Saturday, August 20, 2016


“And he gave some as apostles, and some as prophets; 
 some as evangelists; and some as pastors and teachers
 (Eph.” 4:11) 

   The original Church of Christ was very well organized and until this day this statement remains true. The above quotation is continued in the Bible and shows this to be factual as you will now see:

     “And he gave some as apostles, and some as prophets; and some as evangelists; and some as pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints; for the work of the ministry; for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4.11-13).

    The Church is a divinely organized body and has been wonderfully functioning for almost two-thousand years! And herein its entire purpose is firmly declared: “for the perfecting of the saints”, “for the work of the ministry”, “for the edifying of the body of Christ”; “till we come to the unity of the faith.” The purpose is very well defined and its various members are declared as, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers catechists and catechumens. Each group has its particular function, for the apostles spread the Faith, the prophets declare and interpret prophesies, the evangelists preach the holy Gospel. The pastors watch over the flock and the teachers instruct the faithful. This process forms men and women into Orthodox Christians and this arrangement has been shown to be successful for twenty centuries. It clearly shows that there can only be one Church, the Orthodox and others are not divine but are human institutions. The Church cannot be simply human for its Head Jesus Christ the Godman, is both divine and human. The Church is His body and is therefore also divine and human  which has been demonstrated over the years. Miracles are divine and frequently occur in Orthodox Churches throughout the world.

     In our own bodies different organs have different functions but all act and contribute to the common good of the whole body, and the Lord instituted this system in His Church, His Body, with its various organs and functions. Among them were established the apostles, evangelists, pastors, prophets and teachers etc. for Christ established them in His Church.

     The organization of the Church as described is in need of standardization in every Orthodox Church in the world and there should be no deviations. This ought be done by the bishops but many of whom are too taken up by the modern extreme heresy of ecumenism which denies the exclusivity of the Orthodox Church, and seeks unity with non-churches. For there can never be a church outside the Church, as we all believe and declare in our sacred Creed: I believe “in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church.” The word “one” excludes every other  “church;”  “and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life” So “holy” includes the spirit of God and there is only one Holy Spirit. Catholic means it is the only Church for the human race; nor can there can be another. Apostolic means it is the Church whose teaching is that of the apostles – the original Catholic and Apostolic Church – Holy Orthodoxy.

     The divine human perfection of Holy Orthodoxy which is almost two-thousand years old is seen in its preservation of truth and firmness, having embattled with many heretical attacks over the years, and always preserving the truth, for it is headed by the Truth, the Logos who came down from heaven and became man.

Friday, August 19, 2016


“Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (! Pet.1:17).

     There are many things in the world that bring fear to men, but to those who seek the good life in Christ, a single mild fear will do awaywith all other fears. This is the fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom, and is a noble and productive fear.  Let us ask what is the difference in these fears? Usually the fear of things in the world are unknown or threatening, while the fear of God is a delightful fear greatly rewarding to those who have it. But once the fear of God is acquired, it  will become transformed into a sweet and loving fear. Fear of God is a great defense against sinful temptations which frequently attack us. Fear of God and eternal punishment should be kept in our minds together with the frequent question: shall I be saved?

     Lightning flashes and thunder noisily rumbles and causing fear to accost the souls of foolish man who have no fear of God. But a prudent man stands without any other fear except the comforting and saving fear of God. The farmer remains patient and working he awaits in trepidation every day, for he does not know for certain that he will reap the result of his labor. So too we must patiently await in the same way not knowing if we will be deemed worthy to recei                                                 Hh;//////”“”“ve the greatest gift from the Lord, which is life eternal.

     This world imspires us to join it in merrymaking, dancing and good times but these cannot come until the end of this life, for that is when we will celebrate with joy. If we gain eternal life the accompanying happiness will fill our souls to overflowing thankfulness and gratitude to God for His mercy and compassion.

     Peter recorded the words: “Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” acknowledged that all his strength and wisdom were from God, and he had the fear of God deep within his soul, but he had no ther fear. Rather than toeel the fear of God at various times, it is better that this fear should be present at all times. That is why we must frequently ask if we shall be saved, for our salvation is not of our decision but the Lord’s. 

     Let us labor for the Lord during the days of our lives and strive in faith and fear to do His will and keep all His commandments, for our entire lifetime is a time for work and preparation for the judgment that is to come.  Again, though the world makes merry and celebrates during this present life, but we must not do the same for these are days are for better used with much labor and we look to the celebrations in the kingdom of God which is our greatest hope.

     Fear of God is easy to bear and most essential to accomplish our goal of eternal life. Fear of God is always good and rouses a good attitude and zeal within us. Passing the time of our sojourning with fear  and devotion leads us on the right path. Fear of God should penetrate our souls and guide us to good thinking and produces good actions. Peter who wrote this passage, had almost perfect fear of God guiding his soul inspiring good thinking actions.

     Fear of God begins when we have full realization that He is to be our only judge who will determine to save or punish us in the coming judgment. We may lose the fear God when we fail to keep his commandments, but when we struggle and apply ourselves to keeping them, changes in graceful fear will take place and gradually this fear will be accompanied by love and dedication. But because we are sinners and can easily fall into sin, so we must be on guard to preserve the fear of God that it may  never leave us for it a most beneficial saving fear. The phrase “pass the time sojourning. . . means that every day of our lives must be filled this saving and pious fear.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


     We all suffer from various ailments from time to time, but there is one illness that is the worst illness  of all and which also becomes the cause of other illnesses of  soul and body. Man is body soul and spirit and we are all somewhat familiar with bodily illnesses and perhaps with  their treatment, but the most severe illness of all is the illness of the soul, sometimes severe but always curable but it should be the first thing needing cure. Belief in God is most essential to treatment of the soul and belief and trust is found only in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Some ailments of the soul are more severe but all ailments respond to the same treatment, humbling ourselves, sincere repentance, confession and receiving Holy Communion.

      God created us endowing us with freedom of decision and action, and His divine law for us to respect and obey but iy drrmd that we all have all disobeyed the law of God which introduces suffering and misery into our souls and bodies. The best and only remedy is prescribed by Jesus Christ, which is, sincere repentance from the depths of our souls with thorough confession to an Orthodox Priest who is authorized to forgive our sins through the mercy and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ, followed by the partaking of Holy Communion. 

     We may not be familiar with the ailments of our souls, but they are brought about by the things we do against the law of God and our conscience. There are times when they often cause us much unhappiness and  misery  preventing lasting joy in our souls. 

     If any unconfessed sins remain in our souls doing their evil work this must be rooted out.  After sincere repentance and complete confession and Holy Communion,  joy will immediately arrive and delight  our souls for the cure is in now taking effect. We will not be judged by God for illnesses of the body, but we will be judged for unconfessed sins and iniquities which afflict our souls.  But thank our Lord Jesus Christ, who through His sacrifice on the Cross made it cure possible. He is worthy of all praise and adoration for He is good and the only Lover of man.

    Sickness of the soul, due to wrong choices are always our responsibility being more severe and in need of treatment more than ailments of the body. Among theses sins are lying, stealing, cheating, swearing, arrogance, unreasonable anger, fornication, adultery, gluttony and drunkenness. These are just a few of our soul’s many sins and we need to rid ourselves of all of  them through repentance and confession, followed by receiving  the Body and Blood of Christ. Lasting joy and jubilation will come into our hearts and fill us with continual thanks and love for God, overflowing our souls with happiness each day of our life. The former burden of our souls will be lifted and realizing Christ’s forgiveness will remain imprinted in our souls forever. Things that used to bring us unhappiness will now be the cause of much joy. Misery will be gone never to return. The soul’s cure is always treated and cyured by  repentance, confession and holy Communion.

     A new life awaits all who are sick and sinful  in their souls when they respond to Christ’s treatment and are cured. Experiencing the joyous effect of the miraculous cure in our souls we will have a strong desire to share this with as many others as possible, for the delight cannot be adequately  described, so it takes our action toward others.

     With humility and kindness we will enter into communication with those who have not been cured, many of them have never repented and confessed. Some people will  claim that they are Orthodox Christians and go to Church and even to Holy Communion, but they may never have repented. To commune without sincere repentance and confession can become extremely serious, for the Lord makes it clear that whoever eats His Body and drinks His blood must examine himself first and not go without proper preparation. 

     It is important that the virtue of sincerity and humility arise in a person’s inner being, for genuine repentance requires a humble, sincere and contrite soul. One of the important aspects of our Holy Faith is that everyone, bishop, priest, or layman all seek to spread this knowledge of salvation  to many others for this leads to happiness and eternal life. We who have the true Orthodox faith must be always be true to that Faith  by always remembering that there is nothing more important in our lives than our pure Faith.

     As we progress in spiritual life we must always remember that we are repentant sinners, and though we may have stopped sinning, and though we have repented we remain as the worst of sinners, for we are not superior to anyone. This is declared in A Prayer before receiving Holy Communion which begins: “I believe O Lord and I confess, that you are the Christ, Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the first!”

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and not unto your own understanding”   (Prov.3:5).

     We must place our trust in the Lord with all our hearts and this should be ahead of everything else, continually remembering Him as our one and only great Benefactor He is the  pure and only Source of all our ability to think, to love and to have  correct understanding.  All material things of this world will one day be gone and only God and our personal relationship with Him will remain. God must be the most important focus of our entire lives for He alone is our bountiful Creator and most glorious Benefactor. 

     If we indulge in our own understanding more than likely we will find ourselves in the depths of illusion, delusion and falsehood. If our understanding of God’s teaching is minimum and if we place our hope and trust in our own understanding will endanger our entire well being, but if we trust in God it will firmly establish us on the proper course of life. If we fail to recognize this at the present time we may  realize it when it is too late, and this life passes by quickly.  The days rapidly pass by  and the years keep sliding by. There are limits already set for the end of our lives, and  we have little or no idea when that day will come. Where are witnesses to this truth which is so important to our well being? That is found in the Orthodox Church and in the New Testament. Everyone of us had a beginning or starting point in this life when we came from our mothers’ wombs, and all that has a beginning necessarily has an end. The end of our lives as we all know are unpredictable and there are many who are shy away from any discussion involving the subject of death. But when we see our deaths with the light of divine understanding we will give more attention to Holy Scripture, which says in the Psalms: “Man’s days are as grass as a flower of the field so shall he flourish . . .  For a spirit passes in him and no longer will he recognize his region.” When we begin to fully understand God’s wonderful and glorious purpose for our lives then our souls will jump with great joy and delight and thanksgiving, knowing that He has a great desire to grant us eternal life, for He is good and the Lover of man.

     Our understanding needs to be rid of all that polluted it from being filled with worldly knowledge especially much of what wwhat was taught in schools, the public press and in entertainment. The apirit of the world teaches us to just enjoy life, accumulate goods and money for old age and then just die and disappear. But the truth from God elevates man to a very high destination. It tells us to prepare our lives here for the judgment of God that will confront us at the end in the end of this life. Radio and television has brought the world’s ideas into our minds which is designed to rouse our many desires. Though TV may seem innocent because we watch only “good” programs, it is not benign for it is among the greatest distractions by taking our minds and hearts away from the majesty and greatness of God.

     From history we learn that before the advent of mass communication, years ago among western Christians in Europe, there were many discussions on the streets and a major subject was death and dying, which shows that at that time this was on minds of many people. Death would be followed by judgment and man did not come from some animal. God created man in His own image and all life comes from God and thus is sacred. 

     “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and not in your own understanding.” We must read the New Testament frequently as it is filled with what our souls really need to understand, for example, Christ says: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall separate them from one another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say to them on His right hand, Come you blessed of my Father inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thristy and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying< Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and gave you drink?  Or when did we see you a stranger and took you in? Or naked and clothed you or when did we see you sick and in prison and come unto you? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Amen, I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of my brethren, you have done it unto me” (Mat. 25:31-40). This divine teaching is so formed that it may remain in our souls preserved in memories.

     We Orthodox Christians will do well to repeatedly study these and similar words of Christ in Holy Scriptures so that the laws and commandments of Christ will be imprinted into our intellects and our hearts, for they are alive and filled with divine grace. Then by trusting in the Lord’s words and with a clearer understanding, we will gradually transform our relatively poor comprehension,  replacing it with a rich and divine understanding. We will find that when we live the life that God has established for us that our souls will be filled with a deep longing for the goodness and  beauty of having His life within us.