Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
The Benefits of Being a Disciple—Rewards You Can Reap Today—Part Nineteen
Through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in Him. Ephesians 10-12
Good morning Prayer Team!
Christ is Risen!
“What do I have to do to be a good priest?” I lamented one day to my Spiritual Father when I was at the seminary. He said, “You have to love God and you have to love people. You need some skills obviously, but if you don’t love God and you don’t love people, it doesn’t matter what kind of skills you have, you won’t be a good priest. And if you love God and you love people, you will be well on your way to being a good priest.”
We all want to feel confident in ourselves, our lives, the reputations we are building and the legacies we are leaving. Our confidence is shaped in large part by what other people think of us. We tend to feel more confident when we dress nicer or have more material things because that’s what other people think is important.
Confidence seems to be based on reputation (what others think) as well as our own sense of security. Imagine that you had to walk across a fast moving river, and you had only a thin rope around your waist that someone on the bank behind you was holding. You could easily be swept away. Now let’s imagine that a thick rope was strung over the whole stream, and you were secured to that rope by another strong rope. You’d be a little more confident. Now let’s say that there was a rope bridge across the river and you were secured to the bridge so you couldn’t fall off of it and it was well over the water so you couldn’t get wet. Now you could just walk over the bridge. The concept of “security” means that danger is mitigated if not eliminated. We try to build up as much “security” for ourselves as possible, especially in the area of financial security.
What happens when the financial things we’ve built up are ruined? Like a hurricane comes and destroys our homes. Or there is a financial crisis in our family. What happens when no one is throwing compliments at us? These are the times when our confidence might feel shot.
When we have faith, the world can be against us and we can still feel confident. Saint Paul reminds us in II Corinthians 6: 8-10: “We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” Saint Paul reminds us that we can have nothing but still have everything, if we have faith. And Christ reminds us in Mark 8: 36-37“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life?” We can have all the popularity and security imaginable but if we are not sound in spirit and strong in faith, we are nothing. And if we are strong in spirit and faith, we can lose the whole world and still feel confident that we have everything.
A benefit of being a disciple is being able to walk through life knowing that I only have to please God—I do not have be what is successful in the eyes of society and I do not need to have a fat bank account. I only need to please God. And secondly, I don’t have to worry that a hurricane will destroy my faith or that a market crash will kill my chance at salvation, the way these things threaten our homes and our material wealth. If I am working hard to please God, then I can feel confident even if I’m not popular or wealthy.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish. Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners, He upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The Lord will reign forever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! Psalm 146
Build confidence by pleasing God today! And pleasing God is simple—love Him, love others. Serve Him, serve others!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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