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Fair Play

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Titus 2:7

When Singaporean runner Ashley Liew found himself at the head of the pack during a marathon at the Southeast Asian Games, he knew something was wrong. He quickly realized that the lead runners had taken a wrong turn and were now behind. Ashley could have taken advantage of their mistake, but a strong sense of sportsmanship told him it would not be a genuine victory. He wanted to win because he was faster—not because those ahead of him had made a mistake. Acting on his convictions, he slowed down to let them catch up.

In the end, Ashley lost the race and missed out on a medal. But he won the hearts of his countrymen—and an international award for his act of fair play. It spoke well of his faith as a Christian, and must have prompted some to ask, “What made him do that?”

Ashley’s act challenges me to share my faith through my actions. Little acts of thoughtfulness, kindness, or forgiveness can glorify God. As Paul put it simply, “Show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:7–8).

Our positive actions toward others can show the world that we are able to live differently because of the Holy Spirit’s work in us. He will give us the grace to reject ungodliness and wrong passions, and to live upright lives that point people to God (vv. 11–12).

Heavenly Father, may our behaviour today cause others to ask us why we are different. We ask that we follow Your Holy Spirit’s leading as we explain to them the hope that is in us.
Live so that others will want to know Jesus.

INSIGHT

In our passage today, Paul writes to Titus, whom he left on the island of Crete to guide the new churches they had planted there. The citizens of Crete had earned an especially bad reputation, and Paul saw fit to remind Titus of that (see Titus 1:12–13). The need for diligence in their service to the believers there was especially vital.

As Paul gave Titus directions about wise living, he highlighted God’s grace. We may tend to think of grace as giving us freedom—and it does. But God’s grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit, also instills a holy discipline in us. “It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives” (2:12). Or, as Paul phrased it in Galatians, “The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires” (5:17 nlt).

The “secret” to living the Christian life isn’t to stress over not sinning; it’s to focus on the work of God’s grace in us.

Tim Gustafson

By |2018-04-06T12:26:05-04:00April 7th, 2018|
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Anonymous Kindness

When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

When I first graduated from college, I found myself needing to adopt a strict grocery budget—twenty-five dollars a week, to be exact. One day, while entering the checkout line, I suspected the groceries I’d selected cost slightly more than my remaining money. “Just stop when we reach twenty dollars,” I told the cashier, and I was able to purchase everything I’d selected but a bag of peppers.

As I was about to drive home, a man stopped by my car. “Here’s your peppers, ma’am,” he said, handing the bag to me. Before I had time to thank him, he was already walking away.

Remembering the simple goodness of this act of kindness still warms my heart and brings to mind Jesus’s words in Matthew 6. Criticizing those who made a show of giving to the needy (v. 2), Jesus taught His disciples a different way. Instead of making giving all about them and their generosity, He urged that giving should be done so secretly it’s like their left hand isn’t even aware their right is giving (v. 3)!

As one person’s anonymous kindness reminded me, giving should never be about us. We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us (2 Corinthians 9:6–11). As we give quietly and generously, we reflect who He is—and God receives the thanksgiving only He deserves (v. 11).

Have you ever been the recipient of anonymous kindness? Share your story at Facebook.com/ourdailybreadministriescanada.
Giving quietly and generously reflects God’s generosity.

INSIGHT

Today’s article describes acts of giving motivated by humility and kindness. There is no greater example of kindness and generosity than our God. Paul wrote that God’s kindness was at the heart of our rescue: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4–5). Peter challenged to spiritual growth those who had “tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:3 NASB). And Paul wrote to the Romans: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NASB). Paul made it clear that God’s kindness is behind the call to repent—to change our minds about our sin and our need of God’s forgiveness. When we are generous to others, we model the generosity and kindness our loving God has shown to us.

Bill Crowder

By |2018-03-28T15:57:58-04:00April 2nd, 2018|
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Whispering Words

[Build] others up according to their needs. Ephesians 4:29

The young man fidgeted as he sat down for his flight. His eyes darted back and forth to the aircraft windows. Then he closed his eyes and breathed deeply, trying to calm himself—but it didn’t work. As the plane took off, he slowly rocked back and forth. An older woman across the aisle from him put her hand on his arm and gently engaged him in conversation to divert his attention from his stress. “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “We’re going to be okay,” and “You’re doing well” were a few things she whispered. She could have been irritated with him or ignored him. But she chose a touch and a few words. Little things. When they landed three hours later, he said, “Thank you so much for helping me.”

Such beautiful pictures of tenderheartedness can be hard to find. Kindness does not come naturally to many of us; our primary concern is often ourselves. But when the apostle Paul urged, “Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:32), he was not saying it all depends on us. After we’ve been given a new life by our faith in Jesus, the Spirit begins a transformation. Kindness is the ongoing work of the Spirit renewing our thoughts and attitudes (v. 23).

The God of compassion is at work in our hearts, allowing us in turn to touch others’ lives by reaching out and whispering words of encouragement.

 

Lord, use me today to bring someone hope, a lighter burden, encouragement.

Compassion is understanding the troubles of others and reaching out.

INSIGHT

The power of our words is a theme throughout Scripture. The admonition in Ephesians 4:29 is to build each other up through our speech. The book of Proverbs encourages its readers to get a grip on wisdom, and part of wisdom living is the right use of our words. That’s why many Proverbs speak about “words,” “speech,” the “mouth,” and “lips.” Proverbs 10:11 describes the tremendous power of words to invigorate and enrich others: “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.”

How can you build someone up today with your words?

By |2018-03-15T16:25:25-04:00March 17th, 2018|
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