Posts Tagged With: gospel

Don’t Be Afraid If You Commit A Sin

Sounds heretical doesn’t it? I mean, come on, don’t be afraid to sin, isn’t that the total opposite to promising never to sin again and doesn’t Christ himself tell us to go away and sin no more?

Yes of course I’d never encourage you to sin and I’m not asking you to go out and sin but to plunge into life and not be afraid to sin.

I’m thinking of the video I viewed recently where a heroic soldier in Mosul ran from the safety and cover of a tank to rescue a child caught in the firing line upon the middle of a dirt road. He ran out and although he got shot in the leg, he came back to safety with the girl in his arms alive and well which brings me to my next point.

The man in scriptures was afraid to lose the talent he had been given because he was so fearful of his master. Many of us miss opportunities to save others or to share our faith in the world and the talent (the Gospel) we’ve been given because we view God as someone who is a big judge that should we speak wrongly or act in a way so terrible he will judge us harshly.

We must battle in the world and to expect ourselves to walk through a thorny bush and come out clean on the other side is a little silly. God doesn’t look at our sins so much as our endurance.

Here is a story I learned from Elder and Saint Paisios.

He recalled how a young monk from Asia Minor came to the monastery in his youth. He was a serious alcoholic. How it happened was his parents worked in the fields all day and when he was a baby his mother, to keep him from crying would give him a very strong drink called Raka. Seriously strong stuff.

So he grew up an alcoholic. Elder Paisios tried to help this monk from his addiction by giving him a strict prayer rule. The monk drank 20 glasses of this stuff every day but after many many years through constant adherence to this prayer rule of Paisios, managed to reduce the number of glasses right down to just 4 a day but it would still make him drunk.

He was in charge of the gates at the monastery in Mount Athos. The pilgrims always complained about this drunk Monk as the stink of alcohol off him they thought it was an absolute scandal he should even be a monk at all.

The Monk never really eliminated his alcohol addiction. Well, one day the pilgrims arrived only to find the monk in charge of the gate, the one who always smelled of drink and fell all over the place as he fetched for the keys to open the gate was not there anymore.

They soon learned that the poor man had died. They went to St.Paisios with a sigh of relief and said to him ”Ah that man is dead now the one who was always drunk” hoping the elder would agree with them he lived a scandalous life.

Well, the elder just said to them ”Ah yes, I remember when it happened, the moment he died I saw the heavens open and thousands of Angels and all the Archangels surrounded him and took him to Heaven.

The people were indignant about what the elder had said and sharply continued that ”this was impossible he was such a sinner and drunkard and drunkards don’t go to heaven”.

The Elder told them the story of the monks life and then said ”You see, what you saw was nothing but a scandalous old sinner and drunkard. But what God saw was a true warrior who endured and battled with the demons until the very end.”

What I’m telling you is don’t get too caught up on your vices and sins. Don’t be afraid to do battle and receive some scars. Don’t avoid life and bury the talent but go out into the heavy thickness of the battlefield and leave all your worries about sin behind you and just do your best.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t battle sin and avoid sin, but not to be afraid of falling into it, because the Lord sees your effort and is always ready to forgive, always waiting for you to show your worth, ask forgiveness and get back into the thick of the battle.

 

 

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When Jesus Tells Us To Cut Off Our Hand

There’s that moment in the Gospel where Jesus tells us to cut off our hand pluck out our eyes should either lead us to sin.

Is it something we should take literally? No yet it is reported that one Bishop long ago actually did cut off his hand.

When something remains in disuse it goes dead, limp even. It will not even come to mind at all after a while.

Jesus calls us here to remove ourselves from a sinful situation. Monks have already done this as where they are now, have been removed from the scene of the world yet the devil attacks them still through memory so they too still need to train themselves to make this go limp and cut it off.

Remove the eye by training the eye to look at other things so that it wont be lead into sin. Train the hand and remove it from its sinful practices and by becoming a new person.

I’m going to go a step further. It is helpful to go to a monastery but not all of us can.

Living in the world is it possible to look at a woman dressed so provocatively and yet not be aroused or to be tempted to lust after her?

Yes it is but one would have to be a spiritual giant of sorts in order to maintain it. But it is possible that whilst the eye sees the naked woman, it is possible for it to at the same time be plucked out and not present. Does that make sense to you?

Because when you are filled with light the eye perceives everything through that light. So if you’re filled with the Light of the Holy Spirit it’s enough to blind you to all that is darkness and evil.

So when Jesus says to pluck out your eye and cut off your hand, he means to detach yourself from them and grow new eyes that perceives all via the Holy Spirit and to grow a new hands that shake for peace and not war.

 

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You Can Be Poor And Yet Remain A Wealthy Man

In the Gospel there is the bit where the wealthy man approaches Jesus and asks him what he must do to gain eternal life.

Jesus responds in part that he must give up everything owns and follow him. But the man walks away sad because he was wealthy and remained enslaved to his wealth.

I would like to think that Jesus wasn’t just telling him that he must give up all his gold.

There is much wealth we possess that we must get rid of. Like Gold this kind of wealth is also transient and not long-lasting. The riches I speak of here are Self Esteem/egoism, approval and the need to feel loved by others.

This is actually much harder to give up than wealth.

Take a look at the current case in the united states with Kathy Griffin, a small time comedian whose made a career for herself but it’s now shattered due to the nature of her most recent stunt.

Now, instead of humbling herself she is playing a victim. But what were the intentions behind her actions? She wanted to be ”provocative” like most celebrities do such as Madonna and Miley Cyrus in order to ”further” their career.

Kathy is a prime example of someone who goes fishing for ”likes” and appraisal by the world because she feels like most of us that without it, we cannot survive the emotional roller coaster in life.

Unfortunately for Kathy, instead of getting the pat on the back she was expecting for a job well done, even her own liberal kind turned on her in the end for going a step too far.

This pat on the back we crave it don’t we? Without it life just isn’t worth living. We are enslaved and held captive by none other than ourselves. We throw ourselves into this prison of Egoism, Vanity and the need to feel approval or loved by others.

It is us to create a prison for ourselves and when it’s been brought to our attention we play the blame game such as Kathy did live on television, surrounded by her laughing lawyer who laughs with her all the way to the ”bank”.

Kathy is a reflection of the sickly world, a reflection of me and you. We need to pray for that woman because it’s obvious the Lord has humbled her and in his merciful justice tries to do the same with all of us that we may return but our hearts are so stubborn.

So if we want eternal life get rid of all the wealth might be a good idea, but what about the hidden treasure we refuse to let go of, the kind that we need no matter what our financial status is? That’s the treasure Jesus requires we forfeit in exchange for the true treasure which is knowing and Loving God.

 

 

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Catching People Alive!!!

In the Gospel of Luke Jesus asks Peter to throw out his nets into the deep to catch fish. Peter obeys and the fish are so plentiful that the nets are breaking. 

Now Peter asks the Lord to depart from him because he’s a sinful man. Jesus finishes by telling Peter that you will be a fisher of men. 

In most gospels the translation used is “fisher of men” but the actual literal translation to English from the Greek is ” from now on, you will be catching people alive.” 

What happens when you catch a fish alive and bring it to the shore to be placed at the Lords feet? It dies, but it just doesn’t die quickly but slowly. 

What I see here is the church reaches into the depths of the world and pulls out all these unChristisn people, bring them to the Lords feet where they die to themselves. But dying to the self is a slow process not a quick one. 

What happens when a fish dies? It becomes useful as now we can eat it. 

Likewise when a soul dies to itself  it becomes useful to God and he feeds the world with his new self. 

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Do You Want To Be Healed?

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

That’s a qoute from John 5:6. The man has been paraylzed for years and is suffering and Jesus asks do you want to get well? If someone came up to you in your suffering you’d be pretty insulted by that or think its a bit of a silly question to ask someone.

Of course you want to be healed of this illness and so you’d respond right away that you wanted to be healed.

However much it seems like Jesus is asking a stupid question he is indeed not doing so. Jesus knows the parylytic wants to be healed of his physical illness even before he asks but Jesus is asking a much deeper question.

Here’s the thing: Most of us come to God on the rare occassion that we want something. It might be a job, house, car, wife or to be healed of a life long illness.

Jesus on the other hand isn’t asking if we want to be healed of these things but do we want to change our life in which we hold onto our sinful ways and be renewed in the Spirit. To have a complete radical change of life so as to follow him completely with our hearts.

People are like a person standing up to his neck in watery shit. . . right up to their nose where they can just about breath. When someone comes along and offers to take them out of this sewage, putting an end to their torment, the victim replies ”Oh no I’m fine, can you just be careful not to make any waves? because every time waves come I find it hard to breath but I’m quite content where I am.

The victim wants people to stop making waves. He want’s RELIEF but does not want to CHANGE. In fact one could say he’s become so accustomed to shit he is standing in that he is not even aware its there. Isn’t that the perfect picture of us all? we have been so accustomed to secular life from birth that we are not aware we are the victim of something much more sinister or the victim of the secular life which is choking us and preventing us from a relationship with Christ.

The first step to healing therefore must be the willingness to be honest with ourselves and admit we don’t want to be healed, we don’t want to change. We’d rather Jesus give us what we want and get back to being a victim of the secular world with all it’s egoism, anxiety and thrills of power, sex and drink/drugs.

Some of us are up to our neck in it but we don’t see how it’s holding us back from a close relationship to God and how this secular unchristian life is actually the true sickness of our souls that needs to change.

In the Gospel Jesus understands that we want to be healed of our paralysis but he’s asking us all a deeper question for our paraylsis does not effect the eternal. He wants to know do we want to be healed and enter eternal life and become a renewed person who has the awareness now to see that all this power, riches and false wisdom of the world is nothing but an illusion holding us back from tasting the beautiful truth?

The paralysed man in the Gospel doesn’t answer Jesus. He instead just ignores that question and says he can’t make it into the pool to get healed. The man knew what Jesus was asking but he refused to answer the deeper question.

However, even though Jesus healed him he later comes back to find the man in the temple and is upset with his relectance to change his ways. He reprimands him as a loving father and says:

Afterwards, Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee.

Wow. Here we find Jesus telling him more clearly: CHANGE YOUR WAYS or else SOMETHING WORSE WILL HAPPEN YOU.

Whats the worse thing that will happen? He will become lost to the eternal fires of hell thats what will happen. and that my dear readers is much worse than any cancer or suffering this world has on offer. to be cast for all eternity into hell and to put ourselves there because of our own fault because we refused to change is just a horrible thought.

So Jesus is asking you and me right now….do you WANT to be healed? stop ignoring the question like the disabled man in the Gosepl did and begin asking questions about what it means to be healed spiritually.

To have a radical change in your life and friends around you or anything within you that you’re holding back being brought to the light, this is what it means to be transformed and healed.

This is the question Jesus is asking you so answer truthfully and admit you don’t want to be healed. You don’t want to let go of your worldly and sinful sickness. I’m the same, letting go is difficult for all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you conservative or a liberal?

When people ask me this question of whether or not I am liberal or conservative I answer that I am neither of these, I am simply Christian. It is only by embracing Christianity that we can truly be set free from all evils. A politics or country that denies itself and embraces the Gospel will always win. But then again I guess in some kind of an odd way I could play the hypocrite here almost and say that the Christian is both conservative and liberal. He ( the Christian ) wishes to conserve that which is true and liberate himself from evil and seeks new ways to communicate that unchangable truth to the masses. But on second thoughts there is no hypocritical outlook in what I said because being a Christian is the root, and conservatism and liberalism is but two branches that sprout from it or the fruit that emerges from being a Christian, because its a conservatism and liberalism as Christ would understand it and not the worlds idea of conservatism and liberalism both of which can often seek to contradict the Gospel the latter being the bigger culprit.

So yes I am a Christian who is both conservative and liberal. But when somebody asks me am I conservative or liberal they are asking me which worldly outlook do I agree with more, and the answer is neither, I am Christian whose Gospel message has a conservatism and liberalism that is much greater and of higher value than that of the worlds understanding of what real conservatism and liberalism is.

I think I have a headache now haha. Goodnight and blessings to all of you.

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Aladdin The Cartoon And A Nice Message

Before I get started may I just note to the reader that this is not a full review of this Disney feature film. It is just my excerpt of what captured my attention right away and something I felt compelled to write a short post about.

I am sure many are aware of this Disney feature film. If not then I suggest you buy it and watch it with your kids. It carries with it a good message about the dangers of wanting power and what it entails, and in the end how truth always prevails even if the outcome should be that one remains powerless because weakness and truth is power.

So I bought this movie for my son. it was in fact a kind of selfish desire of my own to buy it also as I wanted to revisit my childhood years in watching it.

So apart from other messages in the film I picked up on the part where Aladdin and the Princess escape the market from the guards who wanted to capture them for being thieves. When they do finally escape they have a conversation where the princess is saying something like ”I hate the rich life of being a princess, always being locked up and never getting out. ” While she is saying this Aladdin ( a poor thief and begger boy ) is saying ”I hate being poor and being trampled on and would love to make it big and rich someday.”

They both look at each other, realise what it is they are saying and then erupt in laughter before moving on.What I find interesting about this is that such a conversation proves that both of them are miserable regardless of their material position, that is, one being poor and the other being of great wealth.So it is not our material disposition that gives us happiness. It is Christ from on high.

It reminded me of that part of the Gospel where the rich man approaches Jesus and has a conversation with him about wanting to follow him. The man of great wealth asks Jesus what it is he must do in order to be a follower of his. So Jesus tells him to follow the commandments. But the wealthy man replied that he already does this. Jesus then tells the man of great wealth to give up all he owns. But then the man walked away sad because he was extremely wealthy. He was not prepared to give all his material possessions up.

But there is something even deeper about Jesus message about giving up what one owns. It’s not just about being detached and getting rid of our ”material” possessions but also our ”worldly” riches. The riches of egoism, prestige and desire for power and to commit sin. The desire of pleasure in worldy things. Poor or rich many of us are unwilling to give up these things in order to truly follow Christ.

So here we have Aladdin and the Princess. One rich, the other poor and both miserable. The solution to their depression lies not in their getting of one thing, But their dropping of another, that is, their attachment to the world and all it offers. It is their attachment to materialism amongst other deeper attachments that lay more hidden in their soul that keep them locked in a cage they created for themselves.

God bless

Domestic Monk

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