Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 17, 2017

ALMSGIVING AND FAITHFULNESS


Proverbs 3:3-4

Do not let almsgiving and faithfulness forsake you,
But hang them upon your neck;
And you will find grace
And provide good things before the Lord and men.

Command with a Promise

In the New Testament, Jesus ushered in a new covenant between God and mankind. The Old Testament covenant was based on the law and was given so that mankind would know how much we needed God and how far from Him we really are. When Jesus became the incarnation of God, He taught that He fulfilled the fullness of the law and summed the law up for us in two commands, which are to love God and love our neighbor. He never taught that the Old Testament law was no longer valid, but actually made it contingent upon His followers to live by even stricter expectations. So, when we read the commandments and laws of the Old Testament we should still apply them to our lives in the context of loving God and loving our neighbor. In this passage, we are reminded that almsgiving and faithfulness should always be present in our minds and hearts. Almsgiving targets our neighbor and meeting their needs above our own needs. Almsgiving means going above and beyond that which is normally expected. Faithfulness targets our God and reminds us to constantly be living our lives so that He is the center of our focus. The promise comes in where we are told that living our lives this way will bring grace and good things in our lives that God provides for us. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 16, 2017

WHERE IS OUR TREASURE?


Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Personal challenge

It is not very difficult to see why the modern world has become such a distracter for the growth of the Church. We have so much wealth, so many toys purchased with that wealth, and such busy lives that we keep our hearts and minds focused on everything but our Lord. It really is not possible to build a deep and lasting relationship with our Lord only once a week for about an hour and a half while we spend much of that time being entertained because we believe that worship is for our edification. God desires that we hold Him in our hearts as our treasure, If we treasure God and His majesty, if we put Him before all the stuff of this world, then our heart will be focused on Him and all that we say and do will be to glorify Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017

PRAISING GOD


Psalm 100 (99 LXX)


Shout aloud to the Lord, all the earth;
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with great joy.
Know this: the Lord, He is God;
He made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving
And into His courts with hymns;
Give thanks to Him; praise His name;
For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth is from generation to generation.

Encouraging Words

I love reading the Psalms. The Psalmist had such an awesome relationship with his Heavenly Father. At times he comes across as if he is arguing with God and chastising Him for His ways, and yet he always ends up acknow­ledging that God is God and that he is not and begins to praise God for who He is. At times, such as in this psalm he spends all of his time praising God and extolling His greatness. The obvious truth is that the Psalmist spent a lot of time with his Lord, which is the only way to get to know someone. Our God is good! His mercy is everlasting! His truth does go from generation to generation. Our role, my role, is to give thanks to Him, to praise Han, and to worship and adore Him, every day and every moment of my life. Glory be to God!

August 14, 2017

CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD


Proverbs 3:1-2

My son, do not forget my laws,
But let your heart keep my words;
For length of days, and years of life and peace
They will add to you.

Personal Challenge

Since we are all created in the image of God, He has put enough of Himself into every one of us that our nature knows the difference between right and wrong. Our nature knows that we need to be in a relationship with God because that is the only way that we will be complete. However, due to the fallen state of this temporal world, the busy-ness of life, and our own, stubborn. free will, we begin to forget God and His laws and the ways that He wants us to live. The writer is reminding us here, that the answer to this problem in our lives is our heart. It is our heart where Jesus can dwell, once we give our lives to Him. It is our hearts that can draw us back to a point where we listen to God's Wisdom (Jesus) and begin to be obedient again. And as we strive to keep doing this, to keep yielding our free will to God's will, listen to His teachings, participate in His Church, then God promises to add length of days, and years of life and peace to our very existence, We can experience this during the remainder of our life here on earth and into eternity with Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 13, 2017

LIVING IN THE PRESENT


Luke 12:29-31

And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

Personal Challenge

It is so easy to follow the lead of the world and begin to worry about how we are going to be able to live the lifestyle that we desire in our future days. So, we work longer hours hoping that we will earn more and be seen worthy to keep our jobs. We stop spending time and money on our families so that we can have a nest egg for that one day when we might need it. We postpone trips, vacations, and fun times with our loved ones because we might need that money for some future, unforeseen event. We should not be wasteful with the blessings that God has given us, but we also should not hoard it because we do not believe God will take care of us. Seeking God and His kingdom first, means loving Him and our neighbor. It means doing things in the present because that future that we are saving for may never come. God will take care of us, today, tomorrow, and through the rest of eternity. Glory be to God!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 12, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Theophan the Recluse


August 11, 2017

HATE EVIL, LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR


Psalms 96:10

You who love the Lord, hate evil;
The Lord keeps the souls of His saints;
He shall deliver them from the hand of sinners.

Personal Challenge

This is why those who love the Lord their God with all of their heart, soul, and body do not fit into the world. If we truly love our God we will come to a place where we hate all evil. Since the world is fallen, it is filled with evil. The difficult part of this is to balance the hate of the evil with the command by Jesus to love our neighbor. Our neighbor who might be caught up in the evil of this world is loved so deeply by Jesus that He died for them. So, if we love our neighbor as Jesus would, we become a reflection of the image of Christ in their lives. This does not mean, however, that we condone or encourage the evil in their life, we just love them. sometimes this may end up in having to apply tough love to those around us. Living our lives this way sets us at odds with the world, especially those who do not want to have anything to do with God. But as this verse confirms, our Lord will be there with us as we live our lives, keeping us in His hands and delivering us from evil. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have, mercy! Lord, have mercy!