Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 31, 2016


Ecclesiastes 10:6

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

Personal Challenge

Wait! Wait! Aren't we supposed to dedicate our entire life to reaching the top rung of the success ladder and earning as much money as we can? Not so much so! These earthly endeavors and rewards can more easily come between us and God as well as us and our neighbor than anything else. Our life should be dedicated to loving God and loving our neighbor, and if in that process we are blessed with position or wealth, then all the more to pour back into loving God and our neighbor. Glory be to God!

May 29, 2016


Ecclesiastes 7:16

Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise, lest you be confounded.

Personal Challenge

Wait a minute! Isn't this contradictory to all the scriptures that encourage me to be righteous and to seek the wisdom of God? Absolutely not! It is a reminder that we must not let the righteousness the we have been blessed with or the wisdom that Gog has given us, go to our heads. We are to live humble lives and the more that God blesses us with in our lives, the more important it is to be humble. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

May 28, 2016

Saint of the Week
St. Seraphim of Sarov

Friday, May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016


Proverbs 22:17-19 (22:20-22 LXX)

Incline your ear to the words of the wise and hear my word,
And establish your heart, that you may know they are good.
And if you apply them to your heart,
They will gladden you and at the same time be upon your lips;
That your hope might be in the Lord,
And His way might be known to you.

Personal Challenge

Why do I read and study God's word? Why do I dig through the teachings of our early church fathers and participate in Bible studies and classes at church? Why do I attend liturgy every week and sometimes multiple times per week? If the reason is to accumulate knowledge, then I have misunderstood everything that I have taken in. We are not to do all of this in order to fill our heads, but it is to bring what we learn into our hearts and to be changed. As our hearts change so does the rest of our lives, and we begin the journey to theosis, or being in the image of Christ. It is not about how much knowledge I gain, but about how much that knowledge changes me!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016


2 Chronicles 1:10-12

Give me wisdom and understanding, so that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can judge this great people of Yours?”

And God said to Solomon, “Because this was in your heart and you did not ask for riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor did you ask for long life, but you asked for wisdom and understanding for yourself, that you might judge My people over whom I made you king, now I will give you this wisdom and understanding. I will also give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings before you possessed, nor shall any after you possess.”

Personal Challenge

Wisdom and understanding appear to be at the center f the Proverbs. Why is that? It partly because the principal contributor to the Proverbs was Solomon, and as this passage points out, Solomon was blessed by God because he could have asked for anything and what he finally asked for was wisdom and understanding to rule over God's people. It is also so important because, as the early church fathers taught, wisdom in the scriptures is an image of Jesus Christ. So what would be more important to ask for in one's life than Jesus? Glory be to God!

May 25, 2016


Proverbs 14:17

A quick- tempered man acts with recklessness,
But a man with discernment bears many things.

Personal Challenge

It is interesting that this proverb does not contrast quick tempered with patience as one would think, but with discernment. Discernment is on of the highest virtues, for out of it flows patience and the ability to handle any situation that might arise. Discernment should be pursued above wealth and fame for it can guide our lives. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016


Psalm 31:1-5 (30:2-6 LXX)

In You, O Lord, I hope; may I not be ashamed forever;
In Your righteousness deliver and rescue me.
Incline Your ear to me;
Rescue me speedily;
Be to me a God who protects me,
And a house of refuge to save me.
For You are my strength and my refuge,
And for Your name's sake You will guide and sustain me;
For You will bring me out from the snare they hid for me;
For You are my protector.
Into Your hands I shall entrust my spirit;
You redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

Encouraging Words

Life has a way of closing in on us and convincing us that there is nothing or no one that can rescue us or protect us. So we often give in to the pressure and let the world take over. But this is not true. God is our deliverer and rescuer. He does protect us. He provides for us a place of refuge. He provides us strength and guidance. It is so much easier to recognise this in the hard times when we have spent the good times under His protective wings. Then when the hard times hit, His place of refuge is familiar and comforting to us. It is never God that distances Himself from us. We are always the ones who walk away from Him and then wonder where He is in our times of need. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016


Psalm 62:6-7 (61:7-8 LXX)

For He is my God and my savior,
My protector; I shall never be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
He is the God of my help, and my hope is in God.

Personal Challenge

We often think of humility only in the terms of what we do to/for others, however, humility also plays out in how we receive that which someone else is doing to/for us. I so easily resort to living my life as a self-sufficient, self-reliant, independent kind of guy. I believe I can do anything that I can put my mind to. But being humble is a critical part of being a follower of Christ. I must learn to be a humble receiver. God is my savior, not me. God is my protector, not me. God is my glory, my help, and my hope, not me! I can do nothing without Him! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 22, 2016


Psalm 4:2

You heard me when I called, O God of my righteousness.
You strengthened my heart when I was in distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

Encouraging Words

God hears me when I call out to Him. He strengthens my heart, especially in those times when I am down and distressed. He has mercy on me and hears my prayers. Glory be to God!

May 21, 2016

Saint of the Week
St. Augustine of Hippo

Friday, May 20, 2016

May 20, 2016


Psalm 4:2

You heard me when I called, O God of my righteousness.
You strengthened my heart when I was in distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

Encouraging Words

God hears me when I call out to Him. He strengthens my heart, especially in those times when I am down and distressed. He has mercy on me and hears my prayers. Glory be to God.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 19, 2016


Psalm 51:1-4 (50:3-6 LXX)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your great mercy;
And according to the abundance of Your compassion, blot out my transgression.
Wash me thoroughly from my lawlessness
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my lawlessness,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You only have I sinned
And done evil in Your sight;
That You may be justified in Your words,
And overcome when You are judged.

Personal Challenge

Oh how much I take for granted God's great love for me and the magnitude of His forgiveness of my sins. He is so merciful and compassionate towards me for I know that I am a great sinner and full of lawlessness. Beyond that, I also know that my sin is truly against Him, my Father. Thank you, Father, for loving me so deeply and for continually forgiving me of my sins. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MAY 18, 2016


Psalm 71:1-3 (70:1-3 LXX)

O God, in You I hope; may I never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and set me free;
Incline Your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a God for protection
And a strong place for salvation,
For You are my foundation and my refuge.

Encouraging Words

No matter how good of a life I try to live, my works will never be enough to give me true righteousness. My attempts at righteousness will never deliver me. But, it doesn't have to! It is the righteousness of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that delivers me. It His works that were perfect and set me free. It is Him that I put my hope in for He is my protector, my foundation, and my refuge. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016


Psalm 34:12-15 (33:13-16 LXX)

Who is the man who desires life,
Who loves to see good days?
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Shun evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
And His ears are open to their supplications.

Personal Challenge

Don't we all want to see good days and live a full life? Well, the psalmist gives us some guidelines to do this. Keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceit. That which comes out of my mouth can either build up or tear down. Regardless of what the popular opinion is today, there is still good and evil in this world, whether we call it that or not. So we are to shun evil and do good. So, I stop talking about doing good thins and actually do them. And while I am living my life this way I add the pursuit of peace, seeking reconciliation in all that is around me. Living life this way, and focusing on the good of others rather than on what I want, will lead to good days and a full life. Glory be to God! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016


Psalm 24:8-11

Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He will instruct sinners in His way.
He will guide the gentle in judgment;
He will teach the gentle His ways.
All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth
For those who seek His covenant and His testimonies.
For Your name's sake, O Lord,
Pardon my sin, for it is great.

Encouraging Words

God is gentle, merciful, and full of truth. He asks thatI live my life in the same way. Through living my life this way, He will instruct me in the way of living my life, He will guide me, and He will teach me His ways. He desires a gentle spirit within me, for He is gentle. Glory be to God!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016


Psalm 103:10-13 (102:10-13 LXX)

He did not deal with us according to our sins,
Nor reward us according to our transgressions;
For according to the height of heaven from earth,
So the Lord reigns in mercy over those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So He removes our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him,

Encouraging Words

Not only is God love, but He also pours that love out on us, his creation, over and over again, even when we do not deserve it. His compassion toward us is eternal and without measure. His forgiveness of our sins is total and complete. He is our perfect Father. Glory be to God!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 12, 2016


Psalm 103:1-6 (102:1-6 LXX)

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And everything within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His rewards:
Who is merciful to all your transgressions,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from corruption,
Who crowns you with mercy and compassion,
Who satisfies your desire with good things;
And your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Lord shows mercies
And judgment to all who are wronged.

Encouraging Words

What more can be said, than, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" My God, my Father, my Lord and Savior, my Comforter, is always there by my side loving me, caring for me, pouring out his grace, mercy, and forgiveness upon me. Whether it is I who have betrayed myself, or a loved one who has abandoned me, or the world that has caved in around me, He is always there loving me. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 11, 2016


Psalm 15(14 LXX)

O Lord, who shall dwell in Your tabernacle?
Who shall live in Your holy mountain?
He who walks blamelessly, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart,
Who does not deceive with his tongue,
Neither does evil to his neighbor;
And does not find fault with those nearest him.
He disdains those who do evil in his presence,
But he holds in honor those who fear the Lord;
He swears an oath to his neighbor and does not set it aside.
He does not lend his money at interest,
And he does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be shaken.

Personal Challenge

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner! As I read through this description of how a righteous person should live their life I am truly humbled and recognize that I am so far from being this kind of person, living my life the way the God would want me to. Lord,have mercy! Lord,have mercy! Lord,have mercy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 10, 2016


1 Samuel 15:22 (1 Kingdoms 15:22 LXX)

Then Samuel said, “If only the desired whole burnt offerings and desired sacrifices were equal to the Lord, as compared to one who heeds the voice of the Lord! Behold! Hearing is better than a good sacrifice and obedience than the fat of rams.

Personal Challenge

God does not want empty worship in the form of sacrifices, which today is our acts of going to church and going through rituals as much as He wants us to give our hearts to Him. He wants us more than He wants our actions and words. He knows that ritualistic offerings and practices of worship can become empty if we do not guard our hearts. He desires to be in a relationship with us and for us to desire to be in a relationship with Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, May 9, 2016

May 9, 2016


1 Samuel 2:1-2 (1 Kingdoms 2:1-2 LXX)

And she (Hannah) said:
"My heart is strengthened in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in my God.
I smile at my enemies;
I rejoice in Your salvation.
Because no one is holy like the Lord,
No one is righteous like our God,
No one is holy but You."

Personal Challenge

Hannah is such a great example of a godly person who has been waiting for all of her life for a special gift from God, a child. And when she finally gets her prayers answered in her old age she immediately vows to give her child back to God. Shortly after her son Samuel was weaned and able to walk she took him to the temple and gave him over to the priests to raise him as a man of God. I have never been a mother, but as a father, I know how much I love my children and how much I miss them now that they are adults and off raising their own families. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Hannah to let her son go. This act shows how much she loved her God. Sometimes God lovingly answers our prayers just long enough for us to feel His love and to give us a chance to give back from the answered prayer so that we can also experience the act of loving Him. Sometimes this means letting our children go.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8, 2016


Judges 16:20

And Delilah said, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” So he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as before, and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

Personal Challenge

Isn't this the state of so many of us who claim the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We act as if we are such good and righteous followers of Jesus, especially on Sunday's and yet we dabble with things in our life that can so easily lead us into sin thinking that we can withstand their snares. This is how Samson lived his life around Delilah. He had so many indicators that she desired to cooperate with his enemies and betray him. Yet in his arrogance he continued to live his life in a way with her that would one day lead to his demise. We must watch how we live or lives. We must remove ourselves from those things that will tempt us to sin. We must do everything we can to remain in the arms of our Lord so that we can withstand the temptations of our enemy and keep from falling away. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

May 7, 2016

Saint of the Week
St. John of Kronstadt

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 6, 2016


Judges 7:9-11

On that same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. Listen to what they shall say, and afterward your hands shall be strong and you shall then go down into the camp.” And he went down with Purah his servant to the edge of the camp of the fifty.

Encouraging Words

Here we have another case where God is okay with one of His children who doubts and hesitates. Gideon is apprehensive about entering into battle even though he knows that God is is with Him. God accepts this and encourages Gideon to sneak into his enemy's camp and listen to what is going on. In doing so, Gideon finds out from the very mouth of his enemy that he will be the victor and his doubts and fears are eliminated. God understands that we will encounter times in our lives where we will doubt. We will doubt Him, ourselves, and those around us. If we are not careful, that doubt will grow into fear and eventually we will quit altogether. This is why we must investigate our doubts immediately and look for God's hand in our circumstances. If we look intently me enough we will always find Him there encouraging and guiding us. Glory be to God!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 5, 2016


Deuteronomy 29:28

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Encouraging Words

Once again, I am reminded that God is God and I am not. God is eternal, I am finite. He is omniscient, I am so very limited in my sphere of influence. He is omnipotent, I am frail and feeble. And the list goes on and on. However, God in His divine wisdom has allowed us, His created children, to know so e of His mysteries. He has done that through His Son, the living Word, through writings and teaching of those who have gone before us, through our traditions, and many other ways. But there is so much more that He has not revealed because we do not need it. This drives us to faith, to trust in Him, to say each time we participate in our liturgy, "I believe...". God knows those things that are mysteries to us and I am happy knowing that. He will reveal to me what He thinks I need to know. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 4, 2016


Numbers 18:1-3

Now the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, “You and your sons and your father's house with you shall bear the sins of the holy things, and you and your sons with you shall bear the sins of your priesthood. You shall also bring your brethren, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, to yourself, and they shall be joined and added to you, and minister liturgically with you and your sons with you before the tabernacle of testimony. They shall perform your guard duties and the duties of the tabernacle, but they shall not come near the holy vessels and the altar, lest they die—they and you also.

Encouraging Words

I am sometimes asked why am I still interested in old-fashioned practices such as our liturgy every Sunday. My answer is, "Why not?" First of all, our God deserves our total and uncompromised respect, adoration, and worship. We owe Him our everything and yet we so often treat Him as if He was just a commonplace person like you and me. Yes, Jesus became man and remained fully God. He became one of us, yet remained God, and this is all the more the reason to worship our God with awe and reverence. This is why we do our liturgical practices and other traditions, to show Him our love and respect. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016


Exodus 36:3-5

They received from Moses all the offerings the children of Israel brought for all the works for making the holy place, and they continued bringing him freewill offerings every morning. Then all the wise men who were doing all the work of the holy place came, each according to the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, "The people bring much more than enough for the work the Lord commanded us to do."

Personal Challenge

There is so much more wealth at the disposal of the people or the church than there can ever be the amount of work that it would take to use it. When we, the body of Christ, choose to bring our will in alignment with God's will and give from the great wealth that He has blessed us with, then great things happen. The problem resides in that we so often view the wealth in our lives as ours and that whatever we decide to give to God is some great and glorious gesture of good will. We act as if God owes us because we are so magnanimous in or gifts and tithes to Him. It is truly the other way around. We owe Him everything because He has given all that we have to us. And this does not just apply to material wealth, but to our time, our abilities, our love, everything that already belongs to Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2, 2016


Exodus 19:5-6

"'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be a special people to Me above all nations; for all the earth is Mine. You shall be to Me a royal priesthood and a holy nation.' These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel."

Encouraging Words

In the Old Testament covenant, God promised to set up Israel as a holy nation and a royal priesthood. Unfortunately, they broke that covenant. In the New Testament covenant, Jesu initiated a new agreement with the new nation, the Church, and it is in this new nation that the holy nation and royal priesthood has been accomplished. Glory be to God!

May 1, 2016

Christ is Risen!

Today, throughout the world, those who practice the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith, celebrated Pascha (Easter).

The Paschal Greeting in languages from around the world is...

English – Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Chinese – 基督復活了!事實上,他復活了!
Serbian – Hristos vaskrse! VAISTINU VASKRSE !
Haitian Creole – Kris la resisite! Vreman vre li leve!
Irish – Críost aiséirithe ! Go deimhin tá sé ardaigh !
Spanish – Cristo ha resucitado! Verdaderamente, ha resucitado!
Thai – Phra khris̄t̒ ca pheìm k̄hụ̂n! Thæ̂cring phraxngkh̒ thrng pĕn k̄hụ̂n!
Arabic – Al-Masih-Qam! Hakkan Qam!
Armenian – K’ristos yareaw ! Iskapes Na harut’yun arrav :
Eskimo Aleut – Kristus aq ungwektaq! Pichinuq ungwektaq!
Ethiopian – Christos Tenestaul! Awon Tenestaul!
Georgian – Kriste aghsdga! Cheshmaritad aghsdga!
German – Christus ist auferstanden! Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!
Greek – Christos Anesti! Aleithos Anesti!
Hawaiian – Ua ala hou ´o kristo! Ua ala ´i ´o no ´oia!
Korean – Kristo Gesso Buhwal ha sho sumnida! Chamuro Buhwal ha sho sumnida!
Latin – Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!
Romanian – Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!
Russian – Khristos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!
Swahili – Kristo Amefufukka! Kweli Amefufukka!