Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Humility, Servant Leader
Volume 6 No. 363 August 19, 2016

III. General Weekly Features

Career: How to Go from Good to Great - and Enjoy the Rewards - In 4 Easy Steps

By Mark Ford

"Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else's hands, but not you." - Jim Rohn

It was awkward.

A colleague had asked me to revise a sales letter he'd commissioned. He called it "run of the mill." He wanted me to "bring it to life."

It was rather ordinary copy, and bringing it to life required changing nearly 30% of it.

But the problem wasn't the work. It was the fact that the writer, a successful copywriter, was a friend of mine.

I worried that Sarah (not her real name) would be upset I had changed it so much. And that because she was upset, she would "veto" my revisions.

Happily, she didn't. After reviewing my edits (not knowing it was I who had made them), she sent a letter to my colleague acknowledging the copy was better. She promised to learn from the corrections and "write at that level next time."

I remember seeing that response and thinking: "Sarah is going to be really, really good."

This story has two morals:

The first is about pride and its opposite (humility). If you want to accomplish great things and/or learn complex skills, some amount of pride is necessary to push yourself forward. But false or overreaching pride (Aristotle's term was "hubris") is a major obstacle.

Sarah was an accomplished copywriter. If I had to rank her against her peers, I'd say she was, at that time, in the top 20%. She'd earned the right to argue with my changes, but she didn't. The pride she had in herself had brought her so far as a writer already. In this case, at least, she wasn't going to let false pride halt her progress.

False pride is a very common problem among copywriters - no, among every sort of writer. But when writers believe - or desperately want to believe - their writing is above reproach, they damage their careers because they can no longer benefit from learning from others.

This is equally true for musicians, tennis players, salsa dancers, sumo wrestlers, and CEOs. Those who are willing to say "I am good, but I can learn to do better" do better. Those who say "I am the greatest. Nobody knows more than I" are almost sure to take a serious tumble.

Ego. Selflessness. Pride. Humility. Confidence. Fear. There are so many emotions that play a part in personal development. What you want in your career is the confidence that follows accomplishment, not the pride that precedes a fall.

Or, to put it differently: No matter how good you are at what you do, there's someone out there who can teach you something.

Think about your strongest skill - the talent or capability that is most important to the achievement of your main goal. Now ask: "Am I willing to acknowledge that there are people in my universe who are better at this than I am?"

If you can accept the possibility that there are others better than you, then you can learn from them. If you extend this perspective, you'll realize that you can learn specific things from people who don't have your overall mastery.

And now we come to the second moral of this story: The only good way to improve a skill is to practice it. Reading about it is certainly helpful. Talking about it with people who are experts may work, too. But no amount of reading and talking will do nearly as much as regular, focused practice.

Human beings are designed to get better through practice. Everything we ever learn to do - from walking to talking to writing concertos - gets better through practice. Practice makes our fingers move faster, our hearts beat stronger, our brains think smarter.

Or think of it this way: Nothing in nature stays the same. If you're not getting better, you're only getting worse.

And that's what Sarah should know about her future as a copywriter. If she continues to practice her craft - while taking advantage of everything she can learn from more experienced and skillful copywriters - the likelihood that she will be great one day is better than 99%.

With practice and a willingness to keep learning, Sarah will one day be among the very best copywriters in the business.

So here's the program for greatness:

Have pride in yourself - enough pride to expect that at any given moment, you will do the best job you can.

Know that getting better begins with the recognition that there are people out there in the world who know things you don't and can do some things better than you. Have the humility to seek out such people.

As your skills improve and your reputation for skillfulness spreads, resist the lure of false pride. Cultivate humility. Be confident in what you know but open to learning new things.

And make learning and improving your skills through practice a lifelong habit.

Editor's Note: Mark's offering a free three-day educational training event. He'll explain the ideas behind his favorite wealth-building methods. And as a bonus, Mark will send you several income-generating project ideas you can start implementing right away. It all culminates with a two-hour webinar event on Thursday.

Today's training event discusses income. Mark made millions last year through his active streams of income. If you're ready to increase your cash flow in the next year - and to stop being a slave to a paycheck - go here for 100% free access to a video and special report from Mark himself. He's giving away the system he used to make "more money than I can spend in several lifetimes."

About the Author:

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.

Source: ETR 2016 © Early to Rise Publishing – All Rights Reserved

Family Special: It's Easy to Give Up and Give In

by Jason Liske

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
– 1 Corinthians 2:9

"Such is the message of the Cross to each one of us. However far I have to travel through that valley of the shadow of death, I am never alone."
+Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

Much of my young adult life has been a deep struggle with depression. One wouldn't be too far amiss to say it is virtually a plague in today's world; in fact, most people I know suffer from some form of anxiety, depression or other form of mental anguish. Many take medication just to be able to feel like they can function in daily life, if even for only a few hours. I remember reading somewhere that my own generation, "Generation Y", was known for its pervasive sense of meaningless, depression and the like.

Not long ago, someone asked me why someone would choose to be depressed, what benefits could ever result from deciding to give up in some sense, and I know from experience that there are tremendous benefits. Allowing oneself to give up and give in, to succumb to the demon of despair, melancholy, depression and all the rest is like sinking into a cavern, like hiding away under an immense grey blanket where nothing can touch you or hurt you except yourself.

The problem is, life doesn't stop happening. The world keeps turning, and time keeps slipping away, and oftentimes, the person suffering from depression can only see themselves sliding into a blackness that seems inescapable. Blessed Fr. Seraphim Rose noted that "young people in our times have ‘burned themselves out' trying to find reality, and either die young or drag out a dreary existence at a fraction of their potential of mind and soul." (1)

Giving up and giving in can mean a multitude of different things – succumbing to depression and despair is just one of them. Succumbing to the cheap hedonisms of our times; feeding into empty rebellions through various mediums of music, art and subculture that are before long co-opted by the culture at large and turned into big-business; feeding an addiction that fills the void that only the eternal can fill. All of these equal giving up.

The Christian life, on any level at all, I feel is a struggle. It is a struggle to deny oneself in any fashion, to not do what thou wilt as the whole of the law, to live for something higher, something eternal, something beyond what we can see or even fully know.

I have found, in my own life, that the wages of living only for oneself, living in the pursuit of pleasure or burning out oneself on the things of this world, are ones of unrest. Just when one thinks they have found peace in something, just when one is comfortable or feels contentment of a kind, the transient nature of all things is revealed. We lose our favorite things, we lose our jobs we thought were secure, our friends and family turn on us, pass away, forget about us; nothing ever seems to last. As one looks closer and closer at the world, it seems to me to be only a transient thing, a signpost that points somewhere else.

Desperately, many of us search for happiness anywhere we can find it – especially those who suffer from despair. We claw and grasp at nearly anything that can give us a fix and alleviate the pain of soul that we feel, and yet how hard it is for us when the thought comes to us that we should turn to God, Who alone can satisfy us? Suddenly, when one is inclined to pray and turn to God for comfort, it is as though the soul and body become deadlocked. Anything and everything comes to mind, offering a multitude of distractions, quick fixes, and easy solutions. If these do not work, despair and frustration set in again, gripping the soul in a kind of frozen grasp, rendering it nearly incapable of doing anything but giving up. How easy it is for the dog to return to its vomit (cf. Prov. 26:11).

The Christian life is one of not giving up, of not giving in. It is one in which we rely on Christ for our strength, and not ourselves. It is one where we are never alone. This is something we must all take heart in and realize to the very depths of our being. We are not alone in our struggle.


1 – God's Revelation to the Human Heart, 15

Family Special: Can Teen Alcoholism Start At Home?
When "Just a Sip" Is Something More: Can Teen Alcoholism Start At Home?

You're having a family party, and the wine is flowing. Your son is eager to be considered one of the "adults" and asks for his own glass.

"Why not?" you think. "It's just one small glass. It won't hurt him … will it?"

If this scenario sounds familiar, you're not alone. Americans often hear that our drinking rules are vastly different than the rest of the world. Our drinking age is 21 instead of 18, and many European children often sip small glasses of wine with family meals.

"One drink won't hurt" is, after all, "just a sip." But research shows this attitude can be harmful.

Teens Begin Their Relationship With Alcohol With Their First Drink

Pre-teens and teenagers begin their relationship with alcohol from their very first encounter. Many parents believe that exposing their children to small amounts of alcohol before the age of 21 while in the safety in their own homes is safer than waiting until college parties. But the truth isn't always so simple.

"The law is clear. The age for purchase and public consumption is 21, and we do want to teach respect for the law even if we don't totally agree with it," said Dr. Richard Horowitz, parenting coach and author of Family Centered Parenting: Your Guide for Growing Great Families.

The Dangers Of Teen Alcoholism

Letting your pre-teens (and their friends) drink under your roof can lead to harmful consequences, not to mention civil and criminal liabilities. Also, scientific literature suggests that the gesture, even though intended to demystify the "forbidden fruit," may actually backfire.

Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that kids who are exposed to alcohol are more likely to

Be involved in alcohol-related accidents,
Struggle in school
Become the victims of a crimes, such as rape

Teens and pre-teens who drink are also more likely to become sexually active at earlier ages, and such sex is often unprotected. Even though letting your children have their first sip at home may seem benign, teens and pre-teens need to know that alcohol is a harmful drug.

Remember: You're The Model

At times, it may seem like your pre-teen or teenager has no interest in what you have to say. But you're still the role model, and they do look up to you.

Set a good example by forbidding underage drinking. It's in their best interest. Many teens and pre-teens don't have the capacity to understand responsible drinking. Their impulse control is lacking, and the prefrontal cortexes of their brains are still developing.

While you should condemn underage drinking in your home, an open dialogue about the dangers of alcohol is also absolutely essential. Your teen should be able to talk candidly with you about the pressure to drink that he or she faces.

When Is The Right Time To Discuss Alcohol Use?

If it seems too early to talk to your child about drinking, it's not. Almost two-thirds of 8th graders report that alcohol is "easy to get." One-third reported drinking in the past year.

The time to talk to your child about drinking is now. Model good behavior and remain open to discussion to foster a healthy future relationship with the liquid substance.

Community Discussion: Share Your Thoughts Here!

Have you or would you let your teenage child take their first sip of alcohol under your roof? Do you think doing so leads to alcohol abuse down the road? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Christian Life: Does the Pursuit of Perfection Keep you Trapped?

by Kelly Balarie

First house: Smelled like urine.
Second house: Was painted orange and red.
Third house: Was on a super-highway.
Fourth house: Was a construction zone.
Fifth house: Felt like a cave.

Every house didn't work, yet, every city before this one didn't work either.

First city: Wasn't business-centric enough.
Second city: Wasn't pretty enough.
Third city: Wasn't modern enough.
Fourth city: Wasn't exciting enough.
Fifth city: Wasn't clean enough.

I crashed on the couch, tears streaming. We had 3 more weeks left before kid had to go to kindergarten and, with an expiring lease, we were going to be homeless. In dark and non-impressive hotel room, I wondered if it wasn't the fault of the city, or the houses, or the climates or the ice or the people? Who was to blame? I also, resistantly, wondered if the problem was much, much worse.

Was the problem - me?

Did I want to give up because God didn't give me
every check-marks-the-box item on my list?

I stood up, staring at the city's horrid heatwaves, the dirt, the grime and the lack of hot restaurants - from on high. I wanted something better than what was pretty good. Each place, there was a something that prohibited me from my everything.

Pursuit of Ideal

When you search for perfection like a flawless diamond,
you pretty much always walk away with nothing.

I turned my hands; I hold nothing.

Lately, I've been spinning my wheels, considering how to market a book I am desperately afraid of. The idea it won't do well - blockbuster even - stops me in my tracks. It makes me nervous.

So I waste days. I hold nothing.

God puts someone on my heart. He gives me a gently nudge to gently love. I don't want them to think poorly of me. I don't want to seem overbearing. I don't want to rub them wrong way. I get insecure I won't handle it well, right even.

I turn away. I hold nothing.

What have you been subconsciously turning down because you figure there is no way it will:

1) Be good enough?
2) End up good enough?
3) Make you look good enough?

When we seek ideal, we usually make idols out of desired results.

We set up perfectly folded and lined items on our shelves and dictate they sit perfectly, yet if one should unfold - or look out of place - we get ruined. The image haunts us.

But the truth is, God has, nor never will be, a God of false images. He is a true God who calls on his children to have true faith. Abiding faith that knows things don't always have to look well - to end well.

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7

Do I believe this way? Do you?

What would happen if rather than sulking in self-pity,
we rose up in selfless-thanks for what God will do through a small seed of trust?

I haven't done this, but I want to. I'm resolute I will.

Starting right now, in order to beat my inner-demands for perfection, I will start a new cycle:

Wait (& act if prompted)
Wait (& act if prompted)
Give thanks - even if it's no-man's-land.
Wait (& act if prompted)
Give thanks - even if it still appears to be no-man's land.

Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. Ps. 38:9

O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear... Ps. 10:17

Source: Purposeful Faith blog

Christian Life: Five Areas of Your Life Satan Wants to Enter

by Cindi McMenamin

Satan wants nothing more than to enter certain areas of your life so he can gain a stronghold. He'll try anything to throw you off center, distract you from your focus, and render you ineffective for the Kingdom of God.

And I believe, after more than 25 years of ministering to women, that there are common areas he attacks – not just in women, but in any of us. As long as we're aware of his strategies, we can be on guard to keep him out of his targeted entry points.

These are the five areas of your life Satan wants to enter:

1. Your heart – so it's not God's alone.

There's a reason God's Word tells us:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
(Proverbs 4:23).

Satan knows he has an entry point into your life if God is not first in our hearts. God's first commandment, set forth under the Old Covenant, was:

"You shall have no other gods before me"
(Exodus 20:3).

And Jesus restated that under the New Covenant when He was asked what is the greatest commandment and responded by saying

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'..."
(Luke 10:27).

Satan's greatest desire is to prevent you from giving God all of your heart so he will constantly dangle people, things, and desires in front of you – anything to distract you so he can erect a false god in front of you that you don't even realize you have. He will try to lure you with a false god like your career, a spouse or love interest, a dream or goal, a hobby or lifestyle.

I know many women whose first love is their bodies, so they spend more time in the gym working out than letting God work within. It's a subtle way of starting to love other things more than God. Some of us love food, money, recreation, our children, a substance, or a "feeling" (like being in love, or feeling energetic) more than God, Himself.

Guard your heart by keeping Christ on the throne of your life so Satan doesn't try to sneak anything else in there.

2. Your worries – to make you doubt God's love and provision.

Satan wants you stressing, because then you're not resting in God's ability to care for you. Women tend to stress over the temporal – bills that must be paid, whether or not a man will come into our lives, if we'll be able to have a child, what someone is saying about us, how our body looks, and so on. Men tend to stress about their jobs, providing for their families, and whether or not they are "making the cut" in several areas of life. Then there's health concerns, fears about our aging parents, and other situations that can crowd out God's peace in our lives and even cause us to begin to blame God for our circumstances. Don't let Satan in this door through his tantalizing "what if?" questions and the doubts he weaves through your mind.

God instructs us in Philippians 4:6-7 to:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"
Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB).

Keep praying about your concerns and keep thanking God ahead of time for what He's about to do, so Satan doesn't get a stronghold in your mind through your worries and fears.

3. Your everyday thinking – so you're just like the world.

It's amazing how many people profess to know God and follow Him, yet their thinking patterns are just like those of anyone else in the world. Satan loves that. He wants you to be so absorbed with the ways of the world that you are clueless about what God's Word says. He will do this through subtle messages in music lyrics, statements from your favorite celebrity, and words of advice from friends (even friends of yours who are believers, but are quoting "verses" that are not in the Bible).

Scripture commands us:

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is."
(Romans 12:2, NLT)

Furthermore, God's Word instructs:

"Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise... and the God of peace will be with you"
(Philippians 4:8-9, NLT).

But Satan would rather have us in mental anguish by listening to the world, rather than the word of God. Guard your everyday thinking by soaking it in Scripture. It's the only way to keep Satan and his worldly philosophies from entering in.

4. Your speech – so you tear others apart.

God wants us to be holy mouthpieces for Him – people who heal and help with our words. But Satan would rather have you and me blowing it big time with our mouths. A few critical words here, a few complaints there, some profanity mixed in with a little gossip on the side and we have given him permission to make us people who tear others apart and sound no different (and sometimes worse) than unbelievers.

Satan knows we can cause much damage with our mouths if we do not bring them under God's control. Whether it is gossip, criticism or unkind remarks, our mouths can be instruments of righteousness or unrighteousness. Close that door to Satan, altogether, by applying God's instructions in Ephesians 4:29:

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (NIV).

And 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us:

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (NASB).

Be a verbally thankful person who speaks only to lift others up, not tear them down. That will diminish and destroy a critical and complaining spirit that gives Satan a stronghold in our lives.

5. Our Bodies -- so they no longer glorify God.

Why is it that when people get depressed they overeat or drink excessively or turn to substances? Why is it that young girls will cut their bodies or starve themselves when they are dealing with emotional pain? I believe it's because Satan will turn us against our bodies if he can, as a way of "getting back at God."

Our bodies are precious to God. Scripture commands us to:

"Give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?"
(Romans 12:1, NLT).

Satan knows that God considers our bodies His temple and therefore God wants us to keep our bodies holy, healthy and honoring to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Scripture says keeping our bodies holy is our "spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1, NIV).

So because our bodies are holy to God, Satan would love to have us harm them, mutilate them, starve them, and destroy them with substances. Don't let him in. Not in how you dress. Not in how you see yourself. Not in how you treat yourself. Ask God for a healthy body image and a desire to protect your body so you can serve Him on this earth in it for as long as possible.

So what's your strategy now that you know the areas where Satan wants to enter your life? God gives us a great defense through Paul's instructions to the saints in Ephesians 6:11-18:

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes..."

I find it interesting that every piece of "armor" described in that passage refers to the character of Christ. (See my article "Are You a Warrior Woman or a Wounded One?") In other words, put on Christ-likeness. Abide in Christ, be clothed in His character and righteousness, and you will fend off the attacks of the enemy.

About The Author:

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and best-selling author who helps women and couples find strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts, When Couples Walk Together, (co-authored with her husband, Hugh), and her newest, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom.


Inspirational: How You Can Soar Like the Eagles

by Dr. Jack Graham

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I heard about a little eaglet who was injured when he fell out of his nest and was adopted by a group of turkeys. The eagle grew up thinking he was a turkey. He was raised by turkeys, lived with turkeys, and he acted like turkeys!

But one day, that eaglet discovered that he really was an eagle after all and that he was made to soar. So he began to flap his wings. And after struggling for some time, he finally caught wind, took off, and soared into the sky like he was always meant to do!

As a believer in Christ, God made you to soar in the heavens! He has blessed us in Christ Jesus to roar and reside in the heavenly places. Yet, so many believers I talk with today are stuck on the ground, like that little eaglet, and are content with living their lives among the turkeys instead of soaring with the eagles.

As you read this, maybe you feel like God wants to do something great in your life, but you just haven’t seen it happen yet. Perhaps it’s because you have yet to flap your wings and catch the life God wants for you.

If you want to soar, take the first step out in faith and trust God will raise you up!


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