GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11 Bible Reading: Titus Chapters 1-3

True SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP involves PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY: “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you-- if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” (Titus 1:5-9)

Titus was a Greek-speaking Gentile who came to the Christian faith through Apostle Paul and worked with him as a traveling companion and coworker in establishing churches throughout the Roman world. He was both dependable and diligent, so Paul left him on the island of Crete to bring order to the church there and establish spiritual leadership (v. 5). The full scope of Paul’s assignment to Titus included both developing spiritual leaders who could be trusted and are personally accountable (1:6–9), and training believers to pursue changed lifestyles reflecting integrity, control, and purity (2:1–15). History reveals that Titus fulfilled his assignment very well and in due course of time he became the first bishop of Crete!

Titus’s first step toward completing his task was to appoint elders in every city of Crete to oversee and teach in the churches (see Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 5:17). The Greek words for elder and bishop (literally, overseer) seem to have been used interchangeably by Paul (v. 7). Elder perhaps speaks more of the office and its authority, while bishop may speak more of the person’s function and the ministry of oversight (see Acts 20:17). In the New Testament, there are four major texts dealing with their qualifications: Titus 1:5–7; Acts 20:28–35; 1 Tim. 3:1–7; 1 Pet. 5:1–4. They are mature Christian men of character and integrity who provide spiritual leadership in a local assembly as they guide the believers through their instruction, exhortation, encouragement, rebuke, and correction.

Apostle Paul has categorized seventeen qualifications for a spiritual leader in three areas: family life (v. 6), personal life (vv. 7, 8), and doctrinal beliefs (v. 9) as detailed below:
  • The first three are social and domestic qualifications catering to family life (v. 6) that include being blameless, being a faithful husband, and having children under control and well-trained in God’s Word.
  • Then Paul divides the personal qualifications into two groups: (a) five vices to avoid including not being self-willed, quick-tempered, not given to wine, not being violent, not being greedy for money (v. 7); and (b) seven virtues to adopt including being hospitable, loving good only, being sober-minded, being just with others, being holy before God, being self-controlled and being sound in the faith (vv. 8–9).
  • Finally, there are three doctrinal qualifications to adhere including holding tenaciously to the fundamental scriptural doctrines taught by the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles, so that he will be able to give the saints a balanced diet of sound doctrine, and also silence those who speak against the truth (1:9).
Let us understand that any Christian spiritual leader (whether Elder, Bishop or Pastor) should involve other qualified persons to help him oversee the people of God. The primary role of the Christian leader is teaching and mentoring, and he should instruct people in godly living. He should guard believers from false teachers and deceivers who twist God’s Word to meet their needs. Finally, the leader’s teaching should be reflected first through his own life so that believers should be able to follow his example just like Paul who said: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). It is obvious that true spiritual leadership involves personal accountability!

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