February 11th – Saint Cædmon of Whitby

Saint of Cædmon of Whitby is the earliest English poet whose name is known.
An Anglo-Saxon herdsman attached to the double monastery of Streonæshalch (Whitby Abbey) during the abbacy of Saint Hilda [657–680].
He was originally ignorant of “the art of song”
but according to Bede learned to compose
one night in the course of a dream.

His life
Saint Cædmon’s lifestory is related by the Venerable Bede,
who lived in the nearby monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow
in the following generation:
There was in this abbess’s monastery a certain brother,
particularly remarkable for the Grace of God,
who was wont to make pious and religious verses,
so that whatever was interpreted to him out of Scripture,
he soon after put the same into poetical expressions of
much sweetness and humility, in English, which was his native language.
By his verses the minds of many were often excited to despise the world
and to aspire to heaven.
Others after him attempted, in the English nation, to compose religious poems,
but none could ever compare with him, for he did not learn the art of poetry from men
He learned it from God; for which reason he never could compose any trivial or vain poem,
but only those which relate to religion suited his religious tongue;
for having lived in a secular habit till he was well advanced in years,
he had never learned anything of versifying;
for which reason being sometimes at entertainments,
when it was agreed for the sake of mirth that all present should sing in their turns,
when he saw the instrument come towards him,
he rose up from table and returned home.

Having done so at a certain time and
gone out of the house where the entertainment was, to the stable,
where he had to take care of the horses that night,
he there composed himself to rest at the proper time;
a person appeared to him in his sleep
and saluting him by his name, said: “Caedmon, sing some song to me”.
He answered,
“I cannot sing; for that was the reason why I left the entertainment and
retired to this place because I could not sing”.
The other who talked to him, replied: “However, you shall sing”.
­ “What shall I sing?” rejoined he.
“Sing the beginning of created beings”, said the other.
Hereupon he presently began to sing verses to the praise of God,
which he had never heard, the purport whereof was thus:

“Now [we] must honour the guardian of heaven,
the might of the architect, and his purpose,
the work of the father of glory
— as he, the eternal lord, established the beginning of wonders.

He, the holy creator, first created heaven as a roof for the children of men.
Then the guardian of mankind the eternal lord,
the lord almighty afterwards appointed the middle earth, the lands, for men”.

This is the sense, but not the words in order as he sang them in his sleep;
for verses, though never so well composed,
cannot be literally translated out of one language into another,
without losing much of their beauty and loftiness.
Awaking from his sleep, he remembered all that he had sung in his dream and
soon added much more to the same effect in verse worthy of the Deity.

The morning he came to the steward, his superior and
having acquainted him with the gift he had received,
was conducted to the abbess, by whom he was ordered
in the presence of many learned men, to tell his dream and repeat the verses,
that they might all give their judgment what it was and
whence his verse proceeded.
They all concluded, that heavenly Grace had been conferred on him by our Lord.
They expounded to him a passage in holy writ, either historical, or doctrinal, ordering him
if he could, to put the same into verse.
Having undertaken it, he went away and returning the next morning,
gave it to them composed in most excellent verse;
whereupon the abbess, embracing the Grace of God in the man,
instructed him to quit the secular habit and take upon him the monastic life;
which being accordingly done,
she associated him to the rest of the brethren in her monastery and
ordered that he should be taught the whole series of sacred history.
Thus Caedmon – keeping in mind all he heard and
as it were chewing the cud, converted the same into most harmonious verse;
and sweetly repeating the same,
made his masters in their turn his hearers.
He sang the creation of the world, the origin of man and all the history of Genesis :
and made many verses on the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt,
and their entering into the land of promise, with many other histories from holy writ;
the incarnation, passion, resurrection of our Lord,
and his ascension into heaven; the coming of the Holy Spirit,
and the preaching of the apostles ;
also the terror of future judgment,
the horror of the pains of hell and the delights of heaven;
besides many more about the Divine benefits and judgments,
by which he endeavoured to turn away all men from the love of vice,
and to excite in them the love of, and application to, good actions;
for he was a very religious man, humbly submissive to regular discipline,
but full of zeal against those who behaved themselves otherwise;
for which reason he ended his life happily.

For when the time of his departure drew near,
he laboured for the space of fourteen days under a bodily infirmity
which seemed to prepare the way,
yet so moderate that he could talk and walk the whole time.
In his neighbourhood was the house to which those that were sick and
like shortly to die, were carried.
He desired the person that attended him, in the evening,
as the night came on in which he was to depart this life,
to make ready a place there for him to take his rest.
This person, wondering why he should desire it,
because there was as yet no sign of his dying soon,
did what he had ordered.
He accordingly went there and
conversing pleasantly in a joyful manner with
the rest that were in the house before,
when it was past midnight, he asked them,
whether they had the Eucharist there?
They answered, “What need of the Eucharist?
for you are not likely to die, since you talk so merrily with us,
as if you were in perfect health”.
­ ” However”, said he, “bring me the Eucharist”.
Having received the same into his hand, he asked,
whether they were all in charity with him, and
without any enmity or rancour?
They answered, that they were all in perfect charity and
free from anger; and in their turn asked him,
whether he was in the same mind towards them?
He answered,
“I am in charity, my children, with all the servants of God”.
Then strengthening himself with the Heavenly viaticum,
he prepared for the entrance into another life and
asked how near the time was when the brothers were to be awakened
to sing the nocturnal praises of our Lord?
They answered, “It is not far off”.
Then he said, “Well, let us wait that hour”; and
signing himself with the sign of the cross,
he laid his head on the pillow and
falling into a slumber, ended his life so in silence.

Thus it came to pass, that
as he had served God with a simple and pure mind and
undisturbed devotion, so he now departed to his presence,
leaving the world by a quiet death; and that tongue,
which had composed so many holy words in praise of the Creator,
uttered its last words whilst he was in the act of signing himself with the cross and
recommending himself into his hands and
by what has been here said he seems to have had foreknowledge of his death.

Sunday of the Prodigal Son – Glorify God in body and spirit

All things are lawful for me,
but all things are not helpful.
All things are lawful for me,

but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods
but God will destroy both it and them.
Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord
and the Lord for the body.
And God both raised up the Lord
and will also raise us up by His Power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
Shall I then take the members of Christ
and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!
Or do you not know that he who is joined
to a harlot is one body with her?
For “the two,” He says,
“shall become one flesh”.
But he who is joined to the Lord
is one spirit with Him.

Flee sexual immorality.
Every sin that a man does is outside the body,
but he who commits sexual immorality
sins against his own body.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,
whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
For you were bought at a price;
therefore glorify God in your body
and in your spirit, which are God’s
“.
1Cor.6: 12-20

This wise teaching of the holy Apostle Paul
is an excellent opportunity for us to reflect on certain issues
and find answers to contemporary questions
that the Holy Church has not had the time to answer yet.
All things are lawful for me,
but I will not be brought under the power of any”, says the Apostle.
I will not be brought under the power of any
is the right answer to many of these questions.

The apostle Paul said not,
abstain from fornication, but Flee:
that is, with all zeal make to yourselves
deliverance from that evil.
Every sin that a man does is without the body;
but he that commits fornication
sins against his own body.
This is less than what went before;
but since he had to speak of fornicators,
he amplifies that guilt by topics
drawn from all quarters,
from greater things and smaller alike,
making the charge heinous.
And, in fact,
that former topic was addressed to the more religious,
but this to the weaker sort.
For this also is characteristic of the wisdom of Paul,
not only to allege the great things wherewith to a bash men,
but the lesser also, and the consideration of what is disgraceful and unseemly.

What then, say you,
does not the murderer stain his hand?
What, of the covetous person and the extortioner?
I suppose it is plain to everyone.
But since it was not possible to
mention anything worse than the fornicator,
he amplifies the crime in another way, by saying that in the fornicator
the entire body becomes defiled.
For it is as polluted as if it had fallen into a vessel of filth
and been immersed in defilement. And this too is our way.
For from covetousness and extortion no one would make haste to go into a bath,
but as if nothing had happened returns to his house.
Whereas from intercourse with a harlot,
as having become altogether unclean, he goes to a bath.
To such a degree does the conscience retain
from this sin a kind of sense of unusual shame.
Both however are bad, both covetousness and fornication;
and both cast into hell.
But as Paul does everything with good management,
so by whatever topics he had
he magnified the sin of fornication.

Do you not know that your body is a
Temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?
He did not merely say, of the Spirit,
but, which is in you;
which was the part of one
who also was soothing.
And again, explaining himself still further,
he added, which you have from God.
He mentioned Him that gave also,
both exalting the hearer and
putting him in fear,
both by the magnitude of the deposit
and by the munificence of Him
that made it.

And you are not your own.
This is not only to a bash, but even to force men towards virtue.
For why, says he; does you what you will? You are not your own master.
But these things he said, not to take away free-will.
For so in saying, All things are lawful for me,
but not all things are expedient,
he does not take away our liberty.
And here again, writing, You are not your own;
he makes no infringement upon freedom of choice,
but he leads away from vice and indicates the guardian care of the Lord.
And therefore he added,
For you were bought with a price.

But if I am not my own, upon what ground
do you demand of me duties to be done?
And why do you go on to say again,
Glorify God therefore in your body
and in your spirit, which are God’s?
What then is the meaning of, you are not your own?
And what does he wish to prove thereby?
To settle them in a state of security against sin
and against following the improper desires of
your own mind.
For indeed we have many improper wishes:
but we must repress them, whenever we can.
And if we could not, exhortation would be in vain.
Mark, accordingly, how he secures his ground.
For having said, You are not your own, he adds not,
– but are under compulsion;
– but, You were bought with a price.

Why do you say this?
Surely on another ground, one might say perhaps,
you should have persuaded men,
pointing out that we have only one Lord, the Master.
But this is common to the Greeks also together with us:
whereas the expression, You were bought with a price belongs to us peculiarly.
For he reminds us of the greatness of the benefit
and of the mode of our Salvation,
signifying that when we were alienated, we were bought:
and not simply bought, but, with a Price.

Glorify then, take up and bear,
God in your body, and in your spirit.
Now these things he says,
that we may not only flee fornication in the body,
but also in the spirit of our mind abstain
from every wicked thought,
and from driving away Grace.

Which are God’s.
For as he had said your, he added therefore,
which are God’s:
continually reminding us
that all things belong to the Lord,
both body and soul and spirit:
For some say, that the words in the spirit mean the gracious gift;
for if that be in us, God is glorified.
And this will be, if we have a clean heart.

But He has spoken of these things as God’s,
not only because He brought them into being,
but also because, when they were alienated,
He won them again a second time, paying as the price, the blood of the Son.
Mark how He brought the whole to completion in Christ,
how He raised us up into Heaven.
You are members of Christ, says he,
you are a temple of the Spirit.
Become not then members of a harlot:
for it is not your body which is insulted;
since it is not your body at all, but Christ’s.
And these things he spoke,
both to make manifest His loving-kindness in that our body is His
and to withdraw us from all evil license.
For if the body be another’s, you have no authority, says he,
to insult another’s body; and especially when it is the Lord’s;
nor yet to pollute a temple of the Spirit.
For if any one who invades a private house and
makes his way revelling into it,
must answer for it most severely;
think what dreadful things he shall endure
who makes a temple of the King a robber’s lurking place.

Considering these things therefore,
reverence your Him that dwells within.
For the Paraclete is He.
Thrill before Him that is enfolded
and cleaves unto you; for Christ is He.
Have you indeed made
yourself members of Christ?
Think thus, and continue chaste;
whose members you were
and Whose you have to become.
Erewhile they were members of an harlot
and Christ has made them members of His own Body.
You have therefore henceforth no authority over them.
Serve Him that has set you free.

For supposing you had a daughter
– and in extreme madness had let her out to a procurer for hire
– and made her live a harlot’s life
– and then a king’s son were to pass by
– and free her from that slavery
– and join her in marriage to himself;
you could have no power thenceforth to bring her into the brothel.
For you gave her up once for all, and sold her.
Such as this is our case also.
We let out our own flesh for hire unto the Devil, that grievous procurer:
Christ saw and set it free, and withdrew it from that evil tyranny;
it is not then ours any more but His Who delivered it.
If you be willing to use it as a King’s bride, there is none to hinder;
but if you bring it where it was before,
you will suffer just what they ought who are guilty of such outrages.
Wherefore you should rather adorn instead of disgracing it.
For you have no authority over the flesh in the wicked lusts,
but in those things alone which God may enjoin.
Let the thought enter your mind at least
from what great outrage God has delivered it.
For in truth never did any harlot expose herself so shamefully
as our nature before this.
For robberies, murders, and every wicked thought entered in
– and lay with the soul,
– and for a small and vulgar hire,
– the [short] present pleasure.
For the soul, being mixed up with all wicked devices and deeds,
reaped this reward and no other.

Sunday of the Prodigal Son

In each church of the whole annual cycle period of righteousness
the Lord is full of blessings.
Blessings sky, shines brightly and guide believers in God’s likeness.
But it must be said
that the period of the Triodion blessed the devout
this period has been going through something special.
Bring us, among others, the sweet pain of heart for our mistakes,  failures and, alas our sins.
In only a couple of weeks we come to Lent
–  that period of fasting and prayer
– that the Church puts before us;
and the next few weeks are a preparation for it.

Last week, it presented us with the Parable of Humility
[only with humility can we come close to God].
This week it presents us with Repentance
– we need Repentance to come to God.
Next week it will present us with Judgement
– the Gospel of the Second Coming of Christ.

Humility, Repentance and then coming face to Face with God; this is the journey that the Church takes us on before Lent.
Today Jesus teaches us with symbols,
people have got a problem with symbols in Christianity.
You Orthodox always use symbols“.
Jesus used symbols
– that’s why Orthodox use symbols.
Because Jesus used metaphors, and Jesus used parables, and Jesus used symbols;
we as Orthodox follow Jesus in using symbols
– and those who accuse us of                                                              being too symbolic –
let them read the Scriptures
and know what they’re talking about.

And so today Jesus uses symbols.
A father who symbolises who? … God.
Two sons who symbolise who?…all of us.
Property and wealth that symbolise what?
… every Grace [gifts] that God has given us.
Inheritance which symbolise what?
… the Grace of God that has been given to us.

And the younger of the two sons goes to the father,
“Give me my inheritance”.
Now I don’t know about you but if my son came to me,
while I was still alive and asked for my inheritance,
I’d be very, very upset.
You’d think
wouldn’t it be nice if you just waited till I died,
at least, before you wanted to take
whatever is yours anyway“.
And yet this father says
if you want it, here, come and just have it“.

What was the younger brother’s problem?
The inheritance was his, he was going to get it
– everything the father had was for the two sons.
But no, he wanted it HERE and NOW!
He wanted it on ‘his’ terms. He wanted it self-centredly.
He wanted all the Grace [gifts] without the relationship with the Father.
In fact, the ultimate insult to the Father was what?
… that he asked for his inheritance while his Father was still alive.

Only ‘hate’ could inspire a son to do this. The ultimate self-centredness.
Yet the father in today’s Gospel reading just gives it to him,
and what does the son do?
He squanders it, he goes to a foreign land and he spends all his money
at the treasury Casino, and on picking up pretty girls at new farm and partying;
and then guess what?
… The arabics invades Syrië and there’s no food anymore,
and he’s got no money,
and he’s a long way from home.

So he finds someone and this person says
“hey, listen, mate, I need someone to feed my pigs”.
It’s a job. So here he comes, from a mansion,
here he comes from wealth, here he comes from where he had everything he wanted
– and he feeds pigs.
And not only does he feed pigs, he lives like one.
Why? Because he says
“if only I could eat what these pigs eat”
– that’s how hungry he was.
And the parallels between this man and us are phenomenal.

What does Adam and Eve do?
They want their inheritance.
What’s the inheritance?
If God is the Father then everything that God has:
Immortality, Love, Harmony, Peacefulness,
even an Identity – all of these things He gives to us.
He will gee to us. These are the things God wanted to give to Adam and Eve.
These are the things He wanted to give to all humanity – His own likeness, He wants people to become like Him.
This scandalises a lot of Orthodox Christians.
If the biblical teaching is nothing less, then
we are all to become partakers of the Divine nature,
as Peter says in his Epistle:
That we are created in the image of God
to achieve His likeness“,
– to become gods, through Grace as a gift from Him.
And yet we want inheritance ‘without any relationship‘, just because of Tradition,
because our parents did it in the same way? They were also only baptised,married and were burried in front of the face [πρόσωπο] of God and nothing else?
Adam and Eve took their inheritance and because of their spiritual immaturity,
they squandered it.
They took the Grace [gifts], they tried to live by the inheritance
and made a mass of it.  And so they were exiled from paradise and humanity
has lived like pigs since.
Because humanity continues to do what came for the feet, to lie, to steal, to rape,
to murder, to exploit, not in any differens with the others.

Humanity continues to crush
all the Grace [gifts] God gave it
… and puts itself on top [on a throne], as
most important!
That’s what it means to live like a pig.
Because a pig in Jewish culture was unclean.
And that’s why Jesus in the parable,
specifically chooses pigs.
The prodigal son did the most unthinkable job for a Jew.
He worked with swine,
he worked with what was unclean.
To show that that’s how unclean he had become,
to show that that’s how unclean humanity has become.

And yet this guy comes to his senses.
He experiences an awakening. A conversion.
Something happens within him. You see, he’s blessed.
Because in the depth of his futile existence, he wakes up.
After he’s been to the Treasury Casino,
after he’s slept with all the prostitutes,
after he’s drank himself senseless,
after he’s smoked every drug there is on earth
and injected himself with whatever is available,
he still woke up — others don’t.
They don’t struggle they just die in that state.

He wakes up and says
Hang on a sec, at Dad’s place
people who are the servants,
the hired servants,
the slaves of the household

– these people have more than enough bread to fill their stomachs.
And here I am living like a pig!“.

And so he comes to his senses, which means what?
– when he starts thinking logically,
– when he starts thinking rationally,
– when we start thinking rationally,
– when we start thinking logically,
we turn to God.

When we come to our senses, we come to our Father in Heaven,
and we too think:
“hang on a sec, God promises all these things – bread – heavenly bread – the Eucharist.
– He promises safety, Salvation.
– He promises Eternal Life,
regardless of the suffering that we go through in this world
– sometimes because of the suffering we go through in this world.
And the person that comes to his senses
and the person who thinks rationally
and logically goes to God the Father and says
Father I have sinned against you, I have sinned against heaven.
I have sinned before my brothers and sisters — forgive me.
If you have something in your mercy give it to me“.

And if you feel that it can’t be done for you, well,
then let me tell you what this young man is called in Greek,
because “prodigal” son doesn’t quite get it, Ο Ασωτος Υιος
– the unsaveable son,
– and so when we turn
– and when we present God with our sins
– and we pray
Father, I too have sinned against heaven and before you“,
His only response can be
Bring the fatted calf and kill it so that we can eat and rejoice“.
Put a ring on his or her finger [the Covenant]
Bring a white robe which symbolises the Grace [gifts], or
rather the fruits, of the Holy Spirit.
Put a ring on his finger” symbolises what?
… That when we turn to God like that, He adopts us as sons, as daughters;
and our inheritance is given to us on the way,
through obedience and humility to the Father,
Who knows what [even with our struggle]
will be given to us
for our Salvation.

Orthodoxy & the lost possibilities

Our Lord came to fulfil
the Law and the Prophets
and not to destroy them
“.
Matth.5: 17,18

Even the smallest stroke in a Hebrew letter, a tittle, will not pass from the law
until all is fulfilled.
Jesus teaches us also that we transgress God’s Word in Spirit and Truth [John 4:24],
because Traditions of men are taught as doctrine [Matth.15: 3-9],
thus making the Word of God ineffective                                                                                          [Marc.7: 13].
Finally, the inspired Word of God through the apostle Paul
instructs us to test all things and to only hold fast to that which is good [1Thess.5: 21].

So when are leaders insist of keeping
Bulgarian, Greec, Romanian, Russian, Serbian
language and culture as a key point to their numerous parishes
they break down the Church of Christ, because they sow discord.
Is this the Gospel Truth – is this the New Revelation for our time?
When they continue to proclaim this,
then I believe our Lord will respond them
with His Words:
“…You are mistaken,
not knowing the Scriptures
nor the Power of God
“.
Matth.22: 2

All over the Benelux there are groups forming that have isolated themselves from the other orthodox churches.
These people long for contacts with their compatriots, the cosiness of home, with their habits and traditional lifestyles.
In return they dissociate themselves from their new environment and remain
a stranger in a strange country.
Moreover, they are in their original country considered as a foreigner for they have been measured in other habits.
So many times in history is asked to not form any other churches.
We are all asked to remain and suffer for all of the souls upon earth
– suffer, even though you know that the Eternal Father watches what is going on.
Our children require no schism in the Church, they do not wish
that new churches are formed.
Though the meaning is well, this can lead to nothing but destruction and schism.
We hear all names coming forward to our ears of churches being born anew,
called the ‘traditional’ Bulgarian, Greek, Romanian, Russian and Serbian Churches.
We need no more Traditionalists running around and creating new churches.
We have to remain steadfast and firm in our convictions that with
a tight board, enough prayer and also the firm example of holiness
of the leaders this will not happen.
Tight management is possible only when the wind [the Holy Spirit] is blowing on it,
and the leaders indicate a straight direction.
Division, for it is promoted by the opponent, the Satan.
The adage of old remains forever true:
United you will stand but divided you will fall“.

Our time is the time of imposture, of spiritual fraud and counterfeit
taking the form of an “angel of light” [2Cor.11: 14].
And the main danger , the main deficiency of this whole phenomenon is that too many people today – including
the seemingly most traditional “dispatchers[managers] of spirituality
seem to view “spirituality” as a kind of entity in itself,
almost totally disconnected from the entire Christian view and
experience of God, world and man, from the totality of Christian Faith.
Thus when disconnected from the totality of faith, even that “spirituality” which has the most traditional, the most Orthodox appearance is always in danger of becoming one-sided, reductionist and in this sense heretical [from the Greek [αϊρεσις”: choice and, therefore, reduction] – of becoming, in other terms, pseudo-spirituality.
The danger of such pseudo- spirituality has always existed.
It is already denounced by Saint John theologian,
who begs Christians not
to believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are from God” and
establishes the fundament rule for such “trying”: “Every spirit“, he writes, “that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God“[1John 4: 1-2].
This means that the criterion for “spirituality” is to be found in
the central doctrine of the Incarnation – central because it implies and contains
the entire Christian faith, all dimensions of the Christian worldview:
creation, fall, redemption, God, world, man.
But then, where is the true spirituality, this total vision of man, of this nature and his vocation, better revealed than in Mystery [lat.= Sacrament]
whose purpose is precisely to restore man in his true nature,
to bestow on him the new life by regenerating him “by water and the Spirit“?

But to regenerate “water and the Spirit
people have to understand what words are used during a Mystery [lat.= Sacrament].
Even the Apostles were not scientific educated people,
they spoke the words of the people they met
[in those times mostly the Greek, in this time mostly the English language].
Our “dispatchers[managers] of spirituality, and special those who seek a
joint solution for the diversity in Orthodox expressions of faith,
has to make the choice to get involved with the original language of that region.
The choice for different strange languages will destroy the Christian future of our children.
I have visited several 3rd generation members of our differentiated communities/parishes and found that most of them don’t understand what a priest pronounces during the services. They even don’t understand what’s happening, they visit their churches because of the tradition of their parents. It’s just nice and you can speak your native language and you meet persons with the same background.
The differentiated communities/parishes form isles in the world without any Christian message.
Within their selves they are dying and form a preparation for death.
Between each other they try to be the best in number and success, with the most beautiful entourage.
They have to know better and to join their efforts, a Greek person has to feel comfortable in Russian and Serbian circumstances and vice versa,
the different communities have to lose their territoriality.
They are Orthodox Christian and they have a message to their surroundings;
the same as the region in which they live give them comfort.
Orthodox Christians have to teach the Benelux, how Christianity original was.
Before the Organisation of Orthodox people [VvO, most Dutch people] tried to intervene between the differences in several communities,
it was not accepted by the “dispatchers[managers] of Orthodox spirituality.
Similarly, the number of Dutch Orthodox disappear – they dissociate themselves from this nationalism.
They become tired, tired of the incessant just struggle.
When the joint Orthodox bishops do not intend to intervene here,
come down from their thrones time will make clear
that a 6th or 7th generation of will have to re-invent the wheel,
in order to enter an understandable language in Holy Services for their children again.

I shall bow down and worship toward Your Holy Temple
and I will give thanks to Your Name
for Your Mercy and Your Truth;
for You magnified Your teaching
above every name.
On the day I shall call to You,
hear me speedily;
You shall treat my soul
with great care
in Your Power
“.
Psalm 137: 2,3


When someone is in bed
because of an accident or sickness,
his or her condition is often described as
resting relaxed“.
The person has been hurt but is now at rest.
When we look in to check
on our children or grandchildren,
we are glad when they are sleeping
quietly or resting comfortably.

When we are “resting relaxed”:
– our praise has to go towards God [Psalm 137: 1-2].
– our strength we rejoice is from God [Psalm 137: 3-5].
– our obedience is to God [Psalm 137: 6].
– and our security is in God [Psalm 137: 7-8].

As Christians we should be resting
without problems.
Not that we are asleep,
but we are not panicked, troubled or concerned
because our self-assurance is in our God.

In psalm 22 the Church is speaking about the Lord Jesus [1-3] and to the Lord Jesus [4-6], the Church identifies Him as my shepherd [John 10: 14], thus indicating a close relationship with Him.
And because He had nothing, now we have no lack!
One of the last words of David , ,
Although my house be not so with God;
yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant,
He ordered in all things and sure”[2Sam.23: 5].

We are travelers ,
our Shepherd delivered us from all possible strangers and dangers.
In accordance with His own sweet promise when he puts forth his own sheep,
he goes before them and the sheep follow him: for they know His voice
“.
John 10: 4

” ….. the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad,
the desert shall blossom …..
the parched ground shall become a pool,
… will be a highway , called the holy way,
there is no unclean shall not pass,
but it will only be for them.
Not for travellers , nor fools will wander.
There will be no lions , nor any ravenous beast …..
but the redeemed shall walk there ..
the ransomed of the Lord ….. ”
Isaiah 35
Both we, as we may say,
The Lord is my Shepherd.
The Lord who delivered me from the claws lion and bear,
He will also save me from the hand of this Philistine“.
1Sam.17: 37
It will lack nothing to me:
– Because the lack Shepherd had everything;
– Because he had nothing to rest His head;
– Because there was no room in the Inn for Him;
– Because he was thirsty on the Source;
– Because he was taken just as He was in the ship;
– Because He hungered in the wilderness, so will our lack nothing.

Paul asks,
How He who did not spare His own Son,
but delivered Him up for us,
also freely give us all things with Him?
– He gives us His Body,
– He gives us His soul ,
– He gives us holiness,
– He would deny us bread?”

In understandable words:
The Lord is my Shepherd,
I shall, therefore, not lacks
! ”

The rich and the good-clothed will fall into poverty,
those who put their trust in temporal goods,
possession today, lost tomorrow:
but the simple who entrust themselves to the Lord,
who is Lord of all creation.
Rich men turned poor and went hungry,
but those who seek the Lord
will not lack any good thing,
in the day when I cried
“.
Psalm 33

Especially in a country as the Netherlands,
where Orthodoxy is made up of a small Dutch count.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble
“.
Matth.6: 34

Have no anxiety about anything,
but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding
will keep your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus
“.
Phil.4: 6-7

For the word of God is quick and powerful
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit
and of the joints and marrow
and is a discerner of the thoughts
and intents of the heart
“.
Hebr.4: 12

You answered me
and strengthened me
with strength in my soul.

Orthodoxy and love-hate relationship

… time is fulfilled, and
the Kingdom of God is at hand:
repent you and
believe the Gospel“.
Marc.1: 15

Repent you therefore
and be converted,
that your sins
may be blotted out…

                                                                                 Acts 3: 19

The memory of the righteous is blessed;
but the name of the wicked will rot
“.
Prov.10: 7

Salvation
Orthodox Christians hold that man was originally created in communion with God,
but through acting in a manner contrary to his own nature
[which is intrinsically ordered to communion with God], man disrupted that communion.
Because of man’s refusal to fulfil the “image and likeness of God” within him,
corruption and the sickness of sin whose consequence is death
entered man’s mode of existence.
But when Jesus came into the world
He Himself was Perfect Man [τέλειος Θεός] and
Perfect God [τέλειος άνθρωπος]
united in the divine Hypostasis of the Logos,
the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
Through his assumption of human nature, human existence was restored,
enabling human beings, the fulfilment of creation,
through participation in divinity by incorporation into Jesus Christ.

“The Word of God came in His own Person,
because it was He alone, the Image of the Father,
Who could recreate man made after the Image.
In order to effect this re-creation, however,
He had first to do away with death and corruption.
Therefore He assumed a human body,
in order that in it death might once and for all be destroyed and
that men might be renewed according to the Image
[of God]”
Saint Athanasius – “On the Incarnation

Salvation, or “being saved“, therefore,
refers to this process of being saved
from death and corruption and the fate of hell.
The Orthodox Church believes that its teachings and practices represent the true path to participation in the Grace [gifts] of God.
Yet, it should be understood that the
Orthodox do not believe that you ought be Orthodox to participate in Salvation.
God is merciful to all.
The Orthodox believe that there is nothing
that a person (Orthodox or non-Orthodox) can do to earn Salvation.
It is rather Grace [a gift] from God.
However, this gift of relationship has to be accepted by the believer,
since God will not force Salvation on humanity.
Man is free to reject the Grace [gift] of Salvation continually offered by God.
To be saved, man must work together with God in
a synergeia whereby his entire being, including his will, effort and actions,
are perfectly conformed with, and united to the Divine.

God becomes powerless before human freedom;
He cannot violate it since it flows from His own omnipotence.
Certainly man was created by the will of God alone;
but he cannot be deified [made Holy] by it alone.
A single will for creation, but two for deification.
A single will to raise up the image, but
two to make the image into a likeness.
The love of God for man is so great that it cannot constrain;
for there is no love without respect.
Divine will always will submit itself to groupings, to detours,
even to revolts of human will to bring it to a free consent
” .
Vladimir Lossky – “Introduction to Orthodox Theology

The ultimate goal of the Orthodox Christian is to achieve Theosis, or Union with God.
This is sometimes expressed thus:
“God became Man so that Man might become god”.
Some of the greatest Saints have achieved, in this life, a measure of this process.
The individual who achieves Theosis never realizes his accomplishment,
as his perfect humility keeps him blind to pride.
Salvation therefore is not merely
an escape from the eternal bondage of death,
but an entrance to life in Christ
here and now.

It is a signs of the end-time that worldwide Christians suffer for their faith in one way or another; November the 15th is promoted as an international Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church in which all Christians participate.
But man and even Church needs to realize its performance in order to preserve their perfect humility what makes them blind to their pride.
It has to be strong legs that are enabled to transfer the wealth.

We see it in history again and again,
when Church is longing for the respect of
the established power
she is always losing her credibility.
Because of that reason alone it is necessary
that there is a separation between the Church and the State.
Money and power are the downfall of her own principles and that’s why Church should be vigilant.
When a community is dependent on other people’s money
she is in great risk and is no longer independent.
We test this in today’s way of doing things in
the Greek and Russian Church
which praise the politics in several meetings with great ceremonies [and gifts].
Political leaders prove at heydays their [feigned?] adherence to the Church,
they are received with great deference to others,
surrounded by surrounded by their peers [most military bobo’s].
Of course Church needs  support to pass the time,
but the support has to come from the simple in heart;
the little money of the widow.
In this way Church keeps her objectives, to stay simple as Christ Himself was.
When a new-chosen bishop is longing for his own new-built cathedral
something is totally wrong and he needs to reflect his duty.
When an old bishop needs to keep three shelters to survive
[one in the town, one at the see-site and one in his home-land]
something is totally wrong and he needs to reflect his duty.
When a Patriarchate is longing for more and more influence in the west
by supporting his own total number of communities as a replacement for
longing for the whole Church of Christ something is totally wrong.
Christ is not waiting for great church-buildings and splendour and ostentation.
Church is kept by the will of God alone;
it can be deified [made Holy] by God alone and
we have to pray for it, not to buy or force it.
God have mercy . . . . .?

“…there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Who gave himself a ransom for all,
to be testified in due time
“.
1Tim.2: 5-6

Orthodox church is holding
that man is originally created in communion with God.
Through acting in a manner contrary to
his own human nature
he disrupted that communion
and will even church not be able to
present the Body of Christ.

How much greater is the gladness in God the Father, when any one is so spiritually born that in his acts and praises
the divine eminence of race is announced!
Saint Cyprianos

Orthodoxy & teach your kids the Truth

 

Teach your kids the truth as
I experienced the Fathers.
Our real Orthodox people know how
to defend the holy and sacred of.
This has been repeatedly demonstrated.
And I will prove it again by
resistance and recovery.
To rediscover what we have lost,
to defend what is in danger“.

Leer uw kinderen de waarheid
zoals ik de vaders heb gerespecteerd.
Onze oprecht Orthodoxe mensen
weten hoe zij het heilige en
de heiligen dienen te verdedigen.
Het is herhaaldelijk aangetoond en ik zal
dit opnieuw met argumenten aantonen,
via weerstand en het oproepen tot herstel.
Te herontdekken wat we verloren hebben,
om te verdedigen wat in gevaar is
“.

Διδάξτε στα παιδιά σας την αλήθεια,
όπως
την σέβομαι οι Πατέρες μας.
Ο
ειλικρινής Ορθόδοξη μας ξέρει να υπερασπίζεται
τα
ιερά και τα όσιά του.
Το
έχει κατ’ επανάληψιν αποδείξει.
Και
θα το αποδείξει και πάλι.
Αντίσταση
και Ανάκαμψη.
Για
να ξαναβρούμε ό,τι έχουμε χάσει,
για
να υπερασπισθούμε ό, τι κινδυνεύει“.

Научите своих детей Правду
как я уважал отцов.
Наши православные люди знают, как священное и
Святые должны защищать.
Было неоднократно демонстрировал и
Я докажу это снова с аргументами,
через сопротивление и призывы к восстановлению.
Откройте для себя то, что мы потеряли,
чтобы защитить то, что находится под угрозой
“.

Învățați-vă copiii Adevărul
așa cum am respectat părinții.
Oamenii noștri sincer ortodocși știu cum
sacru și Sfinții trebuie să apere.
S-a demonstrat în mod repetat și
Voi demonstra acest lucru din nou cu argumente,
prin rezistență și cereri de recuperare.
Redescoperi ceea ce am pierdut,
să-și apere ceea ce este in pericol
“.

Enseignez à vos enfants la Vérité
que je respectais les pères.
Nos gens vrai orthodoxes savent comment le sacré et
les saints doivent défendre.
Il a été démontré de manière répétée et
je le vais prouver à nouveau avec des arguments,
par la résistance et des appels à la reprise.
Redécouvrir ce que nous avons perdu,
à défendre ce qui est à risque
“.

Bringen Sie Ihren Kindern die Wahrheit
wie ich die Väter respektiere.
Unsere ware orthodoxen Menschen wissen, wie
sie das Heilige und die Heiligen müssen verteidigen.
Es ist wiederholt nachgewiesen worden und
Ich werde dies wieder mit Argumenten beweisen,
durch den Widerstand und die Verwertung zu fordern.
Entdecken Sie, was wir verloren haben,
zu verteidigen was in Gefahr ist
“.

Enseñe a sus hijos la verdad
como yo respetaba padres.
Nuestra gente sincero ortodoxos saben lo sagrado y
Los santos deben defender.
Se ha demostrado en varias ocasiones y
Voy a probar esto de nuevo con argumentos,
a través de la resistencia y las convocatorias de recuperación.
Redescubrir lo que hemos perdido,
para defender lo que está en riesgo“.

Beginning of the Triodion – Who do you follow???

But you has fully known
my doctrine, manner of life,

purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured:
but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived.
But continue you in the things
which you has learned and has been assured of, knowing of whom you has learned them;
And that from a child you has known the Holy Scriptures,  which are able to make you wise unto Salvation
through Faith which is in Christ Jesus“.
2Tim. 3: 10-15

The doctrine of the Apostle Paul
After describing the false teachers who hold to a form of religion, but deny its power in 2Tim.3: 1-9, Paul again exhorts Timothy to
remain faithful, even through persecution.
He reminds Timothy of his own example, which
Timothy has observed for many years now.
Paul was not boasting in himself, but rather was saying,
Timothy, my life is open to you.
You know my life and my teaching.
You’ve seen me under persecution of the worst sort,
including being stoned and left for dead in your home town of Lystra.
You’ve seen me go through imprisonment, beatings, shipwreck, and other hardships.
You know that my life backs up my message, the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
So after I’m gone, remember my example and continue in it yourself

In this message the Apostle summed up:
-Spiritual faithfulness is not automatic, but
requires recognizing and following godly examples
who follow the Scriptures.
1.] Spiritual faithfulness in the past is not
an automatic guarantee of faithfulness in the future.

These verses fall into two sections, marked out in the Greek text by
two identical phrases [3:10, 14] that should be translated
identically, “But you“, or, “You, however. . . . . ”
– In 3:10, Paul draws a contrast between the character of the evil men [in 3:1-9] and
Timothy’s faithfulness up to this point.
– In 3:14, the contrast is between the evil men and impostors [in 3:13] and
Timothy’s needed faithfulness in the future.
Even though Timothy had followed Paul’s teaching and example thus far,
Paul felt it necessary to exhort him to continue doing so in the future,
especially when he encountered persecution, as he surely would [3:12].
In other words,
past faithfulness does not automatically guarantee future faithfulness.
The lives of these evil men that Paul has been describing [3:1-9, 13] serve as a warning.
– They were not atheists or outwardly opposed to religion.
– Rather, they made a profession of their faith.
– They had been leaders in the church.
– They held to a form of godliness, but
now their lives denied its power.
– They were impostors, or charlatans.

Proceed” [3: 13] means to make progress.
So Paul is sarcastically saying,
They will make progress all right,
from bad to worse,
deceiving and being deceived
“.

Whenever the Bible warns about deception [dishonesty], be careful,
because deception is always tricky.
It picks your pocket when you think everything is okay.
In the context here, the warning is,
just because you have been a faithful Church member for years or you have served faithfully for years, or you’ve been faithful in your marriage for years,
none of these things guarantee future faithfulness.
Long term spiritual faithfulness does not happen by accident.
You must be deliberate [thoughtful] about it.
So, recognizing the danger,
how can we remain faithful to the Lord in
the face of temptation and trials?

2.] Spiritual faithfulness in the future requires recognizing and
following godly examples who follow the Scriptures.
We all need examples to follow, which is why the
Good Message gives us  the stories of
so many faithful witnesses.
Although we see many that fall into sin,
thankfully there are many others,
such as Paul and Timothy, who finish well.
Next is shown
– both how to recognize and
– follow godly examples.
a.] To be spiritually faithful,
learn how to recognize godly examples.
Timothy had Paul as his example, but not as his only example.
The word “whom” [3: 14] is a plural [in the best manuscripts].
Beyond Paul were Timothy’s mother and grandmother, who
taught him the Scriptures from infancy [2Tim.1: 5; 3: 15].
It is not clear whether they led Timothy to salvation, or
whether their teaching him the Scriptures prepared him
to respond to the Gospel when he first heard Paul preach
[Paul calls him, “my true child in the faith” in 1Tim.1: 2; also in 2Tim.1: 2].
There were also probably many other godly examples in Timothy’s life.

There is an important lesson here, namely,
that we all need to be exposed to a number of godly examples.
Also, we should pray that our children would come
under the influence of many godly examples!!!
I have known parents that have tried to keep
their children exclusively under parental influence,
not allowing church youth leaders or anyone else
to get close to their children.
Their motive, no doubt, is to protect their children
from harmful influence, which is always a risk.
But it seems to me that it is to our children’s advantage
to be exposed to a number of godly adults
besides that of us as parents.
We needed all the help that we could get in rearing our children, and
if another godly adult could have an impact in their lives, I thanked God for it.

The same is the Truth of pastors.
Some pastors are afraid of having their people
listen to other pastors, perhaps out of fear
that the other pastor will say something
that undermines what the local pastor is saying.
But there is no corner on God’s truth!!!
I encourage you to benefit from other ‘God-fearing’ pastors
who are faithful to Scripture.
But, how do you discern whether or not a man is a godly example?
Let’s face it, there are a lot of religious charlatans out there!!!!!

Paul gives us three solid guidelines:
[-1-]. A godly example is known for his teaching [3: 10].
Paul writes [3: 10], “But you followed my teaching . . . . .“.
In 2Tim.4: 2, The Apostle will give Timothy a strong charge to preach the Word.
Paul put a premium on sound doctrine,
which is a frequent theme in the Pastoral Epistles.
1Tim.1: 3-5,10; 3: 3,15; 4: 6,13,16; 5: 17; 6: 1,3,20-21; 2 Tim.1: 13; 2: 2,15; 4: 3;
Titus 1: 9; 2: 1,10

So listen to what a man teaches.
It won’t take you long to discern whether he is teaching the Bible or
whether he is merely using the Good Message as
an inspirational springboard to launch off into his own ideas.
Some preachers use the Holy Bible like the Reader’s Digest or
like they are a populair teacher in a class-room:
It has some good quotes that support or illustrate their points,
but they don’t teach it as God’s authoritative Word that
we must understand and submit to.
When you listen to a sermon, ask yourself,
Did he explain and apply the text of Scripture so that
I come away understanding what it means and
how it applies to my life?
Also, a godly Good News teacher does not skip the difficult sections and doctrines.
He teaches the whole purpose of God.

Note also [3: 15] that a godly teacher uses the Scriptures to
lead people “to Salvation through Faith which is in Christ Jesus“.
Timothy’s mother and grandmother had taught him the “sacred writings
[a Jewish term for the Old Covenant] from infancy.
God’s Word is able to give even a child the wisdom that leads to Salvation,
which means, Salvation from God’s righteous Judgment on our sins.
That Salvation does not come by keeping the moral precepts of the Bible, or
even by believing the Bible.
Rather, Salvation comes through Faith in Christ Jesus alone.

As parents, pray for your children’s Salvation and
use the Good News to explain to them their need for the Saviour and
how to trust in Him to forgive their sins.
The popular idea of having your child
ask Jesus to come into his heart” is probably not the clearest way
to present the gospel [it’s too sweet].
A child needs to come under conviction for his sins, so
that he sees that he is guilty and deserves God’s judgment.
He also needs to know that on the Cross Jesus paid the penalty that he deserves,
if he will trust in Christ.
There should be evident signs of new life
if a child truly has been born of God.
Whether with children or adults,
use the Bible as the main tool
in leading people to Salvation.

[-2-]. A god-fearing preacher’s example is known for his character [3: 10].
He practices what he preaches!!!
So when a priest steals money from
the telephone-money-box or
when he promotes that he will even built a new church from criminal [black/stolen] money, leave him immediately!!!
His life backs up his teaching.
Paul mentions six areas of character:

·         Behaviour –

The word [used only here] means,
his way of life“.
You should be able to look at a person’s way of life and tell whether he or she is a godly example worth following.
This would include how he spends his time,
how he manages money and possessions, what kind of entertainment he enjoys, and
how he relates to his family, friends, fellow workers, and  even to strangers.
Is he rude [bad-mannered] or sensitive?
Is he oblivious to the needs of others or kind and caring?
Christianity is a way of life that affects all of life.
A godly example lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

·         Drive –
Paul was a man of drive.
– His drive was to help bring about God’s purpose [Eph.3: 9-11].
– He did everything for the Glory of God [1Cor.10: 31].
– He related every aspect of his life to
the supreme purpose of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord [Phil. 3:8-10] and
– making Him known to others [1 Cor. 9:23; 10:33].
– He disciplined himself for the purpose of godliness [1 Tim. 4:7].
– He made it his ambition to be pleasing to Christ [2 Cor. 5:9].
– He told the Ephesian elders [Acts 20: 24],
I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself,
so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus,
to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the Grace of God
“.
Godly examples will always be men and women
who live daily in the Light of God’s purpose.

·         Faith –
The word may mean “faithfulness“, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit [Gal. 5:22].
Paul was certainly a faithful man [1 Cor. 4:1].
But it also may refer to trusting God to do what is humanly impossible,
so that God will get the Glory.
Refering to how God delivered him from the brink of death,
Paul said:
Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so
that we would not trust in ourselves,
but in God Who raises the dead
“.
2Cor.1: 9
So a pastor who doesn’t believe in the Resurrection
isn’t a pastor, but a wolf in sheepsclothes.
A man or woman of faith lives in light of eternity,
trusting that God will keep His promises beyond the grave [2Tim. 4:8].
Look for those examples that live by faith.

·         Patience –
This also is a fruit of the Holy Spirit [Gal. 5:22].
It comes from two Greek words that literally mean
to be long before passion or anger.
The patient man doesn’t have a short fuse [temper].
He can bear with difficult people without exploding in anger.
He doesn’t snap at his wife or children with angry words.
The supreme test of patience had not been invented
when Paul wrote, but a truly patient man is patient when he drives!

·         Love –
This leads the list of the fruit of the Holy Spirit [Gal. 5:22].
Love, above all other virtues, should mark believers in Jesus Christ.
John 13: 34-35; 1Cor.13
My definition is, “Biblical Love is a self-sacrificing, caring commitment that shows itself in
seeking the highest good of the one loved
“.
Sometimes the highest good requires
confronting someone in sin and
holding him accountable.
The aim is to bring him under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, so that his life brings Glory to God.
Such Love should govern everything that we do.

 

·         Perseverance –
This word has the nuance of enduring difficult circumstances over the long haul.
It means trusting God when things aren’t the way
you want them to be and there is no immediate solution in sight.
Many Christians either imply or directly tell you that if you have enough faith,
God will instantly deliver you from your problems,
whether it is a serious health problem or
a difficult relational situation or whatever.
Just name it and claim it by faith“, they say.

Many years ago,
I was wondering what was wrong with my faith,
because I wasn’t experiencing many instant,
miraculous answers to my prayers.
Then I met the text, where Paul prays that we may be
strengthened with all power, according to His Glorious Might“.
Col.1: 11
I thought,
Yeah, that’s what I want.
Give me that Glorious, Mighty Power of God!“.
But read on:
for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience,
joyously giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us
to share in the inheritance of the Saints in Light
Col.1: 11b-12
Steadfastness and patience” [Επιμονή και υπομονή] are
the same words in Greek
as “Perseverance and patience” in our text.

I thought,
Wait a minute!
If God’s Mighty Power delivers us instantly from our trials,
why would we need Steadfastness and Patience, with joy?“.
The only reason we need steadfastness and patience with joy is
that God has not yet delivered us from our trials.
It takes His Mighty Power to give us joy in the midst of
unanswered prayers and ongoing trials.
That leads to the third mark of a god-fearing example.
A godly example is known for the preacher’s teaching and his character.
Also,

[-3-]. A godly example is known for
his godly demeanour
[appearance] under trials [3: 11-12].
– How does a man respond when trials hit?
– Does he rail at God or submit to God?
– Does he drift into the world or draw near to the Lord?
A godly example trusts God and grows through trials.
Paul mentions the trials that he encountered at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra [Timothy’s city], three cities in the Galatian region of Asia Minor.
During the first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas were driven from Antioch
because of intense persecution [Acts 13: 50].
At their next stop in Iconium, they had to flee to avoid being stoned [Acts 14:5-6].
In Lystra, Paul actually was stoned, dragged out of the city and left for dead.
He was probably unconscious, but God miraculously raised him up [Acts 14:19-20].
Rather than let such awful persecution deter him,
Paul went right on preaching the Gospel in that region [Acts 14:21-22].
Timothy had witnessed Paul’s courage and joy in the face of these terrible trials.
When Paul says that the Lord rescued him out of them,
he means that God brought him through them.
God did not always keep Paul from trials,
although at times He did [Acts 18: 9-10].

Don’t miss verse 12 –
it’s a promise for you to claim!
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted“.
While the type and intensity of the persecution will vary
from ridicule or rejection to physical violence or even death,
every true Christian who lives a godly life in this evil world
will experience persecution.
If you are honest at work,
your honesty will convict those who cheat, and
they will try to get you down again and again until they smile they bejewelled you down.
If you speak out about injustice or evil,
you will be ridiculed and attacked.
Saint Nectarios of Aegina put it plainly:
Those who wish to be exempt from persecutions
must necessarily renounce Christ“.

Thus spiritual faithfulness requires recognizing and following godly examples of those who
follow the Scriptures.
You can recognize them by their teaching, their character, and
their godly demeanour [behaviour] under trials.
But, once you recognize them,
you need to follow them.

b.] To be spiritually faithful,
learn how to follow godly examples.

Three things are involved here:
[-1-]. Follow closely so as to understand and embrace.
That’s the meaning of the Greek word, “followed” [“know all about”].
It means to follow closely in somebody’s footsteps.
Lucas uses [in Luc.1: 3] the word when he tells Theophilus
that he has investigated everything carefully.
He means that he has traced out the history and
carefully checked his sources.
In our text, Paul means that Timothy was thoroughly familiar with Paul’s teaching and
his life because he had spent so much time with him, watching how he lived.
The consequence is that we need examples whose lives are open and transparent.
They are not afraid to let us see how they relate to their families and
to share areas where they struggle.
It implies getting to know someone well enough
that you can tell whether he walks with Christ or is faking it.
If he’s the real deal, then follow his example.

[-2-]. Follow by learning so as to develop strong convictions.
Paul says [in 2Tim.3: 14] that Timothy has learned these things and
become convinced of them.
Christianity involves learning certain doctrinal truths and
developing convictions about them.
Some doctrines are not essential to the faith, and
god-fearing men may differ on them.
We need to hold our views on these matters
with tolerance towards those who differ.
But on core matters, we should not compromise at all.
It requires maturity to discern
where you should draw these lines.

[-3-]. Follow by continuing in your convictions, even when under fire.
Timothy had learned these things and was convinced of them, but Paul tells him to continue in them.
The context makes it clear that he must continue in them even if it means persecution.
With Saint Nectarios, we must say,
even under intense pressure to yield,
Here I stand!
Besides reading about Saint Nectariosof Aegina, St Nectarios Metropolitan of Pentapolis,
who risked his spiritual live to stand for the Gospel against Alexandria,
read the lives of others who stood for the Truth under fire.

I conclude by asking you two questions.
– First, who are the examples that you follow?
To be spiritually faithful, you need godly models who follow the Scriptures.
As I said, if you can’t know them personally,
read about their lives in the Good Message or in Saint biographies.
I have been strengthened greatly by reading
the lives of the God-fearing men who went before me.
Although I do not know them personally,
contemporaries like Saint Nectarios and others
who stand for God’s Truth
encourage me to do the same.

– Second, to whom are you an example?
If you are growing in Christ as you should be,
then you should pray that God will use
your teaching, your conduct, and your godly demeanour under trials
to impact the lives of younger believers.
While none of us may ever be well-known or as strong an example as Paul was,
we all should be faithful enough that our lives are worth imitating.

Beginning of the Triodion – Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee – Come ‘all’ to me

Two men went up into the temple to pray;
the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself,
‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or
even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week,
I give tithes of all that I possess
‘.

And the publican, standing afar off,
would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven,
but smote upon his breast, saying,
‘God be merciful to me a sinner‘.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:
for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted
“.
Luc.18: 10-14

Notice:
This Bible-story of Lucas follows at
the story of the widow who
is searching for Justice!!!
Why?
Because Christ calls us that we should
always pray and not to faint doing this!!
He will give us Justice speedily!!!
Christ Himself spoke these words with
the view to some, who trusted themselves
that they were righteous and despised others.
Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes,
shall He find faith on the earth?
Luc.18: 1-9

Jesus Christ shared the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee with us
to warn us of the great spiritual danger of arrogant self-confidence in our own righteousness, coupled with contempt for those whom we consider to be beneath us.
In this way Jesus sought to protect us from the terrible spiritual sickness of Pharissee-ism.

This disease of the soul first manifests itself as
absolute confidence and trust in the rightness of our own point of view and judgement;
it presupposes our personal superiority over others.
And this twisted expression of self-confidence quickly degenerates into
uncritical self-satisfaction and self-righteousness,
into a kind of mindless self-admiration.
It takes endless pleasure in the self, and
in all that it does.

Let us look at the Pharisee in today’s parable.
He goes into the Temple of God
to offer incense to his own self-idol [Gr. eidōλolatreíα].

He proclaims his saintliness and
enumerates his good works.
He admires and praises himself and
is standing before God in his best clothes;
big crown on his head and a
mozes-staff to show his importance.
He, after all, is not like other people
who are up to their necks in immorality and evil.
In the midst of his supposed prayer
he does not hesitate to spill
the poisonous bile of his hatred
for the Publican [sinner]
whom he sees praying off in a distant corner.

With exaggerated self-satisfaction
he refers to his careful fasting and
his generous support of the temple.
He is indeed, a fastidious observer of
the law of the [New] Covenant.

And even though we feel repulsed
by the attitude and behaviour of the Pharisee,
we need to be honest enough to
admit to ourselves
that there are more than a few times
when we astonishingly resemble him.
After all, who among us
does not want others to think
that we are better people than we actually are?
Which one of us does not suffer from some
lack of respect toward others?
Is there even one of us
who is very lenient in his judgement of others , and sterner in his own self-criticism?
I sincerely doubt it.
Every one of us, more or less, has something of that Pharisee inside of us.
Something of that self-adulation and righteousness.
And so to protect ourselves form infection by this disease
requires nothing less than constant struggle [praying] and
vigilant effort [works] on our part.

A truly Christian heart seeks to do what is just and right as
a simple and natural expression of
our responsibility as persons to the flock around us.
But even then we understand that
our good deeds do not reflect perfection and so
should not be the cause of weaning pride on our part.
That is why Saint Basilios,
who devoted his entire life to the loving service of others wrote,
Even if we were somehow able to do absolutely everything that is required of us,
we would still have to conclude that we are unworthy servants of the Lord.
And this is because after having done all this,
we will only have fulfilled our basic duty and
obligation and nothing more
“.
Even when we have to suffer martyrdom [μαρτύριο].

This condemnation of the smug self-satisfaction of the Pharisee, leads us to the justification of the Publican,
who keenly feels and readily acknowledges his personal inadequacies,
Because each of us has to carry his own human, sinners-status.
The Publican is admittedly burdened by a host of sins.
But he is acutely aware of his sinfulness and spiritual poverty.
And so he stands back, in the farthest corner of the temple.
He does not dare to even lift his eyes toward Heaven.
With heavy sighs, he whispers his short prayer,
God, have mercy on me, a sinner“.

His prayer is a request, a plea actually,
that is filled with contrition.
And this contrition, this acknowledgement and confession of personal imperfection,
is nothing less than the very cornerstone of the entire spiritual life.
And this is because it is inseparably bound with humility of the soul; and
it is humility that allows divine grace to transfigure and sanctify our lives.

Perhaps the attitude that we need to acquire if
we wish to offer prayer that is acceptable before God, is
summed up in the words of Jesus himself who said to us,
Come to Me, all you that are weary and
are carrying heavy burdens and
I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
in Me you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light
“.
Matth.11: 28

May we too approach the altar of God with
that same gentleness of spirit, and
that same humility of heart and soul.
In that case the Son of man when He comes,
shall find real faith on the earth.

The desert of Zin
At the end of Moses’ song,
he reminds Israel
that these are not just idle words
to pass on to their children.
These words are their life!
In keeping with these words
they will live long in the land
that God is giving them.
As we continue with
the narrative of the Old Covenant
we’ll see that they choose not to hold on to life.

Moses is reminded a number of times
that he will die because he did not uphold
God’s holiness in the Desert of Zin.
Despite not getting to reap the reward of a long journey,
Moses concerns himself with the real needs of the people.
He makes sure that when he is gone
that they will continue to follow God.
This has been striking to me over and over again.
I pray that our Church-leaders will be as concerned with the lives of others.

 

Orthodoxy in the Netherlands – effective and credible???

Abba Macarios was asked,
‘How should one pray’?
The old man said,
‘Stretch out one’s hands and say,
“Lord, as you will and as you know, have mercy.”
And if the conflict grows fiercer say, “Lord, help!
He knows very well what we need and
He shows us His mercy’
Saint Macarios the Great

A man’s heart plans his way, but
the Lord directs his steps“.
Proverbs 16: 9

                                                                   Church’s responsibility to the local culture
There is no place in the Church of God for liturgical uniformity , cultural domination, colonialism, brutal conformism or a uniformity,
forcibly imposing worship and theological expressions upon others.
We may envisage this harmonization of different colours as a mosaic.
Equally, it would be absurd to condemn other Christians who prefer this or that liturgical expression, this form of language, this kind of liturgical singing and music.

This is not Orthodoxy.
Spirituality can be expressed in different ways and
must not be taken to mean a stereotyped form of piety,
otherwise the human element is overstated as
a compared with the divine at the expense of unity and
the spreading of the Gospel.
By overstressing marginal secondary elements,
we promote them to absolutes and essentials while
in reality there exists a dialectic synthesis and harmony.

It was precisely this ignoring of cultural aspirations and
the pluralism in humanity that manifested itself in
the monolithic attitude of the Latin church when
it adamantly insisted on Latin remaining to compulsory language
in the worship of newly-converted nations,
such as Bulgaria and elsewhere, creating the consequent split.
Photius protested in an encyclical in 867 and
denounced the anachronistic steps of Rome.
The conflict was seemingly over evangelistic methodology and deontology,
but behind it was the Roman claim to primacy of universal jurisdiction.
It accentuated the conflict between the Roman claim
to be the center of unity for Christendom and
the Eastern Orthodoxy conception of the five patriarchates of almost equal status.

There is a deeper and more objective approach
to theology and culture as a way of life that
owes its origin to the early fathers of the east.
Such a work is both indigenous and fruitful.
Our faith and worship has to be expressed
and reinterpreted through the language and
the gestures, the customs of contemporary peoples scattered throughout the world.
► This was the extraordinary achievement of Patriarch Photius of Constantinople [810-895],
seeking to integrate various Slavonic customs in religion and in liturgical life.
Such an approach to inculturation remains a continuous responsibility.
The church of today, especially that in diaspora and overseas,
is urgently seeking a diachronic and synchronic liturgy,
preaching theology and spirituality
that will embody the best traditions of local culture.

These two brothers, left to our age, called
technological, electronic, nuclear, spatial, revolutionary, an everlasting model of
how preaching and evangelism should be
in every historical period of change.
► While the central message will remain untouched and unchangeable,
its language, form, semantic expression and terminology should always be reviewed,
adapted to new emerging needs.
Human beings, while remaining the same throughout history, from other aspects  – cultural and intellectual – undergo considerable change, inviting appointed pastors to give more attention than they usually do to the methods used, to the language employed and to how they ought to speak
in order to awaken apathy and sleepy consciences.
► Without absolutizing methods and informatique, from this new science,
nevertheless, we are not at all excused, if
we rely exclusively on old outdated patterns of our fathers, irrelevant today.
Certainly they were valid in their time, but not for today.
► We need to become flexible, contemporary.
We must, as an imperative challenge, stand with one leg in the past, in history,
but we have to put the other leg into the present,
with all that that implies and demands, for
a proper articulation of our faith to the people.
Only then will the proclamation of our faith
become effective and credible.

Orthodoxy & the Ten Virgins – Christ is with with you always

I have been reading sermons about this subject from preachers whom started with a preconceived idea they learned in their college as taught by their western professors.
As a result many men in leading positions
who never took the time to study what is really recorded in the Good Message on this subject nor do they ask and answer the
most important questions necessary to understand what is meant concerning the ten virgins and
don’t get the points that Jesus, our Lord, was making.

Another reason many clerics miss the mark is
because they do not take into consideration that
the Bible was not broken down in chapter and verse
in the beginning of the writing of the Holy Scriptures.
With this knowledge and approach
we can get the True story flow and
intent of statements made in the Bible
by not taking verses out of their proper context.

The reason I bring this out here is
because we must go into the preceding chapter
that is now titled chapter 24 of the Evangelion of Matthew.
Jesus was asked in the beginning of this chapter
what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the age.
In other words they were asking a very important question, which was
When will you bring in the Kingdom of God and
overpower
[or take over] the kingdoms of this world?“.
What’s truly ironic is that the Governments of this world
don’t believe the message Jesus brought brethren
because if they did than they would realize
that this Message is about putting them out of power!

Jesus gave many other warnings and
signs to look forthat we are not going to
cover in this scholarshipso you might want
to read this education titled Revelation six vs.
Matthew 24 as this education gets into the details of Matth. 24.

Now let’s take a look at the statement He made after He was asked “What would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the age“.
In what is now titled chapter 24 that ties into the statements recorded in chapter 25 referring to
the Ten Virgins.

Let’s start with verse 42 of Matth. 24;
Watch therefore, for
you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
But know this that if the master of the house had known
what hour the thief would come,
he would have watched and not allowed his house
to be broken into.
Therefore you also be ready,
for the Son of Man is coming at an hour
you do not expect.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant,
whom his master made ruler over his household,
to give them food in due season?

Blessed is that servant whom his master,
when he comes, will find so doing.
Assuredly, I say to you that
He will make him ruler over all His goods
“.
Matth.24: 42-47

So we see that the very important point that
our Lord, the master of the world wants His servants to do is continue to be faithful
and continue in those things they were instructed by Jesusin the beginning of
the New Covenant.
What did Jesus instruct
the early Church to do?
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [Should be power of the Holy Spirit]
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age
“.
Matth.28: 19-20

Notice,
Teaching them to observe all things
that I have commanded you
“!!!
That covers a great deal of scriptures and instructions, including the Ten Commandments as well as the command to teach about the coming Kingdom of God that many clergy today have stopped doing.
It also covers the very important statements and commands that our Lord gave the Church after His Resurrection to feed the flock and that means with what Jesus delivered to them.
The Apostles did not go out teaching their own Gospel message but were faithful to teach all things that Jesus commanded them to teach.
If they had gotten off on other things they would have become unfaithful servants
so what does that make ministers today that just go along with what
they were taught by their professors?
So let’s note;
Who then is a faithful and wise servant?“.
And is a very important point to think about as
we study along here,
however, the main point is stated as . . . . .
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at any time you do not expect“.
This is what I call the “focal point” of the parable of the Ten Virgins
because the points in Chapter 24 and 25 are warning us to be ready!!!

Now let’s get to the meat of this subject in
the scriptures down in what is numbered as
chapter 25 vs. One.
It states;
Then the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened to
Ten Virgins who took their lamps and
went out to meet the Bridegroom.
Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
But while the bridegroom was delayed,
they all slumbered and slept and at midnight a cry was heard:
‘Behold, the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out’.

[This in the Greek is stated as “have gone out” not going out]
But the wise answered, saying,
‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you;
but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves’.
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and
those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and
the door was shut
“.

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying,
‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
But He answered and said,
‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you’.
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in
which the Son of Man is coming”.
We see here that the Bridegroom [the Lord] was delayed and
as a result all ten Virgins slept.
We also see where at midnight [a time not expected] the Bridegroom came, and
those who were ready “went in”  like into a chamber and then the door was shut.
Now once again it’s very important to note here
that the reason the first five virgins were ready was
because they had “brought oil” with their lamps
but the others did not even bring oil.
The others that brought their oil
were prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom.

[The oil here may be
the representation of the Holy Spirit as some have taught
but I’m not sure about that at this time
because if you search the scriptures
you will not find one reference
that the Holy Spirit is represented by oil.
It is represented by “living waters” but
not oil as far as I have found.

Orthodox customs
The first thing that should be done when an Orthodox Christian family moves into a new apartment or house
is to determine which eastern wall or corner can be turned into the icon corner, with Christ in the Centre.
This should not be a non-conspicuous place
where the icons will be hidden from people’s eyes,
rather it should be a very prominent spot which
all can see.
The icon corner should have icons of Christ and the Theotokos as well as icons of the saints for whom the family has particular devotion.
Many times an Orthodox family chooses a particular Saint to whom they wish to dedicate their family church [in my family Saint Panteleimon], and
place it under his or her protection.
The icons in the icon corner of a family church dedicated to a saint will, of course,
have an icon of the saint together with those of Christ and the Theotokos.

The icon corner will either have a small table or a shelf upon which may be placed prayer books,
a [hand] censer, a bottle of holy water, a blessing-cross,
the candles that the husband and wife held at their wedding,
holy oil, palm branches and sometimes other religious objects.
In front of the icons an oil lamp should ‘perpetually burn.
Some families burn wax votive candles before the icons;
however, the tradition is to burn olive oil.
Electric lights are not appropriate for use as
the light to burn before icons.
The traditional oil lamps require an amount of attention
which electricity does not, thereby directing our physical services and
thoughts to God several times a day when
we are required to trim the wick and refill the lamp with oil.

The use of pure olive oil may be objected to because of its high cost;
however, God is beneficent to those who think first of spiritual matters and
then of themselves.
A family with which I am familiar had a multitude of problems,
one of which was not enough money to purchase food.
The head of the family placed the household
under the protection of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
As an offering of faith and love, the family’s head
promised that the lamp in the icon corner would burn only pure olive oil and
that it would be allowed to go out only after there was no more food on the table and
no money to buy either olive oil or food.
Because of the strong faith shown by the family head,
the Theotokos has miraculously provided the family with enough money
to purchase both olive oil and food for months on end.

There are a number of different kinds of utensils designed for burning oil before icons.
A very common one is the wick-float
which utilizes cork to keep the wick and
flame floating on the oil.

The meaning of oil
Let’s take a moment to address the point of oil
before going on with this assessment.
I had to contemplate a long time before stating that
the oil could be the representation of the Holy Spirit
because I could not find any reference to the Holy Spirit and oil.
The reason I did is because of scriptures like Exod 30:25-28.
And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil,
an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil.
With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and
the ark of the Testimony;
the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base
“.
Let’s look at some more . . . . .
He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes; nor shall he go near any dead body, nor defile himself for his father or his mother; nor shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the Sanctuary of his God;
for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him:
I am the Lord
“.
Lev 21:10-12
What else could this consecration of the anointing oil of his God be?

In 2Kings 9: 6 we find that oil is poured over the Kings head as
an anointing which seems to me that
this is giving the man power from God so
again it is like the power of the Holy Spirit.
It states . . . . .
Then he arose and went into the house.
And he poured the oil on his head, and said to him,
“Thus says the Lord God of Israel :
‘I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, over Israël
“.
Lev.21: 10-12
Another example is.
Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one, and said:
‘I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found My servant David
‘;
with My holy oil I have anointed him,
with whom My hand shall be established;
also My arm shall strengthen him
“.
Psalm 88: 19-21
Let’s also look at.
“And if you bring as an offering a grain offering baked in the oven,
it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or
unleavened wafers anointed with oil”.
Lev 2:4

Notice
The reference here to the unleavened cakes which we know
is not the body of our Lord Jesus but is a reference to Him.
The same can be true for the oil and the Holy Spirit.
And I’m sure many of you know this scripture in which states;
Is anyone among you sick?
Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and
the Lord will raise him up.
And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven
“.
James 5: 14-15
The point is that I could see more scriptures that [denoted]
the holy oil was like the power of God which
we know that the Holy Spirit is the power of God
that heals and works with those God has chosen.
I believe that we can’t always find scripture
that states some things exactly but
we can find examples that help us understand.
The oil used concerning the ten virgins denotes
being ready by the power of the oil.
Without it you can’t light the lamp.
Am I saying that I’m 100% correct about this?
Not at all; just that I could see the point in the above scriptures.
I can only know if I have the information and
God may tell me in the Resurrection that I was wrong and
then I will repent and ask Him what should have I written?

So to continue we see from what we have covered
that the parable Jesus gave concerning the Ten Virgins, and
the Kingdom of God is for us to understand that
we need to be much more diligent in what we are doing as Christians, and
even though some may think they are worshipping the correct way and
the correct God because their Church has Jesus on the door
many need to realize they may not have any oil.
Many will look at the other person and wonder if
they have oil but we all need to ask this of ourselves and
not be too concerned what another person is doing.

It is very important to know that we can become lax
if we just follow some church and not study or question
the sermons given for ourselves.
I understand that many believe the pagan ideas because they don’t know any better and
will not even look into it so God the Holy Father must call them and open their minds.
Their conversion is God’s business and we have no power over their will so
as I have stated many times I put out the information but I don’t get
into the conversion church-business.
There are a great deal of warnings about this time we live and
the people being deceived into another Gospel so
let’s look at a warning by Jesus Himself.

Jesus stated:
For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ’, and
will deceive many
“.
Matth.24: 5
On into the discussion He stated that many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
There will be some in the future declaring that they are our saviour and as we read before we are warned from Jesus Himself not to go after them.
So make your own choices and choose that Christian community which offers you the best progress in being a good servant.

This could mean that the man of perdition will come as the saviour but if we think about this we can also see how men are using other in very clever ways to so say if you don’t keep the Sabbath
just the way they tell you too then you could be disobeying God.
Or men can state that if you don’t speak Jesus’ Name in the original Hebrew or Aramaic [Joshua] your prayers will not reach Him.
If that were true brethren Jesus would have made sure He instructed us and taught just how to pronounce His name.
And you also have to know that when you are entering the Kingdom of God
you will understand a language you have never heard before .
I think it will be the Langueage of ‘Love’; everybody understands it without words.
The apostles and his followers would have made sure
everyone has to be instructed on this as well
but we find no such teaching.
The statement “In My Name” as we read before means
“by My [Christ’s] authority” not that one must say the name Jesus in a certain way or
you want reach Jesus in prayer to even receive Salvation through repentance.
This would be preaching another gospel because Jesus, our Lord is the only way to
Salvation and into the Kingdom of God!!!

The language to educate
I have done a very detailed research on this subject on
what is called “sacred names” and
found that the original Hebrew can’t even be understood by anyone today.
It is a dead language and has been mixed with Aramaic just like
all languages have been mixed with other languages.
English is a good example as
it has been mixed with just about every language in the world.
So use [also in church] the language the people in that area are used to speak.
What I’m saying is many men use this kind of teaching
to so-say guide you to the real Saviour but
they are really holding you to things that
distract from the real Blood Sacrifice that
Jesus Himself stated and His Apostles taught is
the only way to enter the Kingdom.

Now it is very important for all of us to note the warnings
given in the Good Message and there is another warning we find,
that there will be a great falling away
from the True word of God in the end times [2Thess.2: 3,4].
Let no one deceive you by any means; for
that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and
the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition“.
These and other scriptures warn of a great Apostasy that
is predicted to come about in the last days and
this warning should cause people who
want to follow the True Messiah great concern because
we are in the time of this falling away.

Now please turn to Matt 7: 22-23 for more foundation to this fact . . . . .
You can see here that we find Scripture that state
Many will say to Me in that day,
‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and
done many wonders in Your name?”.

And then I will declare to them,
‘I never knew you; depart from Me,
you who practice lawlessness!’
“.
These people being judged in this story Jesus told were doing things during their lifetime in the Name Christian, but
Jesus will not accept them.
Notice
how this warning relates to what we read
that there will be a great falling away from the true word of God.
2Thess.2
We also read a warning from the apostle Paul
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,
having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and
shall be turned unto fables“.
2Tim.4: 3-4
Notice

that these people will heap to themselves teachers . . . . .
I would have to assume that these teachers are teaching scripture
from the bible because Paul is referring to the end time Church of God.
It would take many years for this to be put in place and
for it to deceive the masses into accepting another gospel so
the question is, can we see it in the Christian religion today and
if so where and how?

Acceptance of Pagan God’s:
So brethren how else is it that many are being deceived into
not following the true Messiah but appearing to be Christians
therefore not bringing their oil?
– We as in the West have gone into idolatry in a big way and most of the leaders of many thousands of churches don’t even speak out against these things.
The pyramids and other pagan gods of Egypt
are fast becoming part of our every-day life
in the wetsren nations.
The symbols are showing up on advertisements everywhere. People are buying Egyptian jewelry by the thousands.
Amusement parks are using Egyptian pyramids, Egyptian coffins, and objects of pagan worship as the main attraction.
Egypt and all her pagan gods and the magic witches use are being presented to the people of the world and
the West in the spirit of the carnival and
the sad thing is they are being accepted.

It’s even being taught to our children as good and acceptable in the schools.
It starts out as themes that are just fun things for people’s amusement,
but in time people will accept, and
are accepting Egypt’s pagan ways along with all the rest as if it’s just another way to worship the true Creator God.
Witchcraft is entering the Christian Church and home through the “Harry Potter books and movies” and
I hope that those that has eyes to see, and ears to hear understand that this world is fast being moved towards the ancient occult practice of sorcery.
It’s too bad that many Christians today fail
to be alarmed so they could see the importance of shunning this evil and all its ways.

The Truth is that we can’t afford to allow it in our personal lives even if it looks innocent.
We can’t allow the practice of sorcery in our children’s lives just because it is presented as
a fun educational tool in schools.
[a nice Greek, Latin or Russian sounding church-service, like we had in our formal homeland, instead of understanding what is sung and said during the service]
I compare the things in this amendment that
show how black magic is presented such as levitation,
like when they were riding on brooms as well as Astro-Projection
which is the method in which an individual can separate
his consciousness from his physical body.

When a seeker goes to the Path of Liberation, he is often unsure of what to do.
If he is able to empty his heart of all self, and
to surrender his whole being to his inner god,
his next few steps on the Path will be illuminated as a result of fervent prayer.
Now this inner god idea, brethren, is
directly from the teaching of the witches and Anti-Christ.
What will children think when looking to the True saviour
when they have grown up believing that they need to look to and
surrender their whole being to their inner god?
I hope you are seeing here how the now-a-days stories are
removing Jesus and God the Holy Father and
replacing them with self-power.

Now let’s look at the greatest deception in the world.
God’s people were slaves in Egypt several thousand years ago and
Beware” as Egypt is fast enslaving God’s people once more and
many will have to be delivered once more by God’s hand, but
this time, Jesus will take the throne from Satan and rule forever!
The question is…
Are we going to be ready;
are we going to have our oil
when the Bridegroom comes?