Christian Living Newsletter from BellaOnline.com
- Dear MOSC members,
With regards to earlier messages( # 5456, 5457, 5462) by Itoop ( MOSC elder) regarding sin here are my views.
We all have our own definition of sin. We make sin fit into our own set of rules and define sin according to a standard of righteousness that makes sense to us.
But, according to the Bible, sin is failing to live up to God�s standard of righteousness not ours. Romans 3:23 says that everyone has sinned and everyone falls short of the glory of God.
Looking through the Bible, I found these definitions of sin.
According to 1 John 3:4 and Romans 2:23, 24, breaking God�s law is sin. We find His laws in the 10 Commandments, and by breaking these laws we dishonor Him.
When we know the law, but go our own way and do as we please, we are rebelling against God. This rebellion is sin.
Isaiah 59:13, 14 stresses that we are not to do as we please or go our own way on the Sabbath and if we keep from breaking the Sabbath and if we don�t do as we please and if we don�t go our own way, we will find joy in the Lord. That�s an inner joy that comes from being at peace with God.
Sin is living independently of God. When we make our own rules and plan our life around our own wishes without God�s direction we become our own god.
In Genesis 3:5 the serpent tempted Eve by telling her that if she ate the fruit, she would be like God. That temptation works on many of us. The power of being in charge of our own universe is very appealing.
Sin is pride or conceit. Conceit is an exaggerated estimate of one�s own ability or importance.
1Timothy3:6-7 says that an elder of the church must not be a recent convert or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
Ezekiel 28:14-17 says the devil was once a beautiful angel. He was the model of perfection, but became so taken with himself that he was filled with pride and considered himself equal with God. For this, God cast him out of heaven.
In the end, the devil will be cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:10
Sin is living in such a way that denies God and hides the truth of God from others.
Romans 1:18 says that the wrath of God is against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth.
Sin is going astray, leaving the path of God�s leading and going our own way.
Isaiah 53:6 says that we all, like sheep have gone astray, each has turned to his own way.
Sin is failing to do what we know is right.
James 4:17 says that anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn�t do it, sins.
Sin is not praying for others
I Samuel 12:23 says; �far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.� We know that it is good to pray for others but possibly have never considered it a sin to fail to do so. So, even if we feel that intercession is not our spiritual gift, we are to pray for others.
I believe that sin is anything that does not look like God. It is anything that is not in God�s will and anything that dishonor�s God. We are to be holy as God is holy. Does that sound impossible? That�s why our God, who loves us, sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross in payment for our sins. We are forgiven and made holy because of His sacrifice. John 3:16-18
What to do?
"Maintain justice and do what is right,
for my salvation is close at hand
and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
Blessed is the person who does this,
the person who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it
and keeps his hand from doing evil." Isaiah 56:1,2
How to become a Vessel God ,the 5 requirements are:
*Accept the way God made you.
*Be Emptied of self to make room for God.
*Allow God to Cleanse you even if the process is painful.
*Be Filled and constantly refilled with the Living Water of the Holy
*Pour Out your life in the works as God directs.
- Dear MOSC members,
One of our respected member forwarded us a link. We found it useful to quote the full message. In any case the link is also attached.
This is for all including the priests and bishops of Malankara Church!!!
A believer of God
Please do read from these links and ponder over them!!
Privy Purse literally means allowance of money allocated from the public revenue for the private expenses of a Sovereign or monarch. Our bishops are generally considered kings of their dioceses (a bishop is a king of his people, priest of his people and a prophet of his people). And on this reason they are buried in sitting positions like kings, a tradition maintained by Byzantine royalty, which was later copied by Byzantine bishops, but later discontinued. Currently, only the Syrian Orthodox Church in the Middle East and the Orthodox Syrian Church in Malankara keep that tradition, which has no meaning now when all the monarchies on earth have become functionally defunct. This writer believes that our bishops generally do not get complete rest during their life time on earth due to the number of Holy Liturgies they celebrate, the number of marriages and houses they bless every day, the baptisms they perform, and the public functions they attend every day (fasting ordeals are also part of their daily agenda recently!), and they should start their eternal rest not being seated on a chair, but being flatly laid in a most royal priestly coffin! Jesus, the King of kings did not get a throne of burial; after all, He was wrapped in linen and laid in somebody�s tomb. This is not our topic. Our discussion is on the Purse of our diocesan bishops.
Our diocesan bishops are professed monks. As monks they should not have any earnings or possessions. Strictly speaking, they cannot own anything except their habit and other items for day-to-day use. The Church they serve should take care of their needs, such as residence, food, cloths, transportation, and domestic and office help. Does the Church take care of them adequately? Some bishops in the past had complained that they had been nearly at the point of starvation. If we cannot adequately support a bishop, I urge the Church not to consecrate a bishop, unless he is willing to go to the mission field where he may have only the basics.
Canonically speaking, The Syrian Church does not have a stipulation of maintaining a monastic episcopate like the Byzantine Orthodox Church that has a canonical requirement that only a monk could be made a bishop. In the Oriental Orthodox Churches, to the best of our knowledge there was no canonical and conciliar injunction against a married person becoming a bishop in any of the first three ecumenical councils. Most of our holy fathers during the early centuries of Christianity were married bishops with children, and some of their children also eventually became bishops. However, at least since the eighth century monastics began to monopolize the episcopate due to various reasons, most of which are irrelevant now. The only overriding justification for a monastic episcopate is just convention.
We would love to see our bishops living in strict obedience to their monastic vows, and we venerate their sanctity as monks. This writer was secretary to Metropolitan Mar Thoma Dionysius of Niranam for four years. There is a dictum in English: �Familiarity breeds contempt�. After living with this great hierarch of blessed memory, this writer became convinced that familiarity does not breed contempt; on the other hand, if the person under consideration possesses radiant virtues, it breeds not only appreciation, but also veneration. This great hierarch did not possess practically anything. When we went to perform sacramental rites, it was a custom among our people to give a gift (kaimuth) to him. During those days the amounts were not large; but he never saved a penny in any banks from these gifts (kaimuth). He never had a bank account of his own, except when he had to have such an account in connection with his position as the Manager of Mount Tabor Educational Institutions. Whatever he received as gifts were distributed among the poor without even counting what he had received or what he was about to donate. How many prelates are there like him in the Church now!
There are a lot of rumors spreading in our Orthodox Churches that our bishops are unreasonably attached to money and that their bank deposits are fatter than what the bank even can hold. To the best of our knowledge there are only very few bishops who could be considered ascetically poor. Bishops are supposed to observe poverty as one of their vows and as a virtue. Some of them have accounts with the worth of hundreds of thousands and even millions. Many of these bishops were humble ideal priests when they were elected to the episcopate. But after receiving their episcopal cassocks, they felt more regal and began to think of possessing more material wealth.
We believe the Holy Synods and other supervisory bodies have to think about protecting the integrity and character of our traditional episcopate. We suggest the following:
The Diocese or the Church has to meet all the expenses of a bishop and his staff and maintain his residence unsparingly, but with the simplicity required for monks.
The Church should provide adequate transportation for the bishop and his staff. No car should be registered in the name of a particular bishop. All vehicles are to be bought and registered in the name of the Church.
Every bishop should be provided with discretionary funds with limits of spending. On unusual occasions, the bishop may take from this fund to provide for his personal charities.
The Church should meet all the incidental expenses of the bishop with accountability. This does not mean that he should get permission from the Diocesan Council or Assembly to spend the money he needs for various purposes. He should be treated like the head of a household with respect and dignity. But as a father in the family, he is responsible to the entire Church. The Church should know the amount that is expended.
All substantial charities should be administered through the office of the bishop as a disbursement item covered by the Diocesan budget.
All receipts (for example, gifts received as donations, gifts, stipends, allowances, etc.) taken by the bishop should go to the treasury of the Church or Diocese.
If anyone requires a bishop to perform his sacraments, the Diocese should charge him for the transportation of the bishop and his staff, and an additional tax to help the poor of the Church (education, marriage, house construction for the homeless, etc.).
All the monies donated to the bishop as gift (kaimuth) should be turned over to the Diocese/ Church. However, he may earmark what he received as gift (kaimuth) for his favorite charities or other benevolent purposes.
No monies generated by the ministerial service of a bishop should be deposited in the personal account of the bishop, but may be deposited in his name as the head of a Diocese.
There may be more suggestions. The purpose is to establish a strict monastic discipline within the episcopate. This writer visited the Coptic Church of Egypt a few years ago, and personally observed how their bishops lived. Almost all bishops live in monastic environments. They are well taken care of by their communities. All their receipts are turned over to the monastery or institution they are part of. For example, this writer stayed with Bishop Picenti for about two weeks. He lives in a large monastery (St. BarSoum), which is like an Industrial Estate. He has a bank account in his name, but not in his personal name; the account is in the name of Bishop Picenti of Helwan (Helwan is the name of his diocese). This man does not even see the balances of that account. The account is operated by his diocesan officers (including priests and nuns). The community takes care of him. He never worries about any of his needs. This is the life an ideal monk-bishop.
Can our episcopate imitate this kind of reform to establish a simple monastic life without attachment to money and material possessions? If our bishops cannot live as monks, we do not need the monastic episcopate. Let us start thinking about consecrating virtuous and holy married priests to the order of bishops in our Church, and it is not a violation of the Word of God. +KCT
- --- In MalankaraOrthodoxSyrianChristian@yahoogroups.com, "Elaine Jose"
> Ezekiel 28:14-17 says the devil was once a beautiful angel. He wasHello Elaine
>the model of perfection, but became so taken with himself that he >was
>filled with pride and considered himself equal with God. For >this,
>God cast him out of heaven.
Perhaps I can add what I heared from a senior muslim friend. He said it
is from their Holy Quran.. But, I am not sure if this story is right or
Their version of Genesis is that after God created Man in his own
image; God asked the angels in heaven to bow to his new creation. This
was to test the obedience of the Angels. A group of Angels under
Gabriel obeyed God's order. But, another group under Belsabool refused
and fallen to earth from heaven.
Those fallen angels considered Man as their enemy and are constantly
fighting for distroying Man.
So, we cannot avoid this fight between good and evil as long as we are
living in this earthly body. WE cannot win it by our own merit. We can
win it only by His Grace. And that Grace comes to us when we remain in
constant touch with HIM. The key is LOve of God. That will lead to
prayer and worship. That should lead to loving other God's creation.
- Dear Elaine,
I praise God for using you to so rightly point out what sin is. My
earlier discussions with some members of GSC was as you know, quite
frustrating. I also see Ronnie's message about some Islamic theory of
God asking Satan to worship man. I think all these are nothing but
fables propagated by muslims to get into the good books of jews and
christians. If this muslim fabrication is to believed, then Gabriel
was/ is a human worshipper. Outright bogus isnt it?
May I also make a point:
Islam is evil. It is crushing man , and is the religion of satan.
Islam can turn any man anytime into a blood thirsty enemy of
humanity. That is satan. The fact that Allah ( Mohammeds God)
masquerades as Jehovah, that is deception. That is Satan.
The primary reason why we cannot win against Islamic terrorism is
because we tend to exonerate the religion Islam and treat harshly the
terrorist. This is a tactical error based on either a lack of
understanding of Islam or a delibrate mistake. . We also have in
MOSC group the venerable Abba Brown a monk who was chased out of Iraq
and his church razed to the ground. Such is the hatred of Islam
towards christians. Islam is satanic and those who profess that
religion are satan.
The right way for the entire civilised world is to de-recognise
Islam as a religion. Islam must be banned and declared as a violent
I urge members to keep these points in mind while dealing with
- Dear Group elder and members,
I have more than once noticed that Islam is termed as evil by the
group elder. Let me first of all give the reason why I am taking up
I live among the arab immigrants from all over Lebanon, Palestine
and north africa here. And most of them are Muslims. There have been
some things in their behavioiur which I have noticed to be a general
pattern among the Muslims of the world. They tend to me more
agressive, more violent, least bothered about somebodies pain and
mainly their unclean living and unhealthy habits.
But of all these is their conviction towards their religion.
I really doubt if they worship Satan. Because all the above traits
of the world muslims can be termed as the characterstics of evil. I
recently had a catholic friend who told me that their five times of
prayers namely Sabah, asr, Isha, Maghreb are the names of the fallen
angels along with Lucifer. I dont know how far this is true ?
But the funniest thing is after all this Islam is supposed to be the
fastest growing religion in the world. More people are attracted to
it more than ever. I have a christian friend here who is seriously
thinking of converting. He says once he converts life will get
better for him and he cites a lot of examples. And unfortunately
these examples also lead us to believe so. Muslims are renowned for
black magic and fetish. I have seen people getting successful in
their needs after paying a visit to the fetish priests.
I am raising this topic to just know if any of the learned members
of this forum can throw some light on this and explain things for
the benefit ignorant members like myself.
- Dear Elaine, Itoop and memebers of MOSC
I have seen your mails concerning sin and its definitions. I think the obsession of sin, has become a trade �mark of Christianity.
1. Are Christians unaffected by earthly problems?
2. Aren�t other people on earth living, eating, falling sick, dying etc similar to Christians?
3. Is Christians living / life different from others?
4. Is sin the cause of all problems / misery and even death?
5. Satan is originator of sin and yet never dies?
6. Will faith is Jesus Christ mean redemption from sin?
7. Will we become sinless after taking Holy Communion?
8. Is studying bible is profitable?
9. Is the bible as accurate as we presume it to be?
10. Isn�t life a constant struggle, both bodily and spiritually?
We know little or almost nothing what happens after death. Neither do we know why we were born nor can we say why we are going to die. I presume all mankind is heading the same way; some by walk, some by car, some by ship and some by airplane. The mode of transport varies, also the comfort levels. Hunger and thirst torment us daily. Death remains the common leveler for all living beings.
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