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Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Guarantee Victory Over Your Enemy

"Do not be vengeful; do not return evil for evil. 

The evil of your neighbor is sufficient. If you return evil for evil, you double the amount of evil in the world; but if you do not return him evil, he may yet burn out his own evil through repentance, and you will have lessened the evil in the world by your patience and forgiveness...

Wait on the Lord. 

...In due time both you and he who wishes evil to you will realized that He sees and remembers. You may wonder what you have accomplished in not returning evil for evil. You have accomplished the wisest possible thing in any given circumstances, namely: you have renounced your battle to the One stronger than you, and He who is stronger will win the victory for you. If you engage in battle with the evildoer, you may be overcome. 

Renounce your fight, therefore, and hand it over to the One who is victorious and unconquerable, and wait with patience.

Learn from a little child: when he is attacked by someone in the presence of his parents, he does not return to the attack but runs to his parents and bursts into tears. He knows that his parents will protect him. How do you not know that which a little child knows? ...Therefore, do not be vengeful. do not return evil for evil, but look to your Father and cry to Him. 

Only in this way will you guarantee victory for 
yourself in the clash with evil men."  

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic'

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Love Everyone!

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice... Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you... But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips... Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Love One Another
 
Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
 
Love Your Enemies
 
Matt. 5:43-48 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Monday, November 10, 2014

...and armed forces everywhere, let us pray to the Lord.

 
I Pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic
for which it stands,
one Nation under God,  
indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all

Friday, November 07, 2014

The DARKNESS Of The United States Shadow Government

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places... 

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil...

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness...

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light...

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief...



Shadow Government

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Attachment To One's Kinsfolk

For many years when I would ask God to show me His will, he would repeat the same thing to my mind- a scripture reference: Mark Chapter 10. When I first turned to this scripture, at His prompting, verses 29- 31 were made Rhema to me.

"And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."

Indeed, I did leave my brethren, my relatives, the religion and culture of my father and siblings, and thus, their desires for my future. I left their influence. Even so, many, many years of persecutions were endured before I was able to fully, in my heart and emotions, separate myself from them in order to fully attend to the path onto which God had placed my feet. This blog, initiated in 2006, shows some of that Journey. Still today, I get the ire of my siblings when I make commentary and comparison of the orthodox Christian Church, established by Christ and His Apostles, to the doctrines and practices of the Baptist faith, established by the Anglican, "self-bapizer", turned Mennonite, John Smithe. Responses from my siblings usually denigrate into  ad- hominems

Saint Symeon The New Theologian saw this struggle, in his own experience, and with the monks under his care. Those who would follow Christ, who would hear the call of God in their lives. who were still emotionally bound by the sincere love of their family and their sincere desire to be at peace with them, were continually distracted, pulled to and fro by their relative's selfish desires and wishes for their future. They have not heard the call of God in your heart, how could they? So, they cast dispersion on it. We struggle not to take such casting to heart and to remember the promise of God to all of us... But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time... Indeed, missing of the approval of my family. and the limited times I get to see them, is no sacrifice compared to the promise of God shown true in my life. His path is the most joyous and His family is the most devoted.  My earthly family has been replaced, and that right well.

Here are the words of Saint Symeon, who does not take lightly the meddling of relatives who interrupt the sanctifying process of God in his life and try to include him in their fate- by drawing him back into their family unit. 

"Wretch as I am, I have been the first to realize this. As I lie in a pit of mud, I realize my own faults. I cry out from below and call to all who pass by outside,

 'Get yourselves away, brethren, from this most horrible pit, and go by the straight way, which is in Christ!' 

Let no one turn aside to the right or to the left and fall in here where I am in my wretchedness and misfortune, and so be deprived not only of earthly benefits, but of heavenly ones as well! The most wicked one, the enemy of our souls, the devil by means of his manifold machinations time and time again casts most men, or nearly all, together as in heaps into such a pit. He often uses this one means, 

ATTACHMENT TO ONE'S KINSFOLK,

like a lasso to drag them off. The enemy brings it around the neck of every one who has accepted this attachment and pulls and drags them off together to such frightful precipices and dangerous pits of sin from which there is no escape, and ever plunges them into the abyss of despair. Once he has brought them down into the depth of hell and bound them (Prov. 14:12), he leaves them there. 

I implore you, brethren, let us flee from this destruction."


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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Utter Obtuseness!

A wind is blowing. A current of dissent and calamity. A course of strife and enmity with God. Purveyors of truth are purveyors of falsehoods. They speak for God with the voice of demons. Sowing discord among the brethren. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Sweet and bitter waters flow from the same stream. Brethren! This ought not so to be. Blog forums, "public letters" circulate, authored by people with no ecclesiastical authority to do so. They pose as someone whom they are not and speak for others under false identities. Torrents of discord travel via the internet and cause destruction and disharmony. They care nothing of the truth but are deceived in their own minds and have become agents of the evil one. They cannot discern right from wrong, flesh from spirit, truth from fiction. They are oblivious to the correction of God and turn a deaf ear to God's voice of warning. They have been given over to a reprobate mind.

"But he who imagines that he knows, even though he knows nothing, were he even to see an angel from heaven come down to him, yet he would send him away as though he were an evil demon. Even if it were an Apostle or a prophet of God, he would turn him away like another Simon Magus. What utter obtuseness that a blind man should consider the seeing man to be blind, and that he who talks nonsense should think that the words of the sensible man are nonsense!

The blind man disbelieves those who tell him at night that the sun is not shining, and in his disbelief thinks that it is night when it is high noon. He thinks both are deceiving him whether by day they tell him that there is light, or at night that it is dark, and in his doubt sends his informant packing. So those who sit in the darkness of passions and whose minds are blinded by ignorance, or, rather those who have not acquired 'the mind of Christ' think that he who has the mind of Christ is foolish, and that he who has it not is sensible. Of these the Prophet David rightly states, 'The ignorant and foolish perish together.'

Therefore such men twist the whole of Scripture according to their own desires and corrupt themselves in their own passions. But it is not divine Scripture that suffers from this, but those who disfigure it!" Saint Symeon the new Theologian

BISHOPS OF THE CHURCH; DO YOU KNOW WHO IS SPEAKING FOR YOU?
Bishops of the church should take care to make straight their lines of communication to the world. They should delegate less and be at the forefront of their own communication and discourse. They should prefer personal meetings, personal phone calls, and personally authored letters that are delivered by hand or certified mail. They should be aware of whom among their parishioners are speaking for them and under their banner. They should step on the neck of Jezebel who seeks to control the message of the Church and assure disunity and dysfunction. They should give edict that the blind may not speak for the seeing, the deaf cannot speak for the hearing. They should ask of the these:

WHEN DID YOU RECEIVE THE COMMISSION, THE ORDINATION, THE AUTHORITY, THE SACRAMENT WHEREBY YOU DO INSTRUCT EVEN THE CLERGY AND THE MAN OF GOD? FROM WHOM DID YOU RECEIVE SUCH A MANTLE? 

The Bishop should say: 

Be silent! Be humble! Be obscure! So that your soul may be rescued and the fire that you have set may be squelched. The squire does not order the King nor does the servant issue an edict. Let you be rightly aligned. Let everything be done decently and in order.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

How Do YOU Treat A Brother In Sin?

The Devil cunningly induces us - instead of irritating us against himself - to notice our neighbors' sins, to make us spiteful and angry with others, and to awaken our contempt towards them, thus keeping us in enmity with our neighbors, and with the Lord God Himself. Therefore, we must despise the sins, the faults themselves, and not our brother who commits them at the Devil's instigation, through infirmity and habit; we must pity him, and gently and lovingly instruct him, as one who forgets himself, or who is sick, as a prisoner and the slave of his sin. But our animosity, our anger towards the sinner only increases his sickness, oblivion, and spiritual bondage, instead of lessening them.-
 
St John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

INSPIRED To Write

"Since the saints are constantly inflamed by longing for Him and

mystically INSPIRED 

by Him, they write sometimes to bewail [express great regret, disappointment, or bitterness over something] the possessions of others, sometimes they expose their own failures, and at times they recount with gratitude the blessing bestowed on them and the workings of grace. They sing theological hymns of praise to him who by His divine working has transformed them. At other times, if they hear anything that has been erroneously and faultily expressed concerning the salvation of our souls, they set it right in accordance with the measure of the knowledge (cf. Rom. 12:3) that has been given them. 

They put this in WRITING 

and bring in testimonies from the divine Scriptures without being able to rest or be satisfied with that which they have expounded. How is it that they are able to do all these things? Because they are no longer their own (cf. 1 Cor. 6:19) but belong to the Spirit who is in them. He moves them and is Himself moved by them. In them He becomes all the things about which you hear in the divine Scriptures concerning the kingdom of heaven- 
  • a pearl (cf.Mt. 13:46),
  • a mustard seed (cf. Mt.13:31; Mk. 4:31),
  • leaven (cf. Mt. 13:33; Lk. 13:21)
  • water, fire (cf. Mt. 3:11; Lk. 12:49)
  • bread (cf. Jn. 6:32-33),
  • drink of life.

He becomes a

  • living fountain springing forth, 
  • a river flowing with spiritual words (Jn. 4:17)
  • word of divine life,
  • a lamp (cf. Mt 5:15),
  • bed, marriage bed, wedding chamber (Matt.22;10)
  • bridegroom (Mt 25:1)
  • friend, brother, father.

But why do I try with many words to expound the whole matter--the terms are without number! For how can a tongue measure what "eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived" (1 Cor 2:9) and express it in words? In no way whatever! For even if we possessed all these things within us because we carry with us God who supplies them, yet we cannot measure our minds, nor in any way explain them by word." Saint Symeon The New Theologian

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Obese Clergy- The Elephant In The Room-TWO

In the recent JTO post, Obese Clergy- The Elephant In The Room, I raised the question: "Why are there so many obese clergy?" I stated that I was at a loss and asked the JTO readers to write the article for me in the comment section. There were three takers. Here is what we wrote:

Anonymous 9:51 AM
I think there are two important factors that contribute. First is the level of physical activity. Our clergy is typically not doing physically demanding work and their schedules may not allow time for an exercise program. second is the social aspect - many parishioners love their priest and express that love through food. Whether it's inviting them to dinner, scheduling meetings over lunch or baking their favorite dessert for coffee hour after Liturgy, it's how many show their appreciation. Let's face it, baklava is not a weight loss food. So even with regular fasting, I can see where it's hard to stay thin. And should clergy worry too much about their appearance? Is that not vanity?

Of course, I would rather our clergy not be obese because I pray for their health and obesity is such a terrible factor in so many health problems.

Guess that doesn't help much.

Dan

I agree, Dan.

There is no elephant in the room. I've never met a layperson who was scandalized by a fat priest. Fat priests will have to answer for their sins, just like loquacious priests will have to answer for theirs, and priests with tempers will have to answer for theirs. But there is no elephant in the room. Since we are writing the article in the comments section, I propose the article go like this:

Some people get upset when they see fat priests.

They should focus on their own sins, and move along.

Gluttony is a sin, indeed, but so is lust, anger, malice, pride, jealousy, and the rest.

Sinners need our prayers.

How sad that some priests develop diabetes or eating problems as a result of the stress of they are under.

Let's pray for each other.
THE END.

Anonymous 8:54 PM
This is something I have reflected on and while I agree that we must first examine ourselves, I think there is something to this question. The truly pious among us want very little from the world and seek few, if any, of it's comforts. I think the Church and sadly, Her Clergy, have focused more on administration and their personal subsistence, rather than worship (in Spirit and in Truth, not in performance). This lack of focus on the purpose of the Church has led to excesses in the world manifested in very physical ways, gluttony and self-indulgences being two of them. I also think that rather than excuse our weaknesses, we should strive to encourage one another to be strengthened in our spiritual battles, that we might all move closer to God. - Marina

Here is what I would add to the article:

Obesity is not necessarily a sign of intentional sin in one's life. It is not necessarily a result of gluttony or of lack of self-control. More often than not, it is a sign of ignorance. My own Bishop, after reading the post and seeing the question raised, commented that clergy fast from meat and substitute starches, such as macaroni and cheese while fasting. My Bishop was on target. Obesity is a result of WHAT we eat. Is it a good spiritual exercise, then,  to fast from certain foods while eating other foods that are killing us?

As we have aged, my wife and I, like many others, found our our weight going up and our health going down. We determined to find out how we could be better stewards of the bodies that we were given- the bodies with which we serve our Lord and His Holy Church. We discovered that we are not destined to have overweight, diseased-ridden bodies the older we get. We decided to do something about it. We are still in process, but the answer we discovered is simple... 

A plant-based diet. No grains. No dairy. No meat. No refined or processed foods. Eat organic plants void of toxins and modifications. 

We do not go hungry and we get all the nutrients our bodies need.

A simple answer, yes, but the decision and understanding as to what one should eat and how one can live this lifestyle is the knowledge that is lacking. I am not content to just look to my own welfare while I see my fellow clergy dying for lack of knowledge. I would much rather weather the consternation of some who are offended that such a question would even be raised, than to keep to myself the knowledge of how to bring our bodies and minds to health, allowing us to serve our Lord longer and better. 

A plant-based diet can cure diabetes. A plant based diet can cure cancer. A plant based diet can prevent all myriads of diseases. I have posted a video here of the most profound information that will revolutionize your life... if you will do it. Forks over Knives is a documentary that is changing the lives of millions. The DVD is for sale but can be found on Netflix and other forums for free. The website is http://www.forksoverknives.com/. You can also download it on You Tube for $4.

If you are a clergy (or not) and suffer from disease and obesity, and know of others who suffer the same, take the time to gain the knowledge and share it with others. So, what is the elephant in the room? The elephant is not the obese clergy themselves, but, rather, the elephant is the knowledge that is so readily available to all.