Accountability, Affection, Asking, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Friends, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Prayer, Scripture

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER

3 JOHN 2

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”

How many Trekies do I have out there? If you ever watched the original Star Trek series, you are probably familiar with Spock’s typical farewell. He would hold up his right hand, form a V with his fingers by holding apart his second and third fingers and then say these words Live long and prosper. I do that often with friends just as a joke. If you’re not a Trekie, you don’t get it.

John wasn’t holding up his fingers and quoting Spock, lol. He was praying for Gaius to prosper. And he wasn’t asking for a one-time prospering. The verbs “may prosper” and “prospers” are both in the Present tense which conveys continuous action. John was praying that Gaius would prosper and prosper and prosper. The word “prosper” implies real success.

APPLICATION

I bet you want your children to prosper. Am I right? Of course, you do. All parents want to see their children do well. They want them to succeed in life. But I want you to look back at the verse for second. Look at the last part of the verse. John wants Gaius’ soul to prosper as well. It’s not just about succeeding in life. We should be praying that our children prosper spiritually.

How do they do that? Well, it’s not possible to prosper spiritually unless you spend time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer. That’s your role as a parent – to teach them to how to read and study God’s Word and how to pray. By doing that, you are laying the groundwork for them to prosper spiritually. You are preparing them for success in their faith. You do want them to “live long and prosper” don’t you?

Are you doing that? Are you more concerned about prospering financially than spiritually? How much is enough for you? So many believers get bogged down in achieving material wealth that they neglect their spiritual health. Prospering with God is not about things. It’s about faith. It’s about walking with Him daily. It’s about sharing the good news with others. So, are you prospering? Really?

Lord God, help me to prosper according to You. I want to be seen as a spiritually wealthy man.

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Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Inheritance, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reward, Scripture

HOW ARE YOUR EYES?

2 JOHN 8

“Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.”

If you have read many of my blogs, then you know my love for hunting and fishing. It’s hunting season now, and I’m actually on a hunt in Mississippi as I write this. One thing I brought with me on this hunt was a pair of binoculars. Why do you think I did that? Because I might be in a place where I need a little extra vision to see what might be coming. I don’t want to miss a shot because I didn’t see something and prepare for it.

John tells us in verse 8 to “watch ourselves.” The Greek word for “watch” means to see something physical, with spiritual results. The verb is written as a command also. So, John is telling us to look closely with spiritual eyes. Why? To guard ourselves. To keep from losing what we’ve worked for. And by doing so, we will receive a reward. Who doesn’t want that?

APPLICATION

Children love rewards, don’t they? And there is nothing wrong with giving them rewards. When our kids do something good or right, we should praise them. Little rewards when they are young can give them the incentive to continue doing good. But all those rewards come only when they do what is good. That’s the hard part. Some kids want to be rewarded for breathing, lol.

So, how do you teach them to watch themselves? Most kids, left to watch themselves, will make a mess. We teach them to use the only guide, the only source that will help them. They must know how to use God’s Word. They must know where to turn to find the answers. I can’t stress this enough. This book has the answer to every question, if we will just take the time to look. Will you teach your children that?

How about you? How are you watching yourself? We adults are quick to point out our children’s failures and mistakes, but we overlook our own. Has your child ever pointed out something you’ve done that wasn’t right? How did that make you feel? I say it a lot but we have to model what we teach to our kids. They learn best by watching us. So, watch yourself today!

O Lord, thank You for giving me spiritual eyes to watch myself.  Do want to receive my reward, but only because I have pleased You. 

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Gifts, Giving, Grace, Love, Mentoring, Mercy, Parenting, Peace, Scripture

A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS GIFT

2 JOHN 3

“Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

Don’t you love getting exactly what you wanted for Christmas? I  can remember going through the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog when I was little and circling all the things I wanted for Christmas. Of course, I didn’t get all those things, but my parents always managed to get me at least one of those things on my list. I can still remember some of those toys. Where they are now, no one knows. Lol

It just seems fitting that on this day, Christmas Eve, as we prepare for Christmas that we land on this verse in 2 John. I mean what else could you hope for? Grace, mercy and peace are given to us from the Father and the Son. And they give it in truth and love. I can just see the package all wrapped with their names on it as the senders. Merry Christmas from God.

APPLICATION

How long is your child’s Christmas list? Some kid’s list seems to be a mile long. Others ask for just one thing. You may be able to get them everything they want, or you may struggle to by just one. Don’t let the present buying get you down or break you. Remember that Christmas is not about buying stuff and giving presents. Your kids need to understand that.

What would happen if you told your children all they were getting for Christmas is grace, mercy and peace? I bet they would be confused and probably throw a fit. Am I right? But if their sole focus is on getting presents, you need to refocus them on what really matters. There is nothing more precious than those three gifts.

Would you be happy with those gifts from the Father and Son? Well, their yours. You just have to claim them. Those three things will give you all you need to walk with Christ in victory. In every situation you face you can apply those three things. Is that true for other gifts you might receive? Hardly. Enjoy your gifts.

Father, I am so thankful for the grace, mercy and peace You have given me. The only gift I can give You is my life. It’s Yours.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Service, Testimony

ETERNITY

1 JOHN 5:11

“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

Just how long is eternity? A longggggg time. In fact, it’s forever. Now, our finite minds cannot comprehend that. We live in twenty-four hour days. We measure things by minutes and hours. How many times have you stood by the microwave tapping your foot waiting for the food to get hot? We are so impatient.

But God’s gift to us is eternal life. Do you think you can handle that? Think about it. When we accept Christ as our Savior, God’s gift to us is spending eternity with Him. What will we do for eternity? Will we just float around on a cloud playing a harp? Hardly! Whatever we are tasked with in heaven, it will be a joy to serve our Father forever.

APPLICATION

Ask your kids how long eternity is (you may have to use the word “forever” instead). They really don’t have a clue but let them guess. Their answers can be quite humorous. Let them try to figure it out. When they give up, take them to today’s verse.

Explain to them that eternity will never end. No matter how long we are there, it will just go on and on and on. Tell them to imagine their most favorite trip they’ve ever taken. It will be like that, but it won’t end. Why? Because we are finally home – our real home. There’s no packing up and returning somewhere. We are where we should be from now on. That’s hard for little brains to comprehend. Heck, it’s hard for big brains, too. But we are promised it by God, so it’s certain.

Aren’t you excited about eternity? There’s a saying that we shouldn’t be so heavenly minded that we are not any earthly good. We long for heaven, but we are here until He calls us home. We have to be about His business until then. What has He called you to do until then? Who has He laid on your heart to share the good news with? Look forward to your gift from Him of eternal life, but don’t ignore where you are now. Let Him use you.

I am so thankful for the promise of eternal life. My future is secure because of Jesus. Help me share that today.

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Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

OH, THE SPIRIT

1 JOHN 3:24

“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

I tried to think of a cute introduction to today’s devotional, but I couldn’t. This verse is just too in your face. It’s all about abiding in Him and He in us. John wrote all about this in His gospel. Take a minute and read John 15 if you haven’t in a while.

But then John adds that last phrase that just blesses my heart. He says, “by the Spirit whom He has given us.” That should bless your socks off if you’re a believer. Look at that gift. Jesus gives us His Spirit. He is the one who confirms Jesus is abiding in us. You see, the Spirit is the seal of His presence. It’s His guarantee and pledge. Abiding is a sure thing with the Spirit in us.

APPLICATION

Now, teaching abiding can be tricky with kids. How do you get them to understand that the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, actually lives in them once they accept Christ as their Savior? It doesn’t make sense logically, does it? I mean, how does someone live in you?

Children are concrete thinkers, for the most part. There are some things that just can’t be explained in concrete terms. As parents, we have to rest in the knowledge that God is big enough to assure your children the Spirit is there. I have seen children change when they accept Christ. What does that? Or should I say who does that? Simply put – the Spirit. God is capable of changing them from the inside out. Let Him take care of that.

You have to nurture those around you who are believers. You are to encourage them in their walk with Christ. You are to come alongside them when they need help. That’s the Spirit working through you. That’s a sure sign of your abiding. And as you abide, the Spirit makes you aware of those who need you. Rest in Him. He will show you. Enjoy the gift.

I am so thankful for the abiding presence of Your Spirit in my life. I want to tune into Him minute by minute so I don’t miss one opportunity to be used by You.

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Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Fellowship, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender

IF-THEN

1 JOHN 1:7

“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

Using the “If-Then” method of child-rearing is a good way of teaching them. If your child does his chores, then he can receive his allowance. If she cleans her room as promised, then you will take her to get ice cream. Now, you may not agree with rewarding children for doing their chores, but it is one method.

John is telling us here in today’s verse that we will receive a reward if we do a certain thing (If-Then). If we walk in the light, then we will have fellowship and Jesus’ blood cleanses us. We can’t expect to have either of those if we walk in darkness. Only by walking in the light are they possible.

APPLICATION

I’ve kind of already hinted at the application for your kids. Try one of those “If-Then” situations with your child. Then take them to this verse. You see, your own “If-Then” training is preparing them for their own “If-Then” decisions with the Lord. They are going to face a lot of those moments in life.

They will face crucial decisions with peers. If I do this, then this could happen. If I do this, how will it glorify God? If-then, if-then, if-then. All through life they will have to make those decisions. They need to understand your training of them now is preparing them for later.

How about you? Do you desire fellowship and forgiveness? Then it’s simple – walk in the light. That means to come to Christ and accept Him as your Savior. You can’t walk in light if you’re lost. You may think you’re in the light, but you aren’t. You are in the darkness. Come to the light.

I desire to stay in the light, Father. I desire fellowship with You and others. I know I am forgiven through the blood of Your Son.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Heaven, Hope, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Rapture, Scripture, Witnessing

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

2 PETER 3:12

“looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” 

The world will never understand believers’ anticipation of the return of Christ. In fact, many scoff at us. They think our faith in His return is shallow-minded. To them, His return is a fable told for centuries.

But we know better, don’t we? Peter says we are to be “looking for and hastening” His return. The Greek word for “looking” is a bit more than just scanning the horizon. It is an eager anticipation, almost a giddy yearning. “Hastening” means to speed it on. How can we speed it on? By sharing the good news with everyone we meet.

APPLICATION

Don’t be afraid to talk about Jesus’ return with your kids. Some parents don’t want to “scare” their children with this news. But this is great news. For believers, it won’t be a scary event. We will be transformed so quickly and ushered into heaven, we won’t know what hit us. It will be pure joy.

I hear many young believers say they want to do such and such before He returns. They want to get married first. They want to have a baby first. They want to…. Listen, make sure your kids know that nothing compares to seeing Jesus. There is no earthly joy that compares.

Are you giddy for His return? Does the thought He could come any day get you excited? It should. As a believer, we should be looking and hastening that day. We should be actively preparing and seeking. We should be telling others about Him whenever we get the chance. Soon and very soon.

You promised You would return, Lord. We are eagerly waiting. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Glory, Hearing, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Teaching

BROUGHT ALONG TO HEAR

2 PETER 1:18

“and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

Peter had the privilege, along with James and John, to see Jesus transfigured on the mountain and to hear God’s voice from heaven. Can you imagine being there? It must have been quite the scene. They were overwhelmed. They saw Jesus in all His glory for a moment.

But I want you to see something in this verse. The phrase “when we were with Him” could be translated “when we were brought along with Him.” Do you see the difference? Jesus intentionally brought Peter, James and John along so they could witness this and hear from God directly. It was no mistake. Jesus wasn’t surprised by this. He knew what was going to happen.

APPLICATION

Have you ever brought your children along with you to see something so they would not forget it? I remember I used to take my son with me to watch the deer crossing the road to feed. It was a special time for us. One night we got to see an albino doe and her piebald fawn. You had to be there to appreciate it. Words wouldn’t describe it.

You need to invite your children to experience holy moments. Spending time in prayer with your children is one such moment. It’s a chance for them to hear you talk to the Father. Who knows, maybe the Father will choose that moment to talk to them. Wouldn’t that be fabulous? But they have to be there.

Have you missed hearing God’s voice because you weren’t “in the moment”? God is always ready to speak. Our problem is we aren’t always ready or willing to listen. Hearing God’s voice can change your life. Are you ready to listen?

Speak Lord! I want to hear Your voice.

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GETTING YOURS

2 PETER 1:8

“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Oh, what a verse! I say that a lot, but it is so true. And sometimes the best hidden gems are things you have to dig out. They just don’t pop out at you in the English translations. This verse has one of those gems, actually two,

Peter says, “For if these qualities are yours.” In the Greek, “if” and “qualities” are not there. They are more implied, but could read “For these are yours.” Peter is referring to all those things mentioned in the previous verses. But the real gem is in the word “yours.” Peter is implying a possession of something. He uses two Greek words to show this, and the second one, huparchó, means to already have possession of something that already exists. It’s already under someone else’s discretion.

Don’t miss this! All those qualities you have now as a believer already existed and were under the discretion of God. He gives them to you as you seek Him. They are gifts to you. Isn’t that incredible?

APPLICATION

I am sure you love giving your children gifts. I know I always loved doing that. Have you ever given them something that was yours? I had a very nice knife once that was given to me by my dad. When my son was old enough, I had it cleaned up and sharpened to give to him. I even had the sheath repaired and restitched.

The point is that knife existed and belonged to me before I gave it to my son. It pre-existed him. But when I gave it to him, it was his. It still had my dna on it. It had history with me. That was passed on to him with my blessing. He got it when he was ready, not before.

Do you get what I’m trying to say? God can’t wait to give you these qualities, but He won’t until you are ready. You have to seek Him. You have to surrender. Then these qualities flow. Don’t you want to be more like Him? He wants you to.

Oh Father, bless me today. By Your love I will love others and strive to be more and more like You.

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FOUR WAYS

1 PETER 5:10

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

We are going to have periods of suffering. Peter says, “for a little while.” Believe me, when you are going through that time of suffering, it doesn’t feel like a little while. But look what awaits you. Peter mentions four things the God of grace will do in you.

He will perfect you, which means to make you exactly fit so you will be in good working order. He will confirm you which means He will set fast or givesupport to secure or firmly establish. He will also strengthen you. This Greek word is only used right here and means to make strong in order to be able to move in a way that achieves something in the most effective way. And finally, He will establish you or ground and settle you as a foundation.

APPLICATION

When your children are struggling, remind them what God is up to. He hasn’t forgotten them. He is still with them, even though they can’t feel Him. He is about to do those four great things, if they will just wait and watch.

Who doesn’t want to be perfected? I want to fit wherever God puts me. Ask your children that. Ask them if they want to fit exactly where God puts them. I especially like that word “strengthen.” Ask your children if they want the strength to move in the most effective way. It’s kind of like learning those basic skills of a sport so they can move in the best way during a game. God will prepare them for future struggles.

Are you willing to go through the suffering to receive these gifts? When God says He will do something, He will do it. Just remember, He is making you more like Him through every period of suffering. In the depths of suffering, look heavenward and tell the Lord you are waiting for these gifts. He will bring them.

Thank You Lord, for the promises of perfection, confirmation, strength and establishing. I look to You for these gifts as I suffer for You.

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