Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 28, 2015

Saint of the Week...
St. John Climacus

Today I would like to dedicate this post to my father, Billy Gene Short. Today he would have been 88. Memory Eternal Dad! Your meekness was an obvious indicator of your devoted life of prayer.

Friday, February 27, 2015

February 27, 2015

Living life as a child!

Luke 18:15-17

Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

Encouraging Words...

I don't want to ever grow up. Why? As we become adults we begin to embrace intellectualism and yield to the pressures around us to be rational and logical. It is in these very acts that we become cynical and hard to those things around us that can often be viewed as mysteries. Theophylact of Bulgaria said of this passage:
"A little child is not arrogant, he does not despise anyone, he is innocent and guileless. He does not inflate himself in the presence of important people, nor withdraw from those in sorrows. Instead, he lives in complete simplicity."
Is it any wonder that Jesus want us to approach Him and receive His kingdom like a little child? Glory be to God!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 26, 2015

Doing the right thing...

Susanna 22-23

Then Susanna sighed deeply and said, “I am hemmed in on all sides, for if I do this thing, it is death for me; yet if I do not, I will not escape your hands. But it is better for me not to do it and to fall into your hands, than to sin against the Lord.”

Personal Challenge...

This account of Susanna in the preamble to Daniel is so appropriate for what is going on in our world today. The news may not be covering it very much, but in the Middle East we are seeing many Christians being martyred for their faith and their unwillingness to reject their Lord. So many people are asking why they don't just reject Christ and save their lives. Here Susanna is confronted with a false accusation from two upright men in her community who want to take advantage of her and she would rather stand firm in her purity, her commitment to her God and face a trial with two credible witnesses (because of their positions only) that will lie and surely condemn her to death rather than sin against God. Am I willing to look into the barrel of a gun and refuse to deny my Christ knowing that it will be the last thing I do in my life? Am I willing to show my commitment to my Lord at work and in the community when it is not politically correct and suffer shame and humiliation for my God? I can only answer these questions, "I hope so!" Jesus died for me without asking anything from me. Am I willing to take up His cross and die for Him today, tomorrow, and every day after that? Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 25, 2015

The Kingdom of God is amongst us...

Luke 17:20-21

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."

Personal Challenge...

Why are we, the children of God, always so preoccupied on His kingdom being established in some future age? It is because by looking at it this way we can justify the ways that we live our lives today. Lives filled with debauchery and abuse of those around us whom we should be witnessing to and bringing into the kingdom of God. Jesus tells us that with His incarnation the kingdom of God has been established, in our presence in the body of Christ, and within the hearts of each and every one of His children. Since this is so, then we should be living our lives today as residents in God's kingdom...glorifying Him, casting off the sins and skins of this world, and putting on righteousness and purity. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 24, 2015

Giving from our richness...

2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Personal Challenge...

Here is an example of how we can grow in our image of Christ. As God Himself, Christ gave up all the richness and glory of heaven to become one of us so that we might be restored to our relationship with God and once again partake in His riches. Is this not what we are also called to do, especially during the season of Great give up of our riches here on earth so that we might be able to give to those around us? It is not just about the stuff of this earth that we are to give to those around us but the riches that God has poured out upon us so that others might experience His love and run to Him for their salvation. Glory be to God!

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015

Fighting the battle from under His shelter...

Psalm 91:1 (90:1 LXX)

He who dwells in the help of the Most High
Shall lodge in the shelter of the God of heaven.

Encouraging Words...

As members of the body of Christ, His Church, we are in constant battle with His spiritual enemies. The only way that we can survive this warfare is to dwell in the help of our Lord. We do this through prayer, worship, fellowship with others, practicing the traditions of the Church and spending time in His teachings. Through these activities, we lodge in His shelter and are protected and strengthened by Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

February 22, 2015

Coming out of the darkness...

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Encouraging Words...

What a blessing it is to know that our salvation in Christ is not just "fire insurance". He did not just save us from eternal separation from God, but He saved us to be His royal priesthood, His holy nation, His own special people so that we can proclaim Him, and His grace, mercy, and love, to those who are still in darkness. Glory be to God!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 21, 2015

Saint of the Week...

St. John Chrysostom

What a great reminder as we head into the season of Great Lent.

Friday, February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

Working in our salvation...

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

Personal Challenge...

I have been blessed to have been living a Christian life for over 50 years. Most of those years, I have been active in a church and I cannot remember how many times we had problems getting people to serve in the church and to help the body of Christ. After reading this passage again, I think I figured out one of the reasons for this. In the Western church, everyone is so worried about the teaching that we are not saved through our works that maybe we have given everyone permission, and sometimes even commands, to not do any works at all. Throughout the scriptures, we are told that we are to be active in our Christian lives. Look at all of the active verbs in these two verses. The scriptures clearly teach us to do works for our Lord, for our Church, and for our neighbor...not in order to be saved or looked upon better by our Lord, but because He has saved us. We are saved to do good works! Our salvation is worked out in our actions, not our passiveness. We are to go and make disciples. We are to love our neighbor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless. We are to bring Christ to the lost world. This is all about works, works of service and love for our Lord and in thanks for what He has done for us. Glory be to God!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19, 2015


1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Personal Challenge...

What is one of the desires that all Christian faith practices hold on to? To live our lives where our hearts are blameless in holiness before God. How can we do this in our lives? By loving one another. We are called to love our God and to love our neighbor. It grieves me when I see my brothers in Christ condemning other brothers in Christ for their practices and traditions of faith. Especially when they do not take the time to truly understand these practices or traditions. One of these practices that are prevalent this time of year is Lent and we see the ramp up of rhetoric against it. Is this showing love? Is this leading to holiness? Love is an active, purposed action bestowed upon another, starting with understanding them. To God be the glory...not us!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 18, 2015

A nugget in the midst of the mire...

Ezekiel 34:15-16

"I shall feed My sheep and refresh them; and they will know that I am the Lord," thus says the Lord and Master. "I shall seek the lost, bring back the misled, bind up the broken, strengthen the fallen, protect the strong, and feed them with judgment."

Encouraging Words...

This nugget of encouragement is sandwiched in the middle of some difficult and troubling texts. The shepherds (leaders) of Israel are being called out for how much they have misled and taken advantage of their flock, their followers. Ezekiel is prophesying that these leaders will not only be replaced by the ultimate Shepherd, Jesus Christ, but that these bad shepherds will have to pay the price for the lives that they have misled and abused. Couldn't this text, these problems, also apply to today? We have so many people in leadership in our churches and ministries that have abandoned the truths of old, redefined God and His promises and commands to fit their agendas, and created their own empires based on the backs of their flocks...and doing it under the guise of Christianity. We must always remember that of whom much is given, much is expected. We as leaders, teachers, ministry leaders in God's Church will be held accountable for how well we have led, nurtured, and protected His flock. We are stewards, not owners. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 17, 2015

The end of death...

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Encouraging Words...

No matter who we are, or what we have done in our lives...Christ died for us! He died for all of His creation so that His creation would not have to die again. What we do with this incredible love from God is what determines the course of our lives. We can choose to reject it and live lawless and unrighteous lives or we can choose to embrace it and live righteous lives striving to glorify our God. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

Compassion, mercy, longsuffering, and truthful...

Psalm 86:15 (85:15 LXX)

But You, O Lord, are compassionate and merciful,
Longsuffering and very merciful and truthful.

Encouraging Words...

So, how is it that we can believe that God is all love, full of grace and mercy, and still an angry, judgmental God? It is because we believe the machinations of man, steeped in juridical and legalistic beliefs that can only be satisfied with this kind of a God. If we go back to the beginnings of our faith, to the teachings of those who walked with Christ and received His teachings firsthand and then passed them on to the Church, then we will find a much different perspective of God and His love and mercy. It was not until much later in our Church history that God, the angry judge, became more prevalent. As for me and my household, we will stay with the teachings of our ancient faith.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15, 2015

Wisdom Gods way...

Psalm 111:10 (110:10 LXX)

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord;
A good understanding is in all who practice it.
His praise continues unto ages of ages.

Personal Challenge...

What is knowledge without a genuine fear of the Lord? Information! What is the pursuit of knowledge without a deep fear and respect of the Lord? Folly! We are called first and foremost to love our God with our whole being, to fear Him with awe and respect, and this will set us on our journey of wisdom. It is not about me! It is not about how much I study, or read, or expound upon what I think I know, for this too becomes about me! I must first accept that only God is all-knowing and accept that if I love Him the way that He calls me to then He will give me the wisdom that He knows that I need. He knows that If I pursue Him this way that the wisdom that He gives me will be used for His glory and not my edification. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

February 14, 2015

Saint of the Week...
Elder Porphyrios

Don't wage your Christian struggle with sermons and arguments, but with true love. When we argue, others react. When we love people, they are moved and we win them over. When we love we think that we offer something to others, but in reality we are the first to benefit.

Friday, February 13, 2015

February 13, 2015

Being near to God...

Psalm 145:18(144:18 LXX)

The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.

Personal Challenge...

How often do we miss out on the promises of God because we fail to do all that is necessary to receive them. God is not some cosmic sugar daddy who is there at our beck and call to fulfill our every desire. If we call upon Him in truth, in His truth, grounded in our relationship with Him and His relationship with us, then He will hear us and be near to us. We are not to treat Him like some genie in a bottle and expect Him to jump to attention every time we snap our fingers. To the contrary, it is us who should be jumping through hoops doing things for Him...loving our neighbors, putting others first, and seeking Him in His church, traditions, and living Word. We cannot call upon Him in truth if we do not know His truth. Glory be to God!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February 12, 2015

Doing great and mighty things...

Judges 6:12

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty one of the armies!”

Encouraging Words...

Even though Gideon had snuck out to gather wheat in fear of the enemy and argued with the Angel that he was small and incapable of doing anything great for the Lord he is still told that because the Lord is with him he will do great things. And the great things that he did in his humility led to the church fathers recognizing him as a prefigure of Christ. What about us? Jesus told us that He would be with us even to the end of ages. Will He not use us to do mighty things for Him and His kingdom if we will just humble ourselves before Him and be obedient to Him? Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11, 2015

Serving up a banquet...

Luke 12:48b

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

Personal Challenge...

In the industry that I work in we often say, "That is why he gets paid the big bucks!" We, as followers of Christ, have been given much. We have been given the keys to the kingdom of God...the Good News of Jesus Christ. We have been given great love, mercy, and grace by our that we can give it to those around us. Since we have been given so much we should know that He expects much from us. He expects us to love Him and our neighbor. He expects us to pour out His grace and mercy on those around us. He expects us to die for Him because He died for us. Living a Christian life is not a picnic, it is a banquet where we are both the provider and the server. Glory be to God! Not me!

February 10, 2015

Putting our hope in the right place...

Psalm 62:8 (61:9 LXX)

Hope in Him, all you congregation of people;
Pour out your hearts before Him;
God is our helper.

Encouraging Words...

Praise God for His comfort and protection. He is the one that we should always turn to for He is our helper. No matter what issues life brings up, no matter how dire they may seem, our God is whom we should turn to for guidance, protection, and love. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

February 9, 2015

Be anxious for nothing...

Luke 12:29-31

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

Encouraging Words...

This is an interesting passage as we continue through this time of preparation for Great Lent. It is so easy to get anxious about things such as food and drink. Why do we do all this when we know that our Father will take care of us? Is it lack of faith? Maybe this is part of the wisdom of our early church fathers...practice fasting to free us from the anxiety of our sustenance. God knows our needs. He knows our limitations. He will provide for us and we must have faith in Him to do so.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February 8, 2015

Weathering the storm...

2 Corinthians 5:1

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Encouraging Words...

I have had many opportunities throughout my life to go camping far from the comforts of home and deep in the wilderness. More than once a harsh and dreadful storm has rolled in and shredded our campsite. I can remember vividly how we yearned to be back home in our warm, dry, and sturdy homes. This is the desire that Paul is expressing and that all of us should be feeling. These temporal tents that we live in are temporary and nowhere near the glory of what our heavenly homes will be. We do not yearn to be dead and therefore no longer present in in these tents...we yearn to be in our glorious, permanent homes in God's heavenly kingdom where the storms of life can no longer reach us. Glory be to God!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

February 6, 2015

Sharpening our weapon of war...

Colossians 4:2

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

Personal Challenge...

One of the most powerful weapons that we have in our arsenal of faith is prayer. Through prayer we have an open line of communication to our Lord and Savior. We are commanded here to be earnest, vigilant, and thankful in our prayer. I know that this is one area of my life that needs a lot of work. It is so easy to let everything else come before concerted, earnest, vigilant times of prayer. Time to make a change! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February 5, 2015

Keeping things in focus...

Colossians 3:1-2

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Personal Challenge...

What should we be focusing on in or lives? It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and keep our focus here on earthly things. We must regularly clean our lens and refocus on our true home, where Christ is, and where we will be someday. Doing this will not only draw us closer to Him, but also help us to be better ambassadors where we are now. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February 4, 2015

Close by our Lord's side...

Psalm 35:22-23 (34:22-23 LXX)

You saw this, O Lord; do not keep silence;
O Lord, do not be far from me.
Arise, O Lord, attend to my judgment,
My God and my Lord, to my cause.

Encouraging Words...

Our God and our Lord is ever present in our lives. He sees all, knows all, and is our judge. By His grace and love we are forgiven and cleansed. By His grace we are redeemed and set free. Our desire should always be that He be near, that He be vocal in our lives, that He be both our judge and our desire. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February 3, 2015

Happy Birthday Mom!

Psalm 103:8 (102:8 LXX)

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

Encouraging Words...

What a blessing it is to serve a God who is loving, compassionate, and merciful. One of the ways that He shows these traits to us is by the people that He puts in our lives. Today my mother celebrates her birthday. She is a godly woman who has lived her life in a way so as to try to adopt these traits as her own. She is loving, compassionate, and merciful and I am truly blessed to be able to call her, "Mom!" I love you mom and pray that God will grant you many years!

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

Keeping our hearts focused on our true home...

Baruch 2:29-35 (LXX)

"If you do not obey My voice, truly this very great multitude of people will become a small number amidst all the nations where I shall scatter them. For I knew they would not obey Me, because they are a stiff-necked people. But in the land of their exile their hearts will turn back, and they will know that I am the Lord their God, and I will give them a heart and ears that obey; and they will praise Me in the land of their exile and will remember My name. They will turn from their stubbornness and their evil deeds; for they shall remember the way of their fathers, who sinned against the Lord. And I shall bring them again to the land I swore to their fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and they will rule over it, and I will multiply their numbers, and they will not be diminished. And I shall establish an everlasting covenant with them to be their God, and they will be My people; I shall never again remove My people Israel from the land I give to them."

Encouraging Words...

We can read this passage looking back as a story of the exile of the Jewish nation...or we can read it looking forward as a promise, a prophecy of what is going to happen to the Church, the Bride of Christ. We live today in exile in a foreign land. We yearn to be with our Lord in His eternal kingdom, the one truly promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And we are reminded here what we must do to prepare ourselves to make it to this kingdom and to bring as many of our neighbors with us as possible. We must stop living our lives in exile as if this is that best that their is and keep our hearts and minds focused on our true home. Glory be to God!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February 1, 2015

Our prayers are heard...

Lamentations 3:52-54

“You heard my voice;
Do not hide Your ears from my supplication.
You drew near at my call on the day I called upon You.
You said to me, ‘Do not fear.’
O Lord, You pleaded the case for my soul;
You redeemed my life."

Encouraging Words...

Even though the hard times of our lives are usually due to the consequences of our own sins, our own propensity to turn our backs on our Lord, He still comes into our lives to redeem us and restore us into relationship with us. Our Lord Jesus Christ redeems us in His love, grace, and mercy. Thank You, Lord Jesus, Thank You!