Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gentleness, Godliness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Peace, Scripture, Testimony

NICE GUY

TITUS 3:2

to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”

Are you a nice person? I mean, do you portray these traits Paul lists in today’s verse? These are admirable traits, but I guarantee you they are not possible for long without Christ being the center of your life. Christ showed us all of these while He was here on earth. If He can live them out, we can too. We just have to allow Him to live them through us.

“To malign” means to speak evil against someone. That’s not our calling. “To be peaceable” literally means not to fight. For some of us that’s hard. “Gentle” means to be forbearing or reasonable toward others. That can be tested at times, can’t it? And “showing every consideration” has the idea that you can show restraint.

APPLICATION

Aren’t those four traits worth instilling in your children? How many times have you had to stop your children from doing the exact opposite? Instead of not speaking evil, they are constantly tattling or trying to get their sister or brother in trouble. Flesh does not have to be taught how to be fleshly. It comes natural. Our job as Christian parents is to consistently hold that flesh accountable. We must take every opportunity to point them towards the attributes of Christ.

Will your children embrace these traits? Only if they first know Christ. Trying to “force” these behaviors on your child before they know Him may get them to follow a rule, but it won’t change their heart. Only Jesus can do that. So, is it hopeless? Of course not! But know that the heart change is not your responsibility. Your job is to keep pointing them to Jesus. Jesus is big enough to handle the rest.

Which of these four traits gives you the most trouble? Probably, for me, it’s being gentle. I often have unreasonable expectations of others and am not very forbearing. I expect too much or I want them to comply to my wishes. That’s not being Jesus. The only way I can live this out is to surrender my desires to His. I have to see the other person through His eyes. Then I can show the gentleness of Christ.

I desire to live out these traits towards others, Lord. I know that I may be the only Jesus they ever see. Help me be that to them today.

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OBEDIENCE

TITUS 3:1

“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,”

This is the third time in the letter to Titus Paul has told us to be subject to someone. He tells wives to be subject to their husbands (2:5). He tells slaves to be subject to the masters (2:9). And now he tells us to be subject to those who are in authority, the rulers in our lives. Now, who are they? Anyone who has legal authority over you (police, judges, elected officials, etc). If we all did that, there would be so much less anarchy in our society.

And the word “obedient” has an interesting meaning. It’s not just the act of obeying. It’s being persuaded that what you are asked to do should be done first. It’s like when your boss, whom you don’t really care for, gives you a task to do. You do it right then, not because you want to, but because he is the boss and he wants it done. You obey those rulers and authorities unless you are asked to do something immoral or illegal.

APPLICATION

This is another one of those no-brainers. We teach our children how to obey. They must place themselves up under your leadership in the home in preparation for doing the same at school or on a job one day. When they understand that all authorities in their lives have been placed there by the Lord, they will submit much easier (or at least we hope they will).

Once again, they watch how you do this. If they see you constantly trying to get out from under your authorities, they will learn to do the same. When is the last time you prayed for the rulers and authorities in your life? Get your children to pray with you for your elected officials and law enforcement. Then the next time you have an encounter with one of them, your attitude may be just a little different. Praying for someone will do that.

So many Christians don’t get this. They try to hold on to “their rights” to the point that they become almost rebellious in their spirits. We have no rights. They were all nailed to the cross. Our response to those in authority should be “yes” whenever possible. Ask the Lord to give you a submissive spirit. Ask Him to show you how to pray for those rulers. Perhaps the Lord is preparing you to lead.

I am thankful for those You have placed in authority in my life. I know You establish kings and kingdoms. Show me today how I can best serve.

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DON’T BE IGNORED

TITUS 2:15

“These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

We have a difficult word in today’s verse. The Greek word translated “disregard” is only used in this verse. It has more to do with us than others. Paul is telling Titus to be forceful, to stand up for himself. Now, that had nothing to do with who Titus was. It was about Who he represented and what he was saying. He said to “speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.”

People are going to despise us. People are going to try to ignore us or push us aside. There are times when we must stand up and be heard. I don’t mean in an ugly way. But we must speak truth and be heard. We, in fact, have an obligation to do that. When we have been entrusted with the only truth, and we hear it being twisted to lead others astray, we have to speak. Is that comfortable? Not to most of us, but it must be done.

APPLICATION

Teaching our children to stand up for themselves and the Lord is a worthy goal. We don’t want our children to be pushovers. But we also don’t want them to be arrogant and snobby. There’s a fine line which is successfully walked only when Christ reigns in their life. It is important that we live this out for them in the way we deal with others in their presence. We can all be Jesus to others wherever we are. It just requires us to submit and let Jesus do the talking.

Have you ever had your faith “attacked” by someone in front of your children? How did you respond? This is not a time to get into a theological debate. This is the time to simply speak the truth, but speak you must. To not reply can send the message to your child that it is not worth responding. They need to know that you will defend the Gospel and that you believe what it says. Our actions speak volumes.

Are you able to speak out? Are you willing to stand for truth? Will you “speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.” Paul’s command to Titus applies to us today, therefore, the last part of the verse does as well. “Let no one disregard you.” You represent the King of kings and Lord of lords. You have His authority. Act like it.

Father, I carry Your seal stamped on my heart. You have given me Your authority to yield. Help me stand for truth!

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WE’RE HIS

TITUS 2:14

“who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

As believers, we know we belong to the Lord. You are told that from the moment of salvation. But you need to take a look at today’s verse to truly understand what that means. Paul breaks it down so perfectly and completely. First, we are His because He paid the price for us. He gave Himself to redeem us. Why was that necessary? Because of our lawless deeds. He wiped them away by the shedding of His blood. That was the purchase price.

Then He purifies us because He will not and cannot allow sinful creatures to abide in His presence. He personally selects each of us. He knows us all by name. We are specially chosen. We belong in His collection. Isn’t that precious? Just like a collector who loves to take out his collection of stamps and admire them, Jesus loves to marvel at His collection of saints. We are each special to Him.

APPLICATION

Do your children collect anything? Maybe “collect” is the wrong word. My son used to have a huge collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars. He loved to play with those. He would get them out and line them up on the floor and play for hours. Each one had their special job in his imagination. But he loved them all.

We want our children to know just how special they are to Jesus. He has a special plan for their life, but it is part of the big plan. Their life is part of His master plan for His kingdom. He wants to use each of us to fulfill it. Can He fulfill it without us? Of course. But His perfect plan involves every believer doing their part. Point your children towards that – the bigger picture. You never know how He may choose to use them.

Are you being used by Jesus? What would He have you do today? Many of us are too busy to allow Him to redirect us. We have our days and weeks mapped out. Any “interference” from Him just gets in the way. Stop that now. Allow Him to take your calendar to the shredder if necessary. Yield to His plan today and enjoy the journey.

My day is Yours, Lord. Put me where You want me and use me however You see fit. I’m Yours.

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HE’S COMING

TITUS 2:13

“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”

Waiting can be hard, can’t it? It’s especially hard when you know what’s coming. The Greek word for “looking” can also be translated as “awaiting” or “watching for.” It carries the idea of anxiously waiting and ready to receive. That’s a lot more than just looking. Paul knew Jesus was going to return and was anxious for the day. He was ready for it.

Paul calls Jesus the “blessed hope” and “our great God and Savior.” He wanted to make sure Titus understood just who He was. We have no other hope than Christ. All other hopes pale in comparison. All other hopes can fail to materialize. All other hopes are just that – hopes. They aren’t certain. And why is Jesus certain? Because He is God!

APPLICATION

How do you teach your kids to wait? That’s a hard one. Some kids are better at it than others. Parents will do just about anything to keep their children calm while waiting for something. I’ve seen parents bribe their kids. I’ve seen parents come prepared with toys and activities and snacks. Waiting is hard for little ones.

But the most important “wait” we need to prepare them for is Christ’s return. We know He’s returning, but we don’t know when. Our role as Christian parents is to introduce and lead our children to Jesus so that however long the “wait” is, they are ready. We don’t want them caught off guard. We don’t want them left behind when He appears. Once they know Him as their personal Savior and Lord, they can join you in the wait. It could be today.

Are you anxiously waiting for His appearing? Are you prepared for His return? If not, get ready today. Give your heart to Jesus. Let Him fill you with His Spirit. And then do all you can to bring as many as you can with you. If you are like me, I know dozens of people who will be left behind if He came today. That burdens my heart. Let’s join together to bring them with us when He appears again. Keep watching.

Lord, I know You are coming because You said You were. Help me lead others to You so they can join us. I am ready! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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HOW TO LIVE

TITUS 2:12

“instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,”

Salvation is just the beginning. We are so thankful for the saving power of Jesus in our lives, but it doesn’t stop there. Paul tells us in today’s verse how to live. The grace which appeared instructs us to deny certain things and to live a certain way. We have to say “no” to stuff in order to say “yes” to others. You can’t walk two paths.

It’s pretty simple, really. We should have nothing to with not honoring God. He deserves it all. It all points to Him. And we should shun seeking to fulfill ourselves with temporal, worldly things. They just don’t last. Instead, we should live sensibly (calmly), righteously (approved by God) and godly (devout). Simple, huh? With Jesus, it is. Without Him, impossible.

APPLICATION

These are practical words for our children. Do this and don’t do that. Isn’t that what we are trying to do each day with them? Have them make a list of things they think are ungodly. Depending on their age, this list could be funny. But let them make the list. Then talk about how they can avoid those things. These are things they don’t want to be around.

Then switch it up and have them list some godly things. How do they pursue them? Ask them if they think doing godly things will make them godly. It’s so important they understand it doesn’t. Only Jesus can make us godly. We live godly because of Him. We do godly things because of Him. We are simply a reflection of His godliness.

Who are you reflecting today? You know you do that every day. You reflect your Savior or you reflect your flesh. One is godly. The other is not. One draws others to Christ. The other repels them. One is inviting and warm. The other – not so much. What kind of mirror are you today? Choose Jesus.

I am so thankful for simple instructions on how to live. Help me today to live as You would have me live. I want to please You.

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THE LIGHT FROM HEAVEN

TITUS 2:11

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,”   

It never ceases to amaze me how God can orchestrate the smallest of details. I began looking at the Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy and Titus) back on January 1st. Today is Christmas day and lo, and behold, look at the verse that comes up today – the verse in Titus that speaks of Christ coming to us. The birth of His Son which brought us salvation.

And this verse contains a Greek word that carries that story. The Greek word for “appeared” has the image of a light appearing from heaven. It means to shine. What does the Christmas story mention? A star appeared in the sky to guide the wise men. The very light of heaven appeared on earth. Why a light? To shine in the darkness. Merry Christmas!

APPLICATION

Today read the Christmas story to your family. Take a moment before all the hustle and bustle of food and presents to reflect on the reason we celebrate. I know so many people who are gathering today to celebrate Christmas who aren’t even believers. I wonder why they do it. The holiday isn’t a holy day to them. We have reason to celebrate, whether or not we have presents or food. It’s about Him.

So, take a moment. Slow down. The presents will wait. Thank the Lord for His perfect gift. Thank the Lord for His grace which appeared and brought salvation to all men. Thank the Lord for each of your family who knows Him as their personal Lord and Savior. And pray for those who have not made that decision yet. Why don’t you agree as a family to do all you can in 2020 to bring them into God’s family?

Christmas is a special time of the year, not because of the trees, mistletoe and garland. Christmas is special because it is the time to recognize what God has done. Jesus’ birth changed history. Jesus’ birth changed the calendar. But most importantly, Jesus’ birth changed the hearts of every believer. We have that light in us which appeared over two thousand years ago in manger in Bethlehem. Praise Him.

I am eternally grateful for the birth of Your Son which gave me a new birth in You. Help me shine that light on others. Let it beam across the darkness and reflect Your love.

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