Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Conceit, Confession, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

SINLESS

1 JOHN 1:8

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Have you ever met a perfect person? No, I don’t mean Jesus. I mean a regular human being. Neither have I. But I have met some people who thought they were perfect. They could never admit an error. They thought they could never do anything wrong. If something wrong happened, it was always someone else’s fault.

John has a way of hitting you right between the eyes, doesn’t he? He points out those kind of people in today’s verse. If someone has that attitude (no sin), he says they are deceiving themselves. We get our word “planet” from the Greek word for “deceiving.” It means we are off course, we are wandering. We are literally walking around as if blind, ignoring the true path.

APPLICATION

I bet more than once when your child has done something wrong or broken something they claimed they didn’t do it. Am I right? While that may appear cute when they are toddlers, it isn’t something to laugh at and excuse. Children need to be held accountable for their behavior, according to their age level. Sin is sin and left unchecked will lead to a lifestyle of denial.

I am not saying we should be the gestapo and try to catch them in every act. We do, however, need to point them to the truth each and every time they fall short (and they will). We need to, as appropriate, share with them our own struggles and failures. They need to know that mom and dad aren’t perfect. I know that’s hard to admit, lol.

When is the last time you went to the Lord confessing your sinful behavior? Are you letting them build up until you have a closet full? That’s silly. Go to Him right now. Unburden yourself. Allow His cleansing power to reveal all the sin in your life. Then you can walk in truth again. Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Cleanse me now, O Lord. I confess all my sins to You. I desire to walk in truth.

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Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Conceit, Encouragement, Following, Gifts, Glory, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Praise, Scripture, Service

IN ALL THINGS

1 PETER 4:11

“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The previous verse in 1 Peter 4 states that all believers have been given a special gift. That’s wonderful. But Peter goes on in this verse to emphasize why. Look at the third part of this verse. Peter says, “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” This is why we have our gifts – to give Him glory.

Why does Peter say this? I think it is because some people can begin to get proud of their gift. It happens quickly. Others start praising you for what you are doing. Soon you begin to think your gift is better than other gifts. You begin to see yourself as better than others. After all, God you the best gift. No! That is not how it works. Focus on Him! He is the reason for the gift.

APPLICATION

Children can get boastful pretty quickly, can’t they? As they discover their gift in Christ, make sure they understand why they have been given that gift. It is not to bring attention to themselves. It is not to gain praise from others. It is simply to bring glory to God. He will exalt the humble.

And we parents can be the guilty ones. We can brag on our kids too much. I believe in praising our children. They need that. However, too much praise can give our kids the bighead. There’s a balance needed. Always point them to Jesus. Tell them how pleased their Heavenly Father must be of them for being obedient in their gift.

Are you giving all the glory to God all the time? As He gives you the opportunities to exercise your gift, praise Him. As He uses your gift to bless others, praise Him. Whatever it is He has you to do, praise Him. Let all your praise be directed to Him and not to yourself. Praise be to God “to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

I will praise You, Father. You deserve all the glory and honor! You have gifted me with Your gift to use to glorify You. That is what I will do.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Conceit, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Godliness, Humility, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Praise, Scripture, Worship

JUST A MAN

ACTS 10:25-26

“25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am just a man.’” 

I have known people who would love to be worshipped. In fact, most of those people worship themselves. They think they are God’s gift to humanity. They walk around looking down on everyone, because they know they are better than them. Or so they think.

I am not trying to rude or uncaring. It’s just a fact. Our flesh loves to be worshipped. But Peter was having none of that. The instant Cornelius fell to his feet, Peter didn’t just speak to him. He raised him up and said, “I too am just a man.” In other words, there is only one God and I am not Him. Peter knew where worship belonged.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse for our kids because they can develop heroes who they idolize. Sports figures, singers and movie stars are just some examples. None of these people have the right to be worshipped. We must direct our children to the One who is worthy.

Let me go further. We believers can put pastors or Christian leaders on a pedestal. Guess what? People on pedestals tend to fall off. I have had the privilege to know several “famous” individuals. They are just human, like us. And the ones I respect the most always pointed me back to Jesus. They knew where all the credit lies.

Are you an idol worshipper? Do you put people on pedestals? Maybe you are the one on the pedestal. You long for people’s praise. Be very careful. As I said earlier, there is only one God and you are not Him. He alone is worthy of praise and worship.

I worship You and You alone. I praise you for all You have done in my life and will continue to do. Thank You, Lord.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Conceit, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Praise

IT WASN’T ME

Acts 3:11-12


“11 While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?”

Most of the time when we say it wasn’t me, we are trying to get out of being blamed for something bad. I know I did my fair share of that growing up. There used to be a cartoon strip in the paper called “The Family Circus.” Every once in a while “I Don’t Know” would show up. Usually he appeared when something got broken or messed up. The kids in that cartoon were always blaming “I Don’t Know.”

Peter isn’t trying to get out of being blamed. He simply wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t the healer of this lame one. Jesus was. Peter had no power of his own. He didn’t want the crowd to see him or John as something special. It wasn’t about them. It was about Jesus.

APPLICATION

The next time your child tries to blame “I Don’t Know,” read them this verse. Tell them it’s okay to deny responsibility for something if they really didn’t do it or someone else deserves the credit. That latter one is so important. Giving someone else the credit is a good thing. Just don’t blame others for bad stuff if you know they didn’t do it.

And it is so important to teach them to give Jesus praise for all the good stuff He does through them. When they lend a hand to an older neighbor, that’s Jesus. When they give their allowance to the mission offering instead of buying something for themselves, that’s Jesus. When people try to brag on them, teach them to just point to Jesus.

Are you a glory hound or do you give credit where credit is due? Our Heavenly Father exalts the humble and humbles the exalted. On which side do you want to be? Let Him exalt you when it’s time. Don’t run toward the limelight. It doesn’t last. His exaltation of you will.

I humbly bow before You, Lord. I desire all the praise to go to You. Let me serve faithfully whether anyone notices or not.

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Advice, Child Bearing, Child Raising, Commands, Conceit, Fear, God's Will, Honor, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Scripture, Submission, Surrender, Testimony

NOT AN OPTION

1 PETER 2:17

“Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

Peter gives us four commands in this short verse. And he pretty much covers everyone in these commands. Honor all people means to place value on someone according to how precious you consider them. He says to do the same toward the king. That’s convicting, isn’t it? How precious do you consider everyone? How precious do you hold your “king”, which for us would be our President or leaders? Hmmm!

Then Peter says to love the brotherhood which refers to all believers. Be honest, aren’t there some believers you don’t like? Peter doesn’t leave room for that. He uses the Greek word for love agapao which means always doing what the Lord prefers. Ouch! And finally, he says to fear God. Now, he doesn’t mean to be scared of God, but rather to be in awe of, to show reverence toward.

APPLICATION

Teaching our children to honor, love and fear is no small task. Some of these they won’t get until they are older, but we must start when they are young. But all these are best taught by example. We have to model these behaviors. Therein lies the rub, eh? Children learn the easiest by observing us, we have to love, honor and fear.

Ask your children what they think it means to love, honor and fear. You just might learn something. Often their answers are convicting to we adults. They speak with such innocence (at least most of the time) that it drives the point home. You know Jesus often used children to illustrate faith. Don’t you think if He used them, we could learn something from them?

How are you loving, honoring and fearing? Well Carl, I’m doing pretty good with the fearing thing, but that loving thing is tough. I know it is, but all four of these are in the imperative which means they are commands, not suggestions. If you are aren’t doing so good on one or more of these, you need to ask the Lord to show you how. He will you know.

Honor, love and fear need to be more a part of my daily behaviors. I need to spend more time loving and less time judging. I need to depend on You for my ability to do these.

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TOO SMART TO LEARN

2 TIMOTHY 3:7

“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

There are two different Greek words for “learning” and “knowledge.” In English we commonly equate the two. But not in the Greek. The word “learning” refers to fact knowledge or book sense. “Knowledge” is an intensified word for experiential knowledge. In other words, these people have the knowledge to do what it is right but have chosen to do it their way, refusing the truth that stares them in the face.

I bet you have NEVER done that, lol. How many times have you done something you knew was wrong, thinking this time it won’t be so bad? You had the head knowledge, but you refused the truth of the situation and forged ahead, only to pay the price later. So, don’t be too quick to judge these people Paul is referring to here. I believe Paul knew these people he is referring to. We just don’t have their names. When you get out of line, don’t you want God to call your name?

APPLICATION

When I was little, my brother and I would save our money and buy model cars and ships. We spent hours gluing and painting, only in the end blowing them up with M80’s. What fun! But I hated the instructions. My brother, Tim, he followed them. For some reason, his models were always more stable and looked more like the box.

We teach our kids to follow the instructions (God’s Word) for a reason. We will have to apply them. When we do, God carries us through. But when we allow our children to make up their own rules and ignore truth, things get sloppy. They stop looking like the rest of the world and insist their normal is normal. A return to the pure instruction manual is the only remedy for our children and the children of the world.

Do you follow or make it up as you go along? Being in Children’s Ministry, I can’t “wing it.” Kids know it when you are winging it. They will bring down the house. Satan knows when you are winging it. He will bring all he can against you to try to make you miserable and unfit for ministry. Don’t let him. Cling to the truth. With it, you are able and to have the knowledge.

I only know what is useful to the kingdom or me because of You, Lord. I celebrate the freedom we have in Jesus to think, but also under constraint.

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NOT A NICE PERSON

2 TIMOTHY 3:3

“unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,”

Paul is describing those who are not lovers of God. These words paint a picture of a not very nice person. And (at least to me) it’s interesting that four of these six words in today’s verse are only used right here. Remember, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write only what the Father wanted him to write. So, these words were saved for right here.

The saddest word of this verse is the first one, “unloving.” It refers to not having any kind of natural affection. Actually, it can describe family affection. So, these people don’t even love their own families. Now, that’s sad. Who doesn’t love their momma? Who doesn’t love their little sis? But these individuals only think of self, no one else.

APPLICATION

Go through this list of words in today’s verse with your little ones. Ask them how they can do the opposite. Instead of not loving their family, how can they show love? Instead of being irreconcilable and hard to get along with, how can they get along? You can go through each of these words this way. Your children will understand, if you will take the time to cover each word.

The important thing to point out is these words in today’s verse describe someone who does not love Jesus. We want to draw a sharp contrast, as Paul does, of the difference in our lives. Everything we teach our children should point them to Christ. There is no aspect of their life in which He is not concerned.

How loving are you today? How agreeable? Do you control your tongue and behaviors? Would someone call you brutal? Take a look at the descriptors used to describe you by others. If any of them resemble these, you may need to have a “come to Jesus” meeting with yourself. We want others to only see Jesus in us. Amen?

I am so guilty, O God, of putting myself ahead of others. Forgive me for being so selfish. I repent of that today.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Conceit, Disciplemaking, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

BLOWING SMOKE

1 TIMOTHY 6:4

he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,” 

I have known a few people in my lifetime that were truly “smoke blowers.” They had the tendency to brag and throw up this great smokescreen around who they really were. The Greek word for “conceited” literally means to be puffed up, to blow smoke, to have “moral blindness resulting from poor judgment which brings further loss of spiritual perception.” Wow! That’s not good.

And the interesting thing to me is that word is only used three times in the Bible. All three times Paul uses it to write to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:6; 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:4). It almost appears he had someone in mind whom Timothy was dealing with there in Ephesus. Remember, Paul spent a good bit of time there. He knew the people.

APPLICATION

Do me a favor. Don’t let your kids get conceited. There is nothing wrong with having pride, as long as it does not become prideful. Do you understand that? We should take pride in our appearance, to look respectable. We should take pride in our community by picking up trash and keeping our streets clean. We should have pride in our schools we attend and churches where we worship. But when that pride takes over, we have troubles.

Pride should never seek to make you look better than others. Pride should never put others down. Pride should never cause you to do things that are unholy. Pride can be your downfall as quickly as apathy and despair. Teach your kids to be proud, but guard against conceit and “smoke blowing.”

Have you ever known a “smoke blower”? Are you one? Follow the example of Jesus. He was a proud follower of His Father, but He never came across as conceited or puffed up. He was humble and meek, but with great strength. He is the one to emulate. He is the one to use as your model.

I am so proud to be called Your child. Help me continue to bear Your image. Let others only see You in me.

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