Advice, Anxiety, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Double-minded, Doubts, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Trust, Truth

OF THE TRUTH

1 JOHN 3:19

“We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him”

Have you ever had doubts? I mean, really had doubts about something? You think you know what the truth is, but something just keeps bugging you. You can’t seem to put your finger on it. Doubt is a worrying thing, isn’t it? No one wants to feel unsure of themselves. At least, I don’t. I want to be assured that my actions and beliefs are grounded on something solid.

John is telling us here in this verse that we can be assured. How? By relying on the truths of God’s Word. Nothing else is certain. He says it “will assure our heart before Him.” What does that mean? The word “assure” means to be persuaded. But not just any persuasion. It means the Lord persuades the believer to be confident in His preferred-will. It involves obedience, but it is the result of God’s persuasion.

APPLICATION

Have you taught your kids to jump in the water to you? How did you do that? Did you stand way out in the pool or lake and tell them to just run and jump? Of course, not. You did it slowly. You stepped just away from them and had them jump into your arms. Then you backed away a little more, until they were literally diving out into your arms.

You had to persuade them to trust you. The Lord knows the same is true for us as we learn to trust Him. He wants us to teach our children these small truths of trust. As our children learn to trust the Lord in little things, they will begin to trust Him with bigger things. Of course, the biggest thing we trust Him with is our salvation. And if we can trust Him with that, why can’t we trust Him with the other stuff?

What are you holding back from God? What are you not trusting Him with? Let me ask you a question. Are you persuaded that you are in His will right now? Hmmm? The Lord doesn’t want you unstable or unsure in your ways. Lean on Him. Trust Him to guide you in all your days. He will!

Father, forgive me of my doubts. Reassure me today that You are guiding and protecting me. I will trust You! 

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Advocate, Anxiety, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Devil, Encouragement, Fighting, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Surrender

GUARD YOURSELF

1 JOHN 3:7

“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;”

When I was in Jr. High and High school, I played football (American football). I always loved the game. But there was one drill I didn’t care too much for. It was called “Bull in the Woods.” Let me explain it. One person would be put in the center of a ring of other players who were numbered off. The coach would then call a number and the player with that number would run toward the guy in the center and hit him. So, your job in the middle was turn and face that player and take on the hit.

The problem began when the coach would call multiple numbers, especially if they were from opposite sides of the circle. It became impossible to face every attack. They would eventually wear you down. That’s exactly what Satan does. He keeps coming at you from all directions. John is saying in today’s verse to be watchful for those attacks. Remember Jesus has your back.

APPLICATION

You can play this out with your kids. Try this twist on it. Get some pool noodles or something soft and get around one of your children. Blindfold them so they can’t see you. Give them a pool noodle to defend themselves and give everyone else one as well.  Then let the fun begin. Now, keep it safe. No head shots and no jabbing with the noodle. If someone starts hitting too hard, stop the game.

Explain to them after everyone has had a turn how Satan does the same to us. Unless we keep our eyes on Jesus and our minds focused on His Word, we are just as defenseless as they were in the game. Ask them how it felt not seeing where the next “strike” might come from. It can be scary. But praise be to God, we have no reason to fear. Jesus is the one who guards and protects us. We just have to surrender.

Are you tired of swinging your pool noodle at an invisible foe? Stop swinging and start living under Jesus. Let Him be the one who defends you. He is more than capable. We think we can handle it, but we can’t. Satan is too crafty. He can outfox any of us by ourself. But he is no match for Jesus.

Lord, I trust You in my battles. I will stand with You and trust You to defend me.

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Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Foundation, Holiness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Submission, Surrender

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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Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Courage, Direction, Double-minded, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

DOUBLE-MINDED

2 PETER 2:16

“but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.”

You may wonder where I got the title for today’s verse. Well, it comes directly from the definition of the Greek word for “rebuke.” This particular word is only used right here in 2 Peter 2:16. It means the kind of conviction that rebukes the sin of double-mindedness.

So, what does “double-mindedness” mean? Maybe that is best answered by James 1:5-8. “5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

APPLICATION

In today’s verse, Peter is referring to Balaam and how he wavered in his thinking. Do you ever waver in your thinking? Do you go back and forth? As the Bible says, let your yes be yes and your no be no (James 5:12). That’s a principle easily taught to our children by our modeling that behavior. Don’t go back and forth with a decision with your children. Make a decision and stick to it. They learn from that.

Oh, and most important – if you are married, make sure you and your spouse agree on this. Children can be masters of manipulation. They can play one of you against the other. Be of one mind. That can be difficult if you and your spouse aren’t agreeing. But for the sake of the children, you must come together.

Do you suffer from double-mindedness? Do you find it difficult to settle your decisions? You know the Lord is not the author of confusion. He does not want you going through life second guessing yourself or Him. There comes a point when you have to decide and move forward. It may be a difficult decision. Trust Him with the decision. You trust Him with your salvation, right?

Lord, I will seek Your face before making any decision and then trust You to carry me through. I do not want to be like Balaam and suffer from double-mindedness.

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Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Surrender

LET HIM HAVE IT

1 PETER 5:7

“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

This verse is quoted a lot. People need to know this profound truth from God’s Word. But let’s make sure they understand it. Did you know the Greek word translated “casting” is only used one other time? It is when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt. The people cast their coats on the road for Him to ride upon.

Now think about that image and apply it to this verse. If we could cast all our anxieties at the feet of Jesus, He would just walk all over them and reduce them to dust. He would crush them. Why? Because He cares for us. He doesn’t want us anxious. He wants us to rest in Him.

APPLICATION

I am sure your child has been anxious before. Maybe a thunderstorm has made them anxious. Perhaps something else scared them. It could be that big test that is coming up. We need to spend time teaching our children to cast those on Jesus. Make it visual for them.

Have them write down on pieces of paper all the things that make them anxious. Then write “Jesus” on the side of a box. Have them crumple up those pieces of paper and throw them into the box. The next time they get anxious, have them do it again.

Have you cast your anxieties on Jesus? If you are like most people, you probably are carrying them around. Put that stuff down. You can’t handle that load, but Jesus can. He can shoulder everything you’ve got. You just have to trust Him. If you can trust Him with your eternity, can’t you trust Him with your anxieties?

I will let You have them all, Lord. When I am feeling anxious, I will turn to you. Thank You!

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