A Good Example

7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

As I write this, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was being questioned by the Senate Judicial Committee for Supreme Court nomination. From everything I read he is a man of integrity. He kept detailed calendars even 35 years ago. He even made the claim that he was pure through high school and college. When you make a claim like that, you’re either lying or telling the truth. Since many questioning him could not believe he could be telling the truth – after all, how could a man go through high school and college without ever sleeping with a woman? – they immediately called him a liar.

There is something refreshing about a man who has no history of ill will or misconduct towards women being able to publicly state his position and beliefs. The last part of verse 8 is important: they can’t believe someone like this even exists so they have fabricate events to try to make him look bad. I have no idea whether Judge Kavanaugh is a Believer or not. He is, however, exhibiting the characteristics of someone with integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech.

The Supreme Court is a very big deal. Pray for those Senators in the decision making process. Pray that God’s will will be done in this decision.

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Self-Controlled Young Men

6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. Titus 2:6

If you’ve ever wondered why the military takes 18-year-olds and “break them down” in three short months, this would be one of the explanations for it. The government knows that young men at that age are full of fire and ambition. They have very little control over their emotions, habits, and practices. The military breaks them enough so that they take off that edge and conform them to being lean mean fighting machines. Three months prior to that they were merely long-haired kids hanging on a sheet corner. In the government’s own way, the military controls them.

Paul was young and energetic at one time. He was certainly ambitious and full of life. He knew that if the church was to grow, it would need disciplined men.

We all know those who are not disciplined. On many occasions we’re not disciplined. We too get distracted and are aimless, so we completely understand how young men in particular can wander through life without direction.

I’m sure you know these types of young men. They could be boys or young men in their 20s. Pray for them. Pray that God will take hold of them and bring them to their senses. Pray that He would give them direction and the courage to walk in it.

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Keep The Home Fires Burning

5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:5

As mentioned yesterday, it’s easy to get distracted in this life. Paul’s words here reinforce the need for younger women to tend to the details of the home front, to keep the home fires burning, so to speak. It doesn’t help that the world keeps screaming for women to get back into the workplace as soon as possible. There’s a reason, though, that God was very specific about this topic with the ladies. Family was and still is important in God’s eyes. It’s important raising God-fearing children. It’s important being true to your spouse. It’s important that the children see the parents loving each other.

Today would you pray for that young wife you know who may be struggling with the day to day busyness of life. Pray that she will continue to cast all her burdens on the only One who can handle them.

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Distractions Galore

Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, Titus 2:4-5

Just reading this, we might ask, “Did younger women not love their families?” But it’s not much different than today. There is just so much to distract people from family life. A number of years ago I attended a minor league baseball game. What amazed me was the continual need for the producers to entertain: before the game, between innings, and they even had fireworks when it was finished. People were not satisfied just watching the game; they want to be entertained. Paul was instructing us to keep focused on what’s important, especially with the number of distractions we face. Older women would have known what these young ladies face and could warn them against it.

Those reading this post know young wives with children. Pray for them by name, that they too would keep their focus on what’s important and not lose sight of what’s meaningless.

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People Like Mrs. Houser

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Titus 2:3

Paul’s counsel to Titus regarding older women is quite different than his counsel regarding older men. But older women are important in the Kingdom of God. They have a lot to offer the younger generation if they’re willing to listen. They, like older men, can be as feisty and stubborn but they can be also very wise.

I’m fortunate to have had at least one older woman praying for me through my high school years and beyond. I’m not really sure where I’d be without her praying for me. Was I just one on her list or did she take a special interest in me because I lived close by and was friendly, or did she have a list of dozens that she prayed for regularly? I’ll never know.

You don’t even have to be elderly to pray someone into the kingdom. I think Mrs. Houser saw me as someone who was going astray, so she took the initiative to pray. You probably know a few people who are also going astray. They need your prayers now and ten years from now. You and I have the ability to affect change in someone’s life today but the Holy Spirit has to do the work in that person’s life. What’s interesting is that even after I became a Christian, the dear woman of God continued to pray for me, and this time her prayers were very different.

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The Old Guys

2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Titus 2:2

You would think that older men wouldn’t need to be more temperate, sound in faith, self-controlled, etc etc. Well, they’re grumpy old guys; they get that way sometimes! Paul’s just asking Titus to remind them. It’s encouragement in a different form. The older men in most churches tend to be solid in their faith and not wavering in their faith. Yes, they’re stubborn but that’s not always a bad thing, especially when dealing with sound Biblical doctrine. In fact, our churches need more men who are steadfast in their beliefs.

Pray for the older men in your church today. Pray that they will continue to be the bedrock foundation for doctrine and sound teaching.

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The Pursuit of Sound Doctrine

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Titus 2:1

Hundreds of thousands of scholars can’t be wrong when it comes to basic Christian doctrine, can they? Of course not. The Bible is the most researched and studied book in history. Even W.C. Fields wanted to search the Bible on his death bed, and as he said, “Looking for loopholes.” Millions of others, however, seek the truth that’s in it. They believe, and rightly so, that the more truth you gain from the Bible, the more you can know God. Unfortunately we’re not able to understand our own motives and actions, and we know ourselves better than anyone. Of course, knowing God is a lifetime pursuit and we’ll never even get a tiny grasp on the nature and ways of God. Even so, He is worth pursuing, because as Michael Card once wrote, “there’s joy in the journey.”

Today’s the day to enjoy the journey. Tomorrow will be too, but today we can pursue God as if there is no tomorrow. Then if tomorrow comes around, we can pursue Him again. Oh, and sound doctrine? Pursue Christ with everything you have and sound doctrine will fall into place.

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False Teachers in the Church

15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. Titus 1:15-16

Paul was still referencing the false prophets who wormed their way into the church. He had nothing good to say about them except to stay far from them. It’s the mindset of the world taken to an extreme because most of the world would never think about scamming church people. They draw a line somewhere. The false teachers don’t. In fact, they target the community of Believers. They use the same language so people will put down their guards. Their minds are corrupted. They’re dishonest and untrustworthy. But they sound real good. Some of them are still on television as televangelists.

Pastors and elders need wisdom and discernment protect their people from these false teachers. But they also need to keep in the Word of God so they can detect the insidious lies of he evil one.

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Discernment in a Confusing World

10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. Titus 1:10-14

It’s interesting that it’s not okay to let your guard down among church people because they may not as pure as the driven snow. Obviously the devil knows the truth and perverts to satisfy his end game. He’ll use people in the church to do it too.

Rumor has it that bank tellers look at real money enough they can detect a fraud as if it were completely different colored paper. We, too, should be able to detect a fraud because we know the truth, study the truth, and worship the Truth Himself. Then, when a fraud drops by, we know immediately.

Continue to pray for your church leadership. They get requests weekly from people who want to speak in their pulpits. Yes, there are a lot of great ministries who deserve our support, but there are also enough fraudulent ministries to give us pause. Pray that your church’s leadership will have great discernment when it comes to parishioners.

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