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Daily Journal (Quiet Time)

Daily Journal (Quiet Time)

  • Repent for the Kingdom of God from Within is at Hand

      

      

    (Luke 4: 16-21)

    “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, and gave itback to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ ”



    How wonderful are God’s promises; Jesus came to set us free! The beginning of the Coptic year is our chance to allow God’s grace to work in our hearts and not resist God’s work in us. God is preparing us to plant His seed in our hearts. He is tilling the soil of our hearts and removing existing weeds to make way for the strong roots of his seed so we can have healthy fruits. Let us fix our eyes on the Savior trusting that He has the power to heal every deep hurt. Let us believe that this Scripture is fulfilled in our hearing and experience it today!


    Meditate on the passage and see in what way are you in need of the Lord according to the categories listed above. Present every weakness that God reveals to you in prayer, trusting that He is the healer.


    Lord Jesus,

    I thank You for all Your promises, patience, and faithfulness. I thank You for giving me hope in You. You are my healer; You are the One to set me free from my bondage; You are the One to give me spiritual insight. I am giving You all my past, present, and future so that you can come and reign over me, my life, and my heart. I surrender to Your will, O Lord. Give me faith and strength to continue this sojourning journey on earth and be ready for the day when You come to take me to heaven. Amen.

     

     

  • Repent for the Kingdom of God from Within is at Hand

               

      

    (John 4: 16 - 29)

    Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” The woman then left her water-pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”


    Make peace with the past no matter how terrible it was or even seems to be! Was it full of failure, disappointment, hatred, abuse, dissatisfaction, grief, and/or resentment? Well, The Lord is saying, “Go call your husband” and forgive and forget the past. God has a much bigger plan for us in His kingdom in heaven as He wants us to partake of His heavenly glory. All we need to do is wake up from our confining coma, which the devil has put us through to close for us the doors of hope and life in Jesus Christ, The Lord. The devil’s main task is to mislead the children of God so that the kingdom is never expanding in a healthy way, but in a distorted way. We are not waiting for the Messiah like the Samaritan woman, however, we believe that the Savior redeemed us to Himself and gave us the victory over the world and resurrected from all deaths. Hence, let us leave the water-pot of this world and follow the Savior as we lead others to Him.

     

    What circumstances, events, or even people in the past are preventing you from partaking of the heavenly plan and expanding the Lord’s kingdom?


    Lord Jesus,

    Give me a new start like You did with the Samaritan woman! The more I try to love You and sacrifice anything for You, the more I fail by remembering my past failures due to my reliance on my limited human love. Help me leave my water-pot that I used to draw the water from the world’s well---water that does not satisfy or quench my thirst. Help me come to You and pour myself before You, repenting and trusting that I am accepted. Amen.

     

     


     

     

  • Repent for the Kingdom of God from Within is at Hand , The Commemoration of The Departure of Saint Zacharias, the Monk

              

      

    (2 Corinthians 7: 8-12)

    “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”


    In Hosea, God said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Using the word “knowledge,” He is referring to the real knowledge of God and the true understanding of His word. The children of Israel did not recognize the warnings that God sent them through His prophets; and the scribes and Pharisees did not understand that Jesus was the Savior because they were too consumed by the words of the scriptures more than the spirit of the Law. However, we should know where we are in our walk with God because we have the Holy Spirit inside of us. He guides us amidst confusion and darkness and leads us to the true light so that we are never crushed; never in despair; never forsaken; and never destroyed. It is the ultimate goal of the devil to destroy us due to our lack of knowledge, faith, and hope. Therefore, God is calling us to a higher level of intimate knowledge when we no longer seek ourselves, but Him to be manifested in our weak mortal, earthen vessels.


    Did you give frustration and hopelessness a place in your life? How do you see the word of God helping? What type of knowledge (God and His word) are you seeking?




    Lord Jesus,

    Give me the knowledge that is full of life and enlightenment. Help me fix my eyes on You and not on surrounding people so that I can become like St. Zacharias, the monk. St. Isidore called him an angel because he was constantly focused on You and because he loved his brothers at the monastery, he did not want them to stumble because of his fair skin – he looked like a leper. He did not care about his appearance or his skin after he had spent several hours in the salty Lake El-Natroun. Instead, he set his heart on You. Allow me to grow in Your knowledge and be filled with Your grace so that I can see nothing else but hope. Help me discover who I am and find my true nature in You so that I am able to surrender my will to you, forgetting the past and always looking towards You, my Savior. Amen.


    “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

    In Hosea, God said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Using the word “knowledge,” He is referring to the real knowledge of God and the true understanding of His word. The children of Israel did not recognize the warnings that God sent them through His prophets; and the scribes and Pharisees did not understand that Jesus was the Savior because they were too consumed by the words of the scriptures more than the spirit of the Law. However, we should know where we are in our walk with God because we have the Holy Spirit inside of us. He guides us amidst confusion and darkness and leads us to the true light so that we are never crushed; never in despair; never forsaken; and never destroyed. It is the ultimate goal of the devil to destroy us due to our lack of knowledge, faith, and hope. Therefore, God is calling us to a higher level of intimate knowledge when we no longer seek ourselves, but Him to be manifested in our weak mortal, earthen vessels.

    Did you give frustration and hopelessness a place in your life? How do you see the word of God helping? What type of knowledge (God and His word) are you seeking?


    Lord Jesus,

    Give me the knowledge that is full of life and enlightenment. Help me fix my eyes on You and not on surrounding people so that I can become like St. Zacharias, the monk. St. Isidore called him an angel because he was constantly focused on You and because he loved his brothers at the monastery, he did not want them to stumble because of his fair skin – he looked like a leper. He did not care about his appearance or his skin after he had spent several hours in the salty Lake El-Natroun. Instead, he set his heart on You. Allow me to grow in Your knowledge and be filled with Your grace so that I can see nothing else but hope. Help me discover who I am and find my true nature in You so that I am able to surrender my will to you, forgetting the past and always looking towards You, my Savior. Amen.

  • Repent for the Kingdom of God from Within is at Hand , The Commemoration of the Departure of Abba Demetrius I, 12th Pope of Alexandria

     

    (Psalm 119: 105-112)

    “Your wordisa lamp to my feet
    And a light to my path.
    I have sworn and confirmed
    That I will keep Your righteous judgments.
    I am afflicted very much;
    Revive me, OLord, according to Your word.
    Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, OLord,
    And teach me Your judgments.
    My lifeiscontinually in my hand,
    Yet I do not forget Your law.
    The wicked have laid a snare for me,
    Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.
    Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever,
    For theyarethe rejoicing of my heart.
    I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
    Forever, to the very end.”


    God’s intention and desire for us are way higher than even our own expectations for ourselves. God chose the meek, which the world perceives as foolish, to inherit the earth and put the wise and proud to shame. God looks at us with love and potential as opposed to the way we look at ourselves and limit our capability. Everyone is unique, special and therefore has a different calling. God looks at our hearts and chooses the right time when He reveals His calling to us; We can search all our lives without discovering the truth about our identity due to fears of failures in the past or dissatisfaction of our accomplishments. However, God is always calling for a new start with Him because only in Him are we able to see our authentic nature. His word cleanses the heart and gives true enlightenment, hope and faith in Him.


    Have you ever experienced one of those enlightened moments? How long ago? If it is long ago, what is blocking you from receiving enlightenment today?


    Dear Heavenly Father,


    I thank You for Your word that gives enlightenment to my heart and my soul. I pray that You shine Your light in all of me as You did with St. Abba Demetrius. It is a miracle from You that one illiterate person became the Patriarch of Your church. You truly enlightened his mind, soul and heart. You gave him Your Spirit of wisdom, not only, to lead Your church, but also to put the reckoning Epact with proficiency and skillfulness, something that people today still marvel about. Please, Lord give me wisdom to discern Your ways in my life and not to depend on the ways of the world, but on Your hand working mightily in my life. Amen.



  • Repent for the Kingdom of God from Within is at Hand , The Commemoration of the Departure of St. Pelagia

       

    (Philippians 3: 7- 14)

    “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

     


    The goal of the devil is to blind our eyes from the truths. He deceived mankind since his first conversation with Eve about the tree of knowledge and the beguiled Eve found the tree to be pleasant to the eyes. From then till now, man is deluded seeing the lies as truths and the false as correct. However, this time in year is when we come to God in repentance of our weaknesses, trusting that only He can heal us. The grace of God gives us the desire and the capability to go to Him for more of His love. His grace allows us to unshackle the chains of the past and decide to take advantage of the present time by asking for true change in our lives. It is easy to be frustrated by the past, but we resist this with St. Paul saying “I reach forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

     


    How do you think the devil can blind your eyes from seeing the truth about your life and about God? List things that you think are misleading your path towards God and put it into prayer.

     


    Dear Lord Jesus,

    As You have opened St. Pelagia’s eyes for her to see how much precious You are more than the treasures of the earth, I thank You for opening my eyes to know where I am in my life now. Once she received the faith and was baptized, You guided her to be fully Yours. Forgetting the fame and false richness of the world, she indeed counted all as loss for the sake of knowing You when she went to Jerusalem and became a celibate for 40 years. Lord, I come to You with the frustrations of the past that wasted all my energy and my life. Enlighten my understanding towards the scriptures to know that I can find new life in You and in Your word. Amen.

     


  • Repent for the Kingdom of God from Within is at Hand

     

    (2 Timothy 1: 3-7)

    “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”


    The bible is full of stories that started with failure, but ended with victory when the Savior came to save and when saints surrendered their will to the Savior. O my soul, many years have passed and you are still stuck in the same pit of failure and fear. Wake up! Shake off the past and move forward towards the true light --- Christ the Savior. Our fathers attained the true faith by continually looking up to Christ regardless of how many times they fell, which prevented the devil from filling their hearts with doubts and inner turmoil. The fathers seized the grace given to them and were not only filled and overflowed with it, but were also cleansed and restored.


    Sitting in the presence of God, identify what fears hold you from continuing your path in faith with God to fulfill something you gave up on doing in the past.


    My Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ,


    I have been crippled with fear and failure for many years, but I thank you for giving me hope every day. I doubted your love because of the many lies that are rooted deep in me for so long, but You continued to encourage me through Your word that is full of Spirit and life. Please break the chains of lies and doubts and shine Your light inside of my darkened heart. Amen.



  • Repent for the Kingdom of God from Within is at Hand

      


    God is never happy with the sea-shore level of my relationship with Him. He wants to take me to the deep. He wants to prepare me for the calling He has for me. All that I need to say is, “Master, we toiled the whole night, and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” This is my chance to accept the invitation to go to the deep with Him, trusting that He will give more than I need, so I can forsake all and follow Him.


    When did you hear God inviting you to go deeper with Him? Did you accept His invitation? If not, what do you think you were afraid of?


    Lord,


    I thank You for the invitation to take me to a deeper level with You, where You lead my steps to forsake all and follow You. I thank You for the hope You are giving me. You gave Peter more fish than he ever caught and it made him confess of being sinful and not deserving to have You on his boat. I am confessing my weak faith and hoping to find favor in Your eyes to lift me up from my failure. Amen.

     

    Vespers

    Psalm 37:3-4 

    Trust in the LORD, and do good;
    Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
    Delight yourself also in the LORD,
    And He shall give you the desires of your heart.


    Mt 17:24-27

    When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?"
    He said, "Yes."
    And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?"
    Peter said to Him, "From strangers."
    Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you."


    Matins

     Psalm63:6 ; Psalm 63:3 ; Psalm 63:4 
    When I remember You on my bed,
    I meditate on You in the night watches. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
    My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live;
    I will lift up my hands in Your name.


    Mk 16:2-8
    Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away--for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
    But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."
    So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


    Liturgy

    Pauline Epistle

    2Cor 4:1-end ; 2Cor 5:1-15
    Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-- always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.
    And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
    So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.


    Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
    For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.


    Catholic Epistle

    Jas 3:13-end ; Jas 4:1-6 
    Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?
    But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
    "God resists the proud,
    But gives grace to the humble."


    Acts

    Acts 14:24-end ; Acts 15:1-3 
    And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.
    Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. So they stayed there a long time with the disciples. And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
    So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren.


    Synaxarium

    The Departure of St. Eumenius, the Seventh Pope of the See of St. Mark.
    • The Eclipse of the Sun in the Year 958 A.M.
    • The Commemoration of St. Simon (Simeon) the Bishop.


    Psalm 66:1-2,4 
    Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
    Sing out the honor of His name;
    Make His praise glorious.


    Lk 5:1-11 
    So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
    When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
    But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
    For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men." So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.



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