February was a very busy month around our home. Our newest addition was due to be born sometime during February, but we had three different due dates. We were kind of unsure when she’d be here. And she arrived before any of them!
I am pleased to state that my newest daughter, Mercy Dawn, was born healthy and strong on the twelfth of the month. She had a bit of a breathing issue right off the bat, but that has smoothed out and everything is good, for both baby and mom.
I’m not getting much sleep however.
Along with that, the past month has been pretty busy across the board. Several snow days kept the kids at home and the foyer wet. A special speaker and new series at church kept the research side of my ministry hopping.
And I tried, through it all, to maintain a steady schedule of writing. I did, though, skip the entire weekend that Mercy Dawn was born. And even though that drove me completely nuts, it is alright. I know that.
Looking forward into the coming weeks, the spring is shaping up to be pretty busy as well. We are interviewing for a new staff member, have a men’s retreat in a couple of weeks, and a major week-long event just after Easter. Things will be crazy for a while.
Two months into the new year already! That hardly seems possible. Snow and cold temps here to boot. That means we are staying indoors as much as possible. If you’re snowbound too, here are some great links to peruse with a cup of hot coffee.
Iced Mint Mocha Recipe – Since it is so cold outside, this may not be the best thing to try right now. But turn up the heat, pretend it’s summer, and enjoy one of these cool drinks.
Darth Vader Reimagined – Someone has a lot of creative talent. And a lot of these images are downright awesome!
Gigapixels Of Andromeda – The heavens declare the glory of God! This brief video shows some of the highest resolution photos of our closest galactic neighbor.
Paul gives Titus one last instruction in the first verse of this passage. He states that “Our people too must learn to devote themselves…”
This untranslated “too” ties this statement directly to the one before it where Paul tells Titus to help meet the needs of Zenas and Apollos. The believers on Crete, as well as you and I, must learn to meet the needs of others and do good works. This is not simply limited to the two men who brought Paul’s letter to Crete, but should be a way of life for all believers, meeting the needs of those around them.
Paul expands this though by giving two purposes for these good works.
They help provide for daily necessities
These are the things that we need each day to function. The idea behind this phrase means pressing needs or urgent necessities. In classical Greek, the idea is that of the necessary things of life. This would include things like food, clothing and shelter, but wouldn’t necessarily be limited to that. Indispensable wants would also be included in this idea as well.
They help us to not live unproductive lives
When we see and grasp each opportunity to do good works, we become fruitful. Paul encourages Titus to teach the believers on Crete to learn to seize these opportunities as they occur. Producing fruit is an indicator of our faith. If we do not display fruit, we show that we are not growing, and in John 15, Jesus warns that the unproductive branches will be pruned.
Anyone who wants to go to heaven must first go to the cross.
Occasionally, I really enjoy a good novel. And one of my favorite genres is the suspense or thriller genre. When I read fiction, it usually falls into this category.
Recently, I was able to pick up a copy of the third book in Terri Blackstock’s Cape Refuge series. Since I hadn’t read the first two books, I was hesitant to begin it, not knowing how much I had missed in the previous stories. So I did a bit of searching, and found a copy of the first two novels in the series in one volume.
After reading the first book, I was hooked. I devoured books one and two in three evenings, and then began to read River’s Edge.
This series is a pretty fun series to read, and the third installment is no different. These stories are about two sisters who live on a barrier island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Their tiny island is rocked by the murder of their parents in the first book.
While they struggle to make sense of their new reality, plus run a halfway house that helps people get back on their feet, the island is faced with new tragedies in the second and third books. Solving the crimes is only part of the story plot. These sisters are also searching for the hand of God in the midst of personal and community devastation.
Sometimes the hardest time to move forward is when things are going great. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but it is definitely true. Sometimes it is more difficult to move forward when everything is going well than it is when you face tough circumstances.
When times are tough, you have to make choices. You have to implement change. You have to take steps just to get through to the other side of the rough circumstances. You have to move. Everything depends on it.
But when things are going well, it is much harder to take steps that will get you to the next level. Our mentality is, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” And that’s a shame, because times like these are the perfect times to take strides to build yourself, or your church, or your business, to even greater things.
When things are going well, it isn’t time to relax and take a break. No, it’s time to move ahead with excitement and energy.
That is where we are as a church right now. Last year, we faced a pretty tough set of circumstances with some back taxes that had been neglected. On top of that we owed a balance on a couple of properties that the church had bought. We were making it, but God had greater things in store for us, and incredible lessons to learn.
One of my favorite authors is Timothy Keller. And one of my favorite Bible Study series is the For You series from The Good Book Company.
So when I found that a new installment in this series was being released, I grabbed a copy as quickly as I could. This particular volume is the second half of the book of Romans, finishing what Romans 1-7 For You began.
As usual, Keller takes Scripture and brings it to a very understandable level. It doesn’t matter how familiar you may or may not be with Paul’s letter to the Romans, Timothy Keller can help you glean several gold nuggets of knowledge from each chapter that will deepen your walk with Christ.
Romans is one of Paul’s longer and deeper letters. It’s one of those books in the Bible that you have to read very carefully, or else you’ll miss something. And the chances are good that you’ll miss something anyway. Having a resource nearby, such as a commentary or a Bible study like this one, is incredible beneficial.
I have several commentaries on my shelf on the book of Romans for this very reason. Two of my favorites are the College Press commentary on Romans, by Jack Cottrell, and the IVP commentary by Leon Morris. Both of these have helped me immensely as I strive to understand Romans. But this second volume by Timothy Keller, paired with the first half, may just be my favorite go-to resource for Romans.