Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Prayer
Volume 7 No. 432 August 25, 2017

IV. General Weekly Features

One True Way to Find Rest in God

by Kelly Balarie

The girl was acting bad in church. I couldn't help but notice her. She jumped around, like a pent up puppy, giving no attention to the priest. I apparently was acting bad too because I kept on watching her. She was cute. She didn't much care for (her) brother though, and with this, Mother shoved her over towards daddy...

To give you some background, I've felt unsettled lately. Unsettled in my mothering that seems a bit too intense. Unsettled in this adventure called book and how God will use it. Unsettled by people who have let me down. It feels like a bad cough. These feelings of insecurity rise up as a hindrance to faith. I feel it coming, I hate it too. Yet, I know there's a cure.

Daddy picked her up and held her. Immediately her head rested on daddy's shoulder. She looked to the side in a daze. Instantly, her arms that wrapped around him fell. Daughter relaxed. She became a wet noodle fresh out of a massage - all aggression, agitation and irritation vanished in the arms of her Father.

I watched closely. It was interesting. Nothing had really changed. She was still in the same place. She was still just as bored. She was still the sister of the brother that drove her nuts. She was still very much in the same problem she was 2 minutes ago, but actually, everything did change.

She was in daddy's arms.
Her eyes closed.
She was nearly falling asleep.
Simply because she knew she was safe.

Cared for.

Do you know this?

You can relax. What is bothersome, burdensome and back-breaking is soothed by the power of love. It is love that pulls you close. It is love that holds you with arms of protection and dedication. It is love that will never break or fall or grow weary of your bad antics.

Perhaps you need to know today you can fall into the arms of a daddy that will not hurt you. You don't have to resign yourself, any longer, outside of his arms because you are on the blacklist or because you are a bad church-goer. You don't have to keep him at an arms-length because you are the the ugly step-child or because you are a failure.

Daddies pick up daughters. It is as simple as that.

great daddy

In this place, there is no worry of what annoyances are around.
There is no focus on things that are about to ruin you.
There is no attention to the ways you're life is breaking apart.

There is just - Him.
Covered in affection.
Filled with security.
Embraced without requirements.

I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Is. 41:10

Have you trusted daddy to uphold you in his arms?

The cure to worry, insecurity and the silent jury in your mind, is getting unhurried as you lay in the arms of God.

I know this to be true. Me - the most unsettled of all unsettled people, finds refreshment in the deep-reaching arms of the father.

Daily, I fall there and fail there and it is okay. He accepts me. He accepts you to - in such a powerful way, you can let go of everything and just rest, body fully relaxed, in the arms of his love.

Source: Purposeful Faith Blog

Family Special: Five Crucial Steps for Effective Change in Destructive Marriages

by Leslie Vernick

Last month I wrote an article about superficial apologies, when "I'm sorry" is not the end of rebuilding a shattered marriage but only the beginning of genuine change. But what does that change look like in real life?

Jesus told his own disciples that their spirits were willing, but their flesh was weak. No one changes overnight or never messes up again. Lasting change comes hard for all of us. Below are five biblical steps we can help someone take to show that their "sorry" is more than mere words.

1. Clarity:

We can't help someone change something that he or she cannot or will not see. Jesus calls this condition in its extreme form blindness, and when we are blind to our own sin, we can't repent. When someone can't admit wrong, take personal responsibility, or see what their part of the problem is, start there. It's always easier to blame others or make excuses than to see clearly our own part of the problem. Jesus tells us when our eye is healthy, our whole body is full of light. But he also goes on to warn those who think that they see clearly but really don't. He tells them that they are in grave danger (Matthew 6:22,23).

The Scriptures warn us that we are all self-deceived and that we cannot know our own selves apart from God's Word, the Holy Spirit, and trusted others who help us see ourselves more honestly (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:25; Hebrews 3:13). If someone's sorrow is genuine, he stops lying to himself that it's everyone else's fault that he behaves the way he does. He stops telling himself that what he does isn't that bad or that he can't change.

Change only begins when a person sees clearly he needs to change and that means taking responsibility for himself and his own destructive behaviors–no more blaming, no more excuses, even if provoked.

2. Commitment:

There are things that people see quite clearly yet they are not committed to changing them. They may see the growing numbers on the scale or the rising credit charge cards, yet it feels too hard or they're not yet willing to give up the temporary good feelings they receive from overeating or overspending.

As Biblical counselors, we see people who want to change but do not want to do the work involved to actually change. Like Naaman, who resisted Elisha's treatment plan for his leprosy, a lot of the people we work with are looking for a quick fix. (See 2 Kings 5 for the story.)

It's not enough for our counselee to see clearly his or her problem, or even want to change. For change to actually happen our counselee must make the commitment to do the work to change so that these same sins that have broken trust in his marriage don't continue to repeat themselves.

For example, a verbally abusive man may need to learn how to handle his frustrations, disappointments, and negative feelings when his wife upsets him or doesn't do what he wants her to do. In the past he's blamed her, insisting that if only she changed and didn't upset him, he wouldn't have acted that way.

Now he realizes that there is no perfect wife, and it's unrealistic and unreasonable for him to demand that his wife never upset him. But in addition to his new clarity, he must be committed to learning how to manage his own negative emotions when it actually happens and he feels furious.

3. Confession:

No one changes perfectly or overnight, but when he messes up and repeats old behavior, he must now do something differently than he has in the past. Now he confesses. He no longer hides, lies, minimizes, or blames someone else for his bad behavior.

Practicing confession humbles us. It helps us put into practice the new attitudes and actions that we want to grow in. John the Baptist said it best to the Pharisees that were talking the talk but not walking the walk. He said, "Bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8). Repentance isn't just saying I'm sorry–confession is turning from your sins and learning not to repeat them.

4. Community:

God did not intend people to mature all by themselves. From birth he put infants into families to help them learn, grow, and mature. The family of God is instructed to love, encourage, admonish, and strengthen one another so that we all might grow into the full measure of Christ.

When someone is genuinely sorry for repetitive sins, they are willing to allow people along side of them to give them honest feedback on their behaviors and attitudes. The Bible tells us that we need one another so that we don't stay deceived about our own selves (Hebrews 3:13).

By inviting community to help him, our client has come to understand that he cannot grow to become the person God calls him to be all by himself. He may invite his spouse, pastor, counselor, as well as other wise and godly friends, to give him feedback and hold him accountable to the changes he states he wants to make.

5. Consequences:

One of the most amazing freedoms God has given his creatures is the freedom to choose. We can choose right or wrong, love or hate, good or bad, to change or not to change. Closely linked to our choices are the consequences of our choices.

An important part of growing up is being able to see ahead to the consequences of our choices, both positive and negative. For example, if I choose to spend my paycheck on a fun vacation instead of pay my bills, the consequences are that I don't have enough to pay my bills. Then I feel stressed, damage my credit rating, and incur late charges. Was it worth it?

As Biblical counselors it is important we help our clients see ahead to the results of their choices. Sometimes, especially in marriage, our client expects "sorry" to mitigate all negative consequences. They quote "love covers a multitude of sins," expecting love to give them a get out of jail free card or total amnesty when they've seriously sinned against their partner.

Mature people realize that grace and forgiveness doesn't necessarily mitigate negative consequences of one's poor choices. God warned Adam and Eve that if they chose to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, they would die. He allowed them the freedom to choose, and they suffered the consequence of their poor choice, even though God still loved and forgave them.

It's important that we help our client accept that when he sins against his spouse there are always negative consequences. Is that what he wants? Painful consequences are God's way to help us wake up and stop doing destructive and sinful things. Moses encouraged the Israelites to choose life so that they and their children would experience the result–life and God's blessings (Deuteronomy 28).

Clarity, commitment, confession, community, and consequences are five stepping stones that lead to greater growth and maturity, which can lead to lasting change.

Source: Today's Topical Bible Study

Family Special: Five Ways to Pray for Your Daughters

by Tim Challies

As a dad, I pray for each of my kids just about every day, and I take it as both a joy and responsibility to bring them before the Lord. Praying for the kids is a helpful way of training myself to remember that they are his before they are mine, and that any good they experience will ultimately find its source in God himself. And I believe that prayer works—that God hears a father’s prayers for his children, and that he delights to answer those prayers.

One of my most common prayers for my girls is a prayer for their protection. Here are 5 ways that I pray for God to protect them...

1) From them.

I pray that God will protect my girls from themselves. After all, for all the dangers they face in life and all the trials they will face in the days and years ahead, the vast majority of those trials and temptations will arise from within. I ask God to protect them from their own sin and unbelief, from their own hard-heartedness, from their own fleshly desires. I pray that he will save them from themselves and then cause them to grow to be more like Christ.

2) From me.

I pray that God will protect my girls from me, from their own father. I fear that my selfishness or my negligence could harm them, or even that my ignorance would expose them to some kind of sin or danger. I feel a great swell of love and affection for both of my girls, but also see so much sin and ugliness within myself, and fear how my sin could harm them. And so I pray that God will protect them from the worst of me and only ever allow me to be their guardian and protector.

3) From others.

I pray that God will protect my girls from other outside influences. I pray that they would be good friends, have good friends, and not be unduly influenced by foolish acquaintances. I pray that their teachers would be for them and not against them, and that they would teach them what is right and good. I pray that God will guard them against any of those people who may today or some other day begin to plot evil against them.

4) From Satan.

I pray that God will protect my girls from Satan. I know that the devil knows my girls, and that he sees their spiritual progress, and the he loves to do all he can to choke out the gospel before it can really take root and bear fruit. I know that he desires their utter death and destruction. This is his great and wonderful plan for their lives—to bring them to complete ruin, and to do it through endless waves of temptation. So I pray that God will protect them from Satan and from all of his power.

5) From himself.

And finally, I pray that God will protect my girls from God. Ultimately, God saves people from himself. R.C. Sproul says it well: "The grand paradox or supreme irony of the Christian faith is that we are saved both by God and from God." I long for God to protect my girls from his own wrath which he must pour out on those who will not put their faith in Christ. And so the deepest saving my girls need, is to be saved from God. And I pray again and again (and explain to God that I will continue to pray again and again) until he saves my girls by himself, from himself, for himself, and to himself.

About The Author:

Tim Challies is author of the weblog Informing the Reforming and lives near Toronto, Canada. He is also author of 'The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment'.  

Are Your Eyes and Heart Open to See It?

by John O'Leary

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

Mumbai, India
Mumbai, India (From Malankara World Archives)

Good morning my friends!

My day began early, driving through the darkness to a presentation in central Illinois.

Slowly light filled the landscape before me.

And then, during one singular moment, I glanced to the right and saw the most magnificent sunrise I've ever seen.

Although my phone could not capture it's full majesty - I had to at least share what I could with you!

[Editor's Note: Unfortunately, we don't have John O'Leary's original photo. Instead, we have included a photo of Mumbai, India from Malankara World Archives.]

I hope you'll take a minute, and enjoy this photo. The stunning pinks and oranges and reds cascading from the east; and note in the middle, pointing straight up, the single, massive beam of orange light.

It took my breath away, but I almost missed it.

Today, my friends, strive to see the beauty that is all around you. It is there, but you must have your eyes and heart open enough to see it.

This year, as a Rising Above community, we'll celebrate the beauty each day holds. We'll encourage each other to breathe life into every moment. And we will continue to live. Inspire. Now.

The best is yet to come,

John O'Leary
John's Blog |

Copyright © 2015 Rising Above, All rights reserved.


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