Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Syriac Orthodox, Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Quad Centum (Issue 400) Souvenir Edition

Volume 7 No. 400 March 1, 2017
 

Chapter 23: Personal Improvement

How to Become Outstanding In Your Field

People often ask Martin about the secret to making it in the entertainment industry. His answer often disappoints. It does not involve any tricks.  Instead, it's all built on one simple idea: "Be so good they can't ignore you." Just focus on becoming good. Really damn good. Outstanding. Unlike anyone who has come before you. ...

You Can Disagree and Still be Friends

No disagreement is worth losing a friendship or a family member. Nothing is that important. When you see a conversation turning into a disagreement, stop and establish between the two of you that your friendship or relationship means more to you both than the issue at hand. ...

How to Deal With People Who Try to Bring You Down

We all have people in our lives who try to bring us down. You may have that one parent that tries to bring you down all the time. You could have a boss that is always criticizing you. ...

When You're Afraid You'll Never Achieve Your Goals and Dreams

Instead of fearing we'll never make it to the next destination, let's look at how far we've come. ...

Three Steps to Turning Every Problem into a Golden Opportunity

Adversity makes us stronger, smarter, and innovative. You must embrace the hardships that come your way in life. Wise readers will lean into them and turn the bitter into better. The problems in my life are opportunities to develop new skills, achieve personal growth, and learn from mentors. ...

Going the Extra Mile Pays

True giving from a Christian perspective parallels the corporal acts of mercy as listed below. ...

Chapter 23: Personal Improvement

How to Become Outstanding In Your Field

By Cal Newport

Today we're going to take a fun detour and tackle something larger, more philosophic, and, quite frankly, something well beyond my ability to credibly speak about.

The Making of Steve Martin

Steve Martin is arguably one of the most important figures in 20th century comedy. Much of the modern comedy devices that us young people types think are so cutting-edge owe a serious debt to Martin's efforts in the '70s to explore comedy beyond the punchline. (You can't have, for example, Seth McFarlane's 10-minute Family Guy chicken fight sequence without Martin's never-ending banjo tuning bit). This quest, of course, made Martin rich and famous and award winning and all that other good stuff.

But how did he do it?

In Martin's memoir, Born Standing Up, we gain unprecedented insight into this process.

Indeed, Martin stated that one of his motivations for the book was to explicitly capture the how, not just the what. (As he mentioned in an interview with Charlie Rose, he was frustrated with reading other entertainer biographies in which, all of the sudden, "the guy's performing at the Copa, and you're like: ‘how did that happen?").

Even better, the insight Martin provides is applicable beyond just the entertainment industry. It covers most any field in which you might wish to make a name for yourself. In this post, I extract from this source material a simple system — which I call The Steve Martin Method — that captures the essence of Martin's thoughts on making it big.

The Steve Martin Method

People often ask Martin about the secret to making it in the entertainment industry. His answer often disappoints. It does not involve any tricks (or, as we might call them: "hacks"). No insider path to getting an agent or special formatting to get your screenplay read. Instead, it's all built on one simple idea:

"Be so good they can't ignore you."

Let this resonate for a moment. I think it captures something profound.

Sure, it's scary. But, even more so, I find it liberating. It simplifies the quest. Forget all the frustration, the tricks, and the worry. Just focus on becoming good. Really damn good. Outstanding. Unlike anyone who has come before you.

If you can figure out how to do this one thing, recognition will follow. It will, like it did for Martin, probably come so fast that it will overwhelm you.

Martin's Two Pieces of Advice for Applying the Method

Dig through Martin's book tour interviews, and two consistent pieces of advice arise for how to succeed with The Steve Martin Method:

Martin Tip #1: Intellectualize.

Paying your dues is overrated. Simply putting in the time is not enough. Martin's story is one of a constant urge to innovate. He was trying to figure out the essence of "funny." He then yielded these insights to move beyond the static structure of the punchline that dominated performance comedy at the time. This restless urge to understand then innovate led him to be outstanding. Without it, he would have just become another good comedian. Like hundreds of others.

You need to do the same. Understand what the best exemplars in your field do well. Figure out why. Then ask how you can mix, match, and reconstruct these elements into something new and even better.

Martin Tip #2: Don't wander.

Martin credits "diligence" for his success. But he's quick to clarify that he's not referring to working hard over time. What he really means is staying diligent in his interest in the one field he was trying to master; being able to ignore the urge to start working on other projects at the same time.

It can be hard to ruthlessly whittle down your ambitions to a needle-thin point. But Martin is clear on this point: "if you don't saturate your life in a single quest, you'll dilute your focus to a point where becoming outstanding becomes out of reach."

Putting the Method into Motion

My instinct is to rev up my productivity blogger engine and start churning out my own, over-specified tips for following this approach. But I'll resist. The Martin Method rests about the level of systems and hacks. It is a mindset.

If you're looking to become a leader in your field, honestly evaluate your talent level. Don't compare yourself to others who have had success. That's a path toward frustration. Instead, ask yourself, candidly, whether you're so good you can't be ignored. If not, then get back to work.

About the Author:

Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, who specializes in the theory of distributed algorithms. Newport is a writer who focuses on contrarian, evidence-based advice for building a successful and fulfilling life in school and after graduation. He is the author of So Good They Can't Ignore You, and Deep Work.

You Can Disagree and Still be Friends

by Janet Thompson

While playing a card game with my family, my grandchildren's mother suddenly "went out" on the first hand before any of us had a chance to play our cards. I was sitting across from my young granddaughter, who was next in line to play. As realization set in that the game was over, her face went from shock to anger as she erupted into a meltdown throwing her cards across the table, leaping out of her seat, and tearfully yelling she would never play with us again! We tried to contain our smiles knowing she was upset for the moment, but would recover and return to the fun. Hopefully, as she matures into an adult, she will learn how to lose gracefully.

Sadly, during this presidential election, we've witnessed adult meltdowns among friends and relatives who found it difficult, even impossible, to disagree politically and remain friends. Many tell stories of family members disowning them. Political disagreements turned personal.

I had many "unsubscribes" to my Monday Morning Blog when I encouraged voting platform and not a person. Even though they had followed me for years, I was no longer their friend because we disagreed on a presidential candidate.

And it isn't just political disagreements that can lead to divisiveness. I have family members who keep their distance because I'm a Christian. You probably do too.

We all have a right to our beliefs, but it shouldn't end our relationship, our friendship, or our family ties.

5 Ways to Disagree while Still Maintaining the Friendship

1. State your opinion, but don't force it on the other person.

Friendships should be a safe place to disagree. If you have a variety of friends, you're going to have a variety of differing opinions. You can learn from each other.

In our couples' small group, we get into some heavy exchanges of opinions, but we always know at the end of group we'll pray, have dessert and coffee together, and leave as friends. After one evening of especially heated discussion, one person prayed that they were grateful we respected each other enough that we could express our thoughts openly, but still maintain our friendships. We're still friends in Christ, even though we disagree on some spiritual issues.

2. Don't devalue the other person.

Don't attack their character. Remain humble. Use "I" statements; avoid "You" attacks. State the benefits of your position rather than the hazards of their beliefs. No name-calling.

I appreciated my friend Angela's response to a post I wrote about another friend being bullied for participating in the Presidential Inauguration. Angela said: "I am a Democrat, but I have no problem saying we lost and Donald Trump is the President of the USA. That is just the facts. Respect must be given for it to be received."

3. Consider your motives.

We get into disagreements because we want the other person to acknowledge we're right. Sometimes we care more about being right, than "our truth" helping the other person.

My granddaughter was trying to share Jesus with two friends of a different faith, and they ended up in a disagreement. I asked my granddaughter whether her motivation was compassion for her friend's salvation or wanting to be right. If it was their salvation, she should speak with passion about how much she loved Jesus and He loves her. If she just wanted to be right, she probably focused more on how wrong their faith was and that made them mad. She agreed she would be far more effective showing them Jesus's love than trying to win an argument.

Our friends and family will know the love of our Jesus through the love we show them.

4. Establish that your friendship is more important than the disagreement.

No disagreement is worth losing a friendship or a family member. Nothing is that important. When you see a conversation turning into a disagreement, stop and establish between the two of you that your friendship or relationship means more to you both than the issue at hand. If you both agree that continuing would jeopardize your relationship then change the subject.

Heather and I have been friends for years, and I love what she says about our friendship: "I have been aware of your position on politics as long as I've been your friend, and it hasn't mattered. If you were not aware of mine, perhaps it is because I am much more interested in building and maintaining friendships than in debating politics."

In my book, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share a time when my daughter and I differed on several major issues, but we still loved each other. We didn't talk about them every time we were together, but we did talk about things we agreed on. We loved each other unconditionally because our mother/daughter relationship was more important than our differences. Over the years, we've disagreed on other topics, and we've practiced the same love is more important than our disagreements.

5. Let it go and pray.

Often a disagreement drags on because one of us won't give up, or we take the bait to start a disagreement instead of letting it pass. We want the other person to come around to our way of thinking because we're sure our way is the only right way and we have a great argument to support it. Tempers and voices rise. We say things we wish we hadn't. Friendships fall apart. It takes discipline to let the other person have the last word and then let the issue go.

Recently, I was at dinner with a group of Christians I assumed all had the same political views. We had been friends at church for years, but had never discussed politics. Suddenly, one of the women asked what I thought of the "new president." When I expressed favor, she started to say "Even though..." I could see where this conversation was going. I had arguments for what I knew she was going to say, but instead I decided to kindly reply, "I don't think this is the time to get into a political discussion" and changed the subject.

Because we had never discussed politics before, I didn't know she was liberal while I'm a conservative; but I knew we had been, and would continue to be, friends.

"A friend loves at all times." (Proverbs 17:17)

Please pray with me:

Lord, Satan is trying with all his might to divide your house and your people. We pray Lord with all our might that we would not let that happen. That we would remember that a house divided cannot stand. Help us to be the peacemaker in our relationships, friendships, and families, without bending or compromising on the Truth. And Lord, if it must be that there are those who choose to no longer be our friends or in relationship with us, guard us against a bitter heart and remind us to pray for a softening of their heart. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

About The Author:

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 18 books including, new release Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, and The Team That Jesus Built, Dear God, Why Can't I Have a Baby?, Dear God They Say It's Cancer, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, and the Face-to-Face Bible study Series.

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update 

How to Deal With People Who Try to Bring You Down

by Carrie Lowrance

We all have people in our lives who try to bring us down. You may have that one parent that tries to bring you down all the time. You could have a boss that is always criticizing you. Maybe you have a friend that is very subtle in tearing you down. It is so easy to get frustrated and angry at people who act like this. It is also easy to take their words to heart, cause them to stop us in our tracks, and never pursue the dream that the Lord has planted in us. As Christians, how should we deal with people like this?

Consider Their Background

Rough Childhood

As we all know, our childhood shapes a lot of who we are. Sometimes when people have less than loving childhoods (verbal/emotional abuse) it is only natural for them to do to others what has been done to them. This does not make it right. The best thing we can do is try and build up what has been torn down in them.

Low Self Esteem

Sometimes those with low self esteem will try to bring down others. They feel they have no worth so therefore they have to diminish others. As hard as it may be not to lash back, respond with a kind and loving word. Point out something they are really good at and let them know.

Poor Choices

When we make poor choices, we suffer the consequences. It can be hard to look around and see how others seem to ‘have it together'. If someone is trying to bring you down in this regard, reach out and ask how you can help them.

Are They Stuck In Their Own Failures? - Sometimes people get caught up in their own failures, therefore, they do not want to see others succeed. In feeling this way, they feel like they have to discourage everyone around them.

As Christians, we should show compassion in all these situations rather than getting angry.

A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. -2 Timothy 2:24 (NLT)

Remember Our Value & Worth

We must remember that our worth and value is not in those around us.

Our value and worth are in the Lord.

We all have value because we have all been blessed with talents and gifts.

He has created all of us uniquely and we are all valuable to him beyond measure.

We Must Turn The Other Cheek And Keep Moving Ahead

When people try to bring us down we must let if fall on deaf ears.

We need to continue to pursue the dreams the Lord has placed in us and the roads on which He is leading us.

If we are having an off day at work, forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make, and make an effort to enjoy the rest of our day.

Listen closely to the Lord's guidance in our hearts on how to specifically handle a situation.

Pray For Those Around Us

The most important thing we can do for these people (other than not lashing back) is to pray for them. Take the time to get to know the people that tear you down. Get inside their lives, thoughts and emotions. Then pray as specifically as you can about their situation. Reach out to them and help them if you can. If there is something they have always dreamed of doing, encourage them to go for it. If it is something you know a lot about, offer to mentor them. If they are suffering from past hurts but don't know how to get past it, research some good, Christian therapists in your area and pass on the information. If they are struggling with a self-esteem issue, point out all the good characteristics and talents they have. Compliment them at least once a week when/if you see them. You never know what will become of the seeds you plant in love.

Pray for their salvation. It's hard to know how to pray for someone when it comes to this matter. The best way I know to pray in this way, is to ask the Lord to reveal himself in a way that is unique to the individual. Ask the Lord to open their eyes, heart, mind and soul in a way that they have no doubt that He exists. In a way that would speak specifically to them.

Are you still worried you may not respond as you should? Let's pray for the Lord's help in this matter.

Dear Lord,
Please help me when those around me try to bring me down. Allow me to recognize the hurts and issues in their lives and how I can be of help to them. Help me to keep my natural human tendencies in check and not to retaliate back. Quietly remind me where my true worth and value really lie. Give me comfort in knowing that You are leading me on a better path and give me the strength to continue pursuing it. Please clear my heart of any issues that will hinder me from praying for those around me. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

About The Author:

Carrie Lowrance is a freelance writer and author. She has been featured on Huffington Post, She Is Fierce, Parachute, The Frugal Farmer, etc. She is also the author of two books of poetry, one children's book, and she writes her own personal finance blog.

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update 

When You're Afraid You'll Never Achieve Your Goals and Dreams

by Abby Mcdonald

I listened to the interview with the popular Christian writer, my mind reeling with questions. But the one that kept repeating itself over and over was, "How?"

This woman had a slew of kids running around, and she homeschooled all of them. Her writing was not shoddy. Each syllable sang with an effortless harmony as you read.

So how? How were there enough hours in the day? Did she have on a superwoman cape I couldn't see as I listened to the podcast?

At the time I had two kids. Now I have three, the last one two months young. There are days I barely get the laundry done and the food made, much less worry about doing anything creative.

I see women on social media who, in all the bright lights and glow of the computer screen, are pursuing their goals and dreams. They are achieving milestones I dare to think about as I'm nursing my sweet babe at night.

Before daybreak, the fear takes over and says, "You'll never get there."

Comparison is such a lonely place to live.

When we compare, we fear never being like someone else when God simply wants us to be the person he created.

We live in a toxic state of thinking we have to achieve the next rung on our self-made ladder instead of embracing the season we're in. But friends, we weren't made to keep up with the Joneses or the Kardashians or anyone else.

We were made to live our own unique lives, each of us working together to create a beautiful God-story.

During the moments I'm tempted to exchange my story for someone else's God is showing me a better way. Instead of spending my time in fear and comparison, I bring it to him.

I say, "God, today I only have a half hour to work on this project. I don't know how it's going to get done, but I trust you."

And in ways only he can, he multiplies my efforts. He takes that little sliver of time and makes it enough.

One day it was raining non-stop and the fog on the mountain where we live was thick, reflecting my tired mental state. I was feeling discouraged, so I brought my concerns to God. I'll be the first to admit, this isn't always my first inclination.

I told him my concerns and worries, how I wanted to get back to assignments I knew he'd given me to complete, but I didn't see how.

A few days later, an opportunity dropped in my lap. It wasn't something I was pursuing or even knew was a possibility, but in that moment I knew God was answering me.

With this email from an editor that popped into my inbox, he said, "You don't have to worry about what you're going to do months from now or even next week. Just make the most of the time I've given you. Right here, today."

And in doing so, I not only honor my family, but God. I can stop trying to keep up with the person next to me and focus on the task in front of me. One step at a time.

I felt like a huge load was lifted off my shoulders.

I know there will be days I'm tempted to look in the other lane. Chances are, you'll be tempted too.

But can I tell you something? The ride is so much more enjoyable when, instead of seeing how far we have to go, we look at the view around us.

Instead of fearing we'll never make it to the next destination, let's look at how far we've come.

About The Author:

Abby McDonald is a writer who can't contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she's not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Source: Purposeful Faith blog

Three Steps to Turning Every Problem into a Golden Opportunity

By Craig Ballantyne

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." - Napoleon Hill

Think back to the last time you went to the beach. Perhaps the winds kicked up, blowing a speck of sand into your eye. Cautiously, you cleaned it out. Problem solved. But an oyster looks at the grain of sand as an opportunity, not a problem. Slowly, sometimes taking as long as two decades, it turns this grit into a beautiful pearl. Adversity can bring irritation, and it can also bring opportunity.

Today you're going to discover why you should welcome adversity and problems into your life and business.

Even the drought in California has spurred entrepreneurs to generate new ideas to solve old problems.

From the NY Times:

John Cox, a chef at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, became an instant folk hero among chefs on the hunt for water-saving techniques in April, when word spread that he had rigged up an air compressor to blow the food off plates before putting them in the dishwasher. He estimated that he has saved about a thousand gallons a day with the practice.

If his idea goes statewide, it will help millions, if it goes worldwide, he helps billions. Why didn't he think of this before? He didn't have to! When water flowed freely in California there was no problem and there was no incentive for him to find this opportunity. Only when faced with adversity was he forced to invent.

Adversity makes us stronger, smarter, and innovative. You must embrace the hardships that come your way in life. Wise readers will lean into them and turn the bitter into better.

The problems in my life are opportunities to develop new skills, achieve personal growth, and learn from mentors.

Without a problem forcing us into action, we stagnate in our comfort zones. How can you use this mindset to become a better individual, more valuable employee, more successful business owner, or healthier person?

It's a simple 3-step system.

Step #1 – Identify the problem as specific as possible.

Fourteen years ago, a 28-year old woman bought a pair of unlined cream-colored pants, which cost $89, a sizeable investment for someone making their living selling fax machines door to door. The pants infuriated her: every undergarment showed through; the thick waistband caused a ripple; and the legs made a rumple. The woman was Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx. Blakely's frustration inspired her. She created the first prototype of her billion-dollar product, Spanx, by cutting off the feet from a pair of traditional pantyhose.

Blakely's solution was a hit with millions of women that shared her frustrations. Her plain-talk marketing spoke to her audience viscerally and sales exploded. "It makes your butt look better," she said, and women everywhere agreed. Blakely turned a problem into an opportunity.

Step #2 – Reflect on the opportunities.

When a problem comes your way, get up, get out, and get thinking. Research shows that we generate big ideas away from our regular workspace. Your A-Ha! Moment will often come while in the shower or while walking the dog or exercising. It's vital that you give yourself space and time to think big, to patiently reflect, and even to sleep on the problem.

As the story goes, Napolean Hill had just three hours to come up with a name for his book. It was tentatively titled, Use Your Noodle to Get the Boodle. Can you imagine how many fewer copies it would have sold and lives it would have impacted had the name, Think and Grow Rich, not come to his subconscious while he slept?

Here's another example of how an entrepreneur turned adversity into opportunity through the power of quiet reflection.

"As a kid, I watched Julia Child and Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, on television while my friends were watching cartoons," Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle, said in an article in Fortune magazine. "During high school in Boulder I started throwing dinner parties and collecting cookbooks. After college I went to the Culinary Institute of America [in Hyde Park, N.Y.] and then to San Francisco to work at Stars restaurant. I aspired to have my own restaurant, but quickly realized I didn't know the economics of full-scale restaurants."

When Ells quickly realized how costly it was to open a high-end restaurant, he was forced to reflect – and think of solutions. His big idea came to him away from his kitchen.

"One day, while sitting in a taqueria called Zona Rosa close to my house, I watched how the line crew took care of people in very short order. I took out a napkin and jotted down what I thought the average check was and how many people were going through the line, and I timed it. I thought, Wow, this thing makes a lot of money – It could be a little cash cow that could fund my real restaurant."

Ells opened his first Chipotle in Denver in 1993. This year Chipotle recorded first quarter sales over $1 billion. One more reason to say, "Thank goodness for tacos." They can inspire you to big ideas.

Step #3 – Take action on the opportunity and take advantage of the problem.

In 2008, Travis Kalanick was already a rich man, having sold a technology company for $23 million dollars. But he's a great example of an entrepreneur for ways to turn problems into opportunity. While attending a technology conference with digital media stars Gary Vaynerchuk and Garret Camp, he first had the idea for Uber.

"That's where he first heard the idea for Uber. One New Year's not long before, Camp and a few friends had spent $800 hiring a private driver. While Camp had made a fortune selling StumbleUpon, he still felt nearly a grand was too steep a price for one night of convenience. He had been mulling over ways to bring down the cost of black car services ever since.

According to an article on Business Insider, "He (Kalanick) realized that splitting the cost with a lot of people - say a few dozen elite users in Silicon Valley - could make it affordable. The idea morphed into Uber, essentially the equivalent of nightclub bottle service for the taxi industry, a premium service for more high-end customers."

Morphed is an important word. Your first solution might not be the best solution. But you have to take action and try out a solution before you can get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Don't give up if your first attempt doesn't work perfectly. "If we're spending our time and effort focusing on a return to normal, sometimes we miss the opportunity that's right in front of us." said Seth Godin.

If Kalanick didn't take action, he would have never been in the position to take advantage of Uber or have had the confidence to pull the trigger on such a big idea.

Here's the best advice I can give you in life, and this goes for anything, from losing weight, to starting a business, to finding a spouse, to supporting a charity, or writing a book.

Whenever you are just getting started, simply start small. Get your idea out there. Build some momentum. Ask for feedback. Make it better. Do it again. Don't wait. Just start now. Please, please, please, just start now. We are all running out of time.

When a problem comes up in life, use the opportunity to learn from your mentors, build new skills, and add value to the world. Put in time, energy and love on your journey to becoming better and solving problems. That is how you make your mark in the world.

You might not create the next billion-dollar start up because of a small problem in your life. Or you just might. You never know until you take the bitter and make it better. Embrace your hardships. At the very least they will make you stronger. And they could make you very rich.

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and author of Financial Independence Monthly. His no-nonsense, sometimes "politically-incorrect" advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. One of Craig's secret weapons to success has been his daily writing ritual.]

Source: Early To Rise, Copyright © 2015 Early to Rise, LLC.

Going the Extra Mile Pays

by Judy Williamson, Napoleon Hill Foundation

Today many people are talking about what they get for nothing. From coupons to rebates to gifts with purchase to finders' fees to rewards for information to coins found on the street to extra change from the cashier --- and the list goes on and on. With the total emphasis on getting, there is little emphasis on giving. Let's reverse the order and ask ourselves what we give instead of what we get!

Today, did you give a smile to someone without one? Did you lift up a person in the dumps? Did you respond to a phone call, email, letter, or acquaintance with a "yes" instead of a "no"? Did you offer encouragement to someone discouraged? Did you connect someone to another as a favor rather than a bounty hunter performing a service? Did you disregard the "what's in it for me?" pop-up, and give without the expectation of receiving?

True giving from a Christian perspective parallels the corporal acts of mercy as listed below:

1. To feed the hungry: "For I was hungry and you gave me to eat." Mt. 25:35

2. To give drink to the thirsty: "...I was thirsty and you gave me to drink..."
 Mt. 25:35

3. To clothe the naked: "I was...naked and you clothed me..." Mt. 25:36

4. To visit the imprisoned: "I was in prison and you came to me." Mt. 25:36

5. To shelter the homeless: "...I was a stranger and you took me in..."
 Mt. 25:35

6. To visit the sick: "...I was sick and you cared for me..." Mt. 25:36

7. To bury the dead: "Amen, I say to you, insofar as you did it for one of these least of my brothers, you did it for me." Mt. 25:40

Perhaps setting a few goals with these directives in mind would be a good lesson from the giving and not the receiving end. And, one more lesson. Change always begins with you!

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