Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 27, 2017


Proverbs 17:27 (17:29 LXX)

He who refrains from uttering a harsh word is intelligent,
And a longsuffering man has discernment.
Encouraging Words

What an awesome combination of virtues to have, intelligence and discernment. These, however, are not virtues that are given to us just because we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. These grow out of diligently living other virtues in our lives. This intelligence, godly intelligence, comes from being able to control our tongues and being able to refrain from speaking harsh words. Being a person of discernment comes from being longsuffering and patient with those around us. There are no "name it and claim it" rewards in true Christianity. There are true, godly rewards for those who diligently follow our Lord, submitting to Him, and living an obedient life. Glory be to God!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 26, 2017


John 8:31-32

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Encouraging Words

Don't we all want to be set free? Freedom is what Jesus became incarnate for. Freedom from the strangle­hold that death had onus. Freedom from wing a life of sin and separation from God. But this freedom does come at a price. First is the price that Jesus paid by going to the cross for us. Second is the price that we pay for knowing Him as the truth and choosing to abide in His word so that we may know Him. Such a small price to pay to gain what He is offering.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 25, 2017


Psalms 139:1-3 (138:1-3 LXX)

O Lord, You test me and know me;
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thoughts from afar;
You search out my path and my portion,
And You foresee all my ways.

Encouraging Words

We are never alone. Our glorious God is ever present in our lives. He knew us as we were being formed in our mother's womb and He has been intimately active in every aspect of our lives since our birth. He is active leading us along the journey of our lives whether we recognize that or not. Today we celebrate the birth of our incarnate Lord knowing that He left His place in Heaven to become one of us, to live as we have had to live in our temporal bodies, saying "No!" to temptations and sin, showing us that it is possible as a human being to live a sinless life. He gave His life up for us so that we would never have to yield our lives to death. Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 24, 2017


Proverbs 17:14 (17:15 LXX)

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

Personal Challenge

Isn't righteousness grounded in unity? Unity with our Father in heaven. Unity with our neighbor, both in Christ and the stranger. If we do not have unity with those around us, if we are constantly picking at others or condemning their choices, then we are not loving our neighbor. So without loving our neighbor and treating them with love and respect then how can we expect to have righteousness in our lives? We cannot. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 22, 2017


John 8:12

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Encouraging Words

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Seasons Greetings! It really doesn't matter which one we use nowadays because the truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ, the incarnate son of God, is the light of God that has entered this dark world and this is the time of year that we celebrate His birth. Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth for all mankind.

December 23, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. John Chrysostom

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 21, 2017


Psalms 138:4-6 (137:4-6)

O Lord, let all the kings of the earth give thanks to You,
For they heard all the words of Your mouth;
And let them sing in the ways of the Lord,
For the glory of the Lord is great;
For the Lord is high, and He watches over the lowly things;
But the high things He knows from afar.

Encouraging Words

We believe that the glory of the Lord is great. His glory far outshines that of any king, president, or dictator. He is high above all, and yet He watches over the lowly and gives His love to them. Jesus spent most of His time here on earth living with, eating with, talking to, and loving the common person, the lowly. He stayed far from those who were already elevated. And...He asks us to do the same. Glory be to God?

December 20, 2017


Proverbs 17:1

Better is a morsel with enjoyment in peace
Than a house full of many good things and unrighteous sacrifices with quarreling.

Personal Challenge

Contrary to popular belief, more is not always better. We live in a society, and a culture, that teaches that if I have a little bit of something that gives me pleasure or happiness, then more of it gives me, even more, pleasure or happiness. So what do we end up with? Mega-houses that own us and that have half of their rooms devoid of furniture because we ran out of money to fill them. Myriads of toys such as cars, trucks, boats, and the list goes on, many of which we only use once or twice a year. We end up with closets full of clothes that we never wear, but that we must own. All the while we walk past the homeless on the streets of our communities who spend their nights in tents or cardboard boxes. We say sorry to them because we have no money to put in their cup since it is all tied up in our toys. We ignore the person who does not have a coat to wear in winter or the child who has no shoes while standing before our stuffed closets commiserating that we have nothing to wear. I too am guilty as charged and grieved. Now is the time for fasting and giving of our wealth as alms to those in need. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December 19, 2017


John 8:7-9

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

Personal Challenge

So, who am I to condemn another person for their sin when I have my own sin in my life that condemns me? I need more forgiveness than anyone else for my sin is not only against God but against everyone else. My sin can only be forgiven by the God of mercy and love. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 18, 2017


Psalm 133 (132 LXX)

Behold now, what is so good or so pleasant
As for brothers to dwell together in unity?
It is like fragrant oil running down upon the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down upon the border of his garment;
It is like the dew of Hermon, running down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing
And life forever.

Personal Challenge

What is one of the things that shows up throughout the scriptures as something important for us to all strive for? It is to be in unity with those around us, especially those in the Body of Christ. The psalmist yearned for it. The prophets proclaimed it. Jesus and Paul prayed that we would have it in our local communities. Then why is it so difficult to attain? I believe the difficulty comes from what is at the core of achieving unity. In order to find true unity between two or more humans, they must all be willing to love the other and put their needs before their own. Without that, unity will never be attained. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 17, 2017


Proverbs 16:32 (16:30 LXX)

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

Personal Challenge

Patience, or self-control, is one of the virtues that we should all be trying to build in our lives. This virtue can lead to many of the other virtues. This is not a normal thing for us to pursue if we are attempting to live by the rules of the world today. We live in a time where every­thing is delivered instantly. We have fast food, instant gratification of our senses through the media, and the ability to get whatever we desire. None of this instant stuff feeds our soul or helps us to grow in the image of Christ if it becomes what we desire. Patience will prepare us to be like Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

December 16, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Isaiah the Solitary

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017


John 7:37-38

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Encouraging Words

Jesus knew that the time was coming soon when He would be leaving His disciples and returning to heaven, In this verse, He is promising to them, and to us, that anyone who comes to Him will be filled by living waters. The early church fathers saw this promise by Jesus as the prophecy of the upcoming Pentecost, that day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and established the beginning of the Church. Jesus and the Father never intended for us to be on our own throughout our lives floundering to figure out how to follow in His footsteps. We are never alone in our journey through life. If we come to Him, not just once, or when we need something, but constantly, He will continuously fill us with Himself. That filling will be so complete that the living water that God fills us with will spill over to all around us. Glory be to God!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 14, 2017


Psalms 127:1 (126:1 LXX)

Unless the Lord builds the house,
Those who build it labor in vain;
Unless the Lord guard the city,
Those who guard it stay awake in vain.

Personal Challenge

In light of recent political events (the interim election in Alabama), I have been reminded that so many people, including professing Christians, look to the world to establish their house on and to seek protection from. As Christians, we should be looking to God for this and not to men and women. Only God can help us build a quality home. Only God can guard and protect us. Not man. This can be easy to forget and get us all focused on the things of this world. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 12, 2017


Proverbs 16:20 (16:18 LXX)

A man wise in his deeds is a discoverer of good things,
But he who trusts in God is the most blessed.

Encouraging Words

The scriptures do not discount or discredit the good deeds that people do. It even praises people for the good that we do, even if the person doing the good deeds is not a follower of God. However, the blessings of God are reserved for those who put their trust in Him. We need God more than we need anything else in on lives for He is the source of life for all. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 11, 2017



John 6:68-69

But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Encouraging Words

"To whom shall we go?" Once the grace of God has firmly taken hold of our hearts, there is no one else that we want to be with. There is nowhere else that we want to be but in His presence. There is nothing else that we want in life, but to be with Him. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner so that I may see You!

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 10, 2017


Psalms 121:1-4 (120:1-4 LXX)

I lifted my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Let not your foot be moved;
Neither let Him who keeps you slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Encouraging Words

My help comes from the Lord. It is so comforting to know that I do not have to count on myself, or any other human being for that matter, to make it through each and every day or situation. My Lord never sleeps and is always there to lift me up, to walk beside me as He did with Adam in the garden. He is my help! He is my hope! He is my all!

December 9, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Mark the Ascetic

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 8, 2017


Proverbs 16:18 (16:16 LXX)

Arrogance goes before destruction
And folly before a fall.

Personal Challenge

Arrogance, or pride, comes in all kinds of forms. The challenge is to recognize it for what it is, sin, and flee from it. Am I dealing with feelings that drive me to believe that I deserve something just because I want it.? This is pride. Am I bullying those around me to do things the way that I want them to because it makes me look good? This is pride. Do I expect God to give me my every wish because I want it? That is pride. Pride only does one thing. It builds me up at the expense of others so that my fall will be even greater. The enemy cherishes that fall so that he can drive me even further into sin. What is the answer to pride? Humility! Putting others before ourselves. Loving our neighbors. Loving those who hate us. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

December 5, 2017


John 6:35

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Encouraging Words

Jesus is our source for everything that we need in our lives. Most importantly He is our source of life, both physical and eternal. He does not dangle some kind of carrot in front of us, expecting us to behave a certain way in order to receive His gift of life. He gives us this gift of life and then shows us how to live our lives so that we can fully reap that which He has for us. So, what should be my response to this gift? Take it! Cherish it! Let it permeate my life, my actions, my thoughts, and my desires so that it changes me into His image. Jesus made it clear that if we are to be recipients of His bread of life and never feel hunger or thirst again, then we must act and come to Him. He is the Gift. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December 4, 2017


Psalms 120:1-4 (119:1-4 LXX)

To the Lord in my affliction
I cried out, and He heard me.
O Lord, deliver my soul from unjust lips
And from a deceitful tongue.
What should be given You, and what added to You,
Against a deceitful tongue?
The arrows of the Mighty One are sharpened
With hot coals from the desert.

Encouraging Words

My God, our God, is always there for us, especially in our times of need or affliction. It falls upon us to cry out to Him to fulfill our needs and to submit to His judgment of what is best for us. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 3, 2017


Proverbs 16:7 (16:4 LXX)

He who seeks the Lord will find knowledge with righteousness,
And those who seek Him rightly will find peace.

Encouraging Words

Don't we all desire to have knowledge, especially godly, righteous knowledge? Don't we all desire to have peace in our lives, especially in these chaotic times? The writer of the Proverbs tells us how to get these in our lives. We get these by rightly seek the Lord. Fast forward about 4,000 years from this writing and we find Jesus walking the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can find the Father except through Him. Jesus is the personification of what this Proverb is telling us to do. We can find righteous knowledge by seeking Jesus. We can find peace by seeking Him. Glory be to God!

December 2, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Seraphim of Sarov

December 1, 2017


John 6:14

Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Personal Challenge

Here in John, Jesus had just finished feeding 5,000 people. It was this sign that caused the people to proclaim Him to be the Prophet of God. He Had already performed many other miracles, This one made such an impression because so many individuals were impacted and collectively they started to proclaim who they thought He was. The problem with this way of thinking is that it only looks for Jesus in the grandiose miracles that He performs when He is just as much in the mundane one-on-one miracles of everyday life. Even today, we continue to look for God only in the big, grandiose, and spectacular things of life. We look for the big miracles, the big shows of His blessings, and forget to look for Him in the little things that He is ever so present in, This is one of the reasons we are told to be still and know that He is God. We need those quiet times with God to see Him, hear Him, and know Him, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, the mercy on me, the sinner!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

November 30, 2017


Psalms 118:147 (119:47 LXX)

I arose at midnight and cried out; I hoped in Your words.

Encouraging Words

My God is always present in my life. He is always available to me when I call out for His assist­ance in my life. He is where my entire hope in this life rests. He is when I find my confidence to make it through each day and to find true peace in the chaos of life. He is constant even as everything around me is in constant change. Glory be to God!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November 29, 2017


Proverbs 16:3

The beginning of a good way is to do righteous things,
And this is more acceptable to God than to offer sacrifices.

Encouraging Words

The author of Proverbs reminds us that the journey toward living a godly and righteous life begins by doing righteous, or good, things. He is not saying that our righteousness comes from the things that we do, God is the source of our righteousness through Christ. But when God has begun His saving work within us, we humbly follow in the footsteps of our Lord and start doing good things that glorify Him and begin the process of building righteousness in our lives. This is much more acceptable to God than sacrifices. Glory be to God!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

November 28, 2017


John 5:39-40

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Personal Challenge

Jesus is not a book. So many people today act as if the leather-bound Bible is Jesus, however, it is the inspired Word of God that was canonized by the church a few hundred years after Jesus walked upon this earth as the incarnate God. Up until that canonization the church operated from the traditions and teachings of the early church fathers. Those traditions and teachings still exist, in addition to the canonized scriptures. Our modern approach to Christianity has abandoned the foundational components of our faith and substituted for them the expositions and interpretations of so many individuals. No wonder the modern church has fractured and splintered into thousands of denominations and self-defined institutions. In the early church, this would have been viewed as heresy. If we really want to have a full understanding of who Jesus is and enter into a deep and life-changing relationship with Him, we must do as He said in this verse over 2,000 years ago, and go to Him in order to have the life He has for us. We need to return to the ways of the early church and the early church fathers. Come and see!

Friday, December 1, 2017

November 16, 2017


Psalms 118:133 (119:133 LXX)

Direct my steps according to Your teaching
And let no lawlessness rule over me.

Personal Challenge

This verse, like so many others, poses a dilemma for a modern person. We believe today that we have the final say on who we are and what we do. We live in a very individualistic and self-focused society. The Psalmist reminds us that it is God's teaching that we submit to if we desire to live a godly life. His teachings come from His Word, His Church, His traditions, not what we determine to be taught. Glory be to God!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 15, 2017


Proverbs 16:1

All the works of the humble are evident before the Lord,
But the ungodly will be destroyed in the evil day.

Personal Challenge

The early church fathers believed that humility was living a life of virtue. What are these virtues? They are chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, and kindness. As we strive to live these virtues in our lives we build the ability to exercise the virtue of humility. If we chose the way of the world, which is lust, gluttony, greed, acedia, anger, and vanity then we produce pride in our lives and build a wall between us and our Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 14, 2017


John 5:30

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

Personal Challenge

So, how is it that Jesus, who is one of the Trinity, say that He can do nothing by Himself? We must always remember that Jesus is two natures in one person. He had two natures. He is fully God, a member of the God-head, begotten by the Father and fully eternal. It is through Him that creation was done and in His image that all of mankind was made. He is also fully man, just like the handiwork of His creation, incarnate, and living a human existence like every one of us has done since Adam. He had to deal with human temptations, human emotions, and a human will. This is what He is referring to when He says, "I can of Myself do nothing." As a human being, He had to submit His human will completely to God's divine will in order to do that which God had called Him to do. How does this fully human, fully God thing work? No one knows, for it is truly a mystery that only God knows the answer to. What is so special in all of this is that Jesus, the incarnate human being, made it possible for us to follow in His footsteps and to be able to submit our will to God as He did. This is our journey to theosis. This is our true work in this life. This is my desire even though I continue to exercise my own personal will all too often. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

November 13, 2017


Psalms 119:130 (118:130 LXX)

The revelation of Your words gives light,
And it causes children to understand.

Personal Challenge

Throughout the New Testament writings, we are taught that we must come to our Lord as little children in order to get all that He has to offer us. Children are innocent. They are open and trusting. They receive input more than they produce output. Here we have the Psalmist saying the same thing. God continually pours out His light upon us. He reveals Himself to us this way. But if we are so caught up in the ways of the world, the busyness of our lives, and our propensity to being in control, then that light goes right past us and we gain nothing. We must humble ourselves and be as a child in His presence, emptying ourselves of our adultness so that we can be receptive to the revelation that He desires us to have. This is a lifelong endeavor and not a point in time action. As St. Paul tells us, we are running a marathon and not a sprint. Our true pursuit of our Land Jesus Christ becomes a pursuit of humility, supplication, submission, and obedience to Him who is greater than all. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner especially the sin of pride and self-centeredness.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 12, 2017


Proverbs 15:32-33 (15:37-38 LXX)

He who rejects instruction hates himself,
But he who gives heed to reproofs loves his soul.
The fear of God is instruction and wisdom,
And the beginning of glory will respond to it.

Personal Challenge

Instruction, discipline, correction, reproof and other similar terms are all used in the Proverbs to teach us that we must joyfully accept these things in our lives if we desire to grow in the image of Christ. Since we live in a fallen and broken world it is so easy to turn away from our God and to embrace the things of this world, In doing so, we sin. God desires that we be in constant communion with Him, so He corrects our sinfulness in order to bring us back to Him, just as a parent corrects their child to teach them the right way to behave. We are so blessed that our God loves us so much and that His corrections are always from that love, As we heed the discipline of our Father we begin to see and understand His wisdom and the wisdom that He desires us to have. This is part of our journey towards His glory. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 11, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Mark the Ascetic

November 9, 2017


John 5:24

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

Encouraging Words

Jesus makes it clear to us in this verse that He and His Father are inseparable. The gift of everlasting life comes from hearing the word of Jesus and through that word believing in the Father. Our salvation is not in Jesus alone, or the Father alone, or the Holy Spirit alone, but in all three of them, the Trinity. Jesus also makes it clear that our everlasting life, our passing from death to life, begins that very moment that we believe in the Father who sent Him. We do not have to wait for our death to enter everlasting life. This is why our sinning after we become children of God is something that needs to be dealt with and repented of. Sin pulls is away from the presence of God and the blessings of eternal life that He wants to pour out upon us as we continue our journey through this temporal world. This is where the Holy Spirit comes into the picture, He is part of our lives to lead us in paths of righteousness and to turn our head and heart away from the temptations of the world. But we must listen to Him as well. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 8, 2017


Psalms 119:105 (118:105 LXX)

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my paths.

Encouraging Words

Why spend time reading God's scriptures and the teachings of the Saints? Because they are provided by God to give us His uncreated light to illumine our journey through life and to help us to become more like His Son. We are not alone on this journey. Glory be to God!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

November 7, 2017


Proverbs 15:1

Wrath destroys even men of discernment;
But a humble answer turns away anger,
And a grievous word stirs up wrath.

Personal Challenge

The time to practice humility and speaking humbly to others is never in the midst of an argument. If we practice living this way in the calm times, the times that we are at peace with those around us, then we develop the ability and the way of speaking and being that will come forth in the stressful situations. It never helps the situation to respond to a wrathful person with wrath for it only adds more fuel to the fire. Is this an easy characteristic to develop in our lives? It is not, but the results of doing so have great benefit. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November 6, 2017


John 4:13-14

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Encouraging Words

Living Water! Jesus is our source of a water that gives us eternal life. The one core essence that every creature needs to survive is water. That is one of the reasons that water is such important part of so many of our activities in the Orthodox church. We believe that when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river He restored water to its state before the fall. Today, through Jesus, we can partake of this Living Water. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 5, 2017


Psalms 119:89 (118:89 LXX)

Forever, O Lord,
Your word continues in heaven.

Encouraging Words

Our God is not temporary or fleeting. He is not changing or changeable by the whims of this temporary world. There are great solace and comfort in this truth for it gives us, whose lives are temporary and fleeting, something, rather Someone, to hold onto as everything around us changes and passes on. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 4, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Theophan the Recluse

November 3, 2017


Proverbs 14:30 (14:31 LXX)

A man with a gentle spirit is a healer of the heart,
But a sensual heart is the moth of the bones.

Personal Challenge

The first half of this verse is pretty clear, be nice to others, give them the treatment of a gentle spirit, and their hearts will be healed. But the second part of this translation is a little harder to understand. Let's try a different translation...
Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)A heart at peace gives life to the body,but envy rots the bones.
A sensual heart is a heart full of passion. If that passion is envy or lust or anger or any other negative passion then it will eat us from the inside out. Once again we are being taught that what is in our hearts determines what we do with our lives. Our ongoing personal challenge in our journey of life is to protect our heart from the things of this World and to let our Lord fell it with Himself. Glory be to God!

Monday, November 6, 2017

November 2, 2017


John 3:36

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Command with a Promise

The early church fathers (and by this, we mean first and second-century saints) taught that our salvation comes from our faith in Christ and our subsequent actions of working out that faith in our lives. We cannot just say some simple prayer and then go on living our lives the way we always have, A true faith in Christ begins to change us from the inside to the outside and our actions begin to demonstrate that faith in God. He facilitates these changes in us, but we must be willing and active participants in the change process which works out the salvation process within us. St. John Chrysostom said,
“We do not from this assert that faith alone is sufficient for salvation; the directions for living that are given in many places in the Gospels show this.”
St. John makes it clear that our salvation is a process that is managed and controlled by God. This requires us to follow and act upon His commandments, expectations, and precepts. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Friday, November 3, 2017

November 1, 2017


Psalms 118:77

Let Your compassions come to me, and I shall live;
For Your law is my meditation.

Encouraging Words

God loves His creation so dearly. He loves us even to the point of His own death. In that love, He chooses to pour out His compassions upon us and gives us life, both an abundant temporal life and eternal life. Our part in this exchange is to receive that which He is giving us as a free, no strings attached gift and to meditate upon Him and follow Him. He gives so much more to the relationship than we can ever return. Lord, have Mercy!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

October 31, 2017


Proverbs 14:17

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

Personal Challenge

There is definitely a benefit to learning to hold one's tongue in the middle of a heated discussion or argument. Being quick-tempered can get a person into a lot of trouble and cause a lot of pain to others. It takes time, effort, and a commitment to our Lord to learn how to manage our tempers and to become people that bear many things. Discernment, the crown of the virtues is a worthy goal in life, for with it we will act supernaturally. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 30, 2017


John 3:30

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Personal challenge

John the Baptist sets the standard for how each of us who claim to be followers of Jesus should live our lives. If we desire to grow in the image of Christ, to become more like Him, then we must decrease and He must increase. This is such an indictment of the so-called prosperity gospel that is so prevalent today. Sometimes God does choose to bless His children with earthly blessings, however, these blessings are not for our own good, but for the prudent use to help build His kingdom. If we are given financial wealth, then we have more to give to our churches or other Christian ministries that need our support. If we are given talents that we use in our occupation, then we can give them to His organizations who need these talents and cannot afford the going rate. He gives us time, which we can all use to teach Sunday School, or hold a crying baby during the church service, or vacuuming the sanctuary, or whatever else needs to be done. This is all part of decreasing so that He can increase. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

October 28, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Ambrose of Optina

Monday, October 30, 2017

October 27, 2017


Psalms 119:37 (118:37 LXX)

Turn away my eyes that I may not see vanity;
Give me life in Your way.

Encouraging Words

This is a powerful prayer that we can all say on a regular basis. Asking God to protect our eyes, ears, and minds from those things that will draw us away from Him can help us to stay on His straight and narrow path, His way. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

October 26, 2017


Proverbs 13:10

Deceitful souls are led astray in sins,
But the righteous have compassion and are merciful.

Personal Challenge

Temptations that show up in our lives are not sins. It is what we do with these temptations that end up in sin or righteousness. If our hearts are not right with our Lord or focussed on Him and what He would desire of us, then the temptations will lead us to sin. We choose to give in to the sin. But if we are trying to live our lives to honor God and keep our hearts and minds focused on Him, then we will flee from the temptations and move closer to righteousness. Again, it is a choice. Lord, have mercy? Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Friday, October 27, 2017

October 25, 2017


John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Encouraging Words

John 3:16! This is probably one of the most memorized verses of the Bible. This is the verse, when I fully came to understand its meaning, lead me to the point of asking Jesus to be the center of my life, over half a century ago. This verse sums up the whole gospel of why God sent His Son to be incarnated as one of us and let Him die on the cross, because of love. It was not until later in my life that I also noticed that verse 17 was needed to complete the story of Gods' love. God does not judge us like some angry judge wielding the heavy gavel of justice. God has created all of His creation with a right and a wrong. There is an order that is in place that either draws us closer to Him or pushes us farther away from Him. The thing in our lives that pushes us away from Him is our sin. God does not force us to sin. God does not set us up to sin. God created us with a free will, the ability to choose between right and wrong. When I choose wrong or sin, then I am choosing the condemnation, or separation from God, as the consequences. Then verse 16 kicks in and through Jesus, I can repent of this and be forgiven. Glory be to God! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 24, 2017


Psalms 119:11 (118:11 LXX)

I hid Your teachings in my heart
So as not to sin against You.

Personal Challenge

The truth found in this psalm is that if I am continuing to sin, then I have not hidden enough Gods' teachings in my heart. The more that I fill up my heart with Him, the less room there is for the things of this world that draw me to sin, Jesus told the prostitute to go and ah no more after He forgave her. This means we do have the ability, through Him, to live a sinless life. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October 23, 2017


Proverbs 12:18 (12:20 LXX)

There are those who wound with a sword as they speak,
But the tongues of the wise heal.

Personal Challenge

Throughout the scriptures, both old and new, we are warned that the smallest part of our body, the tongue, can be either the most lethal part of our body or the most healing. We each have the choice to use our tongue to strike as lethally as a sword or to apply healing balm to those around us. The choice is driven by what is in our hearts. Today, I choose to be a healer. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!