Righteousness or ‘feminism’

Miriam the prophetess | Passover Haggadah by Raquel Vieira

Although I have not yet reached, Exodus in my daily scripture reading, other readings with which I am presently involved have mentioned, Miriam and some interesting aspects of her story of which I previously was unaware.

Miriam was not only the sister of Moses and Aaron, she was a prophetess, she was brave, she was a source of water for the Israelites while they were wandering in the desert. One thing I doubt she would have called herself, especially since the word did not exist back then would have been, ‘feminist’.

I do not understand the need for feminists to attach the word ‘Feminist’ to brave, righteous women of the bible. Is it virtue signalling? Is it a desperate plea for recognition in yet another male-dominated traditional religion?

When I see women ordained as Rabbis, Anglican priests, or stamping around stage in their Protestant ministry, dressed like men and speaking like men I think, ‘how unimaginative’. I believe asserting oneself into male dominated arenas

Miriam stands alone as a righteous women without the need to clarify her through the use of modern feminist language. I cannot imagine her, or any other strong woman of the bible, standing on a street corner wearing a big, pink, vagina costume or cat ear hat.

Whatever feminism started out as, it has become a joke.

The Prophet Miriam: Vision for the Future | Messianic Bible
The Prophetess, Miriam

Miriam’s water cup should be allowed on the Seder table but not as an act of feminist inclusion, but rather as an acknowledgement of the very important contributions of a brave, righteous woman not only to the Israelites, but to the entire world.

You can be righteous and do brave things without being a ‘feminist’.

It is more important to be obedient to the Lord (which is why, Miriam did what she did and was able to do what she was able to do. Not because she was a feminist but because she was obedient and righteous!), than to be a feminist. You can live without feminism but living without God, without the spirit of obedience (obedience is not a character of feminism so how could feminists label an obedient righteous woman as a feminist?) can have disastrous results in one’s life. Being disobedient, is something, Miriam, a pious Jewish woman, would never have done. she would have known that blessings come from being obedient.

when reading about, and studying, the women of the bible please keep in mind they existed in a different time. this might sound very basic and obvious, but I constantly see people making the great mistake of trying to either judge people in the past by our modern standards, or make the other mistake of trying to give modern labels to the behaviors of those in the past who do admirable things.

The things done by, Miriam were brave, different, maybe even a bit scary to those looking on in awe, or wonder, or even skepticism. To, Miriam however, they would just have been the things she did in obedience to hearing God’s voice. A stirring in her spirit perhaps, or a vivid dream she prayed about the next morning and went on to accomplish in ‘real-time’.

Labeling things done by brave, pious women as ‘feminist’ can be considered exclusionary or even as theft by those who are more traditional. Piety fits into tradition but the modern label of ‘feminism’ is not readily accepted by everyone… nor is it necessary. It is another act of exclusion if one thinks applying the label of ‘feminist’ to brave women of the Torah or Bible is the only way to acknowledge that what these women did was extraordinary (Extraordinary yes, but not unattainable to today’s pious women).

What women like, Miriam, the Myrrh Bearing women celebrated during Pascha and Pentecost, the Virgin Mary (Theotokos) and other women of renown, were able to do was only because of their piety and obedience. the willingness to be a vessel for God. To take a risk in order to help others. Feminism has become such a terribly selfish thing. More like a ravenous, self-serving beast in need of a shock collar (abortion, promiscuity, rage, hate, division, etc.), than a thing of beauty or of benefit. Women of the Bible who were brave and accomplished great things did so out of love for their community. They saw a need and fulfilled it. They were selfless, brave, loving, giving, self-sacrificing.

ICON

Women such as Miriam, Sarah, Anna, Mary, et al, are exemplars of piety, righteousness, sacrifice, obedience, and love. They already have crowns of glory. They do not need the label of, ‘feminist’ in order to make them ‘relevant’.


The valley of the shadow of death

The Valley of the Shadow of Death / OrthoChristian.Com

Some days it feels as if I’ve pitched a tent in ‘The Valley’ and have made it my home. Changes in our family dynamic, the evil leadership our nation is now under, ill health all around, etc., etc., etc. I hate trite Christian sayings, ‘Let go and let God’ does nothing to heal or help someone going through a rough path. That saying could easily be changed slightly to, ‘Let go of God and run away!’.

The above icon is of Mary speaking with the angel Gabriel. Gabriel is telling her of the plans God has for her life. Plans that could easily have ended up with her being stoned to death had not God been guarding her during her entire life.

Here is a scripture to accompany this icon:

Luke 1:38 Mary’s response to what she has been told is to declare,38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Complete submission to God no matter what came at her in her life. I would love to be able to say I have an obedient and humble heart like, Mary… but I cannot.

The sad truth is that I cry and yell and demand God show up and answer my prayers how I want them to be answered. My husband and I will celebrate?/commemorate 17 years of marriage this December. While I have grown during this time I need a break from the ‘lessons’. I’m worn out.

I was reminded today, as I watched the testimony of Caralynn Collar whose blog is; beautybeyondbones, about her struggle with, and ultimate recovery from, anorexia. She celebrates her 14th year of freedom this week.

Her attitude is amazing. I find her writing to be encouraging.

Are you struggling as a Christian with all that is going on around you? It seems as if the world has lost its mind beginning with the current administration. The speed of the leader it the speed of the gang. As our government goes so will the country.

If MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES & PRAY &  SEEK MY FACE & TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN & I

Exactly how many people are needed for this to happen? How many people need to repent (humble themselves), pray and seek God? ONE… YOU. One… me. It is easy to forget what we need to do when the world is pulling at us for attention.

Prayers for Repentance
God, my good and loving Lord, I acknowledge all the sins which I have committed every day in my life, whether in thought, word or deed. I ask for forgiveness from the depths of my heart for offending You and others and repent of my old ways. Help me by Your grace to change, to sin no more and to walk in the way of righteousness and to praise and glorify Your Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

O Lord my God, I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word and deed. I have also omitted to do what Your holy law requires of me. But now with repentance and contrition I turn again to Your love and mercy. I entreat You to forgive me all my transgressions and to cleanse me from all my sins. Lord, fill my heart with the light of Your truth. Strengthen my will by Your grace. Teach me both to desire and to do only what pleases You. Amen.

After you have repented, here are some other ideas for prayer:

Prayer Against Demonic Influence
Almighty God, Who delivered Your people from the bondage of the adversary, and through Your Son cast down Satan like lightning, deliver me also from every influence of unclean spirits. Command Satan to depart far from me by the power of Your only begotten Son. Rescue me from demonic imaginings and darkness. Fill me with the light of the Holy Spirit that I may be guarded against all snares of crafty demons. Grant that an angel will always go before me and lead me to the path of righteousness all the days of my life, to the honor of Your glorious Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for Peace
Almighty God and Creator, You are the Father of all people on the earth. Guide, I pray, all the nations and their leaders in the ways of justice and peace. Protect us from the evils of injustice, prejudice, exploitation, conflict and war. Help us to put away mistrust, bitterness and hatred. Teach us to cease the storing and using of implements of war. Lead us to find peace, respect and freedom. Unite us in the making and sharing of tools of peace against ignorance, poverty, disease and oppression. Grant that we may grow in harmony and friendship as brothers and sisters created in Your image, to Your honor and praise. Amen.


Thanksgiving After Trouble
Almighty and merciful God, I most humbly and heartily thank Your divine majesty for Your loving kindness and tender mercies, that You have heard my humble prayer, and graciously granted me deliverance from my trouble and misery. I pray to you to continue granting Your helping grace, that I may lead a life pleasing to You, that I may continually offer to You a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayer Toward the Unknown
O Lord, You who steadied the hand of Peter as he began to sink on the stormy sea, if you are with me, no one is against me. Grant to me the shield of faith and the mighty armor of the Holy Spirit to protect me and guide me to do Your will. The future I put into Your hands, O Lord, and I follow You to a life in Christ. Amen

Prayer Before Studying the Bible
Master who loves us, shine Your eternal light in our hearts that we may better know you. Help us to fully understand Your gospel message. Instill in us respect for Your holy commandments, that by overcoming our worldly desires we might live a spiritual life of thoughts and deeds which pleases You. We ask this of You, O Christ our god, for You are the light of our souls and bodies and You we glorify with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy good and life-giving Spirit now and forever. Amen.

Shine within my heart, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of my mind that I may understand Your teachings. Instill in me also reverence for Your blessed commandments, so that having conquered sinful desires I may pursue a spiritual way of life, thinking and doing all those things that are pleasing to You. For You, Christ my God, are my light, and to You I give glory together with Your Father and Your Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers from the website: Other Orthodox Prayers

And now, as my husband has recommended; I am pulling up the tent pegs, packing away my tent and moving on.


Closer to Jesus?

A Year of Weekly Readings by Crosby, Cindy
Photo taken from ebay.
This review excerpt taken from Google books:By allowing us to read holy writings with ancient eyes, the church fathers help us drink deeply from the only water that can give us true life. life.

Published in Apr 11, 2007… it’s a devotional! An Orthodox Christian devotional. As rare, and elusive as unicorns of myth and legend.

In Protestantism, one only has to throw a stone to find a devotional. Not so with Orthodoxy. Yes, we have books. Books about the ancient fathers, nuns, abbesses, abbots, angels, monks, prayer, psalms, etc., but books you open everyday to read from and pray with are rare.

Orthodoxy is intense. We read hard, pray hard and feast with joy in Orthodoxy. Mostly books written by and written about ancient fathers as an example of righteousness, but I really wanted a daily devotional. So, I bought the devotional pictured above. I have no idea if I will like it. There are no photos of what’s inside. (I bought it off of ebay for a fraction of what it would have cost on Amazon.). Pretty much everything I have encountered with Orthodoxy is like an advanced university course. Be-that-as-it-may, you can still build a relationship with Christ through; prayer, reading your bible, reading books written by the ancients, prayer, fasting, giving alms, etc.

Will this devotional automatically make me feel closer to Christ? I doubt it. But it will, hopefully, provide welcomed insights into our ancient faith.

For now, say your prayers, give alms, be kind to one another as God is kind to us!


The gift of prophecy?

The 4 Clairs Of Intuition & How To Tap Into Each

One of the things I struggled with when I was a member of a certain house of prayer was the tendency for people to misunderstand the difference between clairvoyance, prophecy from God, and observational information, and other ways of what I now call, ‘organic knowing’.

The prophets of the bible would not recognize much of what goes on in a, ‘spirit filled service’ as being from God.

The ladies’ group at church is reading from the book, Fr. Arseny. Here is what he said about the topic.

Another time I asked him, “Fr. Arseny! We, your spiritual children, often talk
about the fact that spiritual fathers frequently have the gift of
prophecy or clairvoyance…”. Fr. Arseny interrupted me sharply
saying, “Don’t continue! You don’t know what real prophecy or
clairvoyance is.
Take the mother of a small child. She sees and
notices all his actions, and she can foresee what he is going to
think or do because he is her child and she loves him. All this
isn’t prophecy or mind reading; it is a kind of spiritual
observation, which is common to many. True prophecy and
mind reading is given by God to a few chosen people, people
like Fr. John of Kronstadt, but certainly not to us sinful people.
Let us stop this conversation, it is useless,” said Fr. Arseny

Bolded text is mine.

We need to take a step back and consider everything we do, making certain we have dedicated it to the glory of God.


Philippians 2:3 Where is it?

RSV Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.

NKJV Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Be proud of your tall poppies | The Strategist

I was watching an episode of The Andy Griffith Show the other day and I was stunned at the compassion and humanity they showed to one of the characters instead of crushing his soul into dust.

In this episode, Barney brags about his ‘pioneer skills’. Barney, Andy, and Gomer Pyle took the cub scouts camping. Barney being Barney he bragged about his great survival skills; tracking, trapping, making a fire, etc.

It soon became evident that he had none of these skills. He and, Gomer became; lost, hungry, and cold.

Some of the kids found out as well as one of the men from town who had driven his truck up to camp to deliver food cooked by, Aunt Bea. They all started talking about how they were really going to ‘give it to, Barney!’. They are gleeful at how they were going to confront him and tear him a part for bragging about skills he didn’t have. It was heart breaking. It would have crushed him and humiliated him. The whole town would have laughed at him.

Andy to the rescue.

Andy put a stop to all of that. He told the kids they were not to say anything to Barney about any of it. he then grabbed two chickens and ran off into the woods to find Gomer and Barney. He found Gomer first and filled him in on the plan. Instead of tearing down Barney, he wanted to affirm him!

Through a series of events they made it look like; the trap had worked, the fire started (with a little unseen help from Gomer) and they eventually found their way back to camp with Barney leading them in victory.

When Gomer and Barney returned to camp, Andy and the children were waiting for them with big smiles and back slaps. ‘congratulations, Barney you really DO have pioneering skills!’.

Andy made a choice to not crush Barney (i.e. call him out and humiliate him in front of everyone).

What can we learn from this episode that would help us to be better Christians?

  1. The church is a hospital not a courtroom, therefore, we are not judges. People these days (and I have done my fair share of it) feel as if they must call out other people in a spirit of ‘authenticity’ or ‘telling the truth in love’. The things I have seen people do to one another in the name of ‘love’ has been shocking. If you tear down another person for any reason you are not acting in any kind of love but perhaps self love. It is pride that makes us think we have the right to ‘call someone out’ for their behavior. I fall into this sin on a regular basis. It’s pride, folks… plain and simple. Andy could have destroyed, Barney to ‘teach him a lesson’ about lying and bragging. Andy could have given him some, tough love’. There’s no such things as tough love. ‘Tough love’ is a phrase invented by mentally unstable people as an excuse for being jerks to anyone them deem worthy of their, special kind of ‘love’.
  2. Matt 7:3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? NKJV We do this because we are full of pride and think we are above reproach. We are not.
  3. We are sadistic. We have become like the Pharisees. White washed tombs. This is going to happen more and more. people will report their neighbors to the authorities just to see them get carted off. The days of this are coming.
  4. We can turn back from the abyss if we do what is painful and treat others as better than ourselves as we are taught in our bibles. Our bibles are not there to show us how to get rich but how to course correct ourselves to prepare us for an eternity in the presence of God.
  5. Find someone who you have done this to and go apologize. Seriously. Whether on social media or in real life, go humble yourself and apologize. We are to humble OURSELVES, not other people.

As the last days approach, things are going to get worse. People will turn on family members. We have been told this in the bible.

It seems right to fight back and to be vengeful against those who have wronged us. Is this not the premise of every movie in the past several decades? Whether it is a tall tale told to us by someone or an out right attack against our character we must fight the temptation to retaliate.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word word stirs up wrath. A kind answer soothes angry feelings, harsh words stir them up. A gentle answer quiets anger,

Proverbs 29:8 Mockers inflame a city, but the wise turn away anger. Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away . Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise calm anger. Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise

We have seen so much destruction here in America of late. Lies abound and stir up people’s wrath.

What if you decided today, right now to turn away from wrath and to from now on be known as, ‘The loving and calm one’?

Pray for your neighbors, those in leadership, your family, etc. We can change the world without ever leaving the house.

The world has told Christians to stop praying. Jesus said to pray without ceasing. Do you belong to the wold, or to Christ?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

In the new book club book: Our thoughts Determine our Lives, we will find out how many praying people it takes to change a neighborhood, a city, a nation, the world.

That is going to be exciting!

Order your book now to participate in the book club.

PURCHASE LINK


Preparing for the Deep Dive into Lent

Yesterday I posted a photo of a book, and icon I had purchased at church.

I started reading it to see what I needed to do to prepare to read this book for 40 days. The author mentioned that the study in this book could be used as a spiritual retreat. After having only been to Divine Liturgy a few times over the last year, I sure could use a spiritual retreat, or Deep Dive.

Aside from the issues with the virus and my husband being at high risk to catch it, going to church was a bit depressing. Hardly any people were there, the icons were covered,people we grumpy and distant. It has been hard. Try as I might, worshiping at home is just not the same as with the community of believers (Probably why the bible is all about GOING to church to worship.).

My plan is to; attend as many services as possible, read scripture, pray and dig into this book. I know many people do an intensive reading of Psalms at this time but this year, I am going in a bit of a different direction.

I will be giving my home altar a spring cleaning. New candles, new incense… the works.

How are you preparing for Lent?


St. Nicholas is real!

Men Saint Icons: St. Nicholas Icon | Monastery Icons

At the tail end of my journey from Protestantism… the odd trend of parents telling their kids Santa Claus was fake was just beginning to become mainstream in my area. While it’s great to bring children back to true Christianity, what is not so great is being so unfamiliar with your own Christian history that you do not know that St. Nicholas, or, Santa Claus- IS a real person.

I say ‘is’ instead of ‘was’ because he is in heaven praying for us in the throne room of God.

St. Nicholas saved young women from human trafficking, he punched a guy for being a heretic, and he did many miracles as well.

Let's Stop Celebrating St. Nicholas Punching Arius| National Catholic  Register
When Santa Punched a Heretic in the Face: 13 Memes on St Nicholas so funny!  | Catholic memes, Saint nicholas, St nicholas day

F.Y.I., later, after the council declared Arius to be wrong, Arius died on the toilet after his bowels exploded. Gotta watch those heretical declarations, folks.

If you would like to know more about St. Nicholas (like why the stores sell chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil during the Christmas season (It is done to celebrate St. Nicholas’ generosity which saved girls from prostitution. They are tossed to the children after the liturgy held to celebrate St. Nicholas.), you can read more about him HERE.

Chocolate Gold Coins | See's Candies

Maybe this year, instead of telling your children there is no Santa Claus, perhaps you could read a book to them about the REAL St. Nick… St. Nicholas.

The True History of the Modern Day Santa Claus: The Coca-Cola Company
NO
Amazon.com: Religious Gifts Russian Wooden Icon of St Saint Nicholas The  Wonderworker with Miter 8 3/4 Inch: Home & Kitchen

Two videos for you

I think you will like these. the first video is of the temple of Solomon. This is the temple where, Zachariah, Elizabeth’s husband, served. It is also the temple where, Mary lived growing up. The place where she was fed by angels. The place where she was working wool to make the temple veil (that later would be torn in half by, Jesus while He was on the cross), when she was greeted by the angel Gabriel.

CORRECTION: I’m not sure what’s going on on the video. First he says she went into Solomon’s temple then says no, it was rebuilt several times and the actual temple was one built by Herod? Either way, Zachariah was the priest serving, Solomon’s temple is amazing and worth taking the time to view in the video. Sorry for any confusion!

https://www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/video/collections/esda/solomons-temple

The second video is a talk on Mary, the Animated Ark. The vessel of Christ.

Feel free to leave a comment on your thoughts.


Are you optimistic?

Righteous Joshua the son of Nun (Navi) Hand-Painted Icon - BlessedMartI think I am mostly an optimistic person. There have been times during the lockdown that stress has been allowed to take over my optimism. I think many of our emotions are choices. I am not a helpless victims of my emotions, and neither are you.

Everything takes effort… even sin.

I watched this video by, Rabbi Daniel Lapin. He talks about the importance of optimism in creativity and success.

I think we are still in control of ourselves… especially if we refuse to give in to the counter culture of doom and gloom and the idea that the government must do everything for us. Did you know that the Amish are returning their stimulus checks? They do not rely on the government for anything.

Here are 100 bible verse about optimism. The word optimism is not explicitly mentioned. Do you need everything spelled out for you in 7ft high neon letters? No? Excellent.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Be more optimistic.


Women and faith

Venerable Barsanuphius of Optina - Orthodox Church in America

St. Barsanuphius of Optina

A woman cannot live without faith. Either she lives for a period of time without faith and then soon returns to faith in God, or she quickly begins to go to pieces. It is another matter for a man: it is possible for him to live without faith. He hardens completely and becomes a pillar of salt, and so he lives, stiff and cold. But a woman cannot live like this.