August 21, Wednesday

Today’s devotional is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on May 7, 2014.  She continues to serve the Lord faithfully in E. Asia.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“You Would Be Like the Cretans If You Lived There”

Titus 1:12-14

“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.” 

The island of Crete.  After looking at some photos, all I can say is that if I lived there, I could see myself becoming, if not a liar or evil brute, perhaps at least a lazy glutton.  The photos remind me of a tropical island I once lived on for a year. It was said that throughout history, foreigners who had tried to colonize this island had had the hardest time getting the people to work, reason being that the people had never needed to work to survive.  The soil on the land was so fertile that it didn’t need to be worked. Fruit trees grew on it, and when the fruit ripened and fell to the ground, the seeds would get embedded in the soil, rain would fall, and a new tree would sprout in that place.

Interestingly enough, though, this island also had one of the highest suicide rates in the world.  The weather on the island was also beautiful, but each day was the same as the day before, which would be the same as the day after.  It sounds like paradise, but it was almost as if they were literally dying of boredom. In having nothing to work for, the people had no purpose in living.

Liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.  “So stay as far away from them as possible,” or, “So don’t expect too much from them.”  These are some things Paul could have said. Yet when Paul was able to see what the Cretans were like, agreeing with their prophet, saying, “Yes, this is true,” instead of using his discernment to judge, criticize or put them down, he uses it to advise Titus as to the best way to help them.  Paul knows that because of their natures, they will need to be rebuked sharply, but he has hope for and believes that they can change. He desires for them to be firmly grounded in their faith. Perhaps he was also able to see something more to their story that he doesn’t mention here, seeing them through God’s eyes, with a heart of compassion.

Prayer: Lord, how great is your love.  You see the people of this world, with all their flaws, and you respond in love.  If I see the weaknesses of others today, would you help me not to judge but rather have your heart of compassion?  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 11


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Corinthians 12:7-31, 13:2,8: “[12:7] Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit . . . 10 . . . to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits . . . 31 . . . And yet I will show you the most excellent way . . . [13:2] If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing . . . 8 Love never fails.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What do the following spiritual gifts have in common: message of wisdom / knowledge, prophecy, discernment (vv. 7-8, 10)?
  2. In what manner were the people to exercise their gifts (v. 31, v. 13:2, 8)? Why do you think this would have been particularly important for people who exercised the gifts mentioned above?  
  3. What should we be careful about when God reveals things to us?

Notes

  1. They all have to do with revelation; something that was hidden that is revealed to someone supernaturally by God.
  2. In love.  When hidden things are revealed, sometimes those things that were hidden were hidden for a reason – whether because the topic is sensitive, embarrassing or could be misunderstood.  Because of this, love is required to handle these kinds of revelations in the way God intended.
  3. Having insight into situations or the characters of people, including weaknesses, is a gift.  Knowing what to do with one’s insights requires incredible wisdom and love. The good news is, the wisdom and love of God himself are available to all who ask him (James 1:5).  So let us ask and receive.

Evening Reflection

Did God reveal anything today to me about others and the situations they may be in?  Do I need to intercede in prayer? Any action I need to take? Let’s ask the Lord for wisdom and love to handle such revelations well.

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