Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 30, 2014

The seed has been planted...

Isaiah 45:25

All the seed of the children of Israel shall be made righteous by the Lord, and glorified in God.

Encouraging Words...

We, the seed of the King of Israel, who is Christ our Lord, will be made righteous by Him and His work. We cannot do this on our own, but in Him, and through Him, and within the community of His Bride, the Church. Glory be to Him!

Monday, December 29, 2014

December 29, 2014

The End of our quest...

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Encouraging Words...

We have all been created with a desire, a yearning, to be connected with our creator. When mankind fell from the presence of God in the garden of Eden we still had in our beings the image of God and the experience of walking with Him in that garden. when Jesus came to us as both God and man He opened the door for us to once again experience life and the ability to walk with the Father again. Glory be to Him!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27, 2014

Our Humble Judge...

Isaiah 42:1-4

"Jacob is My Servant; I will help Him. Israel is My chosen; My soul accepts Him. I put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard outside. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; but He will bring forth judgment in truth. He will shine forth and not be broken until He establishes judgment in the earth; and in his name the Gentiles will hope."

Encouraging Words...

What a blessing our Lord Jesus Christ is He was fully within His right to come to earth as a conquering King to destroy all that was against Him and yet He came as a humble baby and lived a humble life so that mankind would be redeemed and all of creation would be freed from death. He suffered a horrendous death having committed no sin or wrong in His life and even went into the depths of hell for us. He is our Lord! He is our King! He is our Savior and Redeemer! Glory be to Him!

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 26, 2014

Clinging to the vine...

John 15:5

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Personal Challenge...

We often wonder why we stumble and fall in our Christian walk and sin. Part of the answer is that it is because we freely choose to do those things that we know we should not do. Another reason is that we pull away from our source of life, the true Vine, and loose our nourishment that gives us the strength and power to stay true to our Lord. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 25, 2014

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Merry Christmas to all of my family and friends here on the Internet. May you have a very blessed year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24, 2014

Resting assured...

Jeremiah 15:16

Make an end to them, and Your word shall be the gladness and joy of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord, the Almighty.

Encouraging Words...

Our Almighty Lord will put an end to those who persecute His Church. He is our gladness and joy and we can rest assured in His almighty hands. Glory be to God!

December 23, 2014

Living in the Light...

John 12:46

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

Encouraging Words...

No matter how dark things become we always have the source of all light as our Lord and Savior. No matter how bad things get He is there to shed His light and love on us and those around us. What a blessing He is on not only us, but the entire world.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014

Politically Correct versus Spiritually Correct

Acts 5:29

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said:“We ought to obey God rather than men.

Personal Challenge...

We live in a day when the overarching rule is to live our lives being politically correct. What does this really mean? We are expected to follow the social norms and expectations. This is contrary to what our living and loving scriptures and teachings of the church tells us to do. Jesus told us that we must live our live under two laws...love our God and love our neighbor. We cannot do this and also adopt as acceptable the ways of the world. This can be a conundrum on a regular basis. How do I live a godly life amongst my neighbors and at the same time deny the practices of the world? How do I live in the world and at the same time not be of the world? How do I love my neighbor and at the same time show him, or her, by my actions how much they need Christ? I cannot do any of this on my own accord. I must do it all by allowing the Holy Spirt to do His work fully within me. I do it by striving to be humble, submissive, loving, and obedient. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21, 2014

True repentance...

2 Chronicles 33:12-13

Now when he was in affliction, he sought the face of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him. And the Lord received his entreaty, heard his cry, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

Encouraging Words...

When we truly confess our sins with a contrite, broken, and repentant heart our God hears us and forgives us. He restores us to fellowship with Him. But our work does not stop here. Full repentance includes turning away from our sin and pursuing righteousness. Through this our restoration becomes complete. Glory be to God!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19, 2014

Ready for battle?

2 Chronicles 32:7-8

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid of the king of Assyria, nor before all the nation with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him are arms of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to save us and to fight our battles." And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

Encouraging Words...

Who is our Lord? The creator of everything! The Lord of Lords! The ruler of the heavenly hosts! The Almighty! Knowing and believing this empowers us to take on the strongest enemies and worst situations with confidence and assurance that we will prevail. It does no good, however,to just believe this. We must act on this belief and walk through life with the assurance that we have more on our side than the opposition in any situation. Glory be to God!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 18, 2014

Whose side am I really on?

Luke 11:23

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Personal Challenge...

Am I living my life in such a way so as to show people who Jesus is and that He loves them? Am I setting aside my personal agenda, my political agenda, my ethnic agenda, and just pushing out His agenda? If I am doing anything, saying anything, that takes someone's eyes off of Jesus then I am working against Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

December 17, 2014

Do you believe this?

John 11:25-26

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

Encouraging Words...

It is taught in the Orthodox church that we sin because we are afraid to die. If we go back to the first sin, it was all wrapped around death. If I am afraid that someday I will die then I will do whatever I can to get as much out of life as I possible can. And in doing this I feed my passions, turn my back on God, and trample on my neighbor. However, Jesus tells us that He came to destroy death, which He did in His incarnation, sinless life, death, and resurrection. Because of His work we too can seize this promise that He made to Martha...we shall never die. Through Christ we will live forever! Through Christ we can choose to sin no more...and when we do He will be there to cleanse us and forgive us. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16, 2014

Living sacrificially...

Daniel 3:28 (3:95 LXX)

So King Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, "Blessed is the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent His Angel and saved His servants who trusted in Him; for they altered the word of the king and handed over their bodies to be burned, so as not to serve and worship any god other than their God.

Personal Challenge...

Oh to be able, and willing, to live a life like these three young men were willing to live. They were willing to respectfully refuse to follow the decree of the most powerful man in their world. They did not do civil disobedience, or rebel aggressively, or anything of that sort. They willingly submitted to the consequences of saying, "No!" to this ungodly law and willingly walked into the fiery furnace. Do I trust my God that much? Do I love those around me that much? Am I willing to stand firm on the teachings of Christ and those who have gone before us even at the cost of my own life? To not be rebellious and resistant, but submissive in love for my God and my neighbor? Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

Getting our prayers heard...

Isaiah 58:9-10

Then you shall cry out, and God will hear you. While you are still speaking, He will say, 'Behold, I am here. ' If you take away your fetter and the pointing of the finger, and the word of grumbling, and if you give bread to the hungry from your soul, and satisfy the humble soul, then your light shall rise up in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as midday.

Encouraging Words...

When we live righteous lives, or at least strive to, we are promised that God will hear our prayers immediately. Makes sense because the more we live our lives God's way the closer we are to Him. What does it take to live our lives this way? To love the Lord our God with all of our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. And, to take care of the needs of our neighbor above our own. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner and help me to grow in your image.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13, 2014

Deliverance..God's way!

Daniel 3:16-18

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "We have no need to answer you in regard to this thing. For there is a God in the heavens, whom we serve, and He is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us from your hands, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image you set up."

Personal Challenge...

We can hold on to the truth that our God will always deliver us from the challenges here in this earthly life. Sometimes it is a miraculous deliverance such as with these three young men and the fiery furnace. Sometimes it is by taking us home to Himself as the church has seen with so many martyrs through the ages. But in all cases, no matter how big or how small the challenge, the situation, or the enemy, what always comes through as most important is our willingness, our commitment, to stand firm on that hope that we have within us. The hope that no matter what is going on in our lives God is with us. The hope that no matter how big or how powerful the obstacle is that God is bigger and more powerful. He is the all knowing, ever present, loving, merciful God and that He holds us in the palm of His hand. Glory be to God!

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12, 2014

Judge or Redeemer?

Matthew 5:17

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Encouraging Words...

So...is it not the law by which we are judge? Is it not the prophets that kept pointing out to us how far we were missing the mark...God's mark? Then if Jesus declared that He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets is it not possible to conclude that the judgment that so many Christian faith practices say we fall under have been fulfilled by Christ? Jesus claimed that He came that we might have abundant life, that He was victorious over death. Maybe we should stop looking at God as some angry, judgmental Father and see His true character...Love. Glory be to God!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11, 2014

Out of this world!

John 15:19

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Personal Challenge...

Part of dying to the world is recognizing that as soon as we do this we will become enemies of the world. The world does not want to let us go. The world does not want us attracting others away from it. This means that when we choose to separate ourselves from the world things will heat up and we will begin to see just how much the world hates us. If we are not feeling this heat then maybe we have not really left this world behind.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 10, 2014

A proper perspective on life...

John 12:25-26

He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

Personal Challenge...

Do we really love our Lord and desire to serve Him fully? Then the best way to do this, the only way to do it fully, is to give up our life fully and completely for Him. We need to die to ourselves and this world in order to be able to give our all to Him. This is certainly not easy, but more and more possible each time we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work within us. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 9, 2014

To be like a child...

Matthew 18:1-6

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me."

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

Personal Challenge...

Why is it that so many of us who convert from western Christianity to eastern Christianity spend so much time trying to amass great volumes of knowledge about eastern Christianity? Is it because in the west we pride ourselves in the church on how much we know about God, the church, and our history, and that we have brought that baggage into our eastern practice of our faith. Jesus Himself tells us that we must be like a child if we are to truly be great in the kingdom of heaven. This means focusing on, and living out, the virtues of a child, humility, dependence, lowliness, simplicity, obedience, and a willingness to love and be loved. It is difficult to have these virtues growing and developing in our lives if we are constantly pursuing knowledge. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

Exalted or humbled...which do we prefer?

Luke 14:11

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Personal Challenge...

We are reminded over and over and over again in the scriptures during our liturgy, and through the teachings of our church fathers, that desires us to approach Him with a humble heart. He promises us that if we humble ourselves before Him and our fellow man, or neighbor, that He will exalt us. As with everything else in life we must pay the price, or the clues, to get the benefits. Our humility in this earthly life will be rewarded throughout eternity, however if we choose the path of exaltation throughout this life our reward throughout eternity will be humility. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014

Saint of the Week...
Elder Amphilochios Makris

December 6, 2014

Prayers on our behalf!

Colossians 1:9-12

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Encouraging Words...

As Orthodox we believe that the saints who have gone before us are standing in the courts of our Lord petitioning on our behalf? I can see Paul there repeating this prayer over and over on our behalf that we too might be equipped to do the work of our God. Glory be to Him!

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 5, 2014

Oh, to be content...

Philippians 4:11-13

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Personal Challenge...

Here we find the key to contentment, the pearl buried in the heart of the oyster of life. Whether life is dealing us a winning hand or pulling the rug out from under us we can choose to acknowledge that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. If we try to do it on our own, or to take all the credit for the good things that do come about, we are choosing to unplug from the only source of power that can support us. Jesus is our power! Jesus is our protection! Jesus is our provider! Jesus is our Lord! All glory goes to God!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 4, 2014

Giving grace and peace to others...

Philippians 1:2

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Encouraging Words...

Paul's salutation is a great reminder of the mindset that we should always be in with relationship to those in our lives. We should always be offering God's grace and peace to everyone. We should be living our own lives under God's grace and peace for we are truly blessed as we are also blessings to others. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 3, 2014

There is that word humility again...

Proverbs 16:1

All the works of the humble are evident before the Lord,
But the ungodly will be destroyed in the evil day.

Personal Challenge...

Our salvation begins and ends with humility, our willingness to submit our will and our desires to our Lord. And what comes between the bookends of life will be measured on that scale of humility and how much we have been willing to put God and others before ourselves. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

December 2, 2014

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Encouraging Words...

My favorite poem has long been "A Bag of Tools" by R. L. Sharpe. This one is now added as a close second place. We watched the movie Interstellar (very good by the way) last night and this poem was used throughout the movie and is an awesome reminder to live out our lives fully and completely. I am sure that this is what our Lord wants us to do as we approach the end of our days here on earth. Glory be to God!

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

Living life as seasoning...

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Personal Challenge...

We have been given such a blessing...life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is our responsibility as well as our privilege to share this blessing with those whom we come into contact with. We should always be ready to give out God's word with grace and love for the other. Glory be to God!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014

Giving our all...

Philippians 3:8-11

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Encouraging Words...

Paul reminds us so clearly here that what God provides for us who follow Him is greater than anything, even life itself. He is not talking about wealth or stuff here. This is not some kind of prosperity gospel. Our righteousness comes for Him. Our salvation comes from Him. Everything we have and everything we are come from Him. So why shouldn't we count it all as loss for Him.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

November 28, 2014

It takes work...

Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Personal Challenge...

We see here again that our salvation is not a one time singular event or some special canned prayer that we say. This may have been what set us on our path of obedience to God, but our salvation is a lifelong process doing the work of God as He works within us to do His will and work. We are not on this journey alone. Glory be to God!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 27, 2014

A thought for this Thanksgiving day
from St. John Chrysostom...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 26, 2014

Living a martyred life...

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Personal Challenge...

Does Christ permeate my every fiber? Is my every breath filled with Christ? If I were to die this moment would it be my gain? If I am truly pursuing Christ as my Lord then my answers to these questions need to be moving more and more to a resounding, "Yes!" If I am dying to the world around me, and more importantly to myself, then dying is my gain. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November 25, 2014

Getting the gospel out there...

Philippians 1:15-18

Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

Personal Challenge...

Paul experienced those people in his life that challenged his belief and preached a partial gospel of Christ in order to confront him. He also experienced those who carried on his preaching and shared the gospel of Christ in all of its truth. And in both cases Paul was grateful because the gospel of Christ was being preached. Should we not also follow in his footsteps and be grateful that even those who are preaching and following partial gospels today are still spreading the gospel. God can still use partial truths about Himself to build His kingdom and save the lost.

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Love surpases the letter of the law...

2 Chronicles 30:18-20

Lord. Most of the people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not cleansed themselves, but they ate the Passover contrary to what was written.

But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, even though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary." And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.

Encouraging Words...

Here we have the people of Israel coming back to God and celebrating His Passover after many years of turning their backs on Him and living sinful lives. They were breaking the law of their covenant with God and this offense was deserving of death. However, Hezekiah, who prefigured Christ, petitioned on their behalf because he knew that their hearts had changed and they desired God. God heard his prayers and blessed the people because the condition of their heart was more important than the letter of the law. Oh how blessed we are to serve such a loving and merciful God.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23, 2014

How to be guided by our God?

Psalm 143:10 (142:10 LXX)

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God;
Your good Spirit shall guide me in the land of uprightness.

Personal Challenge...

Paul admonishes us to be crucified in Christ. Jesus commands us to take up our cross and to follow Him. How can we do this and not be changed? How can we do this and not be submissive to the will of God? We can't! If we want to be guided in the land of righteousness, to be used by God, to build His kingdom, then we must submit our will to Him and follow His teachings and leading. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 21, 2014

Wow! Reading it as it was written...
and leaving the baggage behind!

Philippians 1:3-6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Encouraging Words...

Wow! I love going back through the Scriptures with an Eastern grid! Being chosen, being predestined...is not about God picking some to be His adopted children and rejecting others. It is through Christ, His incarnation and work on the cross, that the choice was made. It is through Him that mankind is predestined to be adopted by God as His children. God is the one who gives us the opportunity to participate in His grace and mercy. He gave us free will to choose or reject Him.Glory be to God.

For more thoughts...
1:4- 6 Everything comes from God, and everything should be drawn back to Him. God's original intent for the Incarnation was not redemption from the Fall but adoption as sons of God (v. 5), that is, deification. For when God contemplated creating the world, He planned on bringing it into union with Himself through the Incarnation of His Son, that is, through the Son's union with human nature. That is why St. Athanasius can say, "God became man that man might become god."
The Father chose us (v. 4) in Him, the Son. Christ, who is God by nature, became Man by choice. If we choose Him, we, who are human by nature, become "gods" by grace. If we are in Christ, the Son of God, we are sons of God. Paul is not addressing individuals as such but us, the community, the Church. And he is not addressing the issue of human will in salvation but the will of God, which is that all are chosen (see Rom 11:32; 1Ti 2:4; 2Pt 3:9). But being predestined (v. 5) by God does not nullify human will:in everything, God is the originator, the initiator; we merely respond, but our response is necessary. Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one's life as getting oneself into Christ's life. What is true of Christ must become true of one who is in Him.
From Orthodox Study Bible, p.1598

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 20, 2014

Our sobering responsibility...

Ephesians 6:4

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Personal Challenge...

When do we as fathers stop bringing up our children in the training and admonition of the Lord? Never! We always have the opportunity to speak into the lives of our children, grandchildren, and God willing, our great-grandchildren...whether in word or deed. As fathers it is our responsibility to raise them up loving and respecting God and their neighbor, and to not provoke them to wrath. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner and forgive me of my shortcomings in this responsibility.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 19, 2014

Giving it all away...

2 Corinthians 9:6

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Personal Challenge...

So often, if not always, this verse is applied to the giving of money. But money is only one of the many resources that our God gives us. What about these: time, a kind word, a gesture of love, prayer, patience, silence when it would be so easy to gossip or put someone down, and the list goes on and on. We have nothing in our lives that does not already belong to God and that is on loan to us from Him. He wants us to give it all away bountifully. If we hoard His blessings then we eventually become full and will not be able to receive any more. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18, 2014

Awoken from a terminal slumber...

Ephesians 5:14-16

Therefore He says:
"Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light."
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Encouraging Words and Personal Challenge...

When Christ died on the cross, rose again, and ascended into heaven He put death and the grip that it had on creation to death. We still live in a fallen world, but one that has been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ. When He woke us individually from our slumber, our death, because we did not know Him, He set us on a new course in our lives. This is a course of participating in His work to redeem as much of the lost world as possible for Him before He returns. We must do our work wisely and diligently for we only have so much time to be His laborers. Glory be to God!

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014

The blessing of a loving God.

Psalm 139:1-3 (138:1-3 LXX)

O Lord, You test me and know me;
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thoughts from afar;
You search out my path and my portion,
And You foresee all my ways.

Encouraging Words...

What a blessing it is to know that we serve a loving, caring, and protective God. He is ever present in our lives, not in a judging and controlling way, but in a guiding and encouraging way. Glory be to God.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 16, 2014

Living with the passions in our lives...

Ephesians 4:26-27

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

Personal Challenge...

Anger is one of the passions that we have in our lives. As with the other passions it is not wrong to exercise it appropriately. It is when we allow the passion to control us, to hold on to us day after day, that we sin. Even Christ was angry at the money changers. In that anger He cleared His Father's temple and then released the anger so that it did not hold on to Him and lead to sin. Through Him and the Holy Spirit we can learn to do the same with the passions in our lives. Glory be to God!

November 15, 2014

Saint of the Week...
St Anthony the Great

Friday, November 14, 2014

November 14, 2014

The life of a leader...

Wisdom of Solomon 6:1-3

Listen therefore, O kings, and understand;
Learn, O judges of the ends of the earth.
Give ear, you that rule over multitudes,
And take pride in yourself over a multitude of nations.
For power was given to you from the Lord,
And your lordship from the Most High,
Who will make a careful search of your works
And examine closely your plans.

Personal Challenge...

No matter what position of leadership we find ourselves in, we must always remember that we are there because God has put us there. Whether it be a management role at work, a leadership position in our church or community, a head of a household, or any other multitude of positions of authority, we are there by the grace of God and must exercise our role with humility, love for those subject to us, and submission to God. We have no power or authority of our own accord. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

November 13, 2014

Using our whole heart...

Psalm 119:2 (118:2 LXX)

Blessed are those who search out His testimonies;
They shall search for Him with their whole heart.

Command with a Promise...

We are told here to search out our Lord with all of our heart. We are not saved once and then able to to rest on our "fire insurance". We are saved through an ongoing, continuing process of seeking our Lord, repenting of our sin, striving to walk in His ways, becoming like Him, and growing in righteousness. All of this is to be done with our whole heart. And the promise? He will bless us with His love and mercy. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 12, 2014

Overcoming the antichrists in our lives...

1 John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Encouraging Words...

Another "Ah Ha!" moment as I read this scripture through the lens of Eastern thinking. I have always settled on the second half of this verse, "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" without the context of the three and half verses before it and the two after it. We are urged to be careful of those who teach false and/or partial truths and doctrines about our Lord. These are considered antichrists, which John tells us already exist in this world. Because we are God's children, transformed by the work of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome these antichrists and their false teaching. Glory be to God!

Here is the full context for this verse.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God:Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014

His strength in our weakness...

2 Corinthians 6:2

For He says:
"In an acceptable time I have heard you,And in the day of salvation I have helped you."
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Encouraging Words...

In His own time, and in His own way, God reaches into our lives and infuses His strength into us. In our human weakness God wields His strength to help us to renounce the world in order that we may master its influence on our lives. This will often alienate us from those who want to hold onto the world, which is all the more reason for us to show them the love of God. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!