Advice, Advocate, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Knowledge, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

PERFECT

1 JOHN 2:13

“I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.” 

You may read the title of this devotion and then read the verse and wonder how I got that title. Well, you have to dig a little deeper than the English translation. You have to look at the verbs in the verse and the tenses that were used. Now, hold on. Don’t let me lose you here. Keep reading.

All three verbs John used, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in reference to his audience (fathers, young men and little children) are in the Perfect tense. That Greek verb tense means an action was taken in the past sometime with lasting results. So, that means the fathers and little children knew God and still know God. The young men overcame Satan and have still overcome him.

APPLICATION

If you think about it, a lot of our actions have lasting results. Do you want your children’s actions to have good results or bad results? Simple question with an equally simple answer. Of course, you want good results. No one wants their children to fail or leave a disaster in their wake. How do you help them accomplish those good results?

The only sure way is to teach them make every decision based on God’s Word. If they bathe their decisions in prayer and allow Him to guide them, then the results aren’t up to them. They are up to God. We know that anything He does is perfect. There you have it – perfect results. We just have to get out of the way.

Are you wrestling with a decision right now and worried about the consequences of that decision? Let the Lord have it. Ask Him what will give Him glory. If you do that, you are placing your trust in the One who manages the cosmos. I think He can handle your problem. Don’t you?

I will allow You to perfect my decisions through Your perfect Will. I know You always want what is best for me.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Hugs, Inspirational, Joy, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

MY DARLINGS

1 JOHN 2:12

“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.”

In this verse and the next verses in 1 John 2, John addresses three groups of people in the church – little children, young men and fathers (older men). In fact, John addresses each group twice in these verses. But the term “little children” in today’s verse is a totally different Greek word than the one in the next verse. Interesting.

The Greek word used here means dearly loved little ones. It can also be translated “my little darlings.” Now, that’s pretty special, don’t you think? Only John uses this form of the word. To me that is also special. John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” He understood intimacy and closeness. I think it comes out here in this verse.

APPLICATION

What do you call your children? Do you have pet names for them? Those are usually terms of endearment. They are our special names for them. When you call them that they know you are expressing a closeness. Your love is shown by just using that name.

Intimacy is not a given. We have to teach that to our kids. It requires snuggling and cuddles. It involves holding them when they are upset. It means kissing that boo-boo when necessary, All the while you are using those names to soothe them.

John was doing that here. He was saying, “My darlings, you know Jesus loved you so much He died to forgive you of your sins. Don’t forget that.” He wasn’t just calling down the children. He was calling them to closeness, to intimacy. Isn’t that great?

Call me Your darling, Lord. I know You love me with an endearing love. You call my name.

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Foolishness, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Testimony

HATE BLINDS

1 JOHN 2:11

“But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

There is probably not a better verse for today than this one. So much hate. So much darkness. You see, hate blinds us to what is true. The devil loves that. He loves to keep us hating each other. When we hate, we literally can’t see straight. We only see what we want to see.

It was no different back in the day of John. The early church was not exempt from these feelings. Yes, that’s right. Even the early church, to whom John was writing, faced these same issues. Hate has been around since Satan’s fall from heaven. He hates God and anyone who loves Him. He will do anything to blind us with his hate.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they hate. Notice I said “what” not “who.” I hate brussel sprouts. I hate spinach. We can hate things. That’s really okay. I hate abortion. I am sure God does too. I hate sin. We all should. It does nothing good in this world.

But get your kid’s list of “hates.” Ask them why they hate these things. They are going to hear this word a lot in their life, so they need to understand the strength of that word. They should, however, never use that word in conjunction with a person. No one deserves to be hated. God loves all.

Who do you hate? Don’t answer that. Your answer should be no one. If you do, confess that as sin right now. Ask the Lord to forgive you for that hate. Ask Him to forgive you of walking in darkness. Ask Him to forgive you for following the devil rather than Him. Do that now. He is listening.

Forgive me, Lord, for any feelings of hatred I harbor against others. I know that is sin and displeases You. I want to walk in the Light.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Lies, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Testimony

DON’T TRIP

1 JOHN 2:10

“The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”

One of my favorite Greek words is in this verse. It’s the Greek word for “stumbling.” I even like saying it. It’s skandalon. It’s pronounced just like it’s spelled – skan-dal-on. Go ahead, say it out loud. I know you want to.

So, what does that word really mean. Get this definition from HELPS Word Studies: “the trigger of a trap (the mechanism closing a trap down on the unsuspecting victim); (figuratively) an offense, putting a negative cause-and-effect relationship into motion.” It’s something that trips you up and causes you to be captured or trapped. If we love our brother and are abiding in the Light, there is no cause for that.

APPLICATION

Visuals are so much better for kids. How about building a trap? It’s not hard. Get a box (cardboard works), a stick about a foot long and some string. You know where I am going with this? Get some bait like a carrot (if you want to catch a rabbit, lol). Tie one end of the string to the carrot and the other end to the stick. Use the stick to prop up the box. Then all you have to do is wait. If there’s a rabbit in the area, you might get lucky.

Now, the point is not to actually catch a rabbit. The goal is to show them how it works. The rabbit doesn’t know that carrot is a trigger for a trap. They just go in that box expecting a treat and wham-o, they’re trapped (or at least that is what is supposed to happen).

The same applies to us. We don’t see the trap until it’s sprung. The devil has a way of doing that. He is cunning and deceitful. He will promise us just about anything. And once we take the bait, wham-o. If we are believers, he can’t “unsave” us, but he can sure keep us down with his lies and traps. Don’t fall for it. Stay in the light!

I will walk in the light because that is where You are. That is the way to be sure of my steps. I will let You guide me.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Confession, Darkness, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Harmony, Hypocrisy, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Surrender

ARE YOU A HATER?

1 JOHN 2:9

“The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.”

People can say anything. They can claim to love others but just watch how they treat them. The word “hate” seems to imply a horrible action. But did you know the Greek word here can actually mean to love less. Now wait a minute, Carl. That seems a little harsh. Oh really? Do you think Jesus loves them less than you? He loves them all.

John tells us that if we hate, we are still in the darkness. We are walking in the darkness. We are stumbling. What happens when you stumble in the darkness? You hurt yourself. You could break your toe or leg or worse. It’s the same when we hate. We hurt ourselves.

APPLICATION

If your child hasn’t said it yet, they will. They will come home saying they hate someone for something they have done. I am sure you correct them for that. Try sharing this verse with them. Let them see what God says about hate. Ask them if they want to be in the darkness. I bet they don’t.

There are going to be people we don’t like in life. That’s just the truth. So, what do we do? We pray for those individuals. We ask the Lord to give us His love for them. Is that easy? No! It’s impossible by ourselves. But with Christ in us, we can do anything, including loving those we do not like.

Are you tired of stubbing your toe in the darkness because you refuse to stop hating? Come to the light. Stay in the light. Let Jesus direct your path, especially when others are trying to block it. Love them anyway. Jesus does.

Oh Father, I fall so short in this area. I can always justify my hate, but Your Word convicts me. Thank You.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Commands, Courage, Darkness, Encouragement, Following, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

I SEE A LIGHT

1 JOHN 2:8

“On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.”

If you have read many of my devotional blogs, then you know I like to hunt. In fact, today is opening day for archery season for white-tail deer. As you read this today, I am sitting in my blind in the woods waiting to harvest a deer. Now, before you judge me for being a hunter, just keep reading. Hunting is not the topic of this blog.

When I have been in the woods in the past in the early morning hours before daylight, it has been of extreme importance to have a good light. I always carry a backup light just in case the one I am using goes out as I am walking. There’s not much more of a helpless feeling than to be walking in the woods and lose your source of light. Ah hah! Here’s my point. If we are walking with Christ, we can never lose our light. Why? Because He is the source, which is eternal.

APPLICATION

Kids, for the most part, love using flashlights in the dark. It just gives a new sensation that we can’t experience in the daytime. Get some flashlights and put different strength batteries in them. (You will need to test these before you do this with your kids.) Get in a dark room and turn on these different flashlights one at a time, beginning with the weakest batteries. The room seems pretty lit up, even with the weakest batteries. But, as you go from the weakest to the strongest, they will see the difference.

Ask them which flashlight they would want to take with them into a dark room. Of course, they are going to pick the brightest one. Ask them why. We want the brightest light possible to keep us from stumbling. The same is true in our spiritual walk. We need the brightest light, which is Jesus. We can’t walk alone. We are destined to fall.

Are you trying to navigate the dark passages of life by yourself? Take up the light that is available to you right now. Let Jesus light your path. Let Him show you the right steps to take. Aren’t you tired of falling down? As John says, “the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.”

ThankYou, Lord, for lighting my path. Thank You for being my one and only dependable source of light.

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NOTHING NEW

1 JOHN 2:7

“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”

One thing I hate is when someone changes the rules in the middle of the game. Don’t you? I mean, if you have rules, just stick with them. It’s really not fair to make adjustments based on someone’s lack of following the rules. Nor is it okay to lower the standard just because someone has trouble measuring up.

John is telling us that is exactly what God is NOT doing. These words John is writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, agree with everything else God has written. He isn’t changing the rules. He still demands holiness. He still requires obedience. He still expects us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Nothing has changed.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get out their favorite card or board game and start playing. Every few minutes change a rule. Make up new ones. Talk about confusing! It won’t take long for your children to get very frustrated and stop playing. Why? Because they knew the old rules. They knew what to expect.

Read them today’s verse. Talk about how God does the same for us. He hasn’t changed. He is consistent with His expectations of us. The big difference is Jesus. Now, under grace, He paid the penalty for our transgressions. We are free. That is one change for which we should all be grateful.

The key question, though, is this. Do you know what God requires of you? Do you know how to please Him? It is so simple – total surrender. Yep, it’s that easy. You may say Carl, that’s not so easy. Sure, it is. You just have to die to your own selfish desires and follow Him. Can you do that? You can through Him.

Lord, thank You for not trying to confuse me with new rules for living. I know what You expect. Help me live it daily.

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SPIRITUAL SHOES

1 JOHN 2:6

“the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

Have you ever said I ought to get around to that or I ought to do that? What does “ought” mean? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that? The Greek word here for “ought” actually came from a legal term. It means not just someone’s legal and economic obligations but also their moral obligations to something.

So, look at this verse again. If someone says he abides or remains in Christ, he is obligated to walk as He walked. “Ought” is also in the Present tense, which means he needs to be doing it constantly. Well, Carl, that sounds good, but it’s not possible. Sure it is, if you let Him do the walking. Let Him walk through you.

APPLICATION

Have your children gotten your shoes out and tried to walk in them? Well, here is a perfect way to illustrate this verse. Ask them to get a pair of your shoes and walk across the floor. Then ask them to run across the floor. Not so easy for them, is it. Even if your kids are a little older, the shoes just don’t fit.

Now, you put on the shoes and walk and run across the floor. Why is it easier for you? Because the shoes fit. Explain to them how we can only walk like Jesus if we are wearing the right size shoes spiritually. We have to wear His shoes. We have to walk like He walked. We can’t rely on our own spiritual shoes. They just don’t fit.

I bet you have tried to walk in your own spiritual shoes, haven’t you? I bet you have tried to live the Christian life based on your own strength and wisdom. How has that worked for you? Stumbled a bit? I bet. I sure do. I think I can run on my own and fall flat on my face. Just walk with Him. In fact, you “ought” to.

Lord, I know if I remain in You, You will help me walk. Hold my hand, hold me up as we walk this life together.

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ARE YOU PERFECT?

1 JOHN 2:5

“but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:”

Contrary to popular opinion, I have never been accused of being perfect. I didn’t have perfect attendance in school (never really wanted to, lol). I didn’t make a perfect score on the SAT (not even close). And I don’t have perfect pitch. So, you can see, I am far from perfect. Please, no comments from the peanut gallery.

But I am perfect in God’s eyes. Now, I don’t mean I am sinless. I mean I am perfectly forgiven. I am perfectly covered by the blood of Christ. I am perfect and complete because of Him. I strive to keep His word. John says if I do that the love of God has been perfected in me. Wow!

APPLICATION

Do you have a perfect child? If you are one of those helicopter parents (you know the type that hovers over their kids), you may think so. I hate to bust your bubble, but there is no such thing as a perfect child. Don’t believe me? Let’s put it to a test.

Challenge your child this week to be perfect. They can make no mistakes on any tests in schools. They can’t forget to do any of their chores (without reminders). They can’t say one wrong thing to you or their siblings. How long do you think they will last? One day? Two? Three? My guess is one day. It’s just not possible.

But oh, don’t leave it there. Show them this verse. There is only one way to perfection – through God’s love. Our children who strive for perfection need to know that. Our children who could care less about perfection need to know that. You need to know that. He perfects. Only He perfects you.

Perfect One, perfect me today. Pour out Your amazing love on me. Help me keep Your Word close.

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WALK THE TALK

1 JOHN 2:4

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;”

When I was in high school, I played football. I loved the game. I loved hitting people. I know that sounds bad, but on the field it was great. One thing I learned about football. Don’t let your mouth get in front of your action. If you said you could take out the other player, then you had better do it. You had to earn the right to run your mouth.

Now, before you think I’m some awful guy, that’s just part of the game. You have to get inside your opponent’s head. John is pointing out something for us today in this verse. Those who say they are a Christian but live differently are just trying to get in our heads. They are trying to convince us their lifestyle of Christianity is okay. We have to stick to the Word. They must keep His commandments.

APPLICATION

Our children can get easily confused today by watching how the world defines their love for God. Marriage has been “redefined” contrary to biblical standards. People live one way all week but profess allegiance to Christ on Sundays. This can confuse little ones. Heck, it can confuse adults as well.

Oh, please listen to this, if you forget everything else. You, as mom and dad, have to live consistent. They have to see you living out the Christ life daily. If you say one thing and do another, you are not discipling your children well. The old saying Do as I say, not as I do, is not a good one to follow. Walk the talk.

How are you walking? Does it match your talk? Are you singing praises to the Father on Sundays and living praises to the devil? Ouch! Did that hurt? Did that offend? Well, good. It is the Father’s desire to be with you daily. He doesn’t take days off from you. You shouldn’t take days off from Him, either.

Lord, help me consistent in my walk. I never want my actions to cause someone else to stumble.

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