Thank you all who stop by here for the daily devotionals, weekly homilies, and other postings all meant to encourage you to practice daily the faith meant to make you like Jesus Christ! This is the heart of Life Encouraged and why I love doing this work. In the last few months since Life Encouraged went live we have been gratified by the number of visits, the email responses, and your…
I've noticed that some folks appreciate straight talk and some folks don't. In fact, there seem to be whole cultures where plain talk is discouraged because certain cultures consider it rude. I've seen this reality play out with different concepts about honesty as well.
He was a canny businessman. He actually took real pleasure in knowing he had gotten the better of his business associates in deals, in negotiations, and in life. He seemed to know just when to strike and just the right words to say to get his way and get ahead. And he was all alone. His great ability to shrewdly scheme his way to financial success didn't translate into his relationships because everyone around him felt they were always being conned, manipulated, or cheated. Eventually, his business associates figured this out as well, and his short-lived success crumbled. He was shrewd but he wasn't wise.
Faith is something we humans take for granted. We seem to just assume that we "have" faith or we "keep" the faith merely by wanting to do so, but is that what faith really is? Is faith something we simply "think" about and so we "have" it? I don't know about you but this seems to lead us to magical thinking or, worse yet, self-delusion. Is it really true that the merest intention to believe is belief itself?
Today, Jesus walks on water to get to His disciples in the boat. Don’t let the flashy miracle of walking on water distract you from the greater miracle of His great love and concern for His disciples. The Lord wasn’t going to let a little problem of physics like liquids and solids keep Him from taking care of those He loved. And The Lord loves you today like He loved them then!
This Saturday I am honored to share with your the growing resource of videos from the absolutely excellent ministry resources from our Archdiocese Youth Department called "Be the Bee." The Feast of the Transfiguration occurs during our fasting season in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition. This is no accident. As we approach the "summer Pascha" of the Feast of the Dormition, the Church gives us a glimpse into the true destiny of we humans created in God's Image. We are "transfigured" to finally be able to see Christ for Who He really is with Sts Peter, James, and John. Today, are your eyes opened to Who He is? Are your eyes opened to who you are meant to be? Are you being "transfigured?" In a few days we will celebrate the Feast of the Dormition where God will continue to try to communicate to us that He really has conquered death and we will once again be invited to "see" the purpose of His work in our lives! Enjoy this Be the Bee and support this wonderful resource for you, your children, and your parish! [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-mAXioArbs?list=PLbyQMR-_r8bJTrcWpWxSUPdJHdZJsq_zG]
If you have a younger sibling then you've heard this before: "She did it! Why can't I?" I know I've heard it in my house on numerous occasions, especially when the younger kiddo wonders out loud "What about me?"
Each week we post the Sunday homilies on our "Sermons" page. This is the homily from last Sunday on the miracle of the feeding of the 5000. You can also hear these weekly homilies on Ancient Faith Radio at http://www.ancientfaith.com/video/lifeencouraged [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAQmsq34oiU?list=UUexfCDc6_Cu6Scuq2Y-9HWQ]
"There are three people I take care of first: Me, Myself, and I!" With that, the man clearly showed his priority in his life - himself. Let's face it, while most of us aren't as forthright as the gentleman above, we have to confess our behavior betrays our priorities. Whether we admit it or not, our own comfort, our own desires, our own priorities, beliefs, and wants, hold a strong position in our lives, perhaps even the most important position. To be sure, we want to avoid coming off as some self-centered, arrogant, bully. We don't want others to think of us as selfish oafs. But subtly we work very hard to get our own way. But this isn't a "new" reality. It's been part of humanity since the beginning, and it isn't always a bad thing, but it is always a dangerous thing.
“Now let us have a little talk with Jesus, let us tell Him all about our troubles. He will hear us when we cry and He will answer by and by…” This old spiritual written by Clevant Derricks strikes a chord in my heart with it simple emphasis on prayer – “a little talk with Jesus.” And that’s just what prayer is, a conversation between you and God. But it is so much more than that! You see, the goal of the Christian life is to become like Christ. Orthodoxy calls this process of spiritual growth and maturity “theosis.” This recalls the words of St. Athanasius when he taught that God had become flesh so that we might become like God. This wisdom, this insight, is what enlivens all of Orthodox theology.