Saturday, July 15, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14, 2017

BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD


Job 1:21

“Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. As it seemed good to the Lord, so also it came to pass. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Personal Challenge


The story of Job is one that is packed full of teachings for us on who God is, who our enemy is, and who we are. This statement by Job at the beginning of his ordeal is a statement by which we should all live our lives. We are entitled to nothing in this life. Whether we are born into an extremely wealthy family or into great poverty, what we have is what God has given us. What we do with what God has given us, how we love our lives, and our relationships with those around us, is what matters. And what matters the most is how we build our lives around our God and that which He has given us. If we make Him the center of our lives and not ourselves or our stuff then it won't matter what we have or don't have. Then our lives can show that blessed be the name of the Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 13, 2017

MARTHA OR MARY?


Luke 10:41-42

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Personal Challenge

I must always watch my life and make sure that I keep a good balance between being a Martha or a Mary. Jesus does not point out one as being better than the other. What He points out is that there is a time to be one and a time to be another. So, what is a Martha and what is a Mary? Martha is that task oriented person who is obsessed with getting things done. They are the ones that we can always count on to get the work done. Unfortunately, they don't do too well when it comes to relationships. The Mary, however, is the one that is all about building relationships, the social butterfly. They can always be counted on to keep the party alive and everyone engaged in building relationships. Both have great strengths, but those strengths are also their weaknesses. I am, by nature, a Martha. I am a get-er-done kind of guy. However, I have learned, and am continuing to learn, that God also needs me to be a Mary and spend time just being with those around me. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017

BEING REMEMBERED


Psalms 89:47-48 (88:48-49 LXX)

Let my substance be remembered, as to what sort it is,
For did You create all the sons of men in vain?
What kind of man is there who will live and not see death?
Will he deliver his soul from the hand of Hades?

Personal Challenge

Isn't this ultimately the desire of every human being? We all hope that we will be remembered for who we really are, for the good things that we have done, for the people's lives that we have touched in a positive and encouraging way, for our substance. God did not create any of us in vain. We were all created, and continue to be created, in His image so that we can bear Him into the world and throughout creation. He is good and therefore we are good because of His image within us. But He also created us with free will, so we must choose to live our lives glorifying Him. We must choose to be a part of delivering our souls from the hand of Hades by following Him and being obedient to Him. We become integral contributors to our own salvation. We make the choices in our lives that ultimately lead to how we are remembered. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!

July 11, 2017

LIVING AS RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE


3 Maccabees 3:3-5 LXX


The Jews, though, maintained their goodwill and unswerving faith toward the throne. But because they worshiped God and lived by His precepts, they kept themselves separate from others with regard to food, and therefore appeared hateful to some. But they adorned their way of life with the good deeds of righteous people, and thus established themselves as honorable to all men.

Personal Challenge

Living a Christian life is challenging. However, it is not really any more challenging today than it has been throughout the entire history of the church, or for God's early followers the nation of Israel. If we try to live our lives the way that God would have us live them, then we start becoming separate from the world and therefore looked upon as if we think we are better than everyone else. This will lead to isolation and sometimes even persecution. But, if we still try to live our lives the way God would like us to, then we will continue to strive to be His witnesses in our communities. We will exhibit goodwill and unswerving faith toward the governing bodies that we live under. We will adorn our way of life with the good deeds of righteous people. We will be God's ambassadors here on earth, exhibiting His love for His creation. Our job is never over, no matter what the consequences are. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 10, 2017

WHAT DO WE REJOICE IN?


Luke 10:19-20

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.

Encouraging Words
Our loving and merciful God does not just call us to be His followers, His warriors, and to take up His cross, without also giving us the power to do so. He promised His disciples, and us, that He will give us the authority, and the power, to stand up to the enemy in the spiritual realm who will do whatever they can to thwart the building of His kingdom. No matter what is thrown at us, we can resist it. No matter how difficult it might become to stand firm for our God, He will give us what we need to continue to be steadfast for Him. But as Jesus told His disciples, this is not what we should be rejoicing about. We should be rejoicing that we are His children, that we have been grafted into His divine and royal family as adoptees of God, that we will be spending eternity with our brothers and sisters in Christ and the heavenly host, worsh­iping and glorifying our God. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, the sinner!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 9, 2017

GOD IS LOVE AND LOVING


Psalms 86:15 (85:15 LXX)

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

Encouraging Words

It still amazes me that the western version of Christianity bases their entire view of God on the belief that He is an angry and judgmental God who is ready to squish us like ants. This has created a way of thinking and acting that makes people judgmental of others and expectant that the only way to appease God's anger is to have someone greater than mankind substituted for the expected punishment. This is not what the early fathers of the church taught. They taught that God is love, that He loves His creation deeply and desires that we love Him and our neighbor. They did not teach that Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, had to be born of a virgin to stand between God's wrath and us, the designated recipients of that wrath. They taught that since by man (Adam), sin entered into God's creation, that through this sin man would die, and that Jesus became man so that through His incarnation, His living a sinless life as a man, His willingness to die on the cross an innocent man, His going into Hell and breaking the bonds of death, and His resurrection and ascension onto Heaven, that all of mankind can enter into His family. What a difference! To God be the glory

July 8, 2017

Saint of the Week
St. Mark the Ascetic


Friday, July 7, 2017

July 7, 2017

IN GOD I TRUST


2 Maccabees 8:18


“For they trust in arms and bold acts,” he said, “but we trust in Almighty God, who with only one nod is able to overthrow both those who come against us and the entire world.”

Personal Challenge

Why is it that the only time that we call out to God to help us is when we are in the midst of a crisis? Basically, it is our personal, or collective, pride that keeps telling us that we can manage this on our own. Oh, how much we miss out on in our lives by leaving God out of our everyday activities. Oh, how many crises we could avoid by calling out to Him for every decision and every action. Here in the Maccabees passage, they make sure that everyone knows that their entire hope and trust is in their Almighty God. They know that He can be their helper and their protector, as those who are attaching them put their hope in their weapons, their past experiences, and their own pride. May I learn from this group of people how to always involve my Almighty God in my every decision and action.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July 6, 2017

WORKING IN THE HARVEST


Luke 10:2

Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

Personal Challenge

I do not believe that God only wants us to pray that He will send someone else to do His harvesting in the world. He wants us to be willing to go as one of His laborers if He calls us. Our prayers should be for those who are being harvested, the harvesters, and ourselves so that we know what role He would have us fill in the building of His kingdom. Glory be to God?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 5, 2017

GIVING THANKS


Psalms 86:12 (85:12 LXX)

I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
And I shall glorify Your name forever;

Encouraging Words

My God is so good to me. He is so good to His Church. He is so good to all of man­kind, He deserves our thanks and our worship and yet He leaves it up to us to exercise our free will and to worship Him. I choose to give my thanks to Him as the psalmist did. I choose to glorify His name as the psalmist also did. Thank You, O Lord, my God!