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“In the Lord Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain (Lk 6:17-49), He commands all who come to Him (vs. 47) to love their enemies, do good to those who hate them (vs. 27), bless those who curse them, and pray for those who abuse them (vs. 28). Next, He even more stringently requires the disciple to endure physical assaults against person and property (vs. 29), give and lend freely (vs. 30), be merciful to all (vs. 36), refrain from judging or condemning, and forgive others (vs. 37). His expectations of us are huge! Christ’s demands reveal the true nature of discipleship as an uncompromising commitment to godliness. I, for one, confess that I have evaded the pure, holy, and godly life that Christ our God outlines in His lengthy sermon. I avoid being told how to behave, evading the struggle that a godly life requires and, sadly, refusing Jesus Christ as the bedrock of my life. I believe that these failures apply to a great many of us.” (Dynamis 10/7/2020)

“An authentic Christian life requires that we be imitators of God in his bountiful love and compassion. Because He gives freely expecting nothing in return, He desires that we do the same. “The point is this,” wrote St. Paul. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [2 Cor. 9:6-7]. By belonging to Christ, we have become a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). This means that we think, see, feel, understand, and do things differently. As free persons, the recipients of God’s great blessings, we seek to manifest His mercy and love by maintaining good conduct and performing good deeds, giving cheerfully, that God may be glorified (1 Peter 2:9-12).” (Fr. Philippe Mousis)

“Anyone who reads the New Testament seriously is almost always surprised to learn how often Christ saw life differently than we do. One example of that is to be found in Christ's teaching regarding greatness. In the ways of the world, greatness is defined by how many serve you; in the life of Christ, however, the opposite is true…Christ sought to teach this great truth not only through teaching, but through his living example as well. He did not only content himself with serving others, but took upon Himself the very nature of the servant. Serving was not something that Christ did, it was something He was. We need to ask ourselves if we have followed that example. Are we willing to serve unconditionally? When we do something for others, do we do without the expectation that the recipient of our deed is obligated to respond with great appreciation and gratitude? Are we like the good Samaritan who not only helped his enemy, but did so without expectations?” (Fr. Andrew Demotses)

“…we must remember that conversion to Christ involves a radical commitment to Him. One does not “give it a try” to see if it will work and then drop it a little later if it does not meet our expectations. To quote Yoda (of all people; but he was right about this), “Either do or do not. There is no ‘try.’”  Or, if one prefers the Lord Jesus to the Jedi Yoda, “I would that you were cold or hot” (Revelation 3:15). Merely trying, merely being lukewarm, is no good at all. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is not like trying to lift a heavy weight and seeing whether or not you can do it, and then dropping it quickly if you find it too heavy. Rather, it is like jumping off a cliff, trusting that God will catch you:  there is no changing your mind a moment later. The commitment required before jumping is total.” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)

“…the grace of God goes far beyond our small expectations.” (Foundation Study Bible, Genesis 28:10-15)

“We must be careful not to become so set in our religious habits that we expect God to work only in specified ways…God often works in ways we don’t expect… Nothing is more limiting than the self-imposed boundaries we clamp around our own lives when we require God to fit into our expectations.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 8:10-12, Isaiah 53:1-12, Jack Hayford)

“Among our worst enemies are our unexamined presuppositions; they lead us to think we understand what is happening around us when we do not. We thus misjudge entire situations, only to discover later that we were wrong and failed to anticipate many key factors. Worst of all, wrong presuppositions often lead us to throw ourselves against reality in a paltry effort to make life to conform to our ideas. On the other hand, unexpected events can afford us great opportunities for gaining humility and learning to accept Lord’s will…“Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with the firm conviction that Thy will governs all.” (Dynamis 5/4/2018, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow)

“God gives signs in our lives. He gives us signs for how to behave, how to forgive, He gives us talents that we are supposed to use for His glory. Yet, how many times do we ignore these obvious signs! Is it because of our own stubbornness? Pride?...God gives obvious signs in our lives. We are sometimes too stubborn or too proud to heed them. We are sometimes too busy to hear them. This is where we go back to listening to God through scripture, but also watching for signs that are obvious for what God expects us to do.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Naaman the Syrian general was suffering from leprosy and sought Elisha for healing. He was offended Elisha didn’t come out to meet him personally, but instead sent a messenger telling him to bath in the Jordan seven times. He reasoned someone of his stature should get a personal greeting and that there were other rivers far cleaner than the Jordan. But Naaman’s servants implored him to do what Elisha said, to move beyond his own expectation of how events should unfold, and to obey. He did and was healed…simple obedience to God’s will, even if it is not what we imagined, is the only road to receiving God’s blessings.” (Sacramental Living Ministries, Foundation Study Bible, 2 Kings 5:10)

“God works in amazing ways to wake us up from the lethargy of our own self-sufficiency. He does what is unexpected. He uses what is close to us to invite us to enter into His life and His peace. He offers us a way through, not a way out, so that even difficult times won’t destroy us. The unexpected is only unexpected if we are blind to God’s goodness to us.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

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