Judges 1:1-18 – Victory With God

Read Judges 1:1-18

people figures with arms raised high

I love starting to read a new book. Especially in the Old Testament, it’s helpful for me to put what I’m reading into context so I can understand God’s story even better. Judges picks up right where Joshua leaves off in the lives of the Israelites. Joshua’s strong leadership will be remembered, but memories will soon fade. We’ll see how the Israelites have a hard time staying true to their God in the absence of strong spiritual leadership. Unfortunately, there was no obvious successor, like Joshua had been following the days of Moses.

We’ll see a definite pattern emerge that will play over and over during the years of the Judges. You might even say this type of behavior continues in some fashion even today. We’ll meet new Bible heroes up close, seeing how God chooses some with questionable qualifications! God sees the heart and always knows what he is doing.

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1 Thessalonians 5:11-12 – Kudos to Leaders

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

leader pointing the way as all of the rest of the figures follow carrying an arrow pointing in the same direction

Yes, “kudos” is a real word! It’s a noun meaning praise, honor, or acclaim for an achievement of some sort. To be one of God’s workers should be more than an achievement but a way of life. It’s good to remember that when Paul wrote these words, the “church” was in its infancy. The hierarchy of leadership we see today is quite different from what it was then.

I can only imagine that everyone touched by the Holy Spirit played some sort of role in growing the church. Paul has some truly profound final words as he closes this letter. I don’t want to rush past them. Instead, let’s take a look at these two verses and really dig into the message Paul is trying to convey.

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Titus 2:1-15 – Live Like This

Read Titus 2:1-15

Godly Living (words on yellow)

If you ever wanted to know what God expects from us in terms of how to live, Paul reveals a bit of that to Titus in this reading. Guys and gals, old and young, even slaves have some good stuff to take away. I was just a little stunned when I realized that slaves got extra. After all, they are also going to fit into one of the gender categories as well, right? Being we don’t have “slaves” commonly today is probably what caught my attention, too.

Paul is covering all the bases to protect all people. There’s some good stuff here. Now that I’m seeing myself in the “older women” category, I’m especially touched by the notion of showing my younger counterparts how to love and honor their husbands and families. It’s basically a nice way of saying, “set a good example, one others can learn from and model.”

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Titus 1:5-16 – Here’s Your Assignment

Read Titus 1:5-16

follow the leader

Have you ever been overwhelmed, unsure of what you should be doing? Maybe it was for a task as simple as changing a lightbulb. If you’ve never done it before, it might seem like a daunting task. I’m guessing Titus was a little in over his head in Crete. He and Paul had been together in Crete initially setting up churches. Despite the fact that Paul had appointed elders in some of those churches, those elders needed to be led.

If you’ve ever been involved with a new church plant, you know there is a ton of work that goes into it. Raising up faithful leaders is one of the key parts necessary to having a healthy church community. Paul reminds Titus here what qualities to look for in elders and church leaders. I wasn’t clear whether or not we were talking about two different levels of leadership or not. Either way, church leadership should be carefully chosen and live according to these standards.

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2 Corinthians 8:16-24 – Glorify the Lord

Read 2 Corinthians 8:16-24

Paul introduces us in this passage to Titus and has many nice things to say about him. Titus will have some companions, too, but they remain unnamed here. It seems like Paul is going out of his way to show his support and acceptance, presumably to give the Corinthians the same level of trust. After all, Titus and his travel mates will be the ones carrying the donations back to Jerusalem.

Having been a church leader for many years, I know the scrutiny we endure. There is a lot of pressure to be above reproach. Why is that? For some, it is to make sure nobody can accuse you of doing something shady. We’ve all seen the scandals of church leaders who have been caught in their sin, exposed, ridiculed, and thrown out of their roles. Being we’re all sinful, it can be hard to live up to the expectations put on a church leader to somehow be less sinful. How can it be less daunting?

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