Tuesday, September 30, 2014

10-1 Forty Days of Fellowship Day 4

10/1- Wednesday- Matthew 23:8- "Don't let anyone call you 'Rabbi,' for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. (NLT)

Bonhoeffer: “Only he who gives thanks for little things receives big things.”

Thoughts: To join a fellowship is to humble yourself.  We do not come to church to be honored.  The natural pull of humans is to seek human acclaim, approval, and greatness.  But to be great in God’s kingdom we must learn to serve.  Worship is a service to God.  It is giving our time and attention to Him, acknowledging that we need more of Him in our lives.  The beautiful thing about the early church, and the beautiful thing about church in general is that we are all equal.  In the early church there were people of tremendous wealth from Caesar’s household, and next to them slaves who had nothing.  But they were all one in Christ.  All we have is a gift from God to be received with thanksgiving.  The fellowship is a place to join together in thanksgiving to our Lord who provides life and teaches us to love each other as brothers and sisters- irrespective of worldly status.  Death is said to be the great equalizer, but the real equalizer is the God who made us.  This God joins us as brothers and sisters to each other- binding us with the tie of love that binds us to God and to each other.  


Prayer: Lord, as I see how great you are, I am reminded of my own smallness and need for others.  Let me live a life seeking thanksgiving instead of self-praise. 


Monday, September 29, 2014

40 Days day 3 Malachi 3:16

9/30- Tuesday- Malachi 3:16- Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

Bonhoeffer: “It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s Word and sacrament.”

Thoughts: When we talk together, the Lord listens.  This is the beauty of the fellowship: where two or three gather, there He is. Jesus said if we agree on earth it will be done by my Father in heaven (Mt. 18:18-20).  God does not want us alone in silence all the time- with a TV, computer, IPAD, tablet, or cell phone. These are helpful tools, but they can never take the place of fellowship.  These are like eating fellowship junk food.  Junk food may help you in a crunch but it can never replace a nutritious meal.  Seek a small group where you can talk together- it may be choir, or working at GOoDWorks, or a committee, or a circle, Bible study, or Sunday School.  Be in a place where you can share and hear- and God will be there too.


Prayer: Lord, thank you that you listen and hear us.  Thank you for your love and the promises of care for us.  

Kickoff Celebration LMPC Sunday night


9/29- 40 DAYS DAY 2- Ps. 119:63

9/29- Monday- Psalm 119:63 I am united with all who fear you, and with everyone who keeps your precepts. (ISV)

Bonhoeffer Quote: “Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ.  No Christian community is more or less than this.” 

Thoughts: There is a “tie that binds” in love with God.  It is like a triangle with God at the top and us at the bottom.  The closer we get to God the closer we get to each other.  When we are on the same path together, there is fellowship.  Fellowship is a way.  It is a way of faith and it is a way of living.  If we took Jesus Christ out of our church, we would not just have a missing ingredient- we would wither on the vine.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  But it is this respect for God and His Word that brings a common focus in the fellowship. Jesus Christ creates the church, and He sustains it.  He gives us faith and He calls us to unite together in respect and honor of Him.  The English “worship” comes from the old English “worthy-ship.”  He is worthy of our respect and listening. 

Prayer: In the busy-ness of life, help me to respect you above myself.  Give me listening ears.






Sunday, September 28, 2014

9/28/14 Life Together: Forty Days of Fellowship Day 1

For the next forty days, the theme of this devotional on faith, hope, and love will be on Fellowship.  We will as always have scripture, thought, and prayer but add a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book, "Life Together."  


FORTY DAYS OF FELLOWSHIP IN THE FALL- LIFE TOGETHER  9/28- 11/5  Theme: Hebrews 10:24,25
9/28- Unity in Community
10/5- Fellowship with Others
10/12- Fellowship with God
10/19- Fellowship as Ministry
10/26- Fellowship of Forgiveness
11/2- Kirkin of the Tartan- Communion of the Saints
***********************************
9/28- Sunday- (Theme: “UNITY IN COMMUNITY”- Read “Life Together Intro and Chapter 1)
Hebrews 10:24-25 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. 

Bonhoeffer Quote:”The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christian a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God…but if there is so much blessing and joy even in a single encounter of brother with brother, how inexhaustible are the riches that open up for those who by God’s will are privileged to live in the daily fellowship of life with other Christians!”

Thoughts: Fellowship is intended to stimulate us to do good and to love.  There are people who in church who inspire us by their quiet, steady, kind and godly ways.  There are also people who sharpen us as iron sharpens iron.  This passage is a clear call, encouragement, and imperative to not forsake gathering together.  Even in the early church, some “got out of the habit” of going and stayed in the “habit” of not going.  Just being together in worship of the Lord- no matter how bad the sermon, how off key the music, how irritating the announcement- just gathering is a huge encouragement in and of itself.   I believe this passage is indicating that when times are especially evil and dark it is that much more important to gather together. 
    Bonhoeffer in his book speaks of the need to be “face to face.”  He mentions Paul’s longing to see Timothy face to face (2 Tim. 1:4), and longing to see the face of believers in Thessalonia (1 Th. 3:10).  Clearly those restricted from worship by sickness, prison, persecution or exile long for the presence and we should not take that for granted. 


Prayer: Lord, stimulate me, encourage me to love you and neighbor more.  Call me out of myself to join others in the harmony of worship.  



Friday, September 26, 2014

9-27-14 Ephesians

1“To the angela of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Thoughts: There are some who see the seven churches as representative of seven ages in church history.  But nowhere in the text itself does it indicate that this is the way we should interpret these texts.  The seven churches are seven real locations in Asia Minor- and places that John had visited.  In some ways, these are the most practical verses of the whole book.  We can learn from the examples and mistakes of these churches in our own day.
     The church in Ephesus worked hard and persevered under persecution.  It was in Ephesus that Paul was arrested. The rioters shouted, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians- for the Temple of Artemis was one of the seven wonders of the world.  The Ephesians were also good and commended for guarding the faith and not tolerating heretics and wicked people.  Paul had warned them to "keep watch over the flock" (Acts 20:28).  However, their love and enthusiasm for Christ had grown cold.  Their call by God was to repent and do the things they did at first.  What were these things?  Acts tells us they burned millions of dollars worth of sorcery scolls and magical charms.  We are called by this passage to evaluate our love for Christ and see how it compares to our love when we first believed.  

Prayer: Lord, may my love for you be renewed and grow stronger instead of fading with time. 




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Revelation 1 9-26-14

17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angelse of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Revelation 1)

Thoughts: The key to interpreting this book is found in 1:19.  He is writing about two things- what he sees now and what will take place later.  So some of what John sees pertains to the Roman empire period, and some of it pertains to the end of the world.  It implies there are similarities between the Roman time and the time of the end.  If you stand on top of Mt. Mitchell- the highest mountain in the Appalachians, and look east on a clear day, you can see Charlotte- about 100 miles away.  It may seem that this big city is closer than it really is- and that one mountain a mile away is close to the city a hundred miles away.  Prophecy may seem to merge the near present to the far future.  At no time does this imply there is no future/predictive/supernatural element to these words of prophecy that are to be sealed up for later.  Yet there is also a present meaning for John and his colleagues. 

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to not add anything or take away anything from your Word.  Rather, Help me to listen to its present and its future.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

9-25-14 James 5

13Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5)

Thoughts: This is about the power of prayer to change things.  He begins by contrasting trouble with happiness.  Trouble should elicit a cry of help, while happiness should elicit a cry of song/praise.  Sickness should call for the church to pray together for that person- led by the leaders- the elders.  He stops to say that God can answer the prayer for healing made by faith in Him.  Sin should elicit a prayer of confession for forgiveness.  We are all called to pray for each other no matter what.  The point is that prayer combined with faith and obedience changes things.  Christians should not try to leave prayer as a last resort but should see prayer as a response to life.  We should lift up to God our lives- good and bad- through prayer.  

Prayer: Lord, cause me to pray to you- when things go well and when things go poorly.  Help me to honor you with my heart and life. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

James 4 9-24-14

13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them (James 4)

Thoughts: Many in our society are planners.  We make long range, short range, immediate plans with schedules, priorities, spreadhseets, and one notes. But in the end, God is the great planner, and we must submit our plans to fit into His overall plan.  We should say, "If it is the Lord's will" because we recognize that God's will is paramount.  Arrogance is boasting on what we hope to do as if it  were certain.  Why this is wrong is we need to be humble, always listening more than demanding; always submitting rather then telling.  The wise man listens and goes the way of God. 

Prayer: Lord, my life- my time- is in your hands.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

9/23/14 Words

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3)

Thoughts: What we say, and how we say it is important.  We all fail in the use of our tongue. No one- no one- has learned how to tame the tongue.  The tongue- our speech- is a real problem. One minute we praise God with our tongues and the next we slander or gossip about another.  The tongue should be pure but it is not- and that is because it comes right from the heart.  The heart is deceitful and so is the tongue.  Women speak an average of 20,000 words while men speak 7,000.  Our words are meant to speak the truth in love and to encourage and sharpen- not tear down or destroy others.  

Prayer: Lord, I have wronged others and you with my words.  I cannot put these words back, but you can erase the pain.  Forgive me, and help me to speak words that build others up- not tear them down.

  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

9/22/14- James 2

14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2) 

Thoughts: Some say that this passage that says "faith without action is dead" contrasts with Paul's teaching that "by grace we are saved not by works so that no one can boast."  But the two help fine tune how faith and works go together.  We are saved not because we work hard or are good- but by God's grace.  However, God's same grace enables our faith to be real by showing itself by doing good.  Paul speaks of salvation- and James speaks of evidence that the faith is real.  They compliment each other. 

Prayer: Lord, save me by your grace, but let my life bear fruit for you too.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

9/21/14- James 1

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds,3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4) 

Thoughts: Trials can make you fearful and withdraw.  Trials can harden your heart toward God and even make you angry toward Him.  Or trials can help you go deeper with God, so that you find Him to be your refuge and strength- an ever present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1,2).  Job said wisely, "When he has tested me I will come forth as gold."  When we come forth through our trials- and we will as a devastated or hardened person or as a person who has embraced faith- we will see what we are really made of.  Perseverance with God- not just enduring the problem is our goal.  The goal is to make us not to break us.  If we grow closer to God, we have become mature.  Grapes can sour and rot or they can turn into raisins or wine.  If we become mature, we have found the source of deep waters.  Mature people are not perfect in the sense of sinless.  Mature people are complete in the sense that they have found the source and hope of life.  They have been swimming in the shallow side and now they have moved to the deep side.  We are called to go deep. 

Prayer: Lord, when the tough times of life come (and they will), strengthen me and see me through with flying colors. 


Friday, September 19, 2014

3 John 9/20/14

 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Thoughts: There is a great joy in people staying in and not falling away.  When the faith continues in the next generation- with those we love- it is important.  The children were not just believing the truth, they were walking in it.  When the church is reaching the next generation, there is joy, there is hope, and a sense that we are doing what we ought to do.
     In many ways, we have failed to reach the next generation.  


Prayer: Lord, help us pass on the faith to the next generation. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2 John

2I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. (2 John)

Thoughts: In our day of social media, and cyber connectivity, it is is important to hear these words.  Paul said he longed to see Timothy and that he longed to see the face of the Thessalonians.  John knew he could write his friends, but he wanted to say more face to face.  Facebook is not face to face.  Neither is texting, emailing, twitter.  We are called to look each other in the eye.  This develops trust.  Fellowship comes when we gather together not just when we send a message. Jesus says when two or three are gathered he is there. Believers are called to listen and believe what He has said.  

Prayer: Help me, O Lord to love being with your people as much as you want me to love it.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

9/18/14- 1 John 5

13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5)

Thoughts: Faith involves confidence.  It involves a confidence that provides a foundation for life. John says that he is writing these things so that they may know and have confidence.  He writes so that they may know they have eternal life.  They do not need to wonder, or wander in a state of limbo.  It is possible to know- right now, that eternal life is ours.  How can we know this?  It is the same way we know anything.  How do we know the sun will rise tomorrow?  It is not that we went out and read all the astronomical data and mathematically figured that the sun will rise.  How do we know that our brakes will work in our car?  It is not that we pull the tires and check the brake shoes before we go anywhere.  Trust and confidence come with practice and finding reliability.  We know we have eternal life because the new life- the born again life- the eternal life does not begin when we die, but begins now.  We taste the life now, and we believe we will have more of it on the other side.  Because we know God, we have confidence He hears us and answers our prayers.  How do we know this?  Not because God has to always say yes (or we think He doesn't answer them).  We know He hears us because we have a living relationship with Him.  Faith in God involves confidence.  Not having faith means not having confidence.  We should now expect those who do not have faith to have confidence that it is possible to know we can have eternal life.  We should not expect those who do not have faith to have confidence in God's ability to answer prayer. 

Prayer: Lord, I have confidence in you.  Help me to live for you and pray earnestly to you, 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

9/17/14 1 John 4

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4)

Thoughts: Love does not originate within ourselves.  It is not a chemical or simple hormonal reaction.  Real love is not just sexual love but a caring for others.  Love comes from God, and we are to imitate God by loving one another.  Love is a godly thing and shows a godly heart.  Love is shown clearly in God's sending Jesus for us- not because we deserve His coming- but out of His concern for our welfare.  When we love, we get close to God and we experience the living God.  We may not see God- but when we love as God loves us, people can see God working in and through us (Jn. 13:33,34). 

Prayer: Lord, may your love flow through me to others. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

9/16/14 I John 3

1See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,a we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3)

Thoughts: It is sheer love that overcomes our sin- that God does not disown us, but sacrifices for us that we may be adopted into His family.  What will we be like in heaven?  The answer is simple- we will be like Him- the risen Jesus.  What was He like?  He cooked and ate fish.  He allowed people to touch him or hold him, but could walk through walls.  He had the scars on his hands, but his hands were alive.
So if we really believe this- we will want to be as holy and pure as we can  We are inspired to be god-like because our hope is in God. 


Prayer: Lord, thank you for your great love that we are welcomed into your eternal family!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

9/15/14- 1 John 2

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
3We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5But if anyone obeys his word, love for Goda is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2).

Thoughts: Ideally, we can avoid sin.  But we also know that as much as we want to avoid it, we'll mess up.  Jesus speaks on our behalf and even sacrifices for us.  Whosoever will- no matter where they live in the world- can come to him.
     If we purposefully disobey him, we are trying to deceive God- which does not work; or we are trying to deceive ourselves which can work.  When we obey God, we show love for God.  Obedience doesn't happen when things are easy, but when the choice is hard.  Claims and talk is cheap.  But if we claim Jesus, we should live like Jesus.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to walk the walk, and follow in your footsteps.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

1 John 1

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make oura joy complete. (1 John 1)

Thoughts: This is similar to the passage in the Gospel of John 1:14- "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."  John* wants to make sure we know that he is not making this up- but he is an eyewitness. He has experienced "that which was from the beginning"- that is the eternal God with his eyes and touch.  There are people today who doubt that Jesus even lived- even with the testimonies of the eyewitnesses, and extra biblical sources like Josephus, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger**. In John's day there were some called "Docetists" who believed Jesus did not really come in the flesh, but was a mere spirit or phantom.  John does not call Jesus just a "life" but "the eternal life" (vs. 2).
     The point of John's writing was to welcome people into the fellowship.  The fellowship is with Jesus- and also with those who follow/believe in Jesus.  The fellowship and the joy of the fellowship is made more complete when people come into the fellowship of believers. 


Prayer: Lord, may I treasure the fellowship offered to me- the fellowship with you and those who are united with you in spirit. 

(Thomas touching Jesus' wounds after the resurrection)

*John- This letter does not claim in its text who wrote it.  However, in the early church, no other person was pointed to or claimed authorship.  Papias, Tertulliam, Origen all pointed to John the apostle as the author. 

** Here is a link to an article on the external testimonies to the existence of Jesus.
http://christianthinktank.com/jesusref.html




Friday, September 12, 2014

9/13/14- Titus 3

 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,  (Titus 3:5)

Thoughts: We think we get what we deserve.  Too many think the good folk go to heaven and the bad folk don't make it.  It is not fair that sinners get into heaven.  But this is a mistaken sense of justice that doesn't take our wrongdoing seriously.  The Bible says that our righteousness- that we think is so great is as "filthy rags."  What we think is pure is still stained.  Our motives are never perfect, our actions are never perfectly sinless.  But the good news is that our salvation does not depend on us.  If it did, we could brag about how good we were, and self-righteousness would rule the day.  But we are saved instead because of his mercy- his washing- his cleansing of us.  This happens by the power of the Holy Spirit.   The Spirit makes the salvation of Christ real to us- applying us to our life.  Grace means we do not deserve salvation.  Other religions advocate earning your way to heaven by ten commands, ten steps, seven ways or keeping some code. There is no ladder that we must climb to go into heaven.  But the way of Christ is that a sacrifice- made on the cross by the infinite God-man.  It is not that we earn, pay, work our way into heaven.  But the door has been opened by the only One who can open it- Jesus.  

Prayer:  Lord, you are merciful.  Thank you for your mercy and love.  




Thursday, September 11, 2014

9-12-14 Titus 2

3Likewise, 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. 4Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to 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.
6Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and 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) 

Thoughts: Spirituality and morality has age specific concerns.  What tempts an older woman does not tempt a young man.  Older women were told to not be slanderers or addicted.  Younger women were encouraged to control their appetites.  Titus was told to set an example of integrity and seriousness to the young men.  Temptations change with age and circumstances.  We should be slow to judge those who are tempted in different ways than us.  Yet we all should reject temptation. 

Prayer: Lord, lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

9/11/14- Leadership in the church- Titus 1

6An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believeb and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.7Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He 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. (Titus 1)

Thoughts: The writer of Titus (traditionally Paul) was trying to set standards for leaders in the church.  Leaders had higher standards than members.  It is important to set an example.  The example is in caring for the family, setting a good example of humility and self control. A leader must not waver in the faith or wander from the tradition- but is called to hold firmly to the faith as it is taught.  One of the problems in the church is that the leaders are morally lackadaisical, thinking that leadership is to be honored instead of those who serve.  

Prayer: Help me to live a strong life for you.  Bless the leader of the church who make every effort to set a good example for their flock.