Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Destruction, Direction, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

DON’T RIDE A DONKEY

2 PETER 2:15

“forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;”

We all know the story of Balaam, don’t we? He was the prophet of God that Balak asked to come curse the Israelites. Remember his donkey? He spoke to Balaam. Now, I don’t know about you, but if a donkey started talking to me, I might change my direction. Not Balaam. He kept on riding that donkey straight into disobedience.

How many times have you rode your donkey into disobedience? The Greek word for “gone astray” means to get off the correct path. It is so easy, isn’t it? We compromise on a business deal or we fib a little on our taxes. Before you know it, you are way off course. Don’t you wish God would make your donkey talk?

APPLICATION

Keeping our children on the right course can be challenging. It’s hard enough when they are small, but when they become teenagers it can seem impossible. They are exposed to so many influences. Friends, media and the digital world are all clamoring for their attention. Getting off the right path can happen in a blink of an eye.

You cannot be there all the time, so you have to entrust them to Jesus. You do have the responsibility to ground them in the Word and teach them which path to follow. However, there comes a time when you have to let their hand go. Wow! That’s hard. But you must do it. There is no growth without challenges. God loves them much more than you do. Entrust them to His capable hands.

Are you riding and beating your donkey, heading in the wrong direction? Stop it! Get off that critter and turn back to Jesus. Let Him get you back on the straight and narrow. He knows exactly where you are and how to reroute you. His GPS is never wrong.

Forgive me Father for getting off course. Forgive me for straying. I need You to lead me back to Your path of righteousness.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Battles, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Enemies, Evangelism, Following, Friends, Holiness, Inspirational, Judgment, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Punishment, Reputation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

BAD COMPANY

2 PETER 2:13

“suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you,”

Some people are just not good to be around. Their intentions are wrong, and they seek to bring you down with them. Peter is warning us today about these people. They are going to suffer wrong. What does that mean? It means they are going to be given the same kind of justice they have given others. They will receive their judgment. They seek only their own pleasure. No one else matters.

Peter even calls them stains and blemishes. Not a very good reputation, huh? They love to deceive others even while they are pretending to fellowship with you. It is interesting that the word “carouse” is only used twice in the New Testament (here and Jude 12) and both times in a negative way.

APPLICATION

I believe Peter is telling us to not fellowship with these types of people. We still have the obligation to witness to them and love them in Jesus’ name. But that does not mean we are to be best buds with them. The old saying goes, “If you lie with dogs, you’re going to get fleas.” That’s true. If you hang out with these types of people they are going to influence you.

That’s why we guard our children from ungodly influences. We don’t let them spend the night with other boys and girls who parents live ungodly lives. That’s why we teach our children to only date fellow believers who share the same world view. That’s why we want to know who our children are hanging out with at school or on weekends. We want, to the best of our ability, to keep them from being “stained” or “blemished.”

Are you keeping yourself from being “stained” or “blemished”? It’s really not that hard, if you are following Jesus. Jesus just may send you to these types of people to share the Gospel. But He does not want you sharing their lifestyle. If you look no different than them, why would they want to hear anything about Jesus. Be different. Live holy.

Lord, protect me from the stains and blemishes of this world. Help me reach those who think and act like this, without putting myself at risk of evil influences.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Encouragement, Foundation, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

SHHH, IT’S A SECRET

2 PETER 2:1

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” 

We are wary of false teachers. Any of us who study God’s Word know they are out there, and we stand united against them. Most of them are easy to spot. They say things that go contrary to His teachings. But sometimes there are teachers that are just plain sneaky. Peter warns against them in this verse.

The Greek word for “secretly” is only used right here in 2 Peter 2:1. It means to bring in aside, to enter by stealth. In other words, they are slick. They slide in beside you and whisper these things so smoothly you believe they are true. They sound so good and reasonable. Don’t fall for it.

APPLICATION

Kids love secrets, don’t they? There is nothing wrong with secrets as long as they don’t hurt anyone. But we need to warn our children against those who want them to keep secrets that could harm someone else. Also, if anyone wants them to keep a secret that goes against God’s Word, that’s a huge red flag. The devil is deceptive. He sneaks in through ugly secrets.

Make a pact with your children to not keep secrets from each other. This is so important as they get older. Teens typically don’t discuss much of their lives with their parents. Listen to me – the devil, the ultimate false teacher, loves that. He loves to drive a wedge between parent and child. Don’t let him do it.

Are you grounded enough in God’s Word to recognize these false teachers? Their lies can be so convincing if you aren’t careful. Remember Scripture always agrees with Scripture. It won’t contradict itself. Check out any teacher by His Word. That is the ultimate judge.

Keep me alert, Lord, to those who want to deceive me. Help me protect others from those who want to tear them down.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Deception, Demons, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Fighting, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Safety, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

A ROARING LION

1 PETER 5:8

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Have you ever seen and heard a roaring lion? I don’t mean one on television. I mean in real life. I saw a lion in Uganda once on a safari, but it wasn’t roaring. It was lying in the shade sleeping. It didn’t seem very scary. In fact, it looked very calm and peaceful. But believe me, I wasn’t about to jump out of that jeep and go over and scratch its belly. I knew what it was capable of.

Peter is warning about the dangers of the devil. We can’t let our guard down. He says to be sober and alert. The devil can lull us into thinking there is no danger and then he attacks. Just like a lion, he stalks his prey. He doesn’t present himself as he really is. He disguises himself and slips in for the kill. Don’t let him devour you or those around you.

APPLICATION

The last thing I want you to do is scare your children about the devil. However, they do need to know he is real and not some imaginary figure. We don’t want him to be talked about in the same company as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They must know the devil has one goal – to take as many souls to hell with him as possible. He knows he has already lost the war, but he wants to cause as many casualties as possible along the way.

How do you protect your child from this? By pouring the Word of God into them from birth. We raise our children to love and honor their God. And when they come to Christ and accept Him as their Savior, they are secure from the grasp of the devil. Then we must continue to disciple and mentor them to walk in the light and avoid those dark recesses where Satan dwells.

Living sober and alert may sound draining, but it’s not. The key is to stay in the Word. The moment we start living for ourselves and we put down the Word, we open ourselves up to attacks. The Word is called the sword for a reason. Use it to protect yourself and others from that nasty roaring lion.

I thank You for giving me the Word to defend against the schemes of the devil. I will watch carefully as I advance the kingdom, knowing he will do all he can to distract and attack.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Direction, Encouragement, Faith, Healing, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Passion, Scripture

MISPLACED FAITH

ACTS 5:14-16

“14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”

Peter’s reputation as a miracle worker and healer had spread. People were clamoring to get to him to be healed of their diseases or impairments. However, the crowds were so big they couldn’t get close enough. So, they resorted to lying in the streets where Peter might pass with the hope that his shadow might fall on them and heal them.

I must quickly say that there is no evidence this happened. We have no record of anyone being healed by his shadow. Nevertheless, the people believed it could. Strong faith in the wrong thing does not make things right. You may believe passionately in something, only to find out you were passionately wrong.

APPLICATION

One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to redirect your child when you know they are headed in the wrong direction. Your child may have some strong beliefs about some things in our culture. It’s happening more and more. While we want them to hold strongly to their beliefs, we also want those beliefs to be biblically based.

The only way you can redirect them is to go to Scripture. If a belief is not backed up by the Word of God, it’s not a true belief. Now listen to me. Satan loves to disguise his lies with a little truth. This can be so confusing to a young believer. That’s why you, Mom and Dad, must be grounded in the Word and able to show them in Scripture what God says.

Have you taken a good look at your beliefs? Why do you believe what you do? We all need to do a self-check every so often. It is so easy to bring in traditions or church practices and consider them doctrine. Let me encourage you today to reevaluate your beliefs. Check them out with the Word before you start betting your life on them.

Your Word is clear to me, Lord. I will put my trust in what You teach me there and check out other teachings that are put before me.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Denial, Encouragement, Envy, Evil, Hypocrisy, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Prejudice, Reputation, Slander

TAKE OUT THE TRASH

1 PETER 2:1

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,”

Some things just stink. And whether we are born again or lost, stinky things seem to want to hang around us. That’s why Peter tells us to figuratively take out the trash. He lists five things that have no place in a believer’s life. Are they in yours?

Malice is just plain badness – enough said. Deceit is wrong every time – misleading others. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you’re not – never good. Envy is holding a grudge which is the opposite of forgiveness. And finally, slander which is speaking evil of someone.

APPLICATION

Now, your kids are going to have to deal with all these things. Sometimes it may be them displaying these traits. If that’s the case, you need to deal with it quickly. Whether they are directing these to strangers, friends or family, these behaviors must be corrected.

They be the recipient of these traits. They never feel good. When you are attacked it hurts. These are the times when you must come alongside your child to encourage them and if need be, protect them. Teach your children to insulate themselves with the truth of the Gospel. Jesus is their true defender.

How are you doing with the trash? Have you put it all aside? Or are you hanging on to some of them? Our flesh loves to keep some “weapons” around, doesn’t it? Lay it all down. Put it all aside. Take out the trash. Don’t let the stinky things foul up your walk with Jesus.

Help me, Lord, to rid myself of those things that don’t smell like You. I want to reflect You in all my words and deeds. That’s not easy sometimes, but with You all things are possible.

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification

WHAT DO YOU DESIRE?


1 PETER 1:14

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,”

What do you desire? I mean, what do you strongly desire? You see, the Greek word here for “lusts” is neither bad nor good. It all depends on the object of your desires. Peter is warning us here to not go back to the former things, those things that kept us away from God. Those things are never good.

However, we can “lust” or strongly desire the things of God. Do you hunger and thirst for His Word? Do you passionately pursue your time in prayer? I am as guilty as the rest in not spending enough time in either. I have my quiet times and pray, but in proportion to my other pursuits, how do they measure up?

APPLICATION

Ask your child what they like more than anything else in the world. They may name a game, a certain kind of food or a person. Ask them why that is so important to them. Now, this could get interesting, but just let them talk. Read them this verse and explain how we have certain desires (you may have to explain that word to them) before we get saved.

Then tell them the Holy Spirit moves us to change our desires. When we give our hearts to Christ, He puts within us a desire to please our Heavenly Father. That desire was not there before. We are guided by the Holy Spirit toward things that make us more like Christ and away from those old, selfish desires. We move from thinking about ourselves to thinking about others. Those former “lusts” are replaced by godly desires.

Are you holding on to some former lusts? Let them go. Let Jesus fill you with desires that honor Him. Those old desires will never draw you close to God. We have to lay them aside. You cannot hang on to them. Pursue the desires that come from Him.

I desire You, O Lord. Fill my heart with a passion to please You. Guide in my thoughts so all I do honors You.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Foolishness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Testimony

MESSED UP

TITUS 3:11

“knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”

We have two Greek words in this verse that are only used here. First, we have “perverted.” Now, this word isn’t what you think. We all have our image of a pervert. No, this word is more like corrupt, to be turned inside out. They are just doing things all wrong. The other word used once is “self-condemned.” And it means just that. By his own actions he condemns himself. He knows what he’s doing is wrong and still does it. This is that factious man mentioned in verse 10.

Do you know someone like that? We are to pray for them, but we are not to hang out with them. You may have heard the expression, “If you lie with dogs, you’re going to get fleas.” Well, Paul is warning us here that these people have no intention to live right. Therefore, we have to keep a safe distance. We still pray for them and love them. But we just can’t be associated with them until they repent.

APPLICATIONS

I pray your children never become that kind of person. How do you prevent that? Your part is setting the environment for God to draw them. Prayer time is key. We teach our kids to pray and explain to them why we pray. We let them in on our prayers, especially when we see God answer them.

We teach them God’s Word and let it permeate their minds. We make sure they see the importance of the Word in our own lives. We make our decisions as a family based on God’s Word. Then when they respond to the Lord, we disciple them and help them grow. That will go a long way towards protecting them.

I also pray that you aren’t living a life that is self-condemning. Are you? Are you doing things you know aren’t pleasing the Father? Stop! Repent. Come back to Him. We can justify just about anything. We will even find Scriptures to justify our positions. Do not be “perverted” or “self-condemned.” Come to Jesus.

I thank You for rescuing me from myself. I am dangerous left to my own desires. But You have put a new heart within me, and it beats for You.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Holy Spirit, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Testimony

PRETENDERS

TITUS 1:16

“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

Don’t you just hate people who pretend to be one thing but aren’t? Hate is really too strong a word. We shouldn’t hate anyone, except Satan. But pretenders are very hard to like, much less love. Paul had undoubtedly dealt with some of these folks through the years. He is now warning Titus to be careful. They say they know God, but…

Paul says their words don’t match their actions. They are detestable. That Greek word is only used right here. It means revolting, abominable. Then he says they are disobedient. This word really has the meaning that they can’t be persuaded. Don’t waste your time. And finally, Paul says they are worthless. That’s kind of harsh, isn’t it? The Greek word means unapproved or rejected.

APPLICATION

So, let me ask you something. Is that how you want you or your children to be known? “Not really, Carl.” Then you have to decide to surrender your life fully to Christ as you walk with Him daily. We can’t say we believe Christ and not follow Him. We can’t say we love Christ and yet hate others. As you live out Christ, your children will see the connection. When they don’t, point it out.

There are far too many people in the church today who are playing pretend Christianity. They don’t seem to realize that the Lord sees right through that. And if you are walking in the truth daily, you will also. Your children, however, can be hoodwinked. People can fool them. Teach them to allow the Holy Spirit who resides within them to reveal people’s real motives. He will.

Pretenders know ABOUT God, but they don’t know God. If they really knew Him, they would not be detestable, disobedient or worthless. They would welcome good deeds and would be qualified to carry them out. Why? Because they would be done to glorify Jesus, not themselves.

How do you measure up? Are you pretending rather than living truth? Playing pretend can be fun if your playing. It’s not if you are talking about eternal things. There’s no fooling the Lord. Why don’t you today allow the Lord to set you free from the temptation to deceive others about your walk. Live in truth. It’s so much simpler.

You are the Real Deal. There is no pretending with You. I want to be known by others as genuine and true.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Encouragement, Eternity, Heaven, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Purity, Religion, Righteousness

STAINED OR UNSTAINED

TITUS 1:15

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.”

Have you ever used stain on a piece of wood? My dad taught me how to stain. He showed me the difference between a piece of stained and unstained wood. You can see the grains that run through the wood when it’s unstained. But when you apply even a light coat of stain, those grains pop out. It changes your view of the wood.

That’s probably a poor analogy, but today’s verse has two very contrasting views – pure and defiled. You could translate these two words as unstained and stained. One is not distracted by the world. The other lives for it. One sees all things as God sees them. The other sees all things as they prefer to see them. Which are you?

APPLICATION

Shaping your child’s worldview is so important. But it begins with their salvation. Only God can truly change how they see the world. You, however, play a huge role in that you help set the environment in which they can readily adjust their eyes to see God’s truth and be ready to hear His voice. Once they respond to His calling (and He is calling them) He will give them that pure heart which will cause them to see “all things are pure.”

Or, you could choose to let your child just decide on their own about religion. After all, you wouldn’t want to influence them in such a private matter. Hogwash! What is more important – where they will spend eternity or being at school on time? We guide our children in life changing decisions. We don’t let them “figure it for themselves.”

Do you see the world clearly? Are you looking through lenses shaped by God’s purity? If not, you have chosen to wear the eyewear of the world in which everything is defiled and stained. Why not today trade in your old glasses for a brand, new pair fashioned by the Lord exclusively for you?

Thank You, Lord, for focusing my eyes on You. I know I can see more clearly when I see with a pure vision. I choose to look up, not down on this world You have placed me in.

Standard