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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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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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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DO NOT BE ASHAMED

1 PETER 4:16

“but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”

I love these words from Peter. Why? Because sometimes when we suffer, we are made to feel ashamed, like we’ve done something wrong. When we suffer for living for Christ, we have nothing to be ashamed of. When we suffer for loving someone who has fallen into sin, we have nothing to be ashamed of. The devil wants us to feel shame. The Lord never does.

Now, let me explain that. The Lord does convict us, as believers, when we fall into sin. He wants us to know we have done wrong and need to repent. But He never shames us. He never wants us to feel unworthy. Guilt from sinful behavior is not the same as shame. Remember that.

APPLICATION

If you can’t see the application for our kids from this verse, you need to stop reading my devotions (just kidding, don’t do that, lol). Seriously, kids are so easily shamed. Their friends can shame them for doing the right thing. Society can shame them for bad behaviors. Shame should have no place in our kids’ lives.

Are you guilty of saying Shame on you when your kids misbehave? Lose that vocabulary. Never shame your kids. By all means, they need to be told when they do wrong, but don’t shame them. And when they are shamed by others for pleasing the Lord, you build them up and support them.

Live for Jesus no matter what others may say about you. When they try to shame you for living right, keep on living right. When they shame you for standing up for God’s principles, keep on standing. Do not feel ashamed of Jesus.

I will not be ashamed. I will be true to You, O Lord. I stand proud of knowing You and living for You.

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WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

1 PETER 4:15

“Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler”

When you read this verse, you are probably quick to say Well, I don’t do any of those things! Oh really? Sure, you may not be a murderer, but are you sure about the others? Thieves steal more than others’ possessions. They steal time from their employers. They take the towels from hotels. Yep, that’s stealing. And how about evildoers? That’s described as someone who makes trouble. Have you ever done that? Peter is the only one who uses this Greek word in the NT. He must have had some people in mind.

And finally, the one category we are probably all guilty of from time to time – troublesome meddler. That is someone who won’t mind their own business. That too is wrong. We all try to justify this, don’t we? We only want to help. But we need to simply stay out of things that don’t involve us, unless the Lord is specifically directing us.

APPLICATION

Boy, these are things our children should know. They all need to understand the ramifications of such things. Peter says to make sure we don’t suffer for doing these things. That implies they are worthy of punishment. We don’t want to see our kids suffer. So, we have in instill in them the mind of Christ.

If we do that, they will not be murderers, evildoers, thieves and meddlers. Christ would have never done any of those things. Point them to Jesus in all their actions. When you see your son or daughter “dabble” in these directions, quickly and swiftly correct them. Hold them accountable at the earliest age. You can’t start correcting these behaviors when they are older.

You are responsible for your actions. There’s no two ways about it. Our society today wants to excuse people’s actions. People are always hollering victimization. Listen, brother and sister, Christ died so that we would never see ourselves that way. Choose wisely. Choose godly.

Father, help me choose to do the right things and avoid the evil things. I know I am guilty too often of wanting my way.

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THAT WAS ME?

1 PETER 4:3

“For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.”

So many of us lived lives described here by Peter. Now, you may not have done all these things, but a life without Jesus is a life wasted. A life without Jesus is filled with all sorts of sinful behaviors. You don’t have to be a drunken mess to be considered lost. Just living without Jesus qualifies you for that.

The good news is that can all be in the past. Peter says that. He says “for the time already past is sufficient.” We tend to hold on to the guilt of our previous sinful lives. We use it as an excuse. Our sins are forgiven. They don’t shape our future. We are secure in Christ.

APPLICATION

Your children need to learn this truth, and you are the key to that. How many times have you “reminded” your children of past behaviors? When our children mess up (and they will) and we deal with, let it go. Too many parents continue to pound on their child by constantly bringing up those past failures.

We, as parents, should be a mirror image of God’s forgiveness of us. How many times has God forgiven you? Don’t answer that, lol. But more importantly, how many times has God thrown your past in your face? Let me answer for you. Zero! That’s the image our children need of us and God.

Have you let your past go? Have you forgiven the past sins of a loved one? Remember all the Lord has done for you and reflect that on others. God will be pleased as you do as He does. Is this easy? Of course, not. God will give you the wisdom and discernment to do as He requires.

Father, it is not easy to forgive myself or others. Remind me daily of Your grace and mercy. I love You, Lord.

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AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD

1 PETER 3:22

“who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”

Do you realize how comforting it is to know Jesus, our Savior, is sitting at the right of the Father right now? Do you know what that means? Adam Clarke says this is “the place of the highest dignity, honor and influence.” He has the Father’s ear. God the Father is listening to God the Son.

And what is that conversation like? Jesus is appealing to the Father on our behalf. Every time the devil accuses us (believers) of something, Jesus speaks up and says, “That is paid for, Father. My blood took care of that.” He is our Advocate. He is constantly defending us.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they have ever spoken up for someone in their defense. You know, perhaps a friend is falsely accused at school of something and the teacher starts to come down hard on that person. Would your child speak up to defend them? How about if THEY were falsely accused of something and facing serious consequences. Wouldn’t they want someone to speak up for them?

Well, someone already has. Jesus has paid the price for all our sins. Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, there is NOTHING the devil can accuse us of. We are forgiven. We are free. We are secure in Jesus. That is worth sharing with everyone.

Are you celebrating your security in Jesus today? Take a minute and thank Him for interceding on your behalf today. Thank Him for speaking up against the devil when he mentions your name. Thank Him for setting you free from the guilt and punishment of your sins.

O Father, Your Son is whispering my name to You today. I know He is. I am so thankful He and You both know my name.

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UNDESERVED GIFTS

1 PETER 2:22

“WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;”

Yesterday was Easter. What a perfect verse we have today to remind us of Christ’s innocence. He didn’t deserve to die. He had done no wrong. But He took on Himself my sin and your sin in order to give to us something we did not deserve – His righteousness. Wow! What a gift!

Have you ever gotten a gift you didn’t deserve? I have had friends bless me with gifts. During my recent illness I had several friends who blessed us financially. They wanted to help ease the burden of traveling back and forth to the hospital and the month and a half stay away from home. We didn’t deserve this, but they gave anyway. Jesus gave His all when we didn’t deserve it.

APPLICATION

Surprise your children with a gift. They may have been terrible yesterday and disobeyed you all day long. Perfect! Give them a gift they are not expecting. When they ask you why you are giving them such a gift, explain to them the gift that Jesus gave you when you didn’t deserve it. Let them know that Jesus loves us that much. He doesn’t wait for us to get better to save us. He saves us just like we are.

Ask your children if they know what innocent means. You may have to explain that to them. Tell them that Jesus had never done anything wrong, even when He was a little boy. Every action He took reflected His Father in heaven. And despite His innocence, He took on the guilt of the world. Why? To give us this undeserved gift of salvation.

Have you thanked the Lord today for your undeserved gift of salvation? Do that right now. I’ll wait…. Now, don’t you feel better? It’s always good to thank someone for the gifts we have been given, especially those undeserved gifts. Do that daily, as He continues to bless you.

Dear Lord, I thank You for blessing me. I only deserve hell, but You have chosen me to be Your child and have given me a gift which I could never repay. I love You, Lord.

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