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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Accountability, Advice, Antichrist, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Following, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Salvation, Scripture

DON’T BE DECEIVED

2 JOHN 7

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

Have you ever been deceived? Has anyone ever led you down the wrong path? I remember a few occasions when I was. Yep, me! I don’t need to go into any details. Just suffice it to say, it was all my fault. I can’t blame the deceiver. It was my own flesh and failure to follow God that caused it.

John warns us here that there are many deceivers out there. These deceivers have one purpose – to cause us to veer off God’s course. They want to take us out of the battle. They can’t affect our salvation, but they can certainly put us in a place of uselessness to God. Now listen closely. You can prevent that solely by staying in His Word and asking the Lord before you do anything.

APPLICATION

I know you want to prevent your children from being deceived. Am I right? As a parent, you can see it coming. You can discern that some of their friends are not good for them. What do you do? Do you ban them from spending time with those friends? Depending on the age of your child, the answer may be “yes.” As your children get older, they have to make some tough decisions about that.

However, we still have to guide and direct our children during these times. Point them to the Word. Show them how others’ actions line up with what God expects of us as Christians. Just because someone claims to be a believer, don’t believe it. See how their life lines up with Scripture. I’m not talking about perfection. But I am talking about a consistent walk with Christ.

We have so many deceivers around us trying to distract us from following the Lord. They come in many shapes and sizes. The deceptions can be so subtle. However, they are there. Don’t assume they are not. Will you guard your heart and mind today? Protect yourself by walking hand in hand with the Master. He will always point out those who seek to deceive you.

At times, Lord, I can get my eyes off of You. I know that is dangerous. Help me keep my focus on following You.

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Advice, Antichrist, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Deceit, Demons, Enemies, Following, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting

NOT FROM GOD

1 JOHN 4:3

“and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” 

Have you ever received a message that was anonymous? That’s getting rarer and rarer in this day of emails, tweets and texts. We usually know exactly who is sending the message. But there are ways for people to disguise their name and send messages. Usually if that is done, there’s a reason they want to hide their identity.

The spirit of the antichrist, which John is talking about in today’s verse, is not going to come right out and say Hey, it’s me, the antichrist! He is going to disguise the message. He may use someone you know who is not surrendered to the Spirit of God to “give you a message.” Listen, brother and sister, always test the spirit. Does it agree with what John says? Does it confess Jesus is from God? If it doesn’t, run!

APPLICATION

Wow! This is a hard one for kids. We must be so diligent to teach our kids to hear from the Lord. They must be able to distinguish His voice. Just like they know your voice so well, we want them to know when it is Jesus talking to them.

How do they learn that? By teaching them to spend time in His Word. By teaching them to spend time in prayer, not just talking to Him, but also listening. That’s the hard part. We want to talk a lot in prayer. Some of the best prayer times have few words spoken. Just teach them to listen.

Are you listening? Do you hear His voice? Well Carl, I haven’t heard Him lately. Let me ask you this. Do you want to hear Him? Do you want to hear what He has to say? Or are you content with listening to any voice? That’s dangerous and you know it. Get alone with the Lord today and listen. Just ask Him to speak to you as you read His Word. Then do what He says.

Oh Father, I know Your voice. I know when other voices try to influence me in ways that do not honor You. Thank You for the discernment You give me as I yield to Your Spirit.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deceit, Deception, Encouragement, Exhortation, Following, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Protection, Relationships, Scripture

FAIR WARNING

1 JOHN 2:26

“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.”

I told you not to touch that.Have you ever heard that before? Boy, I have. Too many times. My daddy warned me about grabbing an electric fence. But what did I do? That’s right – I grabbed the electric fence. My daddy also gave me fair warnings about other stuff. Some of those I listened to. Others I didn’t. My dad was trying to point me in the right direction.

John, however, is warning us about those who want to lead us on the wrong path. That word “deceive” means that. These individuals are trying to mislead you. That want you to mess up. They want you to fail. They don’t want you living for Christ or doing what is pleasing to Him.

APPLICATION

I think the application is pretty plain here. As parents, we are constantly guiding and directing our children in the right way. God forbid that we should ever teach them to do the wrong stuff. I’ve known parents like that. I once knew some parents who taught their children how to go into Walmart, get a buggy full of stuff and just push it right out the door. After all, who suspects little kids of stealing like that.

We must continue to show our children why we need to stay on the right path. There is nothing wrong with pointing out the consequences of bad behavior. Sin has consequences. Our kids need to know that. Allowing ourselves to be misled by others can, and most often does, lead directly into sinful behavior. That’s what we are trying to help them avoid.

What’s your excuse? Carl, I didn’t realize it until it was too late. Let me ask you a question. Did you stop and ask if what you were about to do would glorify God? If the answer is “No” or “I’m not sure,” then you should stop right there. There is no gray line with sin. It is either sin or it’s not. Period. Live that way.

Forgive me, Father, for making excuses for my sin. Forgive me for allowing anyone but the Holy Spirit to guide me.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gossip, Holy Spirit, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sin, Truth

TRUTH VS LIE

1 JOHN 2:21

“I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.”

Have you ever been confused about what was the truth and what wasn’t? I have. In these days we are living you can be so easily fooled. Digital imaging can be manipulated so well now that it can be very hard to tell what is real. Obviously, there must have been some confusion during John’s day as well.

Let me ask you a question. Do you know THE truth? There’s only one. The devil will try to persuade you through his lies that what he is saying is the truth. How do you know? By comparing it to the Word. The devil will never agree with the Word. He always lies.

APPLICATION

Do your children know the difference between lies and truth? Have you ever caught them in a lie? You probably have. I’ve had parents tell me they have literally caught their child with their hand in the cookie jar and they would deny it. Crazy, huh?

What do you do when catch them? Don’t just correct them. That’s right. You have to point them to the truth. Just punishing them for lying won’t fix the problem. Unless you show them the flip side of lying, they will continue to tell those fibs that drive you crazy. Read them this verse. Even a child can understand this.

How are you with your truth telling? Adults tend to rationalize their lies. We are real good at justifying our sins. What? That’s right – lying is sin. Let me encourage you to pause your words before you speak. Make sure they agree with what God would say. Speaking truth is much easier, by the way. You don’t have to cover up your previous comments. Try it.

Let Your Words be my words, Lord. Let my tongue speak only the truth so those who are darkness can be led to the light.

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deceit, Deception, Encouragement, Friends, Harmony, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

IN OR OUT

1 JOHN 2:19

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

Have you ever had a “friend” turn on you? You thought you could trust them. You thought they were someone you could rely on. You thought they cared for you. And then, all of a sudden, they start treating you like an enemy. They start talking about you. That hurts, doesn’t it?

John must have experienced this firsthand. This verse is pretty powerful. I am surprised he didn’t name them. He just said, “they were not really of us.” Their actions told the tale. True friends are true. True believers are true to other believers. John knew that. We should too.

APPLICATION

What is the application for our children? Tell them to pick their friends carefully. We must instill in them the importance of having like-minded friends. When two friends have differing world views, there will come a time when they disagree and then the fur can fly. Picking the right friends can avoid all that.

Now, don’t hear me saying that our children can’t have nonbelievers as acquaintances. We need to reach the lost. But we have to guard our hearts from being impressed by those who do not agree with our worldview. You may think this is radical. But let me tell you from experience, when the Spirit binds you together, you can accomplish so much, but when you don’t have that common bond, well…

How about you? Are you in or out? Do you belong in the household of God or the world? You can’t have it both ways. You are either living for Jesus or yourself. What would John say about you? I pray he would say you were “of us.”

Thank You, Father, for adopting me into Your family. Thank You for taking me in. I know where I belong.

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Advice, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Devil, Evil, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

THE SECRET TO OVERCOMING

1 JOHN 2:14

“I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

Look at this verse. What do you think the secret is to overcoming the evil one? Look closely. See it? “and the word of God abides in you.” John even said in his gospel, “apart from me you can do nothing.” Unless the Word of God is reigning supreme in our lives, we have no hope of overcoming anyone, much less the evil one.

So, how do you make sure the Word is abiding in you? Are you having your quiet time? Are you spending time daily in His Word to help guide you? You see, you can’t rely on your own strength to overcome the evil one. The devil is much smarter than you. He can outwit you and scheme against you. But with God’s Word go guide, he is no match.

APPLICATION

Your children need to know this truth. They may think they can handle it by themselves. This comes even more a danger when they get older. Teens get independent and don’t realize how deceitful the enemy is. Parents have to be diligent in teaching their older children the necessity of relying on the Word of God.

Are you teaching your children this? The bottom line is this. We can’t do it on our own. We have to be armed with the sword of the Lord. Your kids may think the Bible is outdated. We have to change that view by daily showing the applicability of it in our own lives.

Are you doing that? Are you using the Word to guide you? Do your children see you applying the Word to your daily decisions? Do they get tired of hearing you say, We need to see what God’s Word says about this? I hope they are. Don’t stop.

Lord, I will trust Your Word. I know it has the wisdom to guide me daily.

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Foolishness, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Testimony

HATE BLINDS

1 JOHN 2:11

“But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

There is probably not a better verse for today than this one. So much hate. So much darkness. You see, hate blinds us to what is true. The devil loves that. He loves to keep us hating each other. When we hate, we literally can’t see straight. We only see what we want to see.

It was no different back in the day of John. The early church was not exempt from these feelings. Yes, that’s right. Even the early church, to whom John was writing, faced these same issues. Hate has been around since Satan’s fall from heaven. He hates God and anyone who loves Him. He will do anything to blind us with his hate.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they hate. Notice I said “what” not “who.” I hate brussel sprouts. I hate spinach. We can hate things. That’s really okay. I hate abortion. I am sure God does too. I hate sin. We all should. It does nothing good in this world.

But get your kid’s list of “hates.” Ask them why they hate these things. They are going to hear this word a lot in their life, so they need to understand the strength of that word. They should, however, never use that word in conjunction with a person. No one deserves to be hated. God loves all.

Who do you hate? Don’t answer that. Your answer should be no one. If you do, confess that as sin right now. Ask the Lord to forgive you for that hate. Ask Him to forgive you of walking in darkness. Ask Him to forgive you for following the devil rather than Him. Do that now. He is listening.

Forgive me, Lord, for any feelings of hatred I harbor against others. I know that is sin and displeases You. I want to walk in the Light.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Lies, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Testimony

DON’T TRIP

1 JOHN 2:10

“The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”

One of my favorite Greek words is in this verse. It’s the Greek word for “stumbling.” I even like saying it. It’s skandalon. It’s pronounced just like it’s spelled – skan-dal-on. Go ahead, say it out loud. I know you want to.

So, what does that word really mean. Get this definition from HELPS Word Studies: “the trigger of a trap (the mechanism closing a trap down on the unsuspecting victim); (figuratively) an offense, putting a negative cause-and-effect relationship into motion.” It’s something that trips you up and causes you to be captured or trapped. If we love our brother and are abiding in the Light, there is no cause for that.

APPLICATION

Visuals are so much better for kids. How about building a trap? It’s not hard. Get a box (cardboard works), a stick about a foot long and some string. You know where I am going with this? Get some bait like a carrot (if you want to catch a rabbit, lol). Tie one end of the string to the carrot and the other end to the stick. Use the stick to prop up the box. Then all you have to do is wait. If there’s a rabbit in the area, you might get lucky.

Now, the point is not to actually catch a rabbit. The goal is to show them how it works. The rabbit doesn’t know that carrot is a trigger for a trap. They just go in that box expecting a treat and wham-o, they’re trapped (or at least that is what is supposed to happen).

The same applies to us. We don’t see the trap until it’s sprung. The devil has a way of doing that. He is cunning and deceitful. He will promise us just about anything. And once we take the bait, wham-o. If we are believers, he can’t “unsave” us, but he can sure keep us down with his lies and traps. Don’t fall for it. Stay in the light!

I will walk in the light because that is where You are. That is the way to be sure of my steps. I will let You guide me.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Faithfulness, Following, Hypocrisy, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Opponents, Parenting, Praise, Scripture, Truth

WALK THE TALK

1 JOHN 2:4

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;”

When I was in high school, I played football. I loved the game. I loved hitting people. I know that sounds bad, but on the field it was great. One thing I learned about football. Don’t let your mouth get in front of your action. If you said you could take out the other player, then you had better do it. You had to earn the right to run your mouth.

Now, before you think I’m some awful guy, that’s just part of the game. You have to get inside your opponent’s head. John is pointing out something for us today in this verse. Those who say they are a Christian but live differently are just trying to get in our heads. They are trying to convince us their lifestyle of Christianity is okay. We have to stick to the Word. They must keep His commandments.

APPLICATION

Our children can get easily confused today by watching how the world defines their love for God. Marriage has been “redefined” contrary to biblical standards. People live one way all week but profess allegiance to Christ on Sundays. This can confuse little ones. Heck, it can confuse adults as well.

Oh, please listen to this, if you forget everything else. You, as mom and dad, have to live consistent. They have to see you living out the Christ life daily. If you say one thing and do another, you are not discipling your children well. The old saying Do as I say, not as I do, is not a good one to follow. Walk the talk.

How are you walking? Does it match your talk? Are you singing praises to the Father on Sundays and living praises to the devil? Ouch! Did that hurt? Did that offend? Well, good. It is the Father’s desire to be with you daily. He doesn’t take days off from you. You shouldn’t take days off from Him, either.

Lord, help me consistent in my walk. I never want my actions to cause someone else to stumble.

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