One of the blessed days of my life book is the 10th of January 2016. As we were driving back from church, it was my first ever personal time with Chiradeep Patra. Probably, it was his 2nd/3rd question where he enquired about my hobbies and I replied, one of them is writing quotes almost on a daily basis. Without giving a second thought, he proposed to me to write for CandlesOnline and being speechless for a while, I was like “How on earth is it possible for me?” But he didn’t give up on me! He insisted you give words to your thoughts, for the rest, I am there. Lo and behold, the first-ever article of my life “HOW GOOD IS OUR MASK OF PRETENCE?” got published on @CandlesOnline and last month I was able to post my 116th article for @CandlesOnline blog “RELIGIOUSNESS OR RIGHTEOUSNESS – WHAT DO WE NEED TO LOOK FOR?“ Summing up this blissful experience I would say,

“God, at His time, gears you to your way

He makes you something out of nothing

For His glory, in His way.”  

One of my favorite songs is Chris Rice’s famous song “There is a Candle in every soul”. Apparently, my journey with CandlesOnline aces the same. On a personal level, if someone knows us much better than us, undoubtedly, He is God! Since God loves us, he has gifted us with numerous talents, some we know – some are still in that unknown darkness. Possibly once at a time, God sends someone to lit up a candle in our unknown darkness to make His sacred gifts known to us.

His sacred gifts are for His glory

Whereas it all seems inadequate and misty

But like a sculptor out of a mere stone,

He chisels and shapes me, gives me the beauty and maketh known.

Well, that’s the picture I would drop as a referral for my journey with candles. God’s sacred gifts which are our talents that always come in a raw form, primarily it appears to us as inadequate. We feel our talents are incompetent, we struggle for relevance and finally, as we dearth of enthusiasm, we feel bored enough to give up. In spite of, this boredom as we stay put to our talents, learn from our experience, our talents proceed to excellence. Since the gluiness of comfort doesn’t allow a man to grow, God puts the man in discomfort to chisel and shape his learning experience and builds him for excellence.

Sow a seed, water enough the plant

But all it may become extraneous

If the thorny bushes chock, making it impotent     

While speaking to a crowd, Jesus used the parable of seeds to explain why some people do not grow in the Word of God while others do grow. And one of the reasons He mentioned, using the instance of the seed that fell among the thorns, went unfruitful because of its environment, it was choked by the thorny bushes. On contrary to the picture is, what I feel being in the CandlesOnline community. It won’t be wrong to say, CandlesOnline is of my extended virtual family. In which, there is always someone out there to care and support spreading out positive vibes. In the Candles Online group, I always experienced everyone is too good and gracious enough to make you feel friendly. Refreshing a couple of my experiences, whenever I felt low and it reflected on my social media posts or in personal connection whether it is Chiradeep, Preeta, Kalpana, Rajnandini someone in some way always enquired my negative state and had comforted my soul. Going further, friends like Sreepriya, Kuljeet, Sriram, Astha, Sakhi, Sony always makes you feel friendly and alongside respectful. How can I go unmentioned about the three tiny peepers Aparna the first Bengali girl who addresses me as Dada; Payal whom I never meet physically but time to time made her presence vital through reasoning on some facts virtually; and topping all Vipra, my Choti Doctor Sahiba, always trusted and lavished her affection through enquiring about my health condition and also scolding on having late dinner. She never gives a prolonged gap to our virtual chats that had always brought smiles to my face. Putting right my experiences I would say, the best place to grow in your talent is being in a positive environment and that’s each of the Candles Online community made me felt.

God out of His infinite riches

Gifts and Grows our talents.

He gifts out of many purposes

It’s all for His glory through impacting lives.

God gifts us talents, equips us through life experiences to excel in our talents, and provides us a community to grow with positivity, God’s way of work always denotes God has a Purpose in whatever He does! And God’s purpose is we may have a personal experience in our personal relationship with Him and encourage others to have a taste of the same experience and as we continue to do so God’s name is glorified. This perspective becomes more evident as we look at our life situation through the Word of God (Bible). It reminds me of the Bible verse,

“The Word of God (Bible) is the mirror for our souls”.


Friends and friendships are really very important in our lives because, “A friend loves at all times…”

A story about a young warrior always amazes me whenever I read about him. His name is Jonathan. He was King Saul’s son. He was a mighty warrior, an able & reliable leader and a worthy heir of his father’s kingdom.

But he had a friend named David, an equally worthy & valiant warrior and God’s chosen king after Saul. Jonathan knew it. He knew that if he is going to honour his father he is going against God and his friend David. If he is honouring God’s choice then he is digging his own grave.

What do you think, what he would have chosen?

Let me just quote the lines from the story directly which is as under:

The soul of Jonathan was bonded to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself… Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the outer robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, with his armour, including his sword, his bow, and his belt.”

Do you understand the implication of a Prince giving away his own armoury to somebody else, a shepherd boy named David?

Yes, it means giving away what belongs to him; the kingship, the heir and everything else because he loved his friend as himself and honoured God’s choice. That was not the end. He stood against his father for his friend and even saved David’s life from his father’s hand tactfully.  

The friendship seems daunting to carry out when we think about the sacrifice of Jonathan for his friend in today’s world.

But is it impossible?

No!!! It is not impossible!!!  

Let’s watch this video which will clarify your doubts about the people who risked their lives for their friends:

Interesting… Isn’t it?

Let’s watch one more short movie about three young boys who are best friends, titled as “What is Friendship?”

This kind of friendship is absolutely possible. But the only question arises, “Will I strip off for my friend?” “Will I be able to stand for my friend ever?” “Will I be able to sacrifice my everything for the person I loved so much?”

Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He did it. Will I?

Stay Blessed!!!


The book of Proverbs is my favourite in regards to learning about practical life. The book of Proverbs also talks about Friends and Friendship. I have given different titles to each quote or similar types of quotes from the book of proverbs which I want to share with you all as under:

Friendship is a Necessity 

“A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”

Choosing the Right Friend is Important

“A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

“Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.”

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Maintaining A Friendship/Relationship

“He who conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.”

“A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends.”

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.”

Keep reading and keep learning…

Stay Blessed!!!


I believe friendship is just like a coin which has two sides. One is “LOVE” & the other side is “HOLINESS.” Love & Holiness are intrinsic of all relationships. None of our relationships can grow, if we are lacking any one of the two in our relationships.

In this 21st century when we think friendship is never possible between the persons of opposite sex then we need to know that we have narrowed our mindset and have reversed it for the sake of materialistic pleasure.

Today 90% of friendships between the persons of opposite sex are ending up with sex on bed. The consequences of this narrow mindset are many broken relationships and corrupted societies.

Even today it has become very difficult for persons of opposite sex to work together as employees at their marketplaces. Often our parents doubt when we make friendships with the persons of opposite sex. It has become harder and harder to find a good & pure friendship between two persons of opposite sex though there are still some beautiful friendships are seen.

We lack pure friendships between the persons of opposite sex. I will give an example from my life where my friendship with a girl also went elsewhere which I didn’t intend to.

I have a closest of friends who is a girl for last two years. As our friendship started & days passed by, intimacy between us became strong; we started sharing ideas, suggestions, personal matters and a lot more.  Being friends with same belief and faith we also became prayer partners. But one evening as we were on an intimate talk over the phone my friend (she) asked me a very sensitive question, “Do you love me?” And I answered her, yes I do but not like a lover but as a friend. I love you because you are a true friend of mine, which is well described in Greek term as “Philia.” She understood me and we are still very good friends up till now.”

Friendship never means hanky-panky & just hangouts. It is a strong inclination between two people irrespective of sex, status & soundarya (beauty) and the foundation of which is LOVE & HOLINESS.

Can we say? “I have been blessed to have you as a friend!”

God bless you. Stay in touch.

Avinash Das



We usually have our tagged ‘BEST’ friends. But I really don’t have best friends as such as I have a huge friend circle all over the world. I love them all and they love me too.

During my college time, I had a friend whom I consider to be the most valuable friend of my life. He was a friend in my need and was a friend indeed. I had never stood in the queue for either renewing my college bills or asking for any receipts in the counter and books from the library.  I never had to do anything as he was there for me and was doing everything for me considering my health conditions.

I used to feel amazed thinking, how great is God’s grace for me throughout my college career. He had kept an angel in the form of my friend even as His spiritual angels keep guarding me in the daily chores of my life.

My friend used to drop me as well as pick me up from my home. At times, we even used to go to tuition together. He had been such a blessing to me that I really cannot explain in words. We had many memories together. We had shared our joys and sorrows together. We had to part with each other after we graduated as we chose different universities though we didn’t lose contact with each other.

Finally, a time came when we lost connection as we started working in different places far away from our homes. But there’s one incident that I will never forget in my whole life which I think I should share it with you all.

In 2005, I had a credit in a shop which I was unable to pay at that time or had planned to pay later. But I became seriously ill that time and was taken to the hospital in Bangalore. I was discharged from the hospital and was taken to my parents’ home in Cuttack. I was on leave and in rest for 5 months.

I was informed that the shopkeeper is asking for money. I told my wife about it and we were in jeopardy, thinking what to do.

Finally, I had to take a loan from my friend and paid the man in full. But the irony was my debt was still on me as I had to return the money to my friend. I struggled to pay it back as I was newly married that time and had spent so much on my medical bills. I asked for some more time though he never reminded me of his loan to me.

It was a burden which troubled me whenever I thought about the unpaid loan. Once when I called him for more time, he replied to me sternly, “If you remind me of the loan again then we won’t be friends anymore… Just forget about it and I don’t want the money back anymore…”

Till now when I discuss that incident with my wife we feel grateful to God for giving such a friend in my life who had been a help in the times of trouble. It is really difficult to find a friend like him in this world today. The loan is still unpaid but it is not hovering over me like a burden but is stored in my heart as a bond of friendship.

I remember this Bible verse in Proverbs 18:24 which says – 

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

He is my most valued friend, who did stick to me like a brother when I was in trouble.


Social networking has made it possible for people in every corner of the world to connect to each other. Mere strangers get added to one’s life as ‘friends’. Unfortunately, this virtual world of friendship has robbed the true meaning from the word ‘friends’. Catching up with buddies every weekend over steaming cups of tea and coffee or platefuls of mouth-watering pani puris, seems to have become a long-term plan that one needs to carefully plan for. Now with professional goals taking the centre-stage in life, friendships are better nourished in the virtual world than in reality.

Of course, there is nothing wrong in forging friends across the globe without meeting them. But, the problem arises when virtual friendships threaten to replace real friends. Research studies have shown that people with bigger list of friends over social networking sites, more often than not have weaker family bonding, suffer from a sense of low self-esteem and harbor feelings of inferiority about themselves.

Strong face-to-face ties with a few real friends ensure emotional stability, strong familial ties and increased work performance. A friend who stands by at the time of adversity and rejoicing is a friend worth having by one’s side.

Cherish the world of real friends!


Peers are the children or youth of same age. Age-mates who provide a supportive network for the children or youth are called peer-group. The influence of the peer group that pressurizes a child or a youth to behave in a certain way is called ‘peer pressure’. Friends play important roles in the normal development of a child or adolescent.

When youngsters grow older, they face challenges in making decisions. Some don’t have a clarity regarding right or wrong answers and other decisions that involve serious moral questions. Making decisions on one’s own is hard but when the peer group get involved and try to pressurize the youth in decision-making, it can be even harder.  It is always important for the youth to know their friends, the pressures they put and the skills required to handle them.

Friendships or peer pressure can be negative or positive and can be handled properly by individuals according to their own value system. For example, if a youngster has proper knowledge of what is right or wrong, then he/she can recognize the negative friend or peer pressure and avoid it or allow the positive peer pressure to influence. Our value system does play a major role in handling the pressures from the friends but sometimes despite of our value system, youth find it difficult to say ‘No’ to negative peer pressure. In this case the youth need to learn few skills to say ‘No’ to peer pressure, which has negative influence on them. The skills are as follows –

  1. Be strong in Decision-Making: It is always important to take decisions that your value system approves of. Listen to your conscience. Never take decisions with excitement or emotion. Lean not on your own understanding but prayerfully wait on the Lord while taking decisions.


  1. Listen to advice: Proverbs 8:33 says, ‘Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.’ Proverbs 19:20 says, ‘Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.’ Proverbs 4:1 says, ‘Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.’ So never despise the instructions or advice of elders.


  1. Confide everything with one of the family members: Ecclesiastes 4:9 says ‘Two are better than one; (because they have a good reward for their labour.’) Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, ‘And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ So it is always better to confide with someone before taking any step, so that he/she can advise you or help you when you are in trouble.


  1. Learn to say ‘NO’: Proverbs 19:27 says, ‘Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.’ Do not think that if you say ‘NO’ then it will affect your friendship. If it affects, let it affect. You can win back that friendship again. But if you listen to a wrong influence then later guilt will keep on tormenting you forever.


  1. Stay away: As it is written in 2 Timothy 2:22, ‘Flee also youthful lusts.’ Many times it is difficult to say ‘NO’ and at this time fleeing away or staying away from the situation or bad friends is always better. Proverbs 3:7 says, ‘be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.’ 1 Timothy 6:11 says, ‘But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.’ Keep the good influence on always, which will help you to stay away from evil influence.

“Studies indicate that youth with strong family ties tend to rely less on friends and more on family members for advice and guidance; those without strong family ties tend to rely more heavily on friends to provide self-esteem.”

So, young friends! My earnest request is keep the relationship with your family members so strong that you won’t have to rely on your friends while taking decisions. Please involve them in your business. Remember! You are precious for them.