Advice, Career, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Passion, Purity, Sanctification, Surrender, Witnessing

DO YOU USE PEOPLE?

1 THESSALONIANS 4:6 

and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.   

There was a song in the 70’s that talked about using things and loving people, rather than loving things and using people. Which are you? Pau is warning us in this verse not to take advantage of or step over others. This was especially true in the context of this verse – sexual immorality. Sexual sin always hurts others. 

In our daily lives as Christians we should never do anything that hurts another person, whether they are believers or not. Our goal should always be to bring them along the path to righteousness, to point them to Christ. If we are “using” them, we are not doing that.  

APPLICATION 

Children can get into this habit of manipulation of people if we don’t guide them. Your little Susie will see how other girls get boys to like them. Of course, she wants to fit in with her girlfriends, so she learns to “use” the boys to get what she wants. 

Your Johnny may see girls as just a conquest. He hears the other guys talking and wants to play the same game. Listen to me, Mom and Dad. You must teach your children this truth. Everyone is loved by God and is precious to Him. He longs for each and every one of them to come to Him. Our job is to teach our children to see them as brothers and sisters in Christ or as potential “family members.” 

Are you guilty of transgression against your brother or sister? Have you defrauded or stepped over someone? Confess that as sin and ask the Lord to help you make it right. As the verse says, “the Lord is the avenger in all these things.” You certainly don’t want the Lord avenging your wrong against them. Make it right today. 

If I have wronged someone today, Lord, please forgive me. Give me the opportunity to go to them and make it right. I truly want to be a witness for You. 

Standard
Advice, Career, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Passion, Sanctification, Surrender, Witnessing

ARE YOU PASSIONATE?

1 THESSALONIANS 4:5 

not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;  

I will never forget telling my son to pursue his passion, in regards to choosing a career. Passion is a good thing, if focused on the right thing. That’s why I find it so interesting that Paul used these two words, “lustful passion” here in this verse. Every word used by any of the authors of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), so these words were not an accident. 

“Passion” literally means to eagerly desire and want something. It can be good or bad. I have an intense passion for God’s Word. That’s good. But “lustful” is where we get the word  “pathology.” It’s only used three times in Scripture, and all three times it’s bad.  It refers to a lust or desire not from God. THAT’S what Paul is warning against. 

APPLICATION 

I bet your little Johnny or Susie have a passion for something. If it lines up with God’s Word, encourage it. If it doesn’t, squash it now. Seriously! Don’t let an unhealthy passion for something fester in your child’s life. It will only bring sorrow and pain down the road. 

As Christian parents, we want to encourage our children to pursue those healthy passions. We don’t want them chasing ungodly passions, like the world. Just as Paul warned the Thessalonians, we need to be alert to our children’s passion.  

What are you pursuing today? How would God classify your passions? Are they lustful (not godly) or pure and healthy (godly)? It’s easy to figure that out. Just ask Him. He’ll tell you. If it brings Him glory, go for it. If it only brings you satisfaction and attention, you had better look closer. 

My desire, O God, is to desire only You. My heart yearns for a deeper knowledge of You and a more intimate relationship. Show me how to pursue that passion and give You the glory. 

Standard
Advice, Career, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Praise, Sanctification, Surrender, Thanksgiving

IT’S NOT COMPLICATED

1 THESSALONIANS 4:4 

“that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,”  

Don’t read too much into this verse. It’s pretty simple. Not too complicated. Paul is telling us to control our bodies. As Christians, the Thessalonians needed to be reminded that even their bodies were a reflection of Christ. The same goes for us today. So, what does that mean? 

It does NOT mean that we get obsessed with exercise. While that is good and necessary, this earthen vessel is just that – an earthen vessel. It is going to get old and broken. We can’t stop the aging process. But we can honor God by how we treat it. Our body is deserving of sanctification and honor because it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Shouldn’t He live in a nice place? 

APPLICATION 

Take your children on a ride to the part of town where the houses are run down and in need of repair. Then take them to a newer neighborhood and show them some new homes. You are not trying to say anything about the people who live there. You are just looking at the structures. 

Ask them which house they would want to live in? I am sure they will pick the new house. Explain to them how their bodies, if they are believers, is like that. We must care for our bodies since it is where the Holy Spirit lives, and it’s the very thing that people see about us.  We all get sick and may get diseases. We are not referring to that. But we must do all we can to let our “vessels” honor the Lord.  

Okay! Here comes the hard question. How is your vessel looking? God loves you no matter what your body type. But He desires us to honor Him with what He has given us. Abusing our bodies dishonors the Lord. Abusing our vessels may make it unusable to the Lord. Keep yourself ready for the journey. You never know where He may ask you to go. 

Lord, I want to be used by You. Help me discipline my body to be prepared for whatever task You have for me. I thank You that You have given me the strength to serve. 

Standard
Advice, Career, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Surrender, Thanksgiving

BE SANCTIFIED

1 THESSALONIANS 4:3 

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 

Just what does this mean? Be sanctified! How is that possible? How can we possibly be sanctified? In this verse Paul tells the Thessalonians to keep themselves pure, to protect their bodies and to flee from immorality. Remember they are in a pagan city surrounded by idol worship that usually involved sexual practices. Enough about that! You get the picture. 

But Paul is saying “Run from that stuff!” However, they need to run to God. He is the only One who sanctifies. We can’t sanctify ourselves. When we surrender to Him and to His Will, then He can begin the sanctification process. He can make us holy, just like Him, if we allow Him to work in and through us. 

APPLICATION 

Now, how do you explain sanctification to your children? Well, sanctification means you are looking more and more like Jesus. Have you ever seen a picture of a child whose face was aged to look older? The program projects what the child would look like in 10, 20 or 30 years. This would be a fun thing to do with your child. 

Then read this verse and explain that the Lord knows EXACTLY what they are going to look like. More importantly, He knows how close they can look like Him if they surrender to Him. Ask your child if they want to be like Jesus (they probably don’t want to look like Him with the beard and long hair, lol). I bet they will want to BE like Him. Your job starts right there. You can help them make good choices while they are young, so they will know how to do that as the age. 

How are you doing with your own sanctification? Are you fleeing from immorality? We may not have pagan temples around us, but we sure have the lures of this world that can rob us of being sanctified. Will you surrender to Him today and allow Him to work on you? 

Lord, sanctify me today. Take my life and make it Yours. I want to look just You. 

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Surrender

THIS CAME FROM THE TOP

1 THESSALONIANS 4:2 

For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 

In the years I have served in ministry, there have been multiple times I had to pass on a directive to my employees that had come from my boss. His instructions to me were meant to be passed on to all the employees, not just me. If I had kept that directive to myself and not passed it on, I would have caused my employees to be disobedient without even knowing it. 

Paul was simply a conduit of these commandments to the Thessalonians. He had an obligation to pass them on. They had to be informed of the Lord’s requirements for righteousness. And of course, because they came from the Lord, Paul had the authority to dispense them in His name. 

APPLICATION 

Do you remember when you were young when one of your siblings said, “Daddy said…”? If Daddy said it, you had better do it, right? It wasn’t because the message was delivered by a sibling. No! It had come from the top. What a great way to teach your children. 

The next time you need to deliver a message of instruction to one of your children, ask one of your other children to deliver it for you with those words “Daddy said” or “Mommy said.” Then follow up the message to explain this verse and apply it to our walk with Christ. Christ delivered the message from the Father. The message came from the top. 

Are you a message listener or a message denier? Do you only respond to the message if it comes from the person who initiated it? Sometimes the Lord will put others in your life to bring you a message from the Lord. Listen and check it with Scripture. God just may want you to listen to that command which came from the top. 

Father, I know You send commandments to me through Your Word. I know also You can use my Pastor, spouse or best friend to deliver Your truth to me. Help me to be observant and ready to comply 

Standard
Advice, Alone, Career, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Parenting, Surrender, Witnessing

JUST WALK

1 THESSALONIANS 4:1 

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.  

My granddaughter just learned to walk. One week she’s crawling and pulling up to stuff and the next…she’s off to the races. She looked so funny trying to get her balance and take those steps. And she looked so different standing upright, rather than crawling. Her walking changed the way she looked and acted. 

Hmmmm! That might just apply to us. Think about it. How we walk with Christ affects how we appear to others. How balanced we are in our strides can either influence others to follow us or run from us. Our walk does affect others, whether we want to admit it or not. 

APPLICATION 

Do you remember the hours you spent teaching your little Elrod or Gertrude to walk? Holding their little hands as they took their first steps. Following close behind in case they stumbled. Picking them up and drying the tears when they fell. All of those are part of helping them learn to walk. You wouldn’t have dreamed of letting them do it all on their own. 

It’s the same way with their walk in Christ. We have to hold their hand, guard against stumbles and pick them up and dry the tears when they fail. The difference between learning to physically walk and spiritually walk is eternal. Their spiritual walk will determine where they spend eternity.  

How are you doing as a parent in guiding your child’s walk? How is your walk? Paul is imploring us to walk and please God, just as he was encouraging the Thessalonians. Does your walk please God? If not, change course or change strides. Just walk to please Him. 

Walking with You, Lord, is a pleasant thing. Sometimes You take me on paths I don’t want to go, but I trust You. I will surrender to You today and allow You to point out the way. 

Standard
Advice, Career, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Parenting, Surrender, Uncategorized, Witnessing

SUPER GLUED


1 THESSALONIANS 3:13

“so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”

That may sound silly – super glued! But I love that stuff. When something needs to be held tight and not move, pull out the super glue. Just make sure you have it set in the right place, because once the glue is applied, it’s not moving.

That’s the meaning behind the word “establish” in today’s verse. God will super glue your heart “without blame in holiness.” Of course, everything God does is eternal. He doesn’t mess around with temporal stuff. So, if He establishes your heart, He intends it to last for eternity.

APPLICATION

How do you apply this verse to yourself and your family? God can only establish your heart if it is yielded to Him. He won’t force you. As bad as you want your children to follow Christ, it is only possible if they surrender to Him. 

Our job as parents is to prepare our children’s hearts to be established by the Lord. That means we are consistently teaching them God’s Word. We know it won’t come back void. We are consistently teaching them to pray, so when the Holy Spirit draws them to surrender, they will know His voice. 

Have you fully, and I mean fully, surrendered your heart to Him? Does He have it all? If you are holding back, He can’t establish you as blameless or in holiness. If we insist of handling part of our heart ourselves, it will not be secure. Allow the Lord today to have it all.  He can handle it. He can secure it.

You are the Maker of my heart, therefore, You are the only one who can establish it. Thank You, Lord, for super glueing my heart today.

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Parenting, Thanksgiving, Witnessing

MORE THAN ENOUGH


1 THESSALONIANS 3:12

“and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;” 

Paul is making a wish here – that the Thessalonians would increase and abound in love. Now, even though this was a wish he hoped to see come true, it was a pretty, sure wish. Paul had confidence that they would do just what he hoped. Why? Because he knew their love first hand. He had experienced  their love. He knew they were quite capable.

These two words, “increase” and “abound,” mean very similar things. They can both mean more than enough, overflowing or abundant. Paul was simply trying to overemphasize the point to them. But it is important to remember that they could only “overflow” what was in them. This love came from an unending source – God.

APPLICATION

Tell me this – do you ever run out of love for your children? Of course, not. And let me tell you, it’s even more true with your grandchildren. I have four (as of this writing), and the love I have for them just gets stronger each day. I don’t have that capacity in myself. Any love I feel for anyone comes from the love the Father has shown me.

I want to challenge you to let that love you have for family extend to your church family, to your neighbors and even to strangers. Teach your children to love abundantly. Teach them to overflow with love. Show them what that looks like, not just to them but with others. 

If you will commit to love like that, you will experience an even deeper love of the Father. I know the Lord is well pleased when we love well. When He sees His love poured out on others through us, He smiles. After all, He still uses us to spread His Word and His love on this earth.

God of love, thank You for using me to love others. Help me to love those whom I find it hard to love. You can love them through me.

Standard
Advice, Career, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Disciplemaking, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Parenting, Suffering

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?


1 THESSALONIANS 3:11

11Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; 

You must excuse me, but I love word studies. I love to look up different words in Scripture to see what the etymology of the word is and where else it is used in the Scriptures. This verse is no exception. I had to look up the word “direct.” I found something interesting.

It is only used three times – right here, in Luke 1:79 and 2 Thessalonians 3:5. It means to direct without any deviations, to go straight to a destination. What is really interesting is in these three verses where it is used, it is directing three different things, but they must go together.  In today’s verse it directs our way. In Luke it directs our feet, and in 2 Thessalonians it directs our heart. If your heart is directed correctly, your feet will take you the right way.

APPLICATION

I bet you use a GPS when you travel. Most of us do today. It’s hard to find a road map anymore. With those you could contemplate different routes to your destination. Now, all you have to do is punch in the address, and your route is mapped for you.

The next time you travel with your family, get one of your children to set the GPS. Get them to direct your family to its destination. Then talk about this verse. Just as they just put in the address to take you to your final destination, God has punched in our eternal destination. He wants us to take the path He has chosen. But just like the GPS, when we stray, He will reroute us in order to get us back on the path.

Where are you going? Is your heart right? If it is, your feet will follow. Then and only then can you stay on the right path. Following God’s path does NOT guarantee the smoothest roads. Sometimes He takes us on bumpy roads. Sometimes He takes the scenic route. But the final destination will be worth it all.

You are in control of my life path, Lord. I give You control of mapping it out for me. I may complain from time to time when I don’t understand the route, but I will trust You.

Standard
Advice, Career, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Parenting, Witnessing

I‘M NOT DONE WITH YOU YET


1 THESSALONIANS 3:10

“as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?”

Paul’s training of the Thessalonians wasn’t done yet. He had so much more to teach them. That’s why he longed to see them again. He wasn’t just desiring fellowship. He wanted more time to complete his teaching, so they could walk with Christ with more confidence.

I love to teach. Being able to share what the Lord has taught me gives me joy. I understand Paul’s heart here. When someone sends me a note or tells me after I get through teaching that they learned something new, that just blesses my heart. Not because I taught – NO! Because the Holy Spirit spoke through me.

APPLICATION

When do you get through teaching your children? Never! I learned from dad up until the day he died. In the last few years of his life I asked him for advice. I pray I can continue to advise my son and daughter as they get older. But I know any wisdom I impart is not mine. It all comes from the Lord.

But I also learn from my children. Don’t you? Think about a time when your child has said or done something which gave you a new insight into something. Encourage your child when that happens. Tell them that they just helped mommy or daddy to learn something new. 

Is there someone in your life right now to whom you go for advice? Does someone seek you out for advice? Advice is just advice unless it is bathed in prayer and is centered upon His Word. As you receive or give it make sure that is your source. That kind of advice will last for a lifetime.

You are the perfect advisor, God. Your words are always right. Your advice is holy and righteous. I can always trust it.

Standard