Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Prayer, High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, Feeding 5000
Volume 7 No. 424 July 7, 2017

III. General Weekly Features

Christian Life: The Me I Want To Be

by Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
(Galatians 5:16, NIV)

Friend to Friend

The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Galatia during his second missionary journey. He was frustrated that many believers were wavering in their faith. Not good.

In Galatians 5, he reminded the believers that Christ died so that they could be free. And he was careful to distinguish that their freedom was not to sin but from sin.

He went on to tell them of the spiritual battle that was taking place between their fleshly desires and their holy desires. Between walking by the Spirit and walking by the flesh.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
(Galatians 5:16–18)

How can we be led by the Spirit and not by the flesh? Paul spelled it out in the next few verses by identifying what flesh-led living looks like. Here's his list:

Sexual immorality
Idolatry and witchcraft
Fits of rage
Selfish ambition
Factions and envy
Orgies and the like

"And the like" means this list is not exhaustive, but it should help us get the gist. All of these are ungodly choices that oppose the will of God.

My church-girl temptation is to look at this list and see how I measure up. Am I good enough, God? (Someone hit a game-show buzzer!) Not what I should do. This list should serve as a resource to me and as a reminder that while "orgies" and "witchcraft" might not be my biggest struggles, "fits of rage" and "selfish ambition" sure can sneak into my moments.

I walk in the flesh when I blow a gasket with my people, in traffic, in that email, or at my job. I walk in the Spirit when I ask the Lord to take away my anger and frustrations, help me sift through ungodly emotions, provide the grace He promises, and help me respond to my people in a way that brings Him honor and glory.

I walk in the flesh when I think more about myself than others. When I want to be first, be the best, have the most, be the boss, tell everyone else how they should behave, or demand to sit in a prominent position. I walk in the Spirit when I humble myself before Jesus, when I look out for the interests of others and esteem them as better than myself (Phil. 2:3–4), and when I serve others and give my life away for the sake of Jesus (Matt. 20:26–27).

Ultimately, when I walk in the Spirit, my life will echo the characteristics of Jesus. That's the me I want to be. I will bear the fruit of His Spirit and choose responses, thoughts, and attitudes that exemplify the power of God at work in and through me.

Ready for one more list? Here's the Vogue magazine cover of true beauty ... The fruits of walking in the Spirit are:


I want the beauty of God's Spirit to be visible in my life. Don't you?

Paul went on to sum up the fruit bearing this way:

"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit"
(Gal. 5:24–25).

There it is plain as day, one of the greatest challenges to humankind: the call to live out the love and freedom of Christ by laying aside all desires, thoughts, decisions, and responses that are against God's will and, instead, putting on the humility of Jesus and yielding our hearts to His Spirit.

If I want all of the power God has for me, I need to rely on His Spirit and look to Him as my helper, comforter, advocate, and counselor who leads me in all truth. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 15:13).

I pray this for you. I pray this for me.

Because I want to trust God for all of the joy and peace He will give me.

I want to overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I want the Holy Spirit to consume my heart.


Imagine what our lives, families, churches, and communities would look like if you and I invited the Spirit of God within us to connect our life dots and prepare us for spiritual battles each day. Surely the world would see a beautiful, vibrant, powerful faith picture.

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, Help me to live by Your Spirit today so that I am prepared to represent You well in each opportunity that comes my way.
In Jesus' name,

Now It's Your Turn

Read Ephesians 5:8. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light." What would it look like for you to walk in the Spirit as a child of light with your choices and responses today? How will that impact those around you?

Today's post is an excerpt from Gwen Smith's new book, 'I Want It All.'

Source: Girlfriends in God

The Remedy for Failure

by Kay Arthur

Have you ever had to deal with failure? That's a silly question, isn't it! I'm sure you have. I have.

Yet, we might not think it is a silly question to ask, because sometimes we think that failure is not the common lot of people, for they are not as we are. If we are honest, we all have to deal with the feelings of disappointment, defeat, depression, and even the despair failure brings when it is not dealt with in a biblical way.

You are not alone in your failure. Those whom you may look at and even envy or wish you could change places with have failed at one time or another. In fact, if the truth were known, they probably are dealing with the feeling of failure to one degree or another in one or more areas of their lives.

As you read this, you may feel alone. You may feel like the biggest failure. You may think there is no recovery, but I have good news for you! If you will take God at His Word (and it is printed out for you in black and white in the Bible), your failure will become a stepping stone to greater Christlikeness and intimacy with God. Failure will become a means to an end, rather than the end!

I say this because to fail is to be humbled. Failure makes us aware of our own impotence, our imperfections, our shortcomings. Failure brings us low. And if we respond properly by humbling ourselves before our heavenly Father, then according to James 4:10, we will find Him exalting us. And when God exalts us, after we experience the humiliation and defeat of failing, then His exaltation is a safe exaltation rather than a source of pride which only and eventually leads to greater defeat and failure.

So in the light of this, let's look at failure. To fail means didn't measure up, you didn't achieve your goal, you didn't hit the standard you or someone else had set, you didn't accomplish what you thought you should accomplish or wanted to achieve.

In a sense, this is where life begins - in a state of failure. David, the Psalmist wrote, " sin my mother conceived me" (Psalm 51:5). To sin is to miss the mark, the standard set by God. It is to fall short - to fail to be what we are to be. All mankind is born into that state. Romans 3:23 says, "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Consequently, we are all slated for failure unless we turn to God.

Christianity is God's means of bringing us out of failure! But it is a process - and that is what so many of us forget in our relationships and dealings with others and in our understanding of ourselves and of where we are in the process of sanctification.

By sanctification, I mean the living of our lives in such a way as to know, believe, and embrace what God says so that we order our actions and thoughts according to His precepts and, thus, experience success rather than defeat!

Remember, the world's definition of success is far different from God's, and that is only logical since the world does not know God, fear God, or trust God. So you must not measure yourself or your success by the world's standard. To do so would be foolish. You are in the world but not of the world.

Therefore, what the world considers "failure" may not be failure at all. For instance, if you did not meet your goals today, it does not mean that you failed; but if you violate one of God's principles or precepts that would be failure - and that can be handled immediately by repentance and confession.

God and obedience to His precepts take us from failure to success by humbling us to the point where we know the only way to genuinely succeed, or to be blameless, is through Him. "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy..." (Jude 1:24, emphasis added).

So, how does one recover from falling short? How does one go from stumbling to standing?

The answers will be varied according to where and how you failed, but the source will always remain the same...God and His precepts of life. That is why you must be in the Word of God on a consistent basis. But it is going to take discipline on your part.

So lift up the hands which hang down in defeat (Hebrews 12). Come out of...or survive...spiritual depressions by forgetting what lies behind and pressing on toward what lies before you. (Philippians 3). If you have failed morally, throw yourself on His mercy, His grace, even as David did in Psalm 51.

Do not give in to despair - God is your redeemer. He buys back, buys out, rescues, sets free, protects. He is the God of another chance to all who genuinely have a change of mind and throw themselves into His outstretched arms and bury themselves in His all-sufficient breast.

You may be thinking, "That may be true, it may work for you or for you others, but it won't work for me." If so, then, my friend, you are listening to the liar (John 8:44). You have met the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy - the one who is determined to keep you a failure (John 10:10). The only way you will bring him down, the only way you will extinguish those fiery arrows which will impale you on the stake of a life of continuous defeat until you are consumed in its flames of destruction, is through the Word. His Word is truth...and it alone can sanctify you - set you apart for victory.

So, run to your God. Confess your failure - name it for what it is. Call it nothing less, don't sugarcoat it or gloss over it. Call it my name. Be honest, be blunt. Say it aloud. Tell God you want to succeed, not fail, and that you know only He can do that. Tell Him you are willing to do whatever is necessary if He will simply show you what to do by laying it upon your heart, putting it in your mind. Then check it out. Make sure what you are "hearing in your mind, feeling in your heart" is in accord with the whole teaching of the Bible.

If you have that assurance, then do whatever God leads you to do. Remember, if what you are feeling, if what you are hearing is of God, it will be in keeping with His character and with His Word. If you are wrong, but your heart is to do right, God will make that known to you (Philippians 3:15). When you are convinced of what God wants you to do, then cling to Him, to His promises...and watch what God will do. Observe to do according to all He tells you. Don't turn to the right or to the left. Then you will have success, for it is God's intent that you succeed rather than fail (Joshua 1:7-9).

And what will happen? You will become a man, a woman, a teenager for renown, for praise, and for glory (Jeremiah 13:11b).

Failure can either be a stumbling block that flattens you or it can be a stepping-stone to a life of success built upon the unmovable Cornerstone. It is all a matter of faith.

The remedy for failure is's obedience, faith's trust in the One who stands behind every word of His holy book, the Bible.

Remember, you only fail if you refuse to believe God and refuse to allow your failure to be a stepping-stone to greater Christlikeness.

Kay Arthur is the Host, Precepts For Life and Co-Founder of Precept Ministries International

Family Special: Christ-Like Confrontation

By Dr. Eric Scalise

What goes through your mind when you hear the word, "Confrontation?" Do you think, "Oh no… here we go again. It's going to be a fight and it's going to get ugly." Nevertheless, having a good understanding of the process can result in a win-win orientation and still allow all parties to both explain and advocate for their positions. One key is the approach you choose and this will set the tone for everything moving forward. Matthew 5:9 says, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God." There is a difference between someone who is a peace-keeper and someone who is a peace-maker. Being a peacekeeper implies a more passive and neutral stance that does not necessarily result in problem resolution. However, a peacemaker proactively looks for opportunities to move beyond the source of conflict and helps ensure that the relationship itself remains intact.

The word confront derives from two separate Latin words: com, which means "together" and frons, which means forehead. The literal translation therefore is, "to stand in front of an issue with someone." This understanding does not necessarily convey hostility. Unsuccessful confrontation is often an in-your-face monologue with a desired outcome of power and control. It is full of criticism, sarcasm, rage, threats, manipulation, shame, jealousy, and silence. In his Epistle, Peter said, "But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1 Pet. 1:15). This exhortation runs counter to how many view the term. On the other hand, successful confrontation is a face-to-face dialogue between two parties, more often than not, resulting in a resolution to the problem and an improved relationship.

If another person's behavior or a particular situation is bothering you, then you must own the decision about how to handle it. Unskilled confronting can lead to negative outcomes, as well as additional problems such as emotional woundedness, a false sense of success or resolution, uncontrolled outbursts of anger or frustration, relational failure, aggressiveness where an individual's rights take precedent over another's, and outright bullying. Before confronting someone and attempting conflict resolution, choose to be a listener first. Proverbs 18:13 says, "He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him," and Proverbs 15:28 reminds us that, "The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer." This sounds a lot like the old adage, "think before you act."

You must be careful about pre-judging someone's intentions and motives. Many will make what amounts to a fundamental "attribution error." In other words, there can be a tendency to either over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors that are observed in others (dispositional factors) or under-emphasize the role and power of social and environmental influences (situational factors). Before looking outward at what you believe are the other person's faults or shortcomings, consider the following:

• Look upwards - ask God what He wants in the situation and especially what He wants from you.
• Look inwards - ask transparent questions about your own role in the conflict.
• Ask yourself what is upsetting you?
• Confront your own feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or inadequacy.
• Ask yourself what the core issue or root cause really is - the presenting problem is almost never the real problem, but a symptom of something that might represent a deeper matter of the heart (e.g., the fear of failure or rejection, past trauma, etc.).
• What are the potential consequences of the problem/issue or in pursuing a particular course of action?
• What needs to change? Why? How? Who?

Once you have been honest with yourself, then you will be in a much better place to have the necessary conversation. Here are a few thoughts when the time is appropriate to engage the person or situation:

• Gather the facts and don't allow your emotions to lead or cloud the issue(s).
• Communicate your expectations and don't take for granted that the other person automatically understands what you need or want.
• Verify any assumptions so you have accurate information and feedback and are less likely to draw premature conclusions.
• Speak to and address the behavior that concerns you and avoid attacking the person.
• Focus on resolving the issues rather than making the other person or the relationship the primary problem.
• Remember that both the message (your content) and the delivery (your process) are critical to effective communication. The point here is that it's not always enough to have the right answer. How the information is conveyed can go a long way as to whether or not the message is ever heard or received.
• Strive toward understanding the other person's thoughts, feelings, and ideas on the matter (without criticism) before attempting to negotiate or compromise on the issue(s).
• Endeavor to be responsive and not reactive when discussing issues or receiving feedback about your behavior from the other person - Proverbs 15:1 tells us that, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Yes, there will be tribulation in this world, even with loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Whether you find yourself facing conflict or strife within your marriage, home, place of work, or faith community, how you approach the problem can make all the difference in the world. Do you desire to be called a son or daughter of God? Be a determined peacemaker (Matt. 5:9) and allow the words of Paul to be the compass in the middle of the storm:

"And so those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whosoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."
(Col. 3:12-15, 17)

About The Author:

Eric Scalise, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, is the President of LIV Enterprises & Consulting, LLC and CEO for the Alignment Association, LLC. He is the former Vice President of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), as well as the former Department Chair for Counseling Programs at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. He is an adjunct professor and the Senior Editor for both AACC and the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. Dr. Scalise is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with 36 years of clinical and professional experience in the mental health field. He is a published author with Zondervan, Baker Books, and Harvest House.

Copyright ©2016 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

When People Drive You Crazy

by Susanne Scheppmann

"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word." Psalms 119:28 (NIV 1984)

Thud! I heard my son's feet hit the dirt outside his bedroom window. My heart sank. I had been right when I told my husband, "He's going to run away. Watch."

The whole afternoon and evening had spun into a disaster. My adolescent son had gotten into trouble. We were in the middle of discussing it with him when the phone rang. My husband listened as his ex-wife told him that their daughter had run away that afternoon. I watched the panic cross my husband's face as he dug for more details about what had happened.

In addition, I spied my son's alert face and witnessed a light bulb go off in his adolescent brain. I could tell he thought, "I'm going to run away too!" We sent my son to his room while we managed the bigger problem of the moment-my stepdaughter.

Sure enough, he went on the run. My thoughts raced. Should I go after him? Or should I wait and search for him later? I felt emotionally and physically exhausted.

Both my husband and I were stricken with confusion and sadness as we battled through all the drama and trauma in our family. That evening we despaired. How could this have happened? We tried to be good parents. It seemed that with three teenagers, life was a never-ending crisis.

Things did turn out okay. My stepdaughter returned home to her mother. We found my son, and my husband coaxed him home. Everyone went to bed, and two exhausted parents desperately prayed for a better tomorrow.

That was several years ago. Children matured. Time healed. And God was faithful to the prayers of those two despairing parents.

He feels our heartaches. He sees our tears. He grants us the courage and guts to keep on parenting.

Our key verse today acknowledges the pain we may experience, but it also points the way to gaining strength ó God's Word. If you are a despairing parent, seek the Lord's comfort, wisdom and strength by reading and praying Scripture each day. It sustained my husband and me through many trials and tears.

God is our source of strength when we're weary with sorrow and come to our wit's end in the life-long career of parenting.

Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of my children. I am honored You set me apart to be their mom. Yet, at times parenting is hard! I ask You for guidance and strength. Remind me of the joys of parenting when I despair. Help me keep a balanced outlook. I ask You to provide me with special Scripture that I can pray for my children. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

  • Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents by Susanne Scheppman
  • Am I Messing Up My Kids by Lysa TerKeurst

Reflect and Respond:

Where do you place your trust and hope when it comes to your child? Do you recognize that Jesus loves them more than you?

Read and memorize Psalm 4:3 5:3. Then pray for your children, and know that the Lord hears you call to Him. Wait in expectation for His guidance.

Power Verses:

Psalms 147:3, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (NIV 1984)

Isaiah 49:25, "But this is what the Lord says: 'Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.'" (NIV 1984)

© 2012 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
Source: Encouragement for Today


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