Titus 3

Cause the Jesus in me to be seen today more than the me in me, Lord.

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“It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back.” (v 3 MSG)

Father, thank You for freeing me from a life without You, one that’s a slave to the system of sin.  You sent Your people alongside me to show me Your ways and to lay before me the choice to follow You or to remain as I was.  Praise to You, Lord, for knowing just how to reach me! …for calling out to me in a manner to which I would respond.  How well You know me!  “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps 139:14 NIV).  “You know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something” (Ps 139:13-14 MSG).

“But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, He saved us from all that.  It was all His doing; we had nothing to do with it.  He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit.  Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously.  God’s gift has restored our relationship with Him and given us back our lives.  And there’s more life to come — an eternity of life!  You can count on this” (v 4-8 MSG).

All my sins were washed away, Lord!  Thank YOU!

Your Son’s death on that cross redeemed my life, freeing me from sin’s grip.

Your forgiveness, Father, has freed me from sin’s penalty.

Your Spirit has freed me from sin’s power.

All three aspects of Who You are have been at work orchestrating this emancipating, cleansing, and renewing act of Your grace.

NOTHING I have done, am doing, will do, or could ever do has brought this about or earned it.  My right-standing with You is purely a gift directly from You, because You love me!  Thank You for this new life that’s free of sin’s reign, that’s been washed clean by Your Son’s blood, and this is being continually transformed to be just like Him!  Amen.

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“As you share God’s grace through a life lived in love… you become HIS hands, HIS feet, HIS voice.” — Shelley Breen in Steady On by Point of Grace, p. 100.

Titus 2

Cause the Jesus in me to be seen today more than the me in me, Lord.

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“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine … In your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned…” (v 1, 7-8 NIV)

“Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine … But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane…” (v 1, 7-8 MSG)

My words, my actions, my expressions, and my reactions all serve as avenues through which a curriculum is taught to others by my life.  The essential question, as sparked by Your Words in this passage, Lord, is “What lessons are being caught by the ‘students’ who receive this ‘teaching’ of mine?”  Is the instruction conveyed by my example and efforts sound, solid, serious, sane and showing integrity?  This can only be true when I have surrendered myself to You first as my Master Teacher, allowing Your Spirit to guide me in applying Your instruction to my life.  May this be so, Lord.  Make me a disciple who truly reflects her Teacher’s wisdom, heart, and example.

“…so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us … so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” (v 8, 10 NIV)

“…Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around… Then their good character will shine through their actions, adding luster to the teaching of our Savior God.” (v 8, 10 MSG)

Herein lies the ultimate goal of having the “teachings” that are conveyed by my own life being grounded firmly in You, Lord.  When my teaching, whether directly or indirectly, pre-planned or unrehearsed, initiated or invited conveys a true, simple and clear picture of Your Son, then the “student” has less cause for questioning the content’s validity.  Rather, the student might more readily be drawn to know this Savior, who longs for an intimate relationship with him or her.

May my life be like a garnish on the main dish found only in Your Word, Father.  May others taste and see that You are so very, very good!

“God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public.  Salvation’s available for everyone!  We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life.  This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.  He offered Himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people He can be proud of, energetic in goodness.” (v 11-14 MSG)

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior.  Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (v 11-14 NIV)

Thank You for Your grace that teaches me how to live in obedience to You, that assures me that my grade with You is already an “A.”  All You ask me to do is to remain a faithful student.  In return, You continue to teach me about Yourself, Your will, and Your purpose for me, as You also purify my life, making me more and more like Jesus.  Amen.

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“As you share God’s grace through a life lived in love… you become HIS hands, HIS feet, HIS voice.” — Shelley Breen in Steady On by Point of Grace, p. 100.

Titus 1

Cause the Jesus in me to be seen today more than the me in me, Lord.

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You lay out several qualities here for a leader within Your Church, Lord; yet the portion that has grasped my attention in this passage is “He must HOLD FIRMLY TO the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can ENCOURAGE OTHERS by sound doctrine and REFUTE those who oppose it” (v 9 NIV).  In The Message, paraphrased by Eugene Peterson, this is worded as “have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.”

HOLD FIRMLY TO

Your Word is completely reliable.  No matter how many human hands had a part in putting together this Bible I’ve been reading/studying for years … no matter how many centuries have passed or original manuscripts  have been lost or found … no matter how many voices have tried to malign its credibility, Your Truth is still all together true and trustworthy.  No matter what false teachings have infiltrated the minds of people in this world today, YOU are still God.  You are El Shaddai, God Almighty.  You are Adonai, my Lord!  You are I Am!

As I sit here and breathe in the oxygen around me, by mouth, nose and trachea take it into my lungs and this necessary element is absorbed into my body.  I must have this air to survive, to move, to live.  Cause Your Word to be as vital to my mind, heart, and spirit as oxygen is to my body.  May my eyes breathe in the letters on the pages of Your Word as my mind absorbs and assimilates the concepts, principles, promises, commands, and thoughts of Your Word.

As I am transformed by inhaling Your Truth, may my life exhale an example of obedience and a reflection of Jesus.  The passage points out two ways in which You desire for Your Word to go forth from me, once I have a firm hold upon it:

ENCOURAGE

“Encourage others by sound doctrine” is Your first direction for me.  Use me, Lord, to appeal to others through all means of teaching them to cling to Your Word and to grow in their knowledge of, obedience to, and sharing of that Truth that sets them free.  Keep me grounded in Your Word so that what I convey is sound and in line with Your will.  Use me to spur others on in applying Your Word to life.

REFUTE

Not every person I encounter will be a believer who needs a bit of encouragement to keep going and remain focused on You.  You’ve warned me and reality has shown me that there will be people who cross my path who will indeed oppose Your Word.

In other parts of Your Word You have conveyed how to point others to Your truth: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that You may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6) NIV).  “…in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).

By Your grace, You have acquainted me with Your Word, Father.  It’s by that same grace that I go forth each day, dependent on You, infused with Your Word, and focused on Your Son.  It’s not the “I” but the “You” in me that must go forth.  No matter how many times I fall down or blunder in my efforts to remain faithful, YOU are the One who pours Your Word into this humble vessel, so that other lives can be encouraged and guided toward Your Son, as You keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

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“As you share God’s grace through a life lived in love… you become HIS hands, HIS feet, HIS voice.” — Shelley Breen in Steady On by Point of Grace, p. 100.