Malankara World Journal Volume 3 No. 136 April 4, 2013
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Meditation - He is Risen!
"I rose up and am still with Thee."After His labors and His humiliations, Christ finds rest with His Father. "I am still with Thee." This is perfect beatitude. Through His cross He entered into the possession of eternal glory. Christ has gained the crown of victory; through Christ men also win their crowns of victory. Humanity was under a curse and subject to the wrath of God. Now that they have risen with Christ, their guilt has been destroyed. "I rose up and am still with Thee." The liturgy places these words in the mouth of the Church that she may pray them with Christ.
"The earth trembled and was still when God arose in judgment."The resurrection of Christ is the judgment and condemnation of those who have turned away from God. This judgment was prefigured by the angel who passed through the land of Egypt destroying the first-born of the Egyptians. The Israelites marked the doors of their houses with the blood of the paschal lamb. We are the new Israel, and "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed." We mark ourselves with His blood, which we enjoy in the Holy Eucharist. We have been pardoned, we are saved, we shall live.
"He is risen."The resurrection of Christ is a pledge of our own resurrection. It is the foundation upon which our faith rests. It is the guarantee of our redemption and God's assurance that our sins are forgiven and that we are called to eternal life. "This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice therein. Give praise to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. Alleluia." "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed. . . . The Lamb redeems the sheep. Christ, the innocent One, hath reconciled sinners to the Father."
- Excerpted from The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.
After 50 days of Lent and one Week of Passion week services, we find ourselves back to life as usual where we can indulge on occasional fried chicken or steak without feeling guilty. Our tendency, generally, is that we go back to our normal routine after rigorous lent and kimbideel (prostration) after Easter. What we fail to recognize is that we celebrate Passion Week in its full glory on every Sunday during our Qurbano. We transform when Jesus comes into us when we partake on the body and blood of Christ after the Eucharist. We are to follow the new commandment Jesus gave (Love Each Other) and the new commission he gave to evangelize the world. We should be showing the light to others by being the servant leaders ready to help our fellow humans who are all created in the image of the God. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation. It is now up to us to reciprocate and show that we were worthy of the prize paid. We wish you all a glorious Easter Season. Malankara World Journal will go back to its balanced blend of theological articles along with family-friendly articles. (During the passion week, the spiritual/theological articles were given a preference.) We welcome your feedback as to how to make the Journal better. Thanks. Dr. Jacob Mathew
This Sunday in Church
New Sunday (Sunday after Easter)
Before Holy Qurbana
This Week's Features
by Dr. Joe McKeever
Slam-dunk, this is as good as it gets.
Why do we owe so much to Jesus? Why has eternity changed for us? Why do we go forward with our heads held high, undaunted by the unknown? Because Jesus Christ abolished death and brought to light life and immortality.
It makes a world of difference.
This is part of a larger sentence, one that starts with 1:8 and continues through verse 11. The larger thought - the full context - is much broader than that, even.
The entire thing is a mother lode of insight, inspiration, and instruction.
You and I live in a dying world. Every day of our lives, someone near us deals with death in one way or other. We all know people who are going to funerals, have just been to funerals, or are making plans for one. We look in the mirror and see signs of creeping old-age - the advance never stops until it overtakes us! - and make our little jokes about birthdays and cosmetic surgery and not liking to have our picture made.
But the laughter is hollow. The reality is there and no teasing can diminish it.
We hate death with a passion.
It’s quite all right to hate death and despise dying. Jesus hated death so much He broke up every funeral procession he met by raising the dead. Paul calls death "the last enemy to be destroyed" (I Corinthians 15:26).
The more I think about death - my parents are both gone now and their remaining five children are all in our 70s now - the more I find myself drawn to a few choice Scriptures. Consider this from Hebrews 2:14-15….
"….He Himself also partook of (flesh and blood), that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."
Jesus died to disarm Satan (who was scaring everyone with death) and set free everyone paralyzed by the fear of dying.
How good is that!
Those who are in Christ - the saved, His disciples, the redeemed - should have no fear of death. Otherwise, we ignore what Jesus accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection.
And, there is Psalm 17:15…
"But as for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awaken."
That is a precious assurance that although I will die, afterwards I will awaken, I will see the Lord, and whatever that is like, I’ll be satisfied with it. (That suits me just fine!)
And, then II Timothy 1:10, the strongest assurance of them all…
"…(Jesus) abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher."(Vs. 11 too)
1) Jesus abolished death.
He did? It’s still flying around, scaring the children and everyone in the house, isn’t it?
Abolished, yes, but not destroyed. Like the bee that has lost its stinger (see I Corinthians 15:55), death is still scaring people but cannot do us any permanent damage. (See Matthew 10:28)
2) Brought life and immortality to light.
"Life and immortality" were there all along. Jesus pointed to insights from Old Testament scriptures to emphasize this, that "God is not the God of dead people, but the living" (Matthew 22:32).
What the Lord Jesus did (through "the gospel" - Heaven’s good news to planet earth) was to bring these promises "to light." To uncover them, to reveal them, to drive home their reality. "Because He lives, we live also."
3) For which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.
Seminary classes wrestle with the distinctions between all these terms. For what it’s worth, my take on them is that the Lord has called (appointed) certain ones to…
Tell me if mankind is not warped to do such a thing to those bringing the best message ever!
"I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."
We walk forward into the future with heads held high, our hearts anticipating the incredible blessings promised by the risen Savior, and a giggle spilling from our lips. "This is going to be wonderful," we say to ourselves.
Indeed. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (I Cor. 15:57)
by Archbishop Robert Duncan, Anglican Church in North America
In the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, One God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Blessed and Praised forever: Amen.
In all four gospels it is women who come first to the tomb. Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us the purpose: to anoint Jesus' body. Burial on Friday had been hurried. At least the soldiers had not broken his legs to speed death. He was already dead. The Sabbath was at hand. In the moment, Joseph of Arimathea was moved to give his own freshly hewn tomb, which was, St. John tells us, very near to the Place of the Skull. Nicodemus, John tells us, had given spices, but Jesus' own inner circle had not been able to care for his body in the customary way. There had been so much hurry. They had loved him so much. Nevertheless, they could still do what was right, what at the very least they owed him, when the Sabbath ended.
They surely recognized their problem. They surely knew that the immense wheel-like stone had been rolled over the entrance to the tomb. St. Mark tells us that they had actually seen this happen. Maybe they had also heard about Pilate's order that the tomb be sealed and a guard set to keep things that way. It is St. Matthew that records for us this detail.
So the women meet very early on Sunday, sometime after sundown on Saturday. They must do what it is right to do and what could not be done on Friday. They can now prepare the spices and the ointments. It is still dark. They will arrive near first light.
Everything is, of course, very confused and confusing. Their grief is overwhelming. Have they forgotten about the stone? Do they not think about the stone until they are actually on their way? Do each think about it earlier, but not discuss it? We cannot know. All we can know is that on their way to the tomb they are saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?"
Followers of Jesus often face what seem to them insurmountable problems...challenges for which there seem to be no apparent solutions. They will nevertheless do what is right, what they can do, even if there is a part of the puzzle they do not have or cannot conceive. Trust in their God drives them on. With God, there has always been a way through in the past, so why not trust Him now?
A terribly injured child? An impossible situation at work? A marriage in tatters? Some debilitating illness or handicap? An unjust accusation? An adolescent in rebellion? A friendship betrayed? Wars and rumors of wars? Domestic or civil violence? Whatever the present impossibility... We Christians will trust him with this too.
We can wonder what the women spoke of as they went in the darkness toward the tomb of Jesus. Was there more than "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" Might they have remembered the Passover story of long ago, the very feast being celebrated in these same days? All the first-born of Israel had been spared. Might they next have recalled the victory at the Red Sea, when all God's people were saved and all of Pharaoh's army drowned? Might they have remembered Jericho, where the walls miraculously tumbled down? Could they have encouraged one another with the stories of Ruth or Esther, or Daniel or the Three Young Men? Might they have spoken of Judas Maccabeus or the miracle of Chanukah? Could they have rehearsed some of the miracles they had seen at the hands of their crucified rabbi? The healings, the feedings, the castings out, the raisings from the dead? Might they have even dared to wonder about his teaching concerning what would follow his own death? We cannot say what broke the silence of their preparation of the spices and ointments, or the silence of their walk to the tomb. We are sure of their grief - for that is why they were meeting - and we are sure of the one question: "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?
In all of our speculation about the run-up to the arrival of the women at the tomb, it is very hard to imagine that the women could have imagined in advance what actually confronted them on arrival. God is so much bigger than our thoughts or imaginings. Even the rehearsal of earlier mighty deeds does not prepare us for the immensity of what he can do in the present moment, in the face of our seemingly insurmountable challenges. Yes, he often appoints brothers and sisters, or sometimes even strangers, to help us - to help us in quite ordinary, quite natural ways. But sometimes there is the supernatural, and the great stories seem to be filled with this. Indeed, at their arrival, they would soon have the greatest story of all time to tell. God would act. God powerfully, God unmistakably. God alone. Without man's help.
God addresses our human challenges both naturally and supernaturally. He is God, after all. Our chief attitude needs to be to trust him, no matter what we face. His operation, whether natural or supernatural, is his choice, his provision by whatever means. He is Creator, sustainer and end of everything, so why do we doubt?
But tonight's work - this dawn of the day work - is God's alone. "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" God will. God does. There is earthquake. There is an angel, dazzling light. The guards fall away. The stone is rolled back.
But there is more, much more. The tomb is empty. "He has been raised, as he said." They are invited to see the place where the body had lain. They are given a message. (Forget the spices and the ointments.) "Go tell his disciples." It hadn't been about the stone after all...or about a dead body. The crucifixion wasn't the last word. Not at all. They had mis-read what God was up to. Yes they were being faithful, but their plan - their challenge - was much too small. Fear - a different kind of fear - and great joy are now theirs. They hadn't run from their problem, from their grief, but had headed straight into it. Now everything was changed. So now they run with a different purpose. They are bearers of the greatest good news of all time. And suddenly he himself meets them: "Greetings!" They fall and worship, and so do we. And his last words to them are "Go and tell." We, too, now fall and worship. Our next step is to go and tell.
There is now, with Jesus, no challenge we cannot face, not even death. For now the last challenge has been swallowed up in victory, and - for those who put their faith in him - no stones that cannot be rolled away. There is nothing now that can separate us from the Father's love or Jesus' resurrection or the Spirit's power. Rejoice this Easter Day! Rejoice like never before! Rejoice for the stone on the tomb proved no problem to our God.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen. The Lord is Risen indeed. Alleluia.
by Msgr. Charles Pope
When we encounter the resurrection accounts in the New Testament we face a challenge in putting all the pieces together in a way that the sequence of the events flow in logical order. This is due to the fact that no one Gospel presents all, or even most of the data. Some of the data also seems to conflict. (I tried to show in an earlier article that these apparent conflicts are not, usually, true conflicts.) Another problem with putting all the facts together in a coherent and reasonably complete manner is that the time line of the events is often unclear in some of the accounts. Luke and John are the clearest as to the time frame of the events they describe but Matthew and Luke give us very few parameters. Both Acts and Paul also supply data wherein the time frame is not always clear.
Nevertheless I want to propose to you a possible, dare I claim, even likely, sequence of the Resurrection events. The work is my own and I make no claim that this scenario is certain or backed up by recognized ancient authority. St Augustine has done quite a lot of work in this matter.
My attempts here are simply the fruit of 20+ years of praying over and pondering the events of those forty days between the Lord's resurrection and ascension. My reflections are based as solidly as possible on the actual biblical data with a sprinkling of speculation. I realize that the attempt to do this will irritate some modern biblical scholars who, for reasons unclear to me, seem to insist it is wrong to attempt any synthesis of the texts.
Nevertheless, I boldly press on figuring that the average believer will benefit from it and find such a synthesis interesting. Take it for what it is, the work of an obscure pastor who has prayed and carefully sought to follow the sequence of the forty days.
• I. The Morning of Day One
◦ A. Very early in the morning a group of several women, including Mary Magdalene, approach the tomb to complete burial customs on behalf of Jesus (Matt 28:1; Mk 16:1; Jn 20:1).
◦ B. They behold the tomb opened and are alarmed.
◦ C. Mary Magdalene runs to Peter and John with distressing news of likely grave robbers (Jn 20:2)
◦ D. The women who remain encounter an angel who declared to them that Jesus had risen and that they should tell this to the brethren (Mk 16:5 Lk 24:4; Mt 28:5).
◦ E. They are filled with fear at first and depart from the tomb afraid to speak (Mk 16:8)
◦ F. Recovering their courage they decide to go to the Apostles. (Lk 24:9; Mt 28:8)
◦ G. Meanwhile Peter and John have gone out to the tomb to investigate Mary's claim. Mary Magdalene followed them back out to the tomb arriving before they left. Peter and John discover the tomb empty though they encounter no angel. John believes in the resurrection. Peter's conclusion is not recorded.
◦ H. The other women have reported what the angels say to the Apostles. Peter and John have not yet returned and these remaining apostles are dismissive of the women's story at first (Lk 24:9-11).
◦ I. Mary, lingering at the tomb weeps and is fearful. Peering into the tomb she sees this time two angels who wonder why she weeps. Jesus then approaches her from behind. Not looking directly at Jesus, she supposes him to be the gardener. Then he calls her by name, and Mary, recognizing his voice, turns and sees him. Filled with joy she clings to him. (APPEARANCE 1) (Jn 20:16)
◦ J. Jesus sends her back to the apostles with the news to prepare them for his appearance later that day. (Jn 20:17)
◦ K. The other women have departed the apostles and are on their way possibly back home. Jesus then appears to them (Mt 28:9) after he had dispatched Mary. He also sends them back to the apostles with the news that he had risen and that he would see them. (APPEARANCE 2)
• II. The Afternoon and evening of day one.
◦ A. Later that Day, two disciples on their way to Emmaus are pondering what they have heard about rumors of his resurrection. Jesus comes up behind them but they are prevented from recognizing him. First Jesus breaks open the word for them, then sits at table with them and celebrates the Eucharist whereupon their eyes are opened and they recognize him in the breaking of the bread. (APPEARANCE 3) (Lk 24:13-30)
◦ B. The two disciples returned that evening to Jerusalem and went to the Eleven. At first the eleven disbelieved them just as they had the women (Mk 16:13). Nevertheless they continue to relate what they had experienced. At some point Peter drew apart from the others (perhaps for a walk?) And the Lord appeared to Peter (APPEARANCE 4) (Lk 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5) who informed the other ten who then believed. Thus the disciples from Emmaus (still lingering with the apostles) were now told (perhaps by way of apology) that it was in indeed true that Jesus had risen (Lk 24:34).
◦ C. Almost at the same moment Jesus appears to the small gathering of apostles and the two disciples from Emmaus. (APPEARANCE 5) Thomas was absent (although the Lucan text describes the appearance as to "the eleven" this is probably just a euphemism for "the apostles" as a group) They are startled but Jesus reassures them and opens the scriptures to them (Lk 24:36ff).
◦ D. There is some debate as to whether he appeared to them a second time that night. The Johannine account has significantly different data about the appearance on the first Sunday evening from the Lucan account. Is it merely different data about the same account or is it a wholly separate appearance? It is not possible to say. Nevertheless since the data is so different we can call it (APPEARANCE 6) (Jn 20:19ff) though it is likely synonymous with appearance 5.
• III. Interlude -
◦ A. There is no biblical data that Jesus appeared to them during the week that followed. The next account of the resurrection says, "Eight days later" namely the following Sunday.
◦ B. We do know that the apostles surely exclaimed to Thomas that they had seen the Lord but he refused to believe it. (Jn 20:24)
◦ C. Were the apostles nervous that Jesus had not appeared again each day? Again we do not know, the data is simply silent as to what happened during this interlude.
• IV. One week later, Sunday two.
◦ A. Jesus appears once again (APPEARANCE 7) to the apostles gathered. This time Thomas is with them. He calls Thomas to faith who now confesses Jesus to be Lord and God. (Jn 20:24-29)
• V. Interlude 2
◦ A. The apostles received some instructions to return to Galilee (Mt 28:10; Mk 16:7) where they would see Jesus. Thus they spent some of the week journeying 60 miles to the north. This would have taken some time. We can imagine them making the trek north during the intervening days.
• VI. Some time later -
◦ A. The time frame of the next appearance is somewhat vague. John merely says "After this." Likely it is a matter of days or a week at best. The scene is at the Sea of Galilee. Not all the Twelve are present. They have gone fishing, and Jesus summons them from the lakeside. They come to shore and see him (APPEARANCE 8 ) . Peter has a poignant discussion with Jesus in this appearance and is commissioned to tend the flock of Christ (Jn 21).
◦ B. The Appearance to the 500. Of all the appearances you might think that this one would have been recorded in some detail since it was the most widely experienced appearance. Many accounts, it seems, would have existed and at least one would have made its way into the scriptures. Yet there is no account of it, other than it did in fact happen. Paul records the fact of this appearance: 1 Cor 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. (APPEARANCE 9) Where did this take place. What was it like. What was the reaction? We simply do not know. Proof once again that the Bible is not a history book in the conventional sense. Rather it is a highly selective telling of what took place, not a complete account. The Bible makes no pretenses to be something it is not. It is quite clear that it is a selective book: (Jn 20:30).
◦ C. The Appearance to James. Here again we do not have a description of this appearance only a remark by Paul that it did in fact happen: 1 Cor 15:7 Then he appeared to James. (APPEARANCE 10) The time frame is not clear. Only that it happened after the appearance to the five hundred and before the final appearance to the apostles.
• VII. The rest of the forty days.
◦ A. Jesus certainly had other on-going appearances with the disciples. Luke attests to this in Acts when he writes: Acts 1:3 To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God.
◦ B. During this time there is perhaps the one appearance we can attribute to this time period as recorded by Matthew (Mt 28:16ff) and Mark (Mk 16:14ff). It takes place an "a mountaintop in Galilee." Mark adds that they were reclining at table. For these notes this appearance (time frame uncertain) is referred to as (APPEARANCE 11) It is here that he give the great commission. Although Mark's text may seem to imply that Jesus was taken up from this mountain, such a conclusion is rash since Mark only indicates that Jesus ascended only "after he had spoken to them" (Mk 16:19).
◦ Evidently Jesus had also summoned them back to Jerusalem at least toward the end of the period of the forty days. There they would be present for the feast of Pentecost. We can imagine frequent appearances with on-going instruction for Luke records that Jesus "stayed with them." Most of these appearances and discourses are not recorded. Luke writes in Acts: And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:4)
• VIII. The final appearance and ascension:
◦ A. After forty days of appearances and instructions we have a final account of the last appearance (APPEARANCE 12) wherein he led them out to a place near Bethany, gave them final instructions to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit was sent. And then he was taken up to heaven in their very sight. (Lk 24:50-53; Acts 1:1-11).
So here is a possible and, if I do say so myself, likely chronological sequence of the resurrection appearances. It is a kind of synthesis that attempts to collect all the data and present it in a logical order. There are limits to what we can expect of the Scriptural account, and fitting perfectly into a time frame and logical sequence is not what the texts primarily propose to do. Yet such a chronological sequence can prove helpful and it is in that spirit that I present this.
Source: Archdiocese of Washington
by Dr. Ray Pritchard
"Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!" (Luke 22:49 NLT)
Fighting seems so natural. Why let the bad guys win?
Losing is not a popular idea today. It's definitely not a very American concept. As George Patton famously remarked, "Americans love a winner. America will not tolerate a loser." We all want to be on the winning team, don't we? That's why millions of people fill out their March Madness brackets each year. We want to be able to say, "My team won it all." Nothing seems more un-American than choosing to lose.
But that's precisely what the followers of Jesus are sometimes called to do. In Christ's kingdom, the values of the world are turned upside down.
Sometimes when you follow Jesus, you have to lose in order to win. That's what Jesus meant when he said to Peter, "Put your sword back in its place for all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matthew 26:52). Brute force does not advance Christ's kingdom. We cannot accomplish God's work by bullying people into submission. When we try that approach, it may produce short-term results but it always backfires in the end because the appeal to brute force means that we don't really believe in God. If we did, we wouldn't try to take matters into our own hands. "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53). Twelve legions would be at least 72,000 angels. Do you think 72,000 angels could handle the soldiers that came out to arrest Jesus? But if Jesus had that sort of power at his disposal, why didn't he use it? Verse 54 says that Jesus refrained from calling on those angels because he knew that his arrest was necessary to fulfill God's plan. "It must happen this way," Jesus said.
What seems to be the cluttered rush of events turns out to be the plan of God unfolding to bring salvation to the world. When evil seems to be winning, Christ calmly submits, knowing that in the end, God's will must be done.
J. C. Ryle puts this in perspective:
An old hymn reminds us that sometimes we must "learn to lose with God." In losing our power, our significance, our place in the lights, our fame and fortune and all that we hold dear, especially our reputation in the world, in giving all that up, our losing with God wins for us a blessing the world can't match and does not understand.
Lord Jesus, you won the greatest victory by submitting to the greatest evil men could conceive. Through the treachery of the wicked, you won salvation for all who believe in you. Grant us a willingness to follow you all the way to the cross. Amen.
"Why let the bad guys win?" Think about that question in light of Jesus' answer to the disciples. Why didn't Jesus want his disciples to fight back against the Roman soldiers and the Jewish leaders who came with them? Is there a time when we must fight back? How do we discern the proper time to fight and the proper time to turn the other cheek? Ask God to deliver you from a spirit of angry retaliation.
About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me?
by Brian Hedges
Human beings are thirsty, but not for water. The thirst we long to quench is deeper, arising from the parched places of the soul, the cracked earth of our barren hearts. We feel disoriented and dissatisfied with life. Lost and confused, we crave something more, though we know not what.
These feelings come in a variety of ways, along many different paths. Sometimes it's relational: the ache of loneliness, the awkward feelings of not fitting in, the deep and painful sense of alienation from others that seems to take on cosmic proportions.
Or maybe it's the need for meaning and purpose. When we are young, we yearn for significance, wanting our lives to count for something, believing that we're specially crafted to fulfill a certain destiny, though we're not sure what it is. But then as we grow older, those dreams fade. We realize that we're merely existing: working for a living, trying to hold a marriage or family together, but still lacking a sense of congruity between what we're doing and who we really are
Sometimes this inward ache is awakened by beauty. Have you ever had the strange experience of something beautiful moving you deeply, unexpectedly? The fire in your spirit is stoked with desire. A secret longing provoked by the sonorous sounds of a symphony, or the lyrical laughter of a little child, or the consoling cadences of poetry, or the stunning spectacle of a crimson sunset over the ocean.
It's the experience that Guinan (the psychic bartender played by Whoopi Goldberg) had in one of the Star Trek films. A renegade aboard a starship is trying desperately to get in line with the Nexus, a mysterious ribbon of energy floating through space. Captain Picard has a conversation with Guinan who had been in the Nexus, and she says, "That ribbon isn't just some random energy phenomenon travelling through space. It's a doorway. It leads to another place - the Nexus . . . It was like being inside...joy."
You know that you are treading on transcendent ground in moments like this. But try to grab the experience, to hold it, to preserve it, to make it last, and it will slip like sand through your fingers.
These are the experiences that stab the soul awake with an ardent desire for something more. And perhaps most significant of all is how desirable this piercing desire is in and of itself. Though it is a thirst we cannot quite satisfy, the worst thing in the world is to have the desire and then lose it. That's why C. S. Lewis once said, "Our best havings are wantings."
The problem is that we so often mistake the object of our longing. We think that if we can just find that perfect relationship, or achieve success, or realize our dreams, that we will finally feel deeply satisfied. It's not that any of these things are wrong in themselves. Created things, as Lewis points out, "are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited."
The ancient prophets and songwriters of Israel were also pierced with longing. But they learned to channel their yearning to the true source of satisfaction, the fountainhead of divine beauty in God himself. The psalmists described God as a river of delights and a fountain of life (Psa. 36) and yearned for pleasures at God's right hand forevermore (Psa. 16). In one of his most desperate Psalms, David cried, "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water" (Psa. 63).
The prophets uttered oracles of judgment on God's ancient people because they had forsaken God, the fountain of living waters, and had contented themselves with broken cisterns instead (Jer. 2). But they also held , to come buy wine and milk without money or price (Isa. 55).
But it is in the Gospels that we discover the ultimate quenching for our thirst. For Jesus himself, speaking to a woman who had vainly sought satisfaction in multiple relationships with men, promised that anyone who drinks the water he gives would never thirst again, but find instead a well springing up to eternal life (John 4). In fact, the Bible ends with an invitation to drink: "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price" (Rev. 22).
Are you thirsty? Have you been looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places? Have you been trying to quench your thirst for joy with broken cisterns that can hold no water? Then come to Jesus. The fountain is open; the water is fine. Jump in and drink!
About The Author:
Brian G. Hedges is the lead pastor for Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, Michigan. He is the author of Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change (Shepherd Press, 2010). And Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin (Cruciform Press, 2011)
Source: Christianity.com Daily Update
by John O'Leary
"He's frequently a pain to be with and can be totally hard-headed, but his work is extraordinary and his heart is gold." A business owner said this about her CFO. He just walked out of a meeting with us. He was frazzled by some challenges the business faced and some ideas the team was putting forward.
What amazed me wasn't that he left overwhelmed, but that his boss smiled while talking about someone she hand-selected who was argumentative and pushed back frequently.
It made me think of challenging people I know - and the wisdom on how best to build bridges with them from one of the greatest historical examples of leadership.
Abraham Lincoln and Edwin Stanton clashed politically, in demeanors and in perspectives. Their massive differences often left them at great odds. In fact, Stanton repeatedly referred to Lincoln as "the original gorilla." Stunningly, when Lincoln needed a War Secretary - the most important position during the Civil War - he appointed Stanton.
I'm sure you are thinking why would Lincoln do this, right?
You see, Lincoln was a leader who recognized, despite their very real differences, that Stanton was the right person for the appointment of War Secretary. He recognized that, despite Stanton's ego and propensity to disagree with Lincoln, it was first and foremost his job to keep the best interest of our country in focus.
Many were shocked at this appointment, but historians note that the pair complemented each other in their partnership: they were able to unite their differences into a greater good together than they could amass apart.
My friend, what might our world look like if we were all a bit more like Lincoln? What if we worked tirelessly to unite with our colleagues at work, fellow parents at the school, those people in the community and even members in our own family? What if instead of building up fences of animosity, bitterness, and annoyance we chose to build bridges on the foundation of understanding, patience and mutual gain?
So, can people really build these bridges? Can we really unite countries, companies, communities and families? The final chapter of Lincoln provides that answer.
After freeing the slaves, keeping a fragile Union from falling apart, and securing the coming reunification of the United States, he was assassinated. Thousands mourned in the rotunda where Lincoln's body was laid out. Nearest the casket, and weeping bitterly, was the War Secretary. It has been reported that, through tears, he said, "Now he belongs to the ages. Here lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen."
Building a bridge of love kept two very different personalities together. They fought for a cause greater than themselves. They discovered in their battles together that, not only was the country unifying, but so were they.
Choose today to create one of the most significant bridges you'll ever build: to destroy your enemies by making them your friends. It changes countries, businesses, communities and families. And my friends, it's certain to change you.
John O'Leary; www.RisingAbove.com
Good digestion is an essential component of health and vitality. Many digestive complaints and symptoms appear even in apparently healthy people. They frequently go undiagnosed because these complaints are not “serious”. Symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, belching, flatulence, food sensitivities, indigestion, mal-absorption, irritable bowel syndrome, and the list goes on, are so common that they are seen as normal. But they can have negative effects: Consider that a sluggish bowel can retain pounds of old toxic fecal matter. This leads to a vicious cycle that taxes our defense systems and eventually leads to more serious disease. The following are 10 tips for better digestion (remember to check with your doctor before making any radical changes in your health regimen):
The first top digestion tip, is every morning before breakfast, freshly squeeze the juice of 1 - 2 lemons in 250ml - 500ml of spring or filtered water. This small but effective daily routine will help to cleanse the stomach of left over 'debris' and remove any excess acid.
2. Have A Daily Drink Of Apple Cider Vinegar And Apple Juice
Another daily drink taken late morning or sometime before lunch will complement the cleanse in Tip 1 to help your digestion. This can include between one teaspoon and one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar mixed with 250ml - 500ml apple juice (freshly squeezed is even better). This drink will balance digestive juices, specifically for low or high levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl).
3. Avoid Cold Drinks While Eating
Food is digested more efficiently if it's around body temperature; therefore, cold fluid can slow down the digestive processes. If you must drink while eating, try hot water or herbal teas. Caffeine can cause excess production of HCl so should be avoided, as should alcohol.
4. Try Bitter Herbs
Have you ever heard of Swedish Bitters? These can usually be obtained online or from good health food stores around the UK as well as in Europe. The taste of bitter herbs, foods, juices etc, 20 - 30mins before eating will increase digestive function by encouraging the release of digestive enzymes, juices and acids.
5. Do Self-Massage and Exercise
Specific self-massage and exercise techniques used as part of a daily routine will also contribute to better digestion.
Example 1- Liver Exercise- This exercise massages the liver and gall bladder, toning and cleansing these organs, helping digestion. It helps cope with abdominal wind and assists digestion. Place the heel of the right hand on the right side of the body under the rib cage, and just above the hip bone. The fingers should point straight across the body. Pressing firmly, move the hand slowly across the body to the middle of the abdomen; you should end up with the heel of the hand over the navel. Repeat this action 10-20 times.
Example 2- Stomach Exercise This exercise is similar to the Liver Exercise, but is applied to the other side of the body. It benefits the digestion, the spleen, and the pancreas, as well as the stomach. Method: Place the heel of the left hand between the rib cage and the left hip, with the fingers pointing across the body. Move the hand firmly and smoothly across to the center of the body, until it is over the navel. Repeat 10-20 times.
6. Take Time For A Short-Term Fast
This is one way to allow the digestive system a well-deserved break. However, first-time fasters should try the process for a maximum of 24 hours. Remember always to drink plenty of fruit and vegetable juice during your fast. Plan your fasting for days when you will not be doing lots of hard physical work and can take plenty of rest.
7. Chew Thoroughly
One of the most important mechanisms of digestion, yet more often than not, the most forgotten! Chewing is the first stage of digestion. It not only physically breaks down foods, but signals the organs to secrete their digestive juices (pancreatic enzymes, stomach acids, etc.) in order to prepare for the incoming foods.
8. Combining Food
Combining food can work well for many people. Combining food involves the three main types of food/fuel i.e. carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, rice), proteins (meats, dairy, nuts, soya) and fats (cooking oils, avocados). Experts think that one should not mix these types of food within one meal. For example, eat either carbohydrates alone or proteins alone, together with (non-starchy) vegetables or salad.
9. Colon And Liver Cleansing
Colon cleansing and liver cleansing through the use of herbs, foods and supplements will benefit the whole digestive system. These are two of the most popular approaches to getting started with detox, and detox benefits every part of the body by helping the body remove toxins that otherwise slow down every organ and all body functions.
Listed are herbs that are known to help the process of digestion. These herbs include, but are not limited to, Slippery Elm, Bayberry, Wild Yam, Cardamom, Cloves, Fennel, Ginger and Cinnamon.Source: Third Age Health
This chicken and mushroom combo makes for a nice dinner entree, especially when served with some oven roasted herb potatoes.
16 oz chicken thighs or breast - skinned and deboned
Preheat oven to 375F. (190 deg C)
Divide chicken into 4 equal portions.
Lightly salt and sear chicken on both sides in an oven proofed saute pan.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Saute mushrooms lightly for 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add shallots and garlic and saute for 1 minute.
Add green pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Deglaze pan by adding 1/4 cup red, white or rose wine. Allow to reduce by 1/2 and then add chicken stock and herbs.
Return chicken to pan and place in oven.
After 10 minutes add Portobello mushrooms on top. Cook another 5-10 minutes or until done.
Remove chicken to serving platter or plates leaving mushrooms behind.
Add arrowroot dissolved in wine to thicken sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over chicken and serve.
Suggested side dish: oven roasted herbed potatoes.
Source: Chet Day's Health & Beyond Weekly
by James MacDonald
Honor is the third significant word that impacts our families in multi-generational ways. But people always wonder about the lines and limits of honor. Let’s look briefly at what honor is and isn’t.
Honoring your parents does not mean these three things:
1. Honoring your parents does not mean groveling back and seeking their approval. Honoring is choosing to give, not trying to get. God wants us to be free from bondage to anyone’s approval but His. The apostle Paul said, “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
2. Honoring your parents does not mean making yourself vulnerable to their hurtful behavior. There are appropriate boundaries between people.
3. Honoring your parents does not mean ignoring or denying the past.
But honoring does mean these things:
1. Honoring your parents means choosing to place great value on your relationship with them and knocking off the attitude that it doesn’t matter. It does matter. It matters to God.
2. Honoring means taking the initiative to try to improve the relationship in whatever increments you can.
3. Honoring your parents means recognizing they have done some things right. You might think, “My parents didn’t do anything right!” Your perspective is clouded, possibly by great pain. But they did something right. God will show you.
4. Honoring means acknowledging the sacrifices they have made for you.
5. Honoring means seeing your parents as Christ does with compassion and mercy.
6. Honoring your parents means forgiving them even as God in Christ has forgiven you.
The goal of God’s command to honor is not that you would do some minor upgrading in your attitude toward your parents, but that you come to a crisis of deciding to officially honor your parents. You might call it a tribute. Take the time to write two or three paragraphs as you are able and then find a formal time in front of your family to honor your parents to whatever degree the Lord will allow. This is not about how they will respond; it’s about your willingness to put into practice what God wants from you. - James MacDonald
How would I summarize in several paragraphs the ways I know I can honor my parents? (For added information on the specifics of honor, see Gary Smalley and John Trent’s book, The Gift of Honor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987).
Lord, I don’t want to honor my parents just a little better. I want to be more intentional in my respect for them. I want to be Your obedient child in the way I approach all the opportunities for influencing the course of my family. I realize honor is a big part of Your design. Forgive me for attitudes of disrespect and teach me to be aware of those things about my parents that are worthy of honor. And remind me to put them into words. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Source: Our Journey online
by Michael T. Smith
Fresh out of technical school, I went in search of a job. I held a folder with copies of a barren resume in my hand. My work experience included: shoveling gravel, cutting brush at the side of roads and mowing grass in the medium between highways. It wasn't impressive for a young man with a degree in electronic technology.
In my senior year, we had a week-long March break. I hitched a ride to the city of Halifax each day, walked the length of the city carrying a list of possible employers, located them and submitted applications.
I lost fifteen pounds that week. The miles of streets I walked trailed behind me. My resumes were the bread crumbs left in the story of Hansel and Gretel.
Several times I walked past a business two or three times – building up the nerve to ask for a job. It was the same for Atlantic Television (ATV). I gathered my nerve, stepped through the door and asked the receptionist if I could apply for a job in the engineering department.
"The lead engineer likes to speak personally to each person who applies. If you have time, I'll call Edgar and see if he is free."
"I have the time." My nerves were on edge. "Yes, I'll wait."
Edgar appeared soon after she called him. He led a nervous student to his cluttered office. I could smell the fresh electronic equipment all around us. Edgar asked me a few questions – simple compared to today's interviews – and said he might have a temporary opening coming up. It was to help rewire most of the control room of the television station. "Stay in touch!" he said and gave me his number.
It was the biggest lead of my five-day search, so I took him up on his offer to stay in touch. I called him every two weeks to ask if the job had opened up. "Not yet, Michael, but I think it will soon."
Three weeks later, Edgar called. "Mike, can you start work in May?"
"Yes, I can. My school has an early release program for students who find jobs. I'm ready when you need me."
I got the job and loved working at a television station and the people I worked with.
Edgar told me the job was temporary. He was right. Three months later, the job was complete and I was out the door. A week later, a position opened up in the engineering department of their sister radio station – CJCH.
With the recommendation of my former coworkers, I was hired for that. The atmosphere was different at the radio station, and my pay was half what I made at the television station.
Two weeks later I received a call from a telecommunications company. They wanted to know if I was interested in a position as a telecommunications technician. I’d have to schedule an interview and take a test to rate my knowledge of electronics.
I was very interested. I had a couple friends working with the company and they were happy there. I wanted to be a part of that company.
The interviewer agreed to meet with me after hours to have my interview and to write the test, so I wouldn’t miss time from my job.
On the scheduled day, I left work. I didn’t have a car, didn’t know the bus system well, and had never taken a taxi in my life. I did what I always did, I walked. The wind blew my heavy jacket behind me like a cap and the rain soaked me to the skin.
I sat in Mr. Daupinee’s office dripping water. He asked, "If you get the position, would you be able to move to Moncton, New Brunswick this coming Monday for three months training?"
"Yes. I know it is short notice, but we have openings in the class for four new hires. We had four, but one canceled on us. We have an immediate need."
"Is there a chance I could start the following Monday? I really want the position, but my current manager is going to be out of town next week. I can’t leave with no one to take care of the station. I don’t want to put my manager in a bad position."
"It might be possible, Mike. Let’s see how you do on the test." He took me to a lonely room, handed me the test and left.
An hour later, I handed my completed test to Mr. Dauphinee, thanked him for the opportunity and collected my coat from the testing room. When I looked down, I noticed a puddle of water had collected on the floor under my jacket. I knew then and there that I probably wouldn’t get the job. I wasn’t leaving a good impression. I walked out into the rain and hoped to find a ride home.
Two days later Mr. Dauphinee called. "Michael, you got the job and you can start the training a week late. I spoke to the instructor and he says he’ll go a little slow the first week so they won’t be too far ahead when you start."
"Thank you so much, Mr. Dauphinee." I couldn’t keep the joy I felt from showing in my voice.
Later I learned I was the only applicant to pass the test. My score was only 57%, but apparently the test was so hard, not many kids coming out of school get a high mark.
Mr. Dauphinee told me, "Mike, I hired you not just because you were the only person to pass the test, but also because you were so determined to get the position that you walked two miles in a heavy rain."
"Thank you, Sir."
"One more thing stood out. You didn’t want to leave your other job when there would be no one to take care of the station. That tells me you would not do the same to me."
In two minutes, I learned two valuable lessons: to get a job, you have to show you want it and never leave another position on a bad note. It could come back to haunt you.
About The Author:
Michael lives in Caldwell, Idaho with his wonderful wife Ginny. He writes in his spare time and is completing a collection of his stories to be called, From My Heart to Yours. To read more of his stories, go to: http://ourecho.com/biography-353-Michael-Timothy-Smith.shtml#stories
By Lionel Ketchian
Dear Lionel, "I would like to know what you think people need to be happy for the long and the short term. How can we increase our happiness and what makes us happy. I guess I need to know what makes someone unhappy, and what recommendations you give to people to help them with their "unhappiness," as such.
Also, what are the benefits of being happy? How can being happy effect out life style, and life in general. I know that these questions sound a bit as though they are something that I should already know from life, but I am finding it hard to find a complete set of things that effect our happiness. If you could answer these questions, it would really help me." Thanks, Luke
Dear Luke, Let's start with your question about what people need to be happy. We don't need anything to be happy. It would really help to want what we have for now in order to be happy. As soon as we don't want what we have, we become unhappy. You can stop thinking of things in terms of long and short term and start thinking in terms of what do I do now! If you are not focused on this moment, you are missing an opportunity to experience happiness. You can't find happiness in the future. You must become aware of it within yourself right now in whatever situation you are experiencing in this moment.
We can increase our happiness by deciding to focus on happiness and choosing happiness in each moment. Luke, I want you to know that nothing can make you happy and nothing can make you unhappy. It is just a decision that you make. When you tell yourself bad things are happening to you than you will experience unhappiness. If you look at events that happen in a detached state then you can remain happy and mentally well balanced and than choose what you will do about the event. This way you have remained calm and peaceful and can access the best solution available to you at this time.
The person that allows his or her thinking to dictate how they will feel will actually allow everything to make them unhappy. Even the good things will make them unhappy because their thinking will make them wonder when these good things will come to an end or are they too good to last? My recommendation to help people with their "unhappiness" is to make the decision to be happy, and do not choose unhappiness.
There are too many benefits of being happy to list them in this article. I can tell you that it will give you optimal mental health, better physical health, and you can live longer, it can even positively affect your wealth. It will make you a friendlier person, more attractive to other people in every way imaginable. As far as happiness affecting life, being happy can actually create a more peaceful world. Once people start getting in touch with happiness they let go of their fear. The happier you are, the more confident you become and the more self-confident you feel and behave. Happiness affects your presence when you are with others, even before you say anything. People sense your positive nature and react with more favorable responses to you.
Luke, you say that these questions sound a bit as though they are something that you should already know. Believe me, most people do not know that happiness can help them cope with life's problems and actually create exceptional success for them. We all have to learn that happiness is an inside job. Happiness is not about your circumstances, your job, your life or anything else you may imagine. Happiness is an inner state of mind that can be reached by gently accepting where you are now. It really helps to be grateful for everything you have right this second. It is important to let go of judgements and practice forgiveness for your own benefit.
The real reason to practice being happy is so you can function better. You could say that being happy allows you to stop hurting yourself. The biggest reason to be happy is to stop your own suffering. Life can be hard, why make it harder? Happiness is a gift, but it only works if you accept it and use it. The most important thing you can do is to practice happiness every day and in every moment of your life. You will want to learn more about happiness. Thankfully, we are living in a time when there are many great books available to us.
I think it is wonderful that you are searching for answers to the benefits of happiness. Congratulations and keep up the good work. Small steps are what success is all about. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Today is a new day and you can live it with happiness. Once you do this, you begin to use the gift of happiness for yourself and you will find that you will want to share it with everyone you meet.
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