Advice, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Devil, Evil, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

THE SECRET TO OVERCOMING

1 JOHN 2:14

“I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

Look at this verse. What do you think the secret is to overcoming the evil one? Look closely. See it? “and the word of God abides in you.” John even said in his gospel, “apart from me you can do nothing.” Unless the Word of God is reigning supreme in our lives, we have no hope of overcoming anyone, much less the evil one.

So, how do you make sure the Word is abiding in you? Are you having your quiet time? Are you spending time daily in His Word to help guide you? You see, you can’t rely on your own strength to overcome the evil one. The devil is much smarter than you. He can outwit you and scheme against you. But with God’s Word go guide, he is no match.

APPLICATION

Your children need to know this truth. They may think they can handle it by themselves. This comes even more a danger when they get older. Teens get independent and don’t realize how deceitful the enemy is. Parents have to be diligent in teaching their older children the necessity of relying on the Word of God.

Are you teaching your children this? The bottom line is this. We can’t do it on our own. We have to be armed with the sword of the Lord. Your kids may think the Bible is outdated. We have to change that view by daily showing the applicability of it in our own lives.

Are you doing that? Are you using the Word to guide you? Do your children see you applying the Word to your daily decisions? Do they get tired of hearing you say, We need to see what God’s Word says about this? I hope they are. Don’t stop.

Lord, I will trust Your Word. I know it has the wisdom to guide me daily.

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Advice, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Encouragement, Eternity, Evangelism, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender

A HARD SALVATION

1 PETER 4:18

“AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?” 

Peter seems to quote from Proverbs 11:31 here. He expands on this verse to give us its full meaning, though. It is no easy thing for a righteous person to be saved. Their selfish ambitions, pride, fleshly desires and overall desire for sin are in the way. Only the Holy Spirit can draw them to a point of repentance and confession leading to salvation.

However, the godless man will not turn. They see no desire for change. The Greek for “what will become” is actually better translated “where will they appear.” The godless sinner will not disappear at death. They will appear again at the judgment. There is no escape.

APPLICATION

This is kind of a harsh verse, huh? But it is the truth. Our children need to be nurtured and taught to listen carefully for the call of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He calls us all at different times. Some children hear His call at an early age. Others don’t hear it until they are older. But their ears need to be tuned to Him.

How is that made possible? By filling their hearts and minds with the Word of God. The Spirit speaks through the Word. Did you know that most people come to Christ before the age of fourteen? These are crucial years. These are years where you have the privilege to speak Jesus into their lives every day. Then let the Spirit do His job.

When did you hear His voice? I heard it at sixteen, clear as day. He spoke to me as I was singing a solo in my youth choir practice the day before we left for a choir tour. He told me plain as day that I was lost and need a Savior. I yielded right then to His call and have never looked back since. Praise be to God.

Thank You, Lord, for not ceasing to call me. I thank You that You are still calling people today. Use me as Your mouthpiece.

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Advice, Bible, Blessing, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Gifts, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Salvation, Scripture

GIFTED

1 PETER 4:10

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

As believers we are all gifted. Isn’t that great? If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He has gifted you with “a special gift.” You are special. He thought enough about you to give you something to use to glorify Him. That’s what that gift is for. It’s not for you to squirrel away and not use. It’s for Him.

Do you even know what your gift is? You should. Now, your gift is not necessarily your talent or passion. It may be tied to that. You need to find out what it is He has for you to do for Him. Take a spiritual gift test. There are dozens of them online you can take. And then when you find out what it is, put it to work for Him.

APPLICATION

You know, your saved children have gifts too. These gifts don’t just emerge at adulthood. I have seen lots of kids using their spiritual gifts in service to others. I have seen them enjoying glorifying the Lord with their gifts. Don’t stifle them. Encourage them to use those gifts for Jesus.

Maybe your child has the gift of service. Find ways they can use that at church. Maybe they have an astute understanding of the Word. Get them some more resources to encourage that. Help them grow in those gifts. There is nothing much better than to watch your kids being used by God.

I pray you are using your gift. Don’t tell me you don’t have one. If you are a believer, you’ve got one. The Lord has great plans for you. He wants to use your gifts alongside other people’s gifts to fully advance His kingdom. So, exercise your gift today.

I am thankful for the gift(s) You have given me. I will use them today to glorify You.

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Advice, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

ALWAYS READY

1 PETER 3:15

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

Are you ready? Peter is asking you that in this verse. We need to be ready at all times to defend our faith. The word “ready” in this verse implies that all the preparations have been made. Think about that for minute. What kind of events do you prepare for? Social events, family vacations and celebrations of all sorts are prepared for by all of us. We don’t think twice about spending inordinate amounts of time preparing for events that are temporal.

But when it comes to preparing ourselves for things which could affect someone’s eternity, we don’t bother. That’s the preacher’s job. That’s the church’s responsibility. No!!!!! Every believer has the responsibility to prepare themselves to “give an account for the hope that is in” them.

APPLICATION

Listen Mom and Dad. You have to spend time preparing your child to defend their faith. They will be challenged. They will be ridiculed. They will be made fun of. You can bet on that. You arm them with truth. You prepare them for battle. Only the Word of God can be used in this battle. So, they have to believe in its truths.

When I see a child who is able to explain why they believe, it warms my heart. I know an adult has spent time with that child explaining the “whys” to them. It was probably mom or dad, but it could have been a Sunday School teacher or Awana leader. Whomever does it doesn’t matter as much as that it is done. Don’t send your child into the world spiritually unarmed. They must be ready.

Too many believers do not arm themselves for the onslaughts of the devil. Oh, he’s real. And he loves to attack those who are unprepared. Take some time and learn how to address those who question your faith. Tell them what God has done in your life. Give them some real life examples of God’s Word in action. That will give them something to think about.

Lord, I know I cannot take on the schemes of the devil without You. But with You I can storm the gates of hell with a water pistol because You are with me.

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Advice, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Service, Submission, Witnessing

FIRSTS

ACTS 2:14

“But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: ‘Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.’” 

I remember the first sermon I preached. It was at Harmony Baptist Church in Pelham, GA. I was asked to preach at their annual Youth Sunday. I prepared what I thought was the perfect sermon and was sure it would last the allotted thirty minutes. Lo and behold, I was done in about seven, lol. But I found out something. No one complains about a short sermon.

Peter had been transformed by the arrival of the Holy Spirit. He was filled with the very presence of Christ now. He was no longer that disciple who had denied Jesus. He was now the leader of a new movement to evangelize the world. And here he is preaching his first sermon. What a message! What a transformation.

APPLICATION

Do you recall the first time your child performed at church or school? Perhaps their first solo or part in a play? I sure do. I was so proud of them. My shirt almost lost buttons, lol.  Tell your kids about that. Tell them how proud you still are of them. They won’t soon forget that.

Then tell them how proud the Lord is when they share Christ with someone for the first time or when they make that first gift to the church. First times can be hard and challenging, but the Lord will give them the courage to follow through. Challenge your children to take on those “firsts” just like Peter did. He was accused of being drunk when the Spirit came upon him and the other disciples. But he didn’t get mad and leave. He delivered his first sermon empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Are you fearful of stepping out on those “firsts”? Don’t be. Trust the Lord to use the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and give you the courage. He loves to encourage us. We just have to step up and trust Him. Will you do that today? Who knows, maybe your first sermon may last longer than seven minutes.

I will trust You, Lord, to empower me to step out and do what You ask, even if it is for the first time. I want to honor You with my obedience.

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TRACING LETTERS

1 PETER 2:21

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,”

Have you ever traced letters? That’s how we used to be taught how to write the alphabet. I remember distinctly tracing the letters until I could write them just as they appeared on the paper. It took hours of practice to get them right, but I kept on until I had it.

The Greek word for “example” is only used right here in the New Testament. The word is hupogrammos, which comes from two Greek words, hupo and grapho. It literally means under writing, to trace. We are to “trace” our lives after Christ’s life. We are to follow His example of suffering. Yippee! Aren’t you excited? But that is the example He left us. He endured the cross for us, and He was innocent, unlike us.

APPLICATION

Have a tracing contest with your children. Find a picture you all can trace and see who can trace it the fastest and not mess up. You see, tracing doesn’t work unless you stay in the lines. Share today’s verse with your children when you’re through and explain that we are “tracing” Jesus. We are to follow His example. And just like tracing a picture, we need to stay within the lines when we are tracing Jesus.

Now, does that mean you won’t ever make a mistake? Of course not. We are human and we fail. I am far from perfect. Sometimes I find myself tracing the wrong picture. I have totally gotten my eyes off of Jesus and am tracing the world or a hobby. Your children will mess up too. When they do, give them a new piece of paper and help them to start “tracing” again.

What are you tracing right now? Are you following the example of suffering left to us by Christ? Too many of us run from the very thought of suffering. But suffering with Jesus can be a sweet experience as He meets us in the valley. He will bring us out, if we will continue to follow His example.

I hate suffering. I’m just being honest, Lord. But I trust you. So, I will follow Your example and embrace the suffering You send my way.

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