Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 31, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 50:22-24 LXX

And now bless the God of all,
Who does great things in every way,
Who exalts our days from our birth
And deals with us according to His mercy.
May He give us gladness of heart,
And may there be peace in our days,
In Israel as in the days of old.
May He entrust with us His mercy,
And let Him redeem us in our days.

Encouraging Words

Life, as we know it now, is not what God meant it to be. He created us in His image. He created us to commune with Him. He placed us in a garden where everything was perfect. We walked with Him and talked with Him. We did not need sunlight because His uncreated light was all that was needed. We lived sid by side with all of the beasts of creation with no fear or concern for our lives. We were in heaven on earth. Then we broke our relationship with God and chose to eat the forbidden fruit. The rest is history and our world around us is proof that we have fallen. But by God's never ending grace and mercy and the incarnation of His Son, we are able to reclaim that position with God, which we had in the beginning. We must struggle and fight against the fallenness that we live in, but we are not alone. Our God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is walking with us through this life. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March 30, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 39:33-35 LXX

All the works of the Lord are good,
And He will supply every need in its hour.
No one can say, “This is worse than that,”
For all things will be well pleasing in their time.
So now sing praise with all your heart and voice,
And bless the name of the Lord.

Encouraging Words

Our God transcends time. I live in a finite world and therefore, I am constrained by time. If something transpires today, i.e. the loss of a loved one or a job, having a serious illness, being involved in an accident, or anything else that causes a major, or even a minor, impact on my life touches me in the now and can modify how I deal with the future. It is real! It is a life changing impact! But our God is outside of the bounds and constraints of time. He knows how this situation will work for my good. He knows the past, present, and future. He knows that this will someday be pleasing in its time. So with that knowledge and faith in my God, I can sing praise for my Lord with all of my heart and voice.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 39:1-3 LXX

How different is the man who devotes himself
To the study of the law of the Most High.
He will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients
And be occupied with their prophecies.
He will preserve the discourse of notable men
And penetrate the subtleties of parables.
He will seek out the hidden meanings of proverbs
And be engaged in the riddles of parables.

Personal Challenge

Why do we pursue our God through the writings and the teachings of His church and the saints that have gone before us? If it is for personal gain or to amass knowledge then it is for the wrong reason. We do this so that we can look outside of ourselves and embrace the great knowledge and wisdom of others and learn from them. As we do this we take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on others opening up a vista so full and rich. We do this to empty ourselves of what we think we know and who we think we are so that we can be filled with Him and His wisdom. Glory be to God!

Monday, March 28, 2016

March 28, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 37:13-15 LXX

Stand firm on the counsel of your heart,
For no one is more faithful to you than it.
For a man's soul sometimes tells him more
Than seven watchmen sitting high on a watchtower.
And in all matters, pray to the Most High
That He may direct your way in truth.

Encouraging Words

I cannot count the number of times that I have been told by well-meaning Christians that I can never trust my heart because its nature is bad and sinful. I always had a hard time with this because I took Christ at His word that He lived in my heart. So, here we have a word of wisdom from Ben Sirach that reminds us to stand firm on the counsel of our heart because no one is more faithful than it. Isn't this awesome! If Jesus dwells within my heart and I am striving to live my life in a way that honors and glorifies Him then He will speak to me more through my heart than He will through my mind. Again, awesome! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner and please direct my way in your truth.

March 27, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 35:7-10 LXX

Glorify the Lord with your generosity,
And do not reduce the firstfruits of your hands.
In every gift let your face be cheerful,
And sanctify your tithe with gladness.
Give to the Most High as He has given to you,
And give to Him with generosity, according to your windfall.
For the Lord is He who repays,
And He will repay you sevenfold.

Encouraging Words

Why do we give to our Lord? Is it because we are commanded to? No! Is it so that we get more back or earn our way into heaven? No! Is it because we feel guilty for our sins? No! We give because we are grateful for all that has been given to us and we desire to return the firstfruits of it so that others can be touched by His love. What do we give? We give of our material wealth, which is money, or goods, or the things that money can buy, like bringing a dish to the fellowship hour. But God also enjoys other firstfruits of our lives, such as our time, our ability to reach out to those in need, our love for another, and anything else that is a result of His blessings poured out on us. We give because our love for Him is greater than our love for what we are giving up. Glory be to God!

March 26, 2016

Saint of the Week
St. John of Kronstadt

Friday, March 25, 2016

March 25, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 35:1-3 LXX

The man who keeps the law will abound in offerings;
He who heeds the commandments sacrifices a peace offering.
He who returns a kindness offers fine wheat flour,
And he who does alms sacrifices a praise offering.
To forsake evil is pleasing to the Lord,
And to forsake wrongdoing is atonement.

Personal Challenge

One of the erroneous teachings of modern Christianity is that we do not need to do any works for God. This has resulted in a consumer-based practice of Christianity. We go to church expecting to be entertained. We look to God to be our great sugar-daddy who will meet our every need, desire, want, or desire. It is true, our salvation is in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. There is nothing that I can do to earn it because I am a sinner and undeserving of His love, grace, and mercy. But once He bestows His love upon me, and I know Him and all that He has done for me, then I cannot stop desiring to serve Him, to be obedient to His commandments, to be kind and loving to those in my life, to give alms, and to forsake evil and wrongdoing. My works become a result of my salvation. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 24, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 34:15-17 LXX

Blessed is the soul of a man who fears the Lord.
To whom does he look? And who is his support?
The eyes of the Lord are upon those who love Him.
He is a powerful protection and a strong support:
A shelter from the burning heat,
A shelter from the noonday sun,
A guard from stumbling,
And help from a fall.
He raises up the soul
And gives light to the eyes.
He gives healing, life, and blessing.

Encouraging Words

One of the results of living a 60+ year life is having seen, and sometimes put into practice, a broad range of sheltering methods. Growing up in the Cold War era I remember the bomb drills and scurrying under my desk at school as well as the advertisements for backyard bomb shelters. As a Boy Scout in my youth and later as a Scoutmaster I remember learning how to seek shelter and practiced the application of it while getting caught in the mountains while backpacking. There was the earthquake preparedness in California and standing in doorways while waiting for the shaking to stop. There was shelter planning in Thailand for tsunamis and now tornado preparedness in Ohio. But none of this comes close to the shelter that our Lord provides to His children. It is provided through unending, unconditional love, and guards us through any issue, whether physical, emotional, or atomic bomb could ever be. And it is provided to me and everyone else, freely and with love and mercy. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 23, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 34:13-14 LXX

The spirit of those who fear the Lord will live,
For their hope is in Him who saves them.
He who fears the Lord will fear nothing,
And he will not be cowardly, for the Lord is his hope.

Encouraging Words

I know that I have not lived some stellar godly and righteous life, for I know that I am a sinner. And as I grow older, the more I realize tat I am not just a sinner, but as Paul laments, I am the chief of sinners. However, even as low as I am, I have been blessed throughout my life to see the results of fearing and loving God. My spirit truly dies live. I am able to fear nothing and not be cowardly because the Lord whom I fear and live is my hope. I have lost my job, more than once, just to have God restore me. He even restored me once to the experience of a lifetime of being a missionary in Haiti. I have lost loved ones through death, relocation, and even divorce, just to have God restore my relationships tenfold in return. I have been beaten down spiritually, and have seen others oppressed by our enemy, and have watched as our almighty Father came through in inexplicable ways because hearts were stayed on Him. My God, our God is real. He is alive. He does care for His children. And He is my only hope. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 33:13 LXX

All His ways are according to His good pleasure.
Like clay in a potter's hand,
Thus men are in the hand of Him who made them,
To render to them according to His judgment.

Encouraging Words
Our creator is the creator and benefactor of all creation. He holds it in the palm of His hand and gives it life and sustenance. I am part of that creation, and therefore, He holds me in the palm of His hand. He is not some fickle, detached tyrant who has cast us aside to fend for ourselves. As the master potter, He is active in my life molding and shaping me into His image. The more I yield to His will the less resistance there is to His handiwork. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 32:23-24 LXX

In every work entrust your soul to the Lord,
For this is the keeping of the commandments.
He who believes in the Law heeds the commandments,
And he who trusts in the Lord will not suffer loss.

Personal Challenge

Is Jesus the center of everything that I do? Whether it be work for my employer, activities in my daily life, or my acts of the faith that I practice, Jesus should show through as the reason for being as well as my reason for doing. Jesus was the author and the fulfiller of the Law, so doesn't it make sense that If I say that I believe in Him and desire to live my life in His image that I will embrace His commandments and live by them? I do not do this because I am bound by the Law, but because I am set free by His love for me and in response to that I desire to obey Him. Glory be to God!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March 20, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 32:14-17 LXX

The man who fears the Lord will receive instruction,
And those who rise early will find His approval.
He who seeks the Law will be filled with it,
But the hypocrite will be made to stumble by it.
Those who fear the Lord will discover judgment,
And like the light they will kindle righteous deeds.
A sinful man will turn aside correction
And find a rationalization according to his will.

Personal Challenge

As Christians, we are called to live our lives in the likeness of Christ at all times. One of the illnesses in our culture today, especially as it has crept into the church, is dualism. I can profess to love Jesus and show that love for Him on Sunday while at church and live like the devil the rest of the week. I can claim to be a follower of Christ, who commands me to love my neighbor, and go throughout my day being hateful and scornful of people that I don't like. I can read my scriptures and proclaim how wonderful they are and then shout praises for leaders, actors, and other people of the world whose very lives and teachings contradict the love of Christ. If I am to truly be a Christian, a follower of Christ and His teachings, then this is an all or nothing commitment. My life can no longer be informed by my Lord, but transformed. My life can no longer by mine, but His. I must stop becoming a Christian and be a Christian. This is why we were promised the Holy Spirit. This is why we receive the Holy Spirit in our chrismation. It is Him dwelling within us that gives us the power to live constantly for Christ. The challenge for me and my free will is to not quench the Holy Spirit and do what He leads me to do. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

March 19, 2016

Saint of the Week
St. John Climacus

Friday, March 18, 2016

March 18, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 30:21-24 LXX

Do not give yourself over to sorrow,
And do not distress yourself deliberately.
Gladness of the heart is the life of man,
And rejoicing by a man lengthens his life.
Love your soul and comfort your heart,
And put sorrow far away from you;
For sorrow has destroyed many,
And there is no profit in it.
Envy and anger will shorten your days,
And worry will bring premature old age.

Personal Challenge

One of the challenges that we have in our modern society is that we have a pill for almost everything that can come up in our lives. Granted, there are definitely good aspects of modern medicine and health practices. In many respects, these are miraculous gifts from our Father above. However, there are many things that happen in our lives because of our choices and our responses to the consequences of these choices. Here we have Ben Sirach reminding us that if we give ourselves over to sorrow there will be all kinds of negative consequences. He does not say that we will not have situations where grieving and sorrow are appropriate. God created us to grieve in times of loss and to be sorrowful at times of pain and suffering in our lives or the lives of those around us. We are being told here to not let that sorrow consume us but to deal with it from a heart that can rejoice in the love of our God and the love of those around us. This not only applies to sorrow but to all of the passions in our lives. It is our responsibility to our God and to each other to control our passions and to not let them control us. Glory be to God!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March 17, 2017


Wisdom of Sirach 28:2-3 LXX

Forgive a wrong done you by your neighbor;
Then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.
Can a man preserve wrath against his neighbor
And still seek healing from the Lord?

Personal Challenge

Our Lord has called us to take our eyes off of ourselves and to set them upon God and our neighbor. He did this when He commanded us to follow the two great laws: love our God and love our neighbor. Part of doing this is the act of forgiving others for the offenses that they have done to us. Without sincerely doing this, giving true forgiveness to another, then we cannot fully receive the forgiveness that God want to give to us. This is not because God does not have the power to give us this forgiveness but it is because if I do not forgive another I cannot be humble enough to receive the forgiveness being offered to me. And as modern science has begun to bear out, if I do not forgive others and let go of my wrath towards them, then I will begin to suffer illness in my body. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 16, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 25:1 LXX

There are three things beautiful to see,
And they are beautiful before the Lord and men:
The harmony of brothers, friendship between neighbors,
And a wife and husband well-adjusted together.

Encouraging Words

Unity is such an important aspect of a committed Christian life. Jesus prayed for it. Paul prayed for it and wrote about it. And throughout the scriptures and teachings of our fathers, it is held in highest regard. Why is this? Unity has its roots in eternity Our God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the perfect example of unity. Three in one, and one in three, each with their own role and yet all with one role. This is what we are called to do, to be in unity with all around us, even to the point of sacrificing ourselves and our desires. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 15, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 2:27 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

I need my Lord to be the guardian of my mouth because left to my own capabilities I cannot properly bridle my tongue. It may not be harsh or profane words that I speak, but if I enter into conversations a bout another, or participate in gossip, then my tongue has become offensive. Once a word is spoken then it is impossible to bring it back in, so it is important to learn how to speak deifying words or to not speak at all. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 21:1-3 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

When Jesus would forgive people of their sins and heal them of their infirmities He told them to go and sin no more. He does not chastise us when we confess our sins to Him. He forgives us and tells us to stop committing the sin. This is what repentance should be in our lives. When we sin we should run to Jesus for forgiveness and then do everything we can to run away from those conditions, those thoughts and attitudes, anything that will lead us back into this sin. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

March 13, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 20:5-7 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

As I progress further and further along the journey of my life and try harder to understand the ways of my Lord and who He wants me to be, the less I am becoming interested in politics and the things of this world. This is so because I am not a citizen of this world but an ambassador of another kingdom. I do exercise my responsibilities because as an ambassador I am to be a good representative of my homeland abiding by the laws of the land in which I live. This passage causes me great concern as I survey the decrepit state of our political system as it is today. 
Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

St. Ambrose of Milan stated, "Now what ought we to learn before everything else, but to me silent, that we may be able to speak? Lest my voice should condemn me, before that of another acquit me, it is written: 'By thy words thou shalt be condemned.'" Oh, how much we, as a people who call ourselves a "Christian" nation, have forgotten these teachings and have become so enamored with rhetoric, self aggrandizement, and putdowns of this around us.

Today, as we celebrate forgiveness Sunday in the Eastern Orthodox Church, I ask all whom I know, "Please forgive me for the offenses that I have caused you, especially those from my mouth." Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

March 11, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 18:18-20 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

There are two ways that we can live our lives: reactively or proactively. Since our culture has made us so comfortable with instant gratification we have become a people that live our lives reactively. I don't have to plan for anything because I can usually find something to fill my need that is prepackaged, fast, and disposable. I don't have to be responsible for my actions, or inactions, because I expect someone else to be responsible instead. But as God's children we are admonished to live our lives proactively and with personal responsibility. This does not mean that we are to be controlling or always focusing on the future, almost to the state of being fearful. It means preparing our minds and hearts so that we can appropriately deal with situations as they arise. I must invest time in learning the ways of my Lord, studying His teachings, praying to Him, forming my life into His image before I can speak words that glorify Him and edify my neighbor. I must constantly be examining my heart before I can speak into the life of another. I cannot avoid temptations and sins in my life if I am not practicing humility and following in the footsteps of my Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 10, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 18:4-6 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

As followers of Christ, we desire to know Him and to live our lives like His. We do this by pursuing Him, praying to Him, studying about Him, amassing as much knowledge and understanding about Him with the hope that we can fully know Him. However, as we proceed through this life on our journey to theosis we find that the more we get to know Jesus, the more that we realize that we do not know Him at all. And then our journey begins again. It is a mystery and one to be marveled at. Glory be to God!

March 9, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 17:24-26 LXX

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

Encouraging Words

There is nothing that I can do to earn or generate atonement for my sins. Only through the great mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ can atonement be provided. He is both the High Priest and the Sacrificial Lamb and it is through Him that the great love of our God is poured out on us and all of His creation. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 8, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 17:5-8 LXX

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

Encouraging Words

We were created in the image of God and oh what a glorious image that is. We are set apart from the rest of creation because of this and there is quite a responsibility that this goes with this. I love how this passage points out that we have been created with a heart to think. We have become so enamored with the intellect, logic, and reason, that we have forgotten that it is within our heart that our Lord and Savior has taken up residence and that is from there that we should govern our lives. And to reinforce this we are also told that He will show us the majesty of His works through His eye that is placed on our hearts. Glory be to God!

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 7, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 14:20-22 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

I wonder how many people in this, my generation, have ever tracked an animal. In my youth, I used to do this. It is a lot of work and takes much patience. First you must be willing to be silent and do everything that you can to disappear into your surroundings. then you must focus so intently on the object that you are tracking that you almost become one with it. Where it looks, you look. When it breathes, you breathe. When it moves, you move. You get so lost into the animal and the tracking that you no longer exist. What an awesome metaphor this author uses for how we should pursue Wisdom, our Lord Jesus Christ. We must be so intent on our focus of finding Him that we disappear and He appears. Glory be to God!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 6, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 11:7-8 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

I have often heard it said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we could listen twice as much as we speak. I know the truths of this passage and the great value of exercising it in my life, however I find myself so often doing just the opposite. I often jump to the solution of an issue before I take the time to undersrtand it. This always ends in disaster. And if I am not interupting someone so that I can have my say in the conversation then I am often formulating what I am going to say while the other person is talking and missing what they are saying. Both of these practices lead to arrogance, pride, and misunderstandings with those whom I am supposed to be loving. Sounds like I have been shown something that I can work on during Great Lent this year. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

March 4, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 7:20-21 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

We do not live in a culture or time where servanthood is prevalent, but we do have many opportunities to be in leader/follower situations. For me personally, I am a project manager and at any given time I have scores of people that I am leading, or managing, to get something done. I am also a Sunday School teacher, so leading and directing youth on a regular basis. I am also a husband, a father, and a grandfather, with many opportunities to be leading my loved ones. In all of these cases, it is imperative that I lead with the heart of Jesus and be loving and caring of those under my charge. There is no room and no excuse for mistreatment and infringement upon their personhood and freedom. Only this way can I shine the light of Jesus in this role. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 7:1-3 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

At first pass, these verses make it sound so easy to not sin: "don't do evil things", "stay away from wrongdoing" and "do not sow on the furrows of wrongdoing". Then my natural self, my thoughts, kicks in and begins to tell me that this is hard, this is impossible, don't even try this because you will just fail and be disappointed in yourself. On my own power, these things are difficult, but when I was baptized and chrismated I was given the Holy Spirit. He lives within me and can give m the power that I need to overcome sin. Yes, I must yield to Him, but this is a choice that I can make. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March 2, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 6:18-19 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

Our journey toward theosis, or being in the image of Christ, is a lifelong endeavor and not a one time event. In order to effectively traverse this journey, we must be ready, even eager, to receive instruction or correction if we are to truly find Wisdom. We live in a society of fast food and instant gratification and have lost the experience of being a farmer who has to toil to prepare his soil, plant his seeds, tend the crop by pulling the weeds and chasing off predators, patiently waiting for his crop to burst forth. This is how we must olive our lives as we pursue Wisdom, our Lord and Savior, and a life that embraces and glorifies Him. Glory be to God.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 1, 2016


Wisdom of Sirach 6:14-17 LXX

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

Personal Challenge

Friendship! What a valuable part of our human state. I can say that in my life I can only remember one friend that has this close to me, and then I moved half way across the country. Why is it that men have such a hard time making close and intimate friendships such as this massage elicits? Could it be that we have fallen prey to the belief that individualism is what makes us real men? This is such a shame because we are missing so much that could improve our lives as well as the lives of others. I am so blessed to have a wife who is not only my partner in life, but also is my best friend, but there is also that need for a Barnabas in my life, such as Paul had. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!