Saturday, June 11, 2016


“If a man keeps my words, he shall never taste death” (Jn 8:52).

     This promise can only be made by God who alone has all authority over live and death. Because this promise is so wonderful, many would question it. Truth is that every word from the Lord is important, but unless we keep His words we will not escape death. 

     But what is death? It is the result man’s of disobedience of our Creator. It is not simply a penalty due to disobedience. Death stands over all men who know for certain that they will die, but death is not the end of anything but the beginning of something.

     Lazarus was dead for four days, and his death caused much distress and sadness among his family and friends. Being separated by death greatly saddens those left behind who are wounded by their loss.  Just as death is the result of disobedience, obedience is the cause of life, for there is no threat for obedience which is the cause of life. Christ arrived at the burial place where Lazarus had been laying, and after communicating with his sisters and others, He did what only God can do. He called Lazarus to “come forth” out of death into life.

     Many have written about this subject, but it always good to hear over and over.  Death is about reward and punishment, but why the fear of death among mankind? Both in the Holy Bibles and among the Church Fathers many have dealt with death. After death life continues but there is a separation of the good and evil.  Those who have kept the word of God, says John the Theologian above shall never taste death. Before Christ, both the upright and sinners were dead and their souls were in Hades, with the faithful and unfaithful were hoping for a deliverer. When Christ called Lazarus, those in Hades saw him leaving death and Hades behind when he was called by Christ to “come forth”. They were afraid, amazed and greatly hoping in the possibility of their deliverance.

     With the raising of four-days dead Lazarus, firmly established in the minds of all present that there is life after death. Lazarus, a good friend of Christ with his sisters, died a second time and is glorified in the Church with the title: “Four-day dead Lazarus.”

     Christ accomplished His great work of putting death to death by His own death, which is a life-giving death. The Church sings over and over about Christ’s Crucifixion, death and third-day Resurrection.

     “If a man keeps my words he shall never taste death.” Keeping the words of Christ means that those who do this will not taste death. Death is not feared by the great saints and martyrs because they well understood Christ’s triumph over death and nullifting its effect on His followers. Death for those who keep His words and love Him go through the door of death to the next life and escape judgment and condemnation, entering into eternal life, not by their works, but out of God’s great mercy. The bitter taste of death therefore is changed into the sweetness of everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven. But to those who remain sinners and unbelievers death is followed by judgment and is therefore bitter and there is no escape.

     Those who will not experience the  taste death have chosen to keep Christ’s commandments and so they lived. even in this sinful world, in His glorious resurrection, and they will not experience any bitterness nor have any regrets.  The righteous, looking forward to death with the sincere hope of God’s mercy causes the fear of God to be present in their souls. This fear is not overbearing for it is a logical fear, for no one can consider himself worthy of everlasting life, even though he keeps Christ’s words and love Him, so they look to His great mercy and compassion hoping for eternal life.

     Keeping Christ’s words not only results in not tasting death. The more we endeavor to keep His commandments, the more do we live as God intended us to live, using the gracious freedom He granted us to fulfill His will. Sin is death and Christ taught us to abandon all sin and proclaims: “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” nor taste death.

Friday, June 10, 2016



“Not one sparrow falls to the ground 
without your Father. But the very hairs 
of your head are all numbered” (Mat.10: 29-30).

      From God comes every drop of rain, every snow flake, every bird, and every man, in fact there are no exclusions, for God created and governs everything that He has formed, therefore nothing is accidental or incidental. Not only is each hair of our head numbered but also there is the number of the days of our souls on the earth! Just as God appointed the day of our birth, so He establishes the day of our departure to the next world. No one can increase or decrease the days which God has set for our souls in this present life.

     Therefore there is no reason to be concerned that we may depart from this life before God’s appointed time, nor can we  by any means add even a single day to our lives. For the Lord will decide the day when we will leave this world and go to our final destination.

     We are given a number of days in this temporary life and these days are not given us only for the pursuit of enjoying pleasure until we die, lacking any purpose or goal; this is the thinking of unbelievers.  God created everything and told us what was for a specific the purpose to us, which is to obey His commandments and strive to become God’s image and likeness.  Christ is our Savior, our Teacher and our Guide and He is the perfect example of what we must struggle to become. He is the Godman, and He wills that all of us become man-gods. This is the purpose of this life to work with God for our salvation in His Church always keeping the goal of our lives before us. Moreover, as we accomplish our personal goals we must also do all we can to bring many others into the true Church wherein they will acquire eternal life. 

When we see the rain or snow falling we can see the perfect providence of God, who controls everything that exists and has a purpose for their existence.  That perfect providence is what every hair is numbered implies, for God is uncreated and all of creation is entirely His design governed by His providence.

     Man sees much of what happens yet remains ignorant of why, and many show no interest in He who created all. Why are we able to see so much and yet understand so little, for the rain drops, the snow and ice, the bright sun and the moon and stars are before our eyes, but there is so much more that our eyes are not able to see. We talk, we walk, we drive, we sail and we fly, but this is but a very small fraction, for we cannot see or grasp all that exists. But as God does not ignore us we certainly should not ignore God, for to do so is the greatest of insults and will result in eternal punishment.

     We know that God does not ignore us for  “the very hairs of our head are numbered”, we should not think that God ever fails to hear us when we pray to Him for even if we exchange thoughts with another person God hears the thoughts of both for nothing can escape the all-knowing Mind. Every word spoken to God by us is always received and welcomed! It delights God when we seek to know Him and follow His commandments. For this reason the prophets, patriarchs, apostles and the Theotokos who loved and obeyed Him also share in His glory.

     A little sparrow falls to the ground but not without the heavenly Father who controls all life and death.  We know so little about the Lord, but He taught us much by His revelations. He spoke through the prophet concerning the hairs on our heads, but He also says of himself:  “I am the way and the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but through me.” Jesus is the only way in heaven or on earth, He is also the only truth and the author of all life, for He is God the Eternal Logos equal to the Father and the Spirit. Jesus, who dwelled among us is the only Truth who came down from heaven and dwells within us, continually nourishing us and He gives Himself to the faithful as food and drink. He is the source of all life and the only Giver of life. The phrase: the very hairs of your head are numbered, is an indication of the great concern that God has for each and every one of us, for the soul and spirit within us are most precious and blessed and destined to be with God forever! To respond is our greatest responsibility for response will determine our eternal life or eternal punishment. God shows His concern and it is up to arouse our interest and to turn to God in repentance and compunction seeking forgiveness for our sins with the hope of everlasting life.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This is a treasure to save and keep readily available for in these verses Christ describes His nature!


     “I am the Christ the Son of the living God.”

     “All things are delivered to me of my Father, and no man knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.”

     “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.”

     “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was I am.”

     “No man has ascended into heaven, but He who came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven.”

     “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world, and go to the Father.”

     “I and my Father are one.”

     “He that has seen me has seen the Father.”

     “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”

     “As the Father knows me, in the same way I know the Father, and I lay down my soul for my sheep.”

      “I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

     “I am the way and the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but through me.”

     “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”

     “I am the bread of life; he that comes to me shall never hunger and he that believes on me shall never thirst.”

     “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.”

     “If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

     “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”

     “I am the first and the last; He that lives and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore. And have the keys of Hades and of death.”

     “I am the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.”

     “I am He that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, He that opens and no man shuts, and shuts and no man opens.”

     “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

     “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

     “To this end was I born. And for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.”

Sunday, June 5, 2016



“For solid food is for those of mature age, 
even those who by reason of use have their mental abilities 
exercised to distinguish good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

     As Orthodox Christians we may be called upon to help solve disagreements between others. It is useful to know who may possess the ability to judge and help to settle such disputes. This article may be useful to those who are called upon to offer fair and just judgments.

     Only the more erudite of souls have the ability and experience in most cases, to clearly distinguish good and evil or virtue and vice. They usually are able to discern just behavior to be good and unjust behavior to be evil. Not everyone, however has the capability and experience to clearly distinguish between good and evil. This is verified by the Apostle Paul who says: “Some are similar to those that have need of milk and not of solid food. For  everyone that partakes of milk lacks  experience of the word of justice, for he is a babe” (Heb. 5:12-13). Which means the inexperienced and infantile soul cannot taste the word of justice because he uses milk and not the solid food of a mature man, rendering him less capable of distinguishing between good and evil.

     The distinction between good and evil is analogous to the distinguisher’s knowledge of justice, hence, the possessor of more perfect knowledge of this virtue can perfectly discern between good and evil in most cases. But the person having imperfect knowledge and limited experience is checked and proclaimed to be lacking in his distinction between good and evil. Furthermore, knowledge acquired through experience regarding some virtues and some vices does not presuppose knowledge of every virtue and every vice, for it is impossible ever to derive a general or complete knowledge from a partial one. But there are some who yield to this absurdity, for they think that because they are able to distinguish some virtues and vices that they are then capable of clearly distinguishing between all good and evil

     It is good for all of us to strive each day to continue to improve our ability to distinguish good and evil, which is invaluable in making just judgments among families and friends. All that we face on a daily basis where there is a need to distinguish between good and evil should be useful and will be useful in developing our minds so as to make good judgments.  The opportunity to make such judgments during each day, seeking to discern good and evil will greatly enhance  our abilities. Many questions concerning good and evil come before us a hundred times a day. This means that in our personal lives we can continually distinguish between what is good and what is evil, and making such correct choices will become a good and virtuous habit. In the mixed up world of today there are many which confuse good and evil and this is destructive to their moral senses. The mass confusion of the present time, often appears because people either ignore or do not seriously consider what they are thinking or saying and become more confused by what they hear or read  For example they hear it said that all faiths are good and true but this error leads them into captivity. They then conclude that all faiths lead to God or that it really doesn’t matter!  

     It is not our intention to offer various subjects for disputation, by presenting erroneous arguments and conclusions which leads men away from truth and into the bedlam of confusion. 

     With the Incarnation the Father has settled all previous disputes for  His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the truth who came down heaven, sacrificed himself on the Cross, suffered, was buried, and arose on the third day and He took the fangs out of death and put death to death,  rendering it and the devil powerless. He firmly established His holy Church which is the pillar and foundation of truth. The Church will always remain whole and true for Jesus Christ is the divine-human Head of the divine-human and indestructible Church. 

     In distinguishing between good and evil we have very important infallible guides which are the all the words of Christ,  the holy Tradition of the Church, the entire Holy Bible and the holy fathers of the Church. Also the Rudder, (available from us on CD) is a treasure house not only for this purpose but also a great help for every purpose in our present life, the main one being everlasting life.  The Rudder contains all decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Synods, of many local synods and canons of many fathers and saints which help us to distinguish good and evil being an extremely useful source.