Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August 30, 2016

SHINING LIGHT


Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Personal Challenge

I have often heard how important it is for me as a Christian to let my light shine so that others might glorify God, This can be challenging on several fronts. First, we are told to do this so that people may see our good works being done for God and then glorify Hm. Am I doing good works for God? Is it obvious that they are for Him and not so that I look good? Second, what about the works that I am doing that are not glorifying to God? What do people think about God when they see me doing these? Third, what about this light that I am shining before men? Is it a good light, a bright light, an encouraging light? Or is it a light that shows the glory of my God dimly? Fourth, what about my propensity to pride. Do I seek to let my light shine before my fellow man, pretending that it is pointing to God so that I look good? This is perhaps the worst of the cases from this list, God gives me the ability to do good works for Him. He creates the opportunities and then gives me what I need to do them. He is the one who should be at the center of these activities and not me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 28, 2016

IN THE MORNING...


Psalms 5:3 (5:4 LXX)

In the morning You shall hear my voice;
In the morning I will stand before You,
And I will watch.

Personal Challenge

The psalmist has come to a place in his life where he clearly begins each day, each morning, calling out to his Lord and awaiting His response. My life is so full, so busy, so demanding, that it takes everything that I can do to muster up that extra half hour in the morning to squeeze in my prayer rule and a little bit of scripture or early church fathers study. I am sure that this is not how my Lord intended for our lives to be. I also know that He did not intend for me to sit around and do nothing, letting everyone else around me do all the work that needs to be done. Part of the journey of life, the pursuit of theosis, is learning how to balance life. I must learn, first and foremost, how to be in constant prayer and communion with my Lord. This can be done by embedding the Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner!" into my every thought and action. Then with that as my foundation, I can begin to learn how to balance that which is going on in my life without it taking control of me. We live in busy times, but I can learn to navigate them with a calm and focused pace. Lord, help me!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016

REDEMPTION


Genesis 4:25


Again Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore a son, and he named him Seth, saying, “God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”

Encouraging Words

No matter how much I mess up in this life, no matter how much I Sin, God is there for me. Not only is He there for me, but He is ready for me to be reconciled to Him. This does not mean that the consequences of my sin will immediately go away. I will always have to accept the consequences as I pay my dues. Many times, if not most of the times that I go through this process of confession, repentance, and acceptance of the consequences, I will come away farther along in my journey of becoming like Christ. This is God's redemptive power working in my life. Glory be to God!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 25, 2016

TRUE BLESSINGS


Matthew 5:3-12

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Encouraging Words

What a powerful view into the economy of our God. If I want to be viewed as a blessed person in this temporal world I would not pursue any of the following:
  • being poor in spirit
  • mourning
  • meekness
  • hunger and thirst for righteousness
  • mercifulness applied to others
  • persecution
But here, in the Beatitudes, our Lord clearly describes for us how we should love our lives in our day to day temporal world if we would like to receive the following rewards in our spiritual world, both today and when we enter into heaven:
  • having the kingdom of heaven
  • inheritance of the earth
  • mercy
  • seeing God
  • becoming a child of God
According to how the world would have us live our lives, this is all backwards. The economy of the world tells me to put myself first, to make everything and everyone revolve around me, and then I will receive all of these rewards. And to top it off if I do live my life the way the world wants me to, I may have many things, but just in this world and not the world to come.

I am so thankful that every one of our liturgies in the Orthodox church includes the reading I singing of these verses because I always need to be reminded to live my life God's way and not the world's way. To live my life with God as the center and with every other person around me as more important than me. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24, 2016

HOPE!


Psalms 4:8 (4:9 LXX)

I will both sleep and rest in peace,
For You alone, O Lord, cause me to dwell in hope.

Encouraging Words

Hope! What a wonderful and powerful thing hope is. Unfortunately, the world wants us to not have our God as the object of our hope. We are so often told that our only hope for joy, health, and posterity can be found in our government, so vote for the candidate that fulfills that hope the most. Or our only hope is in our wealth, the job that requires me to put others down or cheat my customer so that I can get paid more as my employer's coffers grow. Or I should put my hope in my health, or the stuff that I own, or the knowledge that I have amassed. In the end, all of these things that are of this world that tries to entice me to put my hope into themselves will someday be gone. The only thing that will last through eternity, the only thing that is constant and True, the only thing worth putting my trust and my hope in, is my God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit. Only in Him can I find rest, peace, and joy. Glory be to God for He is my fortress and foundation.

August 23, 2016

THE DEVIL (OR SOMEONE ELSE) MADE ME DO IT


Genesis 3:11-13


Thus He said, “Who said you were naked? Have you eaten from the one tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” Then Adam said, “The woman You gave me, gave me of the tree, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Personal Challenge

Another response to sin (in addition to hiding from God) is that we immediately start pointing our fingers at everyone else and blame them for our transgression. God loves us so much that He does come to us in the midst of our sin to judge us and to chastise us, but to give us an opportunity to confess our sm, repent of it, and seek His comfort and acceptance. Deflecting to everyone and everything else just delays our opportunity to reconcile with God and our fellow human beings. God wants us in this state of reconciliation. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 22, 2016

PAVING THE WAY


Matthew 4:1-6


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’and,
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Encouraging Words

Sometimes people will ask why it is so important for us to recognize Jesus for being a human being as well as God Himself. This passage shows us so clearly why this is so important. When Jesus went out into the desert, He went there as a human being. He fasted for a long time. I think the longest that I have even done a total fast was somewhere between 30 and 40 hours. Believe me, your body starts feeling some strange things and your mind starts going to some weird places. Even when you do a fast where you can drink fluids and juices, your body and mind revolts. Jesus felt hunger pangs like you or I would. He felt alone in the desert like you or I would. His human nature was ripe for the enemy to confront Him and tempt Him. And it was His human nature that denied Satan in all of the temptations. He made it possible for me to do the same by becoming human and paving the way for people like me to also say "No!" to the enemy and his attempts to steer me away from God. Jesus exercised His free will as a human being showing me that I can strive to be like Him and do the same. Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ for showing me the way and giving me a Helper so that I could follow in your footsteps.

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 21,2016

HE HEARS ME!


Psalms 4:1

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 always hears me when I call out to Him. The problem is that I do not call out to Him when I need Him the most, which is every moment of every day. He is not only the God of my righteousness, but He is the only source of righteousness in my life, And once again, that righteousness is not very evident in my life because I am not consistently calling out to Him to make me righteous. When I do reach that point of distress and despair in my life, He is there for me, but once again I must call out to Him. Had I been calling out to Him sooner, then maybe I would not have come to that place of distress and despair. I can know, not only because He promises me, but because He has shown me time and again, that He does have mercy on me, and that He does hear my prayer. So why do I not call out to Him more often? Because I become so centered on myself and view life as if the world revolves around me. It does not! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19, 2016

PLAYING HIDE AND SEEK WITH GOD


Genesis 3:8-9

Then they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden that afternoon, and Adam and his wife hid themselves within the tree in the middle of the garden from the presence of the Lord God. So the Lord God called Adam and said to him, “Adam, where are you?”

Personal Challenge

This verse so clearly shows what is the greatest consequence of sin, all sin. God created us in His image. In that image, we have built within us the ability to know the difference from right and wrong. So when we choose to reject God and do what we want to do, we sin. And one of the results of that sin is that we attempt to flee even farther away from God. We try to hide from Him. We do this because we know that we have offended Him and disobeyed what He desires from us. However, God does not pull Himself away from us. He loves us too much to do that. To the contrary He pursues us. He calls out to us so that we can confess our sin and be in communion with Him. This question that He asks Adam is a rhetorical question. He knows exactly where he is and what he has done. He is lovingly giving Adam a chance to reverse his course of hiding and draw closer to His Father, His creator. So too, does He call out to me! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August 18, 2016

RESTORATION THROUGH BAPTISM


Matthew 3:13-17

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

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

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

Encouraging Words

There is so much that can be unpacked from this passage. Today, my focus is on the fact that Jesus chose to be baptised, an act done by people of His day to symbolise repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Jesus had no sin in His life. He had nothing to repent of. The reason that He "had" to be baptized was so that He could fully participate in the purification of mankind and bring us into His world of purity. When Jesus came up out of the waters of the Jordan, He brought up with Him, not only a renewed humanity, but the entirety of creation renewed by His incarnation. This was so prominent that the Trinity was fully revealed in this event just as it had been at the beginning of creation. Glory be to God!

August 17, 2016

NEVER ALONE


Psalms 3:4-7

But You, O Lord, are my protector,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord will help me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who set themselves against me all around.

Encouraging Words

I am not alone as I journey through life. My Lord, my Father, the Giver of Life is always with me in the midst of my journey. No matter what happens, whether it be a stressful situation at work, an unexpected financial hardship, an argument with a loved one, you name it, I know that I can rely on my Lord to walk through the situation with me. This does not mean that I can ignore the situation. In most, if not all cases, I am a key contributor to the situation and because of that, I have to work through the consequences of my choices. Sometimes these consequences are as painful as the situation. But I must own my responsibility and work through to a point of resolution. The beauty of being a child of God is that He will be there with me as I do the right thing. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 16, 2016

KEEPING OUR EYES SHUT


Genesis 3:7

Then the eyes of the two were opened, and they knew they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

Personal Challenge

Doesn't this verse show the true nature of sin? There is certainly something to be said, positively, for the value of protecting the innocence of our children, as well as for ourselves. Once a sinful thing is made known to a person, the enemy forever has a foothold in their life. Adam and Eve were innocent and had no clue that they were living naked in the garden. They had the light of God clothing them and protecting them. But when they followed the temptations of the enemy and had their eyes opened then everything charged. There is so much in this world that is trying to make it into our hearts and minds to win us over to worldly ways. It is imperative that we guard and protect our hearts, minds, eyes, and ears from being bombarded by those things that will lead us away from our Lord's side and out of His light. It is even more important that we protect our children and our children's children from this bombardment. We cannot afford to get numbed to the things of the world and end up sacrificing the things of God.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August 15, 2016

OUR LORD'S PRAYER BOOK


Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the way of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the troublesome;
But his will is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by streams of waters,
That produces its fruit in its season;
And his leaf shall not wither,
And whatever he does shall prosper.

Encouraging Words

The early church fathers taught that this "man" referred to in the introduction of the Psalms is Jesus. Reading this passage with this on our mind helps to set the tone for the entire book of Psalms so that it becomes the prayer book of our Lord, This is why the Psalms are used so much in the worship practices of the Orthodox church. The other beauty of this passage is that since we are called to follow in the footsteps of our


Lord and strive to be like Him, then we too can claim the book of Psalms as our prayer book and follow its teachings. We can follow our Lord and some day be like a tree planted by the Living Stream of waters, producing fruit, and not withering in times of difficulty, To God be the glory!

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 14, 2016

WEEPING OR IGNORING?


Matthew 2:18

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”

Personal Challenge

Reading this verse causes me to look deep into my heart and ponder whether or not I weep as Rachel did for the deaths of her children, her offspring, Just as Pharaoh of old had all the newborn sons of the Hebrews killed to prevent a prophecy from coming true, so too does Herod in this passage have all of the boys under the age of two slaughtered in order to retain his reign as King. How are we any different today when we allow unborn children to be slaughtered in the womb? How are we any different when we put the things of this world at a higher value than the people around us? How am I different than Pharaoh and Herod when I continually put my desires and wants above the needs of others. How many times do I slaughter another with an angry comment or a condescending thought? Do I pray for those in need, those suffering the pains, of life, or just everyone I come into contact with? Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

August 13, 2016

Saint of the Week
St. John Climacus


Saturday, August 13, 2016

August 12, 2016

WORKINGS OF CREATION


Genesis 1:5b

God called the light Day; the darkness He called Night; and there was evening and morning, one day.

Encouraging Words

Even at the very beginning of creation, God had us in His mind. He is all powerful and could have created everything at once. However, knowing that we, the crown of Has creation, would be finite and limited, He chose to break His creation down into finite increments so that we could follow in His footsteps. By giving us a day, evening, and morning, He gave us a cycle that we could live within. We can do our work throughout the day and then rest through the evening as we prepare for our next day. This is no accident. God designed creation to work in such a way that we could easily function within that same cycle of work, rest, work, rest until we reach that seventh day of full rest on the Sabbath. This shows me just how much God loves us. Enough to set the entire rhythm and capability of His creation so that it will support us, sustain us, and bless us. Glory be to God?

August 11, 2016

DELIVERANCE


2 Timothy 4:18

And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

Encouraging Words

When Jesus told His disciples that He would be with them, even to the end of the ages, He was not just speaking idle words. When He prayed for us and asked that our lives guarded, protected and joined together in unity, He was not just doing that for the show. Jesus is our Great Shepherd! He is our Mighty King! He keeps His promises. We can run to Him in the midst of every trial and tribulation knowing that He will take us in His arms and deliver us and preserve us. It is never Him that departs from us when the going gets tough, but it is us who try to deal with life on our own and therefore the ones who depart from Him. What a blessing it is to be able to go through life knowing that the creator, the Everlasting, the Omnipotent, loves me so much that He gave us His only Son so that we would never be separated from Him, no matter how much I mess up. Glory be to God!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

August 10, 2016

YOU WANT ME TO BE A WHAT?


Titus 1:1

Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,

Personal Challenge

The concept of being a bondservant is a concept that we are not familiar with today. Here is the note about bondservants from the Orthodox Study Bible...
In the Roman world, a bondservant (Gr. doulos) was in an unenviable position: he had no name, rights, will, or even time of his own. But in the world of the OT, a bondservant was often the king's right-hand man—one of the most honored titles. Moses and other OT prophets were the bondservants of the Lord. Paul, of course, knew of both usages. An apostle, “one sent out,” was a New Covenant equivalent to a bondservant.
Paul had both the old world and the new world definitions in his thoughts when he wrote this letter to Titus. He knew that his life was fully given over to his Lord and that he would do anything or go anywhere for his Lord. As I look at my own life and my desire to be a good Christian, a man after God's own heart, I must admit that I am nowhere near living my life this way. What a goal to strive for. What a journey to launch on. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner,

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 9, 2016

MAINTAINING HIS TRUST


1 Timothy 6:20-21

O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.

Grace be with you. Amen.

Personal Challenge...


Those of us who claim to be followers of Christ have a daunting responsibility. We have been entrusted with the teachings of our Lord and those whom He has established over the centuries to by our leaders and guides. If we abuse these teachings or try to change and adapt them to fit our own knowledge, or hide them away so that no one else can receive them, then we have betrayed that trust. We are responsible and accountable for those around us that we have lead astray from the faith. We do this sometimes by proclaiming false interpretations of Gods' truth. What is worse than this, though, are the times that I have said things or done things that have caused those around me to deny Christ because I have represented Him poorly. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8, 2016

THE PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS


Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Personal Challenge

Righteousness is not something that just happens to us or given to us just because we claim to be a follower of Christ. Righteousness comes into our lives through the work that we do to become righteous and godly. We have to work diligently to remove bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice from our lives, especially our hearts, This is nev
er easy work either. We must set ourselves aside and strive to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving. this too is difficult and challenging. When Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, this is what He meant. This is the path to righteousness and theosis that we are all on. This means that when I see something going on around me that offends me or frustrates me that I look for the opportunity to exhibit righteousness. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

August 7, 2016

IN THE PURSUIT OF...


Romans 14:19

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

Personal Challenge

The things that we are encouraged to pursue as followers of Christ are so much different than what the world is always telling us to pursue. It is not important, or of true value, to pursue wealth and prestige. The scriptures do not say that there is anything wrong with wealth or prestige. The challenge lies in what we do with these things of this earth, or worse yet, what we let them do to us. Here we are encouraged to pursue those things that will generate peace amongst us and help us to edify those around us. This can be accomplished with or without wealth or prestige and in many cases better without them. What I do know from the years that I have spent in my life, is that pursuing peace can be a difficult and time-consuming activity and trying to edify others, putting their needs above mine, is definitely not something that comes naturally to me. Glory be to God!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 6, 2016

Saint of the Week 
St. Augustine


August 5, 2016

STUMBLING BLOCK?


Romans 14:12-13

So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.

Personal Challenge...

Life is most certainly a challenge, especially if my desire is to be a good representative of my Lord, I am constantly confronted with temptations and the desires that remain harbored in my flesh. Maybe this is one of the reasons the teachers in the New Testament, as well as Jesus Himself, so often taught about not judging one another. We have so much that we can judge within ourselves that there is no room to judge another. I think the critical portion of this passage is that last line, "but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way." If I truly love my Lord and try to demonstrate that love by loving my neighbor, then it becomes so important to not be the cause for them to sin or worse yet, turn away from God, This is where I need to spend more of my focus and energy rather than being judgemental. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Friday, August 5, 2016

August 4, 2016

WE ARE NOT JUDGES


Romans 14:7-10

For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Personal Challenge

Once again, I am confronted in the Scriptures with the challenge to not judge my brother or show contempt for him or her. Why is this? If I am truly following the ways of my Lord then I am no longer my own. I have become His and in this transfer of ownership, I have also transferred my desires to judge another to my Master. Only God knows the nature of our hearts. Only He knows what demons each one of us is struggling with in our lives. Only He can apply the true love, mercy, and grace to each of us at the level which we need it at any given point in time. Besides, I have enough of my own stuff in my life that I can be judged for. I should be focusing on cleaning that up and not worrying about someone else. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 3, 2016

COMPETITION?


1 Corinthians 9:25-27

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus:not with uncertainty. Thus I fight:not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Personal Challenge

This passage is not about competition. It is not about reaching the goal. It is not even about winning or losing. It is about the process of preparing ourselves for the race, the fight of our life, or whatever spiritual competition that may come our way. What am I doing to be prepared? Do I have crystal clear clarity on the certainty of who I am competing for? Am I just shadow boxing or practicing by hitting the punching bag of life? As a follower of Christ, He is both my coach and the end goal of my objective. The crown that I am aiming for is the one that He will place on my head when I see Him face to face. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 2, 2016

MARRIAGE!


1 Corinthians 7:3-4

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Encouraging Words

What an interesting and special institution marriage is. It was created by God at the beginning of creation and it has been blessed by Him ever since. It is the true definition whereby two distinct and unique people come together to be one. Man and woman, individual yet one. From this point forward there exists a new identity comprised of the two. It is the only relationship where the two individuals give 100% to the other. It is not a 50-50 relationship. It is in this type of commitment that this passage makes sense. We give ourselves over to the authority of the other out of love. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August 1, 2016

LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR, NOT JUDGE THEM


1 Corinthians 5:12-13


For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

Personal Challenge

Paul lays out here a very important principle of discipline and correction that has been overlooked by many modern churches. We are admonished to lovingly and with grace and mercy to bring correction to the sinners in our churches. This can only be done by also accepting correction for our own sins. This is necessary to help our community of believers grow in the image of our Lord. We are also admonished that it is not our responsibility or our right to try to correct those who are sinning outside of the church. That is God's job. If we, the church, were to take this admonishment seriously we would stop condemning people in the world around us for how they are living their lives and show them the love of God by loving them where they are and as they are. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Monday, August 1, 2016