Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: Christian Persecution in The Middle East, Christian Suffering, Adversity
Volume 7 No. 425 July 14, 2017
 

III. General Weekly Features

Family Special: 12 Promises Every Parent Should Ask God to Fulfill

by Mark Altrogge

God doesn't guarantee he will automatically save our children, but gives us many promises to inspire us to pray and believe him to answer.

I review these promises from God occasionally and use them as springboards for prayer for my descendants. For example:

Isaiah 54:13: All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.

I might pray, "Lord Jesus, you have promised your people that all our children shall be taught by the Lord. Please do this! Please reveal yourself to all my children and grandchildren and descendants and bring each one into peace with you through your blood." Consider using these promises as you pray for your children:

Isaiah 59:21: "And as for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring," says the LORD, "from this time forth and forevermore."

Psalms 102:28: The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.

Psalms 112:1-2: Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed

Isaiah 44:3-5: For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 4 They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. 5 This one will say, ‘I am the LORD's,' another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD's,' and name himself by the name of Israel.

Isaiah 61:8-9: …I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.

Isaiah 65:23: They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them.

Proverbs 20:7: The righteous who walks in his integrity- blessed are his children after him.

Proverbs 14:26: In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

Jeremiah 32:39: I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.

Deuteronomy 4:40: Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.

Acts 16:31-33: And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

Don't quit praying for your children until the day you go home to be with the Lord. Even if you don't see them saved in your lifetime, God can still save them. Although he doesn't guarantee they will be saved, he promises to hear our prayers, that the prayer of the upright is powerful and effective, and he gives us good reasons to believe he desires to save whole families.

Source: Today's Topical Bible Study 

Family Special: Five Truths to Remember When Evil Seems to Be Winning

by Jennifer Heeren

A sweet, retired schoolteacher was murdered outside of her home. She received multiple injuries during the attack. People described her as kind, loving, caring, respectful, and very sweet. She was a good person who worked her farm, gave back to her community, and played piano at her church. Former students said that they loved her.

This news story touched me deeply because I had met the sweet woman years before this recent terrible event took place. However, similar stories of injustice fill the news broadcasts on a daily basis. Sometimes you know someone personally, and sometimes you're just appalled that it could happen to anyone.

What do you do when life doesn't make sense? Do you give in to the notion that there must not be a God or if there is, he is uncaring and calloused? Some people do but this only leads to more bitterness in the world. God never meant for his created human beings to go it alone in this world.

The author of Ecclesiastes thought long and hard about the many injustices in life. He didn't see wrong being made right. He saw burdens, pain, and suffering. He saw judges and other people who were supposed to keep peace acting corruptly. He saw oppressors who sought to magnify their power over their victims. He saw dangers lurking around every corner and uncertainties abounding. From his point of view, everything seemed meaningless.

This dim picture doesn't seem very far from what happens today.

Sometimes it's enough to make you want to cower under a warm, security blanket. However, that isn't the answer either. What is then?

Keep in mind these five things when evil seem to be winning:

1. It is okay to ask God why.

Don't hide your worries and doubts. Keep your thoughts honest about your confusion. It's okay to hate injustice. God hates injustice too.

2. Keep praying.

Keep reading your Bible. Don't run away from God into your own opinions and mindsets. Fight bitterness at every turn. Keep searching for his answers. You may not always see those answers but if you keep on searching, you will gain some peace and understanding.

3. Be glad about trials - not that they exist - but that with the help of God's strength, you can endure them.

Trials stand out starkly on the backdrop of genuine faith. The confusing trials of life can refine you whether they make sense or not.

4. Remember that God loves you no matter what you go through, see, hear about, or feel.

God so loved the whole world that he gave his only begotten son. That may have seemed like an injustice at the time, but it was actually the plan of a sovereign God who wanted to make atonement for all sin once and for all.

5. Remember that you're not alone.

When Jesus rose again and then left his disciples in the world, he said that he would send another helper. He did. It's called the Holy Spirit and he is always with you to help you understand better and get through those trials.

As a bonus, I'll throw in a sixth reason to keep your faith even in the midst of trials and tragedies. God will eventually bring every injustice and wrong action into His light. This will allow the mourners and the victims to be made new again (Revelation 21:5). God never overlooks his people when they are mistreated. He uses it, in some way, for their good.

Even when you don't see the end (yet), you can still focus on as many good things in life as you can. Sometimes it's hard to find them. The good are sometimes like whispers in the middle of a large, loud chaotic room. Nevertheless, keep any eye out for them. Treasure them within your heart and soul. Communicate them to others. Keep the good alive along with the bad. It may sound simple but sometimes it's the little things that can get you through the tough things.

King Solomon also concluded something similar. He ended his "life is meaningless" rant with the following words:

Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone's duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

In addition, Jesus said that in this world you will have trouble. But he went on to say that you can also have peace because he has overcome the trouble of the world (John 16:33).

About The Author:

Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write things that bring people hope and encouragement. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com.

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update

Inspirational: Morning Song in Elementary School

by Ali Danesh

I started elementary school at the age of seven and finished at the age of twelve. That was the standard followed at that time. What makes all these memories vivid and alive is that the school still exists as it was with only slight changes. It is more than sixty years old and consists of seven or eight classrooms. Each classroom accommodates twenty-five to thirty students.

It was usual in those days for schools to have a morning line up with all the students gathered at the same time in the school courtyard before the lessons started. The gathering started immediately after we heard the school bell rung by one of the teachers. The only exception was when it rained. What a bell! You could hear the sound from a distance of more than half a kilometer.

The gathering and line-up was standard for all the schools across the country for hygiene, grooming inspections, and to make sure all the students were there as well as to sing the national anthem. The headmaster maintained strict discipline that was to be followed by the students, the school's faculty, and even the janitors.

Going back to the morning session-when everyone stood in the school's courtyard at seven o'clock, after some random inspection of the students, we were told to sing the morning rhyme. Then one of the students would voluntarily start singing the rhyme, because it was optional to come forward and sing, most of the time it was the same students. It was a short song, lasting for not more than four or five minutes. If I recall correctly, there were only three or four students who routinely came forward to sing.

When one of the students left his row, walked forward and stood in front of all singing the rhyme, I would admire his courage, wondering how he could do it so confidently with no sign of fear. I used to tell myself, "It is really a feat for a school boy to act so courageously in front of the head master, teachers, and his schoolmates." I kept telling myself this every morning for more than four years and I always wanted to be one of them. I asked myself what should I do to be smart and brave like them, why can they do it and I cannot?

There was something inside telling me to go ahead and do it - impress the head master, teachers, and other students watching you. There was a burning desire every morning for three or four years to step forward and say something. On the other hand there was something bigger and stronger than my burning desire that had stopped me, holding me back, hinting that what I was about to do was not safe and it's better to be safe than sorry.

I felt the uplifting and the defeating self-talk fighting each other, going through the same scenario every morning. Do it, do not do it, you can, you cannot and so forth. Unfortunately the defeating and depressing self-talk won at the end of the day. Saying, "You know your limited potential, do not let other students laugh at you, you are not smart, and you have never done it, do it tomorrow."

I was mentally suffering each morning with all those negative emotions, stranded between two choices awaiting a committed decision. A decision that I could not make resulted in a feeling of more guilt and unworthiness. Imagine you want to do something good that could move you towards something even better but you are restrained by fear, indecision, procrastination, uncertainty, or a hundred other possibilities.

My feeling was swinging from a state of being totally uncomfortable had I gone ahead and stepped up and started singing the rhyme to a relieved feeling of going back to my comfort zone. I just could not make up my mind. I wished I had tried to find out the outcome so I could have at least added something to my experience.

The reason for such negative behavior was not obvious to me at that time nor has it been for the past forty years; the "not go" has had the upper hand over the "go". I have been adopting the same negative attitudes for many years. Abstaining from living the life I wanted or being the person I wanted to be. Just imagine living all those years with what psychologists call, "ambivalence".

I could not overcome the problem nor find a better way to deal with the situation, which was my fear of standing in front of the students to sing the morning rhyme. Therefore, I was in the dark all those years suffering silently and getting stuck in a vicious circle of zero progress. I was hoping that as I grew I would naturally overcome these problems, but that didn't happen.

Now I know the reason and what the difference is between being ignorant and being knowledgeable. I came to know this after studying Bob Proctor's material. Now I know what was holding me back from fulfilling my desires. Had I done what I wanted to do it could have been a stepping-stone to real success instead of a stumbling block in my life for all those years.

It is crystal clear now and I have no doubt what it was. It was my paradigm; a multitude of habits that had shaped my life ever since my school days. Here is some of what Bob (Proctor) mentioned in his "Success Puzzle" about paradigms.

"Paradigms could be controlling virtually every move you make. When you understand how to build a paradigm that will lawfully guarantee the progressive realization of your worthy ideal… a paradigm to replace the one that presently controls your life, you will have opened a door to a brand new world."

Paradigms can be likened to a program that has been installed in your brain; a program that was very likely written by people who loved you - good people, people who sincerely wanted nothing but the best for you. The people who were writing your program were giving you what they had been given, what they believed to be true. Unfortunately, they had no idea of what they were doing, the limiting beliefs that they were writing into your program, that could control the remainder of your life.

About The Author:

Ali Danesh was born and raised in the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain where he lives today. He has more than 35 years of international executive business experience, primarily in management and banking. Ali has just completed his first book 'Awakening Journey' where he shares a series of moving tales from his fascinating life that will mirror the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself every day. ...

3-Step System to Learn a New Skill Fast

By Chris Brogan

I'm a big fan of the work of Dr Nick Morgan. In my circles, when people ask me advice about how to be a better professional speaker, I tell a somewhat backhanded and loving story about how I paid for a day of Dr. Morgan's time, hellbent on having him make me a much better speaker. I loved everything he had to say. It was brilliant, full of really important details and ideas. And I couldn't really make good use of any of it.

Dr. Morgan mentions it in this post. For instance, "The good news for you conference organizers, then, is that if you hire Chris you'll get something largely new each time. In spite of my best efforts."

I want to explain what this means to YOU, and why Dr. Morgan was an amazing teacher, and why I'm a great student.

Why I Couldn't Execute on Dr. Morgan's Great Advice

Where things went afoul for Dr Morgan and me was that he (very much rightly) recommended I build a "stump speech," a kind of anchor speech that I could give over and over and over again, and that I just modify a few small bits of it. My method, utterly the opposite, was to craft new speeches every time I spoke. Technically, he's very very right, and I'm a fool. But style-wise, I tend to like to customize every speech deeply, to hit the people I'm standing before.

Years later, everything Dr. Morgan taught me that day is bleeding into my style and methods. I'm locking down parts of my speech. I'm using physical "touchstones" to tie the audience to the story we shared together. Etc. But I had to get there from my own path, and I had to fit the ideas to my methods and mindset.

That's where we begin.

How to Learn a New Skill

We learn a lot by emulating. Every human culture has some form of play. Kicking a ball or chasing each other in games of tag are all skills that centuries ago taught us hunting skills. When we play in organized or disorganized ways, we're using the skills of emulation to learn something better.

Copy. Parrot. Imitate. It's a great starting point. Emulation.

But that's step one or step two, depending on whether you start with research. The usual ways we decide to pick up a new skill is either we envy someone else who has that skill, we experience a need for that new skill, or we attempt to calculate a potential value for a skill that sets us on a course. Why did you want to learn how to blog? Because someone said blogging's a great way to… Right?

Emulation and Research are First

You pick the order. You either start playing and then look into how to play better, or you are looking at some new skill, and eventually you have to stop researching and start emulating/playing. Right?

That's the starting point. You're not really skilled if all you do is parrot what others have done. You might be capable, but it's not yet your skill.

Find Your Own Path

This is adaptation, mutation, creation. After you learn someone else's path, you have to find your own. SOMETIMES, you start here. But most times, we're reinventing wheels.

To me, this is where most people get a lot of it confused. This is where it goes awry.

You can't blog like me. It takes me 20 minutes to write a post that might take you a week. But you COULD learn to blog like you. And then it might take you 20 minutes.

Two People, One Stage

I was just talking to a new friend about how I can't remember lines, you know, like in a play. She's an actor and theater professional (amongst many other things). She could rattle off whole passages of Shakespeare. But she's not great at public speaking (she said).

Me? I could get out "To be…" and then I'd be looking off stage for someone to show the rest of the line. But (pat your own back, Brogan!) I'm fricken awesome as a speaker.

So what's at work here? Well, let's call this person Amy, she's a professional actor. Me, I'm a professional speaker. It's like we're cooks and I'm great at grilling and she's great at baking. We can master our craft but arrive there from different places.

So that third part, about adaptation and mutation and creation (making it your own) is the part most of us are missing.

Emulate. Research. Recreate

There's your little operating system. Take it. Run. Learn. Make new skill babies!

And fall in love with not knowing.

[Ed Note: Chris Brogan explores how people use media and community to build marketplaces around areas of belonging. He is CEO of Owner Media Group, a digital-focused business development and advisory group. Chris is a highly sought after professional speaker and the New York Times bestselling author of eight books and counting, including his forthcoming book, Insider: Strategies and Secrets for Business Growth in the Age of Distractions.]

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