Author E. A.- OCP News Service – 13/01/19
I am a writer, and through my works, I try my best to cultivate hope among people (things can change for the better). However, these changes come with certain conditions. One must have a strong faith and hope in God, and as well as in the belief of a good outcome. If you have an unquestioning faith that God will help you, even in the worst situation, you will not feel frustrated or hopeless. You will have a strong determination to move forward. When you follow God’s way, He will bless you with Thy Grace.
My granny used to tell me that my gift of writing came from Jesus. Why? Because of a dream that she had. When my mom was pregnant with me, my granny had a dream. She dreamed that my mom was ill in bed. Jesus, holding papyrus and a quill came up to my mother and touched her head. It wasn’t until after that dream that my granny found out about my mother’s pregnancy.
Therefore, I try to use my gift of writing to bring positive changes in people’s lives, as well as to entertain them with stories that everyone can relate to themselves. My stories guide, teach, sometimes inspire, and show how to deal with various issues. They also show that with God in your life, everything is possible.
Today, I would like to tell you the story of my journey to Orthodox Christianity
I was born into a modern Azerbaijani family in Baku and was raised in the Islamic faith. However, my great-granny, Semenikova Mariya Fedorovna (b. 1918) was an Orthodox Christian Russian woman. Her father and uncle were Orthodox priests (who were forced to flee Russia and moved to France). Their fate remains a mystery to me.
Mariya moved from Russia to Azerbaijan and got married to a Muslim man and gave birth to my granny as well as other children.
Even though my granny (Mariya’s daughter) was a Muslim, she always used to tell me stories from the Bible and encouraged me to read the Holy Book. She used to say that the Bible is full of wisdom. Surprisingly she believed that Jesus is the Son of God. At my home, we always had the Bible and the Quran, as well as a book on Orthodox Christian faith. I have to admit that, as I grew up, I did not give attention to that book.
As a child, I believed that Jesus was our savior, and I promised to build a Church for Him. I even defended Him when my Muslim friends used to say that he was only a prophet.
In 2012, while lying in bed sick, burning with fever and in a lot of pain, I felt saddened to be away from my mom, my people, my country. At the same time, I realized that I wanted to get baptized in the Eastern Orthodox Church because I believed that we can only be saved through Jesus Christ. I wanted to go to my country to get baptized, but could not get a ticket. When I realized that I would not be able to get an airline ticket, I asked God to open up my way so that I could go home and get baptized. Not long after, I got my airline ticket.
When I arrived in my homeland, I told my mother about my plans to get baptized and spoke to a Matushka to arrange a date for my baptism. My mother was not happy with my decision.
She told me that if I betrayed my Muslim religion, my life would get worse; in their eyes, it is a huge sin. I got worried, and the night before my baptism I prayed to God. I told Him, “Lord do You really want me to get baptized? Is it coming from You? Please give me a sign.”
Shortly afterward I fell asleep (for a few minutes). During that time, I dreamed that I was lying on the floor in the same bedroom. My hands were crossed over my chest. A blue shiny circular light approached me. In my dream, I knew that the light was from God, and it was approaching me in order to baptize me. Then I recalled my mother’s warning that if I get baptized my life would change for the worse. I got scared because of her words.
However, the light surrounded me and I woke up right away. I felt so overjoyed and happy because I knew God had given me a sign. The only thing that puzzled me was why the color of the light had been blue. I looked up on the internet and found out that It spiritually signifies the Healing Power of God.
The next morning, I went to Church and got baptized in the freezing water. Because of the cold water, I got sick again and had to stay in bed for a few days.
However, I was happy and at peace because I became an Orthodox Christian.
We had the book on Orthodox way of living and the Bible at my home (for more than 8 years). I took them with me.
Author Emiliya.A – OCP News Service – 22/1/19
Some people have a wrong notion on Salvation. They think that if they believe that Jesus is the savior, it will save them and they would enter paradise.
Demons believe that Jesus is the savior but they still cannot find salvation because of their evil ways and broken relationship with God. The doors to paradise are locked for them. Because they have chosen evil over good and sin over the righteous way. They disrespected God’s laws and His will. The acceptance alone of Jesus as a savior is not enough.
I don’t like religious discussions. They tend to cause unnecessary arguments and might spread heresy.
Anyway, I had a discussion in one of the non-orthodox prayer groups because I felt that a few people tend to have wrong ideas. Below is my answer to a person who thinks that one faith in Jesus and accepting Him as the savior is a ticket to paradise.
Many believe that Jesus is the savior and still they burn in Hell. Why? because they lived a sinful life?! It is because they failed to change or repent. If one believes in Jesus and do not follow God’s commandments, neither do charity in His name, they will never enter paradise unless they seek forgiveness, repent, confess and try to stay away from sinful ways. Unreported and unconfessed sins will also push one to hell. As you see the road to paradise is narrow.
The lives of Orthodox Christian saints were not a bed of roses. Many suffered a lot. However, in every righteous action, prayers, love for others, kindness and much more have pleased the Lord. Why? Because they loved Jesus Christ, tried to gain holy spirit and paradise. They knew that sin destroys and would lead to Hell.
Therefore, one must live a life according to God’s expectations. If you just state that you accept Jesus Christ as your savior, but ignore His commandments and Will, then you are mocking Him and only fooling yourself.
The answer is big NO!
Last time when I spoke about suicide someone got upset because one of her relatives committed suicide. Yes, it hurts to know that your loved one was not able to enter Paradise. However, will not it be cruel of me to know the consequences of suicide and keep it to myself? Why should not I educate others so they can choose the right path instead of making a huge mistake that would bring great suffering?
My goal is not to upset anyone but to warn and help. There are many people who struggle and face trials. Some of them unable to handle depression or other issues have ended taking own life..
They thought that suicide will take them away from the pain, or give some relief. However, they were wrong. Suicide is never a solution to the problem. It is a FREE ticket to HELL! Satan's desire is to see all of us in Hell burning and suffering for eternity. He with his demonic forces work hard to push us into the path of sin in order to welcome us in Hell.
Therefore, evil forces that surround us want humans to take their own lives., so they can take away every chance that humans have to be saved. Taking own life is a huge and unforgiven sin. It leads one straight to Hell. Therefore, it causes more and eternal pain. It is not a way of getting out of your earthly problems or suffering.
Can we ease up the plight of those who took own life? Maybe a little bit, only by giving charity to the poor and constantly praying for their souls.
For those who think about this avenue of solving own problems, please find a better solution to your problems. Face your trials and treat your depression, surround yourself with supportive people, have faith and hope and keep praying. Do not give up! Do not condemn your soul into Hell. It is better to suffer for a short while on the earth than to burn in Hell For Eternity! Just be patient and carry your cross as Jesus did for us. However, keep trying to change your situation. I am sure things will work out for you. Sometimes it takes years of trying and praying for someone to see the fruits of hard work. Therefore, do not feel discouraged if your prayers were not answered right away. Keep praying and trying and you will succeed one day!