Monday, September 18, 2017

September 16, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Athanasius of Alexandria



September 15, 2017

FINDING GOD THROUGH THE FOG


Proverbs 8:17

I love those who love me,
And those who seek me shall find me.

Encouraging Words

How awesome it is to know that our God is not allusive. He desires to be in a loving, caring relationship so much more than we do. If we love Him with all of our hearts and souls then we will see how much He loves us in return. It is not that His love is in response to ours. His perfect, unconditional love is always there. It is that the more that I turn my attention toward Him and my love toward Him, the more I see of His love that is always there for me. I can never out love Him. He promises this. He also promises that if I seek Him, I will find Him. Again, this is not because He is lost or hiding. It is because I have to find my way out of the fog of sin and self that I have created around myself. Actually, what I am actually finding is just how far from Him I am.

Friday, September 15, 2017

September 14, 2017

SEEKING MERCY


Luke 18:13

And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

Personal Challenge

The scripture is full of reminders that if we desire to be close to our God, we must start by recognizing how far from Him we really are and begin our journey towards Him by humbling ourselves. This accounting in Luke of the tax collector and the Pharisee shows us that no matter how much knowledge we have about God or what position we hold in the church, if we do not have humble hearts, then we will never be able to truly know God. The tax collector knows that he is a sinner and that he has no right to expect anything from God. He humbles himself and recognizes that he cannot begin to approach God in all of His glory, and yet, with this humble heart, He still knows that he needs his God. The Pharisee, however, approaches the altar of God with pride and arrogance acting as if God owes him everything for his piety, even to the point where he demeans the tax collector in his prayer. So, what is the state of my heart? Do I come to my Lord on my knees knowing that God owes me nothing? Am I humble toward my God and my neighbor? Not nearly as much as I should. I too, need to pray the prayer of this man. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 13, 2017

MERCY


Psalms 109:21-22 (108:21-22 LXX)

But You, O Lord, O Lord, deal mercifully with me for Your name's sake,
For Your mercy is good.
Save me, for I am poor and needy,
And my heart is troubled within me.

Encouraging Words
Mercy: compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender on to one subject to one's power.
Isn't this something that we all desire and ultimately what we all need. As humans, we often live our lives as if we are gods and that every­thing and everyone is subject to us and our whims. But whether we want to admit it or not, there is a God, our Creator, and Sustainer and we are subject to Him. It is Him that we have offended with our sin and continue to offend on a regular basis. The Psalmist reminds us that our Lord is merciful, not just for our sake, but for His own sake because He is mercy in essence and that mercy is good. He knows that we are all poor and needy, that our hearts are troubled within us because we have betrayed Him, and that we need His salvation. What a blessing it is to be able to call my God, Father, knowing that His mercy will cover me throughout the remainder of eternity. Thank You, my Lord.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September 12, 2017

HOLDING FAST TO WISDOM


Proverbs 5:1-2

My son, hold fast to wisdom
And incline your ear to my words,
That you may guard good thinking;
And I command you with the perception of my lips.

Personal Challenge

Contrary to modern, popular belief, salvation is not a one-time event in our lives when we say some canned prayer or answer a call to come up to an altar. Salvation is a process that works out through our entire life. It is a process that requires us to be active in a community of believers because no one is saved alone. Most importantly, as the writer here reminds us we are active participants and workers in our own salvation. We must spend our entire lives holding fast to Wisdom, which is our Lord Jesus Christ. When we take our eyes off of Him we will fall away from Him. We need to listen intently to Him and His teachings so that our own personal thoughts and desires are washed over with His thoughts and desires. This is why we call our life with Christ a journey. It never ends and we must keep moving forward toward Him if we are to fully experience His glory and grace in our lives. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner!

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017

THE KINGDOM OF GOD


Luke 17:20-21

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Encouraging Words

One of the things that we are hearing about today is thoughts that the end of our days are near. Two Hurricanes back to back, a major typhoon in the process, fires all across the west of our country, a major earthquake by Mexico and Guatemala, and North Korea testing nuclear bombs. For 2,000 years people in the new covenant church have been looking for the return of Jesus and the establishment of His new world. But what we often forget is that for 4,000 years before that, the people of God were looking for their Messiah. We keep missing the point that Jesus made to the Pharisees. When Jesus became incarnate as a human like the rest of us, lived a sinless life, died an innocent death, and rose again, He established His kingdom, the Kingdom of God within the hearts of those who believe in Him. Sure, He also talked about when He would return to set up His new kingdom in a tangible way, but He made it clear that His spiritual kingdom was established 2,000 years ago. Isn't it time that those of us who claim Him as Lord, start living as members of the kingdom of God! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September 10, 2017

SINGING TO OUR LORD



Psalms 104:33-34 (103:33-34 LXX)

I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing to my God as long as I exist;
May my words be pleasing to Him,
And I shall be glad in the Lord.

Encouraging Words

How is it that we can sing to our Lord all the days of our lives and speak words that are pleasing to Him? It is because we are so thankful for all that He has done for us in our lives and for what we know that He will continue to do in our lives. But more important than this, we can do this because of the nature of our God that we are singing to. So many religions are based on angry and vindictive gods or on leaders who strive to bring fear and trepidation into their followers' lives so that they feel compelled, out of fear, to follow their leader. Our God, the only true and righteous God, is a God of love, pure love. His entire creation sings out to us so that we may know Him, fall in love with Him, and be in a relationship with Him. For those of us who have heard these songs of creation and chosen to follow Him, we find that we cannot do anything but sing to Him every moment of our lives, speak words that are pleasing to Him, and be glad in Him. We still stumble and fall on our journey of life. We still sin, but when we turn back to Him, His love covers us. Glory be to God!