Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Parenting, Rescue, Safety

THE LORD RESCUES

2 TIMOTHY 3:11

“persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!”

Have you ever been rescued? We hear stories all the time of people being trapped in cars or on mountains who were rescued in just the nick of time. They are usually inspiring stories of survival and seemingly miraculous intervention by first responders or perhaps total strangers. Either way, rescues excite us.

Look at today’s verse as a supernatural rescue. Paul is reminding Timothy of all his narrow escapes. He knows it was the Lord who rescued him in all those situations. The Greek word for “rescue” goes beyond just snatching someone from danger. It means to snatch them away and INTO the arms of the rescuer. Now that is a beautiful picture. Paul knew he was safe, even now in this last imprisonment as he writes Timothy.

APPLICATION

Playing chase with our kids and grandkids can teach lessons, did you know that?  Our youngest granddaughter loves to play chase. She wants me or her Mimi to hold her while the other one pretends to chase and scare her. When they do, she just giggles and squeals and holds on tight to the one who is holding her. We are her safe spot.

As she gets older and this game wanes, it will be replaced, hopefully, with other ways she shows her safe feelings with us. We, as parents and grandparents, need to make sure our kids feel safe. But as safe as they are with us, that doesn’t do anything for them eternally. Our spiritual obligation is to ensure their safe with Jesus. When He snatches them to safety, they are secure forever. That’s a real rescue.

Are you rescued? Whom are you leading to rescue? All around you and me today people are dying without hope. They may not be stranded on a mountain side waiting for a helicopter nor in a raging river waiting for a lifeboat. They may be your neighbor quietly going through life unaware of their need for a Savior. But they need rescued. You can be the one who throws the life vest. Be watchful and pray.

Open my eyes, Lord, to those around me in need of rescue. Sometimes they are hard to spot, and I want to be ready to respond. Thank You for rescuing me.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Perseverance, Testimony

FOLLOW THE RIGHT LEADER

2 TIMOTHY 3:10

“Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,”

That may sound simplistic. “Of course, Carl, I wouldn’t follow the wrong one.” Okay, okay. But sometimes we can be misled. Leaders say things to get people to follow. And if we are listening and watching carefully, we can begin to follow someone who does not match up to the principles God has for us in His Word.

Paul commended Timothy for following him back in his first letter to him (1 Timothy 4:6) and here he does it again. Timothy had thoroughly investigated Paul’s teachings and life. That’s what the Greek word for “followed” means. He was convinced of Paul’s mission and message and could follow it himself. Paul had proven to be someone worth emulating and following.

APPLICATION

Who will your children follow? What habits, quirks, and lifestyles do you want them imitating? We have the unique opportunities as parents to daily plant those messages in our children. As we live out a surrendered life to Christ, they see that in us. When they watch us respond in life’s crises, they learn to trust God. As they see us and hear us read His Word and pray, they see the value in growing their personal faith.

But we can’t be perfect in front of our children all the time, can we? We blow it. We blow it with them. We blow it with others. And they see that too. However, these can be the best teaching times. When they can see us repent and ask for forgiveness, it shows them our trust in a graceful and merciful Father. That’s a lesson they need to learn early and that will carry them through their life.

Are you a Paul worth following? Is there a Timothy out there who needs you? If you are a believer in Jesus, you have the responsibility to lead others to Him. Why wouldn’t you want to? Why hoard the most precious gift to yourself. Share the wisdom the Lord gives you. Share the love He pours out on you. Be a right leader. There are many who will follow.

I am humbled at the privilege to lead. Help me lead only towards You and may You get all the glory!

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Foolishness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Testimony

FOOLISH THINKING

2 TIMOTHY 3:9

“But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.”

I find it rather curious how this Greek word for “folly” is used here. It is only used one other time in the New Testament and that is in Luke 6:11 when the religious leaders “lose their minds in rage” when Jesus heals the man with then withered hand on the Sabbath. Then we have the same word used here to describe Jannes and Jambres. They must have been quite a pair to observe in Pharaoh’s court.

The point is this – foolishness is not hard to spot. When someone gets so upset they can’t think straight, that is folly. Have you ever been that upset about something? Before reacting, stop, count to ten (or twenty or thirty), pray, then speak or do something. In this day of electronic communication, write the text, but then delete it.

APPLICATION

Wow! This is important to teach our children. Holding their tongues and keeping their heads is so important. Some kids are naturally wired that way and it takes a lot to get them to respond. Others, well, let’s just say they are ready for a fight if the shoe drops just right. Those are the ones we need to drill this into. Foolishness never accomplishes anything. Foolish words, foolish deeds, foolish thoughts – none of them.

And no one wants to be thought of as or called a fool. So, how do you prevent that? By being more like Christ. Christ is as anti-fool as it is possible to be. He never loses His mind. He never says words He wishes He could take back. He never did something that He shouldn’t. Teach your children to think and act like Jesus and they will never be foolish.

We all get tempted to “act the fool” sometimes. But I have found if I am bathing myself in prayer and in His Word, those moments are fewer and fewer. If I let myself just self-contemplate, I can get “foolish.” I let my rationale and wisdom get in the way. I have no wisdom outside of Christ. He is my fool guard. How about you?

Father of all wisdom, guard me from folly. Keep my eyes on your purpose and calling on my life. I praise You!

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Lies, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony, Truth

FAKERS

2 TIMOTHY 3:8

“Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.”

Just who are these two guys. They are mentioned nowhere else in the Bible. We are pretty sure these two men were the two lead magicians who opposed Moses in front of Pharaoh. There is a lot of Jewish literature that names them, and it would be normal for their names to have been preserved in ancient texts.

But why mention them here. Paul is saying that just as these two tried to fake the truth of Moses’ miracles to free the slaves, these people Paul is warning Timothy about were faking the truth of the gospel and pretending to have an equal claim to apostleship and power. There are still people around today who will do the same. Beware!

APPLICATION

Now, people won’t normally come up to you or your child and say, “I have the power of God. Listen to me.” That would be too obvious. We teach our children about stranger danger. If someone approaches them and claims mom or dad sent them to pick them up, what should they do? That’s right, run! The same holds true here.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are hearing “another” gospel that doesn’t quite match up to the truth of the gospel, run! Teach your kids that the moment the shift happens from all glory pointing to Jesus towards another person or object (church, event, etc.), run! Fakers fake because we fall for it. Fakers fake because we are not diligent to check them out.

Let me ask you a hard question. Are you a faker? Do you pretend to be walking in the truth but are actually living a lie? Stop right now and make that right. Set your feet on the firm foundation of God’s Word and never turn again. And be mindful of the other fakers around you trying to lure you into chasing things that are false and just don’t matter. Life is way too short to chase rabbits spiritually.

Give me Your eyes, Lord, so I can spot the fakers. You only stand for truth. That is all I desire.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Conceit, Contentment, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Satan, Scripture, Surrender, Truth

TOO SMART TO LEARN

2 TIMOTHY 3:7

“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

There are two different Greek words for “learning” and “knowledge.” In English we commonly equate the two. But not in the Greek. The word “learning” refers to fact knowledge or book sense. “Knowledge” is an intensified word for experiential knowledge. In other words, these people have the knowledge to do what it is right but have chosen to do it their way, refusing the truth that stares them in the face.

I bet you have NEVER done that, lol. How many times have you done something you knew was wrong, thinking this time it won’t be so bad? You had the head knowledge, but you refused the truth of the situation and forged ahead, only to pay the price later. So, don’t be too quick to judge these people Paul is referring to here. I believe Paul knew these people he is referring to. We just don’t have their names. When you get out of line, don’t you want God to call your name?

APPLICATION

When I was little, my brother and I would save our money and buy model cars and ships. We spent hours gluing and painting, only in the end blowing them up with M80’s. What fun! But I hated the instructions. My brother, Tim, he followed them. For some reason, his models were always more stable and looked more like the box.

We teach our kids to follow the instructions (God’s Word) for a reason. We will have to apply them. When we do, God carries us through. But when we allow our children to make up their own rules and ignore truth, things get sloppy. They stop looking like the rest of the world and insist their normal is normal. A return to the pure instruction manual is the only remedy for our children and the children of the world.

Do you follow or make it up as you go along? Being in Children’s Ministry, I can’t “wing it.” Kids know it when you are winging it. They will bring down the house. Satan knows when you are winging it. He will bring all he can against you to try to make you miserable and unfit for ministry. Don’t let him. Cling to the truth. With it, you are able and to have the knowledge.

I only know what is useful to the kingdom or me because of You, Lord. I celebrate the freedom we have in Jesus to think, but also under constraint.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Cowardice, Deception, Demons, Direction, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, Family, Fighting, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Satan

PREDATORS

2 TIMOTHY 3:6

“For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,”

The first word that came to mind when I read this verse was “predator.” A predator is someone or something that preys on a weaker species. They take advantage of their weaknesses and use them to their advantage. That’s what these people Paul is describing in chapter 3 do. They only think of self, of satisfying their own appetites. They have no regard for the emotional, physical or spiritual well-being of anyone else. So, they leave a wake of human tragedy behind them.

You need to know that the Greek word for “enter” here means to creep in. It doesn’t mean to knock and announce yourself. These people don’t do that. They are sneaky. And then they take you captive. You are led away as if you are a defeated enemy captured in war. But don’t be fooled. It is war.

APPLICATION

Oh, this is a fun verse to act out with your children. Have you ever played “Battle” or “War” with your kids? You’ve got to take the time to do this. You will need to get some more players and set up some battle lines, but trust me, it will be worth the effort. Kids love acting out scenarios. And when we can teach a Biblical truth at the same time – Bam!

Choose sides and start the war with the goal of capturing the other team’s flag at their headquarters. People miss the fact that stealth, covert (sneaky) tactics are usually much more effective than blatant frontal assaults. Once the game is over, talk about that and apply this verse. Satan is on the attack against us every day. The difference is the game you just played is temporal. Satan is playing an eternal game.

Are you prepared to defend yourself against the onslaught of the devil or his minions? Don’t just look for the obvious. Watch for the subtle things that distract you. Keep a look out for the things that don’t quite match up with the truth you’ve been taught. Above all, hold to your battle plan – follow the Master.

Lord, I will follow You in the deepest, darkest battle line knowing You will never lead me where You do not want me to go. And whatever comes my way in the battle, I will give You all the glory.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Family, Godliness, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Religion, Testimony

BUT I’M RELIGIOUS

2 TIMOTHY 3:5

“holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”

Have you ever known someone who was very religious, but also very ungodly? They keep all the holidays and are careful to do all the “right” things, but their daily life shows no sign of Jesus at all. These people relish the idea of following religious principles, but when it comes to treating people like Jesus would, they fall way short.

Religion allows us to work out something. We can achieve religion. We can count our points until we think we have measured up. Oh, but we are missing it by doing that. It’s all about surrender, not what we do. Paul is once again warning Timothy to be careful of those who seem so religious. Watch their motives. Watch their actions. The truth will come out.

APPLICATION

Moms and dads, don’t make your children religious. Teach them to be faithful. Religion is just something we can say we are a part of, like a club. But our faith…well…that’s the real thing. I was told once that Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. Do you want your children to have a relationship with Christ? Then teach them your faith, not your religion.

For your children to discover the real power of Christ in their life, they will have to understand this difference. Between you and other godly adults in their life living this out, they will see it. Real faith is lived out daily in our relationships. We allow the Lord to speak through us, love through us, disagree through us, just do life through us. But all of it reflects Jesus. Your kids will get that.

Are you religious or godly? Stop trying to please the Father by what you are doing. He loves you unconditionally and wants an intimate relationship with you. He doesn’t really care if you have perfect attendance at church if you are treating your family like dirt. He doesn’t care how much you give to the church if you are also cheating on your taxes. Relationships matter and the most important one in your life today is with the God of the universe who sent His Son to die for you. Embrace Him.

I love You, Lord. I want to know You more. I want that deep, intimate, personal relationship that only comes by spending time with You.

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IT’S HERE

I cannot believe it’s here! Book 1 of the 3 Volumes (volumes 2-3 to follow in 2020). God orchestrated this and used AMG Publishers (Steve, Amanda, Ebony, Rick, others) to make it happen. Can’t wait to see how the Lord will use this in the lives of families.
I will have books available at Woodland Park beginning Sunday, November 3. Would make a great Christmas gift for a family. Price is $14.99.
Or you can order through amgpublishers.com, amazon books, Christian Book Distributors or Lifeway. Just search for the title or author.
To God be the Glory!

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Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Friends, Love, Parenting

WRONG LOVE

2 TIMOTHY 3:4

“treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,”

It is so easy to love the wrong things sometimes. It seems innocent enough and doesn’t really harm anyone else, or does it? The last phrase of today’s verse hit me hard – “rather than lovers of God.” I thought to myself, “Carl, what do you love more than God?” Of course, my first answer is nothing, but where do I spend my time and energy. Who or what do I rush to during the day?

We can be quick to criticize and judge these individuals Paul is describing to Timothy. They seem like horrible people. But we are just the same. We tend to love pleasure more than God. If we had to choose suffering for Jesus versus a cruise, what do you think we would choose. The phrase “lovers of God” is actually one Greek word only used right here. And the word for “love” is not agape, the word most associated with God’s love. It’s philos, which is a dearly, beloved friendship love. I like that.

APPLICATION

Does your child have friends that are true friends. Help your child make a list of all their friends. Next to each name have them write down why they are their friend. This may take some time, so be patient. I am sure each friend has their unique characteristics that have drawn your child to them.

Then ask your child if any of the friends will be around in five years, ten years, or twenty years. That’s hard to say, right? But we have a friend in Christ. We are to be “lovers of God.” God desires that deep, intimate relationship with us that lasts, not just for this lifetime, but for eternity. All the friends in the world could not make up for this one friendship.

Who or what are you loving? If you have as a priority anything besides God, you need to check out your love meter. Now, we can love a lot of things at the same time. That’s true. But nothing, and I mean nothing, should have a bigger share of our love than our heavenly Father. Will you refresh your love for Him today?

Lover of my soul, I praise You. You are always there. You never leave me or desert me. I am thankful for Your love in my life.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Conceit, Disciplemaking, Family, Forgiveness, Gentleness, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Passion, Scripture, Testimony

NOT A NICE PERSON

2 TIMOTHY 3:3

“unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,”

Paul is describing those who are not lovers of God. These words paint a picture of a not very nice person. And (at least to me) it’s interesting that four of these six words in today’s verse are only used right here. Remember, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write only what the Father wanted him to write. So, these words were saved for right here.

The saddest word of this verse is the first one, “unloving.” It refers to not having any kind of natural affection. Actually, it can describe family affection. So, these people don’t even love their own families. Now, that’s sad. Who doesn’t love their momma? Who doesn’t love their little sis? But these individuals only think of self, no one else.

APPLICATION

Go through this list of words in today’s verse with your little ones. Ask them how they can do the opposite. Instead of not loving their family, how can they show love? Instead of being irreconcilable and hard to get along with, how can they get along? You can go through each of these words this way. Your children will understand, if you will take the time to cover each word.

The important thing to point out is these words in today’s verse describe someone who does not love Jesus. We want to draw a sharp contrast, as Paul does, of the difference in our lives. Everything we teach our children should point them to Christ. There is no aspect of their life in which He is not concerned.

How loving are you today? How agreeable? Do you control your tongue and behaviors? Would someone call you brutal? Take a look at the descriptors used to describe you by others. If any of them resemble these, you may need to have a “come to Jesus” meeting with yourself. We want others to only see Jesus in us. Amen?

I am so guilty, O God, of putting myself ahead of others. Forgive me for being so selfish. I repent of that today.

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