Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, Labor, Obedience, Parenting, Patience


2 TIMOTHY 2:6 

The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 

I didn’t grow up on a farm, but my hometown was an agricultural based economy. Farmers around my community depended on local businesses and banks to extend the credit to plant their crops each year. The local businesses and banks depended on the farmers for their business. One really couldn’t exist without the other. I’ve seen my hometown struggle without the big farms over the last few decades. 

So, when I read this verse, I understood exactly what Paul was saying. A farmer depended on his crops for three things. He had to feed his family. He had to have seed for next year. And he had to sell the crops to pay back his debt. But I also know those farmers depended on the Lord to grow their crops. They knew He was the one who provided the rain and nutrients for their success. 


How do you apply this verse to your children? Well, look at the verse again. Paul is telling us that labor precedes reward. The farmer has to plant, tend to and harvest his crops before he can enjoy the fruits of his labor. That’s a lesson worth teaching our children. So many kids expect reward before labor.  

That’s why I believe children should have chores at home. Some chores are just part of being in the family. Cleaning their room, helping with the dishes and taking out the trash do not have to be rewarded with allowance. Now, that’s your call. But going beyond the everyday stuff should be rewarded. How much is also your call. They will learn that labor comes before reward. 

Do you expect something for nothing? Do you enjoy your labor as well as the fruits of your labor? I believe it was Mark Twain who said if you love what you do for a living, you will never work a day in your life. If you labor as unto the Lord, you will love the opportunity the Lord has given you to provide for yourself and your family. Dedicate your “crops” to the Lord today. 

Lord, You are the one who blesses my labor. I will give You today my hands and feet with which I labor. Make them strong so that I can be a blessing to those who depend on me. 

Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Crowns, Encouragement, Obedience, Parenting, Victors


2 TIMOTHY 2:5 

Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 

I have a niece named Stephanie. Her name comes from the Greek word here for “win the prize.” You could translate that phrase as “he is not crowned the victor.” By the way, Stephanie wears her crown well. She lives to please the Lord and has a great ministry with her husband who is a pastor. 

In the Greek culture, athletes were crowned with a wreath to signify they were the victor. But just like this verse said, they had to compete according to the rules. If they cheated, it didn’t count. It still doesn’t. We must compete (follow the Lord’s commands) according to the rule. 


Rules, rules, rules! I know most kids hate them. But rules are meant to be followed, not broken. If you want your children to be victors in life, teach them now to compete according to the rules. God honors rule followers, not rule breakers. 

Now wait, it’s not about the rules. It’s about following the rule maker. He establishes rules to guide us safely, not handcuff us. That is so important to teach your kids. Rules are their safety net. Don’t touch hot things is a good rule. Don’t play in the street – another good one. God’s commands are the same. They are there to protect and guide. Teach your child to trust them – no, trust Him. 

Are you a rule breaker? You see a rule and try to figure out a way to work around it. Really? Or maybe you are such a ruler follower that you forget about the rule maker. NO! He is the reason. He wants to crown you victor! 

Father, You are the one who shows me how to run the race well. I want to be obedient, not so much for the crown, but to pleas You. I lay any crowns I receive at Your feet. 

Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Eternity, God's Will, Obedience, Parenting, Service, Soldiers


2 TIMOTHY 2:4 

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 

In the United States we have a 100% volunteer military. Gone are the days of forced enlistment. You probably know someone who was drafted into the military. But that doesn’t happen now. You have to enlist yourself.  

The phrase “enlisted him as a soldier” is one Greek word that is only used here in 2 Timothy. It literally means to choose an army. God chooses us, but just like the “no draft” policy of the United States military, He doesn’t force us. We have to sign ourselves up. That’s why Paul is warning us to not get entangled with useless stuff. We have a higher calling – to serve our Lord. 


Kids love to choose sides in a game. There are captains chosen, and then they proceed to pick sides. Your child may be the captain, the first pick or the last. That may seem trivial to you, but it’s not to them. Getting picked last can be devastating for a child. Has your child ever come home in tears because of that?  

Here’s a chance to impart God’s Word to them. Read today’s verse to them. Show them God doesn’t have “last picks.” Everyone He chooses is His first pick. We are all in His army. Worrying about getting picked last is one of those everyday entanglements Paul is warning against. It has no eternal value. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It is a meaningless distraction. 

How do you handle not getting picked first? Is peer recognition more important to you than acknowledging God’s enlistment? Rest in the fact that the Lord has chosen you. He loves you and wants to use you to advance His kingdom. Will you be careful to stay untangled? Stay free of temporal distractions and be prepared to “soldier up.” 

Lord, I am amazed that You chose me! I only deserve condemnation, but through the blood of Jesus I am set free to serve You. 

Bible, Bosses, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Grace, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Soldiers, Surrender


2 TIMOTHY 2:3 

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 

The Greek word for “soldier” is used twenty times in the New Testament, each time referring to a Roman soldier except in today’s verse. This is the only time the word is used to describe a soldier for Christ. I think that is pretty important. Unlike other soldiers who are taught to kill and destroy the enemy, the soldier of Christ is told to “suffer hardship.” Hmmm. 

Soldiering is hard. Being a Christian soldier is no different. We are called to follow orders. Whose orders? Of our Commander and Chief, Jesus Christ. A soldier responds without questioning the orders. If He says do it, we do it. It’s that simple. 


Let me ask you something, Mom and Dad. Do you expect your children to follow your directions? Or do you let them decide how to run their own lives? If you expect obedience and they don’t respond correctly, what happens? There are consequences, right? As there should be. 

Teaching our children to follow our directions and guidance is important not just because they are under our authority. We are teaching them this principle for life. Submission to authority is key to life. Those children who do not learn this at an early age will struggle with those God places over them in authority. Soldiering is hard, remember? 

Do you have your soldier boots on? Are you ready to march wherever the Lord leads? Or are you questioning His commands? We all want to enlist in the army of Christ, but most of us don’t want to follow His commands. We will read His Word and ignore the passages we don’t like. Just obey. He will never lead you where His grace cannot cover you. 

You are my Commander in Chief. I will follow wherever You lead. I am ready to suffer with You. 

Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Family, Friends, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Passion, Scripture, Witnessing


2 TIMOTHY 2:2 

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 

I’ve got a picture somewhere of five generations of my family. The picture includes my great grandmother Butler, my grandmother Willis, my dad, myself and my son. That’s rare today. I need to find that picture, lol. I am blessed to say that all five generations knew or know Jesus as their personal Savior. 

Today’s verse talks about generations. This verse means a lot to me. In fact, it’s my passion. Discipling other men is what drives me. It obviously was to Paul too. What you see here is Paul telling Timothy to keep passing the torch. Paul had mentored Timothy, and now he tells him to find faithful men to mentor himself who will also mentor others. Four generations of spiritual reproduction! 


Our children are the key to this generational hand off. If we do not teach our children the Word of God and instill in them the necessity to train their children, then the torch gets extinguished. The church is always only one generation away from extinction. Each successive generation must embrace and pass on their faith. 

Now I know God is bigger than us, but He still uses people to accomplish His will on earth. Don’t you want your children to be a part of His plan to reach all mankind with the Gospel? Well, it starts with you and then your children. They have to teach their children who will teach their children. Pass it along. 

Whom are you discipling or mentoring today? No one? Listen, dear brother and sister, you have to begin. God has given you the greatest gift. You must pass it on. Find someone you can invest in for eternity. There is no higher calling. 

Thank You, Lord, for sending people into my life to mentor me. Help me be as attentive to others around me who need to be mentored. 

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Family, Grace, Parenting


2 TIMOTHY 2:1 

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 

One of the more familiar verses that uses the Greek word for “be strong” is Philippians 4:13. Do you know that verse? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Today’s verse doesn’t say the exact same thing, but it’s pretty close. Paul knows the source of strength lies with Christ. He is the only one who can strengthen us for the journey of faith. 

The Greek word here means to impart ability, to empower. The interesting thing about the word is it ends in –ooBig deal, right? Well, it kind of is. That places the emphasis on the result of the action of this verb rather than on the action itself. Don’t you love the results? The result of Christ’s strengthening us is we have the ability to do whatever He asks us. 


Suppose your child really has been wanting that new video game. It’s one you can approve of and you love your child, so you give them the money. That gift empowers them to buy it. The result of the gift is the ability to purchase. That’s not a perfect analogy, but you get the picture. 

We want our children to understand that the power of Christ is available to us. He strengthens us so we can honor Him. He strengthens us so we can empower others. He strengthens us so we can walk this walk of faith confidently.  

Do you feel strong? If you are relying on another source of strength, you had better stop. It will not sustain you. It can’t. It’s not eternal. Only Jesus can sustain you. Only His empowering can give you exactly what you need to live each day. Be strong, my brother. Be strong, my sister. 

I thank You, Lord, for strengthening me for the journey. I want to stay tapped into Your power and might. I know You empower me for a purpose. 

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Glory, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Service


2 TIMOTHY 1:18 

the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus. 

Onesiphorus was a servant. How do I know that? By this verse. Paul continues to describe this saint by reminding Timothy how Onesiphorus served so willingly in Ephesus. The phrase “services he rendered” is one Greek word that literally means to wait tables. And the form of the verb means he did this himself. He wasn’t forced to do it.  

Whom are you willing to serve? Do you pick and choose whom you will serve so that they notice? That’s not what Paul is describing here. True service is serving for the joy of serving. When you willingly serve, you do it for the joy of the Lord. After all, it is He who gets all the glory for it. 


Okay, I have to let you off the hook today (kind of). You can’t teach this kind of service to your kids. You can’t make them want to serve. That comes from within. However, you can model this behavior for them with the hopes they will want to do it. True service is a heart thing. The desire only comes after encountering the King of kings and Lord of lords. 

Oh, the joy of watching our children serve. You can always tell when they are doing it out of love. The smile gives it away. When your child sees you smiling as you serve, they notice that. You can be doing the most mundane thing, but when you do it willingly and sacrificially, you can’t help but smile. 

Has the Lord burdened your heart to serve? Perhaps He has asked you a hard one. The person He is directing you to serve is someone you don’t like. That really doesn’t matter. Do it any way. God is the one you are honoring. He is the one who will get all the glory.  

I may not want to serve today, but Lord I choose to serve because of Your love for me. I choose to serve in order to show others. I choose to serve to honor You. 

Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Friends, God's Will, Parenting, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony, Witnessing


2 TIMOTHY 1:17 

but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me— 

Have you ever done a search for something? Of course, you have. It may have been your keys, your wallet, your purse, or, heaven forbid, your child. Sometimes the search can get frantic. You get nervous and run around like you are crazy. All you can think about is that lost item. 

Onesiphorus didn’t just look for Paul. He “eagerly searched” for him. This particular, Greek word for “eagerly” only occurs three times (Luke 7:4, here and Titus 3:13. It means to act speedingly or diligently. He didn’t waste any time. At this time, Paul was in his last imprisonment. Perhaps Onesiphorus knew time was short. He wanted to get to Paul before it was too late. 


I hate to sound like an alarmist, but time is short. We need to be searching for as many people as we can to bring them the Gospel. There is no time to waste. And as we are doing that, we need to be teaching our children to do the same. People, just like Paul, are in prison – the prison of sin. They are in chains.  

Just like Onesiphorus, we are to bring comfort and not be ashamed of those we reach out to. Is there someone in your family or your neighborhood for whom you are praying to receive Christ? Take your children with you to share the Gospel. Invite them over to dinner so they can see your family living out the Christ life.  But whatever you, don’t do nothing. 

Who reached out to you? Do you remember? Do you recall the joy you felt at hearing the good news for the first time? Don’t hold that to yourself. Seek out those around you are chained to sin with no hope of escape. Free them with the Gospel. 

Father God, You are the one who sends us to the lost. Show me whom You would have me go after. Give me the opportunity to to just be Jesus. 

Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Friends, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture


2 TIMOTHY 1:16 

The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 

Quick! You wake up in jail with your best friend. What is the first four words out of your mouth? Mine would be, “What did you do?” LOL. Seriously, do you have friends who would stick with you through tough times like Paul. Undoubtedly, Onesiphorus was one of those kinds of friends. He showed love to Paul when others may have shunned him. 

Paul didn’t forget that. He makes a point to mention him by name in this letter to Timothy. Do you think Onesiphorus ever thought his actions for Paul would land him in God’s Word for eternity? I bet not. He just loved Paul and did what the Lord told him to do. Shouldn’t we do the same? 


I have mentioned the importance of teaching our children how to be good friends several times in my devotional blogs. It seems the Word brings that up from time to time. Why is that important? Because we can’t do this life alone. Our children need to be a friend to others as much as they need friends in their life.  

There is not much sadder than a child with no friends. You can’t create them for them, but you can create the environment where they can develop friendships with others. Invite neighbors over for dinner. Allow them to have sleepovers. Get to know their friends’ parents. Friends can be friends forever, especially those of the household of faith. 

Whom do you have in your life right now that you can call for anything at any time? We all need that. I pray you have someone that close who would drop everything to come running in your time of need. Are you that kind of friend yourself? Be an Onesiphorus. Think about others. 

O Lord, thank You for those in my life whom are a Onesiphorus. I praise You for putting them in my life to help me walk this path of faith. I need them. 

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Holy Spirit, Lies, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Trust


2 TIMOTHY 1:15 

You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 

The only thing we know of Phygelus and Hermogenes is right here. All we know is they turned away from Paul. These were men who had seemingly embraced the Gospel, but then decided to go back to the world. How sad? To have it all and spurn it! 

There are many who make attempts at religion, only to find that religion doesn’t work. It takes too much effort. Even in the first century Christian church, individuals were faking it. It’s no wonder the church today is still full of people pretending to have faith. Times may change, but people remain the same. 


So, what’s the lesson for our children in this verse? Remember, every single word of Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit. That means even this seemingly unimportant verse about two men is God’s Word.  I believe the lesson for us is to ensure our faith is real and that we are walking with Christ. 

Why else would Paul mention these two men to Timothy. We need to warn our children that there will be those, even in the church, who will pretend to be believers. Some do it for themselves, while others do it to manipulate and deceive. How do our children guard against this? Simple! Walk with Jesus. He will reveal those individuals to them through the discernment of the Holy Spirit. 

Aren’t you grateful the Spirit speaks to you as you encounter individuals? Have you ever just known someone instantly because of your kindred spirits in Christ? That same Spirit speaks to us to warn us of danger. But we must listen. Trust the Spirit to show you who walks with you in your faith journey.  

O God, You are the revealer of all things. Show me those who would be worthy travel companions on my road to eternity. Protect me from those who would like to deceive me and take advantage of others.