Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, Fear, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

NO FEAR

1 JOHN 4:18

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

What scares you? Do you have fears about things? Maybe heights scare you. Maybe it’s spiders or snakes. It’s not unusual to have some fears. Even Superman was scared of kryptonite, right? So, what is John talking about here?

Listen, if you are in Christ, you have the love of Christ dwelling within you. That love is perfect and drives out any fear of judgment from the Father. You are secure in Christ. There is no reason to be “scared” of being punished by God at the final judgment. Your sins are forgiven. You will be spending eternity with Him. That’s what John is talking about.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever feared you? Maybe they did something bad and knew they were going to be disciplined. They knew the rules but broke them anyway. They knew there could be consequences if caught but took the risk. Now, they are facing them. Fear is creeping in. They may even try to hide.

What an opportunity God has given you to teach this verse. You still have to be consistent with your discipline, but you have the chance to adjust that some for this purpose. Start out with how much you love them. Ask them if they believe that. Ask them if they think anything they can do could ever make you stop loving them. Tell them you never want them to fear you. You want them to be able to come to you with anything, good or bad. Your love is unconditional because your love is a reflection of God’s love for us. That’s your model for love, and they need to know that.

We should always be pointing our children and others to the love of God. His love is perfect and does cast out all fear. This is probably one of my favorite verses. I love knowing that I have no reason to fear God. Don’t get me wrong. I have an awe and respect of God. But I am not scared of Him. Why? Because of my security in Christ. I pray you have that as well.

Thank You for the love that casts out all fear. I am perfected through Your love.

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Advocate, Bible, Confidence, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

CONFIDENCE

1 JOHN 4:17

“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.”

I like being around confident people. Their confidence makes me more confident. I had a football coach in Junior High School who was like that. He was always positive and upbeat. He wasn’t the greatest coach, but his confidence was infectious. It made us better players. We played hard for him because he made us more confident.

The Greek word here for “confidence” means to be bold, to speak with resolve, to be remembered. That’s it! We have boldness. We live in such a way that we will be remembered. And John says we will be confident “in the day of judgment.” I know that I know that I know I am in Christ, so I do not fear judgment. My sins are forgiven.

APPLICATION

Don’t you want confident children? A father I meet with regularly was speaking about one of his young sons recently. He was concerned that he was “too whiny.” We talked about that. We both agreed that he needs more time with him than perhaps his other kids. He needs to build more confidence in him now at an early age so he won’t be whiny and complaining as a teen or young man.

The best way to build confidence in our kids, of course, is leading them to a saving knowledge of Christ. Even before they make that decision, we need to be pouring Jesus all over them. We need to reassure them of His love for them. We need to remind them over and over that He will fight for them. We want them to have that confidence in the day of judgment knowing that their sins have been washed away and they can stand boldly before the throne of God, not because of anything they have done, but because of Jesus.

What is your confidence in? I pray it is not in your own abilities or talents. Those can be lost so quickly. I pray it’s not in your position or career. That too can be snatched away. Is your confidence in Christ? He is the only sure thing. He is always there. He will always be with you, no matter what you face. He has to be your confidence.

I am confident in You, Lord. I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep me until that day.

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

DONE DEAL

1 JOHN 4:16

“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

Have you ever had to live with a decision you made in the past that was affecting you now? Maybe you got a tattoo on a whim that, shall we say, was questionable. Now, you have that tattoo the rest of your life. It’s permanent. I have a friend who went through months of laser treatment to try to remove some tattoos he got years ago. Expensive!

Why do I bring that up? Because the two verbs used in the first part of this verse (“come to know” and “have believed”) are in the Perfect tense. Now, I know that blesses your heart. Listen. The Perfect tense refers to past action that has lasting results (like the tatoo illustration). Our past action of knowing and believing results in abiding. How cool is that?

APPLICATION

Kids don’t necessarily understand this permanent situation with decisions. Has your child ever required stitches and been left with a scar? Maybe you have. Talk about that. What caused that scar? Did they make a decision to do something that resulted in that injury? Sometimes those are caused by risky behavior. Their actions caused a lasting reminder.

Then, take them to today’s verse. Ask them if they know and believe. They may quickly say “yes,” but ask them to explain how they know they know. How do they know they believe? Show them the results. God abides in them, and they love others. That’s the proof.

Do you know? Do you believe? If so, love! Don’t miss the opportunity to show others the proof of your abiding in Christ. We have to be Jesus to the world. How else are they going to hear? God still uses people. Will you allow Him to use you? And be thankful that your knowledge of God and your belief in God has lasting results. Just don’t get that tattoo, lol.

I am so grateful I know You, Lord. My belief in You is solid. And I am so thankful that You in abide in me and I abide in You.

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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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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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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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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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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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