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AskMe #2682560 11/13/12 06:44 AM
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1 Peter 2:15-16 (NIV)
15 For it is God�s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God�s slaves.

Matthew Henry writes about doing well in the face of those who would do us harm. [1.] The will of God is, to a good man, the strongest reason for any duty. [2.] Obedience to magistrates is a considerable branch of a Christian�s duty: So is the will of God. [3.] A Christian must endeavor, in all relations, to behave himself so as to put to silence the unreasonable reproaches of the most ignorant and foolish men. [4.] Those who speak against religion and religious people are ignorant and foolish. Matthew Henry goes on to explain that we are free in Christ and we should not abuse our freedom. [1.] All the servants of Christ are free men (Jn. 8:36); they are free from Satan�s� dominion, the law�s condemnation, the wrath of God, the uneasiness of duty, and the terrors of death. [2.] The servants of Jesus Christ ought to be very careful not to abuse their Christian liberty; they must not make it a cover or cloak for any wickedness against God or disobedience to superiors.



The daughter of missionaries to the Congo Republic told Pastor Leith Anderson this story: As a little girl, she participated in a daylong rally to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the coming of missionaries to that part of Africa. At the close of a long day of speeches and music, an old, old man stood before the crowd and insisted on speaking. He soon would die, he said, and if he didn�t speak, information that he alone possessed would go with him to his grave. He said that when the missionaries arrived, his people thought them strange and their message dubious. The tribal leaders decided to test the missionaries by slowly poisoning them to death. Over a period of months and years, missionary children died one by one. Then, the old man said, �It was as we watched how they died that we decided we wanted to live as Christians.� Those who died painful, strange deaths never knew why they were dying or what the impact of their lives and deaths would be. But through it all, they didn�t leave. They stayed because they trusted Jesus Christ. [Leith Anderson, �Mystery Martyrs,� Men of Integrity, (January/February 2004)]

My friends live as a Christian should live. The Bible tells us our salvation is not dependent upon our good works, but by our faith and trust in Christ who paid the debts for our sin. We are to repent and turn from sin and live as Christ did although we have the freedom to live sinfully. But living sinfully confuses others as to what Christianity means for we have been freed from sin, so why live in sin. Live instead that your life might be a witness to others. Live that God�s light shines through you and touches the lives of those who don�t know Christ. Live such that even in death others see the life you have been granted. I pray God will keep you faithful to Him and will keep you from wavering in your dedication to live as Christ lived.

AskMe #2682866 11/14/12 06:46 AM
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Luke 15:1-2 (NLT)
15 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people�even eating with them!

From Matthew Henry�s Commentary: Here multitudes of publicans and sinners drew near to him, with a humble modest fear of being rejected by him, and to them he found it requisite to give encouragement, especially because there were some haughty supercilious people that frowned upon them. The publicans, who collected the tribute paid to the Romans, were perhaps some of them bad men, but they were all industriously put into an ill name, because of the prejudices of the Jewish nation against their office. They are sometimes ranked with harlots (Mt. 21:32); here and elsewhere with sinners, such as were openly vicious, that traded with harlots, known rakes. Some think that the sinners here meant were heathen, and that Christ was now on the other side Jordan, or in Galilee of the Gentiles. These drew near, when perhaps the multitude of the Jews that had followed him had (upon his discourse in the close of the foregoing chapter) dropped off; thus afterwards the Gentiles took their turn in hearing the apostles, when the Jews had rejected them. They drew near to him, being afraid of drawing nearer than just to come within hearing. They drew near to him, not, as some did, to solicit for cures, but to hear his excellent doctrine. Note, in all our approaches to Christ we must have this in our eye, to hear him; to hear the instructions he gives us, and his answers to our prayers.



I like Matthew Henry�s summary - in all our approaches to Christ we must have this in our eye, to hear him; to hear the instructions he gives us, and his answers to our prayers. When we listen to Christ and heed his instructions we begin to realize we must minister to those such as Christ did. We are told to encourage fellow Christians and keep each other accountable; but we are also to reach out to those who don�t know Christ. There are many good people who don�t know Christ. There are also many who are outwardly sinful even in the eye of those who are good non-Christians. Christ ministered to all of these.

Our duty as Christians is to reach out to people - even that one person who others may shun away from. Maybe that person is in jail. Maybe that person frequents bars. Maybe that person is homeless and survives in ways we would be critical of. Maybe the person has difficulties that make them unlovable. Yet we too are to find that one lost sheep and lead them to Christ. (Luke 15:3-7)

Some may find it uncomfortable reaching out to these people and may need the encouragement and support of fellow Christians. Sometimes it happens by accident. I once was placed at a restaurant bar because the restaurant was full and I was along. But then I found I wasn�t alone � there was a man sitting next to men who needed to be reassured about the love of Christ. We need to be willing to reach out and love these people and do so in a way that we remain open to the people but apart from the world. I wasn�t drinking at the bar where the man was drinking and amazingly he stopped drinking to talk with me and left his drink behind and untouched.

Look for opportunities to reach out to people. Reach out in love as Christ did and just love on people when they are hurting. Love on the unlovable so they can understand love. Love as Christ loves and your heart will overflow with joy.

To those who know Christ I love you and encourage you to keep loving The One who loved you first. To others I pray my love for you would show you what Christ looks like that you would love Him too!

AskMe #2683124 11/15/12 07:10 AM
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PSALM 1:1-6 (NLT)
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. ---- 4 But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. 6 For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

This is a psalm of instruction concerning good and evil, setting before us life and death, the blessing and the curse that we may take the right way which leads to happiness and avoid that which will certainly end in our misery and ruin. [Matthew Henry]. There are those who follow God and serve Him. In contrast there are those who disobey God. Those who disobey will end their lives in ruin, while the righteous will be rewarded for their obedience. If every person were honest with themselves they would see their own path of life and where it leads.



In her book Amazing Grace, the writer and poet Kathleen Norris shares what she calls "the scariest story" she's ever heard about the Bible. Norris and her husband were visiting a man named Arlo, a rugged, self-made man who was facing terminal cancer. During their visit, Arlo started talking about his grandfather, a sincere Christian. The grandfather gave Arlo and his bride a wedding present: an expensive leather Bible with their names printed in gold lettering. Arlo left it in the box and never opened it. But for months afterwards his grandfather kept asking if he liked the Bible. Arlo told Norris, "The wife had written a nice thank-you note, and we'd thanked him in person, but somehow he couldn't let it lie, he always had to ask about it." Finally, Arlo grew curious enough to open the Bible. "The joke was on me," Arlo said. "I finally took that Bible out of the closet and I found that granddad had placed a twenty-dollar bill at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, and at the beginning of every book � over thirteen hundred dollars in all. And he knew I'd never find it." [Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (Riverhead Books, 1998, p. 95)]

Sadly Arlo had only glanced at the treasure he was given as a wedding gift. The evidence he had ignored this treasure was he didn�t know about a second treasure left by his grandfather. The money was valuable, but The Bible was even a more valuable gift. The Bible contains words of wisdom, words for living, words for the way we treat people and even examples of what happens when our lives go awry. Yes there was a treasure in Arlo�s closet that was missed out on for a very long time.

We must always be careful with God�s word to use it wisely. The psalmist above said it should be meditated on day and night. In other words we should commit God�s word to our heart so that it can direct our lives. God will give each person a purpose and God�s word will speak to them about that purpose.

However the greatest of all things The Bible speaks about is God�s plan of salvation for our lives. God knew man could not hold firm to all of His laws so there a second part to God�s plan. The second part or second covenant was one of love, mercy and grace where God gave His son Jesus Christ as payment for our sin. Jesus died a horrible death, rose to life on the third day to defeat death, and for all who place their faith and trust in Jesus their sin is forgiven. Don�t miss out on that plan God has for you. God wants you to live eternally with Him, but it�s your choice whether you accept or ignore His plan of Salvation and His gift of heavenly eternal life.

AskMe #2683131 11/15/12 08:40 AM
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That's a good idea for a gift

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Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)
24 Kind words are like honey�sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

This proverb speaks metaphorically about kind words tasting like honey to those who hear them. The pleasant words should be from the heart of wise teachings. They are words of seasonable advice, instruction, and comfort. These words should often be taken from God�s own word and passed down as teachings to others. Solomon had learned from his father to account sweeter than honey and the honey-comb from Psalm 19:10. To those that know how to relish them - these words are pleasant. They are like the honey-comb, sweet to the soul, which tastes in them that the Lord is gracious, kind and merciful. They are wholesome words. Many things are pleasant that are not profitable, but these pleasant words are health to the bones, to the inward man, as well as sweet to the soul. They take the bones, which sin has broken and put out of joint, to rejoice. The bones are the strength of the body; and the good word of God is a means of spiritual strength, curing the disease of sin that has weaken us.



This proverb is easy to identify with. Try to think of someone who enjoys hateful, venomous, burning words being railed against them. I would dare say there are few if any that would choose a hateful lecture over a kind word. I know personally I would much rather hear a kind word.

Hateful words stir and enrage the soul. Hateful words tear down a person. Hateful words tear into the soul and rip it apart. In today�s world we often hear about the bullying of another with words that are mean and cruel. In the past few years words alone have been enough to cause teens to take their lives. In some cases the bullying has caused violence to break out. So we must remember that hateful words destroy lives.

Kind words are sweet and pleasant to the ears. Kind words lift a soul out of darkness and take it towards the light of Christ. Kind words encourage, sooth, comfort, motivate, and show the love, mercy and grave given by God. You see words of kindness are wrought from the fruit of the spirit while words of hate are wrought from our sinful desires.

As Christians we should always be willing to pass along kind words to others. If we are allowing The Holy Spirit to work in our lives then we know the words we say will be associated with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no condemnation against us when our words come from these motives.

If your words relate to sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these then your words are coming from your sinful nature and contain hate for God within them.

I pray as you speak to non-believes as well as Christian�s your words would be those of kindness. I pray the words you use would be as a light to show those who do not know God what God is truly like. I pray hatred will be put aside in all cases and that you find a means to restrain and hold against the temptation of lashing out hatefully. May God guide you and bring others to Him because of your own kindness. Amen!

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Originally Posted by Jedi_Knight
That's a good idea for a gift

I thought it was a good idea for a gift too. I just wish the grandfather had told him there was a treasure hidden in The Bible. That statement would have been true in two senses, 1) The money and 2) the life lessons and wise words contained as a treasure in The Bible.

Hope a blessed and wonderful day!

AskMe #2683666 11/17/12 09:57 AM
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Gregory the Wonderworker & Bishop of Neo-Caesarea

Reading from the Synaxarion:

Saint Gregory was born in Neocaesarea of Pontus to parents who were not Christians. He studied in Athens, in Alexandria, in Beirut, and finally for five years in Caesarea of Palestine under Origen, by whom he was also instructed in the Faith of Christ. Then, in the year 240, he became bishop of his own city, wherein he found only seventeen Christians. By the time the Saint reposed about the year 265, there were only seventeen unbelievers left there. Virtually the whole duration of his episcopacy was a time of continual, marvellous wonders worked by him. Because of this, he received the surname "Wonderworker"; even the enemies of the truth called him a second Moses (see Saint Basil the Great's On the Holy Spirit, ch. 29).

Gospel Reading

The reading is from Luke 9:57-62

At that time, as Jesus was going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God

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Holy Martyr Romanus

Reading from the Synaxarion:

Saint Romanus, who was from Antioch, lived during the reign of Maximian. He presented himself before Asclepiades the Eparch, and rebuked him, saying, "The idols are not gods; even a little child could tell you that." Then the Saint asked that a child be brought in from the market, that he might be the judge of the matter at hand. Therefore, when the child was asked, "Which God must we worship?" he replied, "Christ." The child was beaten mercilessly and beheaded at the command of the tyrant. As for Saint Romanus, his tongue was cut out, and then he was cast into prison, where he was strangled in the year 305.

Orthros Gospel Reading

The reading is from Mark 16:1-8

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. �And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. �And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" �And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back, for it was very large. �And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. �And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. �He has 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 to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." �And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid

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Barlaam of Caesarea

Reading from the Synaxarion:

Saint Barlaam, who was from a certain village near Antioch in Syria, was advanced in years and a husbandman by occupation. Because of his confession of Christ, he was brought before the judge, who had him scourged with whips and then scraped with iron claws. Since this could not break his constancy, he was forcibly haled to the idols' temple, and live coals with incense were placed in his right hand. The judge thought that he would cast them down because of the pain, thus seeming to have offered a sacrifice of incense to the idols. But Saint Barlaam stood unmoving until his hand was thoroughly burned by the coals; he fell to the ground, and so gave up his soul into the hands of the Lord. He contested in martyrdom during the reign of Diocletian (284-305). Saint Basil the Great and Saint John Chrysostom both gave homilies in his honour. � �


Epistle Reading

The reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring.

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering - since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed


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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with Ask Me, Jedi Knight.


D-Day 2-10-2009
Fully Recovered and Better Than Ever!
Thank you Marriage Builders!

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I just post when he is gone. He said he didn't mind.
This is his thread.
I'm the temporary help when he is gone!

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Originally Posted by Jedi_Knight
I just post when he is gone. He said he didn't mind.
This is his thread.
I'm the temporary help when he is gone!
? You asked him to let you post when he is gone? When has Ask Me ever been gone???

Ask Me, is everything okay?


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Originally Posted by maritalbliss
Originally Posted by Jedi_Knight
I just post when he is gone. He said he didn't mind.
This is his thread.
I'm the temporary help when he is gone!
? You asked him to let you post when he is gone? When has Ask Me ever been gone???

Ask Me, is everything okay?

Everything is ok and Happy Thanksgiving to all! smile

Knowing this is Thanksgiving week-I usually take time off from my devotions to consider the blessings in my life and allow others to do the same. We are given so many things in life we take for granted from good health to having a place to live. There are parts of this world that are not as fortunate as others so during this time of Thankgiving remember those parts of the world in your prayers and if lead to help do what you can. May God bless each of you, your families and those who are close to you. May your memories be joyful ones and I pray God will help you put away any thoughts that take away from giving thanks this week.


1 Thessalonians 5

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God�s will for you in Christ Jesus.



19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.



23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.





I'll be back next week - I promise God willing. smile

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So good to hear that all is well, Ask Me! When JK mentioned covering for you I was alarmed. I have treasured your thread over the years and have been so impressed by your steadfast postings. When I thought you were handing off your thread and opening it to other posters I was so disappointed! Good to hear that all is well and that you will be with us.

Thanks so much for your postings - they touch more people than we will know. Please keep up the good work, Ask Me, and have a blessed Thanksgiving season.


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The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

Reading from the Synaxarion:

According to the tradition of the Church, the Theotokos was brought to the Temple at three years of age, where she was consecrated to God and spent her days until she was fourteen or fifteen years old; and then, as a mature maiden, by the common counsel of the priests (since her parents had reposed some three years before), she was betrothed to Joseph


Orthros Gospel Reading

The reading is from Luke 1:39-49, 56

In those days, Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

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Archippus the Apostles,Philemon the Apostle & his wife, Apphia, Onesimos the Disciple of Paul

Reading from the Synaxarion:

Philemon, who was from Colossae, a city of Phrygia, was a man both wealthy and noble; Apphia was his wife. �Archippus became Bishop of the Church in Colossae. �All three were disciples of the Apostle Paul. �Onesimus, who was formerly an unbeliever and slave of Philemon, stole certain of his vessels and fled to Rome. �However, on finding him there, the Apostle Paul guided him onto the path of virtue and the knowledge of the truth, and sent him back to his master Philemon, to whom he wrote an epistle (this is one of the fourteen epistles of Saint Paul). �In this epistle, Paul commended Onesimus to his master and reconciled the two. �Onesimus was later made a bishop; in Greece he is honoured as the patron Saint of the imprisoned. �All these Saints received their end by martyrdom, when they were stoned to death by the idolaters. �Saint Onesimus is also commemorated on February 15.

Epistle Reading

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to Philemon 1:1-25

PAUL, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker, and Apphia our sister and Archippos our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good that is ours in Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you - I, Paul, an ambassador and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus - I appeal to you for my child, Onesimos, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is
�indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will. Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand, I will repay it - to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing tha
t
�you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be granted to you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchos, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

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For American Thanksgiving today, the Revised Common Lectionary gives these readings:

Joel 2:21-27
21 �Fear not, O land;
be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
22 Fear not, you beasts of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit;
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

23 �Be glad, O children of Zion,
and rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the latter rain, as before.

24 �The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 I will restore[a] to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.

26 �You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Psalm 126
126 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
�The Lord has done great things for them.�
3 The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.

4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6 He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.

1 Timothy 2:1-7
2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Matthew 6:25-33
25 �Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, �What shall we eat?� or �What shall we drink?� or �What shall we wear?� 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


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markos #2685115 11/22/12 11:10 PM
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Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium

Reading from the Synaxarion:

Saint Amphilochius, who was born in Cappadocia, shone forth in asceticism and divine knowledge even from his youth. He was consecrated Bishop of Iconium in 341, he struggled courageously against the blasphemies of Eunomius, Macedonius the enemy of the Holy Spirit, and the followers of Arius. He was present at the Second Ecumenical Council of the 150 Fathers, which took place in Constantinople, convoked during the reign of Theodosius the Great in the year 381. In 383 Amphilochius wished to persuade the Emperor Theodosius to forbid the Arians from gathering in Constantinople and to commit the churches to the Orthodox, but the Emperor was reluctant to do such a thing. The next time that Amphilochius entered the palace, he addressed Theodosius with proper honour, but slighted his young son Arcadius in his presence. Theodosius was indignant, and said the dishonour shown to his son was equally an insult to himself. To this Saint Amphilochius answered that as he would not suffer an
insult to his son, so he ought to believe that God is wroth with those who blaspheme His Only-begotten. Saint Theodosius understood and admired Amphilochius' ingenious device, and he issued the desired edict in September of the same year. Saint Amphilochius, having reached deep old age, reposed in peace about the year 395. Saint Basil the Great wrote many letters to Saint Amphilochius, his friend and Fellow champion of the Faith, and at his request wrote his treatise On the Holy Spirit, which besides demonstrating the divinity of the Holy Spirit and His equality with the Father and the Son, defends the Church's unwritten ancient traditions, such as making the sign of the Cross, turning towards the East in prayer, no kneeling on Sunday, and so forth.

Epistle Reading

The reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians 3:6-18

BRETHREN, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one's bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.

If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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Adultery

The story of the woman caught in adultery is illustrative of the jurisprudence of Jesus Christ: prudent justice tempered with mercy. St. John recounts the event:

�Jesus went unto the mount of Olives� (Jn 8:1). St. Augustine writes: �And where ought Christ to teach, except on the mount of Olives; on the mount of ointment, on the mount of chrism. For the name Christ is from chrism, chrism being the Greek word for unction.� Alcuin adds: �The mount of Olives also denotes the height of our Lord�s pity, olive in the Greek signifying pity. The qualities of oil are such as to fit in to this mystical meaning. For it floats above all other liquids: and the Psalmist says, �Thy mercy is over all Thy works� (Ps 144:9).

�And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them� (v. 2). Alcuin notes: �His returning early in the morning, signifies the new rise of grace. . . . The sitting down represents the humility of His incarnation. And the people came to Him, when He sat down, that is, after taking up human nature, and thereby becoming visible, many began to hear and believe on Him.�

Certain scribes and Pharisees posed a legal question to Jesus: �They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?� (vv. 4-5) The dilemma is this, notes St. Augustine: �If He decide to let her go, He will not do justice; for the law cannot command what is unjust: . . . but to maintain His meekness, which has made Him already so acceptable to the people, He must decide to let her go.�

�Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground� (v. 6). St. Augustine sees His bowing His head to write on the ground as �an expression of humility.�� St. Bede the Venerable suggests: �His writing with His finger on the ground perhaps showed that it was He who had written the law on stone.� Alcuin explains it thus: �The ground denotes the human heart, which yieldeth the fruit either of good or of bad actions: the finger jointed and flexible, discretion. He instructs us then, when we see any faults in our neighbours, not immediately and rashly to condemn them, but after searching our own hearts to begin with, to examine them attentively with the finger of discretion.�

Next, the ruling . . .

Quotations from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected Out of the Works of the Fathers, Vol. IV, Part I (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1845).

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Continuing the story of the woman caught in adultery, St. John reports on how Christ judged the case:

�He lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her� (Jn 8:7). St. Augustine explains: �He did not say, Stone her not, lest He should seem to speak contrary to the law. But God forbid that He should say, Stone her; for He came not to destroy that which He found, but to seek that which was lost. . . . This is the voice of justice. Let the sinner be punished, but not by sinners; the law carried into effect, but not by transgressors of the law.� St. Gregory the Great wisely teaches: �He who judges not himself first, cannot know how to judge correctly in the case of another. For though He know what the offence is, from being told, yet He cannot judge of another�s deserts, who supposing himself innocent, will not apply the rule of justice to himself.�

�And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last� (v. 9a). Alcuin remarks: This is like our Lord; while His eyes are fixed, and He seems attending to something else, He gives the bystanders an opportunity of retiring: a tacit admonition to us to consider always both before we condemn a brother for a sin, and after we have punished him, whether we are not guilty ourselves of the same fault, or others as bad.�

�And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst� (v. 9b). St. Augustine notes: �There were left however two, the pitiable and the pitiful: . . . the woman, you may suppose, in great alarm, expecting punishment from one in whom no sin could be found. But He who had repelled her adversaries with the word of justice, lifted on her the eyes of mercy.�

�When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord� (vv. 10-11a). St. Augustine remarks: �We heard above the voice of justice; let us hear now that of mercy.� And so: �Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more� (v. 11b).

Does He then condone sin? St. Augustine replies: �No, surely. Listen to what follows, �Go, and sin no more.� So then our Lord condemned sin, but not the sinner. For did He favour sin, He would have said, Go, and live as thou wilt: depend on my deliverance: howsoever great thy sins be, it matters not: I will deliver thee from hell, and its tormentors. But He did not say this.�

Thus, the great Lawgiver and Judge gives a poignant example of how one ought to temper justice with mercy.

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