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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Commands, Courage, Darkness, Encouragement, Following, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holiness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Rapture, Salvation, Scripture

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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Testimony, Truth, Witnessing

WE’VE HEARD THAT BEFORE

2 PETER 3:4

“and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’” 

These words in this verse are what Peter said those who were mocking and scoffing at the Gospel were saying. We are hearing those very same words today. In fact, those who oppose the Gospel have been saying those same words for centuries. That’s okay. Why? Because every day that passes means we are one day closer.

Can you feel the anticipation rising? I can. I believe we are in the last days. I know, I know. People have been saying that for years. But that’s what I believe. So, when people say these words of mocking to me, I just smile and pray for them. Listen, unless they believe in the authority of Scripture, there is nothing I can say to convince them otherwise. That’s the business of the Holy Spirit.

APPLICATION

I am not quite sure how to apply this to our children, except for us to be the role models in this. As they see or hear us confronting such individuals, they will learn to defend the Gospel. When we come into contact with our modern-day scoffers our job is to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in the conversation. He will, if we will let Him.

Our children learn best as they watch us. So, don’t lose your cool and get into a heated argument with a scoffer. That does not represent Christ. What would He do? Love them and pray for them. Jesus had the power to force everyone to believe in Him, but He didn’t. He actually sacrificed His life for them. What can we sacrifice to bring scoffers to Him?

Are you bad about getting into arguments with unbelievers? Or do you simply sneak away and refuse to discuss your faith with them? God is not asking you to charge hell with a water pistol. No! He does, however, ask us to stand firm and be courageous. Will you today?

Lord, give me opportunities today to defend my faith and belief that the days are short until Your return. Help me be a bold and courageous witness for You.

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Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Enemies, Evil, Following, Gossip, Mentoring, Opponents, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture

MOCKERS WILL COME

2 PETER 3:3

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,” 

Peter makes it plain. Mockers will come. To get technical, the verb used here in the Greek is future indicative. That means that it is a fact that they will come at some point. There is no doubt. We have seen that for decades and are seeing it today everywhere. If you believe the Word of God is THE truth, you are made fun of and ridiculed.

The word “mockers” or “mocking” comes from the word which means to play as a child. So, these mockers are actually acting like children. Just because they don’t like what the Word says, they make fun of it, just like a child will do to another child. So, keep that in mind when you encounter one of these mockers. Their childish words mean nothing.

APPLICATION

Oh, what a verse for kids, especially since we just discussed the meaning of that word “mockers.” The next time you hear your children or their friends mocking each other, pull them aside and read them this verse and explain the meaning. I didn’t mention the last phrase of the verse, but it can come into play here when you discuss it with your kids.

Mockers mock because they want to pursue their own “lusts.” They want what they want when they want it. All that matters are their own desires. Basically, they just want their own way, and if anyone gets in their way, they are going to run them over. They did it back then and are still doing it today.

Have you been mocked lately? No? Well, maybe you haven’t been living much different than the world. Ouch, that’s harsh isn’t it? I’m not trying to be mean. But if the world doesn’t see us as different, why not? We should stand out like a sore thumb in our world today. And when they ask why, we should be ready to tell them why we are different. Be willing to be mocked today. Remember, those words are just childish words. We have the real Words of life.

Thank You, Lord, for Your Word. Thank You for giving me the courage to stand up against those who would ridicule and mock You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture, Self-control

STUCK

2 PETER 2:18

“For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error,”

Have you ever gotten stuck in the mud with your car or truck? I’ve done that a couple of times, and it’s no fun. The most frustrating part is when you think you’re almost out of that mud hole and then you wind up sinking again. I have been stuck for hours before. No fun!

Peter is warning us in today’s verse. He is saying that these false teachers especially like to entice or lure those who think they have escaped. Once the devil sees a weakness in us, he will go after us like a dog with a bone. He smells blood in the water. We have exposed our flesh to him, so he just gives us what our flesh desires.

APPLICATION

Can you name your child’s favorite candy? Mine is a Butterfinger candy bar. What would happen if you bought your child a huge bag of that candy and told them they could eat as much as they wanted as often as they wanted? Most kids would jump on that. That would eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their world just got a whole lot better – or so they think.

What’s going to happen to them if they continue to do that? They are going to get sick and/or have dental problems. They may get overweight and sluggish. Listen, fleshly indulgence never leads us in the right direction. Whether it is candy or something else our flesh desires, these enticements don’t lead us to God. Keep what’s holy before your child’s eyes. Let that entice them to godliness.

Have you succumbed to the lures of the devil and find yourself in a mudhole, stuck up to the axle? Stop spinning your tires. Only the Lord Jesus can get you out of that hole you’re in. Turn to Him and allow Him to “dig you out.” Jesus has already paid the price for your sin. Repent and allow Him to put you back on solid ground.

Thank You, Lord, for coming to my rescue. You are always listening for my prayers. Forgive me for trying to handle it myself.

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Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Courage, Direction, Double-minded, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

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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Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Destruction, Encouragement, Enemies, Faithfulness, Fighting, Judgment, Modeling, Obedience, Opponents, Parenting, Scripture, Victors

DESTROYED

2 PETER 2:12

“But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,”

When I was a boy, I used to build models. You know, model cars, trucks, boats, etc. I especially like the boats. Do you know why? Because I would build them and then destroy them. Yep, that sounds kind of dumb now, but we thought it was fun. Me and my neighbor buddy would go down to the local pond with our models, some duct tape or glue and firecrackers or M-80’s. We would light the fuses, push those models out in the lake and watch them explode. It was awesome.

My point? These “unreasoning animals” referred to by Peter are intentionally destroying themselves and others by their behaviors and teachings. They are not accidentally doing this. It is done with malice and evil. They do not understand what they are up against and will eventually be held accountable by a holy God.

APPLICATION

How do we protect our children and others from these evil influences? There is really only one way. I have said it hundreds of time and will continue to say it. We have to ground them in the Word of God. Nothing else will thwart the challenges of those who seek to destroy us. It is sharper than any two-edged sword.

Daily devotions, prayer time and application of truths learned are key. Make sure you are not just reading a passage (even though that’s good) and going about your day. Reading the Bible without applying the Bible doesn’t prepare you for these people. Make the Bible real to you. See how it affects your life each day. He gave it to us for a reason.

Are you prepared today to face whatever the Lord allows in your life? If an enemy of the cross comes across your path today, how will you respond? Spend time in prayer now to get ready for the battles that lie ahead. They are on the way. But with the Lord on your side, the outcome is sure. We are victorious.

Father, for those who battle against truth I pray. I pray they will see the error of their ways before it is too late. Help me today to face the challenges You allow with integrity and boldness.

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Advice, Angels, Bible, Blasphemy, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Enemies, Evil, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Sin

NOT NICE PEOPLE

2 PETER 2:10

“and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,” 

I had to read this verse a few times to catch all the negative words in it. All of them are referring to those who will be judged by the Father for their conduct and behaviors. Just look at this list:

  1. Indulge the flesh
  2. Corrupt desires
  3. Despise authority
  4. Daring (this word means to foolishly ignore safety)
  5. Self-willed (this word means to selfishly satisfy self)
  6. Do no tremble at God
  7. Revile God

Wow! Unfortunately, we are seeing that all around us today. These behaviors are front page news. We see it being carried out in protests and riots across our world. This is nothing new. Sin is sin. Until the Lord returns, we will be faced with an ever- growing resistance to the Lord and His teachings.

APPLICATION

Thanks Carl. Now that I am thoroughly depressed, what do we do about it? I didn’t mean to depress you. It’s just our reality. But there is hope. The Lord will handle those who rebel. We don’t have to. Our job is to be Jesus in a lost and fallen world. We can change the world one life at a time.

As parents, we can affect the next generation by teaching our children to do the exact opposite of those things listed above. We should teach them to not indulge the flesh and to respect authority. You can go through the whole list and develop ways to teach them how to do it God’s way.

Can you live in this world and live for Jesus? Certainly! But you have to depend on Him to guide you. You can’t do this on your own. And when you encounter those who live like Peter describes in this verse, just be Jesus to them. Respond to them in the same way Christ would have – in love.

Lord, I know I live in a fallen world. But with You living in and through me, I know I can face any challenging person or situation.

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Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Protection, Rescue, Scripture, Surrender

TORMENTED

2 PETER 2:8

“(for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),” 

I have to say that I have never been tormented. The Greek word here actually means to be tortured. Lot’s life (that’s who Peter is referring to here) must have been horrible. He was living in a cesspool of sin with seemingly no escape. His world was collapsing around him.

Have you ever felt that way? Troubles seem to follow you wherever you go? You can’t seem to catch a break? Listen to me, God has a way out for you. Those troubles are meant to drive you closer to Him. I can speak from experience – it’s no fun. But the final destination is worth it! He’s waiting there for you.

APPLICATION

Have you ever taken your children on a long bike ride, maybe a trail ride? I bet at some point they wanted to stop, didn’t they? When the trail got tough, they probably started complaining. What did you do? You probably said something like this. Come on, honey. It’s just a little bit further. Or maybe you said I know you can make it. Just dig a little deeper. You can do it.

God is whispering the same words to you. If He has led you down this path, He intends to see you through it. Perhaps your torments are of your own choosing. Even then, when you turn to the Lord, He will bring you out. You may have some scars, but He will complete the course with you.

The question is do you trust Him. Do you? Do you trust the creator of the universe to rescue you? Why wouldn’t you? If He can create the world in six days, He is powerful enough to pull you through. Surrender to Him today. No matter what you are facing at the moment, surrender it to Him.

Lord, I am thankful You can rescue me from the torments in my life. This world will try to bring me down, but You are there to raise me up.

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