When God seems far away

Recently, I’ve been going through a spiritual slump and I’ve been looking up encouraging stuff on the internet. Here are a couple of sermons that use “The Song Of Solomon”, one from a Protestant and the other from a Catholic, about what to do when God seems far away. I hope they will help you just as they have helped me, and maybe even more.

Christian Love vs. worldly love

This video created by Coptic Orthodox Answers explains in a simple, yet incredibly eye-opening way the difference between Christian Love and worldly love. I invite you to watch it, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and share your thoughts on the matter in the comments section.

Orthodox prayer for the blessings received from God

Here is a short Orthodox prayer I have translated from Romanian into English:

Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lord, God of all mercifulness and graciousness, Who have immeasurable mercy, unspeakable and unending love of people, falling now to Your glory, with fear and trembling, I thank you for the blessings you have given me, Your unworthy servant. I glorify You, I praise You and I sing about You as my Lord, Master and Benefactor. And again, falling before You, I thank You and I humbly pray to your immeasurable and unspeakable mercifulness for You to continue giving me good doings, so that I may increase in love for You and for my brethren. Deliver me from all evil and trouble. Give me peace. And make me worthy, so that all the days of my life I may give thanks to You and speak and sing all that is good to The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever. Amen.

Translated by myself from Romanian. Source: https://www.crestinortodox.ro/rugaciuni/rugaciune-pentru-binefacerile-primite-la-dumnezeu-72583.html

The Feast Of The Exaltation Of The Holy Cross, 2019

Every year, on the 14th of September, the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches commemorate the Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

A blessed day and a celebration of the tremendous power of the Cross of our Lord, The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross reminds us how the power and wisdom of God have been revealed.  By the Cross, we are reconciled to Christ, and we can find true and enduring peace.  It is the Cross that directs us to Christ and to the way of salvation and eternal life.

The Feast commemorates the finding of the True Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine.

You can read more about it here and here.

The Exaltation of The Holy Cross
Why we have a feast day for the Cross?

Lord Jesus Christ, Son Of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Prayer before reading The Bible

There’s an ancient prayer that Catholics recommend us to pray before reading The Bible in order to make of our hearts fruitful soil for the Word of God to take root.

The prayer is commonly attributed to St. John Chyrsostom, and can be prayed each time you open up the Bible. While it doesn’t guarantee divine inspiration, it can help prepare the ground so that your soul is ready to receive exactly what God wants to communicate to you.

Here is the prayer:

O, Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart that I may hear your Word,
and understand and do your will, for I am a sojourner upon the Earth.
Hide not your commandments from me, but open my eyes, that I may perceive the wonders of your Law.
Speak unto me the hidden and secret things of your wisdom.
On you do I set my hope, O my God, that you shall enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of your knowledge; not only to cherish those things which are written, but to do them; For you are the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, and from you comes every good deed and every gift. Amen.

I hope it helps you. God bless you!

World Suicide Prevention Day, 2019

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed every year on 10 September in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003. It is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).

In past years, over 300 activities in around 70 countries were reported to IASP, including educational and commemorative events, press briefings and conferences, as well as coverage on most social media sites.

According to statistics listed on Wikipedia and other websites, an estimated one million people per year die by suicide. That is about one person in 10,000 (1.4% of all deaths), or “a death every 40 seconds or about 3,000 every day”. As of 2004 the number of people who die by suicide is expected to reach 1.5 million per year by 2020.

On average, three male suicides are reported for every female one, consistently across different age groups and in almost every country in the world. “Conversely, rates of suicide attempts tend to be 2-3 times higher in women than in men, although the gender gap has narrowed in recent years.” More people die from suicide than from murder and war; it is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide.

If you needed a sign to NOT kill yourself, here is a video I made a long time ago:

Anti-suicide video

The Bible Project

The Bible Project is a non-profit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere. They create 100% free videos, podcasts, and resources that explore the Bible’s unified story.

The Bible is a divine-human book that speaks God’s word to his people. The Bible Project believes that The Bible ultimately points us to Jesus, who has the power to change individuals and whole communities when we let the biblical story speak for itself.

I invite you to check out their videos and read more about the project on their website. Let me know what you think about The Bible Project and support them by liking, subscribing to, following etc. their social pages.

Thinking differently – Ps. Bob Hamp

Bob Hamp is one of the people whose teachings have had a remarkable impact upon my Christian views in the past few months. His lectures, his online videos (“Freedom Class”) and his YouTube channel have been real blessings in my life.

It is an honor to give him a shout out in this blog post. I invite you all to go subscribe to his YouTube channel, check out his website, watch his videos and experience the wonderful transformation you will see in your life.

Bob Hamp – The Keys To Freedom

You anoint my head with oil…

Psalms 23 (HCSB)
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
as long as I live.

Psalm 23 beautifully evokes assurance and confidence to our souls while reminding us of what God, in His goodness, has provided for us.

I came across a post on a social networking page that shines light about what the verse “You anoint my head with oil” refers to, and no, it is not only figurative language for God keeping the Psalmist healthy (as it could seem for us, who are not familiar with pastoral life). Scripture abounds in allusions to pastoral life and the similes drawn from that life sometimes escape us, so these type of explanations are more than welcomed. I will copy and paste the explanation, and invite you to go follow said social network page, like their posts, leave them positive comments and show them your support.

“Sheep can get their head caught in briers and die trying to get untangled. There are horrid little flies that like to torment sheep by laying eggs in their nostrils which turn into worms and drive the sheep to beat their head against a rock, sometimes to death. Their ears and eyes are also susceptible to tormenting insects. So the shepherd anoints their whole head with oil. Then there is peace. That oil forms a barrier of protection against the evil that tries to destroy the sheep. Do you have times of mental torment? Do the worrisome thoughts invade your mind over and over? Do you beat your head against a wall trying to stop them? Have you ever asked God to anoint your head with oil? He has an endless supply! His oil protects and makes it possible for you to fix your heart, mind, and eyes on Him today and always! There is peace in the valley! May our good good Father anoint your head with oil today so that your cup overflows with blessings! God is good and He is faithful!!”

Facebook.com/FaithInGod247

Let me know, in the comments section, what you think about this explanation. Did you know this particular aspect of tending sheep? Did it cause you a “wow” moment, as it did to me when I first read it?