Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Humility of John The Baptist
Volume 7 No. 457 January 19, 2018

IV. General Weekly Features

You Are Set Apart for a Higher Purpose

By Dr. Tim Clinton

"Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned."
2 Timothy 3:13-14 NIV

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something sometime in your life."
— Winston Churchill

When the Apostle Paul penned his second letter to Timothy time was short. He could feel the executioner's breath on his neck. Knowing this was his last correspondence with his spiritual son, Paul chose his words carefully. These were important words. He didn't want Timothy to miss it. In the first couple of chapters, Paul encourages Timothy to, "fear not, be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ, hold fast, endure hardness as a good soldier, study to show himself approved, shun profane and vain words, and flee youthful lusts." But then, in chapter three, Paul gives Timothy a prophetic warning.

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."
 (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV)

Sounds like the daily news! Paul understood fully the direction that society was headed and the battles Timothy would be facing. He knew there would be times when the whole world would be against him and he would be forced to stand alone, that he was going to have to fight for the things he knew were right. What battles are you in? What has come against you? Where do you feel defeated?

Continuing his prophetic warning, Paul tells Timothy that, "Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned" (2 Timothy 3:13-14).

By saying those words "But as for you," Paul is letting Timothy know that regardless of the world's direction and pressures, he is set apart for a higher purpose. At times, this means standing alone against the tide of evil and making conscious choices to fight the fight of faith.

As men in today's culture we, too, have been called to a higher purpose and be assured, we will often be called to stand alone against the rising tide of evil. When we do, we shouldn't expect the world to applaud. "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you" (John 15:18 NKJ). "Our hope is not in men but in the living God, who is the savior of all men" (1 Timothy 4:10).

Source: Hunger and Thirst Devotional by Dr. Tim Clinton

About The Author:

Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT  is President of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. ...

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

Family Special: Good for the Whole Family- Setting Standards

By Barbara Rainey

Determine this - not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.
ROMANS 14:13

An often overlooked aspect of media use in the home is that some things that might be appropriate for an older child are not acceptable for a younger one. If you have an older sibling in your family, consider challenging him or her to be a good example. We've seen that an older teen who is making the right kinds of choices can help you establish the right standards for your younger children.

I remember once talking with our older kids about some of the music they enjoyed. I said, "I don't want you boys to listen to that stuff, because you have little sisters who don't need to hear it."

"But, Mom . . ."

"I'm sorry, but what you're doing affects everyone else in the family, not just you." They grumbled about it, but I think they realized there was good reason for being a model to their little sisters. So although everyone has personal tastes in media - TV, movies, music - parents need to take responsibility for setting and maintaining boundaries that work for the entire family. Make this clear: As long as your child resides under your roof, you have the right to screen - and to bar - all media consumed by everyone in the household.

As your children get older and leave home, however, they will begin making more and more of their own choices. Brace yourself. Some of those decisions will not be ones that represent your values and convictions. At some point as they move into adulthood, you will need to give them the freedom to make their own mistakes. Just like you and I did. However, while they are at home, as parents you have the responsibility to establish the boundaries and standards for your family. At times, it's going to feel like you are swimming against a mighty strong cultural current. Stand firm.


What are your convictions, standards and boundaries about music, movies, the Internet and TV for your family?


Pray that you will both stand firm in protecting your family against the various forms of evil being pushed upon our families today.

Source: Moments with You

Family Special: How to Help Kids Deal with Death

by Whitney Hopler

Reading the news stories online, I clicked on a story about the Boston Marathon bombings that featured a photo of 8-year-old Martin Richard. My heart sank. The sweet-faced boy staring back at me from the computer screen was about the same age as my own son, Justin.

Yet another child killed in tragic circumstances, I thought. A sense of grief hung over me like a storm cloud. But it wasn't my own grief that worried me; It was Justin's. He had trouble sleeping after learning about the 20 kids who were killed in another tragedy (the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings). Both Justin and his teenage sister, Honor, had questions about their deaths that only God could answer - and their friends were as deeply troubled as they were by seeing young people's lives cut short suddenly.

I kept reading until I sensed someone approach from behind my chair. It was Justin. "Mom, I can't find my soccer uniform. Do you know…" his words trailed off as he stared at the computer screen, transfixed by Martin's photo.

Quickly, I clicked away from the news page and stood up. "Let's go find your uniform," I said before Justin had a chance to ask any questions about it. But I could see the troubled look in my son's eyes while we got ready for his game, so I realized that he'd figured out why Martin's photo had been onscreen. Sure enough, we discussed death again that day.

Simply clicking away from disturbing stories isn't a solution to the problem that all parents face in this fallen world: helping our kids deal with death. Even if we do manage to click away (or turn off our televisions and radios), we can't prevent our kids from learning about people dying - even young people, like them.

It's challenging to know how to help kids who are grieving the traumatic news of other kids' tragic deaths. Many professionals like psychiatrists and doctors try to help, but come up short. A 2013 report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) that analyzed 6,647 research study abstracts found that there are no conclusively proven ways of helping children and teens recover from traumatic events through medications or psychological treatment.

Yet, as a parent, you have more of an impact on your children than anyone else does - so you're in the best position to help them deal with death. And in the process, you can lead them to the only source of hope that overcomes death - Jesus Christ - and help them deepen their faith as they wrestle with this difficult issue.

Here's how you can help your kids deal with death:

Start conversations gently.

If it's clear that your kids have already learned about someone's death (either a person in the news or someone they knew personally, such as a classmate or grandparent), don't avoid talking about it. Your children may raise the subject with you, or they may not know how to do so - but they need your help to process the news whether or not they bring it up. The Children's Grief Education Association recommends starting conversations by gently making a simple statement (such as "I'm sorry that [the person] has died") or asking kids some open-ended questions about the death (such as: "How do you feel about it?" or, if your kids knew the person, "What was [he or she] like?"). When your children don't want to talk, though, don't force them to do so; simply let them know that you're available anytime they do want to talk.

Offer reassurance.

Let your children know that they are safely in God's care, no matter what circumstances they may encounter in life. It's especially important for them to be reassured of this truth when they've heard about another child who died suddenly (such as through crime or a natural disaster), because they may be afraid that they'll be the next to die. Explain to them that nothing happens apart from God's care, even in this fallen world, as Jesus explains in Matthew chapter 10 when He tells his disciples not to fear death because God notices and cares even when sparrows die, and people "are more valuable than many sparrows" (verse 31).

Listen well.

Give your kids the opportunity to honestly express all of their thoughts and feelings about the death to you - no matter how difficult those thoughts and emotions may be. They may share information that reflects anxiety, anger, doubt, sorrow, frustration, or helplessness. Don't dismiss their concerns or judge them for what they tell you. Encourage them to say whatever they need to say so they can grapple with it all in the open, which is an important part of the healing process.

Respond wisely to troubled behavior.

Grieving children may act out their feelings by being clingy around their parents and other people who are close to them, or they may withdraw from people, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Children processing someone's death may also have difficulty concentrating on tasks (like schoolwork or household chores) that they had no problems doing before, or experience trouble sleeping or eating. Give your kids grace if their grief affects their behavior, and try to keep their routines at home as normal as possible, to give them the support of a stable schedule.

Answer questions in age-appropriate ways.

Young people of different ages deal with grief in different ways. Children who are younger than age 5 tend to struggle with understanding what death really means and need simple, literal answers to their questions so they'll know that the dead person isn't coming back. Children between ages 6 and 12 understand death but tend not to grasp their own mortality; they can handle more detailed information and honest answers to whatever questions they ask. Teens tend to search for deeper meaning behind people's deaths and need you to help them in their search, which can strengthen their faith.

Admit that you don't know all the answers, and direct them to the One who does.

Keep in mind that you want your kids to ultimately rely on God, not you, to help them deal with challenges. So don't be afraid to let them know that you don't know the answers to all of their questions, such as why someone died or why God chose to allow a disaster or act of terror to happen. But then encourage them to take their questions to God in prayer. As they the work through their concerns with God, He will meet them where they are and help them discover more about how they can trust Him.

About The Author:

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who has served as a contributing writer for many years.

Source: Live It Devotional

Christian Persecution is Personal

by Ralph Bouma

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you," MAT 5:10-12.

This is the eighth beatitude. It covers suffering for righteousness vs. suffering for self-righteousness, the persecution of the righteous and how Satan uses our nearest of kin for character assassination.

Job is one example of persecution. His kinsfolk and nearest friends were estranged from him. In JOB 19:13-14 he complained, "He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me."

Envy is also included as a cause for persecution. The church leaders, Christ's own disciple, Judas, and the professed bride of Christ sold Him out of envy. In MAT 27:17-18 we find, "Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him."

Joseph's own brothers sold him out of envy. ACT 7:9 says, "And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him." Out of envy his own brothers sold him into slavery.

The King of Israel, David's own father-in-law, wanted to kill him out of envy. In 1-SA 18:7-9 we find, "And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward." In all these persecutions the children of God were exposed.

The beatitudes are found in Matthew 5:3-11. MAT 5:10 has the same format as the other seven beatitudes. Verses 3-10 speak to the church in general, concluding with "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," MAT 5:10.

In V:11-12 Jesus turns to the personal application. He uses the pronouns ye, you, and your to make it a personal investigation into our own soul. "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you," MAT 5:11-12.

Let's look at how the Lord has become personal in v.11 and 12. Jesus speaks to our own hearts in a personal way. The Lord speaks of the persecutions that we personally suffer. Now we must look at the exact instance to see the blessedness of when these persecutions become personal. This is very personal. We look not at the church in general, nor do we look at our condition in general. We identify each trial, each persecution, in a very personal way and examine how we deal with them. Does that old monster, self, become crucified, or do we stand up in defense?

LUK 6:29-30 says, "And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again." We have to stop being defensive. Defensiveness is in our character by nature. When we become defensive, the Lord will send more persecution. This character assassination will come against that ugly monster, "I." We must come to the end of self for Christ to become our all.

Even though our character is assassinated by things that are untrue, the Lord has a purpose in it. Jesus said in, MAT 10:34-36, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." God's purpose for this is to turn our eyes unto Himself as we see in V: 37-38, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." Amen.

In the hour of trial,
Jesus plead for me;
Lest by base denial,
I depart from Thee.

When Thou see'st me waiver,
With a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor
Suffer me to fall.

With forbidden pleasures
Would this vain world charm,
Or its sordid treasures
Spread to work me harm;

Bring to my remembrance
Sad Gethsemane,
Or in darker semblance,
Cross crowned Calvary.


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