Malankara World Journal Volume 1 No. 16 July 29, 2011 If the Journal is not displayed properly, please click on the link below (or copy and paste) to read from web
Table of Contents
This Sunday's Gospel reading, according to our church's lectionary,
is Mark 3:20-30. This passage contains a reference to "Eternal Sin
or Unforgivable Sin."
In addition to St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. Luke, and St. John also mention eternal sin. St. Paul has also mentioned this in Hebrews and Corinthians.
Matthew 12:30-32: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy. But the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
Luke 12:8-10: “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
Hebrews 6:4-8: “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case — the things that have to do with salvation.”
1 John 5:16-17: "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death."
Hebrews 10:26-29: “For we, sinning wilfully after receiving the full knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery zeal about to consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think those deserve to be punished who have trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has considered as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who have insulted the Spirit of grace?”
1 Corinthians 12:2-3: "Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."
The concept of eternal sin is difficult to grasp in the context of the God as ever forgiving and full of love. Mark inserts his own explanation as to why Jesus said this, stating "He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit." (Mark 3:30) Thus Jesus, according to Mark, is saying that accusing him of using Satan for his power is in effect calling the work of God evil and failing to see the work of God in Jesus' actions. The Pharisees had hardened their hearts to the point repentance became impossible. This may not apply to a true believer.
According to the Catholic Catechism and Eastern Orthodox beliefs, there are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.
The Church teaches that there is no offense, however serious, that cannot be taken away by Baptism, or absolved from in the Confessional—that no one, however wicked and guilty, may not confidently hope for forgiveness.
This week's featured article is on 'How to know the will of God.' James Montgomery Boice, the author, says that everything God does is done to reveal Himself to us. For us to know God's will, we must be willing to do whatever it is.
We had been covering our youth leaders who had gone to Dominican Republic and Haiti as part of their mission project. This week we feature Lispin Kuruvilla. He describes an experience he had while atop a mountain in Isabel de Torres National Park.
Our family features this week include Jane Austen's Marital advice and view of marriage as a Christian Sacrament.
This Sunday in Church
Sunday, July 31, 2011 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.
Sermons for the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
This Week's Features
|Inspiration for Today|
"To those who have been sorely tried and bitterly offended, remember it requires a prayerful, generous, and merciful heart coupled with a strong will to forgive, but remember also, an unforgiving heart places a barrier between itself and God's forgiveness."
Jennie B. Knight
How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD,
they walk in the light of Your countenance.
When I was a schoolboy coming home in the afternoon, my mother would be in the tiny kitchen of our small house. And she would be singing.
That joyful sound hasn’t left me, and still brings me happiness these decades later.
But there’s something even better—the joyful sound of God’s
voice, accompanied by the praises of His people. That will light
you up every time.
I wondered over again for the hundredth time what could be the
principle which, in the wildest, most lawless, fantastically
chaotic, apparently capricious work of nature, always kept it
beautiful. The beauty of holiness must be at the heart of it
somehow, I thought. Because our God is so free from stain, so
loving, so unselfish, so good, so altogether what He wants us to
be, so holy, therefore all His works declare Him in beauty; His
fingers can touch nothing but to mould it into loveliness; and
even the play of His elements is in grace and tenderness of
by James Montgomery Boice
Once an amateur pilot explained to me how airliners are kept on their course by radar. A pilot cannot always see what is coming, particularly in bad weather. At best he can see only about a hundred miles. And yet he can fly his aircraft safely in all weather, for the course is marked out for him by radar. If he deviates either to the right or to the left, the radar warns him accordingly. It is thus that God guides us. Our text does not mean that we shall always be able to see more than one step ahead in our Christian lives. It does not mean that we shall even always be able to see ahead at all. But it does mean that God has a plan for our lives—for your life and mine—and that He promises to reveal the steps of that plan to us.
The basis for this assurance lies in the nature of God. For it is God's nature to reveal Himself and His purpose to man. Quite a few years ago when I was in seminary I learned the famous definition of God contained in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
The first time a person hears that definition I suppose he inevitably thinks that just about everything that could possibly be said about God is wrapped up in it, for the definition is so long. And yet, as I began to memorize and study it, I learned that it was far from comprehensive. For one thing, there is no mention of God's being love. And God is certainly infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His love. Moreover, today I believe I should also like to see God's desire to reveal Himself to man included. I should like to say,
In one sense all that God has ever done has been directed to this end. When God made the world it was to reveal Himself to those who would eventually live on it. Creation reveals God. Hence, Paul tells us that "the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).
When God caused the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be written, this too was to reveal Himself to man. Finally, just as God revealed His power in nature and His purpose in Scripture, so did He reveal His personality in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus could properly say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9).
It is God's nature to reveal Himself. And God's revelation always involves a disclosure of His will for the individual person. On this basis Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse used to say that it was actually impossible for a Christian who wanted to know the will of God for his life not to know it.
Now this statement by Dr. Barnhouse also brings us to the first of the great biblical principles by which a Christian may unquestionably come to know God's will. For the Bible teaches that if you really want to know God's will, you must be willing to do it even before you know what it is. This is clearly taught in John 7:17: "If any man will do His will [and the phrase means 'wants to do it'], he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." In this verse, although Jesus was speaking literally of the rejection of His doctrine by the Jewish leaders, He was actually teaching the great principle that knowing the will of God consists largely in being willing to do it.
Now if we are going to come to the point where we are willing in advance to do God's will, we must recognize first that in ourselves we do not want to do it. If you are saying to yourself, "Oh, but I have always wanted to do the Lord's will," you are kidding yourself. For "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be" (Romans 8:7). And there is a great deal of the carnal mind in all of us.
To be continued...
Part 2 of this article will be published in the next issue of the MW Journal (Issue 17, dated August 5, 2011)
© Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals Inc., Used with Permission.
by Lispin Kuruvilla
On nearly every trip I have been on, there has always been a moment that is too beautiful to be captured in a picture or spoken of with words. Those moments that are so rare and precious that all you can do is stand in it and experience the beauty of it. With this trip, this occurred atop a mountain at the Isabel de Torres National Park. After riding to the top and experiencing some lovely time of reflection and meditation as well as an inspiring moment of fellowship with our team, we returned to wait for the cable car to take us back down the mountain.
As we waited, a sharp gust of wind started pushing clouds up the side of the mountain; it surrounded us and the mountain as well as the statue of Jesus that overlooked the city. As I looked out at the sight, I couldn’t help but be moved by the splendor of it all. I tried to capture it in my camera, but it simply couldn’t be done. So I set down my camera and just reveled at the majesty of the moment.
In a similar way, I have found that this trip is like that moment atop the mountain. Though we have pictures to document our experiences, and stories to share of our moments of celebration and camaraderie and ministry, neither words nor pictures will ever fully describe how our hearts were touched by the people and the sights of this great country.
Every single one of us is returning with a changed heart, a renewed sense of purpose and desire to reach out to more people with the love that Christ has filled our hearts with. And though we are preparing to return, ready to share our adventures, we know that we will never be able to convey all that we have experienced in this short amount of time. However, we bring back what we can with faith that, by the spirit and grace of God, our stories will not be forgotten and our impact will be felt in the hearts of all those that we share it with.
Editor's Note: This article is extracted from the final issue (Issue 5) of MGSOSA - Dominican Outreach Mission Trip 2011. We had been covering this mission trip from the beginning. Please read the fascinating stories and eye witness reports from the mission in Malankara World.
by Chuck Colson
The experts have a lot of ideas about why marriages crumble. But one of my favorite answers comes from someone who gave literary marriage advice — some 200 years ago: Jane Austen.
Miss Austen had a delightfully satirical eye — an approach to life that was reflected in her novels. But as Benjamin Wiker points out in his new book, 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read, Austen, the daughter of a clergyman, also had a strong and biblical core of common sense — especially when it came to romantic relationships. Her books reflect the moral order, and celebrate marriage itself.
Wiker notes that Austen lived during the early Romantic movement. The Romantics were lived a life “defined by the passions of the moment. For them, to feel is everything.”
In her novel, Sense and Sensibility, Austen describes the inevitable consequences of this approach to life. It's the story of two sisters, both of whom fall deeply in love. The elder sister, Elinor, “has learned to govern and guide her passions by reason,” Riker says — and ultimately marries a man of good character.
By contrast, the younger sister, Marianne, indulges her passions without regard for prudence. Although Elinor warns Marianne against giving her heart to an attentive young man she barely knows, for Marianne, Wiker notes, “passion is the thing. Feelings must take the place of judgment.” And “being a creature of sensibility, Marianne has no sense,” no interest in learning good moral judgment, which involves “training feelings by habit and reason.”
Marianne had yet to learn what C.S. Lewis taught: that the question is not what feelings we happen to have, but what feelings we should have. Therefore, Wiker says, “We must educate ourselves to train our thoughts and feelings to correctly reflect the actual moral order.” Marianne saw no need to do this — which is why, in time, her heart was broken by the worthless young man she'd so quickly — and imprudently — fallen in love with.
Unfortunately, our culture has taken Marianne's attitude to its logical — and tragic — conclusion, Wiker notes. Like the Romantics, modern liberalism celebrates “the victory of sensibility over sense, the passions over reason, self-absorption over moral duty, romantic anarchy over tradition.”
Jane Austen would have been “rightly horrified at our not heeding her warning, but unsurprised by the results” — including, sadly, the high divorce rate, and the seduction of so many unthinking young women by men of bad character.
How much happier we would be if both men and women took the time to learn good moral judgment, and retrain their more impulsive feelings to reflect the moral order. Instead of rushing headlong into marriage, they should go slowly, inviting the advice of wise parents, friends, and church counselors.
Were Jane Austen alive today, she'd make a wonderful speaker for our Centurions program. While it may be “a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife,” as Austin satirically put it, — she would make sure her readers learned a more serious point: That the route to marital happiness is recognizing that there is a moral order, and that we ignore it at our peril.
By Bronnie Ware
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life.
Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something
we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
by Kathy Jordan
2 boxes vermicelli, cooked
Mix and marinate overnight.
Although marriage remains a blessing from God, Original Sin has had grave consequences for married life. As a break with God, it ruptured the original communion between man and woman.
Jesus healed this rupture when he raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament. In marriage a man and woman become one flesh. They love each other as they love themselves and cherish each other's bodies as their own. This union is an image of Christ’s love for his Church. Spouses are called to give themselves to each other as fully as Christ gave himself to his Church.
When the baptized spouses exchange their promises of loving and permanent fidelity before the Church, their marriage covenant becomes a participation in the unbreakable covenant between Christ and the Church. The Holy Spirit binds the spouses together and enables them to perform acts of self-giving love to the benefit of themselves, their families, and the whole Church. In this way their marriage does more than symbolize Christ’s love; it makes that love present in the world.
In order to imitate Christ’s love for his Church, the relationship between man and woman needs healing. Their relationship is not a one-sided subjection of the wife to the husband, but a mutual subjection of husband and wife, following St. Paul’s charge to “be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21).
Source: MARRIAGE: LOVE AND LIFE IN THE DIVINE PLAN. A Pastoral Letter by the Catholic Bishops of the United States
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