Our Household in God’s Household

Today’s reading is Titus 2.

Yesterday, we learned there were insubordinate, empty talking, deceivers who were upsetting whole families teaching for shameful gain what ought not be taught. At the beginning of today’s reading, Paul turns that around on Titus. “No matter what anyone else is doing, Titus, you teach what accords with sound, healthy, faithful teaching. Those other guys are upsetting households, you settle them.” And then he talks about how everyone in a household should behave, whether male or female, whether old or young. But keep this in the context. Paul didn’t write this here so when we are preaching a series through¬†Titus we could preach some lessons on the home. He is actually describing the battle in the vile culture of Crete. Please see, the battle isn’t won on Facebook. It isn’t won in a courthouse. It isn’t won on the floors of Congress. It is won in our households. Sure, it is great when laws get passed that support truth. But in the midst of Crete, Christians fight the good fight of faith not by conducting political battles but by living in their own households distinctly and differently, living soberly, steadfastly, lovingly, self-controlled, exemplary lives in a way that the ungodly are put to shame as they try to find some way to make an accusation against us. I think this may be a needed teaching for us today as well.

Tomorrow’s reading is Titus 3 .

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I Want to be Truly a Widow

Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 5.

Okay, okay, let me clarify. First, I know I’m a man, and that would make me a widower, not a widow. Second, I don’t want my wife to die or my kids to abandon me. But here is what I do want. Because the true widow has been left all alone by biological and legal family, she knows her only hope is God. Therefore, she spends night and day in supplications and prayers. That is what I want. I want to be so convinced my only hope is God that I spend night and day in supplications and prayers. Too often, I place my hope in my strength, my work, my relationships, my plans, and then I use prayer more as the rubber stamp to get God’s religious seal of approval on all my hopes and dreams. I’ve come to realize that I can be a church-going Christian who reads my Bible a lot and even teaches the Bible who still leads a relatively godless existence. I don’t mean the pursuing immorality and sin kind of godless. I mean leading an existence where reliance on God is only in the background if thought about at all. I make sure to “say my prayers,” but I don’t necessarily see them as practically necessary to my daily living. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t want to wait until I’m in the true widow’s circumstances to have the true widow’s spirit. My only hope is God. Today, I want to pray like it. How about you?

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Timothy 6.¬†

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Discipline is Hard

Today’s reading is Hebrews 12.

I want life to be easy. But where would an easy life lead? If every day were a walk in the park, would I understand how much I need God? Would I figure out how messed up I am in my heart and mind? Enter discipline. Doing whatever I want without facing consequences is fun and easy, but eventually it is destructive. Discipline is hard and painful. I don’t like it. But God puts me through it in the hope of saving my very soul. I often wish there was an easier softer way for me to grow, but I’ve come to realize I’m pretty dense and thick-headed. If God is going to get my attention, He has to get my attention where it hurts. I can cry, whine, moan, rebel, but God’s painful discipline is what trains me and gives me life. Who knew that discipline itself is really the grace of God? Let’s thank God for His discipline today.

Monday’s reading is Hebrews 13.

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The Battle Begins

Today’s reading is Matthew 2.

You’d think Satan might wait until Jesus had a chance to grow up a little before starting his all out assault. But no. The dragon takes on the woman and her child in His infancy. Herod is the adversary’s instrument who slaughters a city full of children in this first attack. However, Jesus escaped. Please understand, our enemy is ruthless. He doesn’t care who gets hurt or killed in the fight. He will do whatever it takes to conquer the offspring of the woman (yes, I’m mixing this with the imagery of Revelation 12). He will do whatever it takes to conquer you. However, God is on your side. God will win; God does win. Even if we are killed in the battle, we will still have the victory in Jesus because He not only survived this beginning battle, He won the war. No matter how Satan attacks, hang on to Jesus. That is the only place of victory.

Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 3.

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Where is Your Hope?

Today’s reading is Mark 10.

The rich man gives us a poignant look at misplaced hope. He wanted eternal life. But his hope was wrapped up in his possessions. Eternal life wasn’t worth a temporal life of poverty, of itinerant living wandering the countryside with Jesus. The rich man was willing to do a lot it seems. After all, there weren’t many people just running up to Jesus asking, “What can I do?” But he wasn’t willing to surrender everything to God, demonstrating that his only hope was God. Sometimes I look down on the rich man. But then I get worried by how quickly I’m thankful Jesus wasn’t talking to me. He wasn’t. I know that. But where is my hope? Where is yours? No hope is meaningful but Jesus Himself. Follow Him today no matter the cost.

Tomorrow’s reading is Mark 11.

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Today’s reading is Romans 9.

We were not His people, but through His patience and grace, we are now His people. We were not beloved, but through His endurance and mercy, we are now His beloved. Wow! Think of what God has gone through over the eons to bring us to be His beloved. Think of the sacrifice He endured. Think of the love He has shown. We were not His people, but now we are children of the living God. Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus. That is good news.

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 10.

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Today’s reading is Luke 18.

Do you see the thread of trust throughout the stories in today’s reading? In the first, we can trust that God will deliver His elect. Perhaps not in our time, but in His. It will happen, so hang on to Him. But don’t trust in yourself and in your own personal righteousness. Honestly, you simply cannot be righteous enough to deliver yourself. Don’t trust in riches. They will not buy your way into the kingdom no matter what else they will buy for you. Don’t trust in the crowds, they will steer you wrong. Keep calling out for Jesus. You can trust Him. And smack in the middle of these stories, the little children. The little children who don’t know any better than to trust their Father. The little children who humbly depend on their Father no matter what. That is to be us. We know that for some children of human fathers, that trust can lead to terrible tragedy, but never with our Father. We can be like little children. He cares for us. He knows the way. He is the way. Trust Him no matter what.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 19.

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