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Archive for the 'Partakers' Category

TOS.jpgTeachings of Seraphim

 
Part 20. Acquiring the Holy Spirit

 

(From the Saint's Conversation with Motovilov)

The true goal of our Christian life consists of acquiring God’s Holy Spirit. Fasting and vigil, prayer, mercy, and every other good deed performed for Christ — are means for acquiring the Holy Spirit of God. Only deeds performed for Christ give us the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Some say that the foolish virgins lacking enough oil in their lamps is meant to be understood as a lack of good deeds (see Mt. 25:1-12). Such an understanding is not completely correct. How could there have been a lack of good deeds when they, though foolish, are still called virgins? For virginity is the highest virtue, as a state equal to the angels, and could by itself serve in place of all other virtues.

I, the wretched, think that they did not have enough of the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God. These virgins, because of their spiritual injudiciousness, supposed in performing good deeds that it is only necessary to do good works to be a Christian: "We performed a good deed and thus did God’s will.”Whether or not they had received the grace of the Holy Spirit, whether they had attained it, they did not even bother to find out ... But, this acquiring of the Holy Spirit is in fact that oil which the foolish virgins lacked. They are called foolish because they forgot about the essential fruit of virtue — the grace of the Holy Spirit — without which there is no salvation for anyone and cannot be. For "through the Holy Spirit every soul is quickened, and through its purification, it is exalted and illumined by the Triune Unity in a Holy mystery.”The Holy Spirit Himself settles in our souls, and this occupation of our souls by Him, the All-Ruling, and this coexistence of our spirit with His One Trinity, is granted only through the diligent acquiring, on our part, of the Holy Spirit, which prepares, in our soul and body, the throne for the coexistence of God the All-Creator with our spirit, by the immutable word of God: "And I will walk among you and will be your God, and ye shall be my people”(Leviticus 26:12).

This is the very oil in the lamps of the wise virgins, which burned brightly and steadily; the virgins with these burning lamps could await the Groom coming at midnight, and enter the chamber of joy with him. The foolish ones, seeing their lamps going out, though they went to the market to buy oil, did not manage to return in time, for the doors were already locked.

The market is our life; the doors of the bridal chamber — locked and not permitting entrance to the Groom — human death, the virgins wise and foolish, Christian souls; the oil, not deeds, but the grace of the All Holy Spirit of God received through them, transforming from decay to incorruption, from emotional death into spiritual life, from darkness to light, from the manger of our existence, where our passions are tied like beasts and animals, into a church of God, into the all-lighted chamber of eternal joy in Jesus Christ.

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TOS.jpgTeachings of Seraphim

 
Part 19. The Light of Christ

In order to accept and perceive the light of Christ in one’s heart, it is necessary to divert oneself from the external as much as possible. First, by cleansing the soul with penitence and good deeds with true faith in the Crucified; then, by closing the physical eyes, it is necessary to immerse the mind in the heart and appeal to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ continually. Then, by measure of our zealousness and fervour of spirit for the Beloved (Lk. 3:22), a person with the calling of this name finds delight, which arouses a thirst toward greater enlightenment.

When a person internally contemplates the eternal light, his mind becomes clean and free of any sensory notions. Then, by being completely immersed in the contemplation of uncreated beauty, he forgets everything sensory, does not want to see even himself, but desires to hide in the heart of the earth, if only not to be deprived of this true good God.

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WOW Word 61 - Worship

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Worship


I wonder what you think worship is! Is your view of worship too small? Worship is giving God alone (Psalm 19:2), the glory due His name in the beauty of His holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29), with reverence. “Yes, ascribe to the Lord! The glory due his name! Bring an offering and come before him; Worship the Lord when clothed with holiness!”

Worship is where through the use of the mind and the senses, honour and respect are directed towards God, “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24)! Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’

Worshipping in Spirit involves the whole person – mind, body and will. Worshipping in truth means that all true worship reflects God’s character.

The Christian Church has 2000 years of worship resources, all of which can be used in modern Church services, and not just the latest songs! Worship in a church service should be an intimate, dynamic and holy encounter with God. How often does that happen in your church today? (Silence!)

Why worship?

Firstly, we worship God because God commands it! 1 Chronicles 16:29 reminds us “Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendour”. God deserves worshipping for He alone personifies goodness (Psalm 100:4-5), mercy (Exodus 4:31), holiness (Psalm 99:5,9) and power (Revelation 4:11).

God is to be worshipped in obedience to Him as creator (Revelation 4:11), Saviour and Lord (Habakkuk 3:18). Worship brings exuberant satisfaction (Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:24). When was the last time you had worship like that!!

Worship is more!

Worshipping with others in a church is worship! But it is only part of worship, and certainly not the full meaning of worship! Worship is to include obedience and submission to God! Does that surprise you? Worship is not just on the Sunday, or individual acts during the rest of the week! Worship for the Christian is to be in an active dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ and seeking a life of total obedience and submission to Him.

True worship of the living God involves total obedience to His ways and not just singing songs. For the ancient Israelites, sacrifices were an innate part of their life and worship structure. Yet as Samuel said: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22) What he is saying is that God prefers life obedience rather than acts of worship.

Obedience and submission to God is true worship of Him! By seeking to obey Him and submit your life to Him, that is true worship of Him. Worship is to be to God alone! Yet sometimes preachers and other church leaders are raised to an unhealthy status of reverence which is unbiblical. It is as if they are being worshipped, rather than God, to whom you are exhorted to obey and submit to.

So lets go! Go obey and submit your life to God and make your whole life an act of worship to Him!

 

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POD - Psalms 26 to 30

podintro.jpg

Psalm 21 to Psalm 25

Often we hear the Psalms one by one, but today we offer you the chance to hear a group of Psalms read as a collection!

Psalm 26

A Prayer for Divine Scrutiny and Redemption
A Psalm of David.

1 Vindicate me, O LORD,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the LORD;
I shall not slip.
2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.
4 I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
5 I have hated the assembly of evildoers,
And will not sit with the wicked.
6 I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O LORD,
7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.
8 LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.
9 Do not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;
Redeem me and be merciful to me.
12 My foot stands in an even place;
In the congregations I will bless the LORD.

Psalm 27

An Exuberant Declaration of Faith
A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
4 One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
5 For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
9 Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the LORD will take care of me.
11 Teach me Your way, O LORD,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 28

Rejoicing in Answered Prayer
A Psalm of David.

1 To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
3 Do not take me away with the wicked
And with the workers of iniquity,
Who speak peace to their neighbors,
But evil is in their hearts.
4 Give them according to their deeds,
And according to the wickedness of their endeavors;
Give them according to the work of their hands;
Render to them what they deserve.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD,
Nor the operation of His hands,
He shall destroy them
And not build them up.
6 Blessed be the LORD,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
8 The LORD is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
9 Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.

Psalm 29

Praise to God in His Holiness and Majesty
A Psalm of David.

1 Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the LORD glory and strength.
2 Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The LORD is over many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
The voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars,
Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
The LORD shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”
10 The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the LORD sits as King forever.
11 The LORD will give strength to His people;
The LORD will bless His people with peace.

Psalm 30

The Blessedness of Answered Prayer
A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the house of David.

1 I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
3 O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
4 Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
5 For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
6 Now in my prosperity I said,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
8 I cried out to You, O LORD;
And to the LORD I made supplication:
9 “What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth?
10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me;
LORD, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

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TS.jpg

Think Spot 30th September 2019

As part of our living as followers of Jesus, here is something which has the capability of affecting every person on the planet.

Jesus, our Master, said in Matthew 12:36-37 "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jesus took words and thoughts extremely seriously. Jesus’ words encouraged others gently towards paths of right living. He spoke words of love, kindness, rebuke, forgiveness, encouragement and blessing upon and to others. Jesus is to be our guide and Master in the use of thoughts and words.

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus equates calling somebody a fool with the physical act of murder. Murder has its beginning in anger developing into uncontrollable rage. Improper attitudes, words and thoughts can lead you and I to sin if we don’t stop their destructive use quickly. May the words we communicate and think about, be like those of Jesus – “full of grace”. How is your WOW factor of Jesus now?

When Jesus Christ called you to follow Him, He called you to follow Him wholeheartedly and be committed to only Him. Jesus calls you and I, to love God and be totally committed to Him.

Here is a brief prayer to help us into the new week.

Father, help us this week to be totally committed to you in all aspects of our lives. May those we live with, work with and interact with, know we are your child by the words we speak. We ask this, through the mighty name of your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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TOS.jpgTeachings of Seraphim

 
Part 18. The Active and the Contemplative Life

 

A person consists of a soul and body, and therefore his life’s path should consist of both physical and spiritual activities — of deeds and contemplation.

The path of an active life consists of fasting, abstinence, vigilance, kneeling, prayer and other physical feats, composing the strait and sorrowful path which, by the word of God, leads to eternal life (Mt. 7:14).

The contemplative life consists in the mind aspiring to the Lord God, in awareness of the heart, focused prayer and in the contemplation of spiritual matters through such exercises.

Anyone desiring to lead a spiritual way of life must begin with the active life, and only later set about the contemplative, for without an active life it is impossible to lead a contemplative one.

An active life serves to purify us of sinful passions and raises us to the level of functioning perfection; at the same time it clears the way to a contemplative life. For only those cleansed of passions and the perfect can set out on that other life, as can be seen from the words of the Holy Scriptures: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”(Mt. 5:8), and from the words of Gregory the Theologian: "Only those who are perfect by their experience can without danger proceed to contemplation.”

If it is impossible to find a mentor who is able to direct us on the path to a contemplative life, then in that instance we must be guided by the Holy Scriptures, for the Lord Himself commands us to learn from it, saying: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life”(John 5:39). One should not abandon the active life even when a person has so excelled in it that he has reached the contemplative, for the active life assists the contemplative and uplifts it.

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