Malankara World Journal Theme: Discipleship
Volume 3 No. 120 January 17, 2013
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Table of Contents
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Our church celebrates Nineveh Lent from January 21-23 this year. The Nineveh Lent is a lent of attrition and repentance commemorating the repentance of the people Nineveh at the preaching of Prophet Jonah. This lent starts three weeks before the start of the Great Lent.
This Sunday in Church
Second Sunday after Denho
Before Holy Qurbana
Our church celebrates Nineveh Lent from January 21-23. The
Nineveh Lent is a lent of attrition and repentance commemorating the repentance of
the people Nineveh at the preaching of Prophet Jonah. This lent starts three weeks
before the start of the Great Lent. The Great Lent begins this year on Monday, February 11, 2013.
Bible Readings for Tuesday of Nineveh Lent (Jan 22)
Bible Readings for Wednesday of Nineveh Lent (Jan 23)
Bible Readings for Thursday of Nineveh Lent (Jan 24)
|Sermons/Reflections on Lectionary Readings for Nineveh Lent|
This Week's Features
Scripture: Matthew 8:18-22
A great crowd gathers about Christ as His acclaim spreads in Capernaum, and He prepares to cross the sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:18). We are not certain why He makes this move, but many interpreters believe Jesus is seeking rest. After all, He is found asleep in the episode following today's passage (v. 24).
Seeing that our Savior is about to depart, a scribe trained in the law of Moses expresses His desire to follow Jesus wherever He goes (v. 19). Christ does not turn this would-be disciple away, but He explains to this scholar the cost of discipleship. Following Jesus, the scribe learns, might even entail the loss of a permanent home (v. 20). The Redeemer's people must accept that they are strangers and exiles in this present world ( Heb. 11:13-16). In Christ we will one day rule over all (2 Tim. 2:12a), but the Christian life, as the church father Tertullian says, is a call to follow the Lord's pattern: "He walked in humility and obscurity. He had no definite home. ...He is unadorned as to dress. He exercised no right of power even over his own followers. ...Though conscious of his own kingdom, he shrank back from being made a king" (On Idolatry, 18.4-5).
Like Jesus, we must be willing to tell people that there is a cost to following the Savior. We do not help the non-believer if we teach or imply that Jesus can be folded into the fabric of our lives without the world hating us. (Matt. 24:9)
Even family duties take second place when Jesus calls. After speaking to the scribe, another man says he is willing to follow Christ if he can first go bury His father. Yet Jesus allows no hesitation (8:21-22 ). This is a difficult saying, since Scripture tells us to honor our parents (Ex. 20:12 ), but it is likely that our Lord's reply to the dead man's son is a universal principle, not a universal application. Jesus alone deserves our supreme devotion, but the ways in which this principle is applied may vary. John Calvin comments, "Children should discharge their duty to their parents in such a manner that, whenever God calls them to another employment, they should lay this aside, and assign the first place to the command of God. Whatever duties we owe to men must give way, when God enjoins upon us what is immediately due to himself."
Coram deo: Living before the face of God
John Chrysostom comments on today's passage that Jesus would not have us "think lightly of the honor due to parents." His words only signify "that nothing ought to be to us more urgent than the affairs of the kingdom of heaven" (Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 27.3). It can be hard to know how to honor one's parents and follow Jesus, but let us remember that His will alone deserves our undivided submission.
For further study:
Source: INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
by Pastor Linton Smith
It is hard to make sense of some of the things that happen.
Things like these begin to make sense when we understand the third of Gods five purposes for our lives.
We have looked at two of His purposes Worship and Fellowship.
We have seen.. God created us.. to love us.. to last for ever.. to know Him.. to worship Him.. to love His people.. and..
Today we add.. ..to grow in likeness to Jesus. We call this Discipleship.
In the time of Jesus a disciple would attach himself to a teacher.. learn from him.. obey him.. imitate him.. become like his teacher.
That is what God wants for us. He wants us to be disciples of Jesus.. attach ourselves to Him.. learn from Him.. become like Him.
Today we look at three verses in Romans:
The first thing we learn here is that..
o GODS PURPOSE IS TO MAKE US LIKE JESUS!
Paul says, We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
For the good of those who love Him. Does he mean, If you lose $100 you will later get $1000 and things like that? No. He goes on to tell us what he means..
Eugene Peterson brings out the full force of this in his paraphrase, The Message: God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.
That was Gods intention all along.. and He will make it happen. Paul goes on..
Those he predestined.. He called.. justified.. and glorified. [Not.. will glorify.. but glorified.. expressing certainty prophetic perfect]
Peterson again.. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
At the end of this life.. when we enter heaven.. we will be like Jesus..
In character.. and even our bodies will be like His resurrection body..
In his letter to the Philippians Paul writes..
And to the Thessalonians he writes.
May God sanctify you through and through.. make you holy.. make you like Jesus.. A prayer. Then he says.. The one who calls you.. God.. is faithful and He will do it. Our destiny.. is to be like Jesus!
The Apostle John puts it like this..
When He appears.. we shall be like Him!
If we are trusting in Jesus.. that is our destiny.. and when we know that is our destiny.. it changes the way we think here and now.. we will purify ourselves..
Right now.. while we live here.. God is at work.. making us into people like Jesus.. preparing us for that day.. and we will cooperate with Him..
When that day comes.. He will put His finishing touches on us.. to make us just like Jesus.
If you have been involved in a choir or drama group.. you will know that the practices just before opening night are often very discouraging.. full of mistakes forgotten lines.. wrong notes.. but on the night it all comes together. That is how it will be with us. Right now we might wonder.. will I ever be like Jesus.. but God will finish what He has begun.. and when we see Jesus.. we will be like Him!
When we take hold of this.. the difficulties now.. seem very small in comparison..
Paul: Romans 8:18.. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Our destiny is to be just like Jesus. Focus on that.. and it will make sense of many of things that happen.. and greatly encourage us!
The next thing we learn from these verses is that.
o GOD IS AT WORK IN ALL THINGS TO MAKE US LIKE JESUS!
God is at work for our good.. to make us like Jesus.. and God is at work in all things to bring this about.
He says all things.. and means just that.. at work in all that life throws at us.. to make us like Christ.. to make us like Him in character.. That difficult circumstance.. that disappointment..
We can drop our bundles.. and blame others.. or we can say to ourselves.. in some way God is at work in this.. to make me like Christ..
In the letter to the Hebrews we read this..
None of us enjoyed being disciplined by our parents. But they did it because they loved us.. [mostly- sometimes as angry reaction perhaps..]
In a similar way God disciplines us and always because He loves us.
God is at work in all things.. the circumstances we find ourselves in.. the people around us.. and yes.. the people in our church family.. to help us grow.. to polish the rough edges.. [Life in College as a Theological Student..]
We might be tempted to run to someone who is having a tough time.. to say.. I know what is happening.. God is disciplining you. Dont! Instead.. sit with them.. weep with them.. and if the opportunity arises.. ask gently.. Do you think God is trying to tell you something? Do not presume to know what He is doing!
And when we are in trouble.. lets ask the same question.. Is God trying to get my attention.. what is He saying to me through this? And be ready and willing to change.. to become a better person.. more like Jesus.
Gods purpose is to make us like Jesus.. He is at work in all things to make us like Jesus.. and..
o GOD IS AT WORK IN US TO MAKE US LIKE JESUS!
Paul writes.. Philippians 2:13.. It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
We have seen.. Gods purpose is to make us like Jesus.. and now we learn that He is at work in us.. to will.. and to act.. according to that purpose. He gives us the will to do something and the energy to do it.
God produces in believers both the desire to live righteously and the effective energy to do so.
In his letter to the Galatians Paul writes with passion..
That is what he wants to see.. and passionately.. He wants to see Christ formed in these people.. and in us..
How? Find out in the next chapter..
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God .
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I am sure we all know something of the struggle Paul describes here.. the sinful nature wanting to do this.. and we knowing in our heart of hearts that it is wrong.,.. and so we struggle
Paul says.. let the sinful nature have its way.. and this is the sort of thing that happens.. sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
Let the Spirit have His way.. and this is what happens.. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
And when we are like this.. we are like Jesus!
There are three things we need to note.
So what do we do? Paul tells us.. Live by the Spirit! How do we do that?
by Tony Abram
Scripture: 1 Peter 5:2-5:9
"Servant" in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos (bond slave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master purchased property. Bought to serve his master needs, to be at his beck and call every moment, the slave sole business is to do as he is told. Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one Savior. (1 Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.)
What work does Christ set his servants to do? The way that they serve him, he tells them, is by becoming the slaves of their fellow-servants and being willing to do literally anything, however costly, irksome, or undignified, in order to help them. This is what love means, as he himself showed at the Last supper when he played the slaves part and washed the disciples' feet
When the New Testament speaks of ministering to the saints, it means not primarily preaching to them but devoting time, trouble, and substance to giving them all the practical help possible. The essence of Christian service is loyalty to the king expressing itself in care for his servants (Matthew 25: 31-46). Only the Holy Spirit can create in us the kind of love toward our Savior that will overflow in practical helpfulness towards his people. Unless the Spirit is training us in love, we are not fit persons to go to college or a training class to learn the know-how or particular branches of Christian work. Gifted leaders who are self-centered and loveless are a blight to the church rather than a blessing
Leader: In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence.
Hence the supreme quality of a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a mans associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.
I. CALLED TO BE SHEPHERDS!
A. Not called to CEO's.
1. We must be willing.
Jer 23:4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.
B. I remember the day God called me. I did not just decide I would become a preacher. I am afraid that many in the ministry are not called. To them it is a job. I believe a 'minister' should be called of God! I know I am called and am a gift to the Church according to Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
Isa 56:11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
Jer 50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.
C. Tell me; I'll forget. Show me; I may remember. But involve me and I'll understand.
II. EAGER TO SERVE!
A. We must want to serve, God will not force us.
Isa 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 1:20
But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth
of the LORD hath spoken it.
III. WE MUST BE AN EXAMPLE!
A. If you try to improve one person by being a good example, youfre improving two. If you try to improve someone without being a good example, you won't improve anybody.
John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
1 Pet 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1 Tim 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
IV. HUMILITY IS NEEDED!
A. Be humble.
1. Without Him we can do nothing but with Him we can do all things.
2. A pastor once told me when he was counseling me when I first was entering the preaching ministry was that he was proud that over the many years of his ministry he was able to be humble.
I was a little confused at the time; however, his life showed that he was in fact very humble.
Mat 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
V. LEARN TO CAST ALL OUR CARES ON HIM
Psa 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
1 Pet 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
VI. HAVE SELF CONTROL!
1 Cor 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 9:27
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
VII. ALWAYS RESIST THE DEVIL!
1 Pet 5:9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
(James 4:7 KJV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
VIII. REMAIN FIRM IN THE FAITH!
Prov 2:21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
A. Remember we are called.
Jer 14:9 Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.
B. God give us the grace to remain firm in the faith.
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Rom 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
C. Luther's ten qualifications for the minister:
Source: Tony Abram sermons; Copyright 2003-2012 Outreach Inc., All rights reserved.
by Whitney Hopler
Too often, Christians sense God calling them to do something to help people in need, yet fail to take action because they're afraid they won't be able to handle the task. But whenever God calls people to do something, He empowers them to do it.
God is looking for people who will help redeem this broken world and are undaunted by the challenges involved in doing so. Here's how you can become one of those people:
Let go of excuses.
Identify what's making you feel daunted by the prospect of saying "yes" to God when He calls you to help others: a lack of training, strength, money, time, energy, confidence, or something else that's causing you to hesitate. Then recognize that those aren't valid reasons to say "no" to God, because God has promised to provide whatever you need to do what He calls you to do. Decide to stop making excuses for not moving forward when you sense God calling you to do something. Instead, pray specifically about each issue that is causing you to feel daunted, and ask God to help you overcome it.
Invite God to fill up your soul with His love.
Embrace the love that God offers you, knowing that He loves you completely and unconditionally, and opening yourself up to fully receive that love. When you do, God's perfect love will cast out fear in your life, and you'll be motivated to share His love with people in need.
Listen to God over the voices of other people.
When other people try to limit you or undermine the confidence that God wants you to enjoy, choose to listen to God's voice over theirs. Know that God has made you in His image and chosen you to do what He has uniquely designed you to do to help redeem this fallen world. Keep in mind that God has prepared good works of eternal significance for you to do, and that He has also promised to help you successfully do that work. Reject the negative labels and limitations that others impose on you, and choose to trust God to help you fulfill His important purposes for your life.
Pursue healing for past pain.
Talk openly and honestly with God about the ways you've been hurt in the past, and how that pain of that is causing you to feel daunted about responding to His calls. Ask God to guide you through the process of healing from your pain so it won't prevent you from doing what God wants you to do. Rely on God's help to forgive people who have hurt you every time the memory of their hurtful behavior causes you to feel anger, mistrust, or bitterness. Trust in God's promise that anything that people meant for evil, He can use for good in your life. Confess your disappointments to God, and ask God to give you the faith you need to respond to disappointment by continuing to entrust your future to Him. Seek comfort and encouragement in your church and with friends and family members who care about you. Read and meditate on God's promises to you in the Bible. If you've suffered a broken heart or lost dream, help others get over theirs, and in the process, you'll experience healing, too. Keep in mind that God will often use the suffering you go through to prepare you to minister to others who are going through a similar type of suffering. So, for instance, if you've grieved the death of a loved one, God may call you to help other grieving people. Expect God to bring good out of your pain.
Don't allow fear to run rampant through your life, or it will cause you to miss out on the opportunities to serve that God intends for you to step into. Ask God to give you the will to faithfully say "yes" to His calls, even in the face of fear. When you move forward even while feeling afraid, God will be with you every step of the way, helping you and gradually, you'll grow less afraid and more confident. Shift your focus away from circumstances that scare you and toward God, with whom all things are possible.
Say "Send me!" to God.
Just as God sent Jesus into the world to rescue you from sin and secure your salvation, God wants to send you into the world to help rescue other people who are lost and need to both hear the Gospel and see it in action helping them with their needs. Since you were once lost and are now found, you're part of God's search-and-rescue team for others who need those in the light to help them in the darkness. Commit to doing your part.
Ask God to awaken you to the needs He wants you to help meet in the world.
Pray for God to bring suffering and injustice to your attention and give you the compassion and courage you need to do something about it. Look at the needs right around you, and every day, do what you can to help meet them (from being kind to your spouse to helping an elderly neighbor with yard work). Look at the needs throughout the world, and ask God to help you discern which causes you should help with, and how you should do so (such as through volunteer work or contributions to charities and advocacy organizations). Be flexible enough for God to interrupt your schedule when He wants you to pay attention to a particular service opportunity. Ask God to help you notice and care about what matters most to Him.
Take the first step, and then keep walking wherever God leads you.
Whenever God calls you, respond right away rather than waiting around. Pray immediately for the spiritual strength you need to take action, and then move forward, trusting God to guide and empower you. Start where you are, with what you have, however you can. Then you'll experience the joy of seeing God work through your life powerfully to help others in need and redeem the world.
Adapted from Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do, copyright 2012 by Christine Caine and Equip & Empower Ministries. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.zondervan.com.
About The Authors
Christine Caine is no stranger to suffering. Overcoming childhood abuse and later in her thirties finding out she was adopted, Christine has embraced God's love to find hope and healing. She is director of Equip & Empower Ministries and co-founder of the anti-human trafficking organization The A21 Campaign. Christine and her husband, Nick, live with their two daughters in California and Australia.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com's site on angels and miracles.
Source: Live It Devotional
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Managing Editor
With the start of sports season, I've heard the phrase, "to whom much is given, much is required" used a lot... and that's a good thing. A great thing. Athletes, profiled on sports shows, have been given chances to explain how they are using their celebrity and/or money to help mankind, or even spread the gospel.
One prominent athlete was interviewed about wanting to use what he's been given as a platform to further the Kingdom of God. His goals were reminiscent of the parable Jesus told about the difference between faithful and unfaithful servants, stewards of thttp://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library kingdom. Faithful servants are to be about their master's will, not doing their own thing, not squandering what they've been given, but instead, realizing how much they've been given, and that there are punishments awaiting those who knowingly disobey (and even for those - albeit less severely - who unknowingly disobey. Seem harsh?).
Nonetheless, I enjoy verses like our main verse today, where a concept is repeated synonymously for effect. The Bible's wisdom literature is ripe with this structure, and Jesus makes use of it here. The phrase "Everyone who has been given much" is echoed by "the one who has been entrusted with much," and "much will be demanded" becomes synonymous with "much more will be asked." It drives the point home.
We often hear the first part of this verse quoted, and it works fine by itself: "To whom much is given, much is required." That concept even works well in the secular world, so much so that non-Christians quote it, perhaps without even knowing it's biblical in origin, and superhero movies use it as a thematic element.
But this week, after seeing and reading those profiles of Christian athletes, I read the verse in its entirety, and it opened up a new level of meaning for me.
Generally, when I think of things I've been "given," or "gifts," I tend to think of presents, possessions... toys, even. Things that are mine. Things I can hoard, break, forget about, get tired of, use for personal gain, waste, sell, or lose. Some things we are "given" include salvation, spiritual gifts, genetic gifts, talents, financial blessing, testimonies, family, forgiveness, love, and more.
Now, does your perspective shift at all if you think of those things not merely as "things given," but as "things you are entrusted with"?
For me, the ante gets upped. There's a new level of seriousness. The steward who has faith must, by definition, be faithful.
My toys, as I grow up, must become my tools - the things the Master has given that He expects will be used to build and further His Kingdom.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
What gift have you been entrusted with that you are still just playing with? Or hiding? Or wasting? Knowing the Master's will, decide what you would say if He returned today to find you not busy at Kingdom work. Then decide one way you can use what you have been entrusted with to edify others this week. You may not have the platform of a Tim Tebow, but you've been given all the requirements necessary to do the job assigned to you.
Source: Crosswalk.com - The Devotional
by Kelly Givens, Editor, Salem Web Network
Have you ever wondered why God allows some Christians to suffer so much, and others seem to glide through life effortlessly, painlessly? I know many Godly men and women who seem to suffer without end. Their pain is more than I have ever experienced; they've faced more trials in a year than I've faced in my entire life. Why is that? Am I loved by God more than these people? Are they glorifying God more through their suffering than I can in my blessings? The comparisons go in all directions.
Comparison was Peter's go-to when Jesus told him this: "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go." (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God). Then he said to him, "Follow me!" (John 21: 18-19).
Jesus was foretelling that Peter, just like himself, would be led to his death, arms stretched out in his own crucifixion. Tradition points to Peter being crucified upside down during Nero's persecution, not wanting to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord.
I'm not sure if Peter knew then by what kind of death he would die, but no doubt he got the gist of what Jesus was saying. So it's no surprise that he quickly disregarded Christ's instruction to "follow me!" Instead, he looked around at the other disciples, spotted John, and exclaimed "Lord, what about this man?" I wonder if Peter was thinking, "If I have to die a horrible death, does that mean John will die a horrible death too? If not, why should I go through this trial and not him? Do you love him more than me?"
Our sinful nature is hard-wired to compare. When others seem to get ahead or are seemingly blessed more than us, we grow envious. When the tables are turned and we are the ones being blessed, we might fight the urge to brag or think more highly of ourselves that we ought. Both kinds of comparison are fatal to our faith, and Jesus knows it. So when Peter bluntly asked, "what about this man?" Jesus' response was clear. "What is that to you? You follow me!"
Peter died a horrible, agonizing death. Most historians agree that all of the other apostles met similar, violent ends to their lives. Except John. John died peacefully in his old age. Why? Because that was how each "was to glorify God." When God bestows on us blessings we should proclaim his glory joyfully and humbly. But when he allows us to suffer, we have the opportunity to proclaim him King through our hopefulness and faith. God's glory is what's important, not our circumstances.
"You follow me." Fixing ourselves on Jesus is the key to fruitful ministry, the key to humility, the key to joy regardless of our circumstances. It's the key to glorifying God - the true purpose of our lives and ministry.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
How quick are you to compare your joys and sufferings to those around you? Comparing our circumstances to others' is fruitless. Jesus desires us to follow him, and have faith in the plan he has for our lives.
1 Peter 1:6-7, Romans 8:37, Philippians 3:13-14
"The only glory which Jesus ever sought for himself or offered to his disciples was to be caught up in God's redemptive purpose." - George Caird
Source: Crosswalk.com - The Devotional
by Dr. David Jeremiah
Christ has called for unconditional surrender-death to the flesh-for all who would follow Him. When we become Christians, we are "crucified with Christ" (Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20), our rebellious sin nature is put to death with Christ when He died on the cross. And yet, in practical terms, "the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another" (Gal 5:17). There are still times, in other words, when we don't feel like surrendering-we'd rather die than give up our independence, our individuality, and our indecencies. But Jesus draws a firm line in the sand: "Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27).
Jesus offers one term of surrender: The cross you died on positionally must be the cross you live on personally, each and every day. For the saints of God, surrender leads to an entirely new kind of life. In fact, we are born again to a new and living hope (John 3:3; I Peter 1:3). But to experience that life we have to surrender not just once but every day.
There are numerous examples of saints in Scripture who chose life by surrendering. First, think of Job. Though he was assailed with greater calamities than most of us will ever face, a prayer of surrender was found frequently on his lips: "'The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.' In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong" (Job 1:21-22).
The truest test of whether we are surrendered to the Lord is in times of personal defeat. Pride says, "Rise up and fight!" But the Spirit says, "Surrender and live." Job was wise enough to know the difference-and he lived (Job 42:10-17).
Jonah might be the surrendered saint we most readily identify with. In the end, he realized it was better to be closer to God than to himself. He was brought to the surrender ceremony kicking and screaming, with both heels dug into the sand. He wanted nothing to do with God's terms of surrender: "Go to Nineveh and preach a message of judgment to the Ninevites." Thank you, No. Jonah did an about face and hopped the first ship headed for Spain. You know the rest of the story.
From the belly of a great fish Jonah prayed his prayer of surrender: "I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD" (Jonah 2:9). Jonah learned it was better to surrender sooner rather than later. He went to Nineveh and God used him mightily.
Finally, the one for whom the stakes were the largest was Jesus Himself. Even as a young boy He sensed the need to be surrendered to the will of His Heavenly Father (Luke 2:49). And at the outset of His public ministry He was offered surrender terms by the devil himself-which terms He soundly rejected (Luke 4:1-13). He made it to His last night on earth able to say, "I have finished the work You gave Me to do" (John 17:4). Yet His greatest challenge came just moments after He said those words.
When Jesus prayed His prayer of surrender, "Not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42), He set the pattern for surrender for all who would follow Him into the kingdom of heaven. Ultimately, no one who says to God, "I'd rather be close to me than to You," enters the kingdom of heaven. No one goes to heaven who says to God, "Not Thy will, but mine be done." The ruler of hell itself earned his position with just such words as those (Isaiah 14:12-14).
How do we accept Christ's terms of surrender, living daily on the cross? Begin each day with a prayer of surrender: "Lord, today I surrender my life to You. I choose Your will to be done, not mine. I want to be closer to You, God, than I am to myself. I accept Your terms for my life today and purpose to live personally the crucified life which I received positionally through faith in Christ. I ask You to give me grace to be a surrendered soldier of the cross today. Amen."
Source: Excerpted from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah's Devotional Magazine
by Dr. Jack Graham
Growing up, my mother had a pressure cooker. And I distinctly recall one Sunday when she was cooking green beans, and all of a sudden I heard, AAAAAHHHHH! from the kitchen. So I walked in there and I saw green beans hanging from the ceiling! The cooker had exploded from the pressure inside.
That's just like so many people today, isn't it? They've got so much pressure and so much anger on the inside. They may give the excuse, Oh, that's just the way I am or That's just my temperament. But the Bible says that in Christ, you are a new person. So put away those things that destroy and damage you and those around you including your temper!
When Debbie and I got married, we made a pledge to one another that we would never go to sleep angry at each other. Well, we've kept that promise. In fact, we've stayed up half the night on some occasions because we know how destructive anger can be. It's like a parasite that slowly eats away at you.
Relationships are rarely shattered because of one incident. Instead, anger builds over time and eventually explodes all over the place. So if you have anger in you, don't let it go unchecked. Confess it to others and make things right today!
ANGER IS A VERY DESTRUCTIVE FORCE FOR ANY RELATIONSHIP. SO IF YOU HAVE ANGER TOWARD SOMEONE, CONFESS IT AND MAKE IT RIGHT TODAY!
Source: PowerPoint Ministries
by Dennis and Barabara Rainey
A group of carpenters building an icehouse in the north country of Canada was taking a lunch break when a boy came upon them and heard their conversation.
One was bemoaning a watch he had lost at some point in the morning's work.
Though he'd looked for it for a couple of hours, he hadn't been able to find it.
"Would you mind if I went into the ice house and looked?" the boy asked.
"Yeah, sure," the men laughed, certain he'd never find anything in a dark room with no electricity. Within 30 seconds, the boy emerged holding the watch in his hand. The carpenters couldn't believe it! "How did you find it?"
"It was simple," the boy said. "I just stopped in the middle of the room, stood still and listened for ticking."
Many of us (especially us men) are rightly accused of not listening very well.
We rarely stop and take time to focus our attention - to really hear - what our spouse is trying to tell us. Instead, we quickly say things like, "That's dumb, honey. You shouldn't feel that way. You're blowing this all out of proportion."
Those are statements that come from not really seeking to listen and understand where our wife or husband is coming from.
During serious conversations or conflicts, you need to stop and listen, ask questions or paraphrase what your spouse is saying in order to understand what he or she really means. Asking a good question can often be like an emotional crowbar to dislodge how somebody really feels.
Listening is another way of saying, "You're important to me, and I love you."
The person who says, "You're not listening to me," is usually right. How often are these words spoken between you? What is one habit you can change to become a better listener?
Thank God for always being there to listen to us, no matter how illogical or reactionary we may sometimes be. Ask for His counsel in how to be more like Him. And pray for yourself that you will be a better listener to your partner.
Source: Moments with You
What the Diet, Drug Industry Doesn't Want You to Know About Weight Loss
Obesity has become such an epidemic in the United States, the FDA is considering approving a new prescription weight-loss drug despite safety concerns about it.
It seems the health effects of being overweight override officials' concerns about Qnexa, a drug the FDA rejected two years ago.
That shocks weight-loss expert Don Ochs, who says neither diets nor drugs are effective, long-lasting solutions.
"When you understand the biology behind burning off fat versus packing it on, the whole notion of starving yourself on a low-calorie diet is absurd," says Ochs, developer of the physician-recommended Mobanu Integrated Weight Loss Solution (www.mobanu.com). "And certainly taking a drug that can damage your heart is out of the question."
Here's what people should know about biology and weight loss, Ochs says.
Your body was designed to temporarily store fat because food was not consistently available to our ancestors. They relied on that stored fat to get them through famines, winters and dry seasons. That worked very well until we made huge advances in agriculture and food supplies became abundant and consistently available.
When food is plentiful, your body will quickly burn fat deposits those bulges you want to get rid of for energy. When food is scarce, it burns fat more slowly, to help ensure your survival. That's why simply eating less is not the best way to lose weight. A low-calorie diet actually tells your body to store fat because food is in short supply.
You can control whether or not your body stores fat for survival or dumps it for an upcoming time of plenty by sending it the right signals. The types of food you eat, and how much you eat of them, send biologically ingrained messages to your body about whether to store fat or burn it just like flipping a switch.
Your body is very efficient at converting certain types of food to fat. These were the foods with natural carbohydrates that were available to our ancestors before a dry season or another winter, such as apples, which ripen in the fall. If you eat these foods, your body interprets it as a signal that lean times are coming so guess what? It starts stocking up on the stored fat.
To address his own weight problem, Ochs spent years studying the biology of fat burning versus fat storing based on research conducted at The Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health. From that perspective he figured out how to recognize when the foods he ate were signaling his body to produce a lot of insulin, which results in storing fat instead of burning it off.
"When you feel very sleepy after a meal, or when you're full and yet you still crave food, those are signals that you've flipped the switch and turned on your insulin production," he says. "How many carbohydrates flip that switch is different for every person based on genetics.
Losing weight by working with biology and your own individual, genetically encoded insulin triggers is natural and a prescription for long-term success. It doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want and never exercise, but it does mean you'll feel full and satisfied and have lots of energy. And keep the weight off.
About Donald Ochs
Donald Ochs is a Colorado entrepreneur, the president and CEO of Ochs Development Co. and M4 Group, an inventor and sports enthusiast. He developed the Mobanu weight loss system based on research conducted at The Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health. The program is endorsed by physicians, nutritionists and exercise experts.
1 tablespoon of butter
1- 1/1/2 cups of half & half or whole milk to taste (you can also use cream if
In a large soup pot (mine holds 18 cups) saute onions in butter and olive oil for a few minutes.
Add garlic, carrots and celery and saute for a few minutes more. Add potatoes and then saute for a few minutes constantly stirring.
Add a mixture of chicken stock and water to taste until the liquid reaches about 1-2 inches from top of pot.
Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes.
Stir in milk or cream until well blended.
In a medium saucepan melt stick of butter and slowly mix in flour with whisk. It should form a thick paste.
Slowly start to ladle the soup into the medium pan continuing to mix with whisk until it starts to thicken. Pour it into the big soup pot and continue stirring with whisk until all the soup starts thickening. It should have the consistency between soup and gravy, not too thick.
Add cheese and stir until completely melted. Take off heat and stir in bacon.
Serve with homemade bread toasted in the oven.
Turkey stock works well with this too, I usually make some after thanksgiving using the bones.
On January 21, 2013, Malankara World, God willing, is planning to publish a special edition of the MW Journal (Issue No: 121) dedicated to Women. It will be released by Very Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Kunnath MD Corepiscopa, Malankara World Board Member, after the Qurbana at Baselios Church, Ohio on Sunday, January 20. We hope that this will become a cherished keepsake that answers frequently asked questions of the role of the women in Bible, in Orthodox Church as well as the role of the women in Jesus' ministry. The information provided will help you balance your work between family, career and church.
Keep an eye for this special publication. We welcome your comments about this volume as well as other areas we should publish more information on.
The following are actual submissions on a series of science quizzes, tests, and essays (unedited):
"Nitrogen is not found in Ireland because it is not found in a free state."
"H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water."
"To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube."
"When you smell an oderless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide."
"Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water."
"Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars."
"The body consists of three parts the branium, the borax, and the abominable cavity. The branium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowels, of which there are five a, e, i, o, and u."
"Blood flows down one leg and up the other."
"Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration."
"The moon is a planet just like the earth, only it is even deader."
"Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire."
"A super saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold."
"Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas."
"The pistol of a flower is its only protections agenst insects."
"The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have been taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch meat to."
(from The Daily Dilly)
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