit card debt in North America jumped by 66% between Quarter 2 of 2010 to Quarter 2 of 2011. When compared to Quarter 2 of 2009, the rise is an astronomical 368%.
    The average credit card debt per household, according to creditcards.com, is $15,799. As of May 2011, the total U.S. revolving debt (98% of which is from credit cards) is 783.1 billion.
    The Psalms teach us many things about both greed and generosity. Here are just a few examples:
    “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.”  – Psalm 37:21
    “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.”– Psalm 112:5
    “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.”– Psalm 112:9
    What does this mean for believers of Jesus as we spend our money this Christmas?
    In what ways do we borrow and hoard?
    How are we giving, lending, and sharing?
    Which do we do more?
    2. Reinvesting: Withdrawing and putting it where it matters.  
    Helping vs, Hoarding
    Consider the self-storage industry in North America. According to Mintel Consulting and Self Storage Association (2006 report), North America has approximately 1.6 billion rental spaces available.
    Wikipedia says that the total rental storage area in North America is three times the size of Manhattan Island. As a comparison, 46,000 storage facilities are in North America, while only 12,000 more exist worldwide.
    As people stress about what they have and what they stand to lose, the words found in Matthew 6:21 speak loudly. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
    The hold that people have on their treasures (or that their treasures have on them) is becoming out of control, so much so that we now have over 4,200 professional organizers in North America helping people create more space by better organizing all their stuff. Take a bow, North America. We are learning to become more efficient hoarders!
    The word of God gives us a different road map. It encourages us to invest where it will multiply; and give generously and compassionately to others. In so doing, we reflect Jesus, while drawing closer to Him
    “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 yourself treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal.”  – Matthew 6:19-20
    2.    Rejoicing:  Think beyond tangible things.
    Timeless Eternity vs. Temporal
    “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16
    In the middle of the holiday madness, recession is sending us a quiet a reminder that it is due time for ‘Simply Christmas.’
    We must choose to focus our energy, time, and resources on those things that are beyond the tinsel, tree, and temporal. So often we spend a great deal of time preparing for the celebration, worrying about things that really don’t matter, or passing down to our children holiday traditions that are of little eternal significance. This quote grasps the silliness of our diverted attention: Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.”– Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas.
    Instead, embrace the timeless worth of the message found in Philippians 1:27-28:
    “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved-and that by God.”
    Are we using this season to spread the news that a Savior has been born? Are we living our lives in a way that befits one who is aware of the finiteness of this life, and longs to make a difference for eternity?
    It is my goal to reduce, reinvest, and rejoice as part of a simplified lifestyle this Christmas, not as an end to itself, but in honor of Christ, our Lord.

  • TipriTV.com                   
    Every year, the busyness and consumerism rampant during the holidays threaten to overshadow the real meaning of Christmas. In the flurry of our shopping sprees and indulgences, what does Jesus’ birth tell us about how we should celebrate the season?
    And what about those of us who face unemployment and financial stress? In times of recession, how do we trust that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”?
    The real story of Christmas is about finding God in a simple manger, instead of inside the most expensive and well-decorated home in town.
    The real wonder of Christmas is about the angel of God appearing to four smelly shepherds, instead of to fourteen fashionably dressed men in the city.
    The real spirit of Christmas is not about King Herod’s plot to kill the divine conspiracy of love.  It is the zeal of the Magi who came from the east to worship baby Jesus and offer him gifts.
    Often times, our excessive lifestyles and persistent troubles threaten to shadow the beautiful simplicity found in the very first Christmas. As you prepare to celebrate another holiday season, allow me to present three important and practical R’s in keeping with the simplicity of Christ’s birth.
    1.    Reducing: Think about reducing your credit card debt.
    Generosity vs. Greed
    During September 2011, CardHub.com released the results of their credit card survey. Consumer credit card debt in North America jumped by 66% between Quarter 2 of 2010 to Quarter 2 of 2011. When compared to Quarter 2 of 2009, the rise is an astronomical 368%.
    The average credit card debt per household, according to creditcards.com, is $15,799. As of May 2011, the total U.S. revolving debt (98% of which is from credit cards) is 783.1 billion.
    The Psalms teach us many things about both greed and generosity. Here are just a few examples:
    “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.”  – Psalm 37:21
    “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.”– Psalm 112:5
    “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.”– Psalm 112:9
    What does this mean for believers of Jesus as we spend our money this Christmas?
    In what ways do we borrow and hoard?
    How are we giving, lending, and sharing?
    Which do we do more?
    2. Reinvesting: Withdrawing and putting it where it matters.  
    Helping vs, Hoarding
    Consider the self-storage industry in North America. According to Mintel Consulting and Self Storage Association (2006 report), North America has approximately 1.6 billion rental spaces available.
    Wikipedia says that the total rental storage area in North America is three times the size of Manhattan Island. As a comparison, 46,000 storage facilities are in North America, while only 12,000 more exist worldwide.
    As people stress about what they have and what they stand to lose, the words found in Matthew 6:21 speak loudly. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
    The hold that people have on their treasures (or that their treasures have on them) is becoming out of control, so much so that we now have over 4,200 professional organizers in North America helping people create more space by better organizing all their stuff. Take a bow, North America. We are learning to become more efficient hoarders!
    The word of God gives us a different road map. It encourages us to invest where it will multiply; and give generously and compassionately to others. In so doing, we reflect Jesus, while drawing closer to Him
    “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 yourself treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal.”  – Matthew 6:19-20
    2.    Rejoicing:  Think beyond tangible things.
    Timeless Eternity vs. Temporal
    “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16
    In the middle of the holiday madness, recession is sending us a quiet a reminder that it is due time for ‘Simply Christmas.’
    We must choose to focus our energy, time, and resources on those things that are beyond the tinsel, tree, and temporal. So often we spend a great deal of time preparing for the celebration, worrying about things that really don’t matter, or passing down to our children holiday traditions that are of little eternal significance. This quote grasps the silliness of our diverted attention: Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.”– Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas.
    Instead, embrace the timeless worth of the message found in Philippians 1:27-28:
    “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved-and that by God.”
    Are we using this season to spread the news that a Savior has been born? Are we living our lives in a way that befits one who is aware of the finiteness of this life, and longs to make a difference for eternity?
    It is my goal to reduce, reinvest, and rejoice as part of a simplified lifestyle this Christmas, not as an end to itself, but in honor of Christ, our Lord.