Rejoice When Suffering for Christ’s Sake (Sun. August 29)

The word of the day is “sake.”  Which of these would we choose: worldly wisdom, strength, honor, and riches or their opposite: foolishness, weakness, dishonor, and poverty?  Today in our reading of 1 Corinthians 4:9-16, Paul speaks about the hardships that he and the other apostles are enduring for the sake of Christ.  He contrasts these adversities with the boasting of the Corinthians that they are wise, rich, and honored.  The apostle’s defense of his ministry puts a question before us.  We can either be wise or fools; strong or weak; distinguished or dishonored, rich or “hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, beaten, and homeless” (vs. 11). Blessed Are the Reviled and Persecuted for Christ’s Sake We would probably choose the…

The Power of Striving Together in Prayer (Sat. August 28)

The word of the day is “strive.”  Why aren’t our individual prayers sufficient?  After all, the Book of James says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (OSB James, 5:16).  If so, then why should James also say that we should pray for one another (James 5:16)? Today in Romans 15:30-33, Paul writes, “Strive together with me in prayers to God for me” (vs. 30).  Today we explore why Paul appeals for fervent prayers for him.  And we learn the added power and benefits of p raying for one another. Paul’s Concerns Require Striving Together in Prayer In today’s reading, Paul closes his letter to the Romans.  The apostle has finished his collection of the offering for…

God’s Word is Always “Yes” (Fri. August 27)

The word of the day is “Yes.”  When our faith is challenged, we are tempted to become unsure of the promises of God’s Word and doubtful of its preaching. Today in  2 Corinthians 1:12-20, Paul defends himself from the charge that he vacillates.  He says, “Yes” sometimes, and “No” other times, and “Yes and No” most times (vs. 18).  Today we will find that Paul admits his change of plans.  But he insists that his motives, methods, and message are constant.  By his constancy, Paul seeks to reflect the faithfulness of God whose “steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 118) and whose Word is everlasting (Psalm 119:89; Matthew 24:35).  We learn from our reading that we can rely on the consistency…

Sorrow and Comfort in Equal Measure (Thurs. August 26)

The word of the day is “comfort.”  Who does not need comfort amid grief and hardships?  But where do we find it?  Today in 2 Corinthians 1-17, we begin to read Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth.  After his introduction, the apostle writes about the “comfort” that God gives in “tribulation” (vs. 4).  Today we explore Paul’s trials and how he receives comfort from God as he faces them.  Thus he is a suburb example to us of how we might find solace amid loss and difficulty. Paul’s Sorrow over the Trouble in Corinth Paul wrote our passage at a low point in Paul’s ministry.  He had endured such “trouble” in Ephesus that he feared for his life…

When We Intend to Serve the Lord, Adversaries Arise (Wed. August 25)

The word of the day is “adversaries.”  It is natural to expect that when we set about to serve the Lord that He would remove any obstacles in our way.  But today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 16:4-12, Paul refers to many opponents that stand in the way of his plans to preach the Gospel.  Today we will use Paul’s example to learn why some put roadblocks in our work for the Lord.  And we will discuss how we can overcome these barriers. In today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 16:4-12, Paul closes his letter with a summary of his plans for his ministry.  He writes that he is eager to visit the Corinthians and to deal with matters that he could…

The Transformation of Our Lowly Body To Be Like Christ’s Glorified Body (Tues. August 24)

The word of the day is “transform.”  To be transformed is to be changed in appearance, character, and makeup.  But imagine that we are to be transformed.  Before we are changed, would we know what our new state will be?  Our new condition would be unknown to us until we found ourselves in the new form.  So it is with the transformation of our bodies in the  resurrection. In today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 15:29-38, St. Paul finishes his defense of the resurrection of the body.  He begins a long answer to two questions: “How are the dead raised up?  And with what body do they come?” (vs. 35).  Today we will review why Paul must respond to these queries…

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…