Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commitment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Godliness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture, Self-control, Surrender

THE PROOF’S IN THE PUDDING

1 JOHN 2:29

“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

What do I mean by that title? It comes from a very old proverb. I’ve read that the original version is “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” It means you have to try out the food in order to know whether it is good. I agree with that. Something may look good, but how does it taste. Have you ever experienced that?

John knew that not everyone who said they were a Christian really were. They had to show it. They had to live righteously. That’s what he means when he says, “practices righteousness.” The Greek word for “practices” means to do, to live it. And when you do that, you show you are born again.

APPLICATION

Don’t you just hate it when you ask your children to do a chore, they promise they will do it, and then they don’t? When they say they will, you expect it, right? The next time they let their chores slide after promising to do them, take them to this verse. Let me explain.

God has expectations of us when we become His child, just like you do of your child. He expects righteous living. If we say we are His, we need to live like it. Remind your children that part of living righteously before God is obeying their parents. After all, you have to do the same thing. You have to obey your Father.

How are you living righteously? Do you find it difficult? You don’t need to struggle. Let Jesus live through you. He IS righteousness. Righteousness is not something you do. It’s who you are in Christ. He has made you righteous. Live like it.

I am righteous because of You, O Lord. Thank You for living through me.

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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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Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Foundation, Holiness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Submission, Surrender

NOTHING NEW

1 JOHN 2:7

“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”

One thing I hate is when someone changes the rules in the middle of the game. Don’t you? I mean, if you have rules, just stick with them. It’s really not fair to make adjustments based on someone’s lack of following the rules. Nor is it okay to lower the standard just because someone has trouble measuring up.

John is telling us that is exactly what God is NOT doing. These words John is writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, agree with everything else God has written. He isn’t changing the rules. He still demands holiness. He still requires obedience. He still expects us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Nothing has changed.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get out their favorite card or board game and start playing. Every few minutes change a rule. Make up new ones. Talk about confusing! It won’t take long for your children to get very frustrated and stop playing. Why? Because they knew the old rules. They knew what to expect.

Read them today’s verse. Talk about how God does the same for us. He hasn’t changed. He is consistent with His expectations of us. The big difference is Jesus. Now, under grace, He paid the penalty for our transgressions. We are free. That is one change for which we should all be grateful.

The key question, though, is this. Do you know what God requires of you? Do you know how to please Him? It is so simple – total surrender. Yep, it’s that easy. You may say Carl, that’s not so easy. Sure, it is. You just have to die to your own selfish desires and follow Him. Can you do that? You can through Him.

Lord, thank You for not trying to confuse me with new rules for living. I know what You expect. Help me live it daily.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Repentance, Scripture, Sin

GROW IN GRACE

2 PETER 3:18

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Don’t you just love that phrase – “grow in the grace”? In the Greek text, the definite article isn’t there. Therefore, it could read “grow in grace.” But what does that really mean? I thought only God extended grace. How can we GROW in it?

The Helps Ministries definition of this word is “(“to grow”) is key to authentic discipleship. Indeed, the Lord requires non-stopprogress (development) in the life of faith.” That’s pretty good. As we experience God’s grace over and over, we grow in it. We recognize it. We seek it. We do not sin to get it, but we get it when we sin.

APPLICATION

How can we teach this principle to our kids? By extending them grace. I don’t mean to be easy on them. I mean when you can do it, show them grace. Maybe your child has unintentionally done something that is wrong. It was not their motive to disobey. Those are the times it is easy to extend grace.

But what do you do when they have knowingly sinned against God? Well, what does God do once they have repented? He extends grace. We should do the same. That may be hard sometimes. We want to remember those events and remind them of their failure over and over again. We justify that by saying we want to keep them from doing it again. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t do that?

The next time you bow your head and ask for forgiveness for something, remember the grace that is being extended to you. It’s not because of anything you deserve. Jesus died for you to have that grace. It is because of His shed blood that you can even go to the Father with the boldness to ask for forgiveness. Praise God.

I am thankful, Father, for grace. Help me grow in grace so I can show it to others.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Direction, Encouragement, Knowledge, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Punishment

YOU KNOW BETTER THAN THAT

2 PETER 2:21

“For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.”

Did your mom or dad ever say, “Young man (or young lady), you know better than that”? Why did they say that? Because you had obviously been taught something which you had now disobeyed. You knew the rule, but didn’t care. Peter is telling us something similar to that in this verse.

These individuals he is writing about here had heard the “way of righteousness” and “the holy commandment.” They knew the right choice to make. But they turned away. They turned their backs on the right choice. And because of that, Peter says they have no excuse. They can’t say they didn’t know.

APPLICATION

I bet your children break the rules from time to time, don’t they? I haven’t met a perfect child yet (contrary to what some grandparents think, lol). They have been taught not to steal and lie, right? If there were no rules, how do you think your children would act? I think we all know the answer to that.

Rules are given for a reason. Without rules, anarchy erupts. We’re seeing that right now on the streets throughout our country. The beautiful thing about the gospel is it writes the “rules” on our heart. Jesus fills us with the desire to obey Him. Your children need to hear that. And when they obey Him, they obey you.

So, are you hearing what the Lord would have you to do and turning the other way? Maybe you have never asked Christ to be your Savior even though You believe He is just that. Maybe you are a believer, but you live like the world. Turn to Him today. Let Him live in and through you.

Father, forgive me when I turn from You. I want to follow You each day and live for You.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Following, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

MOVED BY THE SPIRIT

2 PETER 1:21

“for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

The Bible is a remarkable piece of work. Written by at least thirty-five and possibly up to forty different authors over a two century period, it contains one message – the salvation of mankind through God’s Son. The Holy Spirit inspired each and every author to write in their own culture this message of hope.

Yes, all those authors, but really one messenger – God through the Spirit. The Bible is not a history book or a book of literature telling interesting stories. If you try to read the Bible without understanding this, you won’t get past Genesis 1. Who creates the world in six days? God can and He did. That takes faith. Every single word written was in God’s thought long before it was penned.

APPLICATION

Our children must be brought up to understand this truth about Scripture. It’s not just another book. It’s not just for Sundays. We have to show them the importance of the Bible by the way we handle it. Are we reading it regularly? Are we memorizing the words spoken so long ago?

Challenge your child to memorize a verse per week. Start small but don’t stay there. As your child (and you) mature in your Bible memorization, try a chapter of a Pauline letter. Then try a whole book of the Bible. What? That’s not possible. Of course, it is, but it does take time and practice. Ingest God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit, who inspired it in the first place, empower you to remember it.

How are you doing with the Word? Do you really believe it is inspired? If you do, then apply it to your life today. Try this little trick. Before you read, ask the Lord to show you a new nugget of truth. He will. He wants to. He is not trying to hide His truths from you, but you have to willing to receive them. Be willing.

I can’t wait to come to Your Word each day. Your truths propel me throughout my days.

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WELL-PLEASED

2 PETER 1:17

“For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’”

Peter heard these words spoken by God Himself at the time of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-8). At the time he heard that he fell on his face trembling. We would probably do the same if a voice from heaven speak to us. And Peter believed the voice. He listened to Jesus and followed Him.

Let me ask you a question. Is He well-pleased with you? Well, sure He is, Carl. I go to church, give my tithe and try to be nice to everyone. Is that what Jesus did as the Son of Man? No! Jesus surrendered His life as a sacrifice for all mankind. Now, we can’t save mankind, but we can live a sacrificial life for others.

APPLICATION

Have you told your children lately how pleased you are with them? They really need to hear that. Give them opportunities to do things well. Don’t set the bar so high that they can’t possibly succeed. Children need small wins first. Things like teaching them to pick up their toys and bragging on them when it’s done are important.

And they are going to need spiritual wins. That, of course, starts with a firm foundation which you have laid with Scripture and prayer. When they pray for something and see that prayer answered, tell them how pleased you are that they trusted the Lord with that. When you observe them putting their faith into action by taking part in that mission outreach, make sure you tell them how pleased you are. They need to hear you say that again and again.

So, let me ask you again. Is He well-pleased with you? What have you done in the name of Christ to merit that? I am NOT saying we have to DO things to earn His love. He loves us unconditionally. We do things because of His love. And in return we can hear Him say This is my child with whom I am well-pleased. How sweet is that?

I want to please You, Lord. I want to hear those words from You. Forgive me for not being more obedient when You clearly give me opportunities.

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MAGNIFICENT PROMISES

2 PETER 1:4

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 

All I can say is wow! What a verse! How have I missed this verse all these years? Peter continues his thought from verse 3 (look it up) on the gift of everything pertaining to life and godliness. But he goes on to say God has granted us his precious and magnificent promises. I want to camp out there in this verse.

That word “magnificent” is used to describe how the shepherds reacted at the news of the angels. It says with “great joy.” That word “great” is the same word used here. It’s amazing. But what is? His promises. And get this. That Greek word for “promises” ends with -ma. Why is that important? Because it focuses on the results of the promise and not the promise itself. We know God’s promises never fail.

APPLICATION

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Promises mean nothing if you don’t keep them (the -ma on the end). It’s the results of the promises you make that your children will remember. They will always remember those broken promises and the promises you keep.

Teach your children to make keepable promises (I think I just made that word up, lol). It’s so easy to promise things we know we can’t keep. We need to teach them to follow the Lord’s example. He can do anything, so there are no promises He can’t keep. But even God’s promises all make sense. He promises to love and protect us. He promises to take us to heaven based on our decision to follow His Son. Promises are good – as long as they are kept.

What promises have you made that you have not kept? Can you fix those? If so, do that today or this week. It’s never too late to keep a promise. And before you make the next one, make sure it’s one you can keep and that agrees with the direction the Lord is leading you.

You have made promises, Lord, that I know You will keep. I look forward to seeing the -ma to many of those.

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STAND FIRM

1 PETER 5:12

“Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”

Paul is closing this letter and gives some final kudos to Silvanus, believed to be the one who penned this for Peter. Can you imagine listening to Peter and being his scribe? I am sure Silvanus had no idea the words he was writing, inspired by the Holy Spirit through Peter, would one day be canonized as part of the Holy Scriptures.

But the point Peter makes in this verse is in the last part. He tells us to “stand firm in it.” In what? The true grace of God. The word means to be placed or set. It implies to stand so as to not be moved. Peter is telling us to hold these truths about God’s grace forever. Don’t be swayed. Don’t be led astray.

APPLICATION

Did you ever play “King of the Mountain” when you were growing up? It’s a fun, rough and tumble game. You have to find a hill and gather some friends who are willing to play. One person starts out on top of the hill and the rest of the players try to push him/her off.

Our children need to be reminded that there are people who are going to try to “push them off” the hill of truth. Some will come at them face to face, but others will come at them from behind or out of their peripheral view. They will be sneaky and forceful. However, nothing can move them from God’s truth, if they will stay firmly rooted. That is only done by daily commitment to His Word and following God’s Will for their life.

Are you standing firm today? Can you be moved? I pray you are relying on the truths of God’s grace to guide you and hold you steady. There are way too many distractions out there today to lure us away from following the Lord. Stand firm!

I will stand firm for Jesus. I will trust Your truths, Lord. Hold me fast.

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