August 26, 2020
Titus 3:1-7
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

New International Version (NIV)
                “Stop drinking the hatorade.”  I heard that a few years ago.  When I was young, people said they hated each other’s “guts”, whatever that meant.  It seems like people still do.  To quote Longfellow, “Hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.”  Some of the conversations going on in our country particularly around politics could be characterized as “hate-speech.”  May I ask you, “Is it ever ok for God’s people to hate other people?”  Disagree vehemently, yes.  Hate?  No.

                Near the end of this letter, Paul tells Titus to remind Christians to submit to authorities, to be obedient and ready to do what is good.  How are we doing with this?  Do we submit to authorities no matter who is in the White House?  Through the years, I have heard Christians say about the Presidents of both parties that they were God’s person for that hour.  Is that true?  Does God choose every President?  What if someone you don’t like gets elected?  Are they still God’s anointed? 

                God’s answer for hatred is love.  When we were still “enemies” of God, he loved us.    Praise God!  His kindness and love came even when people were being hateful.  Jesus loved and forgave the people who crucified him.  We didn’t help God save us.  God’s mercy saw us, came running for us and held us until God’s grace could redeem us.  This is our hope of eternal life.

                Years ago in a rancorous Baptist meeting, brothers expressed disdain for people who disagreed with them.  Hurt by the actions of these opponents, they disavowed any cooperation with them.  I was the youngest in the room, but I said, “To be clear, your enemies from the past are not my enemies.  I cannot live in hatred and be right with God.”  This was received about the way you might expect – not well at all.  But Dr. Russell Dilday, who arguably suffered as much loss as anybody in our old Baptist wars, spoke as the statesman in the room when he said, “Duane is right.  We must forgive.” 

                The problem with drinking hatorade is that it doesn’t really hurt our enemies.  Hatred is the poison we drink waiting for our opponents to die.  It is the acid which corrodes our souls from the inside out.  No matter what a person does, I will not let it lower me to the point of hating them.  As my friend Karl Veile loves to say, “Show me someone who hates me and give me some time with them.  In Jesus’ name I will love them until they love me.”  Because Karl takes Jesus at his word, I’ll take Karl at his.  
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for loving us while we were still your enemies.  Thank you that Jesus forgives even those whose sin crucified him.  We were there in the crowd when he was crucified.  He died for our sins.  So help us to celebrate your forgiveness today by offering it freely to others.  Lift us above the strife to a place of kindness to all.  Take us back to the cross where you died.  “Mercy there was great and grace was free.  Pardon there was multiplied to us.  There our burdened souls found liberty, at Calvary.”  How can we ever thank you enough?  Let our gratitude lead us to become gracious.    In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:27-28
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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