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HIS SON

1 JOHN 5:12

“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

It’s neat this verse fell on today’s date because this is my son’s birthday. He’s thirty-four today. That’s interesting to me because that falls right in the middle of the ages of Christ’s ministry on earth (@32-36) to the best of our knowledge. When I think of my son at his age leading a bunch of disciples around, it kind of blows my mind. Jesus was a young man. Yes, He was and still is God, but humanly speaking He was young.

Yet, here we are, two thousand years later, looking back at this God-Man for guidance. John says here if we “have Him” we have life, and if we don’t have Him, we don’t have life. That’s so true. Think back to your days without Christ. Life was so meaningless. It had no purpose. It had no direction. I don’t care how old you were before Christ, you had no life without Him.

APPLICATION

Our children need to learn this early in life. I know you are praying they give their lives to Christ, if they haven’t already. But they need to learn what it means to surrender completely. It’s not just saying a prayer. It’s total surrender of everything to Him. That involves how they talk, how they play and how they think. Oh, that last one is hard, isn’t it? Even we adults struggle with that one.

So, how do we direct our children to do this? How do we help them learn the importance of total surrender? By modeling it ourselves. Don’t you get tired of hearing that? Sorry, but it’s true. We have to show them how to surrender. We have to exemplify total surrender ourselves in the way we talk, the way we treat people and the way we think. No, our kids can’t read out minds, but they sure can see our behaviors.

Is the Son in your life? If so, live like it. It’s the Christmas season. Act like it. Live like every day could be your last day to share Jesus with someone. Live like He is all that matters. After all, He is all that matters. When you surrender to His Will, His life becomes your life. Try that today.

I have life only because of His life, Father. Thank You for giving Him to the world. We must show others the value of living in Him.

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DO YOU BELIEVE?

1 JOHN 5:1

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.”

I guess I have always believed in Jesus. I was raised in a church-going home. We were there every Sunday. I remember going to

Sunday School, church, revivals, etc. Church was a regular part of our family life. But you have to understand something. It was all head knowledge. All that church going gave me a false sense of salvation.

It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I truly believed. When the Holy Spirit drew me towards the Father through the Son, I surrendered my life to Him. My church-going belief became true belief in Christ. I joined the family John is describing in today’s verse. I finally fully believed that Jesus was the Christ. What a change! Knowledge about something does not equal belief in something.

APPLICATION

As your children grow, I am sure you have been telling them about God and Jesus. You may even have pictures of Jesus or other Christian decorations in your house. You talk about Jesus at Christmas and celebrate His birth. You have been filling their little skulls full of mush with knowledge about Jesus. But try as you might, you can’t flip a switch and give them saving knowledge. That is truly between them and God.

So, how do you ensure your child comes to faith? No one wants to think of the alternative, right? You have to remain consistent in your teaching. You have to take every opportunity to talk about what Jesus has done for you. When a prayer is answered, make sure you share that with them. They need to see Jesus working in your life. God may just use that to draw them to Himself. And, of course, pray every day for their salvation. God hears your prayers.

Can you effectively share your salvation experience with someone? Can you articulate the joy you have in Christ? You may need to practice doing that. The Lord will give you the words to say each and every time He gives you the opportunity to share. You have to trust Him. Tell the world about your saving knowledge of Jesus. He is the Christ. Celebrate it.

I praise You, O Lord, for sending Your Son, Jesus, to rescue me. He is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

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WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY?

ACTS 10:33

“‘So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.’”

I have to think Peter was thinking of this account with Cornelius when he wrote 1 Peter 3:15 “…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” Peter had no idea what to expect when he arrived at the home of Cornelius. He had to be ready.

Cornelius had no idea what to expect from Peter. He only knew God had told him to send for Peter. He was willing to hear whatever Peter had to say regarding his faith in Jesus Christ. What an opportunity lay before Peter. God had thrown it wide open for him.

APPLICATION

What will your child do if they are asked as Peter was asked by Cornelius to share what they know? Our children do not have to have all the answers. They just need to be able to share what Christ has done for them to their friends who ask. You can help them prepare for this by rehearsing it with them.

Role playing with your child is a great way for them to learn to be comfortable with sharing their faith. Pretend to be their friend asking about Jesus. Let them talk about Jesus in their own words. After the role play give them some tips if needed but praise them for the way they shared.

Pray someone may send for you. Pray the Lord will use you to share Christ to someone who is seeking. God may just send a Cornelius to ask you to tell all that you have been commanded by the Lord. Wouldn’t that be great?

I want to be used by You, Lord. Open ears that I may speak to them the wonderful things You have done in my life.

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I BOW

1 PETER 2:13

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,” 

Who likes to submit? Really, no one, if they are honest. We all want our own way. But that’s not the Lord’s way. Just look at today’s verse. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake.” The word submit is used a lot in the New Testament, so it must be important. The word means “under God’s arrangement, according to the Lord’s plan.”

So, when you submit, it’s not to someone. It’s to the Lord. Any authority over you has been placed there by God. He establishes kings and kingdoms. If He has placed it, we should submit to it. To not submit is disobedience to God. Now, that submission should not involved illegalities or immoralities. Other than that, submit.

APPLICATION

Your children’s priority in submission is to you, their parents. This verse applies to them too, even though they are just children. Keep in mind, when they disobey you, they are disobeying God. That should be your focus. That means you must parent according to God’s principles.

So, what happens when we don’t submit. Most importantly, we disappoint the Lord. We are His representatives to the world. When we “rebel” against the authorities, we are not displaying a Christlike spirit. God expects us to submit. Otherwise, we would not have today’s verse in the Bible.

Are you someone who is always complaining about those you answer to? You need to take a minute and reflect on today’s verse. Who are you really complaining about? God! If He’s placed these people over you, it’s for a reason. Obey Him and you will almost all the time obey them.

Father, I submit to You today. Help me understand more fully the reasons why You have placed the authorities in my life. I want to honor You.

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ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?

I PETER 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 

Are you born again? You have undoubtedly heard that question at some point in your life? It’s one of those church questions? That question can confuse some people, especially those who have had no knowledge of Christ. The concept of being born again was brought up by Christ to Nicodemus in John 3. Even though Nicodemus was educated, he was confused by then idea.

The Greek word “born again” is only used twice in the New

Testament, both times in 1 Peter (1:3, 23). It means to be birthed again from on high. It is done to you by One who is greater than you. This rebirth occurs the moment you surrender your life to Jesus. God the Father, through God the Spirit, regenerates us and give us a brand, new life in God the Son.

APPLICATION

Ask your son or daughter what they would want to come back as if they could be reborn. This could be funny. Some may say a puppy or a cat. Some may say an eagle or a snake. Ask them why? Anything goes. Just let them talk.

Then talk about how we can be reborn into a new creature through the Lord. They may not understand all the theological concepts of rebirth, but they understand “new.” It’s a fresh start. It’s a new beginning. It’s a life without all the junk of the past holding us down. And tell your children the most beautiful part of this rebirth is it is eternal. There will never be a need for a second rebirth. Hallelujah!

Are you born again? Are you sure? If you have given your heart to Jesus, He has entered you through the Holy Spirit and cleansed you of all unrighteousness. It is His life that now resides in you. You have the power to conquer sin, not because of anything you can do, but because He is God. Enjoy your new birth. Relish in the freshness. Sing for joy because of Him.

I praise You for my new life in Christ. I thank You for birthing me on high and claiming me as Yours. I shall forever serve You.

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BORN AGAIN

TITUS 3:5

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”

You’ve heard this expression, I’m sure. You are born again at salvation. Well, in today’s verse we have that expression defined in the word “regeneration.” The Greek word literally means birthed again. It’s only used twice in the New Testament. It’s used here and also in Matthew 19:28 where it refers to the rebirth of physical creation when Christ returns to begin His millennial reign.

But not only are you reborn, you are also renewed. This word means to have a whole new development, a renewal which is through God’s power. You see, this is all done by God. You didn’t rebirth yourself nor renew yourself. God saved you. That’s a fact. And if He does something, you can take it to the bank. It’s done. It’s complete. It’s forever.

APPLICATION

Explaining this to your children can be challenging, depending on their age. Do you have any videos of their birth? Drag them out. Show them the video and celebrate their birth. Then ask them this question. “Did you do anything to help in your birth?” Of course, the correct answer is “no.” All they did was surrender to the process. They were depending on mom pushing them out and the doctor delivering them.

The same is true for their spiritual birth. For that to happen they have to surrender to the One who is drawing them out of darkness. When they do, He delivers them into the light of His love. They are totally dependent upon the Lord to bring them into this new life.

Let me ask you this. If you are born again, are you living like it? Are you walking in your renewal? So many of us come to Christ and then try to keep one foot back in the old life. Regeneration and renewal imply a fresh start, a clean slate. The old has passed away. There is no room in the regenerated, renewed life for the old ways. Accept the change. Embrace your new life.

Lord, I will walk in newness today. I will lay aside all the past ways and embrace all You have for me in my new life. Thank You for my rebirth in Christ.

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WE’RE HIS

TITUS 2:14

“who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

As believers, we know we belong to the Lord. You are told that from the moment of salvation. But you need to take a look at today’s verse to truly understand what that means. Paul breaks it down so perfectly and completely. First, we are His because He paid the price for us. He gave Himself to redeem us. Why was that necessary? Because of our lawless deeds. He wiped them away by the shedding of His blood. That was the purchase price.

Then He purifies us because He will not and cannot allow sinful creatures to abide in His presence. He personally selects each of us. He knows us all by name. We are specially chosen. We belong in His collection. Isn’t that precious? Just like a collector who loves to take out his collection of stamps and admire them, Jesus loves to marvel at His collection of saints. We are each special to Him.

APPLICATION

Do your children collect anything? Maybe “collect” is the wrong word. My son used to have a huge collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars. He loved to play with those. He would get them out and line them up on the floor and play for hours. Each one had their special job in his imagination. But he loved them all.

We want our children to know just how special they are to Jesus. He has a special plan for their life, but it is part of the big plan. Their life is part of His master plan for His kingdom. He wants to use each of us to fulfill it. Can He fulfill it without us? Of course. But His perfect plan involves every believer doing their part. Point your children towards that – the bigger picture. You never know how He may choose to use them.

Are you being used by Jesus? What would He have you do today? Many of us are too busy to allow Him to redirect us. We have our days and weeks mapped out. Any “interference” from Him just gets in the way. Stop that now. Allow Him to take your calendar to the shredder if necessary. Yield to His plan today and enjoy the journey.

My day is Yours, Lord. Put me where You want me and use me however You see fit. I’m Yours.

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THE LIGHT FROM HEAVEN

TITUS 2:11

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,”   

It never ceases to amaze me how God can orchestrate the smallest of details. I began looking at the Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy and Titus) back on January 1st. Today is Christmas day and lo, and behold, look at the verse that comes up today – the verse in Titus that speaks of Christ coming to us. The birth of His Son which brought us salvation.

And this verse contains a Greek word that carries that story. The Greek word for “appeared” has the image of a light appearing from heaven. It means to shine. What does the Christmas story mention? A star appeared in the sky to guide the wise men. The very light of heaven appeared on earth. Why a light? To shine in the darkness. Merry Christmas!

APPLICATION

Today read the Christmas story to your family. Take a moment before all the hustle and bustle of food and presents to reflect on the reason we celebrate. I know so many people who are gathering today to celebrate Christmas who aren’t even believers. I wonder why they do it. The holiday isn’t a holy day to them. We have reason to celebrate, whether or not we have presents or food. It’s about Him.

So, take a moment. Slow down. The presents will wait. Thank the Lord for His perfect gift. Thank the Lord for His grace which appeared and brought salvation to all men. Thank the Lord for each of your family who knows Him as their personal Lord and Savior. And pray for those who have not made that decision yet. Why don’t you agree as a family to do all you can in 2020 to bring them into God’s family?

Christmas is a special time of the year, not because of the trees, mistletoe and garland. Christmas is special because it is the time to recognize what God has done. Jesus’ birth changed history. Jesus’ birth changed the calendar. But most importantly, Jesus’ birth changed the hearts of every believer. We have that light in us which appeared over two thousand years ago in manger in Bethlehem. Praise Him.

I am eternally grateful for the birth of Your Son which gave me a new birth in You. Help me shine that light on others. Let it beam across the darkness and reflect Your love.

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I’VE GOT FAITH IN YOU

TITUS 1:3

“but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,”

You can’t tell from the English translation, but “was entrusted” is the Greek word from which we get the word “faith.” It’s the verb form. It’s also a passive verb which means someone else has the faith in or has entrusted Paul with this proclamation. Who is that?

The same God who entrusts us with the Gospel entrusted Paul with the Gospel. He gave Paul a specific task – to preach His message to the Gentiles. Paul spent his whole ministry doing that. He was unashamedly bold in his approach. He risked it all because the Lord had faith in him.

APPLICATION

I pray you let your children know how much you believe in them. They need to hear you say that, not just think it. You may not have a task as big as Paul’s to give to your children, but they need to know that mom and dad believe in them. How do you do that? There are a number of ways, but here are a few.

  1. Give them small tasks to complete
  2. Encourage them to try out for that part in the play they want
  3. Be at their performances
  4. Let them hear as you tell others how proud you are of them.

You can determine the growth or the downfall of your child’s spiritual by the way you show your faith in them. How are you doing with that? I want you to think of at least one way today you can portray your faith in your child. They may not be in a good place right now. That’s not important. Let them know. Entrust them. Show faith in them. See what happens.

Lord, You have faith in me and I am thankful. Help me do the same for others. As underserving I am of Your faith in me, I will serve You.

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I CANNOT LIE

TITUS 1:2

“in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,”

We have probably all heard the story about George Washington (the first President of the United States) as a boy when he was asked who cut down the cherry tree. He said, “I cannot lie. I did it.” We don’t know if that was legend or truth, but he was known as an honest man, not prone to lie. In today’s verse we see that character trait attributed to God, who also cannot lie.

Now, unlike George Washington, God is truly not capable of lying. There is no deceit in Him. He is pure truth. It is interesting to me that the Greek word used here for “cannot lie” is only used right here in this verse. Only God cannot lie. Everyone else is capable, including you and me.

APPLICATION

How many times have you told your child, when correcting them, “Now, don’t lie to me”? We want them to tell the truth. I know when my children were small, I could deal with almost any behavior, but just don’t lie to me. That made things worse. So, how do you get your children to be truthful? Bathe them in the Word. Only the truth of God can transform them into truth tellers rather than liars.

Your job as mom and dad is to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life to provide the environment for salvation and spiritual growth. That includes you being truthful. Have you ever involved your child in a lie? What message does that send your child? If it’s okay for mom or dad, it’s okay for me. And then you punish them for lying to you. Confusing! You must model and live a truthful life for them to follow.

Are you known as a truthful person or a liar? When you give your word, can you be believed? If you are a believer, you represent our heavenly Father who cannot lie. Remember that. It’s not just about your reputation. If the lost world cannot trust Christians to tell the truth, why should they believe anything we say about the Gospel?

Forgive me, Father, for not being truthful at times. I tend to rationalize and justify my lies, but they are just sin. Help me remember it is You who lives within me, who cannot lie.

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