Look up to God

As children we looked up

Even lied down on the cool church floor when bored,

And looked up at God.

God’s icon on the church dome interior

Looking lovingly down

Upon us.

 

As adults we look forward

In church;

Sometimes behind, to see

someone we are expecting to join us.

While listening to the Divine Liturgy,

We look at the icons straight ahead

Then to those at the right or left,

Or even to those upward, diagonally in front of us.

 

But as adults, no longer children,

We have stopped wonderingly,

To look above.

When we see someone do this in church,

We might follow their gaze—

–wondering what’s wrong.

Not thinking,–

It’s time to look up to God again.

 

So bring your gaze up to Him,

Who for so long has gazed upon us.

-Grace Christovasilis

 Aug 5, 2012

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When Things Fall Apart, Get Alone and Wait on God by Rick Warren

“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions. Wait for hope to appear.” (Lamentations 3:28-29 MSG)

The concept of waiting on God is a spiritual habit. It is the single greatest antidote to anxiety and tension. It’s a spiritual discipline that you must learn to do or you will be under stress your entire life.

This is what it means to wait on God: you sit down and shut up. Find a place to be quiet and sit still in silence. Don’t read anything. Don’t pray. Just take some deep breaths, sit before God and say, “God, I’m just going to wait on you.” It’s amazing what a calming ability this has on your heart and mind. “Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. … They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).

God wants to talk to you. If you aren’t hearing him, it’s because you aren’t making time in your schedule to listen to him. You’re too busy listening to your iPod, playing with your iPad, watching television, playing video games or talking on your cell phone. You might be overworking.

If you want to hear God, you need to sit in silence. Turn off all the electronics and remove yourself from all the distractions. Find a comfortable place and sit there. Tell God you’re waiting to hear from him and then listen. Be quiet.

This is what Jesus told the disciples to do: “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (Matthew 6:6-7 MSG). That’s the power of a quiet time.

So here is my challenge to you: Every day for the next seven days, I want you to spend 10 minutes in silence before God. Tell God you’re there to wait on him, and then just sit there. You can read a little bit and talk to God in prayer, but the majority of your time needs to be spent in silence before God. You’ll be amazed at the new strength you will find.

“The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, so it is best for us to wait in patience – to wait for him to save us” (Lamentations 3:25-26 TEV). Wait in patience and wait for God to save you. When your world falls apart, you want to put it back together instantly, but that won’t happen. It didn’t fall apart instantly, and it’s going to take time to put things back together. But wait in patience, because God’s timing is perfect.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Churchin Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life, as well as The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers.

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The Lamentations before the Holy Sepulcher,chanted by Fairuz

Ai Geneai Pasai–Every Generation-3rd Stasis-with Greek & English translations

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For tonite: Listen to the Pathi (Ai Geneai Pasai) chanter, Petros Gaetanos

As a prelude for tonites Epitaphio (Good Friday), listen to the Egomia, starting w/ Ai Geneai Pasai with Petros Gaetanos chanting.

Kali Anastasi to all–
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What is Passion Week/Holy Week?

Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Also included within Passion Week are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people. Passion Week is described in Matthew chapters 21-27; Mark chapters 11-15; Luke chapters 19-23; and John chapters 12-19. Passion Week begins with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday on the back of a colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.

Passion Week contained several memorable events. Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time (Luke 19:45-46), then disputed with the Pharisees regarding His authority. Then He gave His Olivet Discourse on the end times and taught many things, including the signs of His second coming. Jesus ate His Last Supper with His disciples in the upper room (Luke 22:7-38), then went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray as He waited for His hour to come. It was here that Jesus, having been betrayed by Judas, was arrested and taken to several sham trials before the chief priests, Pontius Pilate, and Herod (Luke 22:54-23:25).

Following the trials, Jesus was scourged at the hands of the Roman soldiers, then was forced to carry His own instrument of execution (the Cross) through the streets of Jerusalem along what is known as the Via Dolorosa (way of sorrows). Jesus was then crucified at Golgotha on the day before the Sabbath, was buried and remained in the tomb until Sunday, the day after the Sabbath, and then gloriously resurrected.

It is referred to as Passion Week because in that time, Jesus Christ truly revealed His passion for us in the suffering He willingly went through on our behalf. What should our attitude be during Passion Week? We should be passionate in our worship of Jesus and in our proclamation of His Gospel! As He suffered for us, so should we be willing to suffer for the cause of following Him and proclaiming the message of His death and resurrection.

Recommended Resource: The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas.

Thank you Julia for sharing (from Rick Warren’s Got Questions).  To all our friends, have a wonderful & glorious Easter!

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Worship Comes Before Transformation by Buddy Owens

“As she stood behind Jesus at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” Luke 7:38 (NIV)

You don’t have to clean up your act before you can worship God. Just worship him and he’ll clean up your act. You don’t repent and confess in order to earn forgiveness. You change your ways because you’ve been forgiven.”

There are some powerful lessons about worship and about the transformation that happens in the life of a worshiper in Luke 7. The sinful woman in this story exhibited four traits we need to take note of:

  1. She worshiped boldly. This woman took a risk coming to the Pharisee’s house. She could have been thrown out or stoned, but she came boldly. She marched right into the house, into the dining room, into Jesus’ presence. Why would she do that? She was looking for forgiveness. She was looking for hope and acceptance. She was looking for some kind of change in her life. She was not there just to pay homage to some holy guy.
  2. She worshiped humbly. She wept in Jesus’ presence, wetting his feet with her tears. Then, in her deep sorrow, she got down on her knees, showing her submission to God, and dried his feet with her hair.
  3. She worshiped honestly. Many biblical scholars believe the sinful woman must have been a prostitute because she brought an expensive jar of perfume with her. This jar of perfume had significance – it represented her life; it represented her background; it was one of the tools of the trade. When she came to Jesus with that jar and poured it on his feet, it was her confession. She was honestly telling Jesus who she was.
  4. She worshiped extravagantly. She showed Jesus extravagant worship by using a jar of perfume that probably cost her an entire year’s wages. And she didn’t just dab on a couple of drops. Luke 7:38 says she poured the perfume on his feet. Why? This was her opportunity to come clean, to meet God, worship him and be transformed. It was her chance to start over.

You don’t have to clean up your act before you can worship God. Worship him and he’ll clean up your act. You don’t repent and confess in order to earn forgiveness. You change your ways because you’ve been forgiven.

Romans 12 says that we offer ourselves to the Lord in worship so that he can transform us. It’s the worship that comes first. That’s what we see in this woman’s life.

Thank you Julia for sharing–from Rick Warrens’s Daily Hope.


Read The Way of the Worshiper by Buddy OwensThis book is not about music. It’s not even about going to church. It’s about living your life as an offering of worship to God. It’s about tapping into the source of power to live the Christian life. And it’s about discovering the secret to friendship with God.

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Face Reality, Then Choose Faith by Rick Warren

The question is how can we keep from worrying when life is overwhelming and it feels like God is slow in answering?

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly a terrible storm came up, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” Matthew 8:23-24 (NLT)

Today’s devotional is by Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and author of ‘The Relationship Principles of Jesus.’

If you are going to deal with worry and anxiety, the first thing you have to do is face reality.

In Matthew 8, we see the reality of the situation that Jesus and the disciples faced. What they went through shows us the reality of what we have to face when life doesn’t go the way we plan.

  1. They faced a sudden storm. This is a picture for us of unexpected problems. We often don’t know what direction a problem is going to come from or where we will be when it hits.
    If you build your life around the belief that you’ll be okay this year as long as nothing goes wrong, you’re going to lose. Because something will always go wrong.
  2. They faced waves. Waves in our life are overwhelming circumstances. For the disciples, the waves in the midst of the storm were higher than their boat. They had overwhelming circumstances. And the same thing happens to us. A storm hits our life and the circumstances of it leave us wondering, “How am I going to face that?”
  3. They had a boat. This is a picture for us of inadequate resources. The boat wasn’t big enough to hold the waves that were coming. We face the same situation.
    If only we had all the money in the world, then everything would be fine. But we don’t. If only we had all the time in the world, then everything would be fine. But we don’t. That’s just reality, and saying anything else is a lie.
  4. Jesus was asleep in the boat. Here were the disciples in the midst of a storm and almost ready to drown, and Jesus, the one they knew could make a difference, was asleep.
    This is a picture of how many of us feel when we are facing a genuine problem in life. We don’t know what to do or where to turn, and we know God knows what we’re going through. The worse it gets, the more we wonder, “God, where are you in all of this? Why don’t you do something to change the situation?”
    The question is how can we keep from worrying when life is overwhelming and it feels like God is slow in answering?

Anxiety wears you out and it shortens your life, but if you have no other answers, you are going to keep worrying. Many people think the answer to worry is to somehow pretend that there is nothing to worry about. But the only way to deal with worry effectively is to face reality and then choose to face reality with faith.

My comment to Warren’s devotional:  Interestingly enough, 2 nites ago I had a dream w/my spouse & myself high up in a boat during extremely bad weather (unexpected problems) watching an acquaintance below swimming back & forth, fighting the waves (overwhelming circumstances).  This is all I remember, this one picture frame, & it lingered in the back of my mind–I didn’t think Rick Warren’s devotional from that same day would bring the interpretation my mind sought–which is to say, I face my reality daily, but I must consciously do this, with faith.

Thanks Julia for sharing with us once again!

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