Advocate, Battles, Bible, Comfort, Contentment, Direction, Encouragement, Inspirational, Peace, Protection, Scripture

PEACE ALL AROUND

HOSEA 2:18

“On that day I will also make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, the birds of the sky, and the crawling things of the ground. And I will eliminate the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and will let them lie down in safety.”

Have you ever been in a situation where everything is totally out of control? I mean, it is total chaos! You get one fire put out and another one springs up. You cannot get one moment of rest because of all the stuff you are having to deal with. Then…peace. The chaos ends. You can breathe. Isn’t that an awesome feeling?

The Lord is telling Israel that in today’s verse. Everything is going to calm down. Even the animals, birds and crawling things are going to cooperate. No more war. They can finally feel safe. Those must have been welcomed words from Hosea.

APPLICATION

Are you fighting a battle right now that seems impossible? Does it seem hopeless? Listen, brother and sister, there is hope. But you must come to Him. He can calm all the storms in your life. There aren’t any problems too big for Him. I’ve said it before, everything over our heads is under His feet. Never forget that.

Turn to Him now and say, “Lord, I give up. I can’t do this anymore. I need help. Will you help me through this storm I’m in?” What do you think He is going to say to that? He will come to you. Now, you may not like the way He works in that situation, but if you will trust Him, He will see you through.

Sometimes, peace comes only by navigating through a storm. Let Jesus do that for you. He knows where all the safe ports are. He wants to give you rest. I don’t know about you, but I want that in my life. I’ve had enough storms lately, lol. I am ready for some still waters.

Lord, I give you the helm. Guide me into the still waters of Your peace.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Contentment, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Flesh, Following, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Obedience, Repentance, Scripture

ON SECOND THOUGHT

HOSEA 2:7

“And she will pursue her lovers, but she will not reach them; and she will seek them, but will not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, because it was better for me then than now!’”

We often have second thoughts about things. We buy a car that we wish we hadn’t. We quit a job hastily. We do things sometimes that we regret. We wish we could go back and do it again. I’ve done that. You probably have, too. Am I right?

In this real life analogy of Gomer and Hosea and God and Israel, we see this. The verse is pretty clear. In Israel’s case, they were always turning from God and then when judgment fell, they would cry out for deliverance. They wanted to come home. Isn’t that just like us today?

APPLICATION

Why do we do that? Why do we turn from what we know to be truth? It’s our flesh. It is strong. Left to its on device, it will lead us down a path of destruction. It will lead us right over the cliff. The only way to combat that fleshly pull and tug is to wrap ourselves in the Word. The sword of the Spirit can defend us.

Now, before you say that is too hard, let me remind you that you are not doing this alone. Several years ago, I embarked on a new way to combat my flesh. Memorizing and meditating on the Word is the key. I never realized the power of memorizing Scripture in this spiritual battle we are in. Those verses I have memorized and meditate on daily protect me from my own flesh.

Aren’t you tired of running and returning? Aren’t you sick of the consequences of your sins? You will never be sinless this side of eternity, but you can pursue a holy life. As you chase after righteousness and godliness, He discloses more and more of Himself to you.

Father, I want more of You so I can stop this lure of the flesh. I want to die to myself and live for You.

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Abiding, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confidence, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gifts, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

ONE MORE TIME

1 JOHN 4:13

“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

How do you learn a new task? By repetition. You have to do it over and over and over before you can master it. That skill is gone today, for the most part. Today, people can simply google a video on how to do something. But most of those videos are by people who had to learn the old-fashion way. They learned by doing.

What has that got to do with today’s verse? Well, John is repeating himself. He said these words in today’s verse back in chapter 3 and verse 24. They are not quite verbatim, but they are close. John is repeating himself so we will learn. What’s the lesson? Proof of His abiding in us is the gift of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit living in us assures us of our relationship with the Father.

APPLICATION

If your children have asked Jesus to be their Savior and Lord, they probably have moments when they doubt their relationship with Him. Usually this occurs in their teen years. Problems arise, and they immediately start doubting God. They can’t see Him working in their lives. They question His presence. After all, they can’t touch Him. They can’t see Him.

Take them to this verse. That nagging conviction they have in their mind about sin is the Holy Spirit. That reminder about godly principles is the Holy Spirit. This gift they received at salvation has not left them. It is still there. All they have to do is ask the Spirit to empower them. All they have to do is confess those things that have come in between them and the Lord. The Spirit will even speak to Him when they can’t put it into words. Remind them of their gift.

Do you need reminding today? The Spirit is put in your life as a believer as a seal of your salvation. He is that constant reminder that God is there. God abides in us! How amazing is that? Through His Holy Spirit, which is able to indwell every believer, He lives in us. Embrace that today. Thank God for His gift!

I am eternally thankful for Your gift of Your Spirit in my life. I know You have gifted Him to me to assure me of Your presence in my life every day.

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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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Abiding, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Knowledge, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Teaching, Truth

KNOW IT ALL

1 JOHN 2:27

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

Have you ever known someone who knew everything about everything? You couldn’t tell a story without them butting in and finishing it or trying to top it. Name any subject and they would have an opinion. You really couldn’t tell them anything. Those kinds of people are kind of annoying, aren’t they?

You could read this verse and think John is telling us to be like that. You may even think he is shunning education and teachers. I mean, at first glance it appears that way. He actually says, “you have no need for anyone to teach you.” But John is warning us to be careful of who we let influence us. Everything must be in agreement with what the Spirit tells us according to the Word of God.

APPLICATION

This is never more true than today. Our children are constantly being told how naïve and even ignorant they are if they believe in the creation story. After all, science teaches that evolution is reality, right? But what does God’s Word say? Does evolution match up to Genesis 1-3? No, it doesn’t.

Other examples of teachings that go contrary to the teachings of God are abortion and the redefinition of marriage. We have to keep pointing our children to the only true source of knowledge. Only God’s Word gives the wisdom needed to guide us through life. Only God’s Word will always point us in the right direction. There is no other truth.

Let me encourage you today to reexamine your knowledge base. Whom or what do you trust for truth? We have seen in just the past few months the vacillation of scientist on the covid-19 causes and treatments. What one holds as truth, another says is not true. Aren’t you glad that we know THE Truth – Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?

Father, thank You for sending Your Spirit to be my teacher. I thank You also for sending others into my life to mentor and direct me.

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Advice, Advocate, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Scripture, Submission, Surrender

ANOINTED

1 JOHN 2:20

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.”

Okay, before you get all anxious about talking about “anointing,” hear me out. I am not going to talk about some extreme, cultic behavior. John doesn’t either in today’s verse. He had experienced this anointing in the upper room at Pentecost and had never forgotten it.

Neither should you. The Greek word for “anointing” refers to how the Holy Spirit teaches us and guides us to receive God’s will. Boy, isn’t that something everyone desires – to know and understand God’s will? It’s possible through the Holy Spirit. How? Because the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, lives within us.

APPLICATION

Explain this to your child this way. Stephen Curry is a great basketball player. Your son or daughter could watch every game he has ever played and never fully understand how he does all he does on the court. But if Stephen Curry somehow got into their body and played for them, then they would experience first-hand his skill and ability.

The Holy Spirit does that for us. He climbs inside us at salvation and is just waiting for us to surrender our will to His. He won’t force us to follow God’s will. Nope! But He knows it completely. We just have to let Him show us. Easy? Nope again! But is it worth it? You better believe it.

Are you struggling with your anointing? Why? Let go and allow the Holy Spirit of God to direct you. All those huge problems that bother you will be understood. They may not all go away, but you will understand. God is not playing hide-and-seek with His will. He really does want you to know it.

Lord, show me Your will. I surrender my stubbornness and rebellion. I want to be guided by Your Spirit.

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FULL OF JOY

1 JOHN 1:4

“These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”

There’s a difference in being joyful and being full of joy. Being joyful can be spontaneous and last for a while. Being full of joy is more about a lifestyle. Let me prove my point from the text. The Greek word for “complete” is pleroo. Any time you see a Greek word which ends in -oo the emphasis is more about the result of the word than the word itself. That word means “fill to individual capacity.

Being full of joy is a choice we make as believers that has results. We cast that joy onto others. We want to spread the joy to others because we know how great we feel because of it. We know the source of the joy is not of our own making. It comes from the Lord, so the source is bottomless.

APPLICATION

Ask your child if he/she knows what joy is. Let them define it in their own way. This could be quite hilarious. Then ask them if they would want to always feel that way. Some kids may say “no.” Why? Because they don’t know how to handle it? Maybe.

Here’s your opportunity to talk about the reason Christ gives us joy. We are not supposed to handle it. We are to pass it on. When we are full of the joy of Christ, we spread it around to all we meet. You can show your kids this by the way you treat others in your home and in the public.

But Carl, you don’t know what I’m dealing with right now. I don’t have any joy in my life. Remember, I said this is not a joy you produce. It comes from Christ through you to others. You have to surrender to Him. When you do that, the joy flows. It flows to overflowing. It becomes your lifestyle. Be full of joy!

Joyful, joyful we adore Thee. Lord, fill me to overflowing with Your joy. I want to spill out on others.

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HEAR, SEE AND TOUCH

1 JOHN 1:1

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—”

Have you ever watched toddlers in a room full of toys for the first time? They run from shelf to shelf grabbing and holding these treasures. They may even squeal with happiness. What fun! They are so excited. They may run up to you showing you their new found toys. They just have to share it.

John is that excited! He has to share all he knew about Jesus. Look what he says. He’s heard and seen and looked and touched! He spent these years with Jesus, this Word of Life, and he is busting to tell someone. You can just feel the joy in the words he has penned for us.

APPLICATION

What gets your child excited? Disney World? A certain movie? How about their favorite meal? Get them to tell you all about it. Watch their facial expressions. In fact, if you can, video them telling you about it. Then let them watch the video. Point out those things in the video that show their excitement.

Now read them today’s verse and talk about John’s excitement about Jesus. Shouldn’t we have the same kind of excitement? Shouldn’t we be bubbling over with joy? The very Son of God came to earth to save us from a certain judgment. Wow! He gave Himself for us.

How would you react today if Jesus showed up? Well, guess what – He already has. He lives in you. He lives in other believers. Why aren’t we more excited to tell someone about it? The greatest story ever told is at our fingertips. Share it with someone today.

O God, I don’t deserve the joy You have given me. I praise You for filling me with capacity for joy. Let it overflow!

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TELLING TIME

2 PETER 3:8

“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” 

It seems we are always in a hurry. Hustle here and hustle there. We actually seem to think we can squeeze more minutes into the day, but the last time I checked there are still only 1,440 of them. We can rush and scurry around like we can get more done, but we really can’t.

Peter makes a point here by stating, “do not let this one fact escape your notice.” He doesn’t want us to miss this. He actually uses the same word back in verse five. And what is this spectacular truth? God tells time different than us. That’s it. God doesn’t dwell in a twenty-four day. So, sit back and relax.

APPLICATION

Do you remember teaching your children to tell time? Nowadays it is a little easier with the digital clocks. But teaching them with an analog clock is a little harder. There’s the big, short hand for the hour, the big, long hand for the minutes and the sweeping hand for the seconds. It takes a little bit more teaching to get them to catch on.

What a great time to teach them about God’s time. Explain to them how He can see the past, present and future all at once. He doesn’t need a wristwatch or wall clock. He made time by putting the sun in the sky and setting the earth to spin at just the right speed for a twenty-four hour day. Amazing.

Can you trust God’s timing in your life? He is at work, even when you don’t know it. And His timing is impeccable. He is always perfect in His timing. I once heard a joke about a man who wanted to ask God for a favor. He said, “God, I know to You a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. I know money is nothing to you. Shoot, to you a penny is like a million dollars. Could You send me a penny?” God quickly answered back, “Give me a second.”

O Lord, I don’t want a penny. I don’t want an extra day. I just want to please You each day I live.

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DOUBLE-MINDED

2 PETER 2:16

“but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.”

You may wonder where I got the title for today’s verse. Well, it comes directly from the definition of the Greek word for “rebuke.” This particular word is only used right here in 2 Peter 2:16. It means the kind of conviction that rebukes the sin of double-mindedness.

So, what does “double-mindedness” mean? Maybe that is best answered by James 1:5-8. “5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

APPLICATION

In today’s verse, Peter is referring to Balaam and how he wavered in his thinking. Do you ever waver in your thinking? Do you go back and forth? As the Bible says, let your yes be yes and your no be no (James 5:12). That’s a principle easily taught to our children by our modeling that behavior. Don’t go back and forth with a decision with your children. Make a decision and stick to it. They learn from that.

Oh, and most important – if you are married, make sure you and your spouse agree on this. Children can be masters of manipulation. They can play one of you against the other. Be of one mind. That can be difficult if you and your spouse aren’t agreeing. But for the sake of the children, you must come together.

Do you suffer from double-mindedness? Do you find it difficult to settle your decisions? You know the Lord is not the author of confusion. He does not want you going through life second guessing yourself or Him. There comes a point when you have to decide and move forward. It may be a difficult decision. Trust Him with the decision. You trust Him with your salvation, right?

Lord, I will seek Your face before making any decision and then trust You to carry me through. I do not want to be like Balaam and suffer from double-mindedness.

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