Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 30, 2013

Guarding my mouth...

Wisdom of Sirach 22:27 LXX

Who will set a guard over my mouth,
And a prudent seal over my lips,
That I may not fall because of them,
And that my tongue may not destroy me?

Personal Challenge...

That which comes out of our mouths can either be edifying or destroying. Who determines which one it is? I do? I must be the guard of my mouth and tongue in order to control what I say. This starts by focusing on the purity of my heart and mind, both of which drive the rest of my actions. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Friday, November 29, 2013

November 29, 2013

Flee from sin like it is your worst enemy...

Wisdom of Sirach 21:1-3 LXX

My son, have you sinned?
No longer add to them, but pray about your former sins.
Flee from sin as you would from the presence of a snake,
For if you approach it, it will bite you;
Its teeth are like lion's teeth, destroying the souls of men.
All lawlessness is like a two- edged sword,
For there is no healing from its wound.

Personal Challenge...

Sin, whether it be by action or inaction, in thought or in deed, is something that besets all of us in this fallen world. In Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, by the grace of the Father, we can flee from sin. If we commit sin we can confess it, repent of it and flee from it, but we must still strive to be humble before our Lord. As we become more humble before Him we become more aware of our sins and of the temptations to sin and can run to our Lord quicker for forgiveness and strength. In Him we can become sinless.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

November 28, 2013

Wisdom in silence...

Wisdom of Sirach 20:5-7 LXX

There is a man who is silent but is found to be wise,
And there is a man who is hateful because he talks too much.
There is a man who is silent because he has no answer,
And there is a man who is silent because he knows when to speak.
A wise man will keep silent until it is the right time to speak,
But an arrogant and undiscerning man will speak out of turn.

Personal Challenge...

There is wisdom in being silent. From the Orthodox Study Bible: The church fathers insist that the most difficult discipline for most of us is learning to keep silent. "Now what ought we to learn before everything else, but to be silent, that we may be able to speak? Lest my voice should condemn me, before that of another acquit me, it is written: 'By thy words thou shalt be condemned'" (Ambrose of Milan). Glory be to God...which is often better done by keeping silent.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 27, 2013

Living in the hands of the Potter.

Wisdom of Sirach 18:18-20 LXX

Before you speak, learn,
And before you get sick, take care of your health.
Before you make a judgment, examine yourself closely,
And in the hour of visitation you will find atonement.
Before you become sick, humble yourself;
And at the time of sinning, prove your conversion.

Personal Challenge...

Once again we are reminded that the life of a Christian is an active life. A life pursuing truth and righteousness. A life of sacrifice and putting oneself second to others. A life of humility and repentance. We are not to sit on our event of salvation but to work out our salvation every moment of our lives and all for Gods glory. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26, 2013

The Glory of God.

Wisdom of Sirach 18:4-6 LXX

Who will measure His majestic power with a number,
And who will add to this measure
While describing His mercies?
There is no one who can add or subtract,
And there is no who can search out the wonders of the Lord.
When a man completes his search, then he starts over;
And when he stops, he will still be perplexed.

Encouraging Words...

We cannot contain the magnitude and glory of God. We cannot create a doctrine or a dogma that captures Him and defines who He is or what He does. He is greater than all of the collected writings and teachings of religious scholars. And yet He is our Lord and we are His children!

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 24, 2013

Created in the image of God.

Wisdom of Sirach 17:5-8 LXX

He gave mankind the ability to deliberate,
And a tongue, eyes and ears, and a heart to think with.
He filled them with the skill of comprehension
And showed them good and evil.
He set His eye upon their hearts
To show them the majesty of His works.
They will praise His holy name
So as to fully describe the majesty of His works.

Encouraging Words...

God created each and everyone of us in His image. In doing that He gave us the ability to think and process a situation so that we could ultimately choose between right and wrong. And He did not stop there, He placed within our hearts His eyes, the ability to see His majestic works. What are we to do with all of this? Praise His holy name! Choose to do good and not evil! Magnify His majesty! Glory be to God!

November 25, 2013

Glory be to God!

Wisdom of Sirach 17:24-25 LXX

How great the mercy of the Lord is,
And His atonement for those who turn to Him.
For all things are not possible for man,
Because a son of man is not immortal.

Encouraging Words...

No matter how we look at life, or how much technology we create, or wealth that we amass, we are still mortal and finite. God, however, is immortal and full of mercy and atonement. All things are possible for Him. Glory be to God!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 23, 2013

The pursuit of wisdom...

Wisdom of Sirach 14:20-22 LXX

Blessed is the man who practices wisdom
And discourses with insight.
Whoever ponders the ways of wisdom in his heart
Will also reflect on her secrets.
Pursue wisdom like a tracker
And lie in wait on her paths.

Encouraging Words...

Wisdom, true godly wisdom, is attainable. It does not just come from being learned, but also requires that we practice it, ponder on it, reflect on it, and pursue it. It makes so much sense that the early church fathers saw the wisdom of the old testament as christological text, for wisdom, divine wisdom, is embodied in Christ. I love the metaphor of pursuing wisdom like a tracker. Having done this, it requires patience, focus, stealth, discernment, and determination. Isn't tis what we should be doing to become like Christ...pursuing Him like a tracker pursuing his prey.

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 2013

Doing good is expected of us.

Wisdom of Sirach 14:12-14 LXX

Remember that death does not delay,
And the covenant of Hades has not been shown to you.
Before you die, do good to a friend,
And reach out and give to him based on your ability.
Do not let a day go by without doing something good,
And do not let any of your desire for doing good escape you.

Personal Challenge...

Sometimes I think that the hardest part of being a follower of Christ is recognizing that I am the biggest impediment that I have in the journey. I must constantly remind myself that everything does not revolve around me. Actually, nothing really revolves around me. This is why Christ admonishes us to die to self if we are to live for Him. Part of this process is doing good to others, not just when it is convenient, but all the time, every day. When I am focused on doing good to others I am looking at them and not at myself. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 21, 2013

Putting others first.

Wisdom of Sirach 11:7-8 LXX

Do not find fault before you examine a situation.
First, understand it, and then make your judgment.
Do not answer before you have listened,
And do not interrupt someone while he is talking.

Personal Challenge...

If I am learning anything on my journey toward theosis it is that I spend far too much time inserting "me" into a situation or conversation. This verse strikes home so very closely because I often do what is warned against here...finding fault too quickly, making a judgment without fully understanding the situation, answering before I listen, and interrupting while someone is talking. If you are reading this then I am sure that I have done one or more of these to you...please forgive me! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 20, 2013

Principles of management...

Wisdom of Sirach 7:20-21 LXX

Do not mistreat a servant who does his work in truth
Nor a hired worker who devotes himself to you.
Let your soul love an intelligent servant;
Do not deprive him of his freedom.

Personal Challenge...

As employers, or managers of people for our employers, we have an obligation to take care of our employees and those who report to us. Sometimes it seems like our places of work have become places of indentured servitude. If we profess to be followers of Christ then we must cherish those who work for us and those whom we work with as brothers and sisters created in the image of God. What a different environment our workplaces would be if we all lived out our professed Christian believes in the way that they were meant to be lived. Lord, may this begin with me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19, 2013

We have a choice.

Wisdom of Sirach 7:1-3 LXX

Do no evil things,
And evil will never overtake you.
Stay away from wrongdoing,
And it will turn away from you.
My son, do not sow on the furrows of wrongdoing,
And you will not reap the same things sevenfold.

Personal Challenge...

God created me with free will, the ability to choose between good and evil, sin and righteousness. I cannot blame my sin on anything other than my choice, even though I live in a fallen and broken world. Through God's grace He has not only provided a way to have my sins forgiven (Jesus), but He has also provided a Helper to me so that I can choose not to sin any more (Holy Spirit). But once again, I must choose to submit to His guidance and be obedient. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

Tending the crop of Wisdom...

Wisdom of Sirach 6:18-19 LXX

My son, from your youth up, choose instruction,
And you will find wisdom also into old age.
Come to her as one who plows and sows,
And wait expectantly for her good fruits;
For in her work you will labor a little while,
Then you will quickly eat of her fruit.

Encouraging Words...

I am so thankful that I grew up in a farming culture and as a youth had to work in the family garden as well as summer jobs in the orchards. I hated it when I was young, but as an adult I can look back and see the lessons that it taught me. One is that you must work hard preparing the soil, planting the seeds, pulling the weeds, watering and nurturing the crops in order to receive the fruit of your labor. And that fruit is so much sweeter than something bought at a store or given to you by someone else. It is the same with the pursuit of Wisdom (that which is embodied in Christ). Anything gained easily and without sacrifice quickly looses its flavor, but that which you work for, pursue, and even fight for is so much more valuable. Glory be to God!

November 17, 2013

Best friends...a life long investment and journey.

Wisdom of Sirach 6:14-17 LXX

A faithful friend is a strong shelter,
And he who finds one finds a treasure.
There is nothing that can take the place of a faithful friend,
And there is no way to measure his worth.
A faithful friend is a medicine of life,
And those who fear the Lord will find him.
He who fears the Lord guides his friendship rightly,
Because as he is, so also is his neighbor.

Personal Challenge...

After sixty years of life this has been one of my most sought after and elusive find a true, faithful friend, a brother in Christ that I can sharpen and be sharpened by. I can count on one hand the times that I thought I had a friend like this just to loose them to a move or a life change. But there is a promise in this passage. If I fear the Lord, and live my life as a faithful friend to all He will bring that brother into my life.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16, 2013

The art of listening.

Wisdom of Sirach 5:10-11 LXX

Be established in your understanding
And let your word be consistent.
Be quick to listen
And give your answer with patience.

Personal Challenge...

What can be added to this admonition of wisdom? Nothing except a plea to our Lord to use His Holy Spirit in our lives to follow this advice. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 15, 2013

Humility through greatness.

Wisdom of Sirach 3:18-19 LXX

The greater you are, the more humble you must be,
And you will find grace before the Lord;
Because great is the power of the Lord,
And He is honored by the humble.

Personal Challenge...

Once again the laws that govern God's kingdom conflict with the law's of our culture. As we become greater in this world, whether it be through financial or material gain, or promotions at work, or recognition in our church or communities, the tendency is to become puffed up and expectant of respect. Our society drives this. But in God's economy the expectation is that the more we are elevated in this world the more humble we must become for His glory and His kingdom. Our humility is not for those around us as much as it is for Him. As we honor Him with our humility we also become an encouragement and a beacon of His love and grace to those around us.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14, 2013


Wisdom of Sirach 1:20-21 LXX

A patient man will hold fast until the proper time,
Then afterwards gladness shall burst forth for him.
He shall conceal his words until the proper time,
And the lips of many will tell of his understanding.

Personal Challenge...

What a wonderful book filled with pearls of wisdom. It is a shame that this book is not included in the Western Bible. Patience not only means waiting for something that we want or desire, but it more importantly means waiting for the proper time, whether that means speaking into a situation or getting involved. Through patience we can receive gladness. Through waiting patiently before we open our mouths we will be seen as wise and full of understanding. This is so contrary to the modern way of thinking, which is to always be engaged in the conversation and trying to control it. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 13, 2013

The pursuit of peace and health in our lives...

Wisdom of Sirach 1:16 LXX

The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom,
Making peace and soundness of health to flourish.

Encouraging Words...

Isn't a peaceful and healthy life one of the things that we all pursue, or at least desire? If we pursue our Lord He promises to give us true peace and health. Even though our fallen bodies and the fallen world that we live in may be impacted by disease and sickness, the health or our soul can flourish in our pursuit of Him. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013

We live under the power of the Lord.

Wisdom of Sirach 1:10-11 LXX

The fear of the Lord will cheer the heart
And will give gladness, joy, and long life.
For those who fear the Lord, it shall be well to the utmost,
And on the day of his death, he will be blessed.

Encouraging Words...

The fear, or deep respect and awe, of the Lord is an investment in both the present and the future. Through our faith, our hope, we choose to love the Lord above and beyond all, and through this love, this fear, our hearts are cheered and full of gladness, and joy. Even in times of difficulty we can walk with our heads up and our lives filled with godly joy because of who our God is and what He has done in our lives. Living this way not only guides us through the jungle of life, but also goes before us and with us into eternity even after we depart from this physical body.

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

We are in His presence at all times.

Wisdom of Solomon 19:232 LXX

For in everything, O Lord, You have exalted and glorified Your people,
And have not neglected to be present with them in every time and place.

Encouraging Words...

Our Lord, Our God, is always present in our lives ready to exalt and glorify those who are His. Then why do we have trials and tribulations? Usually it is because of our choices and these trials and tribulations are the consequences of those behaviors. Sometimes it is His way of refining us and helping us to grow in the image of His Son. And sometimes it is because of the fallen state of the world that we live in. But in all cases He promises to be there with us, lifting us up, and leading us to His glory.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10, 2013

God’s mercy knows no boundaries.

Wisdom of Solomon 15:1-3 LXX

But You, our God, are kind, true, patient,
And govern all things in mercy.
For even if we sin, we belong to You and know Your might;
But we will not sin,
Because we know that we are counted as belonging to You.
For to know You is complete righteousness,
And to know Your might is the root of immortality.

Encouraging Words...

So many religions, and even some Christian faith practices, are based on fear, on believing that God is a vicious, judgmental God. But the truth that we believe is that God is kind, true, patient, and merciful. Whether we sin or not we still belong to Him and through that belonging we are able to flee from sin. Through knowing Him we can live righteous lives and receive immortality.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November 9, 2013

Freedom, sweet freedom.

Wisdom of Solomon 12:1-2

For Your immortal Spirit is in all things.
For this reason You correct little by little those who fall away,
And You remind and warn them of the sins they commit
So they may be freed from evil and believe in You, O Lord.

Encouraging Words...

God breathed a part of His life, His essence, into every person that has ever lived. Because of that He is continually nudging us toward Him, sometimes by blessings, sometimes by corrections. It is His desire that we be freed from evil and death, and believe in Him.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8, 2013

The rewards of pursuing wisdom...

Wisdom of Solomon 8:7 LXX

If anyone loves righteousness,
The products of righteousness are the virtues.
For wisdom teaches self-control, discernment, righteousness and courage,
Concerning which things there is nothing more valuable in the life of man.

Personal Challenge...

Our reward for pursuing righteousness is the blessing of receiving the virtues; self-control, discernment, righteousness and courage. How much better our world would be if those of us who claim to be Christians would pursue true righteousness, that which can only come from our Lord.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7, 2013

Discernment through action guided by the Master craftsman...

Wisdom of Solomon 8:5-6

Now if riches are a possession to be desired in life,
What is richer than wisdom, who works all things?
And if discernment shows itself in action,
Who more than wisdom is its craftsman?

Encouraging Words...

Wisdom is the greatest treasure in life that any one of us could ever seek. And when we find it, and continue to pursue it, it becomes truly manifest in our lives through action. Being a Christian is not a noun but a verb, a verb whose craftsman is wisdom, or Christ.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 6, 2013

We are living our lives trying to be like Christ...

Wisdom of Solomon 7:22-23 LXX

So in herself, wisdom is a spirit that is rational,
Holy, only- begotten, manifold, subtle, easily moved, clear,
Undefiled, manifest, invulnerable, loving what is good, keen,
Unhindered, beneficent, man- loving, steadfast, unfailing,
Free from worry, all- powerful, all- surveying,
And penetrating all spirits that are rational, pure, and most subtle

Encouraging Words...

And people wonder why we worship and love the risen and living Christ! Glory be to God! The Orthodox Church teaches that through deification or becoming like God, humanity is given the capacity to share in the uncreated energies of God -- His power, purity, light, and goodness. (Orthodox Study Bible notes). Again, we choose to worship God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because through the work of Christ, death has been defeated and we can share in His glory.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 5, 2013

The source of all wisdom is from above.

Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-15 LXX

Wisdom is radiant and unfading
And is easily perceived by those who love her;
For she is found by those who seek her.
She comes upon those who long to know her beforehand.
He who rises early in the morning to seek her
Will not grow weary,
For he will find her sitting at his gates.
For to think deeply about her
Is the perfection of discernment,
And he who keeps watch for her
Will soon be free from worry;

Encouraging Words...

The early church fathers taught that the wisdom spoken of in the Old Testament is Christ. He is radiant and unfading and easily perceived by those who love Him. He is found by those who seek Him and truly comes to those who long for Him. He gives strength to the weary and renews those who pursue Him. He perfects discernment in those who think deeply on Him and takes away the worries of those who keep watch for Him. Glory be to God!

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

Living our lives worthy of a crown...

Wisdom of Solomon 5:15-16 LXX

But the righteous live forever,
And their reward is with the Lord;
And their care is by the Most High.
Therefore they shall receive a kingly dwelling of dignity
And a crown of beauty from the hand of the Lord,
Because He will shelter them with His right hand
And protect them with His arm.

Encouraging Words...

Many people might ask why do we, Christians that are committed to our Lord, spend so much of our time and resources doing things that seem archaic to them. Why? Because we believe in the Lord Most High, His precepts, and His promises. We look forward to our lives that will be continued throughout eternity and the rewards that our God will bestow upon us for following Him and attempting to live righteous lives. We live this way in faith, with a hope in what we have not seen, but has been evidenced to us throughout history. We cherish His care, His shelter, and His protection.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3, 2013

Virtue...something to pursue and to hold on to.

Wisdom of Solomon 4:2 LXX

When virtue is present, people imitate it,
And when it goes away, they long for it.
Throughout one's lifetime,
Virtue leads the struggle for undefiled prizes,
Wearing a crown and conquering.

Encouraging Words...

We were created in the image of God, and in this fragile, earthbound package there has been placed this desire, this yearning for virtue in our lives. It is our responsibility to pursue it, to embrace it in our lives, and to pass it on to those around us...even when many around us do not have it or even appear to desire it. Living a virtuous and godly life may be difficult at times, but it will lead us through the struggles of life and bring us to those prizes that are undefiled. Living this way will also bring us to our place in eternity wearing a crown, the crown placed upon us by our Lord, and being conquerers for Him.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 2, 2013

Finding God...

Wisdom of Solomon 1:1-2 LXX

Love righteousness, you who judge on the earth.
Think about the Lord in goodness
And seek Him with sincerity of heart;
Because He is found by those who do not tempt Him,
And He is manifest to those who do not disbelieve Him.

Command with a Promise...
Love righteousness, think about the Lord in goodness, seek Him with sincerity of heart, do not empt Him, do not disbelieve Him, and He will be found, He will manifest Himself to us, and we will know Him.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1, 2013

How long will His love prevail? Throughout eternity!

Psalm 13:5-6 (12:6 LXX)

But I hope in Your mercy;
My heart shall greatly rejoice in Your salvation;
I will sing to the Lord, who shows kindness to me;
I will sing to the name of the Lord Most High.

Encouraging Words...

Someone may ask of us why we live our lives with so much hope, joy, and rejoicing. It is because of the Lord God Almighty in whom we put our hope. He is merciful, He is our salvation from the worst of all fears...death, He shows us kindness, He is our protector and provider. Glory be to God!

October 31, 2013

Time holds no reins on His mercy!

1 Chronicles 16:34 (16:33 LXX)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His mercy endures forever.

Encouraging Words...

Our God is indeed good, He is indeed merciful, and we are blessed to be His children, adopted into His family and joint heirs in His Kingdom. Glory be to God!