In today's Proverbs readings the material blessings enjoyed by families should be pursued by prudent and diligent work done honestly. God blesses such labor and uses it to provide for the needs of His people. We should be careful not to forget that it is God who provides us with all that we need to support our body and life. Likewise, we must never resort to wickedness or dishonesty in an attempt to secure a better profit for ourselves. The righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus not only delivers from death, but it also ensures that our heavenly Father will provide us with everything we need. The words we speak can be either a source of life and comfort, edifying those around us, or a source of strife and wickedness, stirring up hatred and division. Always choose your words prudently, being careful never to speak gossip, lies, or slander about another person. Defend those whose reputation is under assault and forgive those who sin against you. Jesus was a victim of false accusations; the blood He shed on the cross covers all of our offenses. Both the righteous and the wicked face tempests and challenges. Yet the righteous, who travel the way of the Lord and who live in the fear of the Lord, are blessed with stability, joy, and the promise of everlasting life. The Lord is you hope, health, stronghold, and way.
Proverbs teaches the wisdom of living by righteousness as taught by the Lord. Worldly logic tells us that we become wealthy by hoarding what we have. But God's Word tells us that true riches come to those who give generously. We should always return a portion of our income to the service of God (who gives us all things) and support our neighbors according tot heir need. After all, this is God's wonderful way of dealing with His children. He has generously given us all that we need, including the life of His one and only Son for our salvation.
Paul opens his Letter to Titus and the churches on Crete with a greeting that asserts his authority, recaps God's plan for salvation, and notes his personal bond with Titus. Most of his greeting revolves around the Gospel, because this is so central to Paul's life that he can hardly speak (or write) without mentioning it. God saves us from sin and condemnation and makes us fit for His kingdom. The only logical response to such love, grace, and generosity is, like Paul, to overflow with His praises and share this joyous news with others. Through Jesus Christ, the Father rescues us from our shortcomings yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Step by step, Paul outlines the requirements for those who wish to lead as stewards of God's Church. Then he turns his focus to the false teachers, who do not measure up in understanding or teaching the truth, in their corrosive behavior, or in their motives. As living, active members of God's Church, potential leaders should aspire to know and understand His truth and to serve in the roles He provides. They and their families need to live a godly life that avoids empty talk, deceit, and any teaching that turns away from God's truth. Purity is a tall order, though, and we cannot make ourselves pure. Yet God steps into our lives and purifies us by His Gospel. Thank God that through Jesus Christ, He makes us pure and leads us through His trustworthy Word!
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Proverbs 13-15; Titus 2