Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Advent, Birth of John the Baptist, Patience
Volume 6 No. 387 December 2, 2016
 

III. General Weekly Features

Recipe: Rainbow Cake

by Dr. Shila Mathew, MD., Food and Living Editor, Malankara World

Ingredients

1 cup Plain Flour
1 tbsp Corn Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
2 cup Powdered Sugar
2-3 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
3-4 Egg Whites
2 -3 cup Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
7 Food Colors in Red, Yellow, Orange, Blue, Purple and Green
1 cup Butter, Unsalted and Melted
Salt to taste

For Frosting:

cup White Chocolate
1 cup Powdered Sugar
6-7 Egg whites
cup Water
2 cup Butter, Unsalted and Melted

Directions

Step 1: Take a medium bowl, whisk plain flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt. After whisking keep it aside

Step 2: Take a large bowl, combined butter and sugar, using an electric mixer beat medium-high speed until smooth then add vanilla extract and eggs. Keep beating until softens. Pour milk in the bowl. Beat until well combined

Step 3: Keep mixer on low and add flour mixture into the bowl. Mix well till the fully combined and set batter aside

Step 4: Put egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk for few minutes until they turns to soften. Gently add whisked egg whites into cake batter and mix well. Now, divide the cake batter equally into six small bowls. Add small amount of each food color (Red, Yellow, Orange, Blue, Purple and Green) to each bowl. Combined well to make desire colors

Step 5: Preheat oven to 320 deg F (160 degree C). Grease the cake tins with remaining butter. Add prepared cake Batter to the one per cake tin and bake 3 cake tins for 15-20 minutes till they cooked through. Turn out on to the wire racks and let them cool. Repeat with remaining batter

Step 6: To make frosting, place white chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat until it melts. Add cup of water and sugar, mix well and bring it to boil. Then add egg whites and butter, using remaining electric mixer beat egg whites with chocolate mixture for about 15 minutes till it softens. Remove from the heat and beat well till cooled

Step 7: Place the purple cake layer on serving plate and top with a thin layer of frosting. Repeat this same with remaining cakes in order to blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Spread the remaining frosting over and all sides of cake. Refrigerate cake for 2-3 hours and serve

Servings: 6 - 7 Persons

A Spiritual Workout - Commitment and Perseverance

by Ryan Duncan

"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter."
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15

In some of my previous devotions I've written about my habit of working out during the week, and during my time at the gym I've learned a few important lessons. First, never go running after eating Mexican takeout unless you want to experiences some excruciating gastro-intestinal distress. Second, always know what a machine does before you try using it or you may end up looking like a complete idiot. Finally, and most importantly, all exercise takes commitment and perseverance. You see, we live in a world that is obsessed with immediate results.

Don't believe me? Look at the TV commercials that promise rock hard abs in thirty days, or the diet plans that promise to slim our waistline after a week of light work. We are all looking for an easy way out, but if you really want to become strong and healthy, it takes many days of hard work. The same is true for spiritual workouts, just read 1 Thessalonians 5,

And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-28

I don't know about you but I'm exhausted just reading that passage. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop it from being true. Save for the grace of God, there are no magical fixes in life. If you want to get physically healthy it means running, dieting, and doing a whole lot of heavy lifting. If you want to become stronger in Christ, you can't just rely on going to Church each Sunday.

Growing closer to God means forgiving your enemies, encouraging others, and praying continuously day after day. It's some serious work, and there will be moments when you may get discouraged, but over time when you look back at the things it has allowed God to do in your life, you will know that it was all worth it.

Intersecting Faith and Life

Think of one way you can improve your walk with Christ and put it into action.

Further Reading

Matthew 20:28

Source: Crosswalk.com - The Devotional

Family Special: Your Spouse ... Your Best Friend?

by Melanie Chitwood

"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up."
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NAS)

Although I can say my husband Scott is my best friend today, that hasn't always been the case. When we first got married, I was so close to my twin sister Scott felt excluded when the three of us were together. Gradually, however, we both learned to develop our friendship with one another.

We reached a big turning point when we left Atlanta, where I had been single and then newly married. We packed up and moved to Florida for Scott's new flying career. Living in a new city where we knew very few other people, we learned to depend on each other for friendship in a way we hadn't learned before.

Now Scott is the one I turn to first just to be my friend, not in the way a girlfriend is a friend, but in a way that only a husband can be. The support that this kind of friendship brings is reflected in Ecclesiastes 4:9: "Two are better than one."

Over the years I've discovered some specific ways we can develop a close friendship with our spouse. First, we can take an interest in what's going on where we each spend a great deal of time, our workplaces.

Has he talked about a stressful project? Has he said how energized he is by a new assignment? Follow up by asking for more details and remember to pray for these situations. This shows our thoughtfulness and support. Acknowledging you know his job can be difficult shows that you appreciate him!

Secondly, a great way to forge bonds of friendship is to share an interest. What do you both like to do? You may need to think about what you did while you were dating.

My friends Tracey and Ron take short trips to the mountains. It's more Tracey's passion than Ron's, but he's learned to enjoy it too. My mom and dad are great cooks and have created some incredible meals together. Scott and I have watched countless basketball games together. If you don't already have a shared hobby or pastime, start trying out some activities. It's easy to let the day-in and day-out responsibilities of life to crowd out time for relaxation and laugher, so you'll have to make the choice to have fun together.

Finally, we need to ask ourselves if we're making friendship with our spouse a priority. Do we save our best energy for developing friendship with our spouse or are we too busy or tired? Sometimes we have to say no to other pursuits so we can have time to protect and nurture the gift of friendship in marriage.

The seeds of friendship we plant today will continue to bloom later in our marriages. We've all seen older couples sitting at restaurant tables, eating their entire meal in complete silence. I don't want to look like those silent couples, and I'm sure you don't either. I want to grow old relishing my friendship with my husband, a friendship forged over years of sharing interests and making each other a priority.

Dear Lord, show me ways to nurture friendship with my spouse, so we can continue to enjoy each other through the passing years. Lord, today, I commit to making friendship with my spouse one of my top priorities. Where I need to give up some activities so I'll have time for friendship with my husband, give me eyes to see that. Thank you for the lifetime friendship you've given us in marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Today's devotion is adapted from Melanie's book, What a Wife Needs from Her Husband

Reflect and Respond:

Plan to do something fun with your spouse. Do this within one week's time, and don't let anything interfere with these plans.

What do you want your marriage to look like ten years from now? What can you do today to reach your desired outcome?

Is there room in your life for friendship with your spouse? Is there anything you can take out of your life to allow space for your friendship with your spouse to grow?

Power Verses:

Genesis 2:18, "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; will make him a helper suitable for him.'" (NAS)

Ephesians 5:28, "So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself." (NAS)

Source: Encouragement for Today; 2012 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

Inspiration: The Truth About Positive Thinking

by Craig Ballantyne

Good Ol' Zig

Zig Ziglar, RIP, was a positive person. And the world is better off for it. Each week Zig would hit the road to motivate and inspire thousands of business owners and corporate team members. He did a great service and his positive message continues as his legacy lives on. Today, a classic essay from Zig's archives that will make you smile.

"You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."
- Zig Ziglar

Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World

By Zig Ziglar

I believe you get back what you send out. I am a very "up" person and people frequently ask me how I maintain my enthusiasm.

One of the fun things I do is to give people my special greeting. Whether it's eight o'clock in the morning or eight o'clock at night, I always try to greet others before they have a chance to speak to me.

My greeting is always the same, whether I'm in Auckland, New Zealand, or Augusta, Maine. I use an enthusiastic "Good Morning!" Interestingly enough, 85% of those who respond will respond by saying "Good Morning" - even if it's eight o'clock at night. Many of them cut it short before they finish the word "morning," and then say, "It's not morning!" And I respond, "Then, why did you say, 'Good Morning'?" They tell me it's because I said "Good morning."

The point I make is significant.

If you go out in life looking for friends they're hard to find; but if you go out in life to be a friend, you will find them everywhere.

What you send out is exactly what you get back. You send out a "good morning," and in most cases you'll get back a "good morning." Send out a cheerful, positive greeting and most of the time you will get back a cheerful, positive greeting. It's also true that if you send out a negative greeting you will, in most cases, get back a negative greeting.

How to Reproduce Cheerful, Upbeat People

There are benefits of greeting people with an enthusiastic "Good Morning!" even when it's 8:00 p.m. The reason is simple: The best way for me to feel upbeat and optimistic is for me to make an effort to make others feel upbeat and optimistic.

Admittedly, on rare occasions I get back a less than chipper reply, but from my perspective that's their problem and not mine. For each stinking thinking reply I get, I get back a hundred positive ones. The other reason I say "good morning" is that I always believe the best part of the day is still in front of me. As far as I'm concerned, the use of the word "morning" is legitimate.

When someone beats me to the draw and says something like, "Good morning, how are you?" I always respond in one of two ways. I will either say, "Better than good, and that's an understatement," or "Super good, but I'm getting better!" Almost without exception after an interchange like that the other person is smiling. When I cause someone else to smile I leave them slightly better than I found them, which makes me feel better.

Phase two of this approach to life is what I say when I part company with an individual.

Instead of the usual "Have a good day," I say, "I'll see you at the top!" which also brings a smile. Just in case you're wondering if that is the "real world," my answer is, "You bet it is!"

One of the interesting psychological truths is that logic will not change an emotion, but action will. This approach is initiating a physical action which will, in fact, make me feel better while also making the other person feel better. This validates the concept that you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

The Truth About Creating Positive People

Just what can positive thinking do?

To be candid, some people have given positive thinking a bad name.

I can't stand to hear some gung-ho individual say that with positive thinking you can just do "anything." If you think about that one for a moment, you recognize the absurdity of it.

As a ridiculous example, I'm a positive thinker, but I could never slam-dunk a basketball or perform major surgery - or even minor surgery - on anyone and expect that person to survive. Nate Newton, the former 300-plus pound lineman for the Dallas Cowboys is positive, optimistic and outgoing but he'd be a complete failure as a jockey or a ballet dancer.

It's safe to say that positive thinking won't let you do "anything." However, it is even safer to say that positive thinking will let you do "everything" better than negative thinking will. Positive thinking will let you use the ability which you have, and that is awesome. It works this way. You can walk into a dark room, flip on the switch and immediately the room is lighted. Flipping the switch did not generate the electricity; it released the electricity which had been stored. Positive thinking works that way - it releases the abilities in which you have.

The student who hasn't studied and prepared for the test won't be helped by "thinking positively." However, positive thinking will help the student who has studied and prepared by "releasing" the stored knowledge when the questions are asked. To express it in a different way, knowledge breeds confidence; confidence breeds enthusiasm; and enthusiasm is an important key to being and doing more with your life.

Buy the positive approach to life and I will SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

[Ed. Note. Zig Ziglar was known as America's Motivator. He is best known for his inspirational messages of hope through his 29 books and numerous audio and video recordings.]

3 Ways to See God in Your Suffering

by Eric McKiddie

Horatio Spafford didn't know it, but he was about to face incredible suffering. He planned a family vacation to Europe for the fall of 1873, but a business emergency kept him from traveling with his family. Intending to join his family after he attended to the situation, he sent his wife, Anna, and their four daughters ahead of him. During his family's voyage their ship collided with another vessel. Although Anna survived, their four daughters drowned.

Inspired by this tragic event, Spafford wrote a poem, the words of which would become the lyrics to It Is Well with My Soul. Knowing the story behind the hymn sheds a whole new light on the line "when sorrows like sea billows roll."

When you face trials, are you inclined to sing "It is well, it is well with my soul," or do you find it difficult to sing at all? What does it take to keep such solid faith when life is nothing but shifting sands? How can you grow through suffering, rather then just get through suffering?

The Apostle Paul, in Romans chapter 8, tells us that the way to face suffering is by keeping your eye on glory.

God has a glorious purpose for your suffering

So often when we face incredible difficulties we ask God, "Why?" We wonder if we have just become a pawn in his chess match against the devil. But Paul reminds us that God has a purpose for our sufferings: eternal glory. He tells us we are children of God, "provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him" (Rom. 8:17). And lest we wonder if the glory is worth it, Paul adds, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom. 8:18).

God has something in store for you that is so great and so amazing that when that day comes, you will say that the hardship was worth it. It may be hard to imagine today, but these verses teach that the burdens and troubles that weigh so heavily upon you now will seem as light as a feather God reveals his eternal glory to you.

God works all things, including your suffering, for good

Not only does God have great things in store for us in the future, but he also works now through our sufferings for our good. "For we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). We have no reason to fear that our trials will bring us to our demise, since God has a way of working such situations out for good. As Joseph said to his brothers who sold him into slavery, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen. 50:20).

What is the good that God intends for us? Although God does not promise that our circumstances will improve, he does promise that our circumstances will improve us, so that we become "conformed to the image of his Son" (Rom. 8:29). Trials are God's way of making us more Christ-like.

It's common to try to learn something from our trials. While learning is important, God intends so much more than just to teach us a lesson. He wants to make us resemble our Savior in our attitude, desires, actions, thoughts, and words.

God empowers you for victory, even in the midst of suffering

What if your trial is lifelong? What if your temptations will never go away? What if there is no light at the end of the tunnel? Is any thought of victory hopeless?

Paul gives us a resounding no. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37). Notice that Paul doesn't say "out of all these things," or, "away from all these things," but, "in all these things." Right there in the middle of your suffering no matter how intense it is (see 8:35) you can be more than a conqueror.

How? Not through your own strength, but "through him who loved us." God empowers us to stand firm the midst of suffering. Since it can't crush us, and since it can't separate us from God's love (Rom. 8:35, 39), we will be victorious, whether the trial comes to an end or not.

Conclusion

I wish I could tell you that the Spaffords never had another gut-wrenching trial. But tragedy hit the Spafford family another time, too. The Spaffords' only son, also named Horatio, succumbed to scarlet fever at the tender age of 4.

I can't guarantee you that once you get through the trial you're in that your life will be fine and dandy the rest of the way. But I can guarantee you that God can work through it for your good and his glory.

How do I know this? Because he did it through Jesus. Our Savior faced the worst suffering anyone has ever experienced a torturous death, and the emptiness of his Father turning away. Yet through that suffering God brought salvation to the world. If God can work the cross for good, then he can and he promises that he will work the crosses that you bear for good, too.

About The Author:

Eric McKiddie helps pastors grow as well-rounded ministers of the gospel at his blog, Pastoralized, and through sermon coaching.

Source: Christianity.com

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