Sunday, December 9, 2012
Welcome to Day 343 of our Life Journal!
Click here for today’s reading: 1 Timothy 5; 1 Timothy 6; Titus 1; Titus 2; Titus 3 2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
1 Timothy 5:1, “Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
1 Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
10 “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
Titus 1:5, “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.”
15 “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.”
Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…”
Titus 3:3, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
I love how Paul’s letter to Titus echoes similar themes as his letters to Timothy.
I had coffee with a young man yesterday. He shared his story with me a while back and I was following up with him… He is just beginning to figure out life. His parents didn’t set him a very good example to follow. Quite the contrary…
I shared some of my story with him… I told him (and I really do believe this) that just below the surface we are all pretty much the same.
I told him I just try to make good, godly decisions, day in and day out.
He looked at me kind of funny as though I were exempt from sin…
Although I have been running this race for a long time, I still have a long way to go…
I told him I decide every day to follow the Lord… to not cheat on my wife. To be an example my kids or others would want to follow. To not blow my life apart. To do the right thing…
Then I joked, “I live my life… a quarter-mile at a time.” (Vin Diesel, Fast & Furious.)
But that’s actually true. The traps are the same for all of us. To become consumed with our stuff… to pretend we are better than we are. To say one thing and do something else.
There is temptation all around us!
Integrity, character and love are the marks of a believer… or should be.
Just as Paul told Timothy to “set and example for the believers,” he would say the same thing to us. Not just to me because I’m a pastor, but for all of us as believers.
Setting and example doesn’t mean I’m perfect. It just means (to me) that when I blow it… and do… that I set an example as to how to clean up my mess. When I’ve been short with someone, or simply modeled something other than what is “Christ-like,” I have a “mess” to clean up.
We all get short-tempered, irritable… It’s easy to not tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
Although some use truth as a club…
I find most people to be gracious and understanding toward me… More apt to let me off the hook than I am willing to myself…
Set an example…
I have found often in cleaning up a mess that it means so much to people. So few people are willing to simply do the right thing, just because it’s the right thing to do. We justify what we say or do based upon what another person said or did.
Whatever you said or did does not give me the license to respond in like manner. Many people think it does…
I am always responsible for what I say and do, regardless of what you said or did to me.
I own my side of the fence. You own yours.
We all try to justify ourselves… “Well, do you know what THEY said to ME? Do you know what they DID?”
Just because you went off on me doesn’t give me the right to go off on you…
I own what I say and do.
I can never blame my words or actions on someone else…
Lord help me to own my actions… to not blame others for what I say or do.