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.”
Finally, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more. I Thessalonians 4:1
Good morning Prayer Team!
For those who have been on the prayer team a while, you’ll remember that a few months ago, I wrote a series of messages on the Ten Commandments. And at the time, I mentioned that Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into Two Great Commandments-that we love God and that we love our neighbor. (Matthew 22:36-40) These two commandments can be summed up in one word-LOVE.
The cross is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death. It also forms a beautiful bookend in the story of salvation-the fall of mankind came through partaking of a forbidden tree. The salvation of mankind comes through the Savior being hung on the wood of a tree.
But the cross also shows us in a visual way, the two great commandments-the first is to love God-that is the vertical bar-a relationship between us and God Above. And the horizontal bar shows the second commandment-to love one another, as it extends from us to those on either side of us.
Going back to the one word summary of the commandments-LOVE-here are two important things to help you today. First, when making a decision today, ask yourself, “Does this please God?” Because loving our neighbor and loving God is pleasing to God, rather than evaluate “does this show love,” ask yourself, “Does this please God?”
In many athletic locker-rooms, coaches have put up signs that say things like “Play like a champion today” or some other slogan, and players tap the sign as they leave the locker-room to go to the field of play. Here is a suggestion-make yourself a small sign, even a note card, and write on it “Do what pleases God” and put it somewhere where you can see it. And before you make important decisions, you can look at that sign, even tap on it like an athlete (aren’t we all on God’s team after all) and reaffirm for yourself, “Do what pleases God.”
I mentioned this to someone the other day who happens to be a lawyer, who meets with many clients each day, and who confronts moral decisions on how to defend people. In asking him if he thinks about God each day, he said he would make a sign and put it where he can see it, to help him think about God more, and to do what pleases God.
Lord, thank You for the gift of today and all the possibilities it will bring. I know that I will have to make many decisions today. Please guide my mind and my heart so that I make decisions that please You, that show love for You and that show love for those around me, my neighbors, whoever they may be today. May I seek to please You with all that I do today. Amen.
Do what pleases God today!
The Orthodox Christian Network is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops and offers interviews, podcasts, blogs, and articles to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the Parish Priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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