Who do we know who needs to be remembered by us today? Is there someone we could bless by sending a quick text message, a Facebook comment, an email, a card or even a handwritten letter? Encouraging one another is a way we impart godly love and blessings. All who are with me wish to be remembered to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace (God’s favor and blessing) be with you all. Amen (so be it). What a great way to end a good letter! Titus, a new pastor in Crete, was certainly blessed when he read Paul’s pastoral advice and it gives us solid counsel today. Titus was glad that he was not forgotten as he served God in a faraway place.
In 1996, when our family first arrived in China, we communicated our prayer requests in handwritten letters mailed to those whom we loved. I would bike across the city to the post office where stamps were stuck on envelopes using a chopstick and brown goo. My letters were cryptic since we never knew if they would be opened and read before they left the communist country. Communication forms sure have changed since those days and how much more so since the time of Paul! With the help of technology, correspondence happens instantaneously to and from almost anywhere in the world. Prayer needs as well as praises for God’s answers can be communicated without long delays. Then all who partner in sharing God’s love and growing His Kingdom can together give the credit to Him, praising God for His grace. Let’s continue to stir one another along with love and by good works, blessing as we go.
Titus 3:15 AMP
Titus was living in Crete and could use some encouragement and a strategic planning seminar so Paul wrote a letter to him. Titus needed reminding (don’t we all from time to time?) of what “blessed hope” is especially when he faced challenging tasks. For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. It takes discipline to say “no” to things that do not bring about lasting goodness, and say “yes” to Jesus who is our strength and our model for upright living. He is our Blessed Hope and He is returning!
As we anticipate Jesus’ glorious appearing, we are encouraged to live redeemed lives with action and purpose, which grow both our joy and our freedom. Disappointment and frustration is a part of life, yet anger, bitterness or other unhealthy coping mechanisms are not a good way forward. Let’s aim to use setbacks as an opportunity to go to God and depend more fully on Him for our needs. We are people who Jesus wants to purify. How eager are we to submit to this purification process?
Before beginning rewrites today I was praying, more like grumbling, to God about my immobility. It has been over fifty days (I’m trying to make the days count rather than just counting days) since the bicycle accident that has left me unable to walk and there’s no projected walking date set. God knows that my desire is to depend fully on Him, and He also knows that a lot of my life has been lived in self-reliant ways. During my recovery He is showing me afresh His good, faithful, fulfilling love through His Presence, His Story and through a whole lot of people He has used to bless me. Will I accept His purifying lessons and fully trust Him? Waiting does not come naturally for me, and I do not think I’m the only one that struggles with this. God says we are to wait upon Him, He is the One who renews, restores, redeems and purifies. What is the next good step we can take today as we embrace our Blessed Hope? His grace is for us.
P.S. Four months went by from my biking accident to the beginning of physical therapy when I began to apply weight to my right ankle. God did restore me and I am again walking, biking, and even somewhat running! And the lessons I learned about God’s grace and waiting for His blessed hope inspire me yet today.
Titus 2:11-14 NIV