Living in a Modern Crete

Today’s reading is Titus 3.

According to historical study, the Cretan populace was, in general, sinful and immoral in the extreme. And not just by the standards of the likes of Paul. The rest of the Roman world looked down on Crete and Cretans as vile, beastly, immoral liars. That means they were pretty bad. So we can imagine when Paul wrote to Titus about what to teach the Christians, he had a lot to say about how the Christians should wage the culture war among the sexually immoral, morally destitute, sinfully wicked Cretans. No doubt, he encouraged them to have public demonstrations, to take every opportunity to shout down the immorality, to argue constantly with everyone who disagreed with the revelation coming from the apostles, to belittle and shame the sinners. Or wait. Maybe he gave different instructions. Look again at today’s reading.¬†

  • Be submissive to rulers and authorities¬†
  • Be obedient
  • Be ready for every good work
  • Speak evil of no one
  • Avoid quarreling
  • Be gentle
  • Show perfect courtesy toward all people

Wow! Why? Because we are surrounded by people who need a Savior just as we do. The only difference between us and those who still pursue sin with reckless abandon is through Jesus Christ we have the empowering strength of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, this doesn’t mean we are to neglect teaching truth and correcting opponents (see Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7-8). However, let us think about Paul’s instructions to the Cretan Christians before we act, before we interact, before we react.

Monday’s reading is John 1.¬†

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Forgive

Today’s reading is Acts 7.

There are a lot of good works I find hard to do. Perhaps this is the hardest, and yet it makes us most like Jesus. On the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” Stephen, while being stoned says, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” That is the gospel. That is the gospel in action. That is the gospel in our lives. Certainly, sacrificing money, time, resources, opportunities for others is Christlike. But sacrificing my right to anger, my right to payback, my right to get even, to get vengeance, my right to hold a grudge, my right to just not like them, my right to view myself as better, and on the list goes. Yet, here is Stephen walking in our Savior’s footsteps. What have you been forgiven by Jesus on the cross? Who do you need to forgive?

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 8.

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Rescue

Today’s reading is 2 Timothy 3.

One of the greatest mistakes I make about discipleship is thinking being a faithful disciple means life should be easy, no hardships. After all, I’ve turned to the Lord. He should keep me out of messes, shouldn’t He? Yet, Paul demonstrates a completely different perspective. Faithful disciples will suffer hardships not just like everyone else, but sometimes specifically because we are not like everyone else. While God does not keep us from that, He does rescue us from it. Satan wants us to believe God has forgotten us when we suffer, rather we need to learn from our suffering that God is good at rescue. Like Paul, lean on God no matter what you face and know that He will rescue you. Our God is good at rescue.

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Timothy 4.

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When God is With Us

Today’s reading is Acts 7.

We tend to think when God is with us we won’t ever get into problems or hardships. However, God was with Joseph when he went into Egyptian bondage. Jesus explains that as we make disciples, He will be with us all the way, even to the end of the age. That doesn’t mean we won’t suffer hardship. It means He will bring us through the hardship and we will be better off once it is over. Satan will use our hardship to get us to abandon God. Don’t let him convince you to do that. Hang on to God, He is with us. He will rescue us out of all afflictions and bring us to glory in the end. So, whatever you’re facing today, hang on to Jesus who is with you.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 8.

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Be Blessed

Today’s reading is Luke 11.

Did you know you don’t have to wait around wondering if you will get blessed? Did you know you can actually pursue God’s blessing and walk with confidence that you will receive it? Blessing from God is not a chance endeavor. Jesus actually tells us how to get blessed. “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Of course, that doesn’t mean we never experience hard times. As we have learned over the past few weeks, the blessed of God lose their electricity and sometimes their homes in storms. But even in those hard times, the ones who hear God’s Word and keep it get God’s blessing. We won’t receive God’s blessing by chance, so don’t leave it up to chance. Rather, pursue it with all your heart, soul, and mind no matter what else is happening around you.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 12.

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