Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony

BY INVITATION ONLY

2 JOHN 10

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting;”

I have, on occasion, received invitations to exclusive events. These events had limited seating and only certain people were invited to attend. Those decisions to limit the number of people may have been due to the venue size or the budget of the event. Whatever the reason, I always feel honored to be invited.

However, John is talking about something we should do to limit our audience. He is basically telling us to not invite anyone into our home who does not agree with God’s teachings. Wow! I thought we were supposed to reach out to the lost. We are. John is guarding us against false teachers. They should not be invited. Others should be so we can teach them the truth. We have to be so careful who we listen to, especially today.

APPLICATION

I pray your children invite their lost friends to your home. What better way for them to hear truth than to be welcomed into your home. Now, we should not let our children sit under anyone who teaches anything contrary to Scripture. But we should welcome any of their lost friends to hear the Gospel in our home. We want our children to be the influencer, not the influenced.

Does that make sense to you? I hope so. Don’t assume that every teacher or small group leader at church is teaching correctly either. Check them out. Make sure you have the right to sit in on a class or small group to find out. Any leader who doesn’t allow that is not open to accountability. Talk to your child’s Children’s Pastor or Student Pastor to find out who will be leading your child. It is, after all, your responsibility to disciple your child spiritually.

Have you opened yourself up to wrong teaching? Sometimes we do that without knowing. We hear about this great Bible Study available on dvd or online, so we dig into it. Always check out any study before you begin. Check out the author. Check out the publisher. And as you start the study, be aware of any inconsistencies with Scripture. As John says, “Do not give him a greeting.”

O Lord, keep my eyes open to falsehood. I want to honor You in all my relationships. Guard my heart.

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Advocate, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Courage, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Fear, God's Will, Godliness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Prayer, Salvation, Satan, Scripture, Trust, Victors

THE DEVIL’S WORLD

1 JOHN 5:19

“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

Look around you. The world is a mess. Poverty, disease, racism, hatred and myriad of other horrible things are global. John tells us why right here in today’s verse. He says, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Is it any wonder why the world is in the shape it is?

So, what do we do? Hide and avoid it? No! We are of God. And if we are of God, we have so much more power. That power enables us to withstand any attack by Satan. His power is limited, and he knows it. Satan can’t stand that. He cannot destroy the world, but God has given him limited power over it. He wants to make us as miserable as possible. Don’t let him.

APPLICATION

The world, therefore, can be a scary place for our children. We can’t isolate them forever from its horrors. They will experience them through all kinds of ways. Even video games can expose them to it. Some parents try to put blinders on their kids and hide them away from the real world. Now, don’t get me wrong. We don’t need to expose them to it ourselves. But we need to prepare them.

How do we do that? By making sure they belong to the Lord. We have to spend all the time we can pouring Jesus all over them. We read them His Word. We teach them to study it for themselves. We pray with them. We teach them to pray. We live godly lives before them so they will follow our example. We teach them to live in the power of God, so the power of Satan will have no effect. That’s teaching them to walk in victory.

Are you walking that way? Or are you cringing in fear of what the devil might do? That’s no way to live. If you are a child of God, you have to live that way. God is not wringing His hands over what the devil might do. Neither should you. He has him right where He wants him. Trust God to handle the evil one. He always has.

I will walk in victory in an evil world. There is nothing that can come against me that You do not allow. It trust You in every step I take.

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Advocate, Bible, Confidence, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

CONFIDENCE

1 JOHN 4:17

“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.”

I like being around confident people. Their confidence makes me more confident. I had a football coach in Junior High School who was like that. He was always positive and upbeat. He wasn’t the greatest coach, but his confidence was infectious. It made us better players. We played hard for him because he made us more confident.

The Greek word here for “confidence” means to be bold, to speak with resolve, to be remembered. That’s it! We have boldness. We live in such a way that we will be remembered. And John says we will be confident “in the day of judgment.” I know that I know that I know I am in Christ, so I do not fear judgment. My sins are forgiven.

APPLICATION

Don’t you want confident children? A father I meet with regularly was speaking about one of his young sons recently. He was concerned that he was “too whiny.” We talked about that. We both agreed that he needs more time with him than perhaps his other kids. He needs to build more confidence in him now at an early age so he won’t be whiny and complaining as a teen or young man.

The best way to build confidence in our kids, of course, is leading them to a saving knowledge of Christ. Even before they make that decision, we need to be pouring Jesus all over them. We need to reassure them of His love for them. We need to remind them over and over that He will fight for them. We want them to have that confidence in the day of judgment knowing that their sins have been washed away and they can stand boldly before the throne of God, not because of anything they have done, but because of Jesus.

What is your confidence in? I pray it is not in your own abilities or talents. Those can be lost so quickly. I pray it’s not in your position or career. That too can be snatched away. Is your confidence in Christ? He is the only sure thing. He is always there. He will always be with you, no matter what you face. He has to be your confidence.

I am confident in You, Lord. I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep me until that day.

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Advice, Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Enemies, Lies, Mentoring, Opponents, Parenting, Scripture, The World

WORLD TALK

1 JOHN 4:5

They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.”

I have had the privilege to travel some. The strange thing about traveling to other countries – they all have different accents and often different language. Of course, I don’t think I have an accent at all, lol. I have dear friends in Uganda and Kenya. We’ve known each other for years now, but when I am there, I have to change the way I talk, or they can’t understand me. They hear me, but they can’t understand what I am saying.

John is saying that those who are of the world talk different. They sound different. They speak a whole different language than us. Do you know why? Because of their world view. When we see things differently, we talk differently. I honestly cannot understand some people. Oh, I understand their words, but I do not understand what they are saying. It just doesn’t make sense.

APPLICATION

Our children are going to face this issue. Hopefully, you are teaching them to have a biblical world view. That is going to clash with others. It is just a matter of time. Adults and kids alike will challenge them. They may even face persecution in school because of their world view. That’s okay. Support them. If need be, defend them.

We have to teach our children to hold fast. The world speaks a different language. The world will not agree with your child’s language about the world and God. If our children can learn to defend their faith at an early age, they will be prepared for a lifetime.

Are you being challenged by your speech because of your world view? If you aren’t, maybe you aren’t making your view known. Why not? Are you afraid of persecution? Are you afraid for your job? Don’t you think the God of the universe is big enough to take care of you. God is the one who fights our battles. Trust Him. Will you do that?

Lord God, I confess sometimes I avoid speaking up for fear of ridicule or being shamed. Forgive me for not being more bold in Your name.

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Antichrist, Battles, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Prayer, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender

GREATER IS HE

1 JOHN 4:4

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 

I grew up with cereal commercials. You may can remember the old Lucky Charm and Cocoa Krispies commercials. But my favorite was Frosted Flakes. Why? Because of Tony the Tiger. I just loved every time he would say, “They’re Greaaaaaaat!” I didn’t get to eat Frosted Flakes a lot, but I sure loved the commercial.

When I read this verse, I think of that. I won’t to scream out like Tony the tiger and say, “He’s Greaaaat!” Silly, I know. Look what John is telling us. That old antichrist may think he has power. He may think he is great, but he has nothing on Jesus. That’s who is in us. Through His Holy Spirit He dwells within us. He is greater than any other power. We literally have an indescribable power in us.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they would do if they had unlimited power. They may say they would fly to the moon. Maybe they would say they would heal all the sick children in the world. Whatever they say, I bet they have an idea what they would do with that power.

Now, ask them what power a Christian has. This may puzzle them for a second. They may say the power to pray or believe. Read them today’s verse. Explain to them that we have the very power of God within them as believers. We can do amazing things if we will only yield to Him and allow His Spirit to work through us. We are only limited by our faith.

Do you believe that? Do you believe you have the very power of God within you? That’s what the Scripture says. I truly believe we are only as powerful as our faith. God can and wants to do amazing things through us. Will you allow Him to have complete control over you today? If you do, hold on. He may just put you in a place to be used as never before.

Lord, use me. Take my life and use it however You desire today. And I will give You all the glory.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Judgment, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Separation

TEST THE SPIRITS

1 JOHN 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 

Don’t you hate when you have batteries lying around and you don’t know if they are good or not? I hate that. When you need a battery, you need a battery. Most of us don’t have battery tester at home. So, what do you do? You put that battery in the device to see if it works. If it doesn’t, you throw it away.

John tells us to test the spirits. In fact, the word “test” means to test to see if it’s good. It’s not so much testing to see if it’s bad. You see, if it’s good, it’s from God. If it’s not, well… As John says, “because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” There are many who will try to deceive us. But if we are mindful to test the spirits, according to God’s Word, He will show us who to believe.

APPLICATION

Take some of those batteries you have lying around the house and get your children to help you test them. Come on, go buy that tester. You know you need it. Teach them how to test the different sizes – AA, AAA, 9 volt. Now, it’s important to teach them how to know what a good test is.

A weak battery is as no good as a dead battery. Did you get that? Do you believe that? Of course, you do. A spirit that tests “okay” is as bad as a spirit that does not test good. Your kids need to know this. They need to understand that. And the tester they will use throughout their life is the Word of God. It will reveal what is truth and what is not.

Do you struggle knowing what is true, what is good? You don’t have to. Measure everything according to His Word. It will never let you down. You will know instantly whether that spirt, that preacher, that evangelist, that speaker is of God or not by how they measure up to the Word. Trust it.

O God, I am thankful I have the “tester” necessary to test the spirits. You have given me Your Word as the instrument of truth.

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TO DIE FOR

1 JOHN 3:16

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

Who would you die for? Your first response is probably your children and your spouse. You would probably say your mom or dad. Maybe you would die for a sibling. But we typically save that kind of sacrifice for family. But is that what Jesus asks us to do? I think He calls us to go beyond that.

John says here we are to lay down our lives for the brethren. Who is that? Who is our brother or sister? Anyone who is in the family of God with us. I think of the people who stood up to defend their brothers and sisters in recent church shootings. They didn’t hesitate to stand between evil and their brothers and sisters. That’s true love – laying down their lives for others.

APPLICATION

Now, this isn’t something you teach your children in one sitting. How do you teach your children this kind of love for others? Well, you don’t. This kind of love only comes with maturity and growth in the Lord. Little children can’t comprehend this kind of sacrifice. As we grow and learn more about our true life in Christ, we realize that this life on earth is fleeting. The only true life is life in Him.

Allow your children to see you sacrifice for others daily. It doesn’t have to be a literally laying down your life. But you know what – sometimes that’s harder. Laying down your rights for the benefit of others can teach your children volumes. Sometimes allowing others to “have their way” may lay the groundwork for future conversations and opportunities to share about Jesus. As long as we don’t compromise on truth, it’s worth it.

Who will you die for? Anyone? Think about that today. Ask the Lord if there is someone you need to reach out to today. Is there someone who is in need of your sacrificial love. What are you willing to lie down for others? There are so many ways to sacrifice without it costing us our lives. Will you do it for Him?

I will lay down my life for others today, Lord. There is nothing I hold which is more valuable than the soul of another.

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Antichrist, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Courage, Darkness, Encouragement, Fear, Inspirational, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture

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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I SEE A LIGHT

1 JOHN 2:8

“On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.”

If you have read many of my devotional blogs, then you know I like to hunt. In fact, today is opening day for archery season for white-tail deer. As you read this today, I am sitting in my blind in the woods waiting to harvest a deer. Now, before you judge me for being a hunter, just keep reading. Hunting is not the topic of this blog.

When I have been in the woods in the past in the early morning hours before daylight, it has been of extreme importance to have a good light. I always carry a backup light just in case the one I am using goes out as I am walking. There’s not much more of a helpless feeling than to be walking in the woods and lose your source of light. Ah hah! Here’s my point. If we are walking with Christ, we can never lose our light. Why? Because He is the source, which is eternal.

APPLICATION

Kids, for the most part, love using flashlights in the dark. It just gives a new sensation that we can’t experience in the daytime. Get some flashlights and put different strength batteries in them. (You will need to test these before you do this with your kids.) Get in a dark room and turn on these different flashlights one at a time, beginning with the weakest batteries. The room seems pretty lit up, even with the weakest batteries. But, as you go from the weakest to the strongest, they will see the difference.

Ask them which flashlight they would want to take with them into a dark room. Of course, they are going to pick the brightest one. Ask them why. We want the brightest light possible to keep us from stumbling. The same is true in our spiritual walk. We need the brightest light, which is Jesus. We can’t walk alone. We are destined to fall.

Are you trying to navigate the dark passages of life by yourself? Take up the light that is available to you right now. Let Jesus light your path. Let Him show you the right steps to take. Aren’t you tired of falling down? As John says, “the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.”

ThankYou, Lord, for lighting my path. Thank You for being my one and only dependable source of light.

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THIEVES

2 PETER 3:10

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

Okay, you need to understand something. Peter is not calling the Lord a thief. But I guess you knew that, right. Peter is just using a thief as an example. If you knew a thief was going to rob your house, what would you do? You would get ready for him.  You would make sure all the doors and windows were locked and secured. You would make sure all your valuables were hidden away. But the problem is, thieves don’t give prior notice. They catch you just as you are.

So, the Lord Jesus isn’t going to announce that He is coming a certain day. We know, through Scripture, that He is coming. That means we have to be ready. How do you get ready? By staying in His Word and doing all we can to lead others to Him. We should have our spiritual doors open all the time waiting for Him. We should have nothing in our lives for which we are ashamed. He’s on His way.

APPLICATION

Ask your kids what they would do if they knew their favorite aunt or uncle was coming for a visit. Would they leave their room a mess? Would they put off taking a bath until after their visit. Now, some kids would love that, lol. But seriously, what would they do to prepare for them?

Explain why it is so important to prepare for the Lord’s return. The first thing, of course, is make sure their heart is right. Have they surrendered their life to Him? If that’s been done, let them know He wants them to live each day as if He’s coming back that day. We want to please Him in all we do every day.

Are you living today as if He is coming back soon? Let me encourage you to surrender fully to Him today. Let Him have full control over your life. Allow Him to use you to lead others to Him. And most of all, keep looking for Him. Know His return is close.

O God, I know many people who need You. Help me lead them to You before it is too late. I want them to know You.

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