October 2 – Living Courageously – Avoid Deception

Read Proverbs 12:22 and Titus 1:15-16

“Liar, Liar, pants on fire!”

This was a chant heard many times on the school playground growing up. Someone had gotten caught in a lie.  No one likes a liar or being lied to, not even God! 

He detests it!

Many heartaches, even wars, have their origin in one kind of lie or another.  You can’t claim to love your neighbor on one hand and try to cheat and deceive them with the other.  Life is not a game of sleight-of-hand tricks.

Yet, in our society today, we have come to and even expect people in certain occupations to be lying to us. When they are not called out about their lies, they just keep on doing it.  In Proverbs 12:20, the Bible  says there is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil but joy in those who promote peace.

Deception is not just lying to cover your mistakes, it is a heart problem. How someone can look another person right in the face, knowing full well what is coming out of their mouths is a lie, comes down to who their God is. Is it Satan, the father of all lies, or Jesus the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace?

Why do people lie? 

Some do it to cover up what they have done, maybe to cover up their previous lies or to see if they can get away with something that is forbidden to them. They are forgetting we have an All-Knowing God who sees and hears everything and knows their heart better than they do! 

Others will waste their whole lives seeking fame, or fortune and will lie to some of their best friends or even loved ones to get what they want.

Words in this old hymn say it all:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,

I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause,

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame,

I’d rather be true to His holy name.

Than to be the king of a vast domain

And be held in sin’s dread sway.

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

What would you rather have: fame, fortune, power or a clean conscience so that you can be at peace with God and your fellow man?

My one principal used to always end the morning announcements with this,” Have a good day or not.  The choice is yours!”

So, I am asking you: are you going to have a good lie-free life or one filled with deceit? The choice is yours! 

For me, I’d rather have Jesus!

Pat Arnold

April 21 – Be Ready – Ready to Do Good (part 2)

Read Titus 3:1-10 

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. His wife and his mother were deaf and he was trying to find a way to communicate better with them. Chicken Soup for the Soul wrote that, when Bell invented the telephone, he called the President of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1879 to tell him. The President responded with, “Great invention, but who would ever want to use one?” Bell thought the invention of the telephone was an intrusion of his real work as a scientist and he was not ready to have a phone in his study.

In 2021 we are in the Digital Age as 95% of Americans own some type of cell phone and are ready to use it at practically all times. Most have a computer. Many people now have virtual lives as well as physical ones. Many are ready for the virtual life to project a “perfect” physical life. We are ready to have knowledge at our fingertips, thanks to smartphones, but many use it mostly for shopping and picking arguments with strangers.

“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12: 17-18

Are we ready to thoughtfully respond – not knee jerk react – to a disagreement, whether it is in person or on social media? How can we encourage others with our response? Can we demonstrate the way Jesus spoke and acted?

Some are ready for selfish ranting and venting on social media. Does this have worth?

We can respond with God’s weapons of patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. Or do you react and rant?

In Titus 3 we are told essentially to be ready to respect the people we are talking to and consider their side of the story. Maybe we don’t know their side of the story but we think we do. Avoid slander and avoid a quarrel.

“Be gentle and show true humility to everyone.”

Self-control is key. Since God has given us a new birth and new life in the Holy Spirit, we can use the ideas in verses 4-7 to respond. We can disagree with others with kindness, love, mercy, grace and confidence – for those who have been born again through Jesus Christ. This is the right thing to do all the time.

If my neighbor is upset with me for whatever reason, I need self-control, kindness and patience in my relationship with them.

Do I respond with patience or do I just react?

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

John Wesley

President Rutherford B Hayes was a successful lawyer but he was not ready for the invention of the phone.

Are you ready to respond kindly to others?

What are some ways that you can show kindness to others? Is there a wrong that you need to make right?

Tom Weckesser

December 7 – The Beatitudes – “Blessed are the gentle…”

Read Titus 3:2 and Proverbs 15:1

For those of you who don’t know, I went to Wooster Christian School from Pre-K through 6th grade. My church and school were the same building and I grew up a pastor’s kid as well so, you could say, I grew up a little sheltered. WCS just went through 8th grade and my parents thought it was best that I experience public middle school before just jumping into public school as a freshman.

August of 2005 rolled around and tall, lanky Jake graced the halls of a local Jr High for his first day of public school. I knew one person in that whole building and they didn’t even share my homeroom. As I encountered people, I quickly began hearing words that I was told never to utter. Things were talked about that I never would have thought to talk about. I decided to play a sport that I had never played organizationally and soon found out that public and private schools handled sports VERY differently.

I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

Mom and Dad raised us kids to be gentle and in such a not gentle environment, I was made to wonder if gentleness was a bad quality. However, I came to understand it as a biblical characteristic.

Our readings today talk about the value of being gentle as a good way to diffuse a situation and keeping good accounts with people. Sure, there were times where I failed at this but I came to realize that, just because I wasn’t a freak of nature that would sacrifice my body for a sport and didn’t talk the way others did, didn’t mean that I was anything less than the man God was forming me into.

I am particularly drawn to the Titus passage and the word “all” that is present. I have begun to see that word for what it is…a 100% word. When “all” is used, we aren’t talking about a group of people but ALL people. When Paul tells Titus to remind the people to show consideration to all people, he is talking about every individual they encounter…not just the ones that are easy to love.

Gentleness may not be the first word people would use to describe you but, in the same breath, are you, as Paul states, peaceable, gentle and showing consideration for ALL people?

How you respond to people and how you treat them will go a long way to setting yourself apart as holy. During my 6 years at this school, I took it upon myself to, the best of my ability, stand apart as different while being gentle to all people. I thank God for the ministry He gave me those years and even beyond.

I pray that all of us can practice gentleness…even if it’s not the most popular thing to do.

Jake Lawson

October 27 – The 2020 Election – You Will be Remembered

Day 3: You Will be Remembered

“Be remembered for your love for people not your opinions of people” – David Nassar

You have a role to play in our democratic republic government in our country.  As citizens we are gifted with the voice of our vote.  Our role in society isn’t political as much as it is personal.  Voting on issues that help better our neighbor, our community, and our nation is vital.  We must be advocates for the less fortunate and voices for the voiceless and hurting all around us.  Your vote is a part of your role. Roll up your sleeves, be willing to walk into the messy stuff, and get involved in serving to make your neighborhood great.  You will be remembered.  Will it be for your opinions of people or your love for people?

Scriptures: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” – Titus 3:1-2

In what what way can I make my neighborhood better?

Prayer: God, let me use my voice in my vote to do good for my community.  May I see the day I vote as one of many that I choose to do good and show courtesy toward others. In Jesus name, Amen.

Nick Cleveland

July 8 – United: Country – Titus 3

Read Titus 3:1-15

I often think of good works of my Grandma Smith. Having been raised in a single parent home after my father died when I was only in 3rd grade, I spent many hours in my grandmother’s care. She would watch me after school and over the summer when my mom was working. She was a woman of few words, but it was her actions that spoke the loudest to me. Time and time again she opened her house to us when mom was struggling financially. Yet, I don’t remember her ever getting mad at me no matter how many times I raced through her clean house or the freshly laundered sheets hanging on the clothes line in the back yard.   I do remember her literally piling us and all our friends one on top of another in her old car (this was before seat belts) to make sure we went to Bible School each year. Why? Why was that so important to her?  If the church doors were open, she was there making mincemeat, helping with rummage sales or any other project. I don’t know about her spiritual journey, conversion or why she was compelled to service. I really wish I did.

But I have an idea.

Grandma’s life hadn’t been easy. She had had 2 marriages. Her first husband had deserted her and her second husband (my grandpa)  had been a violent alcoholic.  She had to basically raise 9 kids on her own.  She finally divorced my grandpa but then remarried him a few years later, and they stayed married until his death several years later. That forgiveness story is lost with time but it must have been an interesting one! Is that why she dedicated her life to serving people and her church?

Another hint to the answer is also one of my fondest memories of Grandma’s house.  It was her giant family Bible that she read from every morning. It was huge and was always lying open on her dining room table. I was just little and couldn’t read it myself, but I knew what was written in it from watching Grandma.  She put those words that I couldn’t read into action!

Her service model has been handed down through generation after generation. All of her own children, grandchildren and even most of her great, great grandchildren are involved in their own churches or some kind of ministry. She would be humbly proud of them.

What will your family, friends and neighbors remember about you? What does your love for the Lord look like in action? Will they see that love through their memories of your actions? Will they replicate it in serving others as well?

Patricia Arnold

 

May 14 – When I Get Out – Days of Opportunity

Read Titus 3:1-15

How many times in your life have you made confident statements of what you have planned and put them on the calendar without a second thought? Here are a few of mine.

  • I am flying to Oklahoma to see the grand kids!
  • I am having a family meal with my in-laws this weekend!
  • I am going to a Bible study at church next week!

None of these seem like a challenge to say or achieve, but that all changed didn’t it?  I’ve heard the phrase “new reality” used quite a bit. In this “new reality,” I have experienced moments of sadness and joy. Ultimately, I have recognized my lack of control.  That is the main thing for me.  I have less and less control. And you know what? I sure needed it.

In my world of freedoms and whimsical choices I have been re-awakened to the reality of how temporal this earthly life is. My conversations with family and others as I go about the neighborhood, using social distancing of course, have so much more meaning and my conversations have been laser-focused.

I ask questions and take time to hear answers. “How are you? How is your family? Do you need anything?” The response has been authentic and has encouraged neighbors to pop over and share with us or ask questions.  Questions or statements have been about church, and faith and God purposes and what is going on in their homes and how they are really doing!  The weather is rarely a topic and I don’t really care if I am still in my sweats and haven’t brushed my hair when I see them. I am just SO HAPPY and THANKFUL to see them and serve them as I am able.

I enjoy simplicity and beautiful things.  I believe what I have shared is just that for me.  I am thankful to my Heavenly Father who prompts my heart with His Word and asks me to worship Him in each situation of my life.

I have read the book of Titus repeatedly over these last few weeks. Ponder these truths as Christ followers so we can live them out and share the hope and peace of Jesus Christ during theses days of opportunity.

Titus 3:5-6 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us; through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

Because of this relationship with Jesus Christ, we can, with excitement and perseverance, live out Titus 3:14 as a church.  “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.”

When I get out, I desire to have been a fruit bearer for my Heavenly Father! Join me!

Celeste Kern