Category Archives: Stories of Faith

A Love story

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. Ah the beauty of God’s creation is beyond description. As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work. As I sat there, I felt the Lord’s presence with me. He asked me, “Do you love me?”

I answered, “Of course, God! You are my Lord and Saviour!”

Then He asked, if you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?” I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn’t be able to do, the things that I took for granted.

And I answered, “It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You”. Then the Lord said, if you were blind, would you still love my creation?” How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation. So I answered, “Its hard to think of it, but I would still love You”. The Lord then asked me, if you were deaf would you still listen to my word?” How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood.

Listening to God’s Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts. I answered, “It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word”. The Lord then asked, “If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?” How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from our very heart and soul. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks. So, I answered, “Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name”.

And the Lord asked, “Do you really love Me?” With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, “Yes Lord! I love You because You are the One and True God!” I thought I had answered well, but God asked, “THEN WHY DO YOU SIN?” I answered, “Because I am only human. I am not perfect”. “THEN WHY IN TIMES OF PEACE DO YOU STRAY THE FURTHEST? WHY ONLY IN TIMES OF TROUBLE DO YOU PRAY IN EARNEST?”

No answers. Only tears.

The Lord continued: “Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?” The tears continued to roll down my cheeks. “Why are you ashamed of me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer my shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in my name?” I tried to answer, but there was no answer to give.

“You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed my word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown my blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you sat idly by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all”.

“DO YOU TRULY LOVE ME?”

I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this? When my heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, ‘Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child.’

The Lord answered, ” That is my grace, my child”. I asked, ” Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?”

The Lord answered: ‘Because you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you. When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you. When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you. When you are down, I will encourage you. When you fall, I will raise you up. When you are tired, I will carry you. I will be with you till the end of days, and I will love you forever’.

Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done? I asked God, ‘How much do You love me?’

The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands. I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Saviour. And for the first time, I truly prayed.

Author Unknown

from The Orthodox Messenger, v. 9(5-6) published bi-monthly by the SA Central Youth, PO Box 269, GLENELG SA 5045 AUSTRALIA

http://www.orthodoxchristian.info/pages/main.htm

Comments Off on A Love story

Filed under Readings, Stories of Faith

The Widow’s Offering

Emperor Nicephorus (Botaniates) of Constantinople reigned from 1078 until 1081. He had decided to build a cathedral that would be almost as grand as St. Sophia. When it was ready, the patriarch of Jerusalem, the patriarch of Alexandria as well as the patriarch of Constantinople were all invited to consecrate the beautiful new church built by the emperor. Announcements had been made about the consecration for several months in advance so that everyone would have time to travel to the great city of Constantinople; remember that during that time there were no cars, planes or trains. Continue reading

Comments Off on The Widow’s Offering

Filed under Readings, Stories of Faith

The Ascetic and the Thief

There was an ascetic elder and anchorite, who had been leading an ascetic life in a desert place for seventy years, in fasting, chastity and vigil. Although he laboured for God for so many years, he was never accounted worthy to receive a vision or revelation from God. Thinking about this and bearing this in mind he said, “Perhaps my ascesis is not pleasing to God for some reason I do not know, and my work is unacceptable; and on account of this I am not able to receive a revelation or behold any mystery.” Continue reading

Comments Off on The Ascetic and the Thief

Filed under Readings, Stories of Faith

Sunday Homily for 6th Sunday of Matthew – Healing of the Paralyzed Man

6th Sunday of Matthew, Matthew 9: 1-8

I affirm in your presence this day that we’re witnesses of a beautiful miracle this morning: through the living word of the Gospel, we see a paralyzed man who cannot walk on his own, healed of his paralysis by God, He who had made his legs in the first place and given this man his first heart-beat in his mother’s womb. For, as the Psalmist David says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 138). Christ God, as the Logos (Word) of God, through whom all things were made, knew this man and loved this man with a fatherly love even before he was presented to him. Continue reading

Comments Off on Sunday Homily for 6th Sunday of Matthew – Healing of the Paralyzed Man

Filed under Readings, Stories of Faith, Sunday Homilies

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman – The Courage to Face the Truth

SUNDAY OF THE SAMARITAN WOMAN – John 4: 5-42

Christ is Risen!

It is strangely appealing to define ourselves by our failures, especially when others know that we have stumbled and treat us poorly as a result. As well, our own pride often causes us to lose perspective such that we obsess about how we do not measure up to whatever illusion of perfection we have accepted. People are often their own harshest critics in ways that are not healthy at all. Continue reading

Comments Off on Sunday of the Samaritan Woman – The Courage to Face the Truth

Filed under Readings, Saints, Stories of Faith, Sunday Homilies

Trusting God’s Timing

I want to talk to you today about “Trusting God’s Timing.” It is interesting in the New Testament, before Christ would heal someone, often times He would first ask them how long had they been experiencing this difficulty? For example, He asked the crippled man at the pool of Bethsaida, “how long?” The man responded, “for 38 years.” Or the woman who was bent over, she responded, “for 18 years.” Or how about the young man who was blind, his parents responded, “from his birth.”

Why was God so interested in the length of time someone had been ill? Friends, it is because God wanted us to know that no matter what struggles we are facing today, no matter how long we have been in that situation, it is not PERMANENT. St. Paul writes, “for in our light affliction, which will only last a moment, joy is coming in the morning.” Notice, that our struggles will only last a moment and that joy is coming in our way. Why don’t you turn over everything to God. Don’t allow worry, stress, depression to take away the joy of the day. Trust in God knowing that He is constantly at work in your life.

Understand that trusting in God is not having it YOUR way, it is having GOD’s way, and that it is just a “matter of time” in which He will turn that TEST into a TESTIMONY.

Fr. Nicholas Louh


 

Comments Off on Trusting God’s Timing

Filed under Readings, Stories of Faith

The blessed Eldress Theosemni

Humble, Merciful, and Ascetic

Let us have a humble spirit. May we be careful to never see the sins of others, only our own sins. We, however, want to fix other people, but don’t want to fix ourselves. Eh…does this happen, though? No, we don’t fix ourselves! Our brother is not to blame for whatever happens, our spiritual condition is to blame. It’s this condition of ours that upsets us, which makes us judgmental, which causes us to get angry. We mustn’t blame others for these things. The causes are within us. If we ever do or think something good, let us not regard it as our own achievement, but the achievement of God. And let us say, “You, my God, You gave it to me. It’s yours and You allowed it and gave me the strength to do it.” In this way, we chase thoughts of vainglory far from us. Continue reading

Comments Off on The blessed Eldress Theosemni

Filed under Readings, Stories of Faith