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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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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Established By God

Today’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 2.

Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians is that God the Father and God the Son will establish them in every good work and word. This is in contrast to what God is doing with those who ignore the truth but take pleasure in unrighteousness. With those, God sends a strong delusion. He pushes them further down their path of unrighteousness (see also¬†Romans 1:18-31). As they have pursued instability, He gives them what they seek. He destabilizes them. The good news is when we pursue God’s word and work, He will provide stability. He will establish us. We can’t make God do anything. But good news; He is doing His part. Today, let’s love truth (God’s word) and pursue righteousness (God’s work). Then let us pray and take comfort that God Himself will establish and stabilize us in, through, and for these pursuits. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 3.

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Close, but Don’t Be Fooled

Today’s reading is Revelation 13.

Our enemy has no creativity whatsoever. The best he can do is provide a mediocre copy. Sadly, that is often enough to turn the heads of those he wants to capture. Consider the parallels between the unholy trinity of the dragon, the sea beast, and the land beast and the holy trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit. The dragon gives authority to the sea beast, as the Father has given all authority to the Son. The sea beast receives a mortal wound and is healed, just as the Son died on the cross and arose. The land beast with great signs and wonders points people to worship the sea beast, just as the Spirit does for the Son. And while the sea beast has the mouth of a lion, understand he is not the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In this battle over the Bride, the enemy will stop at nothing, even copying the Hero in order to get the Bride to capitulate instead of conquer. Don’t be fooled. Only Jesus is the Hero and only Jesus wins.

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 14.

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Who’s Your Father?

Today’s reading is 1 John 3.

As disciples of Jesus, we are children of God. How cool is that? Have you ever heard the phrases, “Like father, like son” or “Like father, like daughter”? That is exactly the idea we need to keep in mind. Being a child of God is not just a designation. It isn’t just a title. It is a process. That is, it is a process of growing up to be like our Father. We must understand, the question is not: Will we grow up to be like our father? We will. We are. The question is: Who is our father? If the devil is our father, we will become more and more like him. Not that we will become exceedingly wicked and evil by worldly standards. Rather, we will become exceedingly self-governed and pleasure seeking. If God is our Father, we will become more and more like Him: holy, righteous, pure. The question we have to ask today is, “Who do I want to become?” Choose wisely.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 4.

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They Think They are Obeying God

Today’s reading is John 16.

When the Jews crucified Jesus, did they know they were disobeying God? No. In fact, they thought they were serving Him. They thought Jesus was a blasphemer who needed to be executed. When the Jews persecuted the apostles and the early church, did they know they were disobeying God? No. In fact, they thought they were serving Him. These Christians weren’t keeping Moses’s Law and were declaring Jesus was God. They needed to be stomped out. Let us not be surprised then when people today slander, mock, belittle, and persecute us all while thinking they have God’s high ground. They think we don’t love as purely as they do. They label us as haters when we explain repentance is necessary. The reasons for thinking they are obeying God may have changed, but the claim that they are the ones obeying God has not. Don’t be surprised. Just keep loving and serving God the way He has asked in His Word no matter what anyone else says.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 17.

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How Will They Know We Love God?

Today’s reading is John 14.

Did you hear what Jesus said at the very end of today’s chapter? “I do as the Father has commanded me, because I always like to keep the rules.” Nope. “I do as the Father has commanded me to show I’m better than everyone else.” Nope. “I do as the Father has commanded me because deep down inside, I’m a Pharisee.” Nope. “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” Wow! Who knew? I thought keeping the commandments was about rules, regulations, and legalism. That stuff is for Pharisees. But Jesus says doing what God says was His way of letting the world know He had a real relationship with the Father. I wonder if that might work for us too. Since our Teacher took that path, perhaps we disciples should follow Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 15.

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