Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Great Lent - Week 3

Volume 4 No. 202 March 13, 2014

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St. Thomas Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, Malankarakunnu
St. Thomas Jacobite Syriac Church, Malankarakunnu
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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I. THIS SUNDAY IN CHURCH

1. Bible Readings for This Sunday (March 16)

Bible Readings For Third Sunday of Great Lent (Paralytic/Palsy Sunday)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_3rd_sunday_of_Great-Lent.htm

2. Sermons for This Sunday (March 16)

Sermons For Third Sunday of Great Lent (Paralytic/Palsy Sunday)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_3rd-sunday-in-lent.htm

3. Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Great Lent is the time for personal reflection, meditation, reconciliation, and prayer. Malankara World has a great resource that helps you accomplish that. We provide you daily reflections, meditations, prayer, bible readings etc. Read the articles about how to practice lent. Then do the reading for the day specified. We will guide you week by week. You can find the resources here:

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Default.htm

Week 3 of Great Lent
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Lent_week3.htm

II. THIS WEEK'S FEATURES

4. Inspiration for Today

5. The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Paralytic (Part One)

The healing of the paralytic impressed and excited everyone present. Energetic crowds of interested people pressed in at the door to hear the Teacher proclaim the "new" truths. The Pharisees, the scribes, and the common people were unaware that they were about to witness strong proof of Christ's deity and the power of God. ...

6. The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Paralytic (Part Two)

Paralysis represents sin's crippling power and the sinner's sheer helplessness to do anything to relieve his own suffering. The apostle Paul speaks of our initial lack of spiritual strength in Romans 5:6, "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." With this miracle, Jesus forgave the penalty that the man had incurred through sin and raised him from his miserable state. ...

7. Spiritual Health

What gets me when I read this story is that, after all these men did to get their friend to Jesus, the first thing he does is say, "Your sins are forgiven." I must have read this story a hundred times, yet I always seem to forget that Jesus healed the man's soul before he healed his body. I don't know about you, but it bothers me how easy it is for us to focus so much on our physical needs that we overlook our spiritual ones. They don't necessarily have to be selfish needs either. ...

III. REGULAR FEATURES

8. Family Special: The Story of Eli - A Moral Tale on the Peril of Faltering Fatherhood and Unfaithful Priestly Ministry

In the Church too, some have not at times been willing to discipline where necessary. Sin is often not rebuked from our pulpits, children are poorly instructed in the faith. We celebrate compassion but sometimes to a fault where sin is tolerated and grows very serious in people's lives.

Silence by many clergy and Church leaders in the face of serious sin can and is taken to be tacit approval of sin and has led to a widespread moral malaise. Disobedience in the clergy has sometimes been tolerated. Liturgical norms and the sacred liturgy have often been abused. ...

9. How to Help a Friend Through Breast Cancer

It's hard to know what to say or do when a friend or relative drops the bombshell news that she has breast cancer. Often our natural response is to recoil and retreat. Maybe it's the fear of facing our own mortality or the time and emotion required if we do get involved. We ease our conscience by thinking: she would rather be alone right now anyway. Or she needs her family at a time like this. Or she has so many friends; I know someone will help her. ...

10. Recipe: Crunchy Salad

A great salad to try, especially during the lent season. It is pure vegetarian and great!

11. St. Patrick - How God Uses Ordinary People

Patrick, after some theological training, eventually returned to Ireland where he spent the rest of his life (about thirty years) as a missionary. Patrick may well have baptized about 120,000 souls. Some scholars note that he was the most successful missionary since the Apostle Paul. ...

12. News: Kidnapped Syrian Nuns Freed in Exchange for 150 Women Prisoners

A GROUP of nuns kidnapped by rebels in the Syrian town of Maalula in December have been released thanks to Lebanese-Qatari mediation and handed to the Syrian authorities.

A monitoring group said the release was secured in exchange for some 150 women prisoners who were being held in Syria's regime jails. ...

13. Humor: Doctor Answers Your Questions

14. About Malankara World

I. This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (March 16)

Bible Readings For Third Sunday of Great Lent (Paralytic/Palsy Sunday)

Sermons for This Sunday (March 16)

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Great Lent is the time for personal reflection, meditation, reconciliation, and prayer. Malankara World has a great resource that helps you accomplish that. We provide you daily reflections, meditations, prayer, bible readings etc.

If you only have a few minutes to spend a day, you can read short reflective articles and meditations. If you have more time, there is bible readings, and others to enrich your day.

Read the articles about how to practice lent. Then do the reading for the day specified. We will guide you week by week. You can find the resources here:

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Default.htm

Week 3 of Great Lent
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Lent_week3.htm
II. This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
"Let others lead small lives, but not you.
Let others argue over small things, but not you.
Let others cry over small hurts, but not you.
Let others leave their future in someone else's hands, but not you."
- Jim Rohn
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Paralytic (Part One)

by Martin G. Collins

Two of Jesus Christ's seventeen healing miracles involve healing a paralyzed person. The healing recorded in Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; and Luke 5:17-26 is the first of the two. It took place in Capernaum, which Matthew calls Jesus' "own city" because it was His continuous home as an adult and certainly after His rejection by the Nazarenes. The miracle's focus is the issue of Christ as the Son of God, which is shown in an obvious and amazing way.

The healing of the paralytic impressed and excited everyone present. Energetic crowds of interested people pressed in at the door to hear the Teacher proclaim the "new" truths. The Pharisees, the scribes, and the common people were unaware that they were about to witness strong proof of Christ's deity and the power of God.

1. How was faith shown? Mark 2:3-5; Luke 5:18-20.

Comment: Four men arrive late, carrying a paralyzed man on his bed. When they realize that they cannot possibly get him through the door, they carry their helpless paralytic friend upstairs to the roof and lower the bed in front of Jesus as He is speaking. Their determination to place him before Jesus displays their faith that he would be healed. Instead of being deterred by the problem of the crowds, they see the possibilities for solving it. If they could only involve God, they thought, things would go well. The persevering efforts of the four friends pay off for their paralytic friend as they help make possible his spiritual healing as well as his physical healing. Their actions are an example of the apostle James' statement in James 2:18: "I will show you my faith by my works."

Christ finds faith in the friends, and He honors their faith, rather than any faith the sufferer has. Of course, no one can be saved by another's faith. Yet, another or others can help him along to Christ since only He can deliver him from the bondage of sin. Being pleased with their works, which exhibited their faith, Christ responds to their resourcefulness and perseverance in behalf of their suffering friend. Their faith in Christ, then, is the catalyst in His performing this miracle. Our Savior works where faith is present (Luke 5:20). Obviously, He can perform His work anywhere regardless of human faith, but He often chooses not to act when people lack faith in Him, as happened in Nazareth (Matthew 13:58).

2. What positive character traits does the four friends' faith reveal? Same verses.

Comment: The psalmist expresses his hope of forgiveness:

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD; Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope." (Psalm 130:1-5)

Hope motivates the paralytic's friends to manifest faith. First, their faith is a wise faith in that it brought the paralytic to the only One who could heal. Second, it is a persistent faith because it is undeterred by seemingly overwhelming obstacles. Third, it is a sacrificial faith in that it gives of its time and effort to bring the paralytic before Christ. Fourth, it is an unintimidated faith because it is unashamedly displayed in public. Fifth, it is a humble faith since the friends do not ask Jesus to come to him but take him to Jesus. Sixth, it is a loving faith because the friends willingly expend great effort to get him real help. Finally, it is an active faith in that they take the man to Christ rather than sit around complaining and grumbling about their friend's woeful condition.

3. How is the order of events significant? Matthew 9:2, 6; Mark 2:5, 11; Luke 5:20, 24.

Comment: Christ deals first with the spiritual problem - the forgiveness of sins - and then the physical problem - the physical affliction. Most people want it the other way around, putting greater emphasis on healing the physical ailment than fixing the spiritual problem. Solomon gives us the answer to which is more important: "The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?" (Proverbs 18:14). From God's perfect perspective, spiritual needs are always more critical than physical ones (Mark 8:36), so in this miracle, forgiveness precedes healing.

Jesus tells the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." Seeing his friends' faith, Jesus' first words to the paralytic offer simple encouragement: "Be of good cheer." His comforting support refers directly to the forgiveness of the sufferer's sins. The paralytic, troubled by sin that had caused or was causing his suffering, now had reason for optimism. Having our sins forgiven always brings a deep relief and joy, even if the physical affliction is not healed. David's psalm on the joy of forgiveness speaks of this satisfying comfort: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit" (Psalm 32:1-2).

© 2007 CGG
Source: Forerunner, "Bible Study," September-October 2007

The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Paralytic (Part Two)

by Martin G. Collins

In the healing of the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26), the physician Luke uses a medical term, "palsied" (KJV), the technical Greek word used to describe paralysis from disease in some part of the nervous system. Because his disease was so debilitating, the man needed comfort and healing. Jesus thus refers to him as "son," or more literally, "child," showing His fatherly compassion.

Paralysis represents sin's crippling power and the sinner's sheer helplessness to do anything to relieve his own suffering. The apostle Paul speaks of our initial lack of spiritual strength in Romans 5:6, "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." With this miracle, Jesus forgave the penalty that the man had incurred through sin and raised him from his miserable state.

1. What does forgiveness of sins have to do with the man's disease? Matthew 9:2, 6; Mark 2:5, 10-11; Luke 5:20, 24.

Comment: Jesus sets the spiritual and physical in the right perspective. Since sin was responsible for the man's paralysis, He deals with the cause first, then the effect. All actions are subject to the law of cause and effect; for every action there is a reaction. The man's physical ailment was not nearly as heavy a burden as his spiritual corruption. In reality, physical healing is meaningless without a sound mind. Psalm 103:3 can be seen as a prophecy that the Christ would forgive sins related to sickness and disease.

2. Why can the world not solve its own problems of poor health? John 8:24.

Comment: The world rejects Christ as it continues to disobey God. Undoubtedly, God through Christ caused the healing in this miracle, so He is the source of the blessing, and His Son is the instrument. God alone can provide both spiritual and physical healing immediately (Romans 3:23-26). This contrasts sharply to the power of local religious leaders, who could heal no one—and actually made the people spiritually sick by their false teachings (Matthew 23:15)! Nor could the physicians heal the paralytic.

The One who heals physically is also the Source of spiritual salvation. The world's religious and civil leaders, doctors, psychologists, and social workers are ineffective in solving society's problems, but the church has Jesus Christ to direct the way and provide solutions to the problem of sin. It takes His blood to cleanse repentant believers of sin and bring spiritual healing. Only Christ, as God's Son and man's Savior, can forgive sin.

3. What effects did the miracle have on the witnesses? Matthew 9:8; Mark 2:12; Luke 5:26.

Comment: The people were stunned, moved to glorify God, filled with fear, and confounded. It is no surprise that the witnesses to the miracle were amazed at the astounding healing. Each of the three gospel writers uses a different Greek word to express a variation of a state of awe. Nevertheless, considering the great impact this miracle had on observers, most of them were not moved to have faith in God. Though filled with awe at His mighty works, they were not convinced or converted. Faith is not produced through sight (II Corinthians 5:7). Miracles and physical proof do not instill faith. God must call a person, opening his mind to His truth (John 6:44). Today, people tend to think that sensationalism will convert sinners, designing their religious presentations to impress people and increase followers by physical rather than spiritual quality.

In addition, the people were moved to glorify God in their limited way (Matthew 9:8). Yet, their reaction to the healing did not cause a change of heart in them.

Luke writes that they were all "filled with fear" (Luke 5:26). It can be terrifying to be near the power of Almighty God. Paul states, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). Realizing his own sinfulness in the presence of the perfection and might of God, Peter knelt in fear at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Again, however, most of the witnesses to the paralytic's healing refused to overcome their sins and change their lives.

James notes that even the demons believe and tremble before God (James 2:19), yet they, of course, have never been converted. This principle should enlighten us about the professed religion of others. Being filled with awe, glorifying God, or experiencing fear are not enough in themselves; they are merely beginnings of understanding and wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10).

Some witnesses to this miracle said, "We never saw anything like this!" (Mark 2:12). Others exclaimed, "We have seen strange things today!" (Luke 5:26). They were confounded. The miracle they witnessed was one of a kind, different from anything they had ever seen before. No other "gods" compare with our God the Father and Jesus Christ!

In Luke's account, the word "strange" is the Greek word from which the English word "paradox" derives. It suggests true things that are contrary to all common sense and ordinary experience. The things of God are beyond the understanding of mere human beings. In this miracle, we see the incomprehensible sovereignty and glory of God in His comfort and healing of the sick through His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior.

© 2007 CGG
Source: Forerunner, "Bible Study," November-December 2007

Spiritual Health

by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." - John 14:27

Lately I've been reflecting on the story of Jesus and the paralytic. You've probably heard it before; it appears in Mark chapter 2, when four men break through a roof to bring their friend to Jesus.

And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, "Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven '; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk '? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins "- He said to the paralytic, "I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home." And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."
- Mark 2:2-12

What gets me when I read this story is that, after all these men did to get their friend to Jesus, the first thing he does is say, "Your sins are forgiven." I must have read this story a hundred times, yet I always seem to forget that Jesus healed the man's soul before he healed his body. I don't know about you, but it bothers me how easy it is for us to focus so much on our physical needs that we overlook our spiritual ones. They don't necessarily have to be selfish needs either.

"Please let me be healthy, please let me find a job, please let my car not break down." These are things everyone prays for, but what happens when we grow so concerned about our lives that we forget to ask God for more faith, or wisdom, or opportunities to exercise His Grace? Walking with Christ means balancing the physical with the spiritual, because while our bodies were made for this world, our spirits were made for somewhere else.

Intersecting Faith and Life:

Are your physical needs overshadowing your spiritual ones? Take time to pray and meditate on his word.

Further Reading

Hebrews 11

Source: Crosswalk the Devotional

III. REGULAR FEATURES
Family Special: The Story of Eli - A Moral Tale on the Peril of Faltering Fatherhood and Unfaithful Priestly Ministry

by Msgr. Charles Pope

In the First Book of Samuel which we are reading now in daily Mass, we see are rather stunning portrait of poor parenting and poor priestly leadership in the person of of High Priest of the Sanctuary at Shiloh, Eli. Consider this line from the Scriptures:

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am."
Samuel ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me."
"I did not call you," Eli said. "Go back to sleep." …..
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.

(1 Sam 3:3-5).

Now let me ask you, how could it be that Samuel, a young boy living in the temple of the Lord and under the foster parentage of the High Priest was "not familiar" with the Lord? Some may argue he is but a young boy. Still, he is old enough to speak with Eli, to hear and heed Eli's instructions. Has Eli told him nothing of the Lord? It would seem so.

Ah, but you say, the text has indicated that Samuel knew nothing because the Lord had not yet revealed anything to him. The text seems to root the cause of his unfamiliarity in the Lord rather than Eli. But Eli is still without excuse for it remains true that God reveals himself to us not usually as a voice in the night, or some unusual Theophany. Rather, God reveals himself to us through parents, priests, religious and other elders. For a young and already talking Samuel to be unfamiliar with the Lord while living under the care of the High Priest supposedly ministering in the very House of The Lord is unconscionable. It is a dereliction of duty. Eli has failed thus far as a father and a priest.

Children should be taught of God from their first interactive moments. Among the first things they learn should be Bible stories and prayers. They should be made aware of and become familiar with the "still small voice" of God as he whispers his presence to them.

Perhaps you think I am being too hard on Eli or reading into the text a bit. Maybe Eli was a busy man being High Priest and all. Or perhaps I am just plain wrong and Eli was actually a good father figure for Samuel.

A Pattern

But I do not think I am wrong nor am I being too harsh for poor parenting and poor priestly leadership are a pattern for Eli. Consider another story about the two priestly sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas:

Eli's sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD. Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand. He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.

But even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, "Give the priest some meat to roast; he won't accept boiled meat from you, but only raw." If the man said to him, "Let the fat be burned up first, and then take whatever you want," the servant would then answer, "No, hand it over now; if you don't, I'll take it by force."

This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD's sight, for they were treating the LORD's offering with contempt……

Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the LORD's people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?"

His sons, however, did not listen to their father's rebuke, for it was the LORD's will to put them to death…..

Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "This is what the LORD says: Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?' "Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: …those who despise me will be disdained. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line …" 'And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always.
(1 Sam 2:selected verses)

The basic facts are these:

1. The priestly sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, are wicked men.

They violate the sacred liturgy and and take more than their portion, a portion that belongs to God. They scandalize the faithful, act unjustly toward them and have illicit sexual relations with the young women assigned to care for the Shrine at Shiloh.

2. But Eli does nothing.

When it is called to his attention he gives a verbal rebuke. But he must do more than this. They have acted so scandalously that they must be removed. They are a threat to others by their exploitative and opportunistic behavior. They should have been removed. It is a true fact that we struggled with this very same thing in the clergy sexual abuse scandal of recent years.

3. God rebukes Eli for his weak rebuke and tells him that his weak response indicates that Eli favors his sons more than God and also scorns the sacred liturgy.

4. God cannot allow Eli and his sons to minister at Shiloh any longer.

He will bring Eli's family down and replace him with a priest who is faithful and will do what is in God's heart and mind. In a word, Eli has been replaced. Samuel will soon enough take up the holy priesthood. Hophni and Phinehas will die soon for their sins, and Eli's line is at an end.

How has all this happened?

Poor fatherhood and an unfaithful priestly ministry. In failing to raise his children in the fear of the Lord and in failing to punish wrong doing, Eli has brought grave harm upon himself, his family and his sons. In addition, when Samuel was placed in his care he continued with his pattern of failing to preach the Lord and make Samuel familiar with him.

This is a moral tale for our times as well. How many young people today have not been raised in the reverential fear of the Lord, have not been raised to be familiar with the Lord, have not been properly disciplined by parents and trained in righteousness? How many of them have not been instructed in God's ways and have been allowed to fall deep into sinful habits and patterns.

In the Church too, some have not at times been willing to discipline where necessary. Sin is often not rebuked from our pulpits, children are poorly instructed in the faith. We celebrate compassion but sometimes to a fault where sin is tolerated and grows very serious in people's lives.

Silence by many clergy and Church leaders in the face of serious sin can and is taken to be tacit approval of sin and has led to a widespread moral malaise. Disobedience in the clergy has sometimes been tolerated. Liturgical norms and the sacred liturgy have often been abused. And yes, as we sadly know there has been abusive and illicit sexual activity too.

Thank God there are signs of revival and renewal in many of these areas in the Church and in some of our families. But the story of Eli is an important moral tale for our times that God wants us to take serious our obligation to raise our children to know the Lord and walk in his ways. Through proper discipline and instruction we are summoned to have our children be familiar with the Lord at the very dawning of consciousness and reason. To fail in this regard is something God takes very seriously.

Thank God for good parents, clergy and religious who have done their very best in this regard. Hopefully the story of Eli for most of us is simply an encouragement to do what we are already doing. But for those who fail to take seriously their obligations in this regard it should be seen for what it also is: a warning.

Source: Archdiocese of Washington Blog

How to Help a Friend Through Breast Cancer

by Janet Thompson

"I'm sorry…but you do have breast cancer."

Those shocking words crackling through my cell phone rocked my world eleven years ago. I was running errands…trying to outrun suspected bad news. After the doctor's parting words, "You'll be fine," I fired up the car engine and started driving and dialing. The first person I called, after I told my husband, was my best friend, but she couldn't comprehend the diagnosis. "A positive biopsy doesn't mean it's malignant, does it?" she asked.

It's hard to know what to say or do when a friend or relative drops the bombshell news that she has breast cancer. Often our natural response is to recoil and retreat. Maybe it's the fear of facing our own mortality or the time and emotion required if we do get involved. We ease our conscience by thinking: she would rather be alone right now anyway. Or she needs her family at a time like this. Or she has so many friends; I know someone will help her.

We may send a card or make a call offering to help, closing with "I'll be praying for you," then on we go about our life while her life crumbles. Yet the Bible clearly tells us to, "Help each other in troubles and problems. This is the kind of law Christ asks us to obey" (Galatians 6:2 NLV).

How can we put that verse into practical terms? What does it truly mean to help each other in troubles and problems? Perhaps you can glean some ideas from the ways my friends and family came along side me during my initial breast cancer journey and two recurrences.

Helping Her with the Bad Days

Don't Just Offer to Help - Do Something Tangible

Most of us find it difficult to receive help; we are hesitant to impose on others. When asked the generic question, "How can I help you?" our common response is, "I'm fine, but thank you for asking." Truthfully, we need everything, but we don't know if the person is offering to mop our floors or pick up our kids from school - both of which we need, but are afraid to ask.

Another well-meaning comment I received was, "Just call me if you need anything." Now how many women are going to pick up the phone and ask for help, especially if they are not feeling well? Again, we don't know what the person is willing to do for us, and we don't want to be a burden.

So instead of offering to help - just jump in and do something. If you know your friend well, you know where she needs help; and even if you don't know her well, you know where all women need help. If she is in the midst of cancer treatment, she is going to need assistance with every area of her life, especially if she is single. Here are some practical ideas:

1. Schedule her friends, family, and church to bring meals. Use your lunch break to take her lunch and eat with her.

2. Offer to drive her to doctor's appointments or treatments and take notes for her.

3. Shuttle her kids to and from school or find someone who can.

4. Sit with her during chemo treatments or accompany her to radiation. Talk, read a book to her, or just hold her hand.

5. Take her children on a play date or to your house.

6. Do her laundry.

7. Do her grocery shopping. If she is too sick to dictate a list, take an inventory of her refrigerator and cupboards and make your own list.

8. Answer her email.

9. Bring her a gift that makes her feel feminine.

10. If she feels like talking, sit and chat with her. When she doesn't feel like talking, just be a presence in her home so she doesn't feel alone.

11. Babysit her kids so she and her husband can have some private time.

12. Clean her house or pay someone to do it.

13. Go with her to pick out a wig or prosthesis.

14. Pick up prescriptions.

15. Run errands.

My first surgery and treatment extended over the Christmas holidays, and we had six grandchildren at that time. I had bought their presents already but couldn't imagine wrapping them. So my friend took all the presents home and wrapped them, as well as organizing other friends to deliver meals for three months. During my recuperation, she sat on my bed with my laptop, read my emails to me, and then sent my dictated answers. Later, she accompanied me to radiation, fixed my hair when I had a frozen shoulder, and stuck beside me through the entire cancer ordeal, even though she admits that her first reaction to my phone call on that dreaded diagnosis day was, "Lord, I don't want to do this." God assured her that she could do it, and she did.

Don't Say, "I'll Pray For You," Unless You Mean It

At church a couple came up to greet my husband and me and asked if they could pray for us. That meant so much to me as we wrapped our arms around each other, and there on the church patio, this precious couple prayed for my recovery and Dave's strength for the journey. When we finished, the wife asked where we needed help. I hesitated because I knew this woman didn't like to cook, but Dave quickly interjected, "We could use a meal." She didn't flinch. She said they would be over the next night with dinner, and they were…and they prayed for us again.

"I'll pray for you" is said too often with the casualness of "Have a nice day." But a promise to pray isn't just a feel good phrase. We are telling someone that we will petition God on her behalf, and we are living falsely if we don't. I find it's best to stop in the moment and pray right then. It keeps me honest and blesses the other person.

Helping Her Enjoy the Good Days

Be Happy with Her When She's Happy

Cancer is a grim word. Overnight life becomes serious, tense, and laden with fear. There is very little laughter during those first shocking days following the "dreaded diagnosis." But life continues and there are going to be good days interspersed with the bad. An insightful friend will capitalize on the moments of reprieve when there is an opportunity to laugh or smile. Be ready, because it may only last a moment, but the break from pain and fear is immeasurable.

If your friend is having an especially good day, avoid topics that you know will bring her down. You aren't minimizing or making light of the seriousness of the situation, but you are giving her a recess from the intensity. Don't fake happiness, but take advantage of humorous or lighter moments. Smile. Laugh. Be happy. Don't let the serious eclipse the humorous.

I remember laughing at myself one day in the shower when I realized that I was so carefully not shaving under my left arm because of the lymph node surgery, that I also wasn't shaving my left leg. I frequently retold that story so people could laugh with me.

Nurture the Little Girl Inside Her

When I was in the hospital, the nurse in charge of the breast-care unit gave me a white stuffed toy sheep named "Fleece." Taking Fleece with me everywhere, I held him as a shield in front of my sore breast, tucked him under my arm as an armrest, and snuggled next to him in bed. For six months, I indulged my childish need for security and no one chastised me for it. In fact, they acted like it was normal. And I discovered when I was writing my book, Dear God, They Say It's Cancer, that it was normal! One woman who shared her story in the book had a black stuffed sheep named "Lamby" that she cuddled in her hospital bed. Another received a baby-sized pillow, and she recalls, "That pillow became a part of my wardrobe for eighteen months."

Shower Her with Love

Kay Warren shared with me about her breast cancer experience, "I don't know how we would have gotten through this difficult time without the outpouring of love and support from so many. I have not felt alone at all…which is such an amazing gift!" And that it is…love is the best gift you can give to your friend suffering with breast cancer. Don't desert her when she needs you most. Right now, she requires extravagant love, and God will help you when your heart is breaking or it just seems too sad or too hard. John 13:34 tells us to love one another just as God has loved us. God is the author of love and He knows just what your friend needs, and He will show you how to love her when she is feeling unlovable.

Surprise her. What woman doesn't love an unexpected gift or demonstration of how valuable she is to us? We were in the midst of a messy kitchen remodel when breast cancer assaulted me. Everything in my life seemed out of control. But I felt so loved the day I returned home after the painful needle biopsy and spotted amongst the rubble - gift bags full of treats with balloons attached and a card from two girlfriends assuring me they had been praying during the ordeal.

The Bible assures us in Proverbs 17:17 that "A friend loves at all times." What a privilege it is to put that verse into practice for your precious friend with breast cancer. You probably won't be able to do everything I suggest and I hope you have ideas of your own, but as a three-time breast cancer survivor, I assure you there are three things that will endure through the good and the bad times - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love.

About The Author:

Janet Thompson is a three-time breast cancer survivor, speaker, and author of the "Dear God" book series including, Dear God, They Say It's Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey. Janet found purpose in her breast cancer journey by writing for her breast cancer sisters the book she wished she had going through her surgeries and treatment. Visit Janet's Breast Cancer Support page on her website.

Source: Live It Devotional

Recipe: Crunchy Salad

by Dr. Shila Mathew, MD., Food and Living Editor, Malankara World

A great salad to try, especially during the lent season. It is pure vegetarian and great!

Crunchy Salad

by Marilyn Short, Free-Lance Writer, Toronto, ONT, Canada

Ingredients:

1/4 pound snow peas
2 red bell peppers, cut into chunks
1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained, thinly sliced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced diagonally
2 or 3 ribs celery, sliced
Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish
2 or 3 carrots, sliced diagonally

Dressing:

1/2 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch granulated sugar
Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Blanch snow peas in boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain. Rinse with cold running water to stop cooking. Drain well.

In a large bowl, combine water chestnuts, celery, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms and snow peas. Toss to combine.

For dressing:

In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sugar and pepper. Mix well.

One hour before serving time, pour dressing over water chestnut mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

Garnish with almonds right before serving.

Yield: Makes 8 servings

St. Patrick - How God Uses Ordinary People

by Dr. Jerry Newcombe

[Editor's Note:

March 17 is celebrated as St. Patrick's Day. It is often celebrated as Irish Day, with shamrocks, green beer and parades. Just like the message of Christmas is often forgotten in the mad rush for shopping, the saint behind St. Patrick's Day is often forgotten behind the "greens". St. Patrick is another person that illustrate Malankara World's theme, "God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things." Enjoy.]

We live in a time of the anti-hero. Too often, the good guys are the bad guys and vice versa. Celebrities are often held up as heroes, until we learn too much about them.

But to see a true hero, look at the real St. Patrick, who has a day dedicated in his honor. Unfortunately, many people only observe his holiday, March 17, by drinking themselves silly, which is totally contrary to the spirit of the man who Christianized Ireland.

In fact, Patrick shows what God can do through someone who is committed fully to Him.

Thomas Cahill, author of the book, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, notes that Patrick and the Irish came at the moment of a cultural cliff-hanger and played a key role in helping to save civilization.

In the 5th century, barbarians overran the Roman Empire---which was the repository of much of Western civilization---until it finally collapsed. Meanwhile, through the missionary work of Patrick (387-461), the gospel was brought to Ireland; and numerous men became monks as a result, who meticulously copied manuscripts of the Bible and of many of the writings of antiquity.

Cahill writes: "For, as the Roman Empire fell, as all through Europe matted, unwashed barbarians descended on the Roman cities, looting artifacts and burning books, the Irish, who were just learning to read and write, took up the great labor of copying all of Western literature---everything they could lay their hands on."

He notes, "These scribes then served as conduits through which the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian cultures were transmitted to the tribes of Europe, newly settled amid the rubble and ruined vineyards of the civilization they had overwhelmed."

Cahill adds, "Without this Service of the Scribes, everything that happened subsequently would have been unthinkable. Without the Mission of the Irish Monks, who single-handedly refounded European civilization throughout the continent in the bays and valleys of their exile, the world that came after then would have been an entirely different one---a world without books. And our own world would never have come to be."

The man at the center of all this was St. Patrick.

Many of the details of his life we learn through a document he wrote late in his life, Confession. This was not a book of confessions of his sins, but rather a statement of his beliefs. It is autobiographical in nature.

Patrick (to the surprise of many) was not Irish by birth, but rather grew up in England as a nominal Christian. He said in Confession, "I did not know the true God."

At the age of 16, marauding Irish pirates laid waste his city and captured slaves, including Patrick. Later he would write of this: "As a youth, nay, almost as a boy not able to speak, I was taken captive, before I knew what to pursue and what to avoid."

Patrick said, "I was taken into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of people---and deservedly so, because we turned away from God, and did not keep His commandments."

For six years, he worked as a slave for a landowning chief. Cahill notes that during this time, Patrick had two companions---hunger and nakedness.

While he served as a shepherd, he remembered his prayers of his youth and came to know God truly through Christ. After six years of captivity, he was able to providentially escape from Ireland.

The late Dr. D. James Kennedy notes, "[Patrick] vowed revenge---the noble revenge of sharing the gospel with the people who held him captive. He believed that he had been called by God to return to the land of his slavery."

So Patrick, after some theological training, eventually returned to Ireland where he spent the rest of his life (about thirty years) as a missionary. Patrick may well have baptized about 120,000 souls. Some scholars note that he was the most successful missionary since the Apostle Paul.

Patrick wrote this, "Daily, I expect murder, fraud or captivity…but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere."

There's a famous prayer attributed to Patrick that was inspired by him---although in its present form, it was likely written later. This beautiful statement of faith is called "St. Patrick's Breastplate."

Here is a portion of the prayer: "I arise today through God's strength to pilot me: God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me…Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me…"

So remember the next time you see someone get drunk on "St. Paddy's Day," they dishonor the memory of Patrick. This coming weekend, how do you plan to honor this great hero of the faith and of the ages?

About The Author:

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a TV producer and the co-host of Kennedy Classics. He has also written or co-written 24 books, including 'The Book that Made America' (on the Bible) and (with Dr. Kennedy) 'What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?' and (with Peter Lillback), 'George Washington's Sacred Fire'.

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update

News: Kidnapped Syrian Nuns Freed in Exchange for 150 Women Prisoners

A GROUP of nuns kidnapped by rebels in the Syrian town of Maalula in December have been released thanks to Lebanese-Qatari mediation and handed to the Syrian authorities.

A monitoring group said the release was secured in exchange for some 150 women prisoners who were being held in Syria's regime jails.

The 13 nuns and three maids were kidnapped from the famed Christian hamlet of Maalula and taken to the nearby Syrian rebel town of Yabrud, where they were held by al-Qa’ida affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

They arrived at Jdeidet Yabus on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon after an arduous nine-hour journey that took them from Yabrud into Lebanon, and then back into Syria.

An AFP journalist at Jdeidet Yabus said the nuns appeared exhausted, and that one of them had to be carried out of the vehicle transporting them.

Speaking to reporters at the border, one of the nuns said: "We want to thank God, who made it possible for us to be here now. We thank President Bashar al-Assad for being in contact with the emir of Qatar (Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani).

"We will not forget the honest mediator, Abbas Ibrahim," she added, in reference to Lebanon's General Security agency director.

Seated as she spoke, the nun said all 16 hostages were treated "well" in captivity.

Al-Nusra Front "were giving us everything we asked for", she said. "No one bothered us," she said, while denying earlier rumours their kidnappers had forced them to remove their crosses.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said some 150 women who had been held in Syria's jails were on board four buses at the Lebanese-Syrian border, after being set free in exchange for the nuns.

"A woman and her four children who had been in jail were freed first and reached Yabrud," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, describing the initial release as "a gesture of goodwill" by the Syrian authorities.

"One hundred forty-nine other women prisoners are now with Lebanon's General Security agency after being freed from Syrian jails, in accordance with the deal," he told AFP.

Lebanon's official National News Agency quoted General Security chief Mr Ibrahim, the key mediator, as saying: "The deal to secure the release of Maalula's nuns involved the release of more than 150 people in exchange."

Tens of thousands of people are being held in Syria's jails, where torture and ill-treatment are systematic, rights groups say.

Mr Ibrahim led efforts to secure the release of the Maalula nuns along with Qatar's intelligence chief Ghanem al-Kubeissi, who arrived in Lebanon on Saturday.

Last year, Qatar and Lebanon's Mr Ibrahim played a leading role in securing the release of a group of Lebanese Shiite pilgrims held by Syrian rebels in northern Syria.

Qatar has been a key backer of Syria's revolt.

The nuns had been kidnapped on December 3 amid fighting for the ancient village of Maalula, which is currently in rebel hands.

Source: AFP; www.theaustralian.com.au

Humor: Doctor Answers Your Questions
Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it... Don't waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster. Want to live longer? Take nap.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: Oh no. Wine made from fruit. Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain. Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one. If you have two body, your ratio two to one.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of single one, sorry. My philosophy: No pain...good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU NOT LISTENING! Food fried in vegetable oil. How getting more vegetable be bad?

Q : Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Oh no! When you exercise muscle, it get bigger. You should only be doing sit-up if you want bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: You crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is shape!

Well... I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Australians.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Australians.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Australians.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Australians...

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Australians.

CONCLUSION:

Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

[Editor's Note: Please note that this is for entertainment only and has nothing to do with health, nutrition or exercise.]

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