Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

Staying close to the shelter...

Psalm 17:1-9 (16:1-9 LXX) specifically v. 8

Listen, O Lord of my righteousness;
Attend to my supplication;
Give ear to my prayer that is not with deceitful lips.
From Your face let my judgment come;
Let my eyes behold uprightness.
You tested my heart, when You visited me in the night;
You tried me in the fire, and found nothing unjust in me.
That my mouth might not speak of the works of men,
I held to hard ways because of the words of Your lips.
Restore my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.
I cried out, because You listened to me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, and hear my words.
Magnify Your mercies,
O You who save those who hope in You
From those who rise up against Your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
In the shelter of Your wings, You will shelter me

From the face of the ungodly who trouble me.
My enemies surrounded my soul.

Encouraging Words...

We can call out to our Lord to keep us and to protect us. He promises to do this throughout the scriptures. But, just as if I am caught out in a storm, with rain pouring down heavily, the further away from the shelter that I am, the wetter I will get as I run back to the shelter. Verses 1-7 remind us that we must be living our lives in such a way that we are walking close to our Lord, doing what He wants us to do. By doing this, when storms of life come our way we are able to quickly hide under His wings of protection.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014

Do we really believe?

James 3:13-15

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self- seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.

Encouraging Words...

We believe that our God is never changing. We believe that He is all powerful and the supreme Healer of mankind. We believe that Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and passed this ability on to His apostles. Then why do we not see much healing in the church today? Could it be that it is because we lack one key element...FAITH! We live in the modern world, the age of enlightenment, and have mastered the art of reasoning. But all of this denies our God who transcends modern times because He is eternal. He transcends enlightenment because He is the source of all light, truth, and wisdom. He crushes reasoning because He holds the mysteries of everything within Himself. We can pull together all of the elements listed in this passage to perform healing acts (the presbyter or priest, prayer, the work of Christ, the Holy Spirit manifested in the oil, and confession of our sins) and yet we are not healed. What is missing? The prayer must be that of faith. We must defy reason, ignore what our enlightened minds argues with us, and seek God's hand of healing as promised. And yes, sometimes He will choose not to heal, for reasons that only He knows. However, it seems very likely that we do not see the awesome hand of God moving in our world today as it did in the first century church because we really do not believe. My prayer is as the father who asked Jesus to heal his son, "I believe, help me in my unbelief!"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

Counting it all joy...

James 1:2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Encouraging Words...

Life is not possible without trials. But what we do with our trials that makes all of the difference in our lives and the lives of those around us. We can walk through these trials with joy knowing that they will produce in us fruit that glorifies God. Glory be to Him!

January 27, 2014

Beacons of light.

1 Corinthians 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Encouraging Words...

The scriptures teach that if we are saved, redeemed by the blood of Christ, the Cross makes sense and that we can grow in Him and He will reveal His mysteries to us. However, for those who have rejected Him and are perishing they thinking the message of the cross is foolish. For those of us who are saved, our responsibility is to be beacons of light into the lives of those who are perishing so that they too might be saved. It is not right to hoard the truths of God and therefore be responsible for those in our lives who do not accept God's truths.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014

Hope in God opens doors.

Psalm 42:11 (41:12 LXX)

Why are you so sad, O my soul? And why do you trouble me?
Hope in God, for I will give thanks to Him.
My God is the salvation of my countenance.

Encouraging Words...

Once again the psalmist reminds us that we have everything that we need and that He is not only the salvation of our souls but even of our countenance. When we feel down, sad, or troubled we can turn to Him for comfort.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

January 25, 2014

In the world, but no longer of it...

John 17:14-17

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Encouraging Words...

When we receive Christ and are baptized and chrismated int His Church we are no longer members of this temporal kingdom. We are immediately adopted into God's spiritual family. Even though we still dwell in the midst of the temporal and physical world we are now ambassadors here. We are sanctified by God's truth and now able to be His witnesses to those around us whose eyes and ears are still shut to God and His kingdom. The temporal and spiritual coexist and by God's power we can live for Him in both.

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014

Our God doesn't play hide and seek...

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (36:11-13 LXX)

For I shall consider a plan of peace for you, to give you good things and not calamities. Therefore, pray to Me, and I will hear you. Seek Me, and you will find Me, because you seek Me with all your heart.

Encouraging Words.

So many religions in our world are based on the need for us to do things in order to achieve a certain state. And even then there is no guarantee that the end state can ever be achieved. We who follow Christ, however, are promised that He will hear us when we pray to Him and we will find Him when we seek Him. His desire for us is a life of peace, joy, and freedom. Glory be to God!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 23, 2014

We are in good hands.

Isaiah 43:1-2

And now, thus says the Lord God who made you, O Jacob, and who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I redeemed you. I called you by your name, for you are Mine. If you pass through water, I am with you; and the rivers shall not overflow you. If you pass through fire, you shall not be burned up, nor shall the flame consume you."

Encouraging Words...

God's promises are eternal. We, His people, are in good hands at all times. He has redeemed us, His precious offspring of Jacob, His Israel, and will never let us go nor let us be harmed. What more is needed to push through each trial and tribulation?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

Living lives of compassion and mercy.

Proverbs 13:10

Deceitful souls are led astray in sins,
But the righteous have compassion and are merciful.

Personal Challenge...

Do we desire to live lives that pour out compassion and mercy to those around us? If this is our desire then we must work on our own lives first. We must pursue righteousness, for it is through righteous living that the natural fruit blossom. We must flee sin for it is what clouds our view of life, and even our view of righteousness and leads us astray. We must choose to yield our lives, our desires, our wisdom to God and follow His path of love.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

Falling on our faces before our God.

Psalm 31:23-24 (30:24-25 LXX)

Love the Lord, all you His saints,
For the Lord seeks out truth,
And He repays those who act with great arrogance.
Be courageous, and let your heart be strengthened,
All who hope in the Lord.

Encouraging Words...

Our Lord will strengthen the hearts of those who hope in Him. He deserves our worship. He deserves our submission. He deserves our all because we receive our all from Him. He is the God of truth and knows our every action, thought, and desire...and yet He still loves us. How can we do anything but fall on our faces before Him in humble worship?

January 19, 2014

Mercy in the midst of our affliction.

Nahum 1:7

The Lord is merciful to those who wait on Him in the day of affliction, and He knows those who reverence Him.

Command with a Promise...

If we can wait on our Lord and His timing in the midst of our affliction, if we reverence Him while we are waiting, He will be merciful to us in this situation. Isn't waiting like this the ultimate act of humility? Submitting ourselves entirely to Him, to His timing, and to His solution to our affliction. This type of submission can only come from completely humbling ourselves and allowing God, better yet trusting God, to do the correct thing in the affliction. Aren't these the mercies that we receive in this case? Glory be to God!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 18, 2014

Praying always...

Psalm 113:3 (112:3 LXX)

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
Praise the name of the Lord.

Personal Challenge...

Our spiritual father, the apostle Paul, told us to pray without ceasing. Our Old Testament fathers told us to be constantly studying the law. How do we do this in this modern, time-consuming world? One way is to do what we are taught in the Orthodox church...pray the Jesus prayer regularly until it becomes as our very breath.
Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
We can do this as an exercise of discipline, with prayer beads or a prayer rope as an aid, or through meditation. It doesn't matter what practice we use as long as we get to a place where every breath, every thought, every beat of the heart, is bathed in Jesus Christ and focused on praising Him. Oh...I have so far to go on this.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17, 2014

Paying it forward...

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Encouraging Words...

What a combination of contrasts: blessings, mercies, and comfort versus tribulation and trial. Life in this fallen world is not easy. There is brokenness, loneliness, loss, and pain. Each of us has our own and different cross to bear. And this is where this passage becomes so powerful. As we go through our tribulations and trials God is there comforting and blessing us. It might be in a word spoken to us by someone we love or a total stranger. It might be in a random act of kindness sent our way. But often, for those of us who have given our lives to Christ, it will be from God's hand of mercy working in our lives. But it doesn't stop there. We are expected to use our victory over the tribulations and trials as a means to speak into and apply love to, those around us who are going through similar trials and tribulations. If is a form of "pay it forward". Even as I am writing these thoughts down, I, along with my brother and sisters, are walking through the trial of seeing our parents grow old and approach the ends of their lives. I have my Lord to fall back on, but flesh and bone support is needed. I am blessed to have a loving, godly wife who has been through this and is willing to speak into this situation from experience and love. It is my responsibility, and opportunity, to listen because this is God bringing the flesh and bone support into my trial. His expectation of me is that I will do the same with the experiences in my past to those in need around me.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16, 2014

Back in the Garden of Eden...

Isaiah 35:10

and those gathered by the Lord shall return and come to Zion with gladness, and with everlasting gladness over their head. For praise and exceeding joy will be on their head, and gladness shall possess them. Pain, sorrow, and sighing fled away.

Encouraging Words...

We were created to walk in unity with God in the Garden of Eden, in paradise. And God, in His infinite wisdom, divine grace, and glorious mystery, created us with free will...the ability to choose Him and pursue righteousness or to reject Him and pursue sin. Throughout His written and spoken Word, throughout history and His interactions with mankind He has continued to draw us back to paradise and an eternity walking with Him. Hallelujah for His Son Jesus who has mad this possible by defeating death and sin and their power over us. We can live in His grace, in His power, and live righteous lives in His kingdom filled with gladness and joy. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 15, 2014

A diamond in the rough.

Psalm 40:1-3 (39:2-4 LXX)

I waited patiently for the Lord, and He heeded me;
And He heard my supplication,
And brought me up out of a miserable pit
And from miry clay;
And He established my feet on a rock
And kept straight my steps.
He put a new song in my mouth,
A hymn to our God;
Many will see and be afraid,
And shall hope in the Lord.

Encouraging Words...

I love how the psalmist describes our position as human beings here and God's response to that. Since we are created in the image of God we are not totally depraved or dung as some teachings purport. We are God's creation, God's handiwork, stuck in the mire and filth of the fallen world. As I have had it explained to me by my spiritual father, we are diamonds covered in mud and garbage, but nonetheless, diamonds. When we call out to God He rescues us from the mud pit, cleans us off, and begins the process of chipping off the rough spots and shaping us into a shiny, pure, and precious diamond. He fills us with a new song and a new hear that calls out to Him and magnifies His glory.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14, 2014

Living through a heart replacement.

Ezekiel 36:25-27

I shall sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be cleansed from all your uncleanness, and I will also cleanse you from all your idols. I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall take the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I shall put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My requirements, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Encouraging Words...

Once again we are reminded that our God is not passive in His relationship with us. He expects us to repent of our sins and to be renewed through the work of His Son. But it doesn't stop there. He promises to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us, to create a new heart within us, to cleanse us from our uncleanness and idolatry. Our relationship with Him is two-sided and from that necessitates our action in the relationship as well. Glory be to God!

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Taking on the Goliaths.

Joshua 1:6-9

“Be strong and courageous, for you will divide this land which I swore to your fathers to give them. Be strong, therefore, and courageous to guard yourself and to do as Moses My servant commanded you; then you will not turn away from them, to the right nor to the left. In this way, you will have understanding in whatever you do. The book of this law shall not depart from your mouth, and you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may have the understanding to do all the things written therein. Then you will both prosper, make your ways prosperous, and have understanding. Behold, I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be cowardly or fearful, for the Lord your God is with you in all things, wherever you go."

Encouraging Words...

Just as Joshua was given these encouraging words as he was about to enter into the promised land so are we as we enter into the kingdom of God that has arrived. We have the Holy Spirit so we can be strong and courageous. Jesus has broken the grip that death and sin had on us so we can be strong and courageous. The choice is ours, to worry and to fear, therefore thwarting the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, or to move forward with strength and courage under the wings of our Lord.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 12, 2014

Living lonely in the midst of the crowd.

Mark 12:29-31

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this:‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Personal Challenge...

How can it be that even when we live our lives in the midst of a crowd, surrounded by people, people that we know and people that we may not know much about bur are trying to befriend, that our lives are full of loneliness. We live in times where people live such independent lives. We live in times where we often live thousands of miles from our families and loved ones, parents, children, grandchildren, and siblings. Even though we have so much technology to help us connect it is still not the same as being in the same room holding them, laughing with them. I am so thankful to have a wife who loves me and is my friend. With her by my side and me by hers we are able to live a life built on love. I am also so thankful for wonderful children and grandchildren, those nearby and those far away and am so proud of them. We are so blessed to have them as such important parts of our lives. Even with such a wonderful family we still desire to be in community, to be in relationship with those God brings into our lives.

As I read through these verses today I was reminded that our Lord also lived His life lonely in the midst of the crowd. He left His Father and same to live amongst us. He gave of Himself to mankind and demonstrated how to live out these two great commands. And even after that He was rejected, falsely accused and ultimately killed. If we are to live our lives in the image of Christ, attempting to be like Him, is it not possible, even very probable, that our lives might be lived lonely in the midst of the crowd?

Loving the Lord our God and our neighbors as ourselves...sacrificially and completely. And for me and my household, living our lives that begins with love for our LORD, love for each other, love for our children, and love for those whom God brings into our lives.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January 11, 2014

Living our lives looking for Him...

Micah 7:7

But I will look to the Lord. I will wait for God my Savior, for my God will hear me.

Encouraging Words...

The God of creation, life, and eternity is not fickle. He does hear His people and is our salvation. How much hope people like Micah had because they could only look forward to the coming of their Savior. Ho much more hope we have because we live in the age of salvation where our Lord has come and set up His kingdom. What joy and peace we can realize because we have been given the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Counselor. How important it is for us to be sharing this Good News with those who are lost around us! Glory be to God!

Friday, January 10, 2014

January 10, 2014

Living by instruction and reproof...

Proverbs 15:32-33 (15:37-38 LXX)

He who rejects instruction hates himself,
But he who gives heed to reproofs loves his soul.
The fear of God is instruction and wisdom,
And the beginning of glory will respond to it.

Personal Challenge...

We as modern day Americans hate to be told what to do. We have the right to pursue our happiness. We are entitled to health and wealth. However, the expectation of our Lord is that we will be humble before Him, that we will put others before ourselves, that we will give of our wealth and time to those in need. It is expected that we will need instruction and reproof because through that we will grow in the image of Christ. Do we want to see God's glory in our lives? Then if we do we must adhere to His rules, His truths, His expectations and not those of the world. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9, 2014

Resting under His wings.

Psalm 36:7 (35:8 LXX)

How You multiply Your mercy, O God!
The sons of men shall hope under the shelter of Your wings.

Encouraging Words...

Have you ever had one of those days when it feels like the weight of the world is bearing down upon your shoulders? Is it because of a loved one who is sick or not doing well? Is it because of a relationship that is broken? Is it because those around you don't seem to understand you or care about you? There are so many things in our lives that can hurt us and weigh upon us. Here is one of those comfort verses that we can run to. Our God loves us beyond what we will ever be able to comprehend. He loves us unconditionally. And in that love He pours out His mercies upon us. We can hide under His wings as a chick hides under His mother's wings. And if we choose to release our worries and hold onto Him then the cares of the world will be held from us because they will fall upon His back. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 8, 2014

Living in unity.

Philippians 2:1-4

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Command with a Promise...

We are given here a very powerful instruction or command for receiving consolation in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, and affection and mercy. We are commanded to live in loving and other-focused fellowship with one another. This starts in our home and our immediate church family. However, these same practices can be applied in our places of work, in our communities, basically in all aspects of our lives. This is so counter to what our culture teaches and presses us to do and be...individuals looking out for our own good. If we live our lives doing nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, esteeming others better than we esteem ourselves, looking out for the interests of others, and doing all of this with a desire to be like-minded, having love, and being of one accord, then we will see the kingdom of God unfold around us.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January 7, 2014

Lessons on the kingdom of God.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My counsels are not as your counsels, neither are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “But as heaven is distant from earth, so is My way distant from your ways, and your thoughts from My mind.

Encouraging Words...

Throughout Old Testament times the prophets provided visions into the future through parables and other methods. Upon the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenant by our Lord Jesus Christ He ushered in a new age, an age in which Christ gave us parables that clearly explains many aspects of the kingdom of God. This verse reminds us that God's ways are so much more than we will ever understand. Jesus also made it clear that as we live our lives for Him and in Him He will reveal more and more to us. Glory be to God!

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

Living in a well-watered garden.

Isaiah 58:11

God shall be with you continually, and you shall be satisfied as your soul desires. Your bones shall be enriched, and you shall be like a well-watered garden and like a spring of water that does not fail. Your bones will arise and be enriched like a green plant, and they shall inherit generations of generations.

Personal Challenge...

What a blessing our Father pours out on us through the sending of the Holy Spirit. We have God's presence with us every moment of our lives and in that presence every need, every desire, can be met. However, we so often look to meet our needs and to satisfy our desires on our own with the things of the world and consequently sin and then move away from our Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner and help me to always rest in Your arms and seek the filling of my needs and the fulfillment of my desires in You.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 5, 2014

The created baptizes the Creator.

Matthew 3:13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Encouraging Words...
Tomorrow, January 6, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of Epiphany (a manifestation or revelation) or Theophany (a manifestation of God). We started the feast today with the blessing of the waters. We celebrate this in remembrance of the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan river. Jesus did not need to be cleansed of any sins because He was sinless. This is why John resisted doing this. But Jesus made it clear that He was doing this to make the purification of humanity His own. This was also an opportunity for the entire trinity to appear (theophany) before mankind. How fitting it is that Jesus would use baptism as the means to start His ministry of salvation, because water is essential for the existence of everything in creation. Through His blessing of the water of the Jordan He blessed all of creation and initiated regeneration to all.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 4, 2013

Living in the age of the new covenant.

1 John 1:1-3

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Encouraging Words...

In the days of the Old Testament those who were holy and righteous in the eyes of God were fortunate to be blessed by theophanies (an appearance or manifestation of God) of Christ. Abraham entertained three men, one of which appeared to be the pre-incarnate Christ. Jacob wrestled with the pre-incarnate Christ and earned His favor. And there were others as well. We, however, have been blessed to live in the age of the new covenant, an age ushered in by the Incarnation of God, an age when He walked amongst mankind and provided for us our salvation and victory over death and sin. Glory be to God!

Friday, January 3, 2014

January 3, 2014

Included in the mysteries of God.

Daniel 2:45

Whereas you saw the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, it ground to powder the clay, the iron, the copper, the silver, and the gold. Thus the great God has made known to the king what must come to pass after this. The dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.

Encouraging Words...

One of the largest hurdles that I have had to overcome on my journey into Orthodoxy was the understanding of Mary's role and place in the church. I know that this is a controversial subject and it was so even in my own mind as I recalled all that I was taught before. It has been great learning more and more about the "Eastern" way of thinking and how our early church fathers viewed the Old Testament and the teachings of Christ and the apostles. This is so important to me because if you really want to understand how something works or why things are done certain ways you must get as close to the original source as possible. The early church fathers believed that the Old Testament was full of typology (interpretation of certain historical events as "types" that prefigure events to be fulfilled through the Incarnation of the Son of God, and in His life and ministry as confirmed in the New Testament (Orthodox Study bible, p. 190)) and that there were many "types" of Mary prefigured. Some of these include the burning bush, the fiery furnace in Babylon, the one here in Daniel, and many more. If one reads the Old Testament through this grid (typology) then the truths of God become all the more evident.

Well, back to Mary. Only God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are worthy of our worship. We venerate (regard with great respect) her as we do the saints that have gone before us. We acknowledge that by the grace of God and the mystery of His power Mary was able to carry God within her body. As the bush in the desert was able to contain the fire and not be consumed, or the fiery furnace contained the three young men and the pre-incarnate Christ, Mary was able to carry God within her and not be consumed. This verse "types" Mary as the mountain from whom the stone was cut that carried the law handed to Moses and the ultimate completion of that law...Jesus Christ. There is so much more that could be said here, but this is enough for today. Glory be to God for His mysteries are far beyond our understanding and yet He continues to include us in them.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2, 2014

Death is dead!

Hosea 13:14

“I will deliver them out of the hand of Hades
And will redeem them from death.
Where is your penalty, O death?
O Hades, where is your sting?
Pity is hidden from My eyes.”

Encouraging Words...

What a wonderful way to start off a new year...being reminded that our Lord trampled down the power of death upon us by His own death. As Jerome (c. 347) put it: “Moreover the Lord liberated everyone, and redeemed them through the suffering of the Cross and the shedding of His blood, when His soul descended into Hades, and He did not experience corruption to His flesh; and He speaks of the death itself as well as Hades:‘I will be your death, O Death! ’ For that reason I have died so that you may die through My death. ‘I will be your sting, O Hades’ for you devoured all with your throat.” Glory be to God.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December 31, 2013

Created in His image...

Wisdom of Solomon 8:17-20

When I considered these things within myself
And thought about them in my heart,
That in kinship with wisdom there is immortality,
And in friendship with her there is good pleasure,
And in the labors of her hands there is unfailing wealth,
And in the shared training of her company there is discernment,
And in the fellowship of her words there is good repute—
Thus I searched about that I might take her for myself.
As a child I was good by nature and received a good soul;
And much more, since I was good,
I entered an undefiled body.

Encouraging Words...

Wisdom (Christ as taught by the early church fathers) is to be sought and pursued by all of us. In Wisdom we find immortality, we are given good pleasure and godly wealth, and we receive training and discernment. God gives us so much in Christ. This passage, plus the following verses also reminds us that when God created us and joins our fleshly body with our soul, He gives us a good soul and a good nature, created in His image. It is as we grow up and make sinful choices that our body, our flesh, becomes defiled and corrupted. This is why it is so important for us to continually pursue Wisdom in our days of living.