Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Third Sunday After Pentecost, Evangelism
Volume 8 No. 484 June 8, 2018
 

IV. General Weekly Features

Family Special: The Power of Deception: What I Learned from My Affair

by Emily Massey

10 years ago I considered myself a born-again Christian. I called on the name of Jesus at the age of 16 and confessed Him as my Savior. But as I attempted to walk with the Lord, I did not seek out His truth and began venturing off the narrow road and into heavy bondage and severe deception.

I had just turned 19 and found myself entangled in an adulterous relationship with a 28-year-old married man. I was an accomplice in a potentially devastating affair, a pawn in the Enemy's hand. I lived with a dark secret and hated myself for it daily. I experienced toxic passion along with an overhaul of debilitating pain and utter despair. I pushed away all of my friends and created my own fantasy world in hidden sin and emptiness that would increase for three and half more years. It seems so unreal to even type those words out, considering my life now.

Today, I've been married for five wonderful years to the most amazing man of God, and we have the most precious son. I'm a worship leader and a youth pastor. I love the Lord with everything in me and want nothing more than to see a generation discover their true identity in Christ.

But I know now that it doesn't take much to deceive yourself and destroy your life. Because Satan is the Great Deceiver.

Deception is deadly and a major weapon in the enemy's arsenal.

When we begin to believe his lies as truth, we move further away from God's Word, which is the ultimate Truth, and into the bondage of "the father of lies" (John 8:44). Of course, his lies are usually disguised with partial truth, luring us to take a bite--almost like a rotten, worm-infested apple covered with caramel.

Think of the first account we have of Satan's deception:

'You won't die!' the serpent replied to the woman. 'God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil' (Genesis 3:4-5, NLT).

And then verse 6 says, "The woman was convinced."

She chose to trust and believe in the words of the serpent (the enemy) instead of God's. This passage in Genesis is so familiar to us as believers, (and non-believers too!), that we often dismiss the deep message it reveals to us:

Not only does Satan hate man-kind, he hates marriage because it is a direct reflection of Christ's redemptive act of love for us through the Cross, that was finished "from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 12:8), as discussed in Ephesians 5:22-33.

"Adam recognized that he needed a companion 'after his own kind' to be complete. This was fulfilled in natural Eve. But the Son of God finds His companion 'after His own kind' in the redeemed human race, His Bride [Church]." –Tammy Riddering, director of Gateway House of Prayer in St. Louis

Since the beginning of man-kind, the enemy has tried to destroy marriages and uses deception as his weapon of choice.

Adultery and divorce hit very close to home, not only in my own personal life, but in many lives around me. I know that no matter the details of the unraveling of the marriage, deception was found somewhere in the midst of it. Somewhere along the lines, each person began to stray from the Word of God and even twisted scripture to fit their desires.

Beloved, we must be alert to the enemy's devices. We must be aware of the signs of what the Bible calls "the last days," especially of what Paul tells Timothy in Second Timothy, chapter three, verse 13:

"Evil people and imposters will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived" (NLT).

Deception is going to increase and as people of God, we must know and trust His Word above all else. It needs to be our weapon of choice. It is the sword that we can cut down the enemy's lies with (Ephesians 6:17). Without it, we are defenseless to the deception of the enemy. It is time to read and study the Word of God now more than ever before. I want you to be able to look back over the next 10 years and know that deception held no place in your life or in your marriage.

"I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11, NLT).

About The Author:

Emily Rose Massey began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and recently released her first book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing). She enjoys serving in her local church with her husband in television, worship, and youth ministry. ...

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update

Family Special: Why Christians Should Make Family Dinners a Priority

by John Stonestreet, BreakPoint.org

Feminist writer Amanda Marcotte might have agreed with C.S. Lewis, who said, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that Lewis would not have agreed with her about what she recently called a tyranny.

Marcotte, responding to a study from researchers at North Carolina State, has inveighed against what she calls "the tyranny of the home-cooked family dinner." Writing in Slate, Marcotte says that for many working moms, the stress of the home-cooked meal outweighs the many social benefits. "The main reason people see cooking mostly as a burden," she says, "is because it is a burden. It's expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway."

Now I can agree with Marcotte that family dinners can be a source of stress, especially for really busy families like mine. But the benefits are undeniable. According to the Family Dinner Project, "sharing a family meal is good for the spirit, the brain and the health of all family members." Family dinners are correlated with lower rates of drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression, as well as better grades and higher self-esteem. Studies also show that family talk around the table boosts vocabulary better than reading, and that the stories told help kids develop resilience. And if you ask me, it's a source of identity formation too.

Look, setting aside time for a home-cooked meal, and then actually pulling it off, is hard work - really hard work, especially these days. I'm on the road a ton, speaking at conferences and such, so the Stonestreet household isn't a textbook example of how to do the family dinner. But let me tell you - whenever possible, we get it done.

Let me rephrase that a bit: my lovely bride, Sarah, gets it done. She's amazing. Despite her other important callings - including homeschooling our girls and working at church - somehow, some way, Sarah orchestrates our family dinners. Now, I've been told I'm a pretty mean griller, but that's only because Sarah is a master marinate-or. Trust me, she's the real star, and she's teaching my daughters how to love people and show hospitality too. In fact, when a friend recently told me we have the family dinner down to an art, it's because when he showed up, our daughters decided to be the wait staff, printing menus and everything. Trust me - that doesn't happen every night, but we still make the family dinner a priority.

And the good news is, we don't have to be perfect. The goal is not to be June Cleavers or Martha Stewart. It's to be together. Quoting Chesterton, Jerry Root and my colleague Stan Guthrie say in their book, "The Sacrament of Evangelism", "if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." In other words, it's better to try and fail, and then improve with practice, rather than simply to fail to try at all.

If you're willing to try, here's a few suggestions. To save time, according to Dr. Ann Fishel of the Family Dinner Project, use store-bought ingredients. Prepare double batches of food over the weekend, and quickly heat them up during the week. Teach children to help. Fishel says, "Elementary-aged kids can set and clear the table, pour the drinks and be involved in some food preparation. … Sharing in all the tasks of dinner only makes this more of a family event."

That's good advice. To keep anyone from feeling the "tyranny" of the family dinner, everyone should help.

But here's another piece of advice, courtesy of Sherry Turkle. When it comes to technology, make the dinner table "sacred space." In other words, turn off the TV, smartphone, and tablet. Just talk. Do devotions. Discuss the day's events. Tell jokes, play word games. I meet many families who tell me they print out that day's BreakPoint and have a family discussion. If you need some help getting started, a helpful book is "150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking", by Mary DeMuth.

Remember, family dinners don't have to be a tyranny. They can, and should be, a treasure.

About The Author:

John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

Source: Breakpoint Devotional

The Right Perspective

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

As we face discouraging events in our lives, there is a danger lurking - self-pity, which can quickly become a source of deadly comfort. The gloomy clouds hanging over our lives should never be permitted to remain, especially in light of God's hope and Truth.

Pressing through any disappointment means being careful not to linger long in a place of discouragement. While each of us will face times of discouragement, we must also realize that discouragement has the ability to rob us of something very important - our godly perspective.

As David entered into a place of discouragement, he found himself grasping for hope. He needed to gain the right perspective on his situation, but it was difficult. No matter how hopeless or how discouraging our situations might be, God has the ability to bring eternal hope and peace to our lives when we need them the most.

Discouragement wars against the very trait that faith and hope in God bring - courage. In order to stand up to the trials and tribulations of a fallen world, we must turn to God for courage and make a commitment to stand strong in our faith through Jesus Christ.

God's best for your life does not include remaining in a place devoid of hope, faith, and courage. Therefore, when facing discouragement, turn to God. He will bring the hope and courage you need to live victoriously over life's hardships.

Prayer:

Lord, give me the right perspective in every situation so that I can go through each one trusting You for wisdom to live a godly life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Source: Leading The Way, My Devotional

Inspirational: He wouldn't give up! - Don't Give Up

by Bob Perks

I have the most remarkable people in my life. Most of them I've never met.

One lived nearby for over 20 years.

I really just met him today.

In my mind we traveled and lived in two different worlds. He had a big beautiful house that was always well maintained. Not by some company he most likely could have hired. He and his wife did it all.

He was friendly enough to wave as he passed by, or shout over to me when we were out shoveling snow, but we never really spoke.

I often times saw his picture in the paper because of different boards he served. In fact, he was on the board of the American Red Cross when my wife worked there.

That's all I knew of him.

Clean cut, nicely dressed, he looked like a banker. I found out later he was a banker. President or Vice President of one.

See, maybe that's what gave me the impression that we really had nothing in common.

How many presidents of anything do I know? Pierce, the president of my high school class perhaps.

He's a great guy, too.

Over the past year and a half as life was changing my plans, I began hearing from Gary via Facebook.

Always supportive, inspiring words of comfort, always including an invitation for lunch.

I was hiding away. I was "going through" this "thing" in my life and the last thing I wanted to do was to chitchat over a sandwich.

I didn't feel much like being seen in public without my wife.

I didn't want to explain things to anyone. You know, it was all ?too fresh and most people had no idea that she left.

It would be natural to hear friends ask, "So, how is Marianne?"

So I decided just to stay in my little world.

Gary, in the mean time, kept writing to me. Yes, always asking if I'd like to go to lunch.

One day I snapped at him. Told him how difficult it would be for me to do that.

"We've been neighbors for 20 years. Why are you asking me now?"

I was mean. Very unlike me to do that to someone.

He quickly responded and apologized for pushing the issue.

"Perhaps some day in the future," he said in that note.

I felt terrible.

Gary obviously didn't, because he never gave up.

I sold my house and moved. He offered to help. I said no.

He emailed me again.

"How does lunch next Tuesday or Wednesday sound? My treat…who knows who we may bump into?"

I couldn't believe it. I finally said "Yes!"

Okay, you might be thinking I did it so he'd stop asking. Perhaps that was part of it.

Mostly it was because I was ready.

He is a remarkable man. Friendly, out going, knew everyone who came in the door of the restaurant. We talked, laughed and shared stories of helping perfect strangers.

Then I stopped, looked at him and asked, "Why did you never give up on me?" I think he was surprised. Rather rude question - maybe unfair to ask.

"Because I thought you needed help!" he said with the soft gentle tones of someone who was sincerely concerned.

We talked about some personal things we both actually had in common. We shared a meal. We laughed, I talked, and he listened.

I thanked him and headed to my car. On the way home I thought about all that I missed the last 20 years.

Yet, maybe I didn't miss a thing. He was a banker back then, on boards and very busy. Maybe his life and my life loosened us both a bit and taught us? how important it is to make time for lunch.

Oh and to never give up on someone in case they need your help.

Maybe you know someone. Maybe you have been meaning to call them, email them one more time because you're concerned.

Don't give up on them.

Thanks, Gary. Lunch was great. How about breakfast sometime? On me, of course.

About The Author:

Bob Perks is an inspirational author and speaker and a truly remarkable human being. You can receive his messages sent 2-3 times each week by visiting his website http://www.BobPerks.com I know you will be glad you visited.
 

The Hope Still Lives

by John Petty

Some years ago, I attended a lecture by a person who had done research on the year a person was born and how that effects that person's personality. His thesis was that a person starts to branch out from the family and form a view of the world around the ages of 10-12. The conditions of the world at that time imprint themselves on the person and shape how they will view the world in the future.

My mother was 10 in 1931, the depths of the Great Depression. When my mother first looked at the world, she saw want and danger, and, to this day, that experience is the foundation of the essential structure of her worldview. She saves rubber bands.

I was 10 in 1960. The world was much different then than in 1931. My early experiences of the world are about waking from the somnolence of the 1950's, the "torch" passing to a "new generation of Americans," and the Roman Catholic Church opening its windows to the world. The world was still a place of danger--the Cuban missile crisis was in 1962--but it was also a time of hope and energy. As Bob Dylan sang in 1963, the times, they were a'changin'.

What's not to like about the early 60's? A jazz piece, Dave Brubeck's "Take Five," climbed the charts. Leonard Bernstein was evangelizing young people on the joys of classical music. The unscripted and passionate Jack Paar, an exemplar of wit and culture, was holding forth on late night TV.

Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl were challenging conventions in comedy. Telstar, the communications satellite, was launched in 1961. The Beats generated literature. Muhammed Ali won the Olympic gold medal. The United Nations enjoyed popular support.

In 1960, Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird, a signal that we were finally beginning to engage the truth about race. In May, 1961, the first Freedom Rivers went south. In 1961, Julia Child published Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Meatloaf and mashed potatos have not seemed quite the same since.

Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962, and the environmental movement began. Also in 1962, Michael Harrington published The Other America, which shocked the country with its documentation of the extent of poverty in the USA. Morris West's The Shoes of the Fisherman, the story of a liberal pope who sells Vatican assets to feed the poor, was published in 1963.

Vatican II opened in 1962. Religious reconciliation was in the air. We could feel the effects even in our out-of-the-way Kansas town. Paul Tillich and Teilhard de Chardin's theology appeared to be the wave of the theological future. Whatley Chapel in Denver, dedicated in 1962, has a stained glass window dedicated to Tillich.

The moderne architecture of the period was fleet and fresh. The work of Eero Saarinen, Walter Gropius, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe set the trend. Alexander Calder and Andy Warhol were leading figures in art. Classical music had its largest market penetration in the early 60's.

This world ended on November 22, 1963. John F. Kennedy was killed, and Camelot with him. Still, those of us who lived in the early 60's, and were formed by them, remember that American public life was once creative and hopeful. We don't save rubber bands. We save the idea that life can be made better, that reconciliation is possible, that religion can be a force for unity, and that "the long twilight struggle" against the enemies of humanity can be engaged and won.

Source: Progressive Involvement

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