Spiritual Articles

Holy Mighty, God Almighty

pope shenouda iii

I talked to you before about the phrase “Holy God”, and we talked about God’s Holiness. And today we continue our talk with this talk about God’s power as in the phrase “Holy Mighty”.

And we rejoice in God’s power because His power is in our favour and not against us.

There are strong people who use their power in destroying, hurting, dominating, intimidating people and threatening them. But God is Holy in His Might, He is the Holy and the Mighty and we praise Him in the Holiness of His might.

God is strong in His ability, strong in His Love, strong in Hid forgiveness and baring, strong in His humility and strong in all the good.

Strong in His Ability

This is because He is Almighty. And this is a characteristic of God’s unique characteristics. No one is almighty except God.

There are angels who are strong. And we say to them in (Ps 103) “Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength”. But angels are not almighty. And all their power originates from God himself. He is one who grants them strength...

There are powerful humans, and apostles and saints who do miracles. But this power is not from them but from God who grants it. Therefore in the miracle of healing the lame at the Beautiful Temple Gate when people where amazed St Peter the Apostle told them: “why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” then he directed their minds to the Lord Jesus Christ in whose name the miracle was done (Act 3:12-16).

God is Almighty. And of God’s power: doing miracles and wonders and they are many among which we mention creation and raising the dead. 

Those two miracles are part of the belief of all religions. And no one is capable of doing them except God alone. And in spite of all what humans reached in fascinating science no one is capable of creating. All what the human can do is be a maker not a creator. And he makes out of a material created by God. And he uses in making it a mind that was given to him by God...

And so is raising the dead. No one is capable of doing it except God alone. On death all human power, science, geniuses and cleverness stand still. And God’s power remain to be the only capable of raising the dead not only a specific person but in the General Raising Day He will raise all...

Added to that is His power to heal from incurable diseases and disabilities.

His power to grant sight to the blind, heal the deaf and the leper, cast out demons and return sanity to the demon-possessed and epileptics.

And we also mention God’s power over nature.

Like His power in rebuking the winds and sea, dividing the Red Sea, bring water out of the rock, sends Manna and Quails from heaven... And His ability to bless the five loaves and the two fishes to feed thousands of people.

And as God’s power revealed in doing miracles, it also is apparent in rescuing His lovers.

In Rescuing

God’s power was apparent in rescuing the three young men from the Fiery Furnace.

... The young men in the Fiery Furnace. How did God save them in this strong fire? But it did not burn them “The fire did not have power over their bodies and the hair of their head was not singed. They were loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and there was a fourth with them and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Dan 3:25- 27)... How wonderful is God’s power over fire...

Also Prophet Daniel who was cast in the den of lions and they did not hurt him but he said: “My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths” (Dan 6:22). We add to this how God saved St Peter His Apostle from prison (Act 12), and His Apostle St Paul from prison too. And how God was with the young man David in fighting Goliath the Giant when David said to this giant: “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand” (1 S 17:46)... And David slung him with a stone that God made it strike this giant in his forehead and he died...


Truly as the chanter said in the psalm: “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, When men rose up against us, Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us;” until he said “Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” (Ps 123).

Truly, God is powerful in rescuing His lovers and He also is strong in His Love.

Strong in His Love

Because of His love, He gave us the grace of existence and so He created us while we did not exist. And because of His strong love, He gave us the blessing and gave us power over all the Earth creatures. But more than this, out of His deep love to us, He created us according to His Likeness.

And God’s continuous giving is another evidence of His love...

He, in His love, gives us what we ask for and even more that what we ask for. And He goes further to giving us without us asking. And our of His love He took care of us, sent us the Law and prophets and opened for us the door of repentance when we sin.

We may love those who love us. But God loved even those who resisted Him.

He loved sinners and led them to repentance. And loved atheists and led them to faith. Loved those who left Him and brought them back to Him. Loved all people and prepared for them the road of salvation.

He loved Thomas who doubted His resurrection. And appeared to Him and rescued him from his doubts. He loved Peter who denied Him three times and in tenderness and confirmed his apostolicism. And He also loved those who crucified Him and said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:34). And in this love He included forgiving the robber who was crucified with Him and promised him that this day he will be in Paradise with Him (Lk 23:43).

It is a comprehensive love not only for His disciples about whom was said that He: “loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1). But it was God’s power in His love that He loved the whole world and so was His redemption.

Mighty in His Redemption

His redemption originated from His love and He said: “love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). And it was said: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16). And it was also said: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10).

The power of God’s redemption was in His love to us and because it was a sufficient redemption to forgive all sins of all people in all ages.

Also the redemption’s strength was shown in His humility.

Because for our redemption He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil 2:7,8).
And here we mention another point in His power which is His bearing.

Strong in His Bearing

We say about Him in the Divine Liturgy: “You bore the oppression of the evil” because He bore the bitter criticism and evil accusations that was directed to Him.

They accused Him of being “a glutton and a winebibber” and that He is “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. He was also accused of being the Law destroyer, that He did not keep the Saturday, He is against Caesar and that He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. Imagine that they even went far to the extent of saying to Him: “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” (Jn 8:48)!!

All without Him answering back setting a punishment that they deserve but He was as prophet Isaiah said about Him in his prophecy: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth” (Is 53:7).

He also bared their challenges at the crucifix time: “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.”, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself” (Mt 27:40-43).

In strength He bared scourging, slapping on His face and mocking and He did not hide His face from the shame of spitting. He bared thorns, nails and disgrace. He bared the betrayal of those to whom He made good, they all left Him and requested His crucifix. He also bared the passions of the cross and all what was said about Him in psalm 22.

Therefore we praise Him in the Holy Week (the Passions Week) and say at every hour “You have the power, the glory, ...”.

And He was powerful in forgiving sins which does not go with His nature as the Holy:

Strong in His Forgiveness

He forgave all the sins from Adam and Eve across the ages until the end of days, His forgiveness is given to all those who believe in Him and repent.

He forgave the Soldier Longinus who pierced His side with a spear when He was on the cross, and lead him to faith and martyrdom and his name was mentioned in the Synexarion. And so to Arianus the governor of Antinoe (Ansena) the severest prosecutor to the church, during the time of Emperor Diocletian (Diqlidianus), and became himself a martyr and his name was mentioned in the Synexarion as one.

And in the power of His forgiveness He gave forgiveness to the prostitute who washed His feet with her tears (Lk 7), and to the woman who was caught in adultery (Jn 8). He forgave Zacchaeus the chief tax collector and came to his house and said: “Today salvation has come to this house” (Lk 19:9). And forgave those who repented and converted them to saints like St Augustine, Moses the Black, the Coptic Mariam, Bilagia and many others who were like them...

He truly is powerful in His forgiveness. He forgave in the past ad still is forgiving...

He forgave communists who denied His existence and lead them to believe in Him and forgave those who came to Him on the eleventh hour (Mt 20:9) and became a symbol of those who repent at the end of their lives like the right hand robber...

God’s Children are Powerful

Finally if God is powerful this much in everything then we must be also powerful because we were created on His Likeness and because we are His children.

God’s children are supposed to be strong and this does not contradict with the fact that they can be humble and gentle. Humility is powerful. They can be strong in personality, in their good behaviour in no pride, arrogance or vanity.

Strong in facing sin and defeating it, as St Peter the apostle says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith” (1 P 5:8,9).

And even youths, St John the apostle commends their strength and behaviour and says: “I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.” (1 Jn 2:14).

Truly, the life of righteousness requires us to be strong. And the virtue of self-control needs strength. And steadfastness in God requires strength. So be strong.

Be also strong in your service and in building the Kingdom...

Then you will have the strength of the word and its effect on others. And your Holy lives will have the power of attracting others to the life of holiness.

And in serving others you will have the strong love that takes care of every soul and its salvation. So you may love people as God loved you and as He loves them too and say with St Paul the apostle “Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” (2 Co 11:29).

You will have strength in giving and sacrificing.

You will also have strength in bearing as St Paul the apostle said: “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Ro 15:1). This is because the one who bears is the strong certainly. But the one who does not bare and gets angry and furious is weak from inside...

God’s children were strong and so were the faith heroes.

We remember St Athanasius the apostolic who strongly defended faith and bore being exiled more than ones and the Arians conspiracies until it was said to him: The world is against you. And he answered: and I am against the world. And they gave him the title “Contra Mondum”. And yet he remained strong and steady until he delivered to us the faith safely.

Also St Stephen the first deacon was steady in preaching Christianity to the extent that he stood in front of three Synagogues of Philosophers and it was said in this that “they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6:10). He was also strong in his martyrdom for as he was dying he said about those who stoned him: “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60). And he was also strong in his spiritualties and it was said about him that during his trial: “all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15).

There is also the strong personality and the strong relation with God from which you gain all strength as St Paul the Apostle said:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) 

And as the Lord Jesus Christ promised: “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23). So if you have strength in your faith then you will have all things possible in God’s grace that works in you. And as you gain more power become more humble because the power does not come from you but from God who grants it.

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"God's power is able to perform wonders with you but it awaits your faith." - H.H. Pope Shenouda III #coptic #orthodox #genuine #faith

 

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