The Reality of Our Hope Is Already Here (Mon. August 23)

The word of the day is “hope.”  We think of hope as our expectation of something good that will happen in the future.  In today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, Paul vigorously defends the basis of our hope in Christ.  It is His glorious resurrection.  Against those in Corinth who were denying the resurrection of believers, the Apostle states, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!  Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (vs. 17-18.)  Today, we will consider that if the basis of our hope is that Christ is risen, then our hope is more than an expectation.  Our hope is also an anticipation. Hope Looks Forward to…

Building the Church and Our Lives on the One Sure Foundation (Sun. August 22)

The word of the day is “foundation.”  How does it happen that church leaders lead the flock of Christ astray?  How does it happen that the members of a church depart from the teaching of its founders?  In today’s reading of 1 Cor. 3:9-17, Paul explains the squabbles dividing the church in Corinth.  He writes, “As a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.  But let each one take heed how he builds on it” (OSB vs. 10). Paul has founded the congregation, but other pastors have succeeded him. But the members are now dividing themselves according to what they perceive as the different teaching of their shepherds.  Are Paul’s successors at fault? Let…

The Consolation of Commending All Our Lives to Christ (Sat. August 21)

The word of the day is “Lord’s.” In good times we are apt to forget that we own neither the present nor the future. We begin to construct a life for ourselves without reference to our Creator and Redeemer.  But in times of misfortune, when things do not go our way, we see the futility of our efforts to live for ourselves. At these times, it is a great comfort to believe that everything is in the hands of God. In today’s reading of Romans 14:6-9, St. Paul writes, “Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (vs. 8).  At the end of every litany in the Divine Liturgy, we “commend ourselves and each other, and all our…

Everything in Worship Done Decently and in Order (Fri. August 20)

The word of the day is “confusion.”  Orthodox worship reflects a sense of the sacredness of God and the dignity of people.  It  follows an ancient “ordo” or structure with words that stem from St. Basil the Great or St. John Chrysostom in the fourth century. Some might call this reverent and graceful attitude of worship formal and ritualistic.  But the stately mood reflects the teaching of today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.  In this reading Paul instructs the Corinthians to set their worship in order.  We will find Paul advises a serene atmosphere in worship.  And that mood reflects the holiness of God who is a God of harmony and peace. The Mood of Pagan Worship Infects the Church…

Praying With the Understanding in Worship Services (Thurs. August 19

The word of the day is “understanding.”  Some equate the mystical with the esoteric.  They believe that the more incomprehensible the utterance, the more sacred the speech is.  This claim is like the boast of those who “spoke in tongues” in the congregation at Corinth.  These troublemakers who could utter strange sounds boasted that they had superior spiritual knowledge.  Their speech may have been ecstatic, but it had no message that could be communicated to others. In response to this bragging, in today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 14:6-9, the apostle minimizes the importance of this unintelligible speech.  Instead, he recommends praying with “understanding” (v. 5).  Those who had it might have been carried away into a higher mystical state, but…

Love Endures When All Else Fails (Wed. August 18)

The word of the day is “endures.”  People these days do not value things that last.  But when the trials of life come, they realize that they have taken the good things of life for granted, and what is valuable has slipped away from them.  Then, they begin to seek something that endures. In today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 13:4-14, Paul answers that quest.  It is love.  The apostle writes that love “…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (vs. 7). The Love God Has For Us and the Love We Share The love that Paul refers to is not the love of romance, friendship, or family.  It is the everlasting love that God has…

How to be Peacemakers: A Lesson from the Divisions in Corinth (Tues. August 17)

The word of the day is “members.”  In today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, St. Paul insists that the church is one body with many members.  Conversely, those many members have different functions to make one body.  The point seems obvious.  But we let’s probe more deeply into the meaning of this familiar passage.  When we do, we will find the key to the division in Corinth and how we might become peacemakers when attitudes of envy and contempt appear in our churches. What the Foot and the Eye Say Reveals Underlying Passions Paul says, “If the foot should say because I am not the hand, I am not part of the body” (vs. 15). Of course, this conjecture is…

How to Distinguish Between True and False Prophecy (Mon. August 16)

The word for the day is “speaking.”  Even today in our secular world, we hear voices that claim to deliver messages from the divine.  How do we know which, if any are true?  In our reading of 1 Cor. 11:31-12:6, Paul proposes a test of how we might discern the genuine proclamations of the Word of God from false prophecies.  He writes, “Therefore, I make known to you that no one by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (vs. 3).  We will find that this principle points to a significant difference between true and deceitful proclamations that claim to come from the divine. The Abundance…

How to Achieve Oneness by Sharing the Mind of Christ (Sun. August 15)

The word of the day is “mind.”  Many people today are tired of the squabbles of our polarized society and want unity.  But few will give up their favorite opinions to get it.  In today’s reading of 1 Cor. 1:10-18, Paul gets at the bottom of the disputes in the congregation at Corinth.  The apostle believes that believers cannot achieve genuine unity and still be of a divided opinion.  Therefore, the apostle appeals to the Corinthians to be “of the same mind and the same judgment” (vs. 10).  Today we will consider how the “same mind” and “same judgment” would bring the flock of Corinth together as one Body in Christ and how the same mindset and conviction would unite…

Living Uncomplicated Lives that Are Not Entangled in the World (Sat. August 14)

The word of the day is “owe. ”  In today’s reading of Romans 13:1-10, St. Paul speaks of the believer’s duty to the government.  He writes that we are to be subject to its secular authority, for God has appointed it.  By it, the Almighty orders the world for its good (Romans 13:1-4). However, elsewhere, St. Paul said that we are citizens of another Kingdom.  He wrote in Philippians that “… our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20a).  And in Ephesians, the Apostle wrote, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph. 2:19).  Today we will answer the question that if we are subjects of…