Did You Know?

Twenty men and no women have been

executed in the United States in 2017.

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of September 10-16, 2017, is Titus 2:1-10.  The book of Titus was a letter sent by Paul to the church of Crete, through Titus.  The church in Crete was composed of mostly Gentiles and Paul’s letter addresses many issues, including how those within the church are to act.  Paul’s instructions can continued to be applied today.

 

But [as for] you, teach what is fitting and becoming to sound (wholesome) doctrine [the character and right living that identify true Christians]. Urge the older men to be temperate, venerable (serious), sensible, self-controlled, and sound in the faith, in the love, and in the steadfastness and patience [of Christ]. Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, so that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited). In a similar way, urge the younger men to be self-restrained and to behave prudently [taking life seriously]. And show your own self in all respects to be a pattern and a model of good deeds and works, teaching what is unadulterated, showing gravity [having the strictest regard for truth and purity of motive], with dignity and seriousness. And let your instruction be sound and fit and wise and wholesome, vigorous and irrefutable and above censure, so that the opponent may be put to shame, finding nothing discrediting or evil to say about us. [Tell] bond servants to be submissive to their masters, to be pleasing and give satisfaction in every way. [Warn them] not to talk back or contradict, nor to steal by taking things of small value, but to prove themselves truly loyal and entirely reliable and faithful throughout, so that in everything they may be an ornament and do credit to the teaching [which is] from and about God our Savior.  (Titus 2:1-10, AMP)

 

There are many who would take issue with this passage, claiming that it is demeaning to women and gives all power to men only.  But is that really what this passage is saying?  This passage assigns responsibility to both men and women.  The instructions laid out by Paul are different for men and women, yet the different teachings also compliment each other, just as men and women should complement each other.  Paul’s instructions also acknowledge that men and women learn in different ways and have different issues that need to be addressed.  What is the ultimate goals of the teachings advocated by Paul?  To live a life, and raise up children, in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, determine which group described by Paul with which you most closely identify.  Then carefully read and re-read Paul’s instructions for that group.  How do you measure up?  Where can you begin the changes to your life today?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of September 3-9, 2017, is John 13:3-15.  This was Jesus’ final night with His disciples before He was to by handed over and executed.  Even then, He still had lessons to teach His disciples.

 

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him,“The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.  (John 13:3-15, ESV)

 

What chore do you absolutely despise doing?  Cleaning the toilet?  Bathing the dog?  Washing dishes?  Pick your own!  Now, would you perform this task for the man who you knew was going to lead to your death in a few hours?  Cleaning the feet of guests was a task given to a low-ranking servant.  Feet were sweaty, stinky, and caked in dirt and dust from walking.  Much like the chore you despise, it was not a task anyone normally wanted to perform.  But Jesus did.  He wanted to wash the feet of His disciples.  Through this act, Jesus showed His love for the disciples and set the example they were to follow when He had returned to heaven.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, ask yourself how can you follow the example set by Jesus?  What actions are you going to take this week to follow Jesus’ example?

The Bible passage for mediation, prayer, and reflection for the week of August 27-September 2, 2017, is Proverbs 20:11.  Proverbs, of which most of the book is attributed to King Solomon who was renowned for his wisdom, encourages individuals to know right from wrong, moral for immoral.  It is filled with warnings against being dishonest and unwise.  In this week’s verse, children are also warned to be aware of their actions.

 

Even a child is known by his acts, whether [or not] what he does is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11, AMP)

  

“Kids these days,” says a white-haired man sitting on a park bench shaking his head.  “Am I right?” he asks with a small grin, remembering back to the days of his youth, knowing he never behaved the way he now observed children behaving.  As adults, we all know that our actions are often being judged by someone, somewhere.  Children and their actions are also being judged.  It is a parents’ responsibility to set a good example for their children.  And if you don't have children?  It is still your responsibility to set a good example!  You never know when you are being observed, who is watching, and who is learning from your actions.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider the example you set.  What can you do to set a good example?  Is there someone with whom you can share this verse?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of August 20-26, 2017, is Psalm 100:1-5.  The author of this psalm is unknown, but it is easy to understand the emotion and joy the writer of this psalm felt.

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!  Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!  Know that the Lord, he is God!  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to him; bless his name!  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.  (Psalm 100:1-5, ESV)

 

What do you focus on in your life?  The good or the bad?  Do you beat yourself up for the small mistakes?  Do you remember the things that went wrong?  Are you constantly praying for solutions to your problems?  Good!  Keep praying!  But do you also remember to give God the credit for the good things in your life?  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s passage, take some time everyday to celebrate God for the good in you life!  What can you praise Him for today?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of August 13-19, 2017, is John 5:19-24.  These are Jesus’ own words; denying His detractors and claiming equality with His Father!  Oh!  What comfort we can take in this passage!

 

So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn].  The Father dearly loves the Son and discloses to (shows) Him everything that He Himself does. And He will disclose to Him (let Him see) greater things yet than these, so that you may marvel and be full of wonder and astonishment.  Just as the Father raises up the dead and gives them life [makes them live on], even so the Son also gives life to whomever He wills and is pleased to give it.  Even the Father judges no one, for He has given all judgment (the last judgment and the whole business of judging) entirely into the hands of the Son, so that all men may give honor (reverence, homage) to the Son just as they give honor to the Father. [In fact] whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, Who has sent Him.  I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life.  (John 5:19-24, AMP)

 

At times, it can almost seem as if Jesus is being vague with His true identity.  Here He is not.  In this passage He fully admits who He is - the Son of God, equal to His Father!  Of course, one must be willing to hear the message to understand it!  Finally, Jesus speaks of salvation and how to obtain it.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, let it fill you with warmth and joy!  What does this passage mean to you?  How does it affect you?

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