Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 19, 2018

ALL THINGS...


Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Encouraging Words

God has a purpose for every one of our lives. The details of that purpose vary from person to person. That is part of what makes us all unique in the eyes of God. God also has His own purpose, and He will call upon us to be a part of that purpose. There are many different levels of commitment that God's calling imposes upon us. The beautiful and empowering thing is that God promises to make all things that happen in our lives work together for our good as we pursue His purpose in our lives. This does not always mean that everything goes smoothly. We still live in a fallen world. We still make poor and sinful choices. We can know that if we continue to pursue God, He will use the consequences from our poor choices, or the poor choices of others that affect us, for the good in our lives. That good may be the lessons that we learn. It may be the character that is built within us. It may be the humility that results, which teaches us to submit to God. God loves us that much. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18, 2018

SALVATION IN OUR NEIGHBOR


Sirach 28:2-3

Forgive a wrong done you by your neighbor;
Then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.
Can a man preserve wrath against his neighbor
And still seek healing from the Lord?

Personal Challenge

John Donne once made the statement that no man is an island. The scriptures have been teaching this from their very beginning. None of us can survive in this physical, mortal life without others being a part of our existence and very essence. Even in our Eastern Orthodox tradition, we are taught that we can only be truly saved in our community of fellow believers. Living in unity with those around us includes forgiveness of those in our lives who have offended us, whether intentionally or unintentionally, Our sins cannot be fully released in our lives unless we do so. Not that God's power to forgive sins is limited, but that if we cannot humble ourselves to the point of forgiving our neighbor we will not be able to humble ourselves enough to fully receive the forgiveness of our loving God. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

June 17, 2018

Saint of the Week
Billy Gene Short (1927-2014)


This week, and this Father's Day, I lift up my father who was, is, and always will be a saint to me. I think this quote from General Douglas MacArthur epitomizes how my father raised my brother and me.
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. 
Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee—and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge. 
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail. 
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past. 
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity or true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength. 
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, ‘I have not lived in vain.
Happy Father's Day, Dad! My prayer is that I follow in your footsteps.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

June 14, 2018

ABBA, FATHER!


Romans 8:14-15

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Encouraging Words

Jesus left His regal place in Heaven to become His creation. He became a man. He lived a human life with all of its challenges and temptations. In His humanness, He chose to not sin and therefore lived a perfect and pure life. He then gave up that life as a sacrifice for the very creation that He became. By doing this He returned to heaven as a resurrected human being, opening the door for His believers to enter heaven as well. By this glorious work of love, mercy, and grace, Jesus changed our relationship with God forevermore. We are now adopted into Gods' family as sons and daughters and no longer slaves as we were when we were subject to the law. Jesus has made us joint heirs with Him in the kingdom of heaven through adoption. Because of this, we do not have to fear God as a slave fears his master, but we can call out to him with, "Abba, Father", as a child calls out, "Pappa" when he or she needs the love of a caring father. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

June 13, 2018

REASONING


Sirach 27:4-7

When a sieve is shaken, the refuse remains;
So a man's filth remains in the way he reasons.
As a furnace tests a potter's vessels,
So the test of a man is in the way he reasons.
As fruit reveals how a tree is cultivated,
So a man's reasoning process reveals his heart.
Do not praise a man before he reveals the way he reasons,
For this is the way a man is tested.

Personal Challenge

Here in Sirach, we are reminded to not take a person's actions or thoughts into account on first impressions, but to study and understand how he, or she, reasons to get to that point. This is what reveals the true nature of their heart. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

June 7, 2018

ALIVE


Romans 8:10

And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Encouraging Words

Death of our physical bodies is a result of the original sin of Adam. We were created to be eternal beings. God, in His infinite love for us, instituted physical death of our mortal bodies so that we would not spend eternity in the flesh that sins. Because Jesus became incarnate, lived a sinless life, and gave up His physical body as a sacrificial lamb, the reign that physical death had on us was broken. He gave us the Holy Spirit and we now have eternal, spiritual life after an physical death. This is all a mystery, but a truth that we can claim every day of our life here in this physical body, Jesus has freed us from death and given us eternal life. Glory be a God!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

June 6, 2018

A BEAUTIFUL THING


Sirach 25:1

There are three things beautiful to see,
And they are beautiful before the Lord and men:
The harmony of brothers, friendship between neighbors,
And a wife and husband well-adjusted together.

Encouraging Words

What a blessing it is to be able to live in harmony with those around us and to be a part of a friendly circle of people. But all of this pales in the presence of a husband and a wife that are deeply in love with one another, for as the scriptures teach us when a man and a woman come together in marriage, then two become one. I am so blessed to have a wonderful wife to share my life with. A wife who loves me deeply, even with all of my faults and idiosyncrasies. Glory be to God!