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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wait On The Lord!

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.

Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.

When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.

Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Christ Is Risen! Enjoy The Feast!

TO BE READ ALOUD...

"If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen." Saint John Chrysostom

Friday, April 10, 2015

He Is Near Who Justifies Me

“The Lord God has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.

The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.

 I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

“For the Lord God will help Me;
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.

 He is near who justifies Me;
Who will contend with Me?
Let us stand together.
Who is My adversary?
Let him come near Me.

 Surely the Lord God will help Me;
Who is he who will condemn Me?
Indeed they will all grow old like a garment;
The moth will eat them up.

 “Who among you fears the Lord?
Who obeys the voice of His Servant?
Who walks in darkness
And has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord
And rely upon his God.

 Look, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with sparks:
Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled—
This you shall have from My hand:
You shall lie down in torment."

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Take This Word To Heart

"Therefore, please hear this, you afflicted, Who are drunk, but not with wine: Thus says your Lord, the LORD, even your God Who contends for His people, "Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling, The chalice of My anger; You will never drink it again. "I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, Who have said to you, 'Lie down that we may walk over you.' You have even made your back like the ground And like the street for those who walk over it."

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Orthodox Doctrine In 48 Words

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

RE-POST: Thoughts On Evangelism In The West

...Because all Orthodox believers should see this... from a  Monday, June 09, 2014 JTO Post...

"Do we get so caught up in church battles that we forget that our battle is for the souls of men? Are we more concerned with pleasing a personality rather than presenting the person of Christ to a lost world? I am still amazed when I find Orthodox people who are so consumed with the rudiments of the faith, their own personal "holiness" that they ignore Christ's commission to us to GO into the world and preach the gospel... Our churches/missions should certainly welcome local Orthodox Christians who find us - and those who leave the World Churches - but we, like Christ, must be about our Father's business- as the Apostles and saints before us- to take the gospel of Christ to a perishing world- to the unbeliever, the Protestant, the cultists. In the West we have a unique tool. Why do we not make use of radio? Why do we not make use of T.V.? Is it too Western? Not Orthodoxish enough? Smacks of Protestantism? Do we refuse to acknowledge the effectiveness of a form of communication just because someone else got there first or because that's not how they do it in the East? The media is today's street corner, today's marketplace. "How will they hear without a preacher?" People must know that the original church exists, before they can even consider stepping into a liturgy, where we all know that the purest evangelism occurs- in the life of worship. It seems all we do is talk to each other. We must change from an inward people to an outward people. The One, Holy. Catholic and Apostolic Church is not an elitist club. Our message should not be "prove yourself worthy or sincere before approaching the Holy Church." Our message should be "Come unto me ALL you who are weary and I will give you rest."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Middle East and Orthodox Meddling

"We are the Church of the living God. We are to gather at his Holy Altar and not at our preferred ethnic flagpole. It is indeed true that "There can be no Jew nor Greek, there can be no slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female-for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Our heart of compassion in the current crisis in the Middle East should be for ALL who are victims and our criticism of ALL who are guilty regardless of nationality or race. Let us all agree with Shakespeare that, if warranted, "All are punished! All are punished!"

More relevant today than ever. Read the full article HERE.http://journeytoorthodoxy.blogspot.com/2007/06/do-orthodox-have-dirty-laundry-ask.html

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Academy Awards Challenge for Churches

“Recently, as I've been speaking at conferences and events around the world, I've been urging Christians to stop looking at Hollywood as the enemy, and

start looking at Hollywood as a mission field,” 

Cooke wrote.” After all, what if Christians stopped just criticizing, and actually started praying for the most influential industry in the world? Something amazing might happen.” [Phil Cooke is a media consultant focused mainly on the Christian market, as well as a vocal critic of contemporary American and American-influenced Christian }

Read full article here.

JTO NOTE: Pray in particular for Orthodox Christians in the film industry.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

BREAKING NEWS! JTO Author Confesses To Being A Sinner

"I, a sinful soul, confess to our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, all of my evil acts which I have done, said or thought from baptism even unto this present day.

I have not kept the vows of my baptism, but have made myself unwanted before the face of God.

I have sinned before the Lord by lack of faith and by doubts concerning the Orthodox Faith and the Holy Church; by ungratefulness for all of God's great and unceasing gifts; His long-suffering and His providence for me, a sinner; by lack of love for the Lord, as well as fear, through not fulfilling the Holy Commandments of God and the canons and rules of the Church.

I have not preserved a love for God and for my neighbor nor have I made enough efforts, because of laziness and lack of care, to learn the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Holy Fathers.

I have sinned: by not praying in the morning and in the evening and in the course of the day; by not attending the services or by coming to Church only half-heartedly, lazily and carelessly; by conversing during the services, by not paying attention, letting my mind wander and by departure from the Church before the dismissal and blessing.

I have sinned by judging members of the clergy.

I have sinned by not respecting the Feasts, breaking the Fasts, and by immoderation in food and drink.

I have sinned by self-importance, disobedience, willfulness, self-righteousness, and the seeking of approval and praise.

I have sinned by unbelief, lack of faith, doubts, despair, despondency, abusive thoughts, blasphemy and swearing.

I have sinned by pride, a high opinion of my self, narcissism, vanity, conceit, envy, love of praise, love of honors, and by putting on airs.

I have sinned: by judging, malicious gossip, anger, remembering of offenses done to me, hatred and returning evil for evil; by slander, reproaches, lies, slyness, deception and hypocrisy; by prejudices, arguments, stubbornness, and an unwillingness to give way to my neighbor; by gloating, spitefulness, taunting, insults and mocking; by gossip, by speaking too much and by empty speech.

I have sinned by unnecessary and excessive laughter, by reviling and dwelling upon my previous sins, by arrogant behavior, insolence and lack of respect.

I have sinned by not keeping my physical and spiritual passions in check, by my enjoyment of impure thoughts, licentiousness and unchastity in thoughts, words and deeds.

I have sinned by lack of endurance towards my illnesses and sorrows, a devotion to the comforts of life and by being too attached to my parents, children, relatives and friends.

I have sinned by hardening my heart, having a weak will and by not forcing myself to do good.

I have sinned by miserliness, a love of money, the acquisition of unnecessary things and immoderate attachment to things.

I have sinned by self-justification, a disregard for the admonitions of my conscience and failing to confess my sins through negligence or false pride.

I have sinned many times by my Confession: belittling, justifying and keeping silent about sins.

I have sinned against the Most-holy and Life-creating Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord by coming to Holy Communion without humility or the fear of God.

I have sinned in deed, word and thought, knowingly and unknowingly, willingly and unwillingly, thoughtfully and thoughtlessly, and it is impossible to enumerate all of my sins because of their multitude. But I truly repent of these and all others not mentioned by me because of my forgetfulness and I ask that they be forgiven through the abundance of the Mercy of God."  Prayer of Saint John of Kronstadt

Monday, January 26, 2015

Byzanfest 2015




CLICK PHOTO FOR FESTIVAL WEBSITE.

Criteria: What is an Orthodox Film?

"Byzanfest is looking for films that express Orthodox Christian themes, beliefs, culture and values. 
However, an entry’s storyline does not necessarily have to be directly ‘religious’ or spiritual. Although the film may not appear to have ‘Orthodox’ subject matter, it can still be deemed an Orthodox film because it was created by an Orthodox Christian filmmaker who maintained an Orthodox phronema (‘mindset’) during the creative process, remaining faithful to their Christian sense of dignity, morality and self-respect."