Singapore is a tiny island. It’s so small that one can hardly spot it on the world map. (Try it, if you don’t already know where Singapore is.) Because it is densely populated, consideration of others is especially important. A man wrote to his fiancée who was coming to Singapore for the first time: “Space is limited. Therefore . . . you must always have that sense of space around you. You should always step aside to ensure you are not blocking anyone. The key is to be considerate.”
The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a young pastor: “Remind the people . . . 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” (Titus 3:1-2 niv). It has been said, “Our lives may be the only Bible some people read.” The world knows that Christians are supposed to be different. If we are cantankerous, self-absorbed, and rude, what will others think about Christ and the gospel we share?
Being considerate is a good motto to live by and is possible as we depend on the Lord. And it is one way to model Christ and demonstrate to the world that Jesus saves and transforms lives.
Dear Lord, help us to be gracious, kind, and considerate not only in the church but also in our community. May the world who watches see transformed people and believe in Your transforming power.
Your witness is only as strong as your character.
According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Titus “was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, and accompanied them to the council at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1-3; Acts 15:2) . . . . He appears to have been a Gentile, and to have been chiefly engaged in ministering to Gentiles; for Paul sternly refused to have him circumcised . . . . [Later] he was sent by Paul to Corinth for the purpose of getting the contributions of the church there in behalf of the poor saints at Jerusalem sent forward (2 Cor. 8:6, 12:18).”
To this day I can still hear my mother telling me to go and clean up my room. Dutifully, I would go to my room to start the process, only to get distracted by reading the comic book that I was supposed to put neatly in the stack. But soon the distraction was interrupted by my mother warning that she would be up in 5 minutes to inspect the room. Unable to effectively clean the room in that time, I would proceed to hide everything I didn’t know what to do with in the closet, make the bed, and then wait for her to come in—hoping that she wouldn’t look in the closet.
This reminds me of what many of us do with our lives. We clean up the outside of our lives hoping that no one will look into the “closet” where we have hidden our sins by rationalization and excuses and by blaming others for our own faults.
The problem is that while looking good on the outside, we remain well aware of the mess on the inside. The psalmist encourages us to submit to the cleansing inspection of God: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24). Let’s invite Him to inspect and cleanse every corner of our lives.
Lord, forgive me for looking good on the outside while attempting to hide my faults and failings. I desire for You to cleanse my life so that I may walk with You in full integrity.
We can own up to our wrongs— because we can’t hide them from God anyway.
In Psalm 139, David invites us to meditate on the attributes of God. He is omniscient, or all-knowing (vv.1-4); omnipresent, or ever-present (vv.5-12); and omnipotent, or all-powerful (vv.13-18). In today’s text, David writes of the human body as a masterpiece created by the all-powerful Creator. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (vv.13-15). Mindful of the wickedness around him (vv.19-22), David closes his psalm with a prayer of loyalty and commitment (vv.23-24).
My friend’s husband was in the last stages of dementia. In his first introduction to the nurse who was assigned to care for him, he reached out for her arm and stopped her. He said he wanted to introduce her to his best friend—one who loved him deeply.
Since no one else was in the hall, the nurse thought he was delusional. But as it turned out he was speaking of Jesus. She was deeply touched but had to hurry on to care for another patient. When she returned, the darkness had closed in again and the man was no longer lucid.
Even though this man had descended into the darkness of dementia, he knew that the Lord was his best Friend. God dwells in the fathomless depth that is our soul. He can pierce the darkest mind and assure us of His tender, loving care. Indeed, the darkness shall not hide us from Him (Ps. 139:12).
We do not know what the future holds for us or those we love. We too may descend into the darkness of mental illness, Alzheimer’s, or dementia as we age. But even there the Lord’s hand will lead us and His right hand will hold us tight (v.10). We cannot get away from His love and personal care.
God knows each winding way I take, And every sorrow, pain, and ache; And me He never will forsake— He knows and loves His own. —Bosch
Jesus loves me. This I know.
Today’s passage, a standard text on the doctrine of God’s omnipresence—God is everywhere all the time—is also one of deep comfort. These verses offer assurance that no matter where we go, even if we are trying to run from God (see v.7), we cannot separate ourselves from Him. This is the same idea that Paul elaborates on in his letter to the church in Rome: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39). These verses not only point out that nothing can separate us from His presence, they also beautifully state that nothing can keep us from God’s love.