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Obstacles

“The more vital the service the more demons undermine it. So it is with everything that the Lord asks us to do in His Name. Wherever there is the call to serve, there will also be challenges to overcome. When anyone goes about serving the Lord, the devil sets about making that work difficult. And the more vital the service, the more demons he sends to undermine it. How then should we respond to these countervailing forces? If we concentrate solely on the possibilities before us, we will fail to recognize and deal with the obstructions against us. On the other hand, if we focus solely on our adversaries, we will lose the courage to fight them. The solution is to focus on Christ. He is the one who calls us to serve Him. When we look to Him, he will guide and empower us for the work that He gives us. In Him and according to His will, we will be victorious over our adversaries.” (Fr. Basil)


“If we think of sin only as violating some random rules and regulations, we are not seeing the real picture – namely, as it says in Acts 17:28, that we live and move and have our being in God! Sin separates us from God; the spiritual life consists of removing all those obstacles which prevent us from being united to God. Sin blinds us to God’s presence, and healing of this blindness occurs as we repent…We need to have the eyes to see and this requires the Holy Spirit working in us. The Church is simply removing all the obstacles which prevent us from seeing the world as God intended. We are not making things something they ‘normally’ are not. We are not making them holy, but rather revealing the holy nature with which God imbued all of creation in the beginning.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“Christ loves us in spite of our senseless behavior. He calls to us, is always ready to respond to our cries for help and guide our fragile steps through all the obstacles that lie in our path. He respects us on a par with Himself. His ultimate idea for us is to see us in eternity verily His equals, His friends and brothers, the sons of the Father.” (Elder Sophrony Sakharov)


“We share the most difficult of vocations – to live up to our high calling in Christ Jesus. This is not something that we achieve on our own, but a process that includes the grace of God and our own self-determination, what we call our freedom of choice or “free will.”  There are obstacles…There are distractions and temptations too numerous to keep track of. There is the unbelief of the world around us. Yet, if we approach this “day by day,” we soon realize that we are simply trying to become genuine human beings, for the glory of God is a human being fully alive…” (Fr. Stephen Kostoff)


“Unlike the mere human surrogates, Jesus Christ not only takes us through this world and into the next, He refuses to do our living for us. Mere human role models normally enjoy having camp followers and clones—it enhances their self-importance and strokes their egos. Our Lord Jesus cannot be reduced to a mere role model. He insists that we work out our own lives and deal with the challenges, face the obstacles and overcome all the tests on the way. To live life to the fullest is to become our own role models. When He left us, the Holy Spirit came to be with us and even within us. God in the Spirit never makes our decisions for us, but He enhances our freedom to choose life enhancement or surrender to a reduced way of life.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


“Jeremiah [8:4-13] identifies four obstacles that block us from saving repentance: rejecting of the word of the Lord; following our own will; holding onto delusions; and refusing to return to Him…Our greatest obstacle when standing before God is our pride, our delusion of self-reliance.…the pathological love of self and of others is an obstacle to our relationship with God.” (Dynamis 2/20/2019, 1/29/2020, Abba Isaiah)


“God is always Self-giving; it is a question of removing the obstacles that make it difficult to receive this Self-gift. This receptivity is what contemplative practice cultivates….One of the most precious things we learn is non-condemnation. When we see the judgmental thoughts finally disappear in the ground of awareness, much of what had seemed worthy of condemnation now seems just right the way it is. Whether our own or those of others, imperfections are seen to manifest the same ineffable vastness as virtues do. These same imperfections may be considerable indeed and pose a real obstacle; yet there is no need to condemn. Thorns are as much a part of a rose as the flower. What gardener condemns the compost for being full of rubbish?” (Martin Laird)


“One of the great paradoxes of the spiritual life is that our struggles are not separate from the luminous vastness within each of us. We don’t get rid of struggle to discover this open space; nor does its discovery necessarily rid us of our struggles. The riddle of the obstacle is solved not by pushing it away or by holding on to it, but by meeting it with silence and by discovering in this meeting that sacred ground, which upholds both joy and sorrow, both struggle and freedom from struggle. When we realize this we will struggle less with our struggles and we will have solved by our own silence the riddles that guard the doorway into the silent land.” (Martin Laird)


“..we should expect to be tested. We are being “pruned,” challenged, tested, put upon like faithful Job in the Bible. Christ calls us to “abide in Me. ” It means that we must go through the difficult times and come out even stronger in our faith. The one who abides stays put. He or she doesn’t whimper or consider it unfair to be tested. Yes, of course God is still filled with love; but He prepares us for heaven by placing obstacles on earth that will make us stronger.” (Very Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky)


“Unlike the mere human surrogates, Jesus Christ not only takes us through this world and into the next, He refuses to do our living for us. Mere human role models normally enjoy having camp followers and clones—it enhances their self-importance and strokes their egos. Our Lord Jesus cannot be reduced to a mere role model. He insists that we work out our own lives and deal with the challenges, face the obstacles and overcome all the tests on the way. To live life to the fullest is to become our own role models. When He left us, the Holy Spirit came to be with us and even within us. God in the Spirit never makes our decisions for us, but He enhances our freedom to choose life enhancement or surrender to a reduced way of life.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


#Dynamis #AbbaIsaiah #MartinLaird #FrBasil #FrTedBobosh #ElderSophronySakharov #FrStephenKostoff #FrVladimirBerzonsky

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