One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich   1 comment

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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Excerpt from page 154:

He lay with his head near the window, but Alyosha, who slept next to him on the same level, across a low wooden railing, lay the opposite way, to catch the light.  He was reading his Bible again.

The electric light was quite near.  You could read and even sew by it.

Alyosha heard Shukhov’s whispered prayer, and, turning to him:  “There you are, Ivan Denisovich, your soul is begging to pray.  Why don’t you give it it’s freedom?”

Shukhov stole a look at him.  Alyosha’s eyes glowed like two candles.

“Well, Alyosha,” he said with a sigh, “it’s this way.  Prayers are like those appeals of ours.  Either they don’t get through or they’re returned with ‘rejected’ scrawled across ’em.”

Outside the staff quarters were four sealed boxes–they were cleared by a security officer once a month.  Many were the appeals that were dropped into them.  The writers waited, counting the weeks:  there’ll be a reply in two months, in one month. . . .

But the reply doesn’t come.  Or if it does it’s only “rejected.”

“But, Ivan Denisovich, it’s because you pray too rarely, and badly at that.  Without really trying.  That’s why your prayers stay unanswered.  One must never stop praying.  If you have real faith you tell a mountain to move and it will move. . . .”

Shukhov grinned and rolled another cigarette.  He took a light from the Estonian.

“Don’t talk nonsense, Alyosha.  I’ve never seen a mountain move.  Well, to tell the truth, I’ve never seen a mountain at all.  But you, now, you prayed in the Caucasus with all that Baptist society of yours–did you make a single mountain move?”

They were an unlucky group too.  What harm did they do anyone by praying to God?  Every damn one of them had been given twenty-five years.  Nowadays they cut all cloth to the same measure–twenty-five years.

“Oh, we didn’t pray for that, Ivan Denisovich,” Alyosha said earnestly.  Bible in hand, he drew nearer to Shukhov till they lay face to face.  “Of all earthly and mortal things Our Lord commanded us to pray only for our daily bread.  ‘Give us this day our daily bread.'”

“Our ration, you mean?” asked Shukhov.

But Alyosha didn’t give up.  Arguing more with his eyes than his tongue, he plucked at Shukhov’s sleeve, stroked his arm, and said:  “Ivan Denisovich, you shouldn’t pray to get parcels or for extra stew, not for that.  Things that man puts a high price on are vile in the eyes of Our Lord.  We must pray about things of the spirit–that the Lord Jesus should remove the scum of anger from out hearts. . . .”

Page 156:

“Alyosha,” he said, withdrawing his arm and blowing smoke into his face.  “I’m not against God, understand that.  I do believe in God.  But I don’t believe in paradise or in hell.  Why do you take us for fools and stuff us with your paradise and hell stories?  That’s what I don’t like.”

He lay back, dropping his cigarette ash with care between the bunk frame and the window, so as to singe nothing of the captain’s below.  He sank into his own thoughts.  He didn’t hear Alyosha’s mumbling.

“Well,” he said conclusively, “however much you pray it doesn’t shorten your stretch.  You’ll sit it out from beginning to end anyhow.”

“Oh, you mustn’t pray for that either,” said Alyosha, horrified.  “Why do you want freedom?  In freedom your last grain of faith will be choked with weeds.  You should rejoice that you’re in prison.  Here you have time to think about your soul.  As the Apostle Paul wrote:  ‘Why all these tears?  Why are you trying to weaken my resolution?  For my part I am ready not merely to be bound but even to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.'”

_____

“The thoughts of a prisoner—they’re not free either. They kept returning to the same things. A single idea keeps stirring. Would they feel that piece of bread in the mattress? Would he have any luck in the dispensary that evening? Would they out Buinovsky in the cells? And how did Tsezar get his hands on that warm vest?”

― Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

Dover Beach
The Alexandr Solzhenitsyn Center
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1970)

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Abandon   2 comments

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This is from the blog Three Iron Nails:

“I am convinced that what is needed in spiritual matters is reckless abandonment to the Lord Jesus Christ, reckless and uncalculating abandonment, with no reserve anywhere about it.”

–Oswald Chambers, The Philosophy of Sin

Makarios of Egypt: “purification and sanctification of heart”   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog Dover Beach:

“What is the will of God that St. Paul urges and invites each of us to attain (cf. I Thes. 4:3)? It is total cleansing from sin, freedom from the shameful passions and the acquisition of the highest virtue. In other words, it is the purification and sanctification of the heart that comes about through fully experienced and conscious participation in the perfect and divine Spirit.”

–Saint Makarios of Egypt

It is the Process that Glorifies God   4 comments

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This is from the blog Sermons and Soda Water:

First published in 1927, My Utmost for His Highest has been a staple of daily readings for Christians ever since. Sometimes challenging to cherished theological views it is always, at least in my experience, equally challenging to cherished sins and struggling disciples.

Here is July 28th’s reading (with empasis added),
‘After obedience-what?’.

‘We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.

What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I depend on him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process–that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end.

God’s end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present; but if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.’

From Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Reckless Abandon
Contrary to Common Sense
Time, Timelessness and Jesus Christ
Rejoice because you are rightly related to Me

WordPress shuts down Fellowship of the Minds   4 comments

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This is from the blog The Fundamental Option:

What I had feared and expected finally happened.

Minutes ago upon waking up this morning, I discovered that WordPress has unilaterally and without warning shut down Fellowship of the Minds for alleged violations of “Terms of Service”.

WordPress suspends FOTM

I have sent a request to WordPress asking them to account for just what “Terms of Service” FOTM is found to have violated. In my request, I reminded the owner, administrators and staff of WordPress that WP’s information censorship against a conservative blog, once undertaken, can and will be used against them in the future.

The signs are now clear that the Left are silencing all conservative voices before the November mid-term elections where Democrats will steal the election with MASSIVE voter fraud.

I will explore finding another server for FOTM. In the meantime, I am using this other WordPress blog I have (but never used), as the interim Fellowship of the Minds.

Please pray for America.

In sorrow,

Dr. Eowyn

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Romans 1: 18:  “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (English Standard Version)

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Fellowship of the Minds (new website)

Belonging to a Nation   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog Phronesis

Nationhood versus Nationalism
How Solzhenitsyn defeated the USSR
One Man’s Education is Another Man’s Marxist Brainwash

The Only Way to be at Peace with the World is to Betray the Cross   1 comment

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This is from the blog Singapore Christian:

This is a wonderful article written by Michael Boldea Jr, Chairman of Hand of Help Orphanage. Boldea’s grandfather is the late Dumitru Duduman, who had written a number of books on Christian persecution and suffering, as well as prophecies that God had given him concerning the end times.

This article was published in the June-July 2015 Hand of Help Ministries newsletter.

Dear Brethren,

John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

I’ve been doing more praying than writing lately. I’ve been doing more praying than pretty much anything else if I am to be perfectly honest, and I think anyone seeing the world for what it has become, and watching the chess pieces moving on the chessboard with lightning fast speed can do nothing less.

We knew these things were coming, for long and long we knew. Seeing them up close, however, does make one catch their breath and realize these are just the outlying storm clouds. The brunt of the storm itself and the true fury thereof has not yet arrived.

My heart breaks as I watch more and more people tether their hopes to the church, thinking it a place of refuge and safety, only to have their hopes shattered at the revelation that the church is full to the rafters with godless wolves who are tirelessly bringing in destructive heresies, hoping to seduce, to tempt, to deceive, and to shipwreck faith in the Christ, as well as the Word.

It seems like every other day there is some Christian college somewhere embracing what God abhors, and lest anyone have the temerity to say anything about it, they’ve already taken preemptive measures and painted any who would object as being bigoted knuckle draggers whose only place on this earth is a cave somewhere.

There no longer remains reverence for the Word of God, and as such we can call it a story book, the ramblings of long dead people who had nothing better to do than sit down and scrawl some chicken scratches on some parchment, or an antiquated tome likened to an instructional manual on making buggy whips.

There is no outrage, and this outrages me. There is no outcry, no call for the immediate dismissal of those who would slander the Word of God and compare it to nothing more than useless dross and filler.

With each passing day those who continue to cling to Christ and stand on the Word will be labeled outsiders. With each passing day those that refuse to be indoctrinated into the new and glorious heresy will be marginalized, shunned, and made out to be the worst kind of humans.

Most of you already know this; you’ve prepared your hearts for it. You’ve steeled your constitution, and are ready to brave the crashing waves of hatred and vitriol. This post is not so much for you, but for those who still walk about with their heads in the clouds thinking if only they make enough compromises, if only they acquiesce enough, if only they become more and more like the world, the world will eventually embrace them.

As long as you cling to Christ, you are a foreign entity and the world’s singular purpose is to expel you. The only way to be at peace with the world is to betray the cross, and sadly more and more ‘spiritual leaders’ and men of renown are doing exactly that.

For the past six years or so I’ve been warning of coming persecution only to be mocked, ridiculed, and even laughed out of some churches. It’s good to see some are at least are catching up, seeing what’s on the horizon, and beginning to sound the alarm.

Make your peace about being an outsider. Make your peace with the reality that you will be ostracized, maligned, marginalized, and persecuted. Pray not to be spared these things, but rather pray for the boldness, courage, and strength to endure them.

The hour draws nigh, and He who sees all will judge in righteousness and holiness among His own. You will know when this has commenced from the wailing and mourning that will pierce the silence.

Matthew 24:13, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

A Disciple of Christ