This day is blessed by God…

This day is blessed by God…

I have been doing a lot of reading about prayer lately in preparation for a coming sermon series. And, as it typically when studying a topic, my soul gets challenged and stretched in ways that I did not foresee. Take for example the below quote from the book “Beginning to Pray” by Anthony Bloom. It starts off fairly simple – the day is “blessed by God…let us go into it.” Then, out of the blue, the messages shifts and Bloom is challenging us to embrace the suffering that comes with following Jesus. Not just the persecution that come the outside, but also the struggle within our hearts and souls – the wrestling that we do with our pride and flesh as we seek to obey and live out the commandment so Jesus. Commandment that are so often in direct conflict with our own personal interest and desires… yet, whether ‘bitter or sweet’, each situation is a gift from God – molding and shaping us to be His people. This day is blessed by God, it is God’s own and now let us go into it. You walk in this day as God’s own messenger; whomever you meet, you meet in God’s own way. You are there to be the presence of the Lord God, the presence of Christ, the presence of the Spirit, the presence of the Gospel – this is your function on this particular day. God has never said that when you walk into a situation in His own Name, He will be crucified and you will be the risen one. You must be prepared to walk...
Quote by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Quote by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

“As Christians we are always in tension – in anguish and at the same time in bless. This is mad, ridiculous. But it is true – accepting the dark night just as we accept the brilliance of the day. We have to make an act of surrender – if I am in Christ, there are moments when I must share the cry of the Lord on the cross and the anguish in the garden of Gethsemane. There is a way of being defeated, even in our faith – and this is a way of sharing the anguish of the Lord. I don’t believe that we should ever say, ‘This cannot happen to you.’ If we are Christians we should go through this life, accepting the life and the world, not trying to create a falsified world. “But, on the other hand, the Christian is like someone who lives in three dimensions in a world in which the majority of people life in two. People who live freely and within a dimension of eternity will always find that something is wrong, they will always find themselves being the odd man out. The same problem was faced by the early Christians when they said that their only king was God. People turned round to them and said, ‘If you say that you are disloyal to our king’ and often persecuted them. But the only true way of being loyal to this two-dimensional world is to be loyal to the three-dimensional. If you really live in three dimensions and do not simply live in two and imagine the third, then life will...

The aim of corporate worship….

“The aim of corporate worship is not simply to sing good theology or witness to our common experience of Christ. The object of our worship is God Himself, nothing less. As we sing to Him rather than about Him, our focus is taken off of ourselves and directed to this throne, whether we are shouting high praises before God’s awesomeness or kneeling in intimate devotion.” -Don Williams, “Start Here” pg...
Rendered according to each man’s actions…

Rendered according to each man’s actions…

“We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Otherwise, if all things happen by fate, then nothing is in our own power. “For if it be predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise or the other to be blamed. Unless humans have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions-whatever they may be…. “For neither would a man be worthy of reward or praise if he did not of himself choose the good, but was merely created for that end. Likewise, if a man were evil, he would not deserve punishment, since he was not evil of himself, being unable to do anything else than what he was made for.” –Justin Martyr (110-165 AD) First Apology chap....