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Encountering God/Christ

“Reading the Scriptures, studying the church fathers, attending worship, praying, and meditating are all good and godly things. But they are not ends in themselves. When we engage in these holy activities, our sincere and fervent goal should be to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ. We may be the most informed and even enthusiastic students of the Word. We may be devoted to the teachings of the church. We may excel in Christianity as Paul excelled in Judaism. But everything that we think and do as Christians is just dabbling in sacred things unless it leads to and sustains a heart relationship to Christ.” (Fr. Basil)

“…our veneration of the Gospels as the Word of God should always fill our minds and hearts not only with a deep respect for the Gospels, but with a deep and abiding love for the Lord—the eternal Word of God—Who is revealed to us in any given text, and with a desire to know Him as deeply as possible.  Approaching the Gospels with a prayerful mind and heart is also of great importance.  We could use the Prayer before the Gospel from the Liturgy before reading, or offer inwardly a short form of that prayer.” (Fr. Stephen Kostoff)

“In His very person, our Lord has chosen to identify Himself not with man's dubious achievements, nor with his false glory, nor with his ambitions or pride. Rather, He chose to identify with us in our weakness, brokenness, and despair. For this reason, it is when we are at our weakest and lowest that we encounter Christ Himself. It is when we open ourselves in love to those whom this world considers to be the least of our brethren that we find ourselves open to God. For this reason, men and women throughout the centuries have given away all of their possessions and made themselves poor. Those who are filled with the food of this world have given it all away and gone hungry. Those with leisure and rest have given it up to become tired and weak in vigils and prayer. Because, in those moments of weakness, exhaustion, hunger, and poverty they have found Christ, His Love, Joy, Peace, and Holiness, and through worshiping and adoring Him, have received these things for themselves.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)

“Saint Isaac of Nineveh points out our profound need to give alms when he asks us to “Love the poor that through them you might find mercy.” And Saint Chrysostom reminds us why this is so: “If you want to honor Christ, do it when you see Him naked, in the person of the poor.” This is to say that when we give alms, we are encountering Christ and bestowing on Him a blessing. However, whenever we encounter Christ, it is ultimately we who are blessed.” (Todd Madigan)

“We often give lip service to God claiming we desire His presence in our lives; but in reality do we want our lives to change?...are we more comfortable with living with what we are used to - be it good or bad - than encountering a Power that can change us forever? Even though God desires to change us for the good, to remove from us those things that “possess” us and terrorize us, are we really willing to change our lives?  When we encounter Christ, do we invite Him to stay or would we rather He go away?  Chances are we’d rather be left alone. Chances are we often are afraid that living in the presence of Christ might require some changes in our lives. So we go out to see Him, but we don’t invite Him to stay. Chances are we would prefer to struggle with our own “demons” than submit to the One who can cast them out.” (Very Rev. Stephen Rogers)

“First of all, it is very important to remember that prayer is an encounter and a relationship, a relationship which is deep, and this relationship cannot be forced either on us or on God. If we could mechanically draw him into an encounter, force him to meet us, simply because we have chosen this moment to meet him, there would be no relationship and no encounter. We can do that with an image, with the imagination, or with the various idols we can put in front of us instead of God; we can do nothing of that sort with the living God, any more than we can do it with a living person.” (Robert J. Wicks)

“Prayer is an act of faith. It brings us to the threshold of another world. Through it we reach and cross the ultimate frontier. We touch another world, which we come to experience as extraordinary peace, beauty, goodness, joy and trust. Prayer opens our life to a new reality which transcends us. We encounter the living God and converse with Him.” (Rev. Alkiviadis Calivas)

"Christ taught that He is the Truth, the living Truth that came into the world. The doctrines and practices of the Church are the means by which we encounter Him. This is not to say God is limited in any way to only allowing such encounter within this context, but that the ordinary and common way that it happens is through the Church." (Father Spyridon Baily)

“To be converted to Jesus Christ means that a human person encounters Him and is mysteriously drawn to trust Him and to unite with Him. All we can do is to open the path between that person and Christ, remembering that both persons have the freedom not to make the encounter. Our strongest evangelistic tools are love and prayer.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“God is not bound by our five senses. The Lord has fashioned us in such a manner that He may speak to our hearts. Thus we pray that God will “illumine our hearts, O Master. Open the eyes of our mind. Implant in us Thy blessed commandments. Come and dwell in us and cleanse us of every stain of sin.” Christ said to Saint Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17). In Saint Peter’s case, just as in Saul’s conversion, God the Father “revealed” Christ (Gal 1:12, 16). When we study the lives of those who came face to face with Christ, we understand why this encounter is life’s greatest blessing. As Saint Paul said, “He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27).” (Dynamis 12/30/2018)

“ ‘And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.’ This passage needs some care. In the Greek, it does not say “He opened their understanding.” Rather, it says, “He opened their nous.” The Scriptures are noetically understood. The nous and the heart are synonymous... It is by no means a synonym for discursive reason. Christ spiritually changed the disciples, such that they could see things that before had been hidden. And this change is directly associated with the encounter of the risen Lord. Christ nowhere opens the understanding of the disciples until after the resurrection. That noetic miracle is itself part of the resurrection. To be a witness of the resurrection includes the noetic understanding of the Scriptures.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Although we are created for relationship with God, such intimacy is uncommon. Discernment is a lost capacity, for our lives are corrupted by sin and pride. Our noetic faculties are darkened and a direct encounter with God remains beyond our experience.” (OCPM 6/23/2016)

“How do we comprehend and know. It is something other than a scientific fact or intellectual awareness. It is a revelation, a divine gift that illumines and transforms our intellect [nous]; and a reciprocal encounter, a personal bond with the personal God, who reveals Himself to us through communion with Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 3:18-19)

“You are going to encounter Christ. You are going to meet Him in your prayers, in a pleasant conversation, over a meal with a friend, or perhaps even in a painful confrontation. Somehow, you are going to meet Him today. The only question is, will you recognize Him?” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“We encounter God in the ordinariness of life: not in the search for spiritual highs and extraordinary mystical experiences but in our simple presence in life.” (Brennan Manning)

“Prayer is a conversation that leads to encounter with God...this “working and quickening in our hearts” does not take place “in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure.” (Pastor Timothy Keller, Westminster Larger Catechism)

“True conversion comes from a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and leads to a new life in relationship with Him." (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 9:3-5)

“…all learning takes place through an immediate encounter with Christ, not through the abstract concepts of the rational mind… Christianity is never taught, only ‘caught.’ ” (Dynamis 1/13/15)

“...we worship we go on a journey. Worship leads us to encounter and experience the living God. As worshipers, we do our best to prepare ourselves—purifying our hearts, clearing our minds, opening our ears, keeping our promises and humbling our posture before God.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

“Opening your heart is what truly leads to an ongoing encounter with Christ and understanding of truth. Therefore any true understanding of God is more the direct result of experience in concert with study rather than just study.” (Sacramental Living)

“God may use unexpected sources when communicating with us too, whether people, thoughts or experiences. Be willing to investigate, and be open to God’s surprises.” (Life Application Study Bible, Exodus 3:2)

“We communicate with God through prayer and Bible study. The best way is to decide upon a definite time for your prayer time, preferably in the early morning, and keep it sacred. Build your life’s habits around that period. Do not allow it to be crowded out by other things. Those who neglect the fixed time for prayer and say they can pray at all times will end in praying at no time. But if you keep the fixed period, it should influence the whole day…Prayer is considered…the highest privilege a Christian has, that of communicating with God, praising and supplicating Him.” (Eric Liddell, Rev. George Mastrantonis)

“To commune, according to the dictionary, is to communicate mentally or spiritually and become absorbed in feeling one’s self in harmony with something. From our perspective, it is through the Eucharist that we commune with Jesus. Through the Eucharist, we also become the community of Christ, the Church. Sharing in Holy Communion together is also a means of bonding and communicating with both Christ and each other.” (Sacramental Living)

"A sacramental vision of the world regards nature as it was meant to be, communicating God's glory and power…. God creates to communicate Himself, His blessedness and glory to the creatures He creates - the entire creation, and in this creation, man in particular.” (Craig Bernthal, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh)

“As it is impossible to verbally describe the sweetness of honey to one who has never tasted honey, so the goodness of God cannot be clearly communicated by way of teaching if we ourselves are not able to penetrate into the goodness of the Lord by our own experience.” (St. Basil the Great)

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