Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Transfiguration Special
Volume 6 No. 361 August 5, 2016
 

III. General Weekly Features

Recipe: Murg Haryali (Coriander-mint Chicken in Coconut Gravy)

Ingredients:

Chicken, skinned - 8 pieces
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Ghee / Vegetable oil 3/4 cup
Yoghurt 1/2 cup
Wholemilk fudge (khoya) - 10 tbsp
Green chillies, pricked all over with a fork or cocktail stick - 10
Green coriander (hara dhaniya), fresh 1 cup
Mint (pudina) leaves, fresh, chopped 1 cup
Coconut, grated for extracting 1 cup of coconut milk
Salt to taste

Directions:

1. Marinate the chicken pieces in the ginger and garlic pastes for 30 minutes.

2. Heat the ghee / oil in a pan. When hot, add the chicken pieces with the marinade. Fry until lightly brown all over. Add salt, yoghurt, and whole milk fudge. Cook until the yoghurt is completely absorbed.

3. Add the green chillies, green coriander, and mint leaves; mix well. Add the coconut milk and simmer, covered, until the chicken becomes tender.
1 tsp 6 gm

Yield: Serves: 4-6

Family Special: My Mother's Example

by Fred Alberti, Salem Web Network Director of Social Media

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
Proverbs 1:8

I'll never forget waking in the morning to get ready for school and finding my mother outside on the deck reading her Bible and praying. That scene has been burned into my mind so strongly that I now find myself also abiding with the Lord surrounded by His creation in the great outdoors.

Did my mother tell me that I must do this? No. Rather, she taught me this through example.

One thing I have learned through my career is that an online community tends to be the reflection of those who lead it. I think the same can be true for parenting. Our children are a reflection of us.

Do we habitually break the law by speeding? We can expect to see our children show the same respect to the law.

Do we habitually overeat? (By the way, this is called gluttony and is a sin). If so, we can expect to see our children also become plump when they adopt our own lifestyle.

Do we reject the notion of loving others? Yes, here too, our children will exhibit that same lack of compassion.

Do we contribute to the disintegration of the family by breaking our marriage vows? Yes, if we do not take seriously, "until death do us part" then we can expect our children to likewise adopt the false teaching that marriage vows are expendable and only good for as long as we are pleased with the relationship.

While children are charged with not forsaking their parents' teachings we have the higher responsibility. We are to train and raise a generation of people who are being ingrained with the concept that loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, body, and soul is of utmost importance.

  • How are we doing that today?
  • What teaching and instruction are our children learning through observing our Christian walk?

Intersecting Faith & Life:

Work on consistently setting time aside to be with the Lord in a quiet setting. This can be outside under a tree or even a place in the house with a door that can lock (I've known many a mom that is forced to use the bathroom for such an endeavor). The important thing is that you make it a priority to be with the Lord and seek His guidance in your life.

Source: Crosswalk the Devotional

Family Special: How To Be Happy in an Unhappy Marriage

by Leslie Vernick

After two failed marriages, Janice decided to try one more time for the relationship she dreamed of. Yet, just one year later, her marriage to Hank was crumbling. Defeated and confused, Janice cried out to God for some answers. "In that moment, "she says, "I began to realize that there is no perpetual honeymoon to any marriage. Sometimes it's just plain hard work. It was then and there that God told me I could not depend on my husband to make me happy. I would only find my true happiness in God."

Even as Christians, many of us have grown up with unrealistic expectations of marriage. Hollywood and Harlequin have taught us that we must find our perfect match? our soul mates? to be happy. When difficulties occur in our marriage, we may wonder, like Janice did, whether we have found the right person or may even think we have made a terrible mistake. After thirty-one years of marriage and over two decades of counseling couples I have learned that God created marriage to mature us and for us to enjoy, but it was never intended to fulfill us or make us happy.

Marriage is God's great idea, but in every marriage there are seasons of difficulty and times of dryness where one or both partners may feel dissatisfied with the marital relationship. As we work to improve our marriage, sometimes our efforts don't produce the changes we want. During these times, the question we need to ask ourselves is not, "Should I leave my spouse so I can find another person who will make me happy?" but rather, "Can I learn to find contentment and joy while in the midst of an unhappy marriage? And if so, how?"

Change Your Focus

Everyone I know wants to feel good inside but few know the secret to lasting happiness or even what happiness is. Is happiness a feeling of emotional ecstasy? Intense pleasure with life's circumsta nces? An internal state of wellbeing or contentment? Happiness can comprise all of these things.

Several years ago my husband surprised me with a beautiful pearl necklace I had admired. I felt really happy? for about three days? until I began longing for some earrings to go with it. We all search for something to fulfill us and make us happy, whether it is people, objects, or positions of status. When we get what we desire, we feel a certain emotion we call happiness. This feeling, however, is always short-lived and, like Solomon with his 700 wives and me with my pearl necklace, we begin longing for the next thing we desire that will bring us more satisfaction.

While on a trip to Walt Disney World, I was struck by the number of cranky youngsters and frustrated parents. My children, like many others, were caught up in the excitement and wanted everything they saw. They felt elated whenever they got what they wanted but their happiness didn't last. When the next thing they desired was denied, the thrill they felt just minutes before quickly deteriorated and they became miserable.

Soon after my Disney experience, I traveled overseas to do some speaking and teaching in the Philippines. I observed barefoot children merrily swinging on old tires, living in houses constructed from cardboard boxes. These children didn't need lots of stuff to make them happy. Thought maybe just for the moment, they were enjoying what they had.

Many of us feel dissatisfied in life because we are not content with what God has given us. We want more. How does this apply to our marriage? Jesus tells us that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also (Matthew 6:21). If our treasure, or deepest desire, is in having a great marriage or a fat bank account or certain other things we deem essential to our well-being, then we will feel unhappy when we don't get what we want. For whatever has our heart, has us.

No one is more concerned with our happiness than Jesus is. He just tells us a different way of obtaining it than the world does. He tells us that happiness is never found by pursuing happiness or pleasure or people, but only found by pursuing him. He says, "Blessed (or happy) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). Too many of us hunger and thirst after happiness (or a good marriage or a big house), instead of hungering and thirsting after God. We forget that Jesus is the only one who can deeply satisfy our soul. Everyone desires unfailing love (Proverbs 19:22); it's just that we will never receive that kind of love continually from our spouses.

Created in his image, God designed us to experience happiness when something brings us great delight. For example, God is delighted when we find our greatest pleasure in Him. But often it is not God that brings us our greatest joy but what He gives us. We desire His gifts but we don't realize that our greatest gift is God himself. Oswald Chambers explains: "The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best." We want and pursue good things, but often neglect the best thing. The Psalmist reminds us where lasting happiness is found. He writes, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16:11). God's love is the only love that never fails (Jeremiah 31:3).

Guard Your Heart

To find any joy in an unhappy or difficult marriage, we must learn to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). Many individuals who struggle in marriage get very good at guarding their hearts, but the walls they build to protect themselves are against their spouse instead of against their real enemy. In the midst of an unhappy marriage, our spouse may feel like the enemy, but God tells us that our real enemy is Satan and the Bible warns us that he is out to devour us (1 Peter 5:8)*

Satan's goal has always been to get us to question God's goodness and to doubt that what God says is true. Jesus tells us that Satan is a liar (John 8:44) and his strategy is to take something that seems true and twist it ever so slightly. In a difficult marriage, Satan may whisper lies like, "Why should you be the only one trying in the marriage? It's not fair. Find someone else who will make you happy." Or, "Don't forgive, she doesn't deserve it. You're entitled to feel this way after what she did to you." Or, "He will never be the person you want. You made a terrible mistake marrying him and God doesn't want you to spend the rest of your life unhappily married to this person."

Satan wants us to believe that God is not good and that he does not know what is in our best interest. Remember, he is not interested in our well-being or our happiness. He wants to destroy us and our families.

Guarding my heart not only requires me to be aware of Satan's schemes, but to draw close to God and listen to truth. Don't let Satan deceive you into believing that any lasting happiness can be found apart from God.

Live for the Eternal

In the midst of hardship, our natural response is to look for the nearest exit. That's true of difficult marriages as well. Whether we exit in big ways like divorce or adultery or in small ways by shutting down and withdrawing emotionally, we want out. Yet the Bible tells us in James 1 that it is in the midst of difficulties that we have the opportunity to develop one of the most important disciplines we need to live life well? perseverance. Without this quality we will tend to live for what brings us relief or pleasure in the short-run.

I love to eat, especially sweets. I love tasting warm, gooey chocolate in my mouth, and I could be happy eating chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yet when I over-indulge, I'm plagued with other emotions like guilt and regret. I'm angry that I've sabotaged the bigger goal I have of gaining self-control and maintaining good eating habits. I've also discovered that when I succeed in saying no to the chocolate temptation, I actually feel happier with myself.

We only understand what makes us truly happy when we have a long - term perspective on life. Living for the moment can fool us into thinking that temporal pleasures bring happiness. The writer of Proverbs warns us, "At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, "how I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!'" (Proverbs 5:3,11,12). Many have discovered only too late, that what brought joy in the moment caused hardship and grief in the long run.

The apostle Paul reminds us that it was only when he kept the eternal lens fixed tightly to his spiritual eyes was he kept from utter despair in times of great difficulty (see 2 Corinthians 4). Looking at the big picture gives us perspective in the moment and helps us see that God is good and is doing something good in us, even in the midst of a difficult marriage (Romans 8:28,29).

Knowing that you can find some joy in the midst of an unhappy marriage will give you enough staying power to persevere until things change. You can experience a sense of well-being as you learn the secret of being content in whatever situation God allows in your life. When we take the high road in the midst of marital trouble it leads to growth and spiritual maturity. In addition to that, our children will watch an example of what it means to walk with God and to trust him in all things. And while enjoying these blessings you may discover that your marriage improves. However, the greatest happiness in all of life will come when we hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." And in the end, that is all that counts.

* If your marriage consists of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, you may also need to take measures to protect yourself and your children in ways that are beyond the scope of this article. Please consult with your pastor or Christian counselor to find ways to deal with this situation.

About The Author:

Leslie Vernick is the Director of Christ-Centered Counseling and the author of 'The Emotionally Destructive Relationship, Getting Over the Blues', (Harvest House) and How to Find Selfless Joy in a Me-First World, How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong and How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong (WaterBrook).

This article first appeared in Marriage Partnership Magazine Spring 2002

2013 Christ-Centered Counseling

Career: How to Persuade Anyone in 10 Seconds

By James Altucher

You're on the most important elevator ride of your life. You have ten seconds to make the classic "elevator pitch".

There are books about this. But don't waste your time. They are all garbage.

I've been on both sides of this equation. I've had people pitching me.

But mostly, I've been scared and desperate and afraid to ask someone to give me, want me, love me, all in the space of an elevator ride or in the time it takes one to ride an elevator.

Perhaps the hardest thing for me was when I was doing my 3 A.M. web series for HBO.

I had to walk up to random strangers at three in the morning on the streets of New York and convince them within five seconds to spill their most intimate secrets to me rather than kill me.

Not quite an elevator pitch but the same basic idea. I had a lot of practice. I probably approached over 3000 people cold.

In some cases people tried to kill me. In one case I was chased. In other cases people opened up their hearts and I am infinitely grateful to them.

The ideas below have worked for me in the hundreds of times I've had to be persuasive. Either in writing, or in person. In business and in friendships and in love. I hope variations on it can work for you. You decide.

A) Who Are You?

People want to know they are talking to a good, honest, reliable person that they can trust and perhaps even like, or love.

Yes, love.

They won't love you by looking at your resume.

You have to do method acting. Imagine what your body would feel like if they already said "Yes" even before you open your mouth.

You would be standing up straight, smiling, palms open, ready to close the deal. You have to method act at the beginning of your pitch.

If you are slouched and your head is sticking out, your brain is not as well-connected to your nervous system. When you're slouched over, not only are you not using the full potential of your brain, but you look untrustworthy.

B) Relax

Think about how you breathe when you are anxious and nervous.

I will tell you how I breathe: short, shallow breaths in my upper chest.

So do the reverse before a ten second pitch.

Breathe deep and in your stomach. Even three deep breaths in the stomach has been shown to totally relax the mind and body.

People sense this. Again, this builds trust and relaxes you.

Now, even though you haven't said a single word, you've probably done the two most important things for persuading someone.

C) Uhhh. Yeah. Uhhh. Mmmm-Hmmm. Uh-Huh

I have a hard time with this. It seems natural to say, "yup" or "right" or "uh-huh" or whatever.

But here's the facts: people perceive you as stupid when you do this.

Just keep quiet when someone is talking.

Then, when someone is done speaking, wait for two seconds before responding. They might not be done yet. And it gives you time to think of a response. If you are thinking of a response while they are talking, then you aren't listening to them.

People unconsciously know when you are not listening to them. Then they say "no" to you.

D) The Four U's

Finally, now we're getting to the heart of the matter. The actual nuts and bolts of persuasion.

By the way, I've googled "the 4 U's" and each time I get a different set of 4. So I'm going to use the 4 that have worked for me the best.

This is not BS. This is not a way to convince someone to do something they don't want to do. This is a way for you to consolidate your vision into a sentence or two and then express it in a clear manner.

This is the way to bond and connect with another person's needs instead of just your own wants.

You can use this in an elevator pitch, on a date, with your children, on your mother, whatever. But it works.

Think about these things when talking:

Urgency

Why the problem you solve is urgent to your demographic. For example: "I can never get a cab when it rains!"

Unique

Why is your solution unique: "We aggregate 100s of car services into one simple app. Nobody else does this."

Useful

Why is your solution useful to the lives of the people you plan on selling to or deliver your message to: "We get you there on time."

Ultra-Specific

This shows there is no fluff: "Our app knows where you are. Your credit card is pre-loaded. You hit a button and a car shows up in 4-5 minutes."

Of course the example I give is for Uber but you can throw in any other example you want.

I'll throw in a fifth "U"

User-friendly

In other words, make it as easy as possible for someone to say "yes". Like a money back guarantee, for instance. Or a giveaway. Or higher equity. Or testimonials from people you both know. Etc.

Oh! And before I forget, a sixth "U"

Unquestionable Proof

This can be in the form of profits. Or some measurable statistic. Or testimonials. Or a good wing-man. Whatever it takes.

E) Desire

A lot of people say you have to satisfy the desires of the other person in order for them to say "yes".

As much as we would like to think otherwise, people primarily act out of self-interest.

The less they know you, the more they will act out of self-interest because to do otherwise could potentially put them in danger. We all know that kids shouldn't take candy from strangers.

In an elevator pitch, the investor is the kid, what you are asking is the candy, and you are the stranger. So their gut reflex, unless you make the candy super-sweet, is to say "no".

So make sure you make your candy sweeter by sprinkling in their desires.

And what are their desires?

recognition
rejuvenation
relaxation
relief
religion
remuneration
results
revenge
romance

If you can help them solve these urgent problems or desires, then you they are more likely to say "yes" to you.

I don't know what you are selling, but hopefully it's not to satisfy their desire for revenge. But if it is, don't do anything violent.

The one time I had to sell romance on an elevator I had to do three things: tell her life would be ok, make sure I knew her address and last name, and send her a teddy bear and flowers the next day.

But that's for another story.

But first...

F) Objections

Everyone is going to have gut objections.

They've been approached 1000s of times before.

Do you know how many times I've been approached to have sex in an elevator?

None.

But probably many others have and you have to put up with their non-stop objection.

I will list them and then give solutions in parentheses:

No time

(that's ok. It's on an elevator. So they have elevator-length time. The key here is to stand straight and act like someone who deserves to be listened to).

No interest

(you solve this by accurately expressing the urgency of the problem)

No perceived difference

(but you have your unique difference ready to go)

No belief

(offer unquestionable proof that this works)

No decision

(make their decision as user-friendly as possible)

With great power comes great responsibility.

Most people don't have the power of persuasion. They mess up on each of the points I've outlined above. It takes practice and hard work.

But this is not just about persuasion. It's about connection.

It's about two people, who are probably strangers, reaching through physical and mental space and trying to understand each other and reach common ground.

It's not about money. It's not about the idea. It's not about yes or no.

It's about two people falling in love.

About The Author:

James is the host of the #1 business podcast, 'The James Altucher Show'.

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