Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Disciplemaking, Judgment, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture, Sin, Unrighteousness

WHAT IS SIN?

1 JOHN 5:17

“All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.”

The Bible talks a lot about righteousness and unrighteousness. We Christians use these terms when we are talking about God. But have you ever stopped to think what these terms mean? What use is it to talk about something we can’t define?

Righteousness has to do with abiding by God’s standards, meeting His expectations. Unrighteousness, of course, means just the opposite. It means deviating from what God expects. This results in God’s disapproval of our choices. In short, it’s sin.

APPLICATION

Your children should know your expectations, right? They can’t follow rules they aren’t clear on. Now, for children we need to keep our rules and guidelines short and to the point. Complicated rules only confuse them. When we make our expectations clear and concise, they are more likely to obey.

We are laying the groundwork for them to obey God. When they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and accept Him as their Savior, His righteousness is bestowed on them. We teach them to pursue this and not the unrighteous deeds that are so prevalent. We hold them to His standards. We show the benefits of pursuing a godly lifestyle. This is a process that takes years. We model it for them and live our lives pursuing the very things we are teaching them.

Would you classify your lifestyle as one of righteousness or unrighteousness? I know, I know. We all say righteousness. We would never admit unrighteousness. But if we are not pursuing God’s standards in every area of our lives, it is so easy to drift into unrighteousness. If we sin in one area, it affects our entire life. Live righteously today. Pursue God wholly.

Help me, Lord, to flee from all unrighteousness. I want to pursue You. Your righteousness is all I need.    

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Accountability, Affection, Asking, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Death, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Exhortation, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Life, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

PRAYING FOR THE LOST

1 JOHN 5:16 

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 

Do you pray for others? For years I have had the privilege to pray for lots of people. Some are on my daily prayer list. Others are on my weekly or monthly list. They are no less important than than those on the daily list. It’s just those on that daily list have a more pressing need or they are immediate family. Either way, I am praying for lots of people each month. 

In today’s verse John is exhorting us to pray for those who need salvation. This verse has been hotly debated for decades. Many scholars disagree on its exact meaning. But for our purposes today I have settled on the interpretation that John is asking us to pray for those who need Jesus. We must do that. He does say in the last part of the verse that there are some who have committed that unpardonable sin of refusing the drawing of the Spirit. Those people are in God’s hands.  

APPLICATION 

Do your children have a prayer list each night? I remember growing up that I had to pray through my list each night. I always prayed for my parents and siblings (except when I was mad at them, lol). And I prayed for our dogs and other things. My point is, children need to learn to pray and pray specifically. Find out some requests of relatives they may be praying for and let your child know. That way when God answers their prayers, you can celebrate with them. 

Prepare your children also for God’s “No” answers. Sometimes He does that. He always knows what is best. We may not understand it, but we have to trust it. Our children need to learn that. They have to learn to accept God’s Will, whatever it may be. 

Are you praying for the salvation of others? Who is on your list today? If you don’t have a list, make one. Invite others in your family to join you in praying for those who need the Lord. Beg God for their eternal life. And do all you can as you communicate with them to lead them to a saving knowledge of Christ. That is putting feet to your prayers. Amen? 

Father, You are an amazing God. I do not understand how You can hear all our prayers at once and answer perfectly, but I trust You. Use me to reach others with the good news of Jesus. 

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commitment, Death, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Heaven, Inspirational, Life, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Surrender

CHANGING SEATS

1 JOHN 3:14

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”

Have you ever asked to change seats on a plane so you could have the window seat? I used to like to sit by the window so I could look out. Over the years that interest faded. I just want to sit somewhere now where I can rest or read and not be bothered by others getting up and crawling across my lap. Lol

But sometimes a change of scenery is good. We’ve been given that in Christ. Our previous view was death. We were doomed to an eternal damnation with no way to get out on our own. But then Christ came and shed His blood for us. That changed everything. We now have life, and it shows in our love for each other.

APPLICATION

I often am told by parents that they can tell when their young child has committed themselves to Christ. Their heart gets tender. They start asking for forgiveness for wrongs done. Their very nature has changed. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? We should look different on the outside. People should be able to tell we have life now.

Once you see your child striving to live like Jesus, you can waste no time discipling them. They are going to need your guidance in how to study the Word and how to pray. You can’t leave this up to chance. No matter how young or old your child is when they come to that saving knowledge of Jesus, they are going to need you to walk with them.

Aren’t you glad you no longer walk in death? You now can walk in newness of life every day. Jesus walks with you as you learn to love others as He does. He can teach you the joys that come in life. The fear of death is gone. You only have glory to look forward to one day. Hallelujah!

I do walk in life! You are the reason, Lord. Help me introduce others as well.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Encouragement, Eternity, Fear, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

GOING HOME

2 PETER 1:14

“knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.” 

The Lord speaks to my wife from time to time very clearly and tells her things that are going to come to pass. I’ve often joked that if my wife tells me I am going to die, I am going to go ahead and crawl in the grave. LOL. That’s not being morbid. I just know she hears from the Lord. Peter had heard from the Lord that his days were short on this earth. He was at peace with this.

We know that Peter was crucified upside down. He requested that because he felt he didn’t deserve to die in the same manner as His Lord. But he was ready to go. He knew where he was going. He had given his life to Christ and had spent the remainder of his life serving the Lord.

APPLICATION

Death is not something we discuss with our children very often. That usually doesn’t happen unless a friend or family member passes away. But death shouldn’t be a taboo topic in our households. For believers, death is just a portal to glory. We may not like the idea of dying, but death is not to be feared.

I truly believe the more we talk about death with our children when the proper times arise, the better it is for them. Death, for believers, is not final. It’s actually a beginning. They need to know that. Death brings us face to face with the One whom we love – Jesus. Why should that be scary? It’s not.

Do you fear death? Don’t! Rest in the knowledge that Christ has you securely in His arms. He paid the ultimate price for us on the cross so that death would not have a grip on us. We pass from this life to the next with expectancy. When we close our eyes in death, the next face we see will be Jesus. Hallelujah!

Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory? Thank You, Lord, for removing the threat of death from me when I gave my life to You.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Death, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Salvation

ARE YOU READY?

1 PETER 4:6

“For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”

This could be a confusing verse if you don’t look at it closely. What is Peter saying here? People who have been persecuted and killed (judged in the flesh) are now alive in the spirit. You see, people may kill your body for standing for Christ, but they cannot kill your spirit.

Why do we fear death and persecution? No one wants to suffer, of course. But our mortal bodies are simply the vessels God has given us to use on this earth to advance His kingdom. When we “give up” these bodies, where do we go? Heaven! So, there is no reason to fear death, no matter how it comes.

APPLICATION

Most parents shy away from talking to their kids about death. We are afraid it will scare them. Don’t do that. Talk about what death means for a Christian. Let them know how precious our eternity is. Death is nothing to fear. Death is simply a portal from this physical life to the next.

This may seem like a morbid subject to discuss with kids. It’s only morbid if we treat it like that. Celebrate life with your kids. Celebrate death of a believer with your kids. As Peter says in today’s verse, “they may live in the spirit.” We live, after death, in the spirit. That is certainly not morbid. It’s encouraging.

Do you fear death? I certainly don’t. I have a terminal disease and have gone through two stem cell transplants. I have “beat” death twice now. But I welcome death when it comes. There is no fear of it. I know where I am going when death comes. Do you? I pray you do. Make sure of that today.

I am thankful for the assurance I have in this life for my future life in heaven. Death is embraced, when it comes, as You welcome me into Your arms.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Death, Denial, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Sin, Suffering, Testimony, Trust

DEAD COW

1 PETER 4:1

“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,”

How do you face the problems of today? Do you go out and battle the enemy on your own? How crazy is that? No! Peter tells us here to arm ourselves with the same purpose as Christ. What does that mean? Christ died to His own will and constantly sought the will of His Father. He literally armed Himself by dying to His self.

We can do the same, and the result is we cease from sin. Really, Carl? We won’t sin anymore? Listen closely. We will battle the desire to sin until we are in Glory. However, when we die to ourselves and seek the Lord’s will, we also die to the desire to sin. Dead men can’t sin! It’s all about surrender.

APPLICATION

At Kids’ Camp we play a game a lot called “Dead Cow.” Any adult at any time can yell “Dead Cow” and everyone has to drop to the ground on their back and stick their arms and legs in the air. Kids love it. Try this with your family. When things are getting crazy around the house and no one is listening, yell “Dead Cow.” Now you have to give the instructions first or they will think you are crazy.

Dead Cows can’t do anything. They can’t eat. They can’t moo. They can’t make milk. Nothing! That’s the point. Explain to your children that when they die to their own selfish desires and surrender to God, they die to those fleshly things. Yes, our sin nature is still there. That’s why we have to die every second of every day.

Have you died lately? If you are having trouble with a co-worker, check out your death meter. Perhaps you and your spouse are fighting. Yell “Dead Cow.” Not really, I’m just kidding. But go to the Lord in complete abandonment and die to yourself. Death really does bring forth life – new life in Christ.

O Lord, I die to myself today. I surrender my will to Yours. I want to walk today in newness of life.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, Inspirational, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Resurrection, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony, Witnessing

ARISE

ACTS 9:40

“But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.” 

Acts 9:36-43 tells the story of Peter raising Tabitha (Dorcas in the Greek language) from the dead. What a wonderful story. Isn’t it? There were many friends of Tabitha there when this happened, so the word spread quickly throughout Joppa. What do you think happened?

Verse 42 tells us. “It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” This is the reason the Lord worked through Peter to raise Tabitha. It really wasn’t about her. It was about all those who would be led to the Lord. Bringing the spiritually dead to life is much more important than bringing the physically dead to life.

APPLICATIONS

Did you know your children are dead before they come to Christ? They are spiritually dead waiting to arise. As parents we pray for our children’s salvation and rejoice greatly when they surrender to the call of our Lord. You may be parents of unsaved children. Don’t stop praying. God is still raising dead people.

Once your children are saved and walking with the Lord, your job is to keep them “alive.” What do I mean by that? Walking in newness requires daily dying to self. Wnhe you die to self, you have to get up and walk with Christ through His life. You die and then arise. You surrender to Jesus daily and allow Him to direct your steps. Your children need to know this truth.

Are you dead or alive? Are you the dead Tabitha or the alive Tabitha? Your risen life in Christ can be used, like Tabitha’s, to draw many others to Jesus. Wouldn’t that be awesome? By your daily surrender to Him, others can see Jesus in you. Arise!

I want to walk in newness of life with You today. I lay my life before You to use however You desire. I want to draw others to You through my surrendered life. 

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Death, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Inspirational, Joy, Parenting, Resurrection, Scripture

WHERE DID HE GO?

JOHN 20:6-7

“6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.” 

Don’t you know Peter’s first thought was Where did He go? I am sure he didn’t remember right away that Jesus had told them He would rise from the dead. Jesus had told them but not in so many words. All Peter knew was Jesus had died and now He was not in that tomb. He had been told by Mary that He was alive, but he needed to see Him for himself.

And what about the linens? There were two piles – one where the body was and another with the wrappings from the head. It was as if Jesus had unwrapped Himself. Was that possible? Or did the angels he heard had been here done that. This was just too much to take in. Where was Jesus?

APPLICATION

Sometimes we see things that we just can’t believe. I have a friend who is a Christian illusionist. He can do things that make you scratch your head. I have often said when I watch him perform that there is no way he just did that. Of course, all his illusions are tricks. He will tell you that himself.

Jesus had not just performed a parlor trick. He had really risen from the dead. Ask your children if they have ever met anyone who has done that. Of course, they will think you’re crazy for even asking that. But then remind them, when you meet Jesus and ask Him into your heart, you just met someone who has done that. No one else has defeated death themselves. Jesus simply threw off the grave clothes and walked out of a sealed tomb.

Do you believe everything you see? You shouldn’t. But you should believe this. Jesus is alive. He is seated right now beside His Father, as much alive as when He walked the earth. His position in heaven does not diminish His life in the least. And He wants you to live each day with that knowledge. Live knowing He’s alive.

Knowing You are alive gives me hope for tomorrow. You are always watching over me and walking beside me. I may not can see You now, but I know You are there.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Death, Direction, Encouragement, Following, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Prayer, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

JOHN 13:36-37

“36 Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.’ 37 Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.’”

When my children were little, I traveled a good bit. I used to travel around the country inspecting other children’s homes. Most of these trips took four or five days. Inevitably, when I was packing, my son or daughter would ask me where I was going and if they could go with me. Of course, they couldn’t go, but I always brought them back something when I returned.

Jesus’ words before His arrest and crucifixion caused Peter to ask the same question. “Lord, where are You going?” Then those famous words before his denial of Christ. “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” Even after following Jesus three years, he didn’t get it. He didn’t want to see Jesus go anywhere without him.

APPLICATION

I’m sure your children have asked you the question mine asked me. And I am sure you gave them a logical explanation. But the more important answer is this. You are going to heaven. That is your final destination, if you are a believer. And I am sure you want your children to follow you there.

So, the most important thing we can do is prepare our children for that journey. We need to cultivate them when they are little by reading them God’s Word and teaching them to pray. Their transition from unbeliever to believer should be certain but seamless. That way when they ask you where you are going you can say, “The same place you are going – heaven.”

I pray you are headed heavenward. If you are not sure, make it sure today. If you are, take a crowd with you. Share Jesus with friends, family, neighbors and strangers. Where are you going?

Heaven is my eternal home, and I long for it. Help me share the good news of Jesus to as many as I can while I am here, so they too can know where they are going.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Death, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

FACING DEATH

2 TIMOTHY 4:6

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.”

What would you do and what would you say if you knew your death was imminent? Paul knew this. He had been in prison for a while now and knew he would die for the faith soon. But look at how he describes that. He doesn’t say, “I’m about to die.” Neither does he say, “They are about to kill me.” He says, “I am pouring my life out as a sacrifice.”

The Greek word for “being poured out as a drink offering” is one word. It occurs here and also in Philippians 2:17. Paul wrote Philippians about four years earlier during his first imprisonment. But even then he saw his life as a sacrifice for Jesus. He didn’t fear death. He was pouring his own life out for Him. No one could take what he freely gave.

APPLICATION

Test this with your children. Ask them if there is something they really value they are willing to give away. Perhaps it is a special toy or gift they have received. They may know someone who would really love it, maybe more than they do. If they are willing to give it up, let them. This could be a huge learning opportunity.

Now, go to this verse and explain that just as Paul willingly gave up his life for Jesus, nothing they are willing to give away can be taken from them. It doesn’t matter how it leaves their hands once they have decided to give it away. It’s the giving up that matters. The same holds true for their life. Is it fully given up to Jesus?

How about you? Is your life being poured out as an offering? Does your heart fully belong to Jesus? Until you are willing to give up your life for Him you will never fully know what Paul is referring to here in this verse. If we are holding on to our life, we are holding back full allegiance. Now, Jesus probably will never ask you to die for Him. But if He did, would you? That’s a hard question.

Father, my life is Yours to do with as You choose. To live is Christ and to die is gain. I pour out myself for You today.

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