What about icons? Are they essential to our Christian faith? Is venerating an icon idolatry? These questions and more are discussed on the latest edition of Faith Encouraged LIVE with Fr. Barnabas. Here's a link to the show. I pray it's helpful to you!
Today, a picture is worth a thousand words! Why is this true? Because our Uncircunscribable Creator became visible for our sake; because our God said “Let there be light, and there was light.” Today, do you really see? Listen on to Faith Encouraged LIVE tonight at AncientFaith.com at 8 PM Eastern
Today's Guest blog comes to us from our dear Fr. Stephen Freeman. Fr. Stephen has written his past few articles on the subject of the Holy Scriptures in the Orthodox Church. His valuable insights, rooted in the historic and consistent wisdom of our Orthodox faith, offer what I believe is one of the best and balanced instructions on how to view and properly value the Holy Scriptures.
My very best friend in all the world died of a brain tumor several years ago. I know, a weird way to begin a devotional, but I wanted you to know the end of the story so you will value it as much as I do. You see, Rod was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war, but he went and served anyway as a medical corpsman. He rarely spoke about his experiences there but the few times he did, the stories stuck with me forever! Remind me to tell you sometime about "No sweat, GI!" One of Rod's favorite sayings that he picked up during his time in the military was "No life is a total waste. It can always serve as a bad example!" Great, huh? This has become something of a warning sign for me in my own life. My choices, my attitudes, my actions, and my reactions are never done in some kind of vacuum. They always affect others, even if it is the ripple effect through the universe of my own negativity. I am not an island unto myself and my choices touch everyone around me to one degree or another.
"Daddy, when will the leaves change colors?" With that, I knew I was entering into the time when my 8 year old was beginning to understand the changing of the seasons. "Do they call it 'Fall' because the leaves fall on the ground?" Wonderful!
Being a typical man (that's not a bad thing!) I always assume I don't need to read the directions! After all, I'm educated. I'm capable. I know what's going on, right? Uh, yeah, right.
"Don't judge me!" With that, the argument was suppose to be over. After all, my interlocutor had used the nuclear bomb of debate. He had pulled out the "Judge Not" card. And, after all, since he was debating a Christian, that meant the discussion was over and he had effectively shut down the uncomfortable reality that he was losing badly!
She said this to me with such painful expression. I had really let her down by wondering aloud if another one of our mutual friends was really going to follow through on what he promised to do. I can still hear the pain and disappointment in her voice "you 'doubting Thomas!'" So what is it about doubt that derails confidence? Well, past experience is a powerful image of future performance. It isn't wise to ignore the painful reality of past promises unkept. But neither is it wise or even helpful to always expect the worst from someone else. Where's the balance? How do we protect our hearts from the debilitating power of doubt?
The message of the Lord Jesus invites us to a stark “change of mind.” The Lord invites us to give, without expecting any return, love even those who hate us, and purposely delay all expectations of reward until His Kingdom comes in fullness. Today, is this your attitude towards life?