Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Contentment, Encouragement, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Promises, Remembering, Scripture, Testimony

JUST LIKE HIM

1 JOHN 3:2

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

Don’t you love it when your children put on your shoes or clothes and pretend to be you? It is so cute. In those days they totally admire you. They want to be just like you. You probably have pictures somewhere of them doing that. Precious memories.

Listen – we should be doing the same thing as it relates to God. We should be trying every day to be just like Him. John is telling us in this verse that our ability to do that depends on our vision of Him. Huh? Yes, we shall see Him one day fully, but we can see Him daily now. His Word shows us how to live. His Word directs our thoughts and actions.

APPLICATION

Break out some of those pictures of your kids I mentioned earlier. Or even better, find some of you doing the same thing. Your kids will get a kick out of that. If you have young children, do it now. Play dress up. Let them put on your shoes and clothes. Then read them this verse and talk about what we just discussed.

Explain to your kids the importance of walking in God’s shoes. Unlike yours, His will fit. He molds them especially for your journey. Unlike your pants or dress, His clothes will fit you just right. He doesn’t want you tripping or falling. He desires each of your steps to be unobstructed.

Are you struggling to be like Him? Maybe you are trying too hard. Stop trying to figure out how to be like Him and let Him be Himself through you. That is a lot easier. He knows how to be God. You don’t. But guess what – the more you do this, the more you look like Him.

Father, make me to look just like You. I want others to see Jesus in me – not me.

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THE LAST HOUR

1 JOHN 2:18

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”

Picture yourself at a ball game. Your team is behind and the clock is ticking. You have the ball and are driving towards the end zone (yes, this is a football analogy, lol). Just before the clock hits zero the ball is snapped to the quarterback who makes an incredible pass into the end zone for a game winning catch to his receiver. You cheer and yell. Your team has won.

We should be doing that very thing regarding the antichrist. We don’t know when he will appear, but it is no matter. We have already won. There is no way we can lose. We’ve already seen the end of the war. Jesus is victorious and there is nothing that the antichrist can do about it.

APPLICATION

Do or did your children play soccer or another sport? Ask them how hard they would have played a game if they knew they were going to win. Some kids may say they would slack off, but I bet most of them would say they would play even harder because they would know the outcome. The game would be much more fun because they already knew they would win.

Explain to them that’s how we should live our lives in Christ. There is no reason to worry about what the enemy does because there is no way he can defeat us. We have the trump card – Jesus. And the best thing about this is our enemy knows he can’t win. That means we are victorious. We just have to keep playing the game. We can’t stop in the middle of the game.

Don’t read today’s verse and start worrying about the antichrist. In fact, be excited about it. Why? Because that just means the Lord’s return is near. Isn’t that great? Keep living daily as if it could be the day of His return. Don’t cower in a corner.

Lord, I welcome Your return. I will not fear the arrival of the antichrist because I know he is toothless.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture

WHERE ARE YOU LIVING?

2 PETER 3:13

“But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would live in Kenya. I have been there several times and feel at home there. I love the people, the country and the opportunities to train Pastors how to study the Word. Sure, Kenya has its problems. What country doesn’t? But that is where I would live.

The Greek word for “dwells” means to feel at home. Look what Peter says in this verse. Righteousness dwells in the new heavens and the new earth. Notice he says “dwells.” Can I get technical for a second? That verb is Present Indicative Active. Do you know what that means? It means righteousness is already dwelling and has been dwelling and will continue to dwell in the new heavens and the new earth. Now that’s a place I want to live.

APPLICATION

Ask your children where they want to live. Tell them they can choose anywhere. I bet they may say Disney World or some other theme park. What child wouldn’t want that? But then ask them why. Well, Dad, it’s a cool place! Well, of course, it is. But ask them for a real reason. Ask them if they think they could live there forever.

Children don’t quite get it, do they? But then again, neither do we. Nowhere here on earth is perfect. Any place we choose to live is going to have its problem. Your children need to understand that. BUT…the new heavens and new earth will be perfect. Why? Because that’s where righteousness dwells. Whose righteousness? God’s righteousness!

So, why are you so worried about your current living situation? Why do we work so hard to perfect our physical living environment? I know we want to be comfortable, but is that the issue that really matters? No! We need to live more righteously so we will feel more at home when the new heavens and new earth arrive. Amen?

Father, prepare my heart to live righteously each and every day. I am looking for that new heaven and earth where You dwell.

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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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HOLY LIVING

2 PETER 3:11

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” 

Forget about the end of the world. That’s what Peter is saying in the first part of this verse. He had just been writing about the destruction of the heavens and the earth with intense heat and fire. Then he says, “Since…” We know this is going to happen. What do we do?  Well, he goes on to tell us.

He actually asks us a question. “What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” What does that mean? How can we live in holy conduct and godliness? Both of these deal with our outward behavior based on our inner beliefs. Living what you believe. Putting feet to your faith. Letting your actions speak louder than your words. You get the picture?

APPLICATION

Children usually learn best by participating in their learning. Heck, most people do. But children need some “hands on” learning for it to sink in. When we read them a verse like this one, we need to help them experience what it means to live in holy conduct and godliness. How can you help them put their faith into practice?

How about taking your kids down to the local soup kitchen to serve meals to the homeless? That’s quite an eye opener for a lot of kids. Getting them involved helping a senior adult around the house doing some basic household chores. That teaches them. And, of course, spending time studying the Word and praying for the lost. All of these are part of that.

How are you living? Are you a Christian in name only? Maybe you are saved and are excited about Christ’s return. That’s great. But how are you living in the meantime? We all can improve in our holy conduct and godliness. Will you join me?

Father, I have so far to go. I feel I don’t measure up most days to Your standards. Thank You, Lord, for leading me along the path of holy living.

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FIRE ALARM

2 PETER 3:7

“But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

What do you do when you hear a fire alarm? You look for the nearest exit and get out quick. We conduct fire drills all the time in our schools to keep our children safe. Businesses conduct fire drills to keep employees safe. Hmmm! Why is that so important?

I ask that question because I want you to think about this verse. Fire is coming. We are told that in Scripture. The “present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire.” God will destroy the world with fire one day. So, why aren’t we having fire drills for that? Why aren’t we screaming, “Fire, it’s coming!”?

APPLICATION

Do you have fire drills in your home? You should. You and your family should have a plan in case of a fire. You should all know what door to take. You should have a second story escape plan. Why don’t you practice that with your family tonight?

When you come back in from that, talk about the real fire drill. Does all your family know Christ? What a great time to talk about the certain escape plan. Jesus offers us security and safety in His heavenly home. All we have to do is accept the plan God laid out at the foundation of the world.

If you have that plan nailed down, why not share it with someone else? Why not spread the good news? So many around us are going to burn eternally unless we can usher them into God’s plan. Take a moment and think of someone you can share with today. You will be so glad you did.

I hate the thought of anyone being caught in that fire, Lord. Help me spread the good news to all I meet.

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FERVENT LOVE

1 PETER 1:22

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,”

Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurt? The Greek word for fervent comes across like that. It’s only used twice in the New Testament. The other time is in Acts 12:5 when Peter was in jail and the church was fervently praying for his release.

Peter had experienced that kind of love and now he is telling us to love each other that way.

Now, I realize there are some people who are hard to love. I bet you can name a few. But that doesn’t excuse us from loving them. Do you know why? Because we aren’t doing this from our own love. No!!! This is the fervent love of Christ. We are just the vessel He uses to express His love.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they think fervent means. Once they are done explain the word to them. Now, ask them to show you how they would express fervent love. Depending on the kid, this could be interesting. Most kids, however, don’t have a problem loving. We adults tend to shy away from fervent love.

I love standing at the door to the church I serve on Sunday mornings. Some of the kids will begin running down the sidewalk leading into the church the moment they see me. I’ve been out for several weeks with serious medical issue. I will probably get mowed down on my first Sunday back. I can’t wait. lol

Fervent love is proceeded by “purified your souls.” That’s important. Fervent love comes out of a pure heart. There is nothing hidden in that fervent love. It comes straight from above. Fervent love is an encouraging love. Go out today and fervently love someone. I’ll bet they will be surprised.

I fervently love You, Lord. Help me love others with as much passion. Love through me today.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Comfort, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

PRIVATE TIME

MARK 13:3

“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,”

Can you imagine having a private, sit down meeting with Jesus? These two sets of brothers probably did this often. They had been the first 4 disciples chosen by Jesus. He often took three of the four out with Him. So, sitting with Jesus wasn’t an unusual thing for them.

Jesus had just told them the temple would be destroyed. They wanted to know when. Jesus gives them lots of warnings but doesn’t give the exact time. Those warnings still hold true today. Jesus is returning one day. He told us that. We can bank on that.

APPLICATION

Private time with Jesus is available to each of us. Teach your children that. They can take His word, find a quiet place and read and pray. Jesus loves meeting us there. Children need to develop that habit of quiet time. This is one thing they can carry all through their life.

You may have to do it with them to begin with. Quiet times have to be developed. The Word is a big part of that. Jesus speaks to us through His word. It is amazing how many times the verse(s) I read are exactly what I need that day. And then our prayer time allows us to talk to the Lord and share our desires and needs.

Do you have your quiet times daily? If you don’t, you are missing out. We may not can physically sit down with Jesus, but we sure can talk to Him. He will be there, waiting to talk. He will not be too busy. He won’t get distracted while you are talking. Just go to Him and enjoy it.

I am thankful that You are all ears anytime I come to You. Help me be more disciplined. I look forward to our next conversation.

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HE’S COMING

TITUS 2:13

“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”

Waiting can be hard, can’t it? It’s especially hard when you know what’s coming. The Greek word for “looking” can also be translated as “awaiting” or “watching for.” It carries the idea of anxiously waiting and ready to receive. That’s a lot more than just looking. Paul knew Jesus was going to return and was anxious for the day. He was ready for it.

Paul calls Jesus the “blessed hope” and “our great God and Savior.” He wanted to make sure Titus understood just who He was. We have no other hope than Christ. All other hopes pale in comparison. All other hopes can fail to materialize. All other hopes are just that – hopes. They aren’t certain. And why is Jesus certain? Because He is God!

APPLICATION

How do you teach your kids to wait? That’s a hard one. Some kids are better at it than others. Parents will do just about anything to keep their children calm while waiting for something. I’ve seen parents bribe their kids. I’ve seen parents come prepared with toys and activities and snacks. Waiting is hard for little ones.

But the most important “wait” we need to prepare them for is Christ’s return. We know He’s returning, but we don’t know when. Our role as Christian parents is to introduce and lead our children to Jesus so that however long the “wait” is, they are ready. We don’t want them caught off guard. We don’t want them left behind when He appears. Once they know Him as their personal Savior and Lord, they can join you in the wait. It could be today.

Are you anxiously waiting for His appearing? Are you prepared for His return? If not, get ready today. Give your heart to Jesus. Let Him fill you with His Spirit. And then do all you can to bring as many as you can with you. If you are like me, I know dozens of people who will be left behind if He came today. That burdens my heart. Let’s join together to bring them with us when He appears again. Keep watching.

Lord, I know You are coming because You said You were. Help me lead others to You so they can join us. I am ready! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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CROWN ME

2 TIMOTHY 4:8

“in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Do you like to play checkers? That was the first thing I thought of when I read this verse. I know, call me weird, lol, But in checkers when you reach the opponents back row with one of your checkers, they have to crown you with another checker they have taken from you, giving that checker special power from that time forward in the game.

As believers, we don’t have to wait on the righteousness to come with the crown. If we are walking and talking like Jesus, we are living righteously. The crown is simply a recognition of who we are in Him. The crown belongs to Him because we have no ability for righteousness outside of Him. It is His righteousness that makes us righteous.

APPLICATION

So, how do we explain righteousness to our children? How do we get them to understand how to live that way? Let’s tell them what the word means. It simply means doing what is approved of by God, by His judicial approval, what is right in His eyes. Now, that weeds out a lot of nonsense, doesn’t it?

I explain it this way. It’s being right (salvation), knowing right (studying His Word) and doing right (walking daily according to His Word). If our children can do that, they are living righteously. If they understand that, they will receive that crown which they will turn right around and lay at His feet.

Where’s your crown? Do you have that coming? Remember, it’s His righteousness, not yours, that earns you that crown as a believer. Let me encourage you today to be, know and do right in God’s eyes. That is His definition of righteousness. If I am pleasing the Father, if you are pleasing the Father, that’s all that matters.

I will live to please You today, O God. Righteous living is godly living. Righteous living will be rewarded and for that I am grateful.

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