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 Twenty
We who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:12
Good morning Prayer Team!
Christ is Risen!
We have all experienced joy as the result of our relationship with another person. That person might be our spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, a co-worker, a priest, a doctor, or hopefully combination of many different people who have brought us joy.
We are all made in the image and likeness of God.
We all have the ability to bring joy to others.
We are all flawed in some way.
So, if we who are made in the image and likeness of God, can bring joy to others despite our fallen nature, how much more can God do for us.
The GREATEST benefit of being a disciple is that we get Christ. WE. GET. CHRIST. Yes, we get intimacy with God, wisdom, mercy, peace, grace, fulfilment, purpose, joy, hope, order, encouragement, direction, comfort, and confidence. But most of all , we get Christ.
If Christ came to us and said “what is it that I can give you?” I would answer, “YOU.” Give me YOU!
In Titus 3: 4-7, we read: “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.” Imagine the image of having Christ poured over us—His love, His essence. This is what it is to have Christ. I not only have joy in my life, I have the joy of Christ. I not only have wisdom, but experience Divine wisdom. I not only have peace, but the peace of Christ. If Christ asked me “what can I give you?” I wouldn’t answer, “give me parts of your peace, wisdom, love and mercy, but pour these things over me, inundate me with them. Give me more of YOU. I need more of YOU.”
I recently had lunch with an older parishioner who was telling me how he started reading the Bible only in recent years. He told me that he doesn’t understand everything he reads in the Bible. Sometimes there are so many words he doesn’t understand that he has to look for the words that he does understand in order to try to make sense of it. This man is from Greece and English is not his first language. However, what he said, that really inspired me and so I share it here, is that even though he understands little, he understands that Christ loves him. He understands that we express our love for Christ by loving and serving others. He said that these things come through loud and clear, even though he doesn’t comprehend everything he reads. How wonderful that whatever our ability, the idea that Christ is love and loves us is something we can all understand.
I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised. . .This God—His way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? The God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe. . .The Lord lives; and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation. . . For this I will extol Thee, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to Thy name. Psalm 18 1-3, 30-32, 46, 49
If Christ made us, and we can bring joy to others despite our fallen nature, how much more can Christ do for us. The greatest benefit of being a Christian is, we get Christ!
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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