Week 37 Saturday

Before Time Began

Today’s scripture selection: Titus

Key verse: Titus 1:2

Right at the beginning of an often neglected little book called Titus, we find a wonderful truth:

“…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.”

There, nestled in a typical greeting of the apostle Paul to his readers, is a nugget of gospel hope.

God, who does not lie, promised eternal life, even before the beginning of time.  Wow.

All those who think Christianity is just so much wishful thinking; all those who think it is a nicely constructed philosophical and moral argument; all those who think it is political commentary flavored with religious talk – take heed.

According to Paul, it is all part of God’s plan, made before time itself.

And it has no end, this plan He has set in motion.

It is faithful conviction like that which has survived the test of time.  Despite all the criticism; all the heresy – it persists. Countless saints have died for it, willingly.  Countless more will die for it in the future because somehow, mysteriously, despite the cost, they believe it with all their hearts. Paul was one of the first – but there have been many.

So, at Christmas, at Easter, and at all times in between – let the resounding joy be heard.  This is no accident.  This is no fluke.  It is a plan – God’s plan – and nothing can thwart it.

Eternal Life, in Christ Jesus, offered to all.

And that’s no lie.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for this great, compassionate, loving plan for eternity.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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