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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Understanding the Christian Artist

I recommend this book by Orthodox filmmaker and author, Franky Schaeffer. It is out of print but can be found used. It is a must read for those who have questions about the mission of the Church in the entertainment and arts industries and the Christian missionaries who must endure both the rejection of non-Christians and the resistance of uninformed Christians.



The Mystery of Art

 Jonathan Jackson- Orthodox Actor/Musician
"Emmy Award-winning actor and musician Jonathan Jackson explores the profound implications of human creativity in the image of God, along with the process of becoming an artist (of any sort) dedicated to practicing his or her art from the context of a deep relationship with God. The true Christian artist is not necessarily one who treats religious themes, but one who creates through the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God."

A Sense of Humor

If Jesus was fully God and fully Man, then he had a sense of humor.


One of my greatest joys is laughing with my children, grandchildren and my wife. Find the humor in life! If you have lost your sense of humor, I pray you find it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

St. Nikolai Velimirovich: Bless My Enemies O Lord

Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have.

Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.

They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself.

They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments.

They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself.

They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.

Bless my enemies, O Lord, Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish.

Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf.

Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.

Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.

Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.

Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.

Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:

so that my fleeing to You may have no return;

so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs;

so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul;

so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger;

so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven;

ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.

One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends. It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies.

Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and enemies.

A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands. For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.

+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prayers By the Lake (A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, Volume 5)

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Guarantee Victory Over Your Enemy

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

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

Wait on the Lord. 

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

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

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

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

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic'

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Love Everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

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

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

Friday, November 07, 2014

The DARKNESS Of The United States Shadow Government

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

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

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

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

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



Shadow Government

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Attachment To One's Kinsfolk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATTACHMENT TO ONE'S KINSFOLK,

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

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


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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Utter Obtuseness!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bishop should say: 

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