Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Confession, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Guilt, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony

UNDENIABLE

HOSEA 13:12

The guilt of Ephraim is wrapped up; his sin is stored up.”

You have probably heard the expression “Be sure your sins will find you out.” It’s true! Sooner or later (and later could be eternity), our sins will be exposed. Without divulging my sins to you, I can assure you that has been true in my life. Times when I thought my indiscretions were hidden proved to be false hopes. They always emerge and hopefully lead to confession.

Ephraim could not hide their sins against a holy God. The guilt of their sins was wrapped tight around them. They could not escape. It is interesting that the Hebrew word for “guilt” here is avon. It can mean guilt and iniquity, but it can also mean the punishment of iniquity. Their sins had bound them tightly. They could not deny their guilt.

APPLICATION

Are you guilty? Guilt is a tiresome thing. When we feel guilty, we can’t be confident in anything we do. We feel unworthy and even ashamed. As believers we aren’t meant to walk around with guilt. Our sins are forgiven. We need to walk in victory. Satan loves to keep us feeling “less than” so he can have his way with us.

Don’t fall for it. When you sin (and you will), confess that as soon as you can. Immediately go to Jesus and tell Him all about it. We shouldn’t be seeking out sin. That’s not right either. But when we fall, we get back up, dust ourselves off and go to the altar. When we are all confessed up, the guilt melts away. We walk in freedom.

I like that feeling. I can still remember going to the little prayer room we had at my home church in Pelham. It was always open, and I would slip in there quite often to spend time in prayer. After an extended time in prayer, confessing my sins, I would walk out feeling like I had just taken a shower. I felt clean and refreshed. If you haven’t done that lately, may I encourage you  to spend some extra time in prayer. You won’t regret it.

I walk in victory today, Lord, because of Your shed blood. I am guilt free because of You.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Judgment, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

GOD REMEMBERS

HOSEA 9:9

“They are deeply depraved as in the days of Gibeah; He will remember their guilt, He will punish their sins.”

My memory isn’t what it used to be. I have gone through chemotherapy a couple of times and now suffer with what is known as “chemobrain.” Some people don’t think that is real, but believe me, it is. I have to make a lot of lists now to get things done. I want to remember things but can’t.

God, however, remembers our sins. Hosea says so right here in today’s verse. He couldn’t forget the sins of Israel because they hadn’t repented. Their unconfessed sins were before Him. He had to hold them accountable. Hosea says “He will punish their sins.” They is true for us, unless…

APPLICATION

When we come to Jesus and admit we are sinners, when we confess those sins and ask for forgiveness, God forgives them. And not only does He forgive them, He choses to forget them. They are remembered no more. Psalm 103: says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Isn’t that incredible? The God of the universe choses to remove our sins from us and from His recollection. Our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus. He remembers our sins no more because of His Son. They are wiped away. Isn’t that worth sharing? Isn’t that something that the lost need to hear?

You and I can walk in freedom from sin because of the power of His forgiveness. I don’t have to feel guilty from past sins. I can walk in power over sin because of His Spirit who lives within me. I am no longer under the threat of damnation because of the shed blood of the Lamb. That is shouting ground. Amen?

I am so thankful for Your forgetfulness, Father. You have washed me clean by the blood of the Lamb, Your Son, Jesus Christ.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Commands, Confession, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Godliness, Holiness, Innocent, Inspirational, Obedience, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

INNOCENT

HOSEA 8:5

“He has rejected your calf, Samaria, saying, ‘My anger burns against them!’ How long will they be incapable of innocence?”

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is when Moses had gone up on the mountain to receive the ten commandments. While he was gone the people approached Aaron and demanded an idol to represent the god who led them out of Egypt. Aaron gathers their gold and forms the golden calf. When Moses returns, Aaron claims he just threw the gold into the fire and the calf came out.

In today’s verse, Hosea reminds them of this idolatry. God is angry. They continue to sin. They refuse to repent. He says they are incapable of innocence. Don’t forget the decades and decades of pagan worship. Don’t forget how they had turned their backs on the true God, the one who had led them out of slavery and into the promised land.

APPLICATION

But before you start judging the Israelites, look at your own faith walk. You may not have a golden calf in your living room that you bow down to each day, but are you innocent? I bet not (neither am I, by the way). None of us are. But the Lord calls us to be holy as He is. That is only possible as we bow before Him.

As believers, God’s wrath is satisfied. We don’t have to fear His wrath anymore. However, God is not pleased with our sinful behaviors. When we don’t stay “confessed up,” it affects our relationship with our Lord. He cries out to us, “Return to me.” That’s when we need to fall to our knees, confess our sins, receive His mercy and rise to walk in newness of life.

I don’t want to be accused of a lack of innocence. I want to be bold in my approach to our Lord. I want to come into His presence knowing I am living, to the best of my ability, a holy life, transformed by His Word. I want to hear those words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Don’t you?

I know I am declared innocent only because of the blood of Christ. Help me live to honor You.

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Accountability, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blameless, Bondslaves, Busyness, Choices, Cleansing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Faith, Following, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture

NETTED

HOSEA 7:12

When they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like the birds of the sky. I will discipline them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly.

I have never used a net to catch birds, but I have used a cast net to catch fish. There’s quite an art to it. You need to know how to fold it in your hands and swing it just right to cause the net to open as it hits the water. Otherwise, you just have a mess of a net in a wad in the water. When you throw it correctly, you have the potential to catch some bait fish to use later.

The Lord has cast His net over the dove mentioned in verse 11. Ephraim may have thought they could escape capture and judgment just like a dove to quickly fly off and escape. But the Lord’s net it sure. He knows exactly how to throw it. His cast is always perfect. He would hold them down to earth to face the consequences of their sins.

APPLICATION

Oh, be sure, my brothers and sisters, you will not escape the wrath of God. Unless we all turn to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will all face His wrath. We will pay for our sins. We have no excuse. We can’t claim ignorance. We can’t say we were too busy and meant to get to it. No! We will face judgment one day.

But thanks be to God, He has provided a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13) for us. All we have to do is turn to Jesus, admit we are a sinner, believe He is the Son of God who died on that cruel cross for us, was buried and rose again. Then we confess our sins and ask for His shed blood to cover them. Then God extends His loving arms to us and grants us forgiveness and gives us the faith to live obediently to Him.

You have a choice today. You can be a netted dove, caught in your sins, awaiting judgment or you can be set free by the blood of Jesus. Which is it? I am so thankful I am free. I am free to live a life dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life is in His hands. I am secure and protected. What a feeling. I feel just like that dove soaring high in the sky, knowing I am protected by my loving Father. How about you?

I am free because of Jesus’ blood. Thank You, Lord, for cutting loose the net that bound me to my sins.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Satan, Scripture

SINLESS?

1 JOHN 3:6

“No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.”

Have you ever known anyone who didn’t make a mistake? You’ve never heard them say, I’m sorry. You’ve never seen them ask anyone for forgiveness. In fact, if you ask them, they would tell you that they are always right. Now, we know that’s not possible. We all make mistakes, sooner or later. No one is perfect.

If you read this verse without digging deeper, you might think John is saying you can’t ever sin again. If you do, it means you’re not a believer. No! That is not what John is saying. The word “sins” is in the Present tense. That means it’s an ongoing lifestyle. You make a habit of sinning. And the words “seen” and “knows” are in the Perfect tense which means it happened in the past with lasting results. Seeing Him and knowing Him changes you forever. You no longer desire those sinful behaviors.

APPLICATION

How do you teach this concept to children? Well, just ask your kids if they have ever messed up. Ask them if they have ever been disobedient to you. Explain to them that just because they disobey you, they doesn’t mean they are not your child. Nothing can change that. Their birth into your family (Perfect tense) has lasting results – they are forever in your family.

But how about that “sin” thing? Well, John said in the verse that if you “abide” in Jesus you would not sin, you would not practice sin, you would not make sin your lifestyle. I tell the kids I teach that before we are saved, we chase sin. After we are saved, sin chases us.

What are you practicing – sinful living or godly living? That will pretty much determine whose family you are in. Satan loves to keep us in his family. He will even let us think we are in God’s family. He doesn’t care if we claim to be a believer as long as we don’t live like it. Ask yourself who you are bringing glory to – Jesus or the devil.

I want to walk in holiness with You, Jesus. Order my steps so that I always bring You glory.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commitment, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Self-control, Sincerity, Testimony

PROMISE MADE – PROMISE KEPT

1 JOHN 2:25


“This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.”

Don’t you hate it when someone makes a promise and doesn’t keep it? It’s frustrating and inconsiderate. I have not always been good at that. Honesty time here. I have made promises I have not kept. Sometimes that was due to things outside of my control. Other times…well…I just didn’t follow through with what I promised I would do. For that I am sorry. I have confessed that and have asked for forgiveness from God and those whom I have offended.

But John tell us today of the sure promise made by God – eternal life. The Greek word here for “promise” refers to a legal term that means an officially sanctioned promise. It’s not some off the cuff, last minute promise. No, this is thought out and guaranteed. In fact, almost every promise mentioned in the New Testament points back to a promise made in the Old Testament. God is a God of His Word.

APPLICATION

Have you ever made a promise to your child and failed to follow through? Hands please? Yep, we’ve all done that. Now, the hard question. Have you asked your child’s forgiveness? What? Me ask my child to forgive me? Yep, that’s exactly what I mean. We must do that. They need to see forgiveness asked for and given modeled by us.

Better yet – don’t make promises you know you can’t keep. We are prone to do that sometimes just to get our kids to cooperate. Bad idea. Read them today’s verse. Explain how God always keeps His promises and that you want to be more like Him. They will understand and appreciate that.

Is there someone you need to go to and ask forgiveness for not keeping your promise? Do that today. It may be something small to you, but it could be huge to them. Recognizing your failure to follow through is the first step, but you have to go the next step and make it right. Rest in the fact that God will never have to come to you and ask you to forgive Him for failing you. He never will.

Lord, thank You for being so sure. Your Word means just what it says. You will never fail me.

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Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holiness, Love, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Perfection, Promises, Scripture

ARE YOU PERFECT?

1 JOHN 2:5

“but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:”

Contrary to popular opinion, I have never been accused of being perfect. I didn’t have perfect attendance in school (never really wanted to, lol). I didn’t make a perfect score on the SAT (not even close). And I don’t have perfect pitch. So, you can see, I am far from perfect. Please, no comments from the peanut gallery.

But I am perfect in God’s eyes. Now, I don’t mean I am sinless. I mean I am perfectly forgiven. I am perfectly covered by the blood of Christ. I am perfect and complete because of Him. I strive to keep His word. John says if I do that the love of God has been perfected in me. Wow!

APPLICATION

Do you have a perfect child? If you are one of those helicopter parents (you know the type that hovers over their kids), you may think so. I hate to bust your bubble, but there is no such thing as a perfect child. Don’t believe me? Let’s put it to a test.

Challenge your child this week to be perfect. They can make no mistakes on any tests in schools. They can’t forget to do any of their chores (without reminders). They can’t say one wrong thing to you or their siblings. How long do you think they will last? One day? Two? Three? My guess is one day. It’s just not possible.

But oh, don’t leave it there. Show them this verse. There is only one way to perfection – through God’s love. Our children who strive for perfection need to know that. Our children who could care less about perfection need to know that. You need to know that. He perfects. Only He perfects you.

Perfect One, perfect me today. Pour out Your amazing love on me. Help me keep Your Word close.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Cleansing, Confession, Forgiveness, Lies, Modeling, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture, Testimony

FOOLISH THINKING

1 JOHN 1:10

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”

Have you every denied something, but you knew there might be a possibility that you could have done it? I have. I could have forgotten about it. That happens. But there are some denials that are just absolute. I can honestly say I have never given birth to a baby. There is just no way that is possible.

There’s something you can’t see in the English translation of this verse. It’s in the little word “not.” You see, there are two Greek words for “no” or “not.” There’s the one here, ou, and there’s the other one, me. Here’s the difference. Me is a qualified negative, whereas ou is the absolute negative. John is saying if you absolutely deny you have sinned, you are calling God a liar who has said that all men sin.

APPLICATION

Unless your children are floating along on clouds with little harps like cherubs, they have probably lied about something. They have probably denied their involvement in a fight with their sibling. They may deny eating those cookies you were saving for later. Children don’t want to get caught. So, they will lie or deny to get out of it.

The next time they do, read this verse. Their actions are no different than anyone else’s who try to portray themselves as above error. Honesty is always the best policy. Admission of guilt and confession of sin leads to forgiveness. That always feels good. That always restores fellowship.

Are you guilty of denying your sins? We tend to want to blame others for our failures. It is never our fault. Just confess them to your Father. He stands ready to forgive. Remember – denying your sin makes God a liar, which you and I both know is just not true.

Forgive me, Lord, for denying my sins. Cleanse me and set me straight. I want to honor You.

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DO YOU LIE?

1 JOHN 1:6

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;” 

Boy, John doesn’t pull any punches here. He speaks pretty plainly. If we say one thing, but do the other, we lie. Wow! That should make you examine your life. So many people in the church today are doing that. They pretend to have fellowship with God, they say all the “right” things, but their private life is in the darkness.

Those lies will come out sooner or later. We may know they are lying, but they will answer to God, not us. We do have the responsibility to confront our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is the loving thing to do, but we can’t make them correct their behavior.

APPLICATION

Now, this is a practical application for our children. They can’t say one thing and do another. We can’t allow them to get away with such behavior. Why? Because it leads to a lifestyle of wrong decisions. Accountability is important. We are not just raising children. We are raising child raisers.

So, what do we do? We teach them how to walk in light and not darkness. We do what we say. We live at home like we say we do at church. We treat our family better than we treat the Pastor. We read God’s Word daily at home and not just in church.

Are you walking in light or darkness? Are you pretending? Examine your life. Make sure you are truly having fellowship with the Father. He wants you to be truthful and consistent. Make sure your walk reflects your talk.

Oh Lord, I want my walk to be seen as truthful. Keep me in the light.

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ARE YOU SINCERE?

2 PETER 3:1

“This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,” 

Peter is winding down his second letter to the scattered believers throughout Asia Minor by “stirring up” their “sincere mind.” I read those words and wondered what he meant by that. Didn’t you? The Greek word for “stirring up” was used back in 2 Peter 1:13. It means to wake up, to rouse from sleep.

But I want to look at the Greek word for “sincere.” It means to be rightly judged in the light. Back in the days this epistle was written, you could go to the market and buy a clay pot for your home. But a smart shopper would hold that pot up to the light to make sure there were no cracks in it that had been filled by wax. If that was the case, when you poured a hot liquid in it, it would begin to leak. Our minds must have no cracks in it. It must be sincere and easily judged by The Light.

APPLICATION

This would be a fun experiment at home with your kids. Buy two identical little clay pots. Break one of them and carefully put it back together with candle wax, not glue. Once it is firm again, pour some boiling water into both pots. Let them sit and watch what happens. Over time, the one sealed with the wax will begin to leak. It may even fall apart.

What a lesson for our kids. Our minds must be sincere and pure in regards to Christ. If we allow anything else to take root, cracks begin to develop. We can try to seal those cracks with our justifications and explanations, but those cracks still remain. Leaks will happen. We will break down.

How sincere is your mind? Are there “cracks” in it? So, the question is how do you prevent those cracks from happening? By staying in the Word. By spending time in prayer. By shunning those things which draw you to your flesh. It’s not that complicated. Just surrender daily. Allow the Lord to point the way.

O God, I don’t want any cracks in my mind. I want a sincere and pure mind focused only on You.

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