BEING Holy!

“Being precedes doing!” I heard the phrase and thought to myself “I’m not sure I understand what that is supposed to mean?” And, as I listened to the speaker longer, my confusion just grew. I think what the professor was trying to say was our actions flow from who we really are. And he was trying to get us to understand that it is the interior battle of slaying the “dragons” inside…

The Gift of Confession

St. John Chrysostom declares “Be ashamed when you sin, not when you repent.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people confide in me that they don’t go to confession because they are ashamed. What a brilliant trick of the evil one! The very medicine that would cure your heart sickness is the one thing you’re most afraid to do. And, of course, folks tell me they don’t want me…

The Word of God IS NOT Fettered!

She looked at me after I’d shared my own struggles as a priest and a leader and she said “Well, father, you chose this life. So, there’s no use in complaining about it!” Ouch! That’ll teach me to be honest and vulnerable to those who haven’t proven themselves able to bear it! But, as much as her words stung, they were also true. I did exercise my will, my freedom to choose,…

Can You Tame Your Tongue?

Soren Kierkegaard once said, “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” Frankly, I couldn’t list all the times I wish I hadn’t said this or that in my life. My tongue has gotten me in trouble as much or more than it’s gotten me out of trouble! But Proverbs declares “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of…

A Eucharistic Life!

“All is gift.” This phrase captures both the simple and profound message that embodies the mystery of living a Eucharistic life. You may ask “What does that mean?” And I understand. We moderns are far removed from a world where mystery and wonder and story dominated our human society. And we are impoverished by this reduction of true mystery in our lives. Although, I will say that our modern world is slowly…

Ancient Faith Survey! Take A Look!

Dear Faith Encouraged Family, Faith Encouraged’s ministry Partner, Ancient Faith Publishing, has asked us all to participate in this brief survey for them. I’m asking my friends to participate. This survey takes about 5 minutes, and it will help Ancient Faith Publishing learn what our readers are looking for. The information we’re seeking will inform acquisitions decisions, what books from other publishers are carried in our store, what authors we might approach…

It’s Impossible to Be Saved! Now What?

As uncomfortable as it may sound it’s just impossible for me to be saved. Of course, that begs the question “What do you mean by ‘saved’?” And that is the question, isn’t it? In my old way of thinking being saved meant not going to hell when I died. Or, to put a more positive spin on it, going to heaven when I died. But the more I learn about the fullness…

Why Do You Call Me Good?

I love what Mark Twain once said: “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” Yep, I know what he means. I squirm under the light of someone who’s life radiates a goodness I so often wish I had and all too often do not! My best friend use to say that “No life is a total waste; it can always serve as a bad…

Jesus, Our Final High Priest

What is the significance of the phrase “not made with hands?” We see this in our lesson today and we even see an Orthodox ikon of the same name. You know the ikon I’m talking about. It is the ikon of the Lord’s Face that the Lord sent to Abgar, the leader of the city of Edessa who had been afflicted with leprosy. The tradition says that the Lord commanded a bowl…

Lord, Let Your Servant Depart in Peace!

I love this quote from Jimi Hendrix: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” It seems we hear a lot about peace and how to achieve it through human history, but it always seems to be just beyond the grasp of we humans. And yet, we know we need peace. We sure do seem to want peace, and we never seem to have a…