April 2 2017

Preparing for Heaven

For many Christians, going to Church and living ‘by the rules’ is about earning a spot in heaven. For Orthodox Christians, going to Church and the Orthodox way of life is about preparing for the reality of being in heaven. Christ said to His disciples, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" Are you able to live the life that Christ has offered? Don’t waste another moment. Great Lent is about learning how to live as God desires, if we choose to follow Him to Heaven.

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March 26 2017

God will raise us up!

When we arrive at that moment in life when we just don’t think we can make it any longer, then we turn to God. Just when we think there is no hope for us, then we realize that we can’t do it without God. God is always willing to raise us up, but He will wait for us to come to Him. There is just one problem. Until we learn to admit we need God we can’t, and probably won’t, bring ourselves to God. Through the prayer and fasting of the Great Fast we discover that with God, and only with God, we can accomplish anything....but most importantly He will raise us up to heaven.

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March 19 2017

Following Christ to Heaven

Half way through the Great Fast the Church reminds us of our destination. We are on a journey to the Cross. We are on a journey to heaven, but first we must learn to deny ourselves and take up our cross. The Church provides us with all the tools we need for our journey including fasting, almsgiving, patience, love, forgiveness, repentance, and humility. Once we can overcome our own self-desires we can then, and only then following Christ to heaven.

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March 12 2017

Face to Face with God’s Power

When we gather in the presence of God in the Church, we come face to face with His Power. He has the power to save us. He has the power to heal us. Most importantly He has the power to forgive our sins. We are challenged to find our friends and family who need to God, and bring them to the Church. Once we are on the inside of the Church, we need to be open witnessing His power, even if that means we lose a little attention from God.

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February 26 2017

In God’s Space

In God’s Space

God makes it clear that the only way to enter heaven is for us to forgive others. Before we can forgive others, we must first allow ourselves to get into common space with them. Only then can we truly forgive others, and only then will we find ourselves in God’s space. Great Lent is an excellent opportunity for us to get into each others’ space and forgive. Our salvation depends upon it.

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February 19 2017

Faith in Action

On the Sunday before fasting from meat begins, known as Meatfare Sunday and also the Sunday of Judgment, the Church reminds us that judgment comes not from the bad things that we do, but the good we choose not to do. Our judgment will be whether or not our heart and eyes can see the world as God sees the world. Do we see Jesus in every person? Do we treat others as if they are Christ? The answer to these questions is determined by how we are able to put our faith into action.

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February 5 2017

A Spiritual Journey

The period known as Triodion begins the annual journey as Orthodox Christians. It isn’t a journey to the beach or the ocean, but a spiritual journey during which we are invited by the Church to change our lives and live in Christ. The Orthodox Christian life isn’t just a series of rules which must be followed because they are rules. The life of the Church is about changing our lives and changing the way we view our relationship with God. We are much further from God than we think. The first Sunday of the Triodion, the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, sets us on our way with a reminder....the rules don’t get you to heaven. Our opportunity this year is to reconsider our life and follow the example of the tax collector. We are far away from God and we need His mercy in our life.

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January 29 2017

For the Lost

The story of the Canaanite Woman found in Matthew 15.21-28 is often misunderstood and rarely seen for its beauty in helping Christians reach out to others. Most of us spend most of our time focusing on our agenda and our needs to the point that we sometimes even resent when other’s needs seem to take attention away from our time with God and His Church. Christ’s refusal at first to respond to the requests of the woman even comparing her to a little dog. What we often miss is the opportunity to remember that Christ came for the lost, and while we have many needs as Christians, we are no longer lost when we are in the Church. He will still bless us. Our next step is for us to open our hearts and eyes to the lost and invite them in to receive Christ’s healing and blessings.

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January 16 2017

Only Some will be Saved

When Ten Lepers (Luke 17.12-19) approached Christ and begged for help, they were told to return to the priests and show themselves. As they turned, they were instantly healed, but only one returned to Christ to thank Him and worship Him. All nine were healed, but only was saved when Christ said, “Your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17.19) When we ask for God’s blessings and then do not return to Him to properly give thanks, we turn our back on Him and go about our day, we are no better than the nine. They should have known better. We should know better. There is a proper way to thank God, through proper preparation and participation in the Divine Liturgy which includes receiving Holy Communion every Sunday. If we come to Church and return home without receiving Holy Communion, then we are no better than the other nine. When Jesus asks “where are the others,” He is speaking about us!

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December 24 2016

Christmas is a TODAY Experience

Many Christians celebrate Christmas as a historic event, but Orthodox celebrate Christmas as a TODAY experience. “Today He who holds the whole world in His hand is born from a Virgin.” We are blessed with the gift of Christmas so that we can live a new life in Christ TODAY, not just to celebrate some far-away concept of an event that happened in history. If Christmas is nothing more than history, we are no better than Herod who turned away from Christ. We have a better way, a living way, a TODAY way!

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