Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014

In the palm of Whose hand?

Psalm 56:3-4 (55:4-5 LXX)

I will not fear by day,
But I will hope in You.
I will praise God with my words all day long;
In God I hope; I will not be afraid; what will flesh do to me?

Personal Challenge...

Do we really live our lives out practicing our faith in God? Do we worry about things? Things of this world? Things related to the future? Do we hold on to the things of the past...or worse yet let them hold on to us? Our God holds eternity; past, present, and future, in the palm of His hand. If He is truly our Lord then we can go throughout the day without fear because our hope is in Him. We can praise Him with every breath, because He is God. No one, or no thing, can harm us. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29, 2014

Living under mercy and truth...

Psalm 84:11-12 (83:12-13 LXX)

For the Lord God loves mercy and truth;
He will give grace and glory;
The Lord's hand will not remove good things from those who walk in innocence.
O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who hopes in You.

Encouraging Words...

Our God does not have unrealistic rules and expectations for us. He does not want us to hate and even sometimes kill those who do not believe in Him. To the contrary He wants us to love them. He does not demand tithes, offerings, and sacrifices. To the contrary He asks for us to give Him our hearts. He desires that we pass on His mercy, grace, and truth to those whom we come into contact with. He wants us to put our hope, our complete hope, in Him. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28, 2014

Living the life of a sojourner...

Psalm 84:1-2 (83:2-3 LXX)

How beloved are Your dwellings, O Lord of hosts.
My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh greatly rejoice in the living God.

Personal Challenge...

Does my soul long and faint for the courts of the Lord or am I content with where I am in this world? Does my heart and flesh greatly rejoice in the living God or do I rejoice in the things that I have in this world? I am supposed to be living my life as a sojourner in this physical world. My true home, my true citizenship, is in God's kingdom. Do I live my life this way? Can those around me see that I am a foreigner in their land? Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

"It's worse than that, he's dead Jim!"
(thanks to Dr. McCoy (Bones) on Star Trek)

James 2:17

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Personal Challenge...

It is so easy to claim belief, or faith, in our Lord and not have that belief evidenced in our lives. If we do not act upon that belief and do the good works that God has called us and equipped us to do then that faith is empty and dead. Faith is a verb and not a noun.

October 26, 2104

What's in my mouth?

Ephesians 4:29

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Personal Challenge...

Am I watching what comes out of my mouth and does it edify those around me? One of the things that defeats this way of behaving in our society is the Seinfeld Effect. This is that dry sense of humor that thrives on putting others down in sarcastic ways and following up with, " Just kidding!" This has become pervasive in the church as well as society. Words can either cut down or build up and once spoken they cannot be undone. So what is coming out of my mouth? Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

ps: The words may not just be coming out of my mouth...they might be coming from my fingertips on the keyboard of my computer!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 25, 2014

Saint of the Week...

October 24, 2014

Making our proclamations...

Psalm 55:16-17 (54:17-18 LXX)

But I cried out to God,
And the Lord heard me.
Evening and morning and midday, I shall tell;
I shall proclaim, and He will hear my voice.

Encouraging Words...

Our God lives! He hears our voices when we cry out to Him. When should we cry out to Him...always! Whether in good times or bad we are to be proclaiming Him and His benevolence. Glory be to God!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014

Feeding on the truth...

1 Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Personal Challenge...

We cannot claim to be children of God and be living lives that are no different than what goes on in the world around us. We must abandon the formal life, the ways of the world and pursue lives filled with virtue. This comes from feeding on the truth of our Lord found in teachings of the church, both written and spoken, participating in the sacraments of the church, and striving to grow in our Christian life, the image of Christ. This is all a series of choices followed by actions. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014

Who is really troubling who?

1 Kings 18:17-18

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Are you the one who is troubling Israel?” Elijah answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but rather you and the house of your father, in that you forsook the Lord your God and followed after the Baals.

Personal Challenge...

Oh how quickly we blame God for the events that are transpiring in our lives as the consequences from our own choices. We walk away from our Lord and abandon His precepts and desires for us and then wonder why our lives begin to go awry. Then we start proclaiming, "Oh God, why are you doing this in my life?" It is not God that has done anything to us, but is is us who have turned from Him and are now reaping the fruit of that decision. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014

Mercy imputed...actions to follow...

Romans 4:5-8

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,And whose sins are covered;Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin."
Encouraging Words...

We serve a God who is merciful. We do not have to do anything to earn His mercy. Actually, there is nothing that we can do to earn it. Through the work of Christ (incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection) God imputes righteousness to us when we put our faith in His Son. It has nothing to do with what we do and everything to do with what He does. Glory be to God!

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014

Striving for reproach?

1 Timothy 4:10

For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Personal Challenge...
Are we being reproached and criticized because of our trust in the living God? If not, then maybe we are not living our lives in a way that those around us know that He is our Lord and Savior. Jesus told us that the world will hate us because it hated Him. Sobering thoughts on just how much I do, or do not proclaim my trust in Jesus. Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17, 2014

The power of our words...

Proverbs 17:14 (17:15 LXX)

The foundation of righteousness gives authority to words,
But discord and quarreling precede poverty.

Personal Challenge...

Our words and how we use them have so much more power than we will ever know. If we speak from a place of righteousness, which does not just happen, but comes from a life of humility and rigor in following the Lord, then our words can carry authority and healing with them. If we speak from our worldly perspective, which is typically filled with discord and quarreling, then we bring poverty into the situation and steal life from those around us. The challenge is to spend more time in silent humility, seeking the heart of God, and refraining from speaking until He gives us both His permission and His words. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16, 2014

Blessing the Lord...

Psalm 34:1 (33:2 LXX)

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Personal Challenge...

This is not an option. It is not something that I decide to do based on the conditions of the day or how I am feeling. This is a choice. A positive, even aggressive choice, to focus on blessing the Lord at all times for all that He does regardless of whether I want to to or not. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 13, 2014

Being lights in the darkness...

1 Peter 2:12

having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Personal Challenge...

We live in a world that is filled with Gentiles, those who do not know the full truth of our Lord God Almighty. It is our responsibility, our calling, to live our lives in such a way that it glorifies our God and points to the lost to them...even when the very people that we are trying to love speak out against us. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 12, 2014

Speaking the word of God rightly...

2 Timothy 2:14-17a

Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer.

Personal Challenge...

Paul gives Timothy a stern warning to be very careful how he speaks the word of God. It becomes so easy to slip into a state where we think we know so much and start interpreting God's word the way that we want to. This leads to idle babbling and ultimately heresy. This is why we must observe the scriptures in context of our community, the church, and her traditions and teachings. The farther away her we wander the farther away from the truth we are. May God guide each one of us who proclaim Him as Lord to be diligent in how we present ourselves to Him and those around us and to be workers who are not ashamed of His truth and equipped to rightly divide it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October 11, 2014

Saint of the Week...

October 10, 2014

Our role in our employment...

Ephesians 6:5-8

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Personal Challenge...

Once again the timing of a verse for the day is impeccable. What is our role as an employee? To do all that we do for the glory of God regardless of our position in employment. Whether we are in a position of leadership or a subordinate to another we are where we are because that is where God wants us. So we are to submit to those in authority and serve with joy and thanksgiving. Glory be to God!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 9, 2014

Spreading the Word...

Tobit 13:3-4

Give thanks to Him before the nations,
O children of Israel,
For He scattered us among them.
Make known His greatness there;
Exalt Him in the presence of all the living,
For He is our Lord and God;
He is our Father unto all the ages.

Personal Challenge...

Just as God scattered His nation of Israel throughout the world to share His truth with the Gentiles, so are we as Christians to spread throughout our world today. We are in exile from our true home. We are ambassadors, representatives of God, our King. God has done this so that His truth and light can be shown into every corner of the world. How are we doing at being His truth and light? How am I doing at being His truth and light? Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 8, 2014

Give thanks to God!

Tobit 12:6-7

Then Raphael secretly called the two of them, and said to them, "Bless God and give Him thanks. Ascribe greatness to Him and give thanks in the presence of all the living for what He has done for you. It is good to bless God and to exalt His name. Make known the words of God's works honorably and do not delay to give thanks to Him. It is noble to keep hidden the secret of a king, but glorious to unveil the works of God. Do good, and evil will not find you."

Personal Challenge...

Has life dealt you another rotten hand? Give thanks to God! Have you been passed up for that promotion or recognition? Give thanks to God! Are times difficult due to bad health, hard times, or other tragedy? Give thanks to God! Is everything going just perfect right now in your life? Give thanks to God! Did you just get that promotion that you have been waiting for, or that new house you have worked so hard for, or so many other wonderful things that happen in our lives? Give thanks to God! This is our calling. This is our duty. This is our opportunity. To give thanks to God for everything that happens in our lives. What better way to proclaim our God to a dark, cold, and lost world is there than giving thanks unto God? Glory be to God!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014

In God we are to trust...

Romans 10:8-13

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Encouraging Words...

Our God wants all of His creation to be saved from the grip of death. This is why He gave up His only Son as the ultimate sacrifice. We must receive this offering of love not only believing in our heart that we receive life through Christ, but confessing who He is and who we are without Him. This starts us on our journey of putting our entire trust in Christ. Glory be to God!

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014

A way to live our lives...

Tobit 4:5-7

My son, remember the Lord our God all your days, and do not desire to sin or to disobey His commandments. Do righteousness all the days of your life, and do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing. For if you walk in the truth, you will be successful in your works. Do almsgiving from your possessions to all who do righteousness. When you do almsgiving, do not let your eye be envious. Do not turn your face away from any poor man, so the face of God will not be turned away from you.

Encouraging Words...

What awesome advice given to Tobias from his father Tobit. There is no commentary needed to understand the guidance provided here in how we can live godly lives. It is too bad that so many who practice the Christian faith will never see these words because they are part of the Apocrypha. May God's truth be spread and His name be glorified.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

October 4, 2014

Saint of the week...

October 3, 2014

Choosing to be countercultural...

Proverbs 16:32 (16:30 LXX)

A patient man is better than a strong man,
And he who controls his temper is better than he who captures a city.

Personal Challenge…

Our society/culture encourages us to be strong and aggressive in all that we do. We are supposed to look out for number one…ourselves. This is so contradictory to the teachings of Christianity. As Christians we are called to be humble, to be patient, to submit to our Lord and let Him lead our lives. Living this way also helps us to develop traits and virtues that lead to righteous and godly lives. In reality, living a Christian life is always countercultural.

Friday, October 3, 2014

October 2, 2014

Being mindful of where we sit...

Ecclesiastes 10:6

The senseless man devotes himself to great heights,
And rich men shall sit in a lowly place.

Personal Challenge…

Solomon give us an important reminder that is more godly, more righteous, to seek the lower place than the higher. Jesus said the same when He told us to sit at the foot of the table and let the host elevate us if he so chooses. This is a true sign of humility when we strive to always put others before us, whether that be where we sit at the “banquet”, or where we stand in line, or how we behave in a conversation, and the list goes on and on. Doing this as our normal practice of being then it allows God to use us in ways that glorify Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 1, 2014

What are we truly pursuing?

Ecclesiastes 7:16

Do not be overly righteous,
Nor be overly wise,
Lest you be confounded.

Personal Challenge…

Solomon reminds us in his great and godly wisdom that we must be very careful of how we pursue and idolize righteousness and knowledge. The pursuit of righteousness can lead us to false piety and pharisaism. Christ often spoke out against this and its folly. The pursuit and idolization of knowledge sets us up to be wise on our own account and totally miss the source of true wisdom, Jesus Christ. More important, and more difficult, is living a life of humility, submitting to our Lord and serving the needs of our neighbors. Sometimes we must walk away from our fasting and “personal” prayer times in order to serve our God in the life of another. Sometimes we must put down the books we are reading and the saints that we are trying to emulate to be God’s hands, feet, and mouths. Our lives are to be about Him and not about us. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!