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

Golden Friday, 1st Sunday After Pentecost

Volume 5 No. 288 May 29, 2015

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HH Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church
Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East
Primate of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church
First Anniversary of Patriarchal Enthronement, May 29, 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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1. Foreword

2. Inspiration for Today: Come Holy Spirit

I. This Sunday in Church: First Sunday After Pentecost (May 31)

3. Bible Readings for This Sunday (May 31)

4. Sermons for This Sunday (May 31)

Sermons for the First Sunday After Pentecost
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_1st-sunday-after-pentecost.htm

5. From Malankara World Journal Archives

I am Statements of Jesus

Several articles on "I am Statements of Jesus" are available in the Malankara World Journal Issue 200 Souvenir Edition. ...

What Am I Hungry For? Meditation on John 6:30-35

The Discourse of the Bread of Life is not a text to be discussed and dissected, but rather it should be meditated and pondered. This is why, even if it is not fully understood, we should not be concerned. This text of the Bread of Life demands a whole life to meditate on it and deepen it. Such a text, people have to read it, meditate it, pray it, think about it, read it again, repeat it and ponder it, as one does with a good sweet in the mouth. ...

Reflections on the Gospel Reading for Sunday - "The Bread of Life"

"What does it mean to pray for our daily bread?"

The Lord's Prayer, the prayer Jesus used to instruct His followers how to pray, is well known among Christians. Many recite it in unison as a form of liturgy; others meditate on each portion in their private time with God or view it is a model of the components of prayer. The prayer is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. One portion of the prayer says, "Give us today our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). ...

6. Featured: Why Some Would Rather Starve than Come

This "Bread of Life" discourse is one of the most wonderful, meaningful passages in John's gospel…if you happen to be a believer.

You see; what I realized as I studied through this long section is that almost none of the people who originally heard Jesus speak these words enjoyed or embraced what He said. ...

II. This Friday in Church: Golden Friday (May 29)

7. Bible Readings for Golden Friday (May 29)

Bible Reading for Golden Friday
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_Golden_Friday.htm

8. Sermons for Golden Friday (May 29)

Sermons for Golden Friday
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_Golden-Friday.htm

9. Featured: Status-Seekers Or Servant Leaders?

In what was the worst moment for brothers James and John, they chose the occasion of Jesus' ominous prediction of his suffering to see if there was something in it for them. "Do for us whatever we ask," they said. (A remarkable request!) Can we have the elite spots beside you? ...

10. Alms and Legs - Reflection on Acts 3:1-10

What does this story teach us? What message does this word from God tell you and me, far removed from the Temple precincts but surrounded by people in need nonetheless? What can we learn from this story about how it is that we are to treat beggars, how we are to treat those who are disabled, how we are to treat those who are in need? ...

11. The Healing of the Lame Man

As Peter and John reach the Beautiful Gate, they were stopped by a cripple asking for alms. Luke gives us a description of him and initially we cannot see any beauty in him. Instead we see a picture of misery because he is a man who had been a cripple for forty years. His only role in life is to lie on the roadside begging. ...

12. The Power of Jesus' Name

Sometimes in life, we lose sight of what's important because we are always looking for something else. So when life's difficulties hit us smack in the face the devil can oppress us with a feeling of hopelessness and defeat. It's during those moments that we must remember who Jesus is and that we are the children of the King. We must look up to Jesus who is seated at the right hand of God as Lord and Christ. And even though Jesus isn't with us physically any more, we have access to him through his name. ...

III. Weekly Features

13. Recipe: Lamb in Yogurt Sauce

14. Attract Happiness and Good Fortune

No amount of enthusiasm can replace definiteness of purpose. A man without a definite major purpose resembles a locomotive without a track to run on, or a destination toward which to travel. And if he lacks enthusiasm to back his definite major purpose, he is like a locomotive without fuel. ...

15. Appreciating The Ordinary

Let's see what happens when we find new ways to do ordinary things, and ways to do them cheerfully! ...

16. About Malankara World

Foreword
Today is the First Anniversary of the Enthronement of our Holy Father, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of the Antioch and All the East and the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church. What a year it had been! We are still under the spell of the reception our Holy Father received in Malankara a few months ago on the First Episcopal Visit to India. We wish Moran Mor a long and productive service as a Patriarch.

Our brothers and sisters all over the world are suffering from natural calamities. People in Nepal suffered through one of the worst earthquakes there. Thousands of people died and many thousands were injured and lost their homes and all possessions. The photos of people crying over their dead dear ones had been heart-breaking. As I write this, our brothers and sisters in Texas and Oklahoma are going through major flooding. People in California are suffering through draught; people in India are facing record heat wave. Let us pray for all of them.

As we all know, last Sunday was Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. We saw Syriac Orthodox Liturgy at its best with specific sections dedicated to Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the Kneeling Ceremony. Trinity in its grandeur form indeed!

Today, the first Friday after the Pentecost, is named the 'Golden Friday'. Armed and strengthened with the Holy Spirit, the disciples of Jesus started their Evangelism Work as commanded by Jesus. (Acts 3:1-10) At the 'Beautiful Gate', Peter and John encounter a beggar who had been lame from birth. He asked for alms when Peter and John approached the gate. Peter heals him in the name of Jesus. This is followed by the second grand discourse given by Peter (Acts 3:12-26) (The first one was given to those gathered at the time of Pentecost. Acts 2:14-36). We see the change in the disciples. It is only yesterday that they ran away from Jesus and went back to fishing thinking it was all over. Then they saw risen savior and Jesus reinstating Peter with the question, "Peter, do you love me?" Love conquers everything. There is no higher love than giving one's life. That is what all the disciples ultimately gave - their life. From Jerusalem, they will travel all over the region spreading the word about Jesus. St. Thomas will come all the way to India to spread the Gospel to our forefathers.

Let us reflect the light of Jesus on our faces and serve as our Lord taught us how - to serve and not to be served.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World

Inspiration for Today: Come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

This Sunday in Church: First Sunday After Pentecost (May 31)
Bible Readings for This Sunday (May 31)
Sermons for This Sunday (May 31)

From Malankara World Journal Archives

I am Statements of Jesus

Several articles on "I am Statements of Jesus" are available in the Malankara World Journal Issue 200 Souvenir Edition. ...

What Am I Hungry For? Meditation on John 6:30-35

The Discourse of the Bread of Life is not a text to be discussed and dissected, but rather it should be meditated and pondered. This is why, even if it is not fully understood, we should not be concerned. This text of the Bread of Life demands a whole life to meditate on it and deepen it. Such a text, people have to read it, meditate it, pray it, think about it, read it again, repeat it and ponder it, as one does with a good sweet in the mouth. ...

Reflections on the Gospel Reading for Sunday - "The Bread of Life"

"What does it mean to pray for our daily bread?"

The Lord's Prayer, the prayer Jesus used to instruct His followers how to pray, is well known among Christians. Many recite it in unison as a form of liturgy; others meditate on each portion in their private time with God or view it is a model of the components of prayer. The prayer is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. One portion of the prayer says, "Give us today our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). ...

Featured: Why Some Would Rather Starve than Come

by Terry Trivette, StandandSpeak.org

Gospel: John 6:22-59

Outline:

I. SOME WANT A MESSIAH THAT IS NOT SO MYSTICAL

A. They were intent on the earthly bread
B. They were ignorant of the eternal bread

II. SOME WANT A MESSAGE THAT IS NOT SO MIRACULOUS

A. They rejected the plan of salvation
B. They rejected the person of salvation
C. They rejected the proclamation of salvation

III. SOME WANT A MEAL THAT IS NOT SO MESSY

A. This was referring to the cross
B. This was repulsive to the crowd

INTRODUCTION

1. It is amazing how the very same words can sound very different depending on whose ears they enter.

2. For instance, yesterday I spoke to my mom on the phone, and she told me that she loved me. Now had Sherry Trivette called you and told you the same thing, you would think it a strange phone call indeed, considering you've never met her and you're not her favorite son.

3. As I have labored over and listened to the words of Jesus in John chapter 6, I have found myself enjoying every word He said.

4. This "Bread of Life" discourse is one of the most wonderful, meaningful passages in John's gospel…if you happen to be a believer.

5. You see; what I realized as I studied through this long section is that almost none of the people who originally heard Jesus speak these words enjoyed or embraced what He said.

6. This chapter begins with a large crowd of people following Jesus. It ends with a large crowd of people forsaking Him. (v. 66)

7. In between we find a sort of sermon from Jesus, that verse 59 says He delivered at the synagogue in Capernaum.

8. Why is that we as Christians can read these words from Jesus and feel a hunger to eat even more of the Bread of Life, and yet these people only felt their stomachs turn, and got up to leave?

9. Moreover, why is that there are many in our world today who feel no attraction to and find no appeal in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the offer of His gospel?

10. In 1707, Isaac Watts asked a similar question in one of his hymns. He wrote:

"Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there's room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?"

11. Why would a person rather starve in their sins than come and eat of the Bread of Life in Jesus? I think we may see at least some of the reasons for that rejection in this text. For one thing, we find here that:

I. SOME WANT A MESSIAH THAT IS NOT SO MYSTICAL

1. What led to this long discourse from Jesus was a group of folks who went to great lengths to track Him down, once He had gone to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

2. John tells us that this crowd noticed Jesus had left, and though they didn't know how He had gotten over the lake, they caught ships themselves and went after Him.

3. In verse 24, it says that they were "seeking for Jesus." That sounds like the right thing to do, but it turns out that they weren't really looking for the Lord, just another free lunch.

4. These people remind us of those who don't really want a Savior and salvation, as much as they just want a sort of glorified "Sugar Daddy" – a materialistic Messiah who will feed them and fill them in this life.

5. Look at this in our passage. As Jesus addressed this crowd, we find that:

A. They were intent on the earthly bread

1. As soon as these people found Jesus He pointed out that He knew exactly why they were there. In verse 26, He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled."

2. Jesus said, "I know what you all really want," and what follows is a conversation that proves Jesus was right about them.

3. Jesus urged them to labor for the kind of food that would lead to everlasting life, the kind that He as the Son of Man and Son of God could give them. (v. 27)

4. The crowd seemed to engage in this spiritual conversation. Playing off the word "labor" that Jesus used, they asked, "What kind of works should we do?"

5. Jesus answered in verse 29, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent," referring to Himself.

6. Notice what happens next. The people say, "Ok, what sign will you show us that we can believe on you." In verse 31, they said, "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat."

7. In other words, they were still looking for bread! Even in this spiritual conversation, they were thinking about their stomachs, not their souls.

8. One writer says of them: "…these people were crass materialists…'Instead of seeing in the bread the sign, they had seen in the sign only the bread'."

9. Frankly, these people remind me a great deal of the false prophets of prosperity who fill so much of religious television today.

10. They talk a lot about faith and God, but what they really preach is more food and more gold.

11. Perhaps there are even some of you who really only want earthly bread. You come and pay your tithe in hopes that God won't cut off your finances and your food. It's really the same kind of religious materialism.

12. These people were intent on the earthly bread, but notice further that:

B. They were ignorant of the eternal bread

1. Jesus continued to try to point this crowd away from their craving for earthly bread, to their need for eternal bread.

2. In verse 32, He responded to their call for something like manna, and reminds them that Moses didn't give them manna; God did.

3. And moreover, the true bread from heaven isn't the same as the manna in the desert. He said in verse 33, "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world."

4. Jesus kept trying to point them to Himself. He was trying to turn them from seeking a literal meal to seeing a living Lord.

5. Yet, they still responded in verse 34, "Lord, give us this bread forever! That sounds delicious!" They were completely missing the point!

6. So, Jesus plainly and powerfully said to them, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

7. That is a great and glorious truth, and yet most of this crowd responded with a shrug. They weren't interested in all that spiritual stuff. They were hungry.

8. Some folks still want a Messiah today who is not so mystical – not so hung up spiritual things; not so involved in eternal life as He is in everyday life.

9. They want a God whose primary purpose is to make them comfortable on earth and keep their lives running smoothly.

10. They want a Jesus whose blessings all come here, and they don't care all that much about the hereafter.

11. And yet, we must recognize that if this life is all there is, and if the bread we eat here is all we can ever hope for, then what kind of heaven is this?

12. If there is no kingdom to come, and if Jesus only pays the bills and provides the bread here for the few brief years of our lives, then our gospel is really weak and our hopes are really small!

13. Some would rather starve eternally though, because they want a Messiah that is not so mystical. Furthermore, we find in this text that:

II. SOME WANT A MESSAGE THAT IS NOT SO MIRACULOUS

1. Jesus knew that this crowd standing before Him was looking at Him, but they weren't really seeing Him. They didn't believe.

2. Nonetheless, He pressed on into his message, and as He expounded the supernatural truth of who He was, where we might say "Glory to God," John says in verse 41 that these people grumbled.

3. We read, "The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven."

4. This crowd started to get uncomfortable and uneasy when Jesus started explaining what it really meant that He was the Bread of Life.

5. It all boiled down to this: They didn't believe. Like them, there are some folks who won't come Jesus today, and it all boils down to the fact that they won't accept the miraculous message of the gospel.

6. Notice this in our passage. The people rejected:

A. The plan of salvation

1. Jesus said, beginning in verse 37:

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (37-40)

2. Jesus describes His saving mission as a work planned and performed by the Father and the Son.

3. The Father and Son were going to save people, by having those people come to the Son, see Him, believe upon Him, and receive from Him everlasting life.

4. This life would continue on even beyond the very last day of time. On the last day the Son would raise the bodies of those who believe from the dead.

5. It is the plan of God and it is a plan of grace, quite apart from any human willing or working.

6. Much like the Jews of that day, many people today recoil at the notion that they even need to be saved!

7. They think themselves fairly good people. They don't need some kind of miraculous plan for their salvation.

8. They reject the plan of salvation, and notice also that they reject:

B. The person of salvation

1. What really got the grumbling started was the fact that it was Jesus who was claiming all these things about His self.

2. When the crowd heard Him say He came down from heaven, they started murmuring among themselves.

3. In verse 42, they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is then that he saith, I came down from heaven?"

4. They looked at Jesus, whom many of them had known for years, and said, "No way. Not him."

5. In a similar way, there are those who simply will not accept that a first-century, peasant, Jewish carpenter can somehow do anything to save them.

6. In recent years there have been a number of books and even films trying to discount and discredit the historical Jesus as anything more than a mere man.

7. In 2005, there was even a critically acclaimed documentary entitled "The God Who Wasn't There", which claimed that Jesus never even existed.

8. Some people starve because they don't believe the Bread of Life is real. They reject not only the plan of salvation, and the person of salvation, but notice also that they reject:

C. The proclamation of salvation

1. Jesus heard their murmuring and said, "Stop that grumbling, you can't even come to Me unless the Father draws you to Me."

2. They weren't coming because even though the Son of God was standing in front of them, the Spirit of God was not speaking inside of them.

3. In verse 45, Jesus quoted from the Old Testament Prophets, which these folks knew very well. He said, "And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh to me."

4. In essence, Jesus said, "You people won't come to me because you won't listen to what God says."

5. Likewise, there are still people today who will not believe what the Bible says about Jesus. God's Word speaks clearly of Him, but neither their ears nor their hearts will hear what He says.

6. Some folks would rather starve than come to Jesus because some want a Messiah that is not so mystical, and some want a message that is not so miraculous. Lastly, we find that some would rather starve simply because:

III. SOME WANT A MEAL THAT IS NOT SO MESSY

1. This whole thing started over food, which Jesus used to point to Himself. In verses 46 and 47, Jesus restated His main point. He said:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life."

2. If the crowd were uncomfortable before, they would really begin to squirm as Jesus pressed the point home in an even stronger way.

3. The people who ate the manna in the wilderness still died, but the bread God sends in His Son is living bread that provides eternal life.

4. Now look at verse 51. Jesus said, "…and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

5. Jesus said that He would give his own body as food, and just so nobody misunderstood Him, He said beginning in verse 53:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." (53-55)

6. This is a graphic and unsettling picture, and Jesus intended it to sound that way. Think with me about His words here. For one thing, consider that:

A. This was referring to the cross

1. If we take this literally, then Jesus was calling for people to cannibalize Him, which was not what He wanted to happen, or what actually did happen.

2. There must be another meaning here, and indeed there is. Many people read this passage and see a reference to the Lord's Supper, where we eat bread and wine that symbolize the body and blood of Jesus.

3. I don't think that is what Jesus means here, though it's close. You see; what Jesus refers to here and what the Lord's Supper represents is the death of Jesus on the cross.

4. On the cross Jesus lays down His life as a sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be taken and received completely by those who would benefit from it.

5. Just like a good Jewish family would gather around the table and eat their Passover lamb, so too must believers gather at the cross and partake of the sacrifice Jesus offers us.

6. He said in verse 56, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." And the real key comes in verse 57:

"As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me."

7. Do you see it? He offered up His own flesh and blood, and whoever feeds on that offering as the food for their souls, they will live because of Jesus!

9. See Jesus hanging there on the cross! See the crowd gathered around Him, mocking Him and ridiculing His broken, bleeding body!

10. Hear the demons of hell hoop and holler as He hangs His head and dies beneath the load of man's horrible sin.

11. When you see that, can you say with David, "Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies"?

12. As you think about that, realize not only that this was referring to the cross, but understand that:

B. This was repulsive to the crowd

1. In verse 52, John indicates that what started as a low murmur had blown up into a loud argument. They said, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

2. When you read this text, it sounds strange. The image of eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood is stark and graphic.

3. It would have been even more so to this group of Jewish people. They had numerous dietary laws, one of the main ones being that they were absolutely forbidden to eat or drink any blood.

4. They would have been repulsed by the notion of drinking another man's blood! They would have absolutely refused the kind of meal Jesus was offering.

5. Just like they would have been repulsed by the notion of their Messiah stripped naked, bleeding and dying on a Roman cross. That was unthinkable to them!

6. And yet, it was the only way they could be saved. They had to do and believe what they had previously thought unimaginable.

7. Today, there are many people who find the notion of the cross offensive. They may not say it in so many words, but the ugly, gory, shameful, and convicting sight of God dying horribly on a cross is more than they can stand.

8. And yet, unless they come to see that blood-soaked cross as the very food that can fill and save their souls, they will die in their sins.

9. Some want a meal that is not so hard to swallow – not so messy.

1. But, we who have felt the draw of the Spirit and have seen the glory of the Savior, we come hungry and gladly to the cross!

2. We look upon it and we draw our very life from the death of the One who hung there! We feast upon His sacrifice and fill our earthly lives with the eternal life His crucified and resurrected body alone can give!

3. Charles Spurgeon preached on this text many years ago, in 1876. Toward the end of the message, He said:

"Do you ever attend a [service] where the preacher preaches anything and everything but Christ? Do you get fed?" He went on to say, "But I know, if you are a child of God, it doesn't matter who preaches or how poor his language – if he preaches Christ you always feel as if you were fed – your soul is satisfied with the marrow and fatness when Christ is the subject!"

4. While some would rather starve than come, I am feasting on the riches of His grace. I am thankful for the meal He has provided!

5. Therefore, everyday I will come to the cross, give thanks for the Bread of Life, and feed upon the glory of Christ!

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer,
Blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died,
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer,
Blessed Lord,
To thy precious, bleeding side 

This Friday in Church: Golden Friday (May 29)
Bible Readings for Golden Friday (May 29)
Sermons for Golden Friday (May 29)
Featured: Status-Seekers Or Servant Leaders?

by Mel Lawrenz

He took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. "We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise."

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."

"What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.

They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all."
- Mark 10:32-37, 41-44

In what was the worst moment for brothers James and John, they chose the occasion of Jesus' ominous prediction of his suffering to see if there was something in it for them. "Do for us whatever we ask," they said. (A remarkable request!) Can we have the elite spots beside you?

Some questions are innocent and open-minded; others reveal that we are completely confused. "You don't know that you are asking," Jesus said (v. 38). By this he meant: "Are you really that anxious to be by my side when I am slaughtered? Would you like your own crosses? Do you really want to focus on your own status and power? Have you missed everything I've been trying to teach you?"

"No," Jesus told them, "if you want to be great - really great - then you must become slaves and servants of all."

And then Jesus made this most amazing statement: "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (v. 45). He was the fulfillment of the "suffering servant" whom the prophet Isaiah had spoken of seven centuries earlier. (Isaiah 52:13–53:1-12) And he was the "ransom" (Isaiah 53:10-11), the one who would liberate us from the taskmasters of sin, death, and the Evil One.

Ponder This:

What are the biggest barriers we face in giving up our status and security, and instead living lives of servanthood?

Source: "Knowing Him," readings leading up to Easter, by Mel Lawrenz.

Alms and Legs - Reflection on Acts 3:1-10

by The Rev. J. Curtis Goforth

I know many of you remember a time when it was not only safe but commonplace to hitchhike. I had a friend in college who hitchhiked his way down to Kentucky all the way from Alaska because he didn't have enough money for a plane ticket. And I must confess, I always feel guilty for not picking somebody up on the side of the interstate when I pass them by. But I also have a distant relative that was robbed and killed after he picked up a hitchhiker.

There's only been one time that I can remember transporting a hitchhiker. My mother and brother and myself were in our van coming home from the grocery store. I was about 13 years old. And we were traveling down I-40 on our way home when we spotted a guy unlike any other hitchhiker I've ever seen. This guy had only one leg and was inching his way down the shoulder of the interstate. I asked my mom if we couldn't give that guy a ride. She reminded me of the distant relative and said that she would stop at the Burger King at the next exit and get him some food, but that she wasn't going to drive him anywhere.

So, we went through the drive through and ordered a whopper and some fries and a cup of water to take back to the guy. We made our way back down the interstate until we came to the one-legged hitchhiker. I got out and took the bag of food to him, told him what we had ordered, and asked if he would accept it. He gladly accepted it, but then he told me in a rather snarky tone that he was somewhat accustomed to drinking Coke. So I told him that we had just been to the grocery store and that I had a 2 liter of Coke in the back of the van and that I would pour him some. As I was doing this, my mother relented a little bit and said that we could take him to the truck stop at the next exit, but no further. This poor hitchhiker had no idea the danger he was putting himself in by getting into the car with my mother though!

We dropped the man off at the truck stop, and a kind truck driver offered him a ride to Tennessee, and we never heard from him again. I'll never forget how that guy refused water and asked for Coke though. That was the most unforgettable ride I ever had. I guess beggars can be choosy about what they ask for! I didn't know quite how to feel after that. I didn't know if I should feel good about helping somebody, or if I should feel bad about not doing more. And I still don't know exactly how to feel. But I do know it was an unforgettable ride.

Through the years, I've wondered if I did the right thing. I mean, sure, we stopped and gave a hungry guy some food and transported him a whole mile closer to where he was going. But did we do the right thing? Did this man see Christ in us, or just a strange family that was a bit stingy with their almsgiving, electing to give water instead of Coke which cost $1 more?

In our lesson for this morning, Peter and John were on their way to the Temple to pray when they encountered a man who was unable to walk from birth. He had both his legs, but they didn't work. People would carry this disabled man to the gate of the Temple where he would be in a prime spot to receive peoples' spare change. As Peter and John passed the man, he asked them for some money. Peter and John had no money, but they didn't refuse to give the man something. They took him by the hand and told him that he was healed by the power of the name of Jesus. Instantly the man's ankles and feet were made strong, and the man jumped up and started walking all around! The people recognized this man as the one who used to beg for money at the gate, and they were astonished.

So what does this story teach us? What message does this word from God tell you and me, far removed from the Temple precincts but surrounded by people in need nonetheless? What can we learn from this story about how it is that we are to treat beggars, how we are to treat those who are disabled, how we are to treat those who are in need?

First and foremost, God's word teaches us that we are not to pretend the needy aren't there. Peter and John didn't ignore the lame man, and they didn't stay cooped up inside the Temple singing Kum Bah Yah blind to those in need outside those walls. They didn't pretend that those in need didn't really exist. They reached out and they touched the beggar in a very special way. Although we might have a hard time working a miracle, we are still called to touch the lives of those in need and not to pretend they don't exist.

Secondly, in touching those in need, we are not to simply throw money at a situation. Peter didn't simply put a coin in the beggar's cup, he grabbed him by the hand. We are called to lift up people with our own two hands. Gold and silver or a sheet of paper with some green ink on it can't solve the deepest problems of life. Money is important, and we do need to give money to help those less fortunate, but too many times Christians stop right there (if they even get to that point). The biggest bank account in the world isn't going to do anything without people who are willing to work and serve personally to see that others are helped.

Thirdly, this story reminds us that we are called to fix problems, not to just provide a temporary relief. The lame man just wanted a little bit of money since he couldn't work. But, in healing the man, Peter transformed the situation. A temporary fix was turned into a permanent fix. The lame man didn't ask for healing. Peter didn't ask the lame man's permission either. What are you and I doing to fix the world's problems? If we have no answer to that question, then we are the ones truly in need.

Fourthly, we are to learn from this story just as much by what the disciples didn't do as by what they did do! Peter didn't cast blame on the man. Peter didn't say to himself that the guy must deserve his plight. You've probably heard the saying "God helps those who help themselves." Well let me tell you-that is not in the Bible-and furthermore, that is entirely alien to the Gospel. God helps those in need, and we're called to help those in need-not because they deserve it, not because we deserve, but because God demands it. The way we treat those in need is intimately connected to what we truly believe about God. "Truly I tell you, when you did it to the least of these, you did it to me." Now that is in the Bible!

"Beggars can't be choosers." That's not in the Bible either, and after my experience with the one-legged hitchhiker, I don't think it's all that true. Beggars can be choosy after all, I suppose. But we cannot. We cannot be choosy about reaching out to those in need because Christ has called us, reached out to us, and touched us so that we might help others. And when you personally help somebody in need, you might not feel great about what you've done, and you might even feel guilty for not doing more. But one thing's for sure-you should try it sometime-it's an unforgettable ride. Amen.

The Healing of the Lame Man

by Malcolm Maclean

Scripture: Acts 3:1-10

Luke informs his readers that this incident occurred at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. It received this title because of the beautiful appearance it had because of the various metals with which it was adorned. This gate was very large: it was about 75 feet tall and 60 feet wide, and twenty men were required in order to open and close it. No doubt, this gate was a very impressive one. Yet as we read the passage we can sense other reasons as to why we can call it the Beautiful Gate because there beautiful actions took place and beautiful attitudes were revealed. What are some of these beauties?

The beauty of the insignificant

Luke now moves from describing the activities of the crowd and the effect the growing Jerusalem church had on the community to detailing the conversion of an individual and the effects his experience had on the onlookers who saw what had happened to him. In doing so, Luke is reminding us that our great God can use large movements or individuals in the furtherance of his kingdom.

Sometimes we wonder what would be the effect on a community if one of its important residents was converted. We think about politicians, sports stars, leading businessmen and imagine the effect their conversions would have. Of course, when such a person is converted, we rejoice and sometimes there is a powerful effect on those not yet converted. We could regard the conversion of the apostle Paul in this way. People must have discussed the change in his life.

Yet at other times, the Lord can work in the life of an insignificant individual and use them in a dramatic and effective way. The Bible has many such characters – David the shepherd boy, Amos the herdsman, and Peter the fisherman. Church history is full of insignificant people who did things for God that became the catalyst for great spiritual movements.

We see one such insignificant person in this incident. The cripple is that person. Luke does not even tell us the man's name. In other words, his identity is not important. Yet he became the means by which God worked in the lives of the onlookers of his healing. This mind reminds us of the beauty of the insignificant.

The beauty of spiritual friendship

It is good to have a close friend, one with whom we can have profound spiritual experiences. Peter and John are one such pair. True, they had moments of profound enjoyment when they along with others met with Jesus Christ. At times, they had occasions of special blessing along with James, such as on the Mount of Transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet they also had wonderful moments as a pair of disciples. We can think of their experience on the Resurrection morning when they both ran to the empty tomb after Mary Magdalene came and told them that the Lord was no longer there (John 20).

Another detail worth noting is that God blessed Peter and John in the path of duty. They were making their way to a prayer meeting which was held in the temple courts (the hours of prayer were 9 am, noon and 3 pm). No doubt, there were many reasons which they could have given for not attending this prayer meeting. Others would be present, so they would not be needed. It was now three in the afternoon and perhaps they had had a busy day. Still they went, and on their way God used them to bring blessing into this poor man's life. We will never know, in this life, what opportunities we have missed of receiving God's blessing just because we omitted to perform our duty.

A third detail to note is the rather amazing fact that Peter and John did not have any material resources. Peter has to inform the man that he has no alms for the poor man. Yet Peter was not embarrassed by his lack of resources. From one perspective, the cripple had asked the totally wrong person. He wanted alms, yet the person he asked could not give him any. Peter, however, had something far more valuable to give to the cripple – the resources of the risen Christ.

Peter was aware that he had a special gift as an apostle. In the previous chapter of Acts, Luke had stated that the apostles were performing signs and wonders and here he records one of these miracles. Peter was not speaking into the dark when he made this announcement. He was fully aware that the man would be healed, which is why he stretched out his hand to help the man stand. The lesson for us is not to try and imitate Peter and work a miracle; instead the lesson is to use whatever gift the Lord has given us for his glory, and whenever we use it we should expect the Lord to bless others through it. Such gifts can range from hospitality in obedience to Jesus to preaching about Jesus. Every disciple of Jesus has received at least one gift from the Lord and it is essential that they use these gifts in his service.

Peter wanted the cripple to receive blessing from Jesus Christ. Therefore, he causes the man to pay close attention and listen. Peter does not want the man to imagine that he had been healed by the apostle himself. Instead he wants the cripple to understand that his healing will have come direct from Jesus Christ through his servant. In this attitude, we can see the beauty of Peter's humility.

Sometimes we ask, what is the clearest mark of humility? I would suggest it is the willingness and determination to give Jesus Christ all the glory in every situation.

The beauty of the healed cripple

As Peter and John reach the Beautiful Gate, they were stopped by a cripple asking for alms. Luke gives us a description of him and initially we cannot see any beauty in him. Instead we see a picture of misery because he is a man who had been a cripple for forty years. His only role in life is to lie on the roadside begging.

Yet as we continue to look at him, we can see beauty coming into his experience. First, we can see the beauty of a person who appreciates mercy. The cripple had learned many years previously that his only hope was in the mercy of those who saw his need. Up until now, he had been dependant of human mercy as far as we can tell. Yet once he experienced healing, he realized that he had experienced the mercy of God.

What should be our response to the mercy of God? One detail of our response must be to realize that divine mercy is always undeserved. This is the essential feature of mercy. Mercy is always given to the undeserving, to those who do not have a right to it. When we see a person who realizes that he has been the recipient of undeserved mercy, we are looking at something beautiful.

Second, we can see the beauty of a person who experiences a miracle of grace. This man experienced a physical miracle at least, and if he was not converted before he also experienced a spiritual miracle. The man who could not walk could now take steps. It was not a gradual recovery, but an instantaneous and complete restoration to health. His experience here is a wonderful picture of what takes place in the heart of a sinner when he or she believes in Jesus. Such a person was not merely a spiritual cripple with several handicaps. Instead he was spiritually dead, unaware of God. He was unable to walk in the paths of God and had no desire for them. Yet the grace of God touched him through the gospel, in a manner similar to how Peter's hand lifted up the cripple, and brought spiritual life into his previously dead soul. Such a person is truly beautiful, spiritually alive.

Third, we can see the beauty of a person who enjoys deliverance from his former condition. The cripple's response was 'walking and leaping and praising God'. He was thrilled with what had happened to them. There is nothing more beautiful than to see a person who is full of spiritual joy. His joy was rooted in gratitude to the God who had sent his servants to bring him deliverance, therefore he associated himself with them. The change in his outlook caused the onlookers to be 'filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him'. Similarly, believers should be full of joy: the joy of forgiveness, the joy of a divine Companion, the joy of a heavenly home, the joy of the family of God, the joy of sharing in the things of God. Such a person is truly beautiful to behold.

The Power of Jesus' Name

By Bob Henkins

Scripture: Acts 3:1-10

Key Verse:

"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'" - Acts 3:6

As we go through life it doesn't seem to get any easier. When we get to high school we look back and remember how easy grade school was all the while we look forward to college thinking it will be better. But then in college things get more difficult and we long for the day we'll get graduate and have the freedom of adulthood. And so after graduation, we're happy to get our first job, but as the years go by, we realize that adult life is also difficult with so many responsibilities and pressures and I find that it's ironic that we look back and think how good we had it when we were in grade school when our parents took care of everything. We tend to think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, that if we can just change something, we'll be ok.

But the truth is life can be tough every step of the way. Sometimes in life, we lose sight of what's important because we are always looking for something else. So when life's difficulties hit us smack in the face the devil can oppress us with a feeling of hopelessness and defeat. It's during those moments that we must remember who Jesus is and that we are the children of the King. We must look up to Jesus who is seated at the right hand of God as Lord and Christ. And even though Jesus isn't with us physically any more, we have access to him through his name. There is no name like his, for there is power in the name of Jesus. In today's passage Peter and John heal a crippled beggar in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. When God changes one person, it changes history. This event became a catalyst for church growth, as well as fiery persecution. May God help us to put our faith in Jesus through this passage.

Take a look at verse 1.

"One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer - at three in the afternoon. "

An amazing transformation has taken place in Peter and John as they have become men of prayer. In the past they couldn't stay awake long enough, but now they loved prayer because it was through it that they could spend time with Jesus. Not only did they have fellowship with God but they found that, the more they prayed, the more they received strength, courage and wisdom. And as a result, they were no longer men of fear who avoided the temple because of those who killed Jesus. Now, they boldly entered the temple because it was the house of God.

Verse 2 says,

"Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts."

This man was crippled from birth. He was born into a situation where he was never going to be able to live a normal life. This is a man who had never stood up on his own two feet, never taken a step or gone for a walk. Growing up, he would watch the other kids run around and play ball but he couldn't. All he could do is watch. He was always isolated and left behind. If that's not bad enough, he's probably never going to marry or have kids because he has no way to support his family. His destiny is a dusty mat: as he will be subjected to a life of poverty. Their society didn't have the kind of disability benefits that exist in our day. There were no special parking spots or automatic doors, or wheel There were no companies to hire cripples. All he could do was throw himself at the mercy of God's people. So he would sit outside of the temple hoping to run into someone that was generous. Guys like their freedom and they usually can't wait to drive but he couldn't even take himself from point a to point b. He had to depend on his friends or family to carry him everywhere day and night. He had to hope that they didn't forget to pick him up and leave him out there all night. He wouldn't be able to defend himself. He's completely at the mercy of others, literally. His life consists of hoping, trusting, and praying that God's people would have mercy on him to give him enough money so that he can survive and not starve to death. And for a man, this has to be tough because God created men to be the provider, protector of the family. He would never be fulfilled as a man. And if that's not bad enough, think of all the people that looked down on him as some kind of sinner, because their attitude was like, "I wonder what he, or his parents did, to be punished like that from God." This man was in a dire situation. He was hopeless, helpless and defeated.

So what happened to him? Take a look at verses 3-5.

"When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them."

I don't know about you but I've had my fair share of interactions with beggars and I usually want to avoid direct eye contact with them because as soon as you make eye contact they come right at you. Unlike me, Peter and John looked straight at him. It must have caught the beggar by surprise. So Peter said, "Look at us!" Then the man gave them his attention, probably thinking, "finally someone that's not ignoring me."

But then to his surprise Peter does something that he never expected. Take a look at verse 6.

"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'"

We learn a couple of things from Peter here.

First, Peter had compassion for him. Most people don't have time for a guy like this. He's not going to be a benefit anyone. Usually people are looking to connect with those who can help them, but this guy is a total liability. Knowing that, Peter still embraced him, maybe even made him feel welcome. Instead of wanting to get some kind of benefit, Peter wanted to give something to him. It's interesting from the previous chapter we read that the early church had a little money. They sold their possessions and gave to those who were in need. (v2:45) So why didn't Peter give him money? That's what he wanted? For one thing he didn't have any, but Peter, having the mind of Christ, helped him anyway just not in the way that he expected. Peter helped him in a way that he needed most. Money wouldn't solve his problem. He needed to walk. He needed to be healed of his beggar's way of thinking. Peter wanted to get to the root of this man's problem and solve that. And Peter knew that only Jesus can do this.

Second, Peter had faith in the name of Jesus. Even though Peter didn't have any money, still he found something to give to the beggar. He gave him Jesus. Peter believed that Jesus could help the man walk. That Jesus could solve the man's life problem. When Peter said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk," he was acting on Jesus' behalf as his servant. Peter had been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the name of Christ. Now he was not his own man, but Jesus' servant. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, Jesus was working through Peter. It was Jesus who that healed the man. Peter has grown into a man of faith. This is the fruit of Jesus' discipleship ministry.

Even though Peter didn't write any of the gospels, still he was the guiding influence on John Mark, who wrote Mark's gospel, which we learn that more than any other gospel, it reveals how Jesus taught his disciples. One of the main points that Jesus taught was to have faith in God. Once, when they were in a storm at sea, their boat was nearly sunk. Jesus, who was sleeping soundly in the back, was woken up by his disciples asking, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the waves. The wind died down and it was completely calm. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" (Mk 4:35-41) They were amazed by Jesus' power and authority.

Another time, during the passion week, Jesus saw a fig tree that had many leaves but no fruit. Jesus rebuked the tree and the next day it withered from the roots. When Peter saw it, he was amazed and very excited. Jesus said, "Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.'" (Mk 11:22-23) More than anything, Jesus wanted Peter to learn to put his faith in God, but while Jesus was with him, Peter seemed to remain powerless in unbelief. Now, however, Peter has become a man of faith who could say to a crippled beggar with full conviction, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."

Some think that having faith in the name of Jesus is like casting a spell, (Ac 19:13) but that's not true. Peter was inviting Jesus into that moment. Peter could go to him when he was on the earth; and he could still go to him. "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth."

There is strength of the name of Jesus of Nazareth. There's a reason why people will, when they take the Lord's name in vain, use Jesus' name because that's the name of power and authority. Philippians tells us,

"that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Php 2:10-11)

There's something unique and special about the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This is encouraging because Jesus healed when he was on the earth, and now he's ascended into heaven. Can he still heal? Yes, because he's still alive, and now he's ruling and reigning as sovereign Lord, and we can come to him, and he will hear us and answer us, and he can actually heal from his heavenly throne. Thank God.

Now comes the critical point. Take a look at verses 7-8.

"Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God."

The reason I say that this is the critical point is because now they had to act on their faith. James wrote, "Faith that is not accompanied by action is dead." (Ja 2:17) If he didn't act on his faith, he probably would have missed this blessing, but thank God he didn't. Peter grabbed him and helped him up and amazingly his feet and ankles got strong but he jumped and walked. I'm not sure how he learned to walk so fast. Usually babies take a couple of months, and that doesn't include jumping. Sometimes in the Bible God healed people slowly over time, and other times, like here, it was immediate. This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 35:6, "Then the lame leap like a deer." The promise was given 700 years ago: when Jesus comes, the lame would leap like a deer, and here is that promise being fulfilled.

Verses 9-10 tell us,

"When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him."

This was the first time he was able to go into the temple because people with physical disabilities weren't allowed in. As soon as he is healed, he does not turn his back on God and walk away. He sets his face toward God and goes into the temple that he might worship and praise and celebrate the goodness of God, and the other people are astounded and they do the same. The result of this man's healing is that God is worshiped. The ultimate goal was not the healing; that's the secondary goal. The primary goal is the glory of God. And this happens because of the man's attitude.

After he was healed, he could have walked away just like the man, from John's gospel, who had been a paralytic for 38 years did. (Jn 5) If we compare the two healings, their results are very different. The paralytic had been that way for 38 years, this man had been crippled from birth. Both of them were miraculously healed. However their attitudes were completely different. The 38 year paralytic went away and basically turned Jesus into the authorities because he was healing on the Sabbath, which they didn't approve of. So the result of his miracle was the persecution of Jesus. In contrast, when the man who was lame from birth was healed, he went into the temple and worshipped and thanked God. And the place was filled with wonder and amazement and joy because of the beautiful thing that God had done.

And so what we learn from this is that the attitude of our heart matters. A miracle may happen right in front of us, or even to us, and if our attitude isn't right we may miss the real blessing. Both men were healed physically but only one was healed spiritually; thus only one was healed fully. What we need is forgiveness and healing, body and spirit. Since sin entered the world, people are suffering, and they're sick and struggling.

Romans 8 puts it like this: all creation is groaning. It's under this weight and bondage of sin, and it's yearning for its deliverance back into its intended state. I've heard that something like 70% of Americans are on some sort of prescription medication for an injury or an illness. Over half of Americans are on at least two medications. But it's not only physical suffering. Around us there are so many spiritually crippled people. They are suffering from selfishness, pleasure-seeking, lust, pride, arrogance to name a few. These things oppress us. Spiritually sick people don't know what their real problem is. Because of the misery of their sin, they become hopeless and helpless like this beggar.

But we've been given a promise by God, more than 2700 years ago, that's over 700 years before Jesus was born, that his ministry would do two things: that he would forgive sins spiritually and heal physically. God gave the prophet Isaiah foresight to proclaim, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isa 53:4-5)

We saw from Acts 2, how the prophet Joel prophesied 400-600 years before Jesus came that, "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved," and they saw how God fulfilled his promise right in front of their eyes. And they recorded it for us. Why? The apostle John puts it this way: "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (Jn 20)

The most important thing is the relationship we have with Jesus. The reason Peter and John were able to heal was because of the relationship they had with Jesus. The example is their prayer life at the beginning of the passage. Their will and God's will was completely in sync. That's why they could call upon the name of Jesus and heal this man. We need a vine and branch relationship with the one who made us so that he is in us and we are in him. They were in constant communication with God. And it was not just about asking for things. We all have people in our lives that only call when they want something, you don't want to be that person in Jesus' life right?

What a good a gracious God we have. Don't miss the opportunity, have a deep two sided relationship with the Lord. Won't you call his name today?

Weekly Features

Recipe: Lamb in Yogurt Sauce

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

Ingredients:

2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
4 lean boneless lamb steaks, about 5 oz each
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 green chilies, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
12 green cardamom pods
1 cup water
1-1/4 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted Pat-leafed parsley, to garnish

Directions:

Heat the oil in a skillet and seal the lamb on both sides. Drain on paper towels and reserve.

Add the onion, garlic and chilies to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft.

Stir in the spices and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the water to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the lamb, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir the yogurt and ground almonds into the pan and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the lamb is tender. Stir frequently during this time. (If the sauce is thickening too much, acid a little extra water.)

Sprinkle the lamb and sauce with the flaked almonds and garnish with parsley.

Yield: Serves 4

Attract Happiness and Good Fortune

by Napoleon Hill

Remember, every person lives in two worlds: the world of his own mental attitude, which is greatly influenced by his associates and his surroundings, and the physical world in which he must struggle for a living. The physical world in which you make a living may be beyond your control, but you can, to a great extent, shape the circumstances of your immediate physical world. It can be done by the way you relate yourself to your mental world, for your mental attitude attracts to you those aspects of the physical world which harmonize with your mental attitude. Thus, pessimism will attract misery and ill fortune. But enthusiasm, properly controlled, will attract happiness and good fortune.

Enthusiasm is a great leavening force in your mental world, for it gives power to your purpose. It helps to free your mind of negative influences and brings you peace of mind. It wakens your imagination and stirs you to shape the circumstances of your physical world to meet your own needs.

But no amount of enthusiasm can replace definiteness of purpose. A man without a definite major purpose resembles a locomotive without a track to run on, or a destination toward which to travel. And if he lacks enthusiasm to back his definite major purpose, he is like a locomotive without fuel.

Enthusiasm may be expressed in two ways: passively, through the stimulation of emotional feeling which inspires you to meditate and think in silence; and actively, by the expression of such feeling through words and deeds.

Source: PMA Science of Success. Educational Edition. The Napoleon Hill Foundation. 1983. Pg. 250.

Appreciating The Ordinary

by Wes Hopper

"The Infinite Mind has vast reaches for us to examine, sometimes expanses we cannot yet imagine."
- Margaret Stortz

I've written many of these gratitudes around the idea of our growing into an expansive and creative life. We look into the future and surprise ourselves with what we can do.

Today I have a different suggestion. Let's see what happens when we find new ways to do ordinary things, and ways to do them cheerfully!

This is all part of the process of creating a satisfying and happy life. We can be working on magnificent goals and feel very spiritual, but if emptying the trash or doing the laundry has us muttering, we've missed the point.

These mundane tasks are an important part of the "vast reaches" that we have to traverse in our learning. If we want to handle the magnificent things, we can start by handling the ordinary.

How do we handle them? We approach them with gratitude! We're thankful for the meals that caused the trash, we're grateful for the farmers and grocers who got the food to us.

We appreciate the hard work of the trash collectors who take the remnants of our meals away. We're grateful for tubs and washing/drying machines, and we're grateful for what we're washing.

You get the point. It's part of the process of creating an attitude of gratitude at all times and in all situations.

And you know how important that is!

Source: Daily Gratitude

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