Abiding, Agreement, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Praise, Salvation, Scripture

WHO DO YOU CONFESS?

1 JOHN 4:15

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

You know, sometimes agreeing on something is hard. You have your ideas, and others have theirs. Often those kinds of situations end up bad. But there is always a way to come together and agree, if you really want to. The problem is we usually don’t want to. We demand to be right. It’s our way or the highway.

John, however, lays it out for us. You see, the word “confesses” means to agree, to say the same thing. If God is to abide in us and we in Him, we must agree that Jesus is the Son of God. There’s no other way. Our way doesn’t matter. What we think doesn’t matter. There’s a bumper sticker you may have seen that reads “God said, I believe it, that settles it.” Well, that’s wrong. It should read “God said it, that settles it.”

APPLICATION

How many times have you had to settle an argument between your children or your child and another child? They will argue about just about anything. Which video game is the best, what movie is the greatest, which Avenger has the best super power. Agreement is not in their vocabulary.

But I want you to take your child to this verse the next time you catch them in an argument. Talk about how many in this world disagree with John’s conclusion. Explain to them the importance of confessing Jesus as the Son of God. Belief in Him is paramount to our salvation. You can’t believe part of the truth. You have to believe and confess it all.

Have you confessed Jesus as the Son of God? I pray you have. If you have the rest of the verse is a promise to you. God abides in you. That’s incredible. Through His Holy Spirit He lives in you. And if you have Him in you, there’s nothing you can’t do because it’s Him doing it. Praise the Lord.

Father, I know Jesus is Your Son, and that You sent Him to die for me. I know You abide in me and I in You. Thank You, Lord.

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Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

OUR PURPOSE

1 JOHN 4:14

“We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

I bet you have wondered at one point or another what your purpose is in life. Rick Warren wrote the best seller “The Purpose Driven Life.” People want to know their purpose. They actually spend hundreds and thousands of dollars trying to figure it out.

If you are a believer, it’s so simple. John spells it out right here. You are to testify about Jesus. That’s your purpose. Now, John actually saw the Father because he had seen the Son. We may not have seen the Father, but we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. We know the truth. We are, therefore, called to testify about it.

APPLICATION

Ask your children to tell you about something they have seen. Maybe they can tell you about their trip to the zoo or the beach. Just let them talk. Let them describe every activity. Kids love to tell about what they have seen. They can go on and on about all the wonderful things they have experienced.

Now, bring them to this verse. Explain to them how we should have the same passion to tell the story of Jesus to others. Ask them to share their experience with Jesus. By doing so, they can fine tuning their testimony. They are learning to tell others of the amazing things they have seen God do in their lives. They are sharing the good news. That’s their purpose.

Are you purpose driven? Are you aware of this calling on your life? Today ask the Lord to put someone in your path to whom you can testify about the goodness of God. Maybe there is someone you need to go to today to share Jesus with. Go, do it. Don’t put it off. Remember, their eternal destiny hangs in the balance. God has purposed you to share.

Thank You, Lord, for the reminder of my calling, my purpose. Help me today to share Jesus with someone who is in need of a Savior. 

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Abiding, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confidence, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gifts, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

ONE MORE TIME

1 JOHN 4:13

“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

How do you learn a new task? By repetition. You have to do it over and over and over before you can master it. That skill is gone today, for the most part. Today, people can simply google a video on how to do something. But most of those videos are by people who had to learn the old-fashion way. They learned by doing.

What has that got to do with today’s verse? Well, John is repeating himself. He said these words in today’s verse back in chapter 3 and verse 24. They are not quite verbatim, but they are close. John is repeating himself so we will learn. What’s the lesson? Proof of His abiding in us is the gift of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit living in us assures us of our relationship with the Father.

APPLICATION

If your children have asked Jesus to be their Savior and Lord, they probably have moments when they doubt their relationship with Him. Usually this occurs in their teen years. Problems arise, and they immediately start doubting God. They can’t see Him working in their lives. They question His presence. After all, they can’t touch Him. They can’t see Him.

Take them to this verse. That nagging conviction they have in their mind about sin is the Holy Spirit. That reminder about godly principles is the Holy Spirit. This gift they received at salvation has not left them. It is still there. All they have to do is ask the Spirit to empower them. All they have to do is confess those things that have come in between them and the Lord. The Spirit will even speak to Him when they can’t put it into words. Remind them of their gift.

Do you need reminding today? The Spirit is put in your life as a believer as a seal of your salvation. He is that constant reminder that God is there. God abides in us! How amazing is that? Through His Holy Spirit, which is able to indwell every believer, He lives in us. Embrace that today. Thank God for His gift!

I am eternally thankful for Your gift of Your Spirit in my life. I know You have gifted Him to me to assure me of Your presence in my life every day.

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Abiding, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Inspirational, Invisible, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Promises, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

IS GOD INVISIBLE?

1 JOHN 4:12

“No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”

When I first read this verse, it seemed like the first part had nothing to do with the second part. What has God not being seen to do with God abiding in us and His love? But then it hit me. Of course, we can’t see God, but we can see God when His love, which abides in us, is shown to others.

John talks about loving one another and God abiding in us a lot. So, he is not confused in this verse. All these thoughts in this verse go together. If we want people to see God, we have to love them. We have to show them how He abides in us and how His love is perfected in us.

APPLICATION

How do your kids know you love them? Do they read about it in some book? Do you just talk about it? No, they see how you love them by how you treat them, how you talk to them, how you express that love when they are the most unloveable. We teach our kids about our love for them by expressing that love.

I’m a hugger. I love to hug people. The hardest part about this covid-19 pandemic is not being able to do that. But you can hug your own kids. Express your love. Take every opportunity you have to do that. Kids need to be touched. They need to be cuddled. Do all that in Jesus’ name. Every time you hug them, ask them if they know who loves them more than mommy and daddy. Tell them just how much God loves them.

Who do you need to show God’s love to today? Maybe you have a neighbor who is struggling right now due to isolation in this pandemic. Find a way to express God’s love to them. Maybe a coworker is going through a hard time at work. Express God’s love to them. Remember, they can’t see God, but they can sure see God in you.

I may be the only Jesus someone sees today, Lord. Help me love them as You do. I want them to see You in me.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, God's Will, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

OBLIGATIONS

1 JOHN 4:11

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

People feel obligated to other people. Others feel obligated to an employer. But what does that mean? What does it mean to be obligated? Well, the Greek word used here for “ought” means to be morally obligated or legally required to meet an obligation, to pay off a legitimate debt.

Now, put this in context of today’s verse. Our obligation to love one another is because God loved us. Let me ask you a question. Do you think God loves you? Of course, you do. So, if that is true, our “payback” is to love others as He does. We are obligated to love them. His love demands us.

APPLICATION

Teaching our kids to love others is so important. They learn that best by watching us. If we are reluctant to love others, they will be too. If we each out and express the love of God to others, they will learn to do the same. So, we must be the example for them to follow. We have to tell them why we are loving others. It’s because of His love for us.

Oh, and when we see them begin to do this on their own, we are overjoyed. Why? Because we see the joy they can bring others. We see the relationships they can build with others. We can see them loving as only Jesus can. We watch them love unconditionally. But you have to drive that by your example. No pressure!

Are you loving that way? God so loves you that He gives you the privilege to love others. He loves them through you. You are His vessel of love. How cool is that? God still uses people to accomplish His will in the lives of others. He wants to use you to love the unloveable. Are you willing?

Use me, Lord, to love others. Love through me. Show others the power of Your love through me.

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Appeasement, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

THE ULTIMATE APPEASEMENT

1 JOHN 4:10

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Have you ever angered someone so badly that you had no clue how to make it right? I have. In the past, I have searched and searched how to seek forgiveness. Most of the time I have received that, but only after true remorse. I don’t want to ever intentionally harm someone. But it happens sometimes.

Aren’t you glad that God took the initiative to provide the means for forgiveness for us? We could have never satisfied His wrath. There is nothing we could do on our own. But…by the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate appeasement. He satisfied an angry God (His Father) for us. Wow!

APPLICATION

I bet your children know when you are angry at them. They can usually tell when dad or mom are about to blow. They may push it to the last straw, but most kids know when to stop pushing. But do they know how to make things right with you? What do you expect from them? Ask them that. Ask them if they know how to appease you. They will probably say Huh? Then explain.

You are seeking to train them how to seek forgiveness from the Father. Take them to today’s verse. Explain that word “propitiation.” They need to understand how important it is to our Christian faith. In fact, we would have no faith without it. Yet that word only appears twice in the Scripture. The other time is in 1 John 2.2. Christ died for them to satisfy the requirements of forgiveness God had established. Only Jesus could do it, and He did it for them.

Do you realize the depth of this? Christ died for you. He gave His life to satisfy the price of sin in your life. And all you have to do is claim that forgiveness. I pray you have, but if you haven’t, do it right now. Ask Jesus into your life to be your Savior and Lord. Confess your sins to Him. Acknowledge His death, burial and resurrection. Then welcome His Holy Spirit into your life. It’s that simple.

Lord, I praise You for sending Your Son to die for me to satisfy the price which I could never pay. I am eternally grateful.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Gospel, Light, Love, Manifested, Mentoring, Parenting, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

ILLUMINATED

1 JOHN 4:9

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”

How many of you have a nativity scene you set up outside? We had one growing up that I loved. It was life size and was lit up with spotlights. We even had an angel hanging on wire above the manger. It was so cool. I always loved it.

But my aunt and uncle had one that was lit from the inside. It had this awesome glow. Don’t get me wrong. I loved ours more. But their nativity had this awesome look because it was glowing instead of being lit from the outside. Hmmm, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

APPLICATION

The word “manifested” means to illuminate, to make known, to make plain in open view. Try this with your kids. Get some candles and light them. Cover them with different things like a box, a flowerpot and a glass. Let them tell you which candle can be seen. Of course, the only one is through the glass. The others are covered up.

Talk about the verse. God’s love is illuminated through us when we accept His Son as our Savior. John even partially quotes John 3:16, which he wrote. John knew Jesus personally. He knew He had been sent by His Father to indwell us. Our kids need to understand that. Jesus was sent to save us from ourselves, from our sins, from the world, from Satan. And when He lives in us, His light will shine. Our job is to get out of the way and let it shine.

Are you shining for Him? Are you letting His light illuminate your life? He wants you to shine for Him by loving others. Why? Because He sent His Son for us. If Jesus lives in you, you have the light of the world in you. Isn’t that amazing? Why wouldn’t you let the light shine through your love for others?

Lord, I praise You for illuminating me. You have given me the ability to love others. Help me do that daily.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony

NO LOVE/NO GOD

1 JOHN 4:8

“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

To love someone you really have to know them, right? Would you marry someone you didn’t know? It happens in some cultures. I have heard stories of fathers selling their daughters to some man to be their wife. These young ladies enter this relationship fearful and unprotected. I don’t understand this type of arrangement, but it happens often. Love is not present because there is no knowledge of the other person.

John tells us that if we do not love (one another), we really do not know God. This word “know” is in the Aorist tense which means it happened sometime in the past. What hit me as I read this, though, is we can change that. We can get to know God, thus releasing the love that He gives us to others.

APPLICATION

Why do we want our children to know God? Well, first of all we want them know Him for their eternal security. We want them to be saved. But secondly, we want them to know God to experience the love He has for them. So, how do we get our children to know God?

Listen parents, we model the love of God for our children. When they are young, before they can really read and have their own quiet times, we have to model it for them. As they get older, we disciple them and teach them dig in the Word for themselves. We teach them to disciple others. As they grow in their knowledge of God, the love of God just oozes out. It spreads to others. They can’t hold it back.

Are you oozing God’s love? You can’t claim to know God unless you are loving others. That’s as simple as John can say it in today’s verse. Don’t pretend to love either. God knows when you are doing that. That does not please Him. Don’t love to get anything in return. That also does not please Him. Love others as He does. Love freely and fervently.

O Father God, will You pour out Your love through me. I want to love others as You do. I can’t do that on my own. I know that.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

1 JOHN 4:7


“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

If I asked you what it meant to love one another, what would you say? Does it mean just saying it? How about doing something for them occasionally? To really understand what John is saying here, you have to dig deeper. This isn’t surface level stuff.

Loving one another is tied to the meaning of the Greek word “love” that is used here. This word is agape. This is God’s kind of love for us. Now, that changes everything. How do you love like God? You can’t. It’s not possible. It’s not in your DNA. But praise be to God, He can do it through you, if you are a believer.

APPLICATION

I have mentioned before in my devotionals that many kids are really good at loving. They are just drawn to people. They are giving and kind and… You get the picture. But that’s not biblical “loving one another” unless that child is born again, and the Spirit is motivating their actions.

We need to teach our kids that biblical love, God’s love, means always wanting what is best for the other person. That means there is no room for jealousy. There is no room for holding grudges. God’s love, agape love, means being willing to sacrifice for the other person. Wow, that changes things, doesn’t it?

Let me ask you something. Are you loving that way? I don’t mean just your own family. I mean the entire family of God. I mean everyone you meet. I have to admit that I struggle with that at times. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am able to love anyone anytime. How is that possible? Because it’s not me doing the loving. Let Him love through you today.

I confess that I do not love like You, Lord. Forgive me. Use Your Spirit in my life to love others. Help me die to myself daily and surrender to the Spirit’s power.

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Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Listening, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Witnessing

LISTEN UP

1 JOHN 4:6

“We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

Let me ask you a question to which I already know the answer. Have your children ever not listened to you? How many times, Carl? Yeah, I know. Isn’t that frustrating? You plainly tell them something, and it goes in one ear and out the other. They are so distracted with their computer or phone, they never hear you. Oh, they say they are listening, but they aren’t.

I love that John puts us in the speaking part. He doesn’t say that these people (the non-listeners) aren’t listening to God. No! They aren’t listening to us. What does that mean? That means we must be the ones declaring the truths of God. We are the ones God uses to share with them. But they don’t listen. Both times “listen” is used here it is in the Present tense. That means it is ongoing. They just don’t listen.

APPLICATION

Test out my question I asked you at the beginning. Ask your child to do something. Catch them at a time when they are absorbed with something they are doing. Get their attention and ask them to do something. But here’s the catch – ask them only once and leave the room. Give them a time to complete what you asked them to do. Then sit back and see if they do it.

Your children need to listen, of course. But they really need to really listen. They need to listen with the intent to obey. That’s the meaning of “listen” in today’s verse. Why is that so important? Because God is going to ask them to do things for Him. He won’t beg them to do it. He will ask and then let them choose. What will they do? We pray they will hear and then respond. Prepare them for that.

Are you listening? Better yet, are you telling others about Jesus? Our job is to tell. We can’t force the listening. That’s their choice. I wish sometimes I could force some people to listen. But I can’t. All I can do is be faithful to do what the Lord has told me to do. Will you join me?

Open my mouth to tell the good news of the gospel to anyone who will listen. Thank You, Lord, for the privilege to be Your mouthpiece.

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