Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: Hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Humility, Servant Leadership
Volume 7 No. 441 October 13, 2017

IV. General Weekly Features

Health Tip: Don't Let Stress Get The Best of You

By Dr. Andrea Bonior

Finding support and identifying coping strategies are essential steps in combating the effects of stress.

Stress gets a bad rap, but anxiety in general doesn't always have to be negative. In some cases, stress serves as motivation to get things done. It can help us act when were in dangerous situations, as our bodies are wired with a fight-or-flight response that gives us the ability to run faster and think more quickly in the face of an emergency.

Problems can occur when a situation is too stressful or the stress is chronic, wearing us down and bringing on negative effects. Think of cars going over a bridge. Over time, the bridge starts to show some cracks in it. Your body reacts the same way with repeated stress. If you're tense, you're more likely to have problems like muscle strains. You'll also have a lowered immune system and be more susceptible to getting sick.

You might also notice that you're increasingly irritable and more apt to snap at others. In addition, you may have trouble sleeping, which just results in more stress creating a cyclical pattern in which you're less adept at dealing with things and increasingly unable to get a good nights sleep. Stress can also elevate your blood pressure, which in the long run could put you at greater risk for heart problems.

Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to mitigate the effects of stress. The most important step is to find support wherever you can. Maybe its meeting with a regular group of friends twice a month, finding a message board online where you can vent or chatting one-on-one with friends or family on the phone. There's comfort in knowing other people understand you and your situation.

Don't overlook something as simple as the laughter of a good friend. It's quite beneficial.

A number of other techniques are useful to reduce stress. What works best for you depends on your talents and tastes. Here are some ideas:

Keep a journal
Go for a walk
Listen to music
Do yoga
Practice belly breathing
Get a massage
Complete a fun home improvement project

Find something that calms you and gets you in the right mindset to face the challenges in your life. It could be something you used to do that brought you joy. Oftentimes the things we drop when we get stressed are the things we need most in order to better take care of ourselves.

If managing your stress seems impossible or you're feeling really burnt out or depressed, you might consider seeing a professional for more individualized methods of coping with the stress you're experiencing.

Whatever you do, pay attention to how you're feeling the goal is to keep stress at minimal levels so that its motivating, not debilitating.

About The Author:

Andrea Bonior, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who serves on the adjunct faculty of Georgetown University and maintains a private practice. She's the author of the book The Friendship Fix: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Losing, and Keeping Up with Your Friends.

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Family Special:
10-Day Communication Challenge for Married Couples
Editor's Note:

The 10-Day Communication Challenge is a series of short devotionals to help husbands and wives become more effective in how they communicate with each other. It is a 10 part series.

Day 1, featured in MWJ Issue 437, covered 'Differing Assumptions'.
Day 2, featured in MWJ Issue 438, covered 'The Line of Respect'.
Day 3, featured in MWJ Issue 439, covered 'After the Fight'.
Day 4, featured in MWJ Issue 440, covered 'I Choose to Forgive'.

In this issue, we will cover Day 5 of the series. There is also a bonus article related to the topic.

Day 6 of the series will be covered next week.

Day 5: A Wife's Countenance

By Dr. James Dobson

He is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married. (Deuteronomy 24:5)

If you really want to know about a man and what kind of character he has, you need only look at the countenance of his wife. Everything he has invested, or withheld, will be there.

That was the message Bill McCartney, then head coach of the University of Colorado football team, heard in a 1994 sermon. The words cut straight to his heart. McCartney had built the Colorado football program into a powerhouse that won a national championship in 1990. He had also co-founded a national men's movement, Promise Keepers. But those achievements came at a price. For years McCartney had withheld his time and energy from his wife, Lyndi, and their four children. In 1994 Bill McCartney didn't like what he saw in Lyndi's countenance–so he resigned his position at Colorado to devote more time to his wife and family.

As a husband, you bear the primary responsibility for your wife's welfare and emotional well-being. What do you see in her face tonight?

Just between us...

• (Husband asks) Do you ever feel like you're competing for my attention?
• (Husband asks) Do I appear preoccupied by my work or recreational activities?
• (Wife asks) What do you imagine it was like for Bill McCartney to walk away from his successful coaching career?
• (Wife asks) Do you ever struggle with trying to care for my emotional well-being? Is there anything I can do to help?
• BONUS: 7 Things Our Wives Need Most from Us

A Prayer for Husbands:

Almighty God, with Your help I wholeheartedly accept my responsibility to care for my wife's emotional well-being. May I increasingly become a master at it, so that I can see joy and contentment in her face. Amen.

Copyright ©2017 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

Family Special: 7 Things Our Wives Need Most From Us

By JT Waresak

For the past ten years, I've been actively involved in family ministry. Along the way, both my wife and I have been blessed to serve alongside couples striving to keep their marriages together and strong. Unfortunately, being a follower of Christ does not exempt us from life's many marital struggles, as we've all experienced some battle wounds along the way. You've likely learned already, professing the name of Jesus makes us even more of an enemy target. It's not a matter of if the struggles will come, it's just a matter of when.

That's why it's so important for husbands to be radically diligent and intentional when it comes to loving our wives. As I consider my own marriage, coupled with reading many great experts on the topic–like Dr. Dobson, there are a number of things our wives consistently need from us as husbands to make a great and lasting marriage. You would think that after 25 years of marriage I would have these principles embedded within my brain and heart. I don't know if it's a "me-thing" or a "guy-thing," but I still need to be reminded to refocus on these things on a regular basis. Here's my current top seven:

1. Spending daily time to let my wife share her day with me.

Our wives are hard-wired with a desire to emotionally connect with us at a heart level. This can only happen through a regular line of communication. When our wives share with us the intimate details of their lives, they are meeting a primary need within the oneness relationship God created through marriage. Without a safe means to express what they're thinking and going through, one in which they can openly share their thoughts, dreams, fears, feelings, etc..., our wives' spirits will wilt and walls will be built. When I dedicate daily time to listen to my wife, I better understand her needs and how I can be there for her. As important, she needs to be the one I share my thoughts, dreams, feelings, etc... on a regular basis as well so she can feel connected to me. It definitely goes both ways.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

2. Reinforcing my commitment to her.

Regardless of what culture or the prevailing "chick flicks" may promote, our wives need our commitment above everything else. While it may not be "sexy" in the world's eyes, this is where true romance begins and thrives. Commitment provides the foundation of a love that is singular in devotion, passion-filled and purpose-driven. Our wives need to know that we will die on the battlefield for them in order to protect them and our marriages. They also need to know that they alone are the object of our sexual desires and affection. Men–this means we only have eyes for them. If you're willing to make this commitment as a husband and as a couple, your marriage will have a great foundation for a lasting and intimate love relationship.

"...rejoice in the wife of your youth, " Proverbs 5:18

3. Providing opportunities for her to rest and fellowship with other women.

My wife is tireless in her efforts to serve within her roles as a mother and a wife. I've found this to be true of many wives and moms. They are often the most self-sacrificing people I've known–this includes my own mother. As I write this, I know I fail too often to provide my wife "a break from it all." Yet, when I do take the time to make this happen, my wife experiences a renewal and the collective family benefits as well.

"And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done." Genesis 2:2

4. Maintaining a financial plan–short-term and long-term.

Countless books and experts have stressed the connection between a woman's sense of security and the financial stability in her life. I've seen this within my own marriage and the many couples we've counseled. Wives need to know that we're doing all we can financially to take care of them and our children. This means making sure the bills are being paid and that there is a budget in place to ensure a healthy financial future for the family.

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty." Proverbs 21:5

5. Setting aside regular date nights or shared activities.

Every married couple needs to spend dedicated time together that allows them to just focus on each other and enjoy whatever they're doing together. This time away together allows for the distractions of the day to disappear and provides the opportunity for authentic communication to take place. For many husbands, this is yet another area of life we need to improve. It's not what we do that is so important. As my wife will tell you, she appreciates when I dedicate time out of my day to go for a walk with her.

"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly..." 1 Peter 4:8

6. Touching her and loving her without any sexual-strings attached.

If your wife is like mine, she loves a good shoulder rub and to snuggle. While these activities can be a precursor to a more intimate physical experience, they shouldn't always be. Our wives need to regularly experience our outpouring of love in a way that just looks to fulfill their needs. Let them decide whether or not it goes any further.

"Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2

7. Praying with her and spending time together in God's Word. (Speak God's truth into her life)

Our wives, like us, are foremost created as spiritual beings. As Christian husbands, we are called to love our wives as Christ loves His church. This means our highest priority as husbands needs to be the spiritual welfare of our wives. I often ask myself this question, "If I'm not taking care of the most important thing, why am I so busy with everything else?" As a husband and a father, this is the most important thing: To pour God's love and truth into the hearts and minds of my wife and kids. If I'm getting this right, good things will follow. This means spending time together in God's Word and praying with each other on a regular basis is an absolute must.

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her," Ephesians 5:25

While there are definitely other things my wife needs from me, these are the seven that, at this moment, are on the top of my list for my wife. What about you? What does your wife need most from you right now?

About The Author:

JT Waresak–a Christian, husband, dad, and digital guy–in that order. JT serves as the Digital Director at Family Talk. He is the CEO of His writings and video productions have reached millions of people via social media. He is a graduate of Grace Theological Seminary and has authored several books on the topic of fatherhood, marriage, family and missional living.

Copyright ©2017 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

A Priest Exposes the 5 Tenets of America's Most Popular Feel-Good Heresy

by Fr. Bill Peckman

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. What is it?

It is the message preached from so very many pulpits. It is the theological underpinning of universalism. It operates on five beliefs:

1) There is a God who created and ordered the earth and watches over human life on earth.

Okay, we can agree that God exists and created the earth. We believe He watches over us. This jibes with our faith.

2) God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.

Hear that? That would be the train coming off the rails, sliding down an embankment into a dry creek bed, and exploding!

First off, nowhere in the Christian Scriptures are we told to be nice. We are told be to be humble, merciful, compassionate, bold, courageous, holy, strong, loving, and whole host of other things. But never merely nice. And let's be honest, nice is a really low bar.

MTD is a plea to be inoffensive. It is why all religions can be the same. The goal isn't holiness, it's being nice. It is believing in nothing so strongly that one triggers no one. It is theological milquetoast.

Our Catholic faith calls for us to be virtuous, strong, courageous, and so willing to love as God loves that we will lay down our lives, embrace sacrifice and suffering, and be heroic. Our Catholic faith produces knights and ladies, not snowflakes and SJWs.

3) The central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about oneself.

Hello, Narcissus! Life is about me being happy, huh?

It is enslavement to the self. It is a life where one pushes oneself not for the good of others, but to suit one's own goals. Seriously? It is isn't like there isn't a long, terrible, and destructive track record that this sentiment produces. MTD requires no nobility of soul, no heroism of character, no selflessness.

It isn't that Catholicism wants you to feel bad about yourself. This is a common retort from the MTD types. Catholicism does expect you to grow in virtue and wisdom. The Soul is like the body and mind: left unchallenged, it goes into atrophy.

The actual goal is to grow closer to Christ. Sometimes that will be happy, sometimes it will be a dark night of the soul. If I judge the worth of something by how it feels, I am operating on the cognizant level of a toddler. Sin has no place here. Sin is what other people do. Sin effects me, but my choices effect no one else. want a good idea why we are such an unhappy society? The sentiment that life is about being happy and feeling good is and always will be a dead end street.

4) God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.

Ah yes, God the butler, God the servant, God the sugar daddy, God the EMT. Nothing says mature relationship like only wanting a person around when it is convenient.

"This God is great! Just stay away until I need you to give me something or when I need someone to blame for tragedy or the consequences of my own bad decisions." I mean, what divine being wouldn't want a perpetual user living in His home for all eternity?

In Catholicism, though, we look to have a functioning and loving relationship with God. If we were to treat a spouse like we do God in MTD, we would be setting land speed records to divorce court. Love is about total self gift not about be total receiver.

5) All good people go to heaven.

Conveniently enough, I get to be the arbiter of what constitutes good, and by golly I will stroll right through those pearly gates. Heaven is the ultimate participation trophy!

So, what has MTD gotten us? First, it has driven men away from the Church. Men have a deep desire to be courageous and strong. I am not saying women don't. However, men look for virtue and strength. They may not always articulate it, but they want to be challenged. It is bad enough that when they see themselves portrayed in the popular culture as dolts, cavemen, criminals, animals, and thugs. It is bad enough that the society only approves of the emasculated and effeminate as role models for men. When they hear that from their churches, you can bet they will head for the exits and encourage their sons to do the same.

MTD has downgraded the idea of selfless service. If the focus is on me, then service is reduced to being important only if it makes me feel good. That will kill service in the community and church. It will gut vocations. It will shred the idea of getting married. It will change the attitude of having children. MTD has reduced parishes from families to businesses selling goods and services at bargain basement prices. It has nurtured a society of the entitled where too much free stuff is never enough.

One of the conscious decisions I made long ago was to be MTD's worst enemy. I don't want anesthetized sheep but a courageous and able army. That means challenging and pushing. It means demanding more out of ourselves and using God's grace to push us to be better and more virtuous. It means not living by the beast like passion of emotions but rising to our true level of reason and virtue. It means embracing discipline and selflessness.

I will admit it is harder on the ears that MTD. But, a good leader within our faith, be it in the home or the parish, is more concerned with a person's eternity than they are about their feelings.

About Fr. Bill Peckman

Fr. Bill Peckman is the pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Boonville, MO and St. Joseph Parish in Fayette, MO.


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