Israel, the Church, The New Israel, Replacement Theology, Judah, The People of God, and So On...

 In the beginning, God created a home that He shared with Adam and Eve. After a while, Adam and Eve left. When they were outside the home and the locks were changed, they were exceedingly sad. God promised them that One would come from her offspring and would bring the key to a new home. This created the Church; the People of God who lived with hope and faith in the Promise God made. Adam and Eve had sons. Cain did not want to be in the Church. His ego and pride were so great that what happened in the Church made him so mad he killed his brother. This created another church, a false church with the self as its god, culminating in Lamech, the archetypal sinner. Mankind grew and spread out over the earth. The church of the self grew also and was a blight upon creation. God baptized the world to wash away sin. Noah, his sons, his wife, and his son's wives, 8 souls in all remained after the baptism. They were the Church; the People of God, and they settled the land. Ham, unable to live

Psalm 114

I am filled with love, for the Lord will hear the voice of my supplication. Does this not immediately give peace to your heart? The Lord will hear us when we call to Him.There's never a time when He ignores us. Even if we feel that way, even if we are having a "dry time," God has not left us, and He has not stopped His ears to the sound of our prayer. Whatever the reason for the feeling of spiritual dryness, we can know for certain that He is faithful to His promise to never leave us nor forsake us. He will hear the voice of our supplication! For He hath inclined His ear unto me, and in my days will I call upon Him. He has inclined, He has bent toward us. He has approached us to hear our prayers like when we speak to one another closely and we move in to hear better. We will call upon Him because He has invited us to do so. Ask. Seek. Knock. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." He will lean in to hear your every word and thought. The pang

The End of My Days

O Lord, make me to know mine end, and the number of my days, what it is, that I may know what I lack. Behold, Thou hast made my days as the spans of a hand, and my being is as nothing before Thee. Nay, all things are vanity, every man living. Surely man walketh about like a phantom, nay, in vain doth he disquiet himself. He layeth up treasure, and knoweth not for whom he shall gather it. And now, what is my patient endurance? Is it not the Lord? Yea, my hope is from Thee. These words from Psalm 38* are a bold request to the Lord. Can you imagine knowing the very day of your death? Only a few saints were ever given this foresight, and when it happened it was "you will repose in three days." Not a lot of warning.  Based on the fact that very few saints were given this gift and those that were had only a few days before their end, it's reasonable to conclude that we can't handle it. If we knew that specific date appointed for us, I think there are two ways most of us wou

Christmas Conceptions and Nativity Notions

 The Christmas season began yesterday with the celebration of the Birth of Christ for those using the Revised Julian Calendar. For others on the Julian Calendar, there are a few days yet until the celebration begins. Yes. Christmas begins  on Christmas day...not thanksgiving or November 1st as the commercial interests around us would have us believe. But that's another blog entry. Yesterday we celebrated at my eldest daughter's house. It was s wonderful day. All the kids were there, our grandson, and our two grandkids who will be making their appearances in 2023! It was a full house, full of warmth and love, great food and drink, and all the trappings of a wonderful holiday family gathering. After the lovely charcuterie and amazing meal, we gathered in the family room where I put forth the following conversation-starter: Setting aside all the cultural aspects of Christmas, and focusing only on the religious part, stated in it's most blunt terms: Christmas is the day we cele

Virtues in Death

 Death is painful for those who remain after the loss of a loved one. But death is a gift. If we did not die, we would live forever in corruption and brokenness, alienated from God. He used to walk in the garden with Adam and Eve, but after their fall, there was separation. To end that separation and enter upon the way to everlasting live in union with God, we must die, or the separation would be eternal. There is no other school like that of death. Nothing else teaches us, over and over, the importance of love, forgiveness, relationship with each other, and most importantly, with God Himself. Nothing prepares the soil of the heart as when the plow of death carves its furrows. Death says "I will not accept your wealth or your goods. Material is useless." So we must learn that money and property must be put in their proper place, far lower in importance than God and our neighbor. Death says "I can not wait until tomorrow or another day. There is no other time. There is no

What Are You Reading?

  We've just come through Great and Holy Lent and have celebrated Pascha, the resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ from the dead.  It is common among Orthodox Christians to add to their reading list during the fast as part of the increased spiritual training in which we endeavor to engage and through which we hope to grow in fervent love for God and our Neighbor. It is a good thing. But...(You knew that was coming) Like so many other things, we must use balance and sobriety when we embark on such a task, and we must have our priorities in order. So what should I read? "Spiritual reading" is ok, but what you absolutely cannot do without is the Scriptures and the prayers. So if you're looking for something to read, read the Gospels and the Psalms. Then add Proverbs. Then add the Epistles, then the Prophets. Read the Gospel every day. We pray "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, teach me," "give me understanding," and "enlighten me with

A Discouraging Word

  I was at a party. The attendees, tho not all directly acquainted, were all connected by having the guest of honor as a relative/friend "in common." As happens in the milling about and socializing, conversations take place and pieces of them are overheard by non-participants. I happened to catch a snippet where a relative mentioned an opinion that was contrary to the guest of honor's opinion and planning. No doubt the family member made the comment with the best of intentions, surely out of love and concern. They're family, after all. Still, it was in direct opposition to the intentions and plans of the guest of honor. Not that there was any threat to health or life of anyone. Nothing was dangerous, just a difference of opinion on a mundane matter. Later on, I casually mentioned to my friend that I heard this family member wasn't on board with the chosen course of my friend. In doing so, I caused hurt to my friend and put the face of the family member on my offen