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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. I Corinthians 3:10-13
Good morning Prayer Team!
A few years ago, my then six-year old son was building with some legos. He was building a skyscraper. As he was building higher and higher, I looked at what he was doing and realized that he had several bricks that were missing from the bottom of his building. As his building began to lean and threaten to fall over, I told him that he needed to take apart what he had done, fill in the missing bricks towards the bottom and then rebuild. His foundation wasn’t solid and it was threatening the integrity of the structure. He disagreed with me, didn’t want to undo what he had done, and he kept on building. Several minutes later his creation collapsed and he was very upset. After he had stopped being upset, I spoke to him about the need to have a solid foundation and how his lack of solid foundation, his lack of planning this out right, has destroyed his building and had cost him now the time to rebuild the whole thing. Had he realized his mistake and taken part of his building down and redone them, it would have actually taken less time. Either way, however, it would have taken time. One way just had less heartache.
Reading the scriptures is foundational to our practice of Christianity. Not only do the scriptures give us knowledge of the faith, they give us practical knowledge on how to live out that faith. If we never read the scriptures, the foundation of our Christianity will be as shaky as my son’s building, because a key component is missing. Attempting to live a Christian life without reading of Scripture is like continuing to build a building with a few missing pieces in the foundation. Eventually it is going to collapse.
Reading Scriptures satisfies a thirst we have, a need to “drink in” inspiration and direction. Abstaining from reading the Scripture starves us of this needed spiritual nutrition and leaves us open to spiritual illness, sin. Again, whether you read the Bible by choosing a random passage or a random book, or you read in a more measured and methodical way, reading of Scripture helps to put a more solid foundation under your Christian walk. Not doing so leaves out important pieces that eventually will threaten the integrity of your life.
If the Bible is the “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth,” then experiencing the Bible only through the priest’s sermon or these reflections or someone else telling you about it is like reading important instructions second hand. Inevitably, something gets lost in translation. If you are building your own Christian life, your own experience of Christ, for which you will one day answer, then the directions are things you should experience for yourself, so that you have firsthand knowledge of them. Reading of Scriptures can only serve to strengthen your foundation, and give more integrity to your “building,” which is your life of witness and ultimately your soul.
Today’s prayer is a quote from Psalm 89:
I will sing of Thy steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Thy faithfulness to all generation. For Thy steadfast love was establishd forever. Thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens. . .Let the heavens praise Thy wonders, O Lord, Thy faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord?. . .Thou has a mighty arm; strong is Thy hand, high Thy right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Thy throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before Thee. Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance, who exult in Thy name all the day, and extol Thy righteousness. For Thou art the glory of their strength by Thy favor our horn is exalted. (Psalm 89: 1-2, 5-6, 13-17)
Strengthen your foundation by reading Scripture today!
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