Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deception, Fellowship, Greetings, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Modeling, Opponents, Parenting, Scripture

WATCH YOUR FELLOWSHIP

2 JOHN 11

“for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”

Sometimes, when we read the English translation of a Bible verse it reads exactly the same as the original language. And other times the English just doesn’t quite get it. Today’s verse is the latter. Let me give you the literal translation of this verse. “The one telling for him to rejoice partakes in the works of him evil.” Now, I realize that doesn’t read too well. That’s why it is translated the way it is. But let’s look at it closely.

John seems to imply in the Greek that we actually rejoice at seeing this person. That’s a lot different than just saying “hi.” And the Greek word for “participates” is koinóneó, which has the idea of fellowship. That’s a lot more than just participating. See what I mean by the original.

APPLICATION

Now, let’s apply this verse. We mustn’t rejoice and fellowship with anyone who speaks against our Lord. Our worldview is different. Our purpose in life is different. Our passion and focus is different. How can you agree with someone who denies or denigrates our Lord? You can’t.

And we have to teach our children the difference. They need to know how to deal with such people. We need to be Jesus to them without agreeing with them. Jesus would show them love, of course. So, should we. But there’s a boundary we have to teach our kids not to cross. We can love unbelievers without condoning or agreeing with their views, especially about the Lord. The sooner our children learn that, the better.

Let me ask you a question today. Is there someone in your life who fits into that category? How do you relate to them? Are you friends? That’s okay. Just be careful you don’t compromise your beliefs for the friendship. It can happen so easily. Be firm in your beliefs. Let them see Jesus in you. Perhaps your faithfulness will draw them to Him.

Lord, help me recognize when I am compromising my beliefs for the sake of someone else. Help me remain firm and strong in order to influence them. I want to be influenced by the Spirit, not man.

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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, Belief, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Disciplemaking, Faith, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Surrender

WATCH OUT

1 JOHN 5:21

“Little children, guard yourselves from idols.”

What do you value most in your life? What do you spend the most of your time doing? If your house was burning down, what would you grab first to rescue? I ask those questions of you and me because we make idols out of a lot of things. Idols can be anything. They are things in our life that we place above God.

Look what John says in today’s verse. By the way, this is the last verse of 1 John. He ends it by saying, “guard yourselves from idols.” That word “guard” really means to keep your eye on something. John is telling us to be careful what we put first place in our lives.

APPLICATION

This week, of all weeks, our children have their hopes set on getting things that they may not even need. Their eyes are bugged out for Christmas, and they truly believe that if they get that certain toy or gift, they will be happy. I’m not saying toys are idols. But we have a great opportunity to teach our children about what is truly important.

Buy them those special things this Christmas, but make sure you talk about the real meaning of Christmas. Talk about what makes Christmas special to them. Talk about family and faith. Talk about your priorities in life, what’s important to you and why. They need to hear it from you.

Jesus belongs on the top of your list – period. Anything else becomes an idol. Idols corrupt us. Idols distract us. Idols draw us away from the Lord. Keep your eyes on Jesus and nothing else. That’s John’s message for us. Will you follow his advice? After all, it is from the Holy Spirit.

Thank You, Lord, for reminding me of who is first place in my life. I will not allow anything to come before You.

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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, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Confession, Deception, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Exhortation, Following, Judgment, Lies, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony

DENIAL

1 JOHN 2:22

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

Contrary to popular opinion, denial is not a river in Egypt. Sorry, I had to say that. Have you ever been in denial about something? I want to deny the fact that I’m getting older, but the facts speak for themselves. After two stem cell transplants in the past ten years, my body feels much older than my sixty years should feel. It’s just the facts. I can deny it all I want, but I just can’t do all that I used to do.

John attributes denying to lying. He must have encountered a lot of liars. The Greek word for “liar” is only used ten times in the New Testament. John uses it seven of those times. You know he had to run across a lot of people who denied the divinity of Christ. But he continued to preach and teach the message of Christ to those around him, eventually causing his exile on the island of Patmos.

APPLICATION

Have your kids ever gotten into an argument about something one of them claimed was true and the other one didn’t believe? Probably so, huh? They can go back and forth and back and forth. Is true! Is not! Is true! Is not! What an opportunity to teach this verse about denial.

Sit down with them and try to figure out what’s going on first. Explain to them that there is only one truth. It could be that they are both confused about the truth. It could just be that the one sibling doesn’t want the other sibling to be right. Whatever it is, use this opportunity to teach real truth. Explain to them that people have been arguing about stuff for a long time. But only one truth really matters – Jesus.

What are you in denial about today? It could be a health issue. It might be your marriage is in trouble and you are burying your head in the sand refusing to acknowledge it. You may be denying the fact that you are not walking with Christ as you should. Stop the denial. Confess to Him all those things. He knows them anyway. Live in truth today.

I will choose to live in truth today. I will stop denying all those those I know to be true and live to honor You.

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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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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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I WANT THAT

1 JOHN 2:16

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

The world is constantly bombarding us with things that we just have to have. If you just buy this product, you will have all your problems solved. If you take this medication, you will be cured of whatever ails you. And we spend hours online shopping for stuff we don’t need.

John calls all that “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.” Got to have it. Got to have it. It’s interesting that the Greek word for “boastful pride” can be used to describe a vagabond who makes empty promises to try to sell you a product. Isn’t that exactly what the world does?

APPLICATION

We have to warn our children of this. Kids can believe anything. They can get so hoodwinked by false advertisements. They can be fooled into thinking something is true just because someone says it is. How do we teach them that all that glitters is not gold? Well, unfortunately we have to let them “buy” some of that false gold.

Nothing teaches us better lessons than a failure. We have to allow our kids to fail safely. If we can do that, and it’s hard, we will give them a huge lesson. Now, don’t think I am saying we should set them up for failure. That would be just wrong. But failure is a great motivator. Our kids have to learn to not trust the world’s offerings. They are not designed to teach them truth or glorify God.

What are your eyes lusting for? What are you boasting about? Be careful. Keep your eyes looking up. Keep searching for the things that bring Him honor. You may not have the flashiest car or the designer clothes, but you will please the Father. After all, isn’t that all that matters?

Lord, I want heavenly things, not things of the world. Keep my eyes and ears focused on You.

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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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