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
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Go-To Verses from the Bible
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.” Hence we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
Good morning Prayer Team!
Someone asked me recently “What is the worst possible thing that can happen to someone?” I thought for a minute about all the terrible things that can happen—loss of a child, loss of a spouse, loss of a job, loss of house, loss of health. And finally I said, “I think that the worst possible thing that could happen to someone would be to die without faith.” I really can’t think of anything worse. If I put down all the bad things that could happen to me and next to that list I put “dying without faith,” I can say with certainty that I’d rather have ANYTHING happen to me, so long as I die a person of faith.
Think about the things that threaten faith. Anger threatens faith because our faith is centered around love. Love of money, as mentioned in today’s verse, can be a threat to faith. Because love of money can lead to stress, can cause family problems (the thing most newly married couples argue about is money, and I can’t tell you how many arguments I have witnessed having to do with inheritances), and can threated any sense of contentment.
If we really believe in God, if we put our faith and trust in God, then we must believe that He will never fail or forsake us. And if we believe that, then, as we read in today’s verse “we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?’”
When we really think about it, what can someone do to us? They can take away our reputation, our job, or fun, or even our freedom, but no one can take away or even touch our faith. Faith is something personal to each person and untouchable to enemies. If you are reading this message and are struggling in life, take heart that if you’ve been blessed with another day, it is a day you can grow in faith. Pray today. Read scripture. Do an act of kindness for someone. Make intentional expressions of faith. And keep things in perspective. EVERYTHING, except faith, is temporary. Every hardship is temporary. Every setback is temporary. Faith is the only thing that matters at the end. Either you have it or you don’t. If you don’t have faith, it won’t matter how much money you have. However, if you have faith, it won’t matter what you didn’t achieve, because faith, along with God’s mercies, will get you into the Kingdom of heaven.
Contentment goes hand in hand with gratitude. Start your day thankful that you have another day to live and glorify God and grow in faith. Focus on relationships and not material things. And make sure you extend love to your neighbors each day. Faith, gratitude, love—these are the pillars of a Godly life, a life that honors God on earth, and prepares to meet Him in heaven. Living a life of faith also leads to confidence, which helps repel fear, loss and disappointment.
Lord, thank You for your many blessings on my life. Thank You that I have lived to see another day. Help me to focus less on material things and more on You. Help me to feel content and grateful for what I have. Help me to trust in You, and to know that you will never fail me or forsake me. Help me to have confidence. Be my helper, take away my fears, fill me with joy. May I bless You this day. Amen.
Focus on contentment and gratitude today, and don’t forget to spend some time with God in prayer!
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.
Photo Credit: Plain Haven
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