The Beginning of the Day Belongs to Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ Light of the World, God and Saviorby Chris Banescu -
In Life Together, the book that highlights the importance of Christian fellowship and community life centered on Christ, Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that the beginning of the day belongs to God. “At the threshold of the new day stand the Lord who made it.” He exhorts us to silence all empty talk and distractions when we rise each day and instead let our first thoughts and words be offered to Jesus Christ, “to whom our whole life belongs.”

This is the same message that the Scriptures, wise men of God, the Orthodox Church, and the Christian Saints have taught and practiced throughout the ages. The Gospels bear witness that Jesus Christ himself started each day with prayer. “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).

“For Christians, the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stand the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and His wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before Him. [Read more...]

Christians Need Each Other to Hear the Word of God

Christians Need Each Other to Hear the Word of Godby Chris Banescu -
This Nativity season it’s good to remember the sacramental role that a Christian community plays in our lives. Man was not created to be alone but live in communion with God and other human beings. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Christian martyr and theologian, reminds us that our brothers are the means through which Christ, the Word of God, reaches us most powerfully and effectively.

We need each other because the Christ in our “own heart is weaker that the Christ in the word” of our brother. Our own heart can sometimes be uncertain, but our brother’s is sure. That’s why we need other Christians as bearers and proclaimers “of the divine word of salvation” to remind us of the Word of God. [Read more...]

What We Do in Life Echoes in Eternity, A Timeless Christian Truth

“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” ~ General Maximus
What_We_Do_in-Life_Echoes_in_Eternity_01_665x490 [Read more...]

Dostoevsky: Fear the Christian Socialist

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Fedor Dostoevskiiby Chris Banescu -
“The socialist who is a Christian is more to be feared than the socialist who is an atheist.” ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

A sober warning comes to us from the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky in his book The Brothers Karamazov. Given that some Orthodox Christian leaders today embrace and promote socialist ideas, this ominous observation should give us pause. Is history repeating itself?

“We are not particularly afraid of all these socialists, anarchists, atheists and revolutionaries. . . .  But there are a few peculiar men among them who believe in God and are Christians, but at the same time are socialists.  Those are the people we are most afraid of.  They are terrible people!  The socialist who is a Christian is more to be feared than the socialist who is an atheist.”
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky (Fedor Dostoevskii), The Brothers Karamazov

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When Orthodox Bishops Spoke Boldly: Clear Teaching on Marriage and Family

Orthodox Bishop Defend Marriage Family Wedding Ceremonyby Chris Banescu -
The current societal moral collapse and the intensifying attacks on traditional marriage and the family were foreseen by previous generations of bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Approximately 40 years ago, the Holy Synod of the OCA issued an Encyclical Letter on Marriage warning their flocks of the dangers posed by an increasingly secularized world and re-affirming the traditional, biblical, and orthodox teaching on marriage. The clarity of their teaching, boldness of their condemnation, and prophetic dimensions of their preaching are undeniable.

These shepherds saw the “signs of the times.” They discerned the growing darkness and corruption all around them and the seriousness of the cultural battles to come. They forewarned the faithful that the “moral foundations of society are collapsing.” They understood the ultimate consequences of a society that abandons its moral principles, abuses its freedoms, embraces the evil of abortion, is indifferent to the murder of millions of unborn children, and glorifies corrupt sexual behaviors.

We find it imperative to address you on an issue of crucial importance for the Christian life. An increasingly secularized world tends more and more to neglect the traditional biblical understanding of marriage and family. Misunderstanding freedom and proclaiming the progress of a humanity supposedly too mature, sophisticated and scientific to follow Christ’s Gospel, many have abandoned its moral demands. The consequences are plain for all to see: the family is disintegrating, legalized abortion is killing millions of unborn children, corrupt sexual behavior is rampant. The moral foundations of society are collapsing.

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Orthodox Church View on Abortion: Life Begins at Conception

Orthodox Christian View on Abortion: Life Begins at Conceptionby Chris Banescu -
The Orthodox Church, founded by Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, bears witness to the truth that all human life begins at conception. The teachings of the Orthodox Christian faith are very clear and unambiguous: all unborn human life is sacred and innocent human life must be fully protected. The Orthodox Church regards abortion as murder and opposes all forms of abortion. All Orthodox Churches throughout the whole world and across the 2,000 years since Christ have taught and proclaimed this same truth without alteration to all nations.

The Court’s assertions in the Roe v. Wade decision, regarding Christian theology prior to the 19th century, that “there was otherwise little agreement about the precise time of formation or animation” of an unborn child is completely false. This declaration has no basis in fact in the theology, teachings, or practices of historic Orthodox Christianity. It is a complete fabrication!

The truth of the actual teachings and theology of the early Christian Church and proclaimed by the Orthodox Church to this day, categorically affirm that life begins at conception and specifically reject other theories based upon quickening or formation. These timeless truths were expressed very clearly in the Amicus Curiae (“friend of the court”) brief that the Holy Orthodox Church submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States back in 1989. [Read more...]

In Rejecting Truth Man Dooms Himself

Ultimate Things: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End Times by Chris Banescu -

The increasing darkness, corruption, and delusion we witness all around us are direct and predictable consequences of man’s rejection of God and truth. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn warned of the devastating consequences that follow when men forsake God. Dennis Engleman issues a similar warning in his book Ultimate Things: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End Times regarding the dangers of man’s rejection of truth.

In rejecting truth, man, who was created in the image and likeness of God, denies himself and the godly nature with which he was blessed from the beginning by his Creator. He purposely blinds himself to reality and destroys the very faculty (reason) that allows him to find and discern truth. In rejecting truth, man purposely closes all “doors to authentic understanding” and obliterates the only avenue that can lead him into communion with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).

When man rejects truth he rejects God and destroys himself. In abandoning truth man opens himself to all manner of delusion, falsehood, and corruption. He abandons the narrow road to salvation and wonders in the wilderness of “this world” at the mercy of evil. He forsakes God’s wisdom and embraces “worldly wisdom” which always leads down the road to perdition, to despair, suffering, and death. [Read more...]

Prayer for America on Election Day 2012

Holy Spirit Prayer for America by Chris Banescu -
Dear Lord pour out Thy Holy Spirit on this nation and help us in this time of trouble. Give comfort to the suffering, strength to the weak, wisdom to the undecided, and courage to the fearful.

Master, You are our only help in time of need. You Who are just, loving, and compassionate look down upon us and have mercy on us and deliver us from the darkness and danger that now besets us. Deal with us not according to our iniquities, but according to Your manifold mercies, for we are the works of Your hands, and You know our weaknesses.

Be merciful to us Lord for we are in need of Your love and kindness. Help us elect a faithful, loving, mature, hard-working, and wise leader, a man of character and integrity who will bring hope, peace, and joy to a suffering and crumbling nation.

We beseech Thee Master do not forsake us and hear our prayers and petitions. [Read more...]

Sin Troubles the Soul and Chases Away Inner Peace

Saint Jerome Orthodox icon by Chris Banescu –
Sin always troubles our soul and chases away our inner peace. Saint Jerome cautions us that the evil one is a master at snaring and troubling us with many kinds of deceptions. When we give in to these distractions and “begin to play with sin”, we fall from a state of grace and our soul is in trouble. We are no longer at peace. We become even more vulnerable to the devil and easy prey to his snares.

In our daily battle to stay close to God’s grace and find peace, we must not give in to sin, even the smallest ones which pave the way for greater ones. We must continually strive to embrace God’s truth and reject the lies and deceptions from the evil one.

Even if we succumb to temptation and fall, we should not despair and we must not persist in our sinful conduct. Often Satan’s greatest lie is to convince us that we are beyond redemption and there is no hope in asking for forgiveness from the Lord. We must quickly repent, reject the sin, return to Christ, and seek the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way to stay sane and peaceful in the darkness and corruption of “this world.” [Read more...]