Titus Connection January 2021

Volume 15, Number   1 – JANUARY,  2021

Greetings and Happy New Year!!!!   We are beginning our fifteen year of the Titus Connection.  Wow!  I am humbled that the Lord in His sovereignty has and is using WILD in very special ways.  Enjoy the articles and use them in whatever way they can be a blessing.  Again a Happy and Blessed New Year to your family and you,  Mike


          “If you are willing to lead, be willing to grind.”  William Booth.  If you choose to lead others, you have to make the decision that you will keep going when things get tough.  Reality is that things get tough quickly.  William Carey, missionary to India said he would just keep plodding, just keep moving toward the goal that was laid before him. 
          Crises will come when you lead.  The Chinese word for crisis is “opportunity”.  A crisis can either poke us to move forward or paralyze us.  Actually, a crisis reveals who the real leaders are as these opportunities separate the good leaders from the real leaders.  In life, success is more about what we have overcome. 
          When Jesus was training the apostles, He exposed them to difficult situations and to people who hated Jesus.  Then Jesus told them that if they would also listen to the Father’s leading through the Holy Spirit, they, too, would face difficult times and persecutions, that they would have to be willing to lay down their lives for Jesus (Luke 9:23-28).  Jesus did not offer them comfortable settings to do ministry, nor anywhere to lay their head down at night (Luke 9:58).  Recall what Paul told Timothy about living a godly life?  You will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12)
          After reading Paul’s accounts of his ministry experiences and life (2 Corinthians 11:23-30; 12:7-10), should we be surprised when we face difficult situations living for Him?  None of us are looking for suffering opportunities but are we willing to live for Jesus regardless when difficult opportunities come along? 
          Life is hard.  God never said life would be easy but He did say He would never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)!!  We are made in the hard times of life, but we do not like “hard”.  It has been said that everything worthwhile is uphill.
          Being resilient is necessary to be a real leader.  Keep grinding, keep plodding.  We have been and will continue to be knocked down as we go through life.  Despite having her right leg amputated at age five,  Bonnie St. John became the first African-American ever to win medals in Winter Olympic competition, taking home a silver and two bronze medals at the 1984 Winter Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria.  She described her first race at that Olympics.  She was a downhill skier with one leg.  Skiing is a difficult sport to master with two legs, much less one. 
          In alpine skiing, you go down a mountain twice for the race and the two times added together determine who wins.  Bonnie was the third person chosen to represent the United States in 1984, so no one figured she would do anything at the race.  After the first run down the mountain, she had the best time of all the skiers from throughout the world.  Snow conditions for the second run down the mountain became very icy, which is terrible to ski on.  She knew if she could just stay up and not fall, she could win the gold medal. 
          Unfortunately, she fell but here is where the story gets real for all of us.  After falling and in her mind, she thought that was the end of the race for her, her body due to all the training she put in, pushed her to get back up and finish the race, rather than giving up.  By getting up quickly, Bonnie actually finished third overall and awarded a bronze medal.   The winner is often the one who gets back up a little faster than the rest.
          We all stumble and fall, but do we get up?  When crises, rather opportunities come along, do we give up and stay stuck or do we get back up quickly and finish?  The Apostle Paul said he finished his race strong (2 Timothy 4:7-8) and Jesus finished His purpose as He hung on the cross for you and me.  Will you and I grind it out and get back up quickly when we are knocked down, to finish the race that is marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1-2)?  I am the only one that can run my race just as you are the only one that can run your race. 


          Act of kindness.  That is simply doing something considerate, nice and kind for someone else.  It can be planned or spontaneous.  Sounds simple enough.  Here is the disclaimer.  Could you perform a random act of kindness without anyone, including the recipient knowing who completed that act?  Determining whether you would do so helps determine your motive for why you are willing to be kind.
          If you struggle with doing acts of kindness and with no one knowing it, are you or I looking for affirmation from others?  Or are wanting people to see how good of a person we are?  Jesus gave a pretty stern warning when He said, ““Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.  When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.  But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
          Am I being kind to others so that people see how “spiritual” or “godly” I am?  Motives can show how much we struggle with pride.  Pride is a dangerous quality.  (Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”)  Pride destroys relationships, friendships, opportunities and a person themselves.
          Now if you can perform an act of kindness without notoriety, that is good.  Be careful that you don’t become prideful that you think that you are so spiritual because I do not need to let anyone see what I am doing or I am doing this act so that God has to bless me.  For the most part, being able to do something without being noticed, should show you do what you do because you are simply being obedient to God’s leading.   He knows and will bless in His way and timing for us. 
          It is hard to do something without anyone noticing but wanting to honor and please Jesus should be our motivation.  Allowing pride to get a foothold in your life is dangerous because it can grow like a cancer and destroy you from the inside out.  You become less teachable, more arrogant, less dependent on Jesus and lose opportunities to serve Him. 
          So figure out an opportunity to perform an act and ask yourself if you can do it without anyone seeing or hearing you did it.  Then perform the act.  Did you need to seek the praise and applause of others?  Did you hold out for a time and then had to let someone know?  On the other hand, perhaps no one knows, and you are becoming more comfortable with that.
          Now no matter what happened, plan to do another act.  If you have to have someone know, ask Jesus to give you the courage to d the next act and no one know.  Perhaps, ask someone to hold you accountable by having that person ask you after you performed the act, if you kept your word.  (You do not tell the accountability person that you performed the act.  Rather, simply ask that person to ask you if you kept your word as the person does not need to know that you performed the act of kindness).
          That accountability person may be the motivation to keep quiet.  Again, do not tell the person what you did, spoiling the secret.  Simply, did you keep your word.  Keep working on it if you failed to keep quiet or however you made it known.  Do not give up.
          Now if after the first act of kindness, you know no one found out who did it, including the recipient, do another act to make sure the first act was not a fluke.  You may want to add an accountability person too.  Try this experiment of acts of kindness.  You may very well be developing yourself into a person of integrity.  How wonderful is that!