Full of the Holy Spirit

This famous conversation between St. Seraphim of Sarov and a young, Russian nobleman is a true treasure for us today: Movilof asked: “What does it mean, acquiring the Holy Spirit?” Abba Seraphim replied: “When you acquire something you own it, like owning money. The Holy Spirit is your heavenly capital. Let us pray to be filled with Holy Spirit and let us be silent in His presence in order to hear what…

The Gift of Prophecy

There are real and debilitating consequences to living life asleep. Wow, what a way to begin a devotional! But seriously, the ancient saying “the unexamined life is not worth living” hits home precisely because most of my troubles in my life are self-inflicted AND result from not taking the time and not developing the insight necessary to avoid the potholes in my life! You can’t hope to avoid trouble if you never…

Rules, I Hate Rules!

“They have to keep the rules, just like us!” Yeah, that’s true. We should all be held to the same standard. But wait a tick, have you kept the “rules” you expect others to keep? I know it’s hard to get your mind to shift from “what should be” to “what is,” but that’s what our lesson requires today. And there’s the rub, dear ones. But what if the purpose of the…

He Ascended Into Heaven

Today is the Feast of the Ascension, and this Feast begs the question: What is this whole ascending from the Mount of olives all about? Why didn’t Jesus just “POOF” disappear and go to the Father’s side? Why all this theatrics? It is almost axiomatic that any truth or tradition sufficiently removed from its Source or Cause tends toward superstition and nostalgia. And given enough time and thoughtlessness, it can even become…

He Who Believes in Me

Christ is risen! What does it mean to “believe in” something? I confess most of my life I’ve just taken for granted that I knew, and everyone around me knew, what that meant. I was wrong. The word “believe” means so much more than just agreeing that certain ideas are correct. The Greek word used in the New Testament for believe is πιστεύω (pistevo). It comes from the noun πίστη, which means…

Once, and For All!

Christ is risen! In World War 1 the two opposing armies would dig in and conduct what was then called “trench warfare.” The land between the two armies entrenched for the fight was called “no man’s land” because anybody who tried to attack would be shot by the other side! Not a pleasant place to be. But recently I was teaching after our regular Wednesday night service about the unique place the…

You Know Nothing At All

Christ is risen! “You just don’t know what you’re talking about!” He was pretty upset over what I had to tell him. But sometimes, for a person’s own good, you have to say plain things plainly so that there will be no misunderstanding. And, in spite of my attempts to soften the blow of these plain truths, he still simply insisted I didn’t know enough facts to say what I said. And…

How Long Will You Keep Us In Suspense?

Christ is risen! The great American author Lewis B. Smedes once said “Seeing reality for what it is is what we call discernment. The work of discernment is very hard.” And the Orthodox Fathers would agree. In fact, it is the gift of discernment that we are constantly called to develop and embrace in the writings of the Orthodox Fathers. Being able to tell reality from delusion isn’t nearly as easy as…

We See! Yes And Your Guilt Remains

Christ is Risen! This thought haunts me. All I’ve preached, all I’ve taught’ all I’ve said, will one day be used as a comparison with the way I’ve lived, the choices I’ve made, and the priorities I’ve set. No wonder the Church teaches me to say over and over again “Lord, have mercy!” But I won’t seriously learn how to truly repent and change the way I think if I ignore this…

The Abundant Leftovers

Christ is risen! Alexander the Great is reported to have said “Nothing is impossible to him who will try.” Yeah, try telling that to a group of people who refuse to try. I remember having a conversation with a man about building a new church building on our property and he told me to my face “Father, it’s impossible. These folks will never do it.” He was surprised when I responded to…