Doers of the Word: A Reconsideration (Feb. 4, Thurs.)

The word of the day is “doer.”  In our reading of James 1:19-27, we confront the teaching that we must be “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (vs. 22).  This instruction immediately calls to mind the controversy between “faith and works” that has raged in the Western church since the Reformation.  The issue has so prejudiced our reading that James is often treated as a foil to the teaching of Paul on grace. But let us clear our minds to hear the message of this passage.  Let’s begin with the question, “What, after all, are ‘works’ (vs. 2:14)?”  The Greek word for “works” means simply  “acts” or a “deeds” (Strong’s #2041, 102).  They are what “doers of the…

The Difference Between Trials and Temptations (Feb. 3, Wed.)

The word for today is “trials.”  Today in our reading of James 1:1-18, we begin our study of the New Testament book of James.   Two themes serve as bookends for this opening passage:  trials and temptations.  The apostle asserts that when we endure trials patiently, they are constructive. He writes, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…” (vs.2). Yet, when we give in to temptations, they are destructive.   The apostle writes, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires…[and] when desire has conceived it gives birth to sin… and brings forth death” (vs. 14-15). The Divine Gift of Wisdom To distinguish between trials and temptations takes wisdom. Wisdom is…

When God Speaks (Feb. 2, Tuesday)

The word for today is “refuse.”   In today’s reading of  Hebrew 12:25-26,  13:22-25,  we hear that we should not disregard the Word of the Lord when He proclaims it to us.  The apostle writes, “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks… (vs. 25). To understand this warning, we must explain the preceding verses.  Beginning with Chapter 12:18, the apostle contrasts Mt. Sinai where Moses received the Law with Mt. Zion, the city of the living God” (vs.22).   This heavenly city is the meeting place of angels and the assembly of those whose names are “registered in heaven.” Thus, it is the company of the righteous who are “firstborn,” firstborn in the sense that they are first in the…

Faith Tested and Proven (Feb. 1, Monday)

The word for today is “tested.” Today on the “Forefeast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple,” we read Hebrews 11:17-23, 27-31. In this passage, the apostle recalls the faith of those who endured numerous and unspeakable trials “by faith.”  The apostle begins, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son…” (vs. 17). Consider what faith empowered and inspired the people of God to do: offered up his only son, blessed Esau and Jacob, blessed the sons of Joseph, gave instructions for his burial in the holy land, hid the baby Moses from being slain, left the luxury of Pharaoh’s palace and Egypt…

Blog to Resume Soon

The Word of the Day will resume as soon as I can get organized after my bout with the Coronavirus.  Thanks for standing by and thank you especially for your prayers that lifted me up before the Throne of Grace.  By your prayers and the mercy of God, I have been delivered and am now recovering.  With gratitude in Christ, Fr. Basil

Back Home With Gratitude

Dear Beloved Readers: I thank God that I have come back home after about a month’s stay in the hospital and rehab facility.  As I recover from this peril,  I am filled with overwhelming gratitude to God for his mercy.  I am thankful also for your prayers and the prayers of so many who lifted me up and placed me in the arms of our gracious God.  I join in prayers for all who are suffering from this scourge and that by the mercy of God this time of trial will end according to His good will.  May the Lord watch over you as the Word of grace and truth in Christ nourishes us day by day.  With thanksgiving in…

Word of the Day Blog Suspended

I apologize but I am hospitalized with COVID.  Please stand by and I will hopefully be back soon, God willing. Thank you for your prayers.

The Washing of Regeneration (Wed. Jan. 6)

Christ is baptized! The word of the day is “saved.”  On this Great Feast of Theophany, we note the connection between the Baptism of Christ and our baptism.  In our reading of Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7, the apostle writes, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (vs. 4-6). Note in verse 4 that the word “saved” is not a verb in the Greek text. It is a noun.  The passage reads that the Lord…

Bringing Others to Christ Across Cultural Divides (Tues. Jan. 5)

The word of the day is “became.”  What lengths would we go to bring others to Christ?   In our reading of 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, Paul says, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant of all that I might win the more” (vs. 19). Think of the distances that St. Paul traveled to bring the Gospel to the world of the Roman Empire. The apostle embarked on three great missionary journeys covering over ten thousand miles.  On these trips, he encountered constant hazards.  On land, he was vulnerable to robbers, hungry, thirsty, sleepless, weary, cold, and in danger of attack from both Jew and Gentiles (vs. 26-28).   And at sea, he was shipwrecked three…

Hope Motivates and Directs Our Lives (Mon. Jan 4)

The word of the day is “faith.”  In today’s reading of Hebrews 11:17-23, 27-31, we see the power of faith to bring our hope near to us so that it informs and shapes our lives.   In the preceding verse, we find that Paul speaks of the hope for a “better, that is, a heavenly country… a city prepared for the faithful (vs. Hebrews 11:16).  All the examples of faith that follow are instances that depend on and move that hope closer to its realization. Faith Moves Hope Forward For example, Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (vs. 17)  looked forward to the sacrifices of God’s only Son.  The blessing of Jacob and Isaac concerned the “things to come’ (20).  The blessing of…