Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Good of God

 Throughout your lifetime, you are going to be faced with many different kinds of decisions and temptations. Most of these will be small and hard to see coming towards us. Allow me to elaborate on what I mean by that. For example, it’s a Sunday night, and I know I have an important meeting at work early on Monday morning.. I need to spend time preparing that meeting.. My friends call me to go to the movies with them. I choose to go to the movies, instead of preparing the meeting.. Therefore, I am faced with a small everyday temptation. Instances similar to this approach us every day. These types of temptations are extremely hard to see coming, and occur many times in a single day. Some of them can affect you for the rest of your life.

It seems to me that life is a series of decisions we make and temptations we are faced with. We are put in a position to deny something we believe in. For example, take that prepare-the-meeting -or-go-tothe- movies situation. Depending on what you decide, you might find yourself opposing your own work ethic beliefs. The decision was all yours, and yours alone.

However, there is another type of situation. There are, unfortunately, times when people are forced into a situation that they cannot foresee in any way. This has nothing to do with a decision we make for ourselves, but a decision that was made by someone else.For example, if for no reason at all, out of the blue, someone walked up to you, put a gun to your head and asked if you believed in God, what would your reaction be? This situation is different and could lead to what I call the “Ultimate Temptation.” It is the denial of God. And just like in the past, it is very real today.

A lot of people in the past have been faced with situations similar to this. A lot of them were beaten, tortured, and even killed because of their faith. This kind of thing still goes on every day in different parts of the world. For example, in 1960, a monkpriest named Nestor was born in the province of Crimea in southern Russia. All the monks in Russia were required to be registered with the state which was atheist. Nestor did not register, so if he was caught he would be put in jail or killed. He was eventually ordained as a monk-priest. He found a church in Zharky and decided to stay there and serve God.

There were many times that Nestor’s faith was tested. His church was robbed several times. Eventually the people stopped caring about robbing the church; they wanted Nestor’s life. He was held at gunpoint in front of his own house. He ran inside and locked the door. They shot at him, but all he could do was shoot towards them to try and scare them away. He would never shoot at them. This scenario went on for quite a while in his life. Monk-Priest Nestor was eventually found dead outside the window of his house on December 31, 1993. His throat was slit and he had multiple stab wounds. This all occurred only 18 years ago.

I’m sure we have all heard about what happened on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado. There was a school shooting by two boys who went to that school. It was a very tragic situation. But there is much more to it than that. Cassie Bernall was a student at Columbine and was in the library at the time of the shooting. One of the boys walked up to her at gunpoint and asked if she believed in God. Her response after a short pause was yes. Apparently they did ask her why, but didn’t give her a chance to answer. She was killed instantly.

The only way for me to answer that question is to actually be faced with the situation. I am a strong believer in God, and I would love to say that if someone held me up and asked that question, I would without a doubt say YES! But until I am faced with this (and hopefully I never am) I cannot give you an answer.
If someone just walked up to me and asked me if I believed in God, I would say yes. Of course I believe in God. But would the circumstances change if that person was a complete stranger and had a gun to my head? Of course it would. I don’t think that I would be so quick to answer. I personally have thought a lot about this for the last couple of months. In the end, my answer would still be “yes.” Christ offered us the promise of eternal life, which means life forever after death. I could either die for Christ and live forever, or live and really die.

What would your answer be in this situation?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Flood Festival - Kataklysmos

A Greek Orthodox festival with strong pagan roots focusing primarily on water, Kataklysmos or Festival of the Flood marks the day of the Holy Spirit. Coastal cities make the most of the opportunity, staging concerts and games near the waterfront, but even inhabitants of inland towns and particularly children – their water guns a necessary accessory, enjoy a good ‘splash’. The feast of the Pentecost or Whitsun is marked 50 days after Greek Orthodox Easter. It is known also as the day of the Holy Spirit as it celebrates the descent of the Holy Ghost to the Apostles. In Cyprus, the celebrations also hark back to the Old Testament tale of Noah’s Ark, the Greek myth of Deukalion and ancient ceremonies in honour of Aphrodite and Adonis. Larnaka is particularly proud of the festivities it puts on for several days to celebrate Kataklysmos. The sea front promenade takes on the appearance of an open-air fair with scores of stalls selling toys and traditional food. Traditional culture takes pride of place with a competition for chatista or rhyming songs in the Cypriot dialect. Other performers include popular Greek and Cypriot singers and dance troupes. In line with the spirit of the celebrations, events include competitions in the water.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


It's natural for people who are adopted to wonder about their birth families (also called biological families) and where they came from. This curiosity often becomes more intense as part of the process of self-discovery that happens during the teenage years. Sometimes there are health reasons, or other important reasons, for searching for one's birth family. Adoption is the creation of a new, permanent relationship between an adoptive parent and child. Once this happens, there is no legal difference between a child who is adopted and a child who is born into a family.

Birth parents have many different reasons for putting children up for adoption. Some decide that they want better lives for their kids than they feel they can provide. Some feel their child would do better living in another country. Sometimes parents just can't take good care of a child because of illness or other difficulties. Many birth parents say that having their child placed for adoption with another family is the most difficult thing in the world, but that sometimes it is truly in the child's best interests.To my mind, adoption of any available children should be open to all couples with no restrictions imposed by age, ethnic background, wealth or personality factors.

If you could not have children of your own, would you adopt one? And if you could not bring up your own child, would you give him / her for adoption?