You’re Being Watched

Titus 2

Titus 2 7a

Yesterday we got a glimpse of some of Paul’s “good works”. Today we are going to focus more on our own good works.

 

Verse 7 says – ¨In everything set them an example by doing what is good.¨

This is a good reminder that people are always watching, and looking to you as their role model. By always doing good you will be encouraging others to do good as well.

 

Moving further into the chapter in verses 11 & 12 we learn that the grace from God helps teach us to live godly lives. My Bible’s footnotes for these verses says, ¨This same grace instructs us that our salvation should produce good works.¨ (Zondervan, NIV Study Bible) 

 

Verse 14 brings up another good point – we should be, ¨eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).  Because of the grace that God has given us we should want in our hearts to do good works as a way of thanking Him. God’s grace gives us a chance to start over and live a life that pleases Him. Which, as you might have guessed, includes good works. 

 

Take a minute and meditate on the chorus of the song Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath.   Ask God to open your eyes and show you some good works that need to be done. 

 

Give me your eyes for just one second

Give me your eyes so I can see,

Everything that I keep missing,

Give your love for humanity.

Give me your arms for the broken-hearted

The ones that are far beyond my reach.

Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.

Give me Your eyes so I can see

 

Ephesians 2:10 – ¨For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.¨

 

-Makayla Railton

 

We need to open our hearts to figure out what God wants us to do for him. 

 

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The Dark Side – and God’s Side

2 Timothy 3

 

2Tim3 1617 (1)

The first half of this chapter paints a rather bleak picture of thriving human sinfulness.  “Lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.  … who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth“  (2 Timothy 3:2-5, 6b-7).  That’s a pretty good list of nastiness.  And it hits so many types of people: the materialistic, the teen rebel, the violent criminal, the power-hungry politician, the educated professor who denies God.

 

And sometimes, it hits me, too.  I can be proud – especially when I think I am right, but “they” are wrong.  I can be ungrateful – to God and to those who have given of their time and talents for me.  Sometimes love does not shine through me.  I don’t always exercise self-control and bite my tongue when I ought.  Too often I have chosen loving pleasure over loving God – watching one more episode and then suddenly “too tired” to read His Word.

 

It is so easy to point the finger at evil and the dark side around us.  And, definitely DO be aware of its prevalent influence in the world so you don’t unknowingly get sucked up in it yourself.  But carefully watch yourself as well.  Where do you need to work so you reflect more God and less world?

 

In the second half of this chapter Paul flips to writing on the light/Godly side of things.  He speaks of his own life – his purpose, teaching, faith, and love as well as persecutions and suffering (3:10,11).   This bed of roses indeed comes with many thorns.  He writes, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (3:12).  Because of the wickedness and deception in the world (see verses 1-9), Christians must expect and be prepared for many trials when they are actually acting like and following Christ.

 

But, don’t give up says Paul!  “Continue in what you have learned and what you have become convinced of…the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation”.  Who couldn’t use more wisdom for salvation??  Sign me up!  I am ready for more wisdom that leads to salvation.  I saw in the first half of this chapter my own darker side.  I am in need of more and more wisdom for salvation.  And, that is found in God’s Holy Scriptures.

 

But, that’s not all!   There’s more good found in God’s Word.   For, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (3:16).  Here is the key to standing against the evil in the world and in myself – God’s Word!  He breathed it for me.  He breathed it for you.  And it is useful, over and over again, every time it is opened.  It gives wisdom for salvation, it teaches, it rebukes (which I do indeed need from time to time), it corrects, and it trains me to be righteous (which I always need).

 

But, there is still more!  With God’s Word we can be, “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (3:17).  Do you long to do good works for Him – open His Word.  Are you discouraged by the evil of the world – open His Word.   Are you ready to be wise for salvation – open His Word.  Breath in what God breathed out for you.

 

Marcia Railton

Pass it On

2 Timothy 2

2 Tim 2 2

2nd Timothy 2:2 – the pass it on verse.  “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”  It’s not enough to believe it, know it and even share it.  We must be intentional about to whom and how we share it – so that it will continue to be taught long after our fleeting breath is gone.  Are you sharing God’s Word?  Good!  Are you teaching from His Word?  Great!  ALSO, prayerfully consider who and how you ought to be mentoring to do the tasks God has given, both now and in the future.

 

Or, maybe you aren’t currently sharing God’s Word and teaching from His Word.  Maybe you feel you just don’t know enough to start.  Or, you know you can’t do it as well as those you see doing it in your church now because you aren’t as experienced as they are.  After all, you don’t have the training to be a pastor or a Sunday School teacher.  That’s okay.  If you have the heart and desire and are ready to grow – ask those who are working how you can be involved!   Learn from them now before they are gone.

 

And – keep at it – even when hardships come (2:3)

Strive to please Christ – your commanding officer (2:4)

Remember the rules (2:5)

Endure – so you can reign (2:12)

Do your best for God (2:15)

Use His Word wisely (2:15)

Avoid false teachers and godless chatter (2:16,17)

Be holy and useful – no matter what your shape, size, age, job is (2:20,21).

Run away from evil (2:22)

Run after what is right and stick with God’s people (2:22)

Stop arguing (2:23)

Be a kind teacher (2:24)

Gently instruct even those against you (2:25)

 

Here near the end of Paul’s life he had so much Godly wisdom that he was faithfully passing on to Timothy – so that Timothy could pass it on to those he was teaching and training – so that it would be passed down the generations to you and to me.  What will you do with it today?  Read 2 Timothy 2 and see what God wants you to do to pass it on.

 

Marcia Railton

 Friends

 1 Thessalonians 1

1 Thess 1 2
The first verse of 1 Thessalonians tells us what this wonderful letter is all about: Friends: Paul, Silas, and Timothy had become extremely close spiritual friends. These three spiritual friends prayed together, worked together, and became very close to the people in Thessalonica. The first chapter should be read with the concept of two or three gathered in the name of Jesus praying and loving others in a particular area or church. I have made many friends much the same as Silas and Timothy were to Paul.  Thessalonians is all about fabulous friendship in this life and the life to come (v.10).
Application: Everyone has to choose which friends they should have. If we seek God and ask Him for guidance, God will lead us to the right people to be around. Just as Paul, Silas and Timothy constantly sought God’s Word and His guidance, they were able to connect because God rewarded each of their daily dedication to God. We as individuals need to be in constant prayer and God will lead us in choosing friends. I also encourage you to love your friends just like God loves us.
Paul Moore – and his friend Esther

Opportunities

Colossians 4

Colossians 4 5

One of the most important parts of being a human is making empathetic connections. I would describe an empathetic connection as finding a basis of similarity so you can start to build a relationship. These connections are crucially important to the Christian faith. As Christians we are to be ambassadors for Christ, helping people understand and live out the Gospel so they may be in the Kingdom of God. Often, I waste opportunities to do this very thing. But Paul has an easy way of reminding us by using a couple of object lessons in

Colossians 4:2-6 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; Praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Our empathetic connections we make with others are drastically important for when we share the Gospel. I would say Paul is using the illustration of a door and salt to describe how we are to handle people who we are supposed to share the gospel with. The door represents hospitality, welcome, and family. In other words, treat others as if you were inviting them into your home. Allow them to be comfortable. Remember we as Christians are not called to comfort, but to carry our cross (even though it’s hard sometimes). Treat them just like Jesus would have treated you. The salt represents preparedness (that which I am unqualified to talk about but here I go anyway) Salt was used as a preservative in the time Paul wrote this, therefore he is referring to our speech having been thought out and planned. Just like someone who wants to cook a steak but doesn’t know what seasoning they will cook it with, Paul calls us to be patient.

Be kind to those who are ignorant of the Gospel and those who might not live a lifestyle you don’t accept. The only way you will be able to effectively share the Gospel is through a relationship that shows them Christ’s love before they are changed.

Jesse Allen

Together

Colossians 3

Colossians 3 14

It is not always easy getting along with people in the church. When I first became a Christian, I thought after that point it might all become easier and I was just along for the ride at that point. However, God has challenged me to grow and to even get along with people I never thought I could. Has that ever happened to you? It appears Jesus joins all of us together no matter the strife that does and will happen.

Paul recognizes this in Colossians 3:14-15

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body: and be thankful.

What Paul said here is that Love is what “Holds us Together”. That is because of Christ’s rule in our hearts. But we must allow Him to rule. Today I want you to think of the people you never got along with until some Church or camp activity and thank God for them. Maybe even let them know too!

Jesse Allen

Roots

Colossians 2

Colossians 2 6 7

 If there was just one thing, I had to point out in my life that has been consistent it would be my faith. With unpredictability being a close second. Ever since I can remember God has always provided me an opportunity to go to church, VBS or camp. These opportunities I believe gave me the idea “church is good”. So, when I was a teenager, I felt it was necessary to return to church and go every week. It is this foundation I am so very thankful God built for me. I became rooted and strong in faith because of those experiences when I was young. Paul in Colossians 2:6,7 says this,

 “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

What things are you rooted in that you are thankful God laid out for you to grow in Christ?

Jesse Allen