Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Martyrdom of Infants/ Christmas
Volume 5 No. 321 December 26, 2015

V. General Weekly Features

Recipe: English Toffee Bars

From Virginia's Kitchen


• 1 cup butter
• 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1 egg
• 2 cups flour
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon vanilla
• ½ pound semisweet chocolate (melted)
• 1 cup chopped nuts


1. Cream butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add egg and beat.
2. Sift flour with baking powder. Add to sugar mix. Stir in vanilla.
3. Spread mixture evenly in a greased 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 deg C) for 20 minutes.
5. Remove from oven. Spread melted chocolate over the top.
6. Sprinkle with nuts and pat them in. Cut into bars before it cools.

Yield: Makes 36 bars.

©2013 Senior Living Ministries

Eleven Rules for Successful Families

by Sarah Hamaker

What defines family success? Successful families share similar traits. "A successful family is one that has love and acceptance and laughter," said David Dykes, pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas. "Any family that is thriving is successful."

These characteristics - or rules - can be adopted by any family at any stage. Being successful isn't just so you can post wonderful status updates on Facebook - successful families are important because "families are the basic unit of civilization which God created," said Dykes. "When families aren't getting along in general, it can impact the whole country."

But how do you achieve success as a family? By following these 11 rules - and ways to implement them - that are the hallmarks of successful families.

Rule 1: Faith.

Whatever we face as a family, having faith in God provides the foundation upon which we build our unit. "When we turn to God in all things, He provides his strength, guidance and peace," said Janet Perez Eckles, international speaker and author of Simply Salsa. "We need to remember that we don't have all the answers but God does."

How to achieve faith: Have regular family devotions and prayer time; attend church together weekly.

Rule 2: Commitment.

It takes being willing to stick together through thick and thin to make a family successful. "That commitment starts with parents being committed to their marriage first because that brings security to the children," said Mary L. Hamilton, author of See No Evil.

How to achieve commitment: Focus more on your marriage than your children; have regular date nights with your spouse.

Rule 3: Time together.

"You can't have a successful family without spending time together," said Dykes. "There's absolutely no substitute for time." In our busy lives, we need to make family time a priority by carving out specific times for it. "If you don't make the time for family, someone else would take that time," reminded Dykes.

How to achieve togetherness: Schedule regular family outings or game nights.

Rule 4: Identity.

Family members need to identify with each other as a family. "Each person needs to know they belong together, that there's a loyalty among the members and the confidence that someone's got their back," said Hamilton. "Everyone working towards the same goal can solidify your identity with each other."

How to achieve identity: Develop a family motto or mission statement.

Rule 5: Make memories.

"Shared experiences strengthen the bond between family members," said Dykes. "Going on trips is a great way to make memories that can last a lifetime." Trips don't have to be extravagant or to exotic destinations to make an impression--often the fun is in doing something unusual or out-of-the ordinary together.

How to achieve memories: Get the kids involved in planning trips or vacations.

Rule 6: Dine together.

It sounds like a cliché but the family that regularly eats together has a better relationship with each other. "We were always a big believer in eating together and that meal time wasn't screen time," said Dykes. "I think the trap a lot of families fall into is in thinking eating together isn't important to the family as a whole."

How to achieve eating together: Ensure activities don't infringe on dinner time.

Rule 7: Building up.

Successful families are ones in which mean criticism isn't tolerated. "You want to have an atmosphere of building each other up, not tearing each other down," said Hamilton. "Making someone fear inferior is one of the biggest hindrances to success as a family."

How to achieve building up: Establish a rule that every criticism or tattle must be accompanied by three compliments.

Rule 8: Forgiveness.

Holding onto anger or hurt can derail a family's success in heartbeat. "Lack of forgiveness can spell certain downfall in a family," said Eckles. "It fuels animosity and can to hard situations into emotionally charged ones."

How to achieve forgiveness: Teach kids how to apologize (be specific, be sincere, accept apology, forgive and move on).

Rule 9: Perseverance.

Life isn't always easy, and families that work hard to overcome anything they encounter have more chance for successful. "The ability to overcome adversity is essential to developing a healthy family," said Eckles.

How to achieve perseverance: Develop a habit of being thankful in all things and of not giving up when the going gets tough.

Rule 10: Disconnect.

Have specific times of the day when everyone's disconnected from digital devices. We can become so connected to our electronics that we become disconnected from our families. Technology-free zones are critical to keeping families together.

How to achieve digital disconnection: Put a basket by the front door and collect all handheld digital devices during family meal time, meetings, game night, etc.

Rule 11: Fun.

Sometimes, we get so involved in the day-to-day minutiae that we forget to enjoy one another. Laughter, light-hearted moments seal together the family. "Relationships are built on having fun," said Hamilton. "Making opportunities to have fun together will go a long way to bringing family back together."

How to achieve fun: Seek little moments when you can have a tickle fest with your kids, share a shoulder rub with your spouse, or chase your children around the table.

By implementing these rules in your family, you can have a more connected and vibrant family. "When you find that willingness to make the effort to spend time together, you provide that feeling of belonging that we all need," said Hamilton. "That's what makes families thrive."

About The Author:

A certified Leadership Parenting Coach,™ Sarah Hamaker has written 'Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids From War to Peace'. Her blogs on parenting have appeared in The Washington Post's On Parenting, and she's a frequent contributor to Visit her online at

Source: Daily Update

Family Special: The Holy Family and Our Family

by John Jewell


Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14

The role of Joseph as protector of the Holy Family is highlighted in the Matthew passage. Joseph is the one who receives guidance from the Lord and uses this guidance to protect and lead his family. The essential ingredient for Joseph is the fact that he is obedient to the guidance God gives. All of the messages in the world from angels of the Lord are pointless unless we actualize them with the energy of obedience.

The passage from Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 show the role of the children in receiving the authority of the parents. God blesses those who receive this authority. (Not an autonomous or arbitrary authority, but one grounded in parents who are receiving guidance from and being obedient to God's direction for them.)

The Colossians passage contains the most wonderful ingredients for the functioning of any family. The last few verses, however will energize your listeners when you come to, "Wives, be subject to your husband..." Yet, when you add, "And husbands love your wives and NEVER treat them harshly..." Actually, there is no subjection of one person to another person anywhere in the N.T. unless there is first subjection to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

No matter how you treat this, we need to make it clear that in the family of faith and in our personal families it is the Lord who is head of the household. We can not translate the experience of Christian families to the experience of families at large in the world around us. Democracy, for instance, is great -- but the church is not a democracy -- even the Congregational church. There is no genuine Christian Church that does not confess the Lordship/Headship of Jesus Christ. This notion of "Lordship" or "Headship" doesn't fly in the secular world.

One of the most powerful messages in all of scripture when it comes to family living, is the fact that once Joseph's protective, guiding, saving role is completed, we do not hear from him again except for the very brief episode in Luke's gospel when Jesus was separated from Joseph and Mary when he was 12.

John 1:9-13 speak of God's family -- the family of faith which derives its identity from belief in the Son of God. It is this family identity that gives shape to our identity as earthly families. There is a uniqueness to a Christian family (earthly) that derives from the Christian family (spiritual).

This is an identity worth strengthening in a crumbling world.

Statement by the US President Obama on Persecuted Christians at Christmas
During this season of Advent, Christians in the United States and around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. At this time, those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing. Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.

In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL.

We join with people around the world in praying for God’s protection for persecuted Christians and those of other faiths, as well as for those brave men and women engaged in our military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts to alleviate their suffering and restore stability, security, and hope to their nations. As the old Christmas carol reminds us:

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.

The White House
December 23, 2015

About Malankara World
With thousands of articles and hundreds of links to outside resources covering all aspects of Syriac Orthodoxy that are of interest to Family, Malankara World is the premier source for information for Malankara Diaspora. In addition to articles on spirituality, faith, sacraments, sermons, devotionals, etc., Malankara World also has many general interest articles, health tips, Food and Cooking, Virtual Travel, and Family Specific articles. Please visit Malankara World by clicking here or cut and paste the link on your browser:

Malankara World Journal Subscription

If you are not receiving Malankara World Journal directly, you can sign up to receive it via email free of cost. Please click here:

Malankara World Journal Archives

Previous Issues of Malankara World Journal can be read from the archives here.

Malankara World Journal is published by
Copyright © 2011-2019 Malankara World. All Rights Reserved.