Daily Devotional for August 2 – 8
Romans 6:19… I speak after the manner of men because of the
infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members
servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so
now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteous-
ness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now
ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being
made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your
fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages
of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord.
Prayer: O Lord, our God, in Thy goodness and love for men forgive me all the sins I have committed today in word, deed or thought. Grant me peaceful and undisturbed sleep. Send Thy Guardian Angel to guard and protect me from all evil. For Thou art the guardian of our souls and bodies, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
*(Evening Prayer and Confession of Sins)
St Nikolai this week…
If anyone still doubts that God spoke through the prophets, let him read this confession of the great prophet Jeremiah, and let him doubt no more. The prophet confesses that he had decided not to speak anymore in the name of the Lord. Why? Because so few paid attention to his word. If anyone heeded his word, the prophet endured reproach and derision daily (Jeremiah 20:8). But when he decided to remain silent, did he in fact remain silent? No, he could not: I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it! He was pressed by the irresistible power of the Spirit of God to speak, and he had to speak. Therefore, it is not the affair of the prophet whether he is going to speak or not: that is the affair of the All-powerful Spirit of God. The prophet is merely the chosen vessel of the All-powerful Spirit of God. All of Holy Scripture is written thus: not according to the will of man but according to the will of God, and not according to the mind of man but according according to the mind of God. How is the word of God felt when it enters the prophet from the Spirit of God? This the great Jeremiah explains from his personal experience: It becomes like fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. That is, it is an inspiration from the All-powerful Spirit of God. Under such irresistible internal pressure—like the pressure of fire shut up in the bones—holy men of God did their writing. And many of them cried out: I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it anymore. Who will oppose the Spirit of God without punishment
Prayer: O come, let us worship God our King.
O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and God.
O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.
St. Clement of Alexandria tells of a horrible custom among the barbarians. He says that when they capture their enemy, they tie him alive to the corpse of a dead man and leave them bound together so that the living and dead rot together. If only it could be said: “Thank God that this barbarian custom is past!” In essence it has not passed, but reigns today in full force. Everyone who ties his living spirit to flesh deadened by barbarian passions is the same as the one who ties a living man to a corpse and leaves them both to decay.
Prayer: Soul of Christ, sanctify me, Body of Christ, save me Blood of Christ, inebriate me, Water from Christ’s side, wash me, Passion of Christ, strengthen me, O good Jesus, hear me, Within Thy wounds hide me, Suffer me not to be separated from Thee, From the malicious enemy defend me, In the hour of my death call me, And bid me come unto Thee, That I may praise Thee with Thy saints, and with Thy angels, Forever and ever, Amen.
The Lord of Hosts raised this complaint against Jehoiakim the King of Judah, and against the people of Judea. Are not these words valid even today when they are spoken to our people and to almost every one of us individually? When we feel ourselves prosperous, we leave God in the shadows and relegate His words to oblivion. However, as soon as misfortune encompasses us with its dark wings, we turn to God and cry out to Him for help. In misfortune, the commandments of God seem to us as sweet as honey, but in prosperity they seem as bitter as medicine. Is not, therefore, misfortune better than prosperity? Is not misfortune in which we seek God more salvific than prosperity in which we forget God? O earth, earth, earth! Hear the words of the Lord! (Jeremiah 22:29), cries out the true prophet of God. Man is the earth; the word of the Lord is life planted in that earth. Will the earth prefer to remain without the living crops and be cursed, or will it nurse the crops entrusted to it and be blessed? Oh, how ugly is a barren, waterlogged and fruitless field, and how beautiful is a cultivated field covered with rich crops! And you are both the one and the other field, O man. Choose—death or life! No householder values a field at all if it does not bear a crop. Is it possible that God is less intelligent than ordinary householders, and gives value to a field that fails to bear fruit of every seed sown on it? What will become of the man who, in his prosperity, does not listen to the words of God? And he shall be buried with the burial of an ass (Jeremiah 22:19). Thus spoke the prophet to King Jehoiakim, and his words were fulfilled. When the Chaldeans captured Jerusalem, they killed Jehoiakim. They dragged his body beyond the gates of the city and left it to the dogs. And so the fate of the disobedient king became that of an ass. O man, O earth! Hear the timely word of the Lord, so that the anger of the Householder does not pour out on you as on a barren field, and that your end not be truly like that of an ass.
Prayer: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Concerning the power of death and the power of the Cross of Christ, St. Athanasius writes: “Whose death ever drove out demons? And whose death has caused more fear in the demons than the death of Christ? Where the name of Christ is invoked, every demon is driven out. Who has tamed spiritual passions in people to such a measure that prostitutes come to live chaste lives, murderers lay down the sword, and the fearful become courageous? Has not the Faith of Christ? Has not the sign of the Cross? And what else has so convinced men of immortality as the Cross of Christ and the Resurrection of the Body of Christ? The death of the Sinless One and the Cross of the Lover of men have brought a greater and more lasting victory than have all the earthly kings with their many millions of soldiers. Which army was able to defeat a single demon? Only the mention of the name of the Crucified One puts to flight the army of demons. Oh, if all Christians would know what a treasure they have in the name of Christ, and what a weapon they have in the Cross of Christ!”
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
…how then can one be a servant of God who neither knows the true God nor adheres to the Law of God? Indeed, the true servant of God is he who knows the true God and who keeps the Law of God. However, when he to whom God has given the knowledge of Himself and His law turns knowledge into ignorance and law into lawlessness, then God takes as His servant him who does not know Him, so as to punish the apostate. For an apostate from God is worse than a pagan, and an apostate from the Law of God is lower than a born idolater. Therefore, when Israel, as the ancient Church of God, alienated itself from God and the Law of God, God chose Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to punish Israel, the apostate. Therefore, when the Christian peoples in Asia and Africa through numerous heresies alienated themselves from God, God took as His servants the Arabs, to punish the Christians and bring them to their senses. And when the Christian peoples in the Balkans alienated themselves from God and God’s law, God invited the Turks as His servants to punish the apostates, so that through chastisement they would come to their senses. Whenever the faithful alienate themselves from God, God makes a whip out of the unbelievers to bring the believers to their senses. And, as the faithful consciously and willingly turn away from God, so the unbelievers unconsciously and unwillingly become servants of God.
Prayer: With the Saints, give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting.
*Kontakion of the Departed
A sin that serves as a scandal to others is a twofold sin. A wise man strives neither to scandalize anyone nor to lead anyone into sin by his sinful example. St. Ambrose praised such sagacity in the Emperor Valentian, who died at an early age, citing these examples from his life: “Hearing that he was spoken of throughout Rome as a passionate hunter and a lover of wild beasts—which in reality he was not—and how this passion was distracting him from his duties of state, the emperor immediately ordered that all the wild beasts in his preserve be slain. Again, upon hearing how certain malicious people spread the rumor that he ate lunch early (wanting by this to make him out to be a glutton), the emperor imposed a strict fast on himself both privately and publicly. At public meals, he was rarely seen to place a morsel of food in his mouth. And again, when his sisters disputed with a certain man over some property, the emperor, even though he had the right to judge the dispute, directed the case to the open court so that he would not be accused of partiality.” Indeed, with great fear, this pious emperor upheld the words of the Lord: Woe to him who shall offend one of these little ones (Matthew 18:6).
Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai. The Prologue of Ohrid . Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.
Prayer: Lord, I have cried to Thee, hearken unto me. Hearken unto me, O Lord. Lord, I have cried to Thee, hearken unto me. Attend to the voice of my prayer, when I cry unto Thee. Hearken unto me, O Lord. Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Hearken unto me, O Lord.
*Psalm 140 (141)