Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Demons, Devil, Evil, Following, Heaven, Hell, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

FALLEN ANGELS

2 PETER 2:4

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;”

Did you ever wonder where demons come from? Well, here you have it. When Satan rebelled in heaven, he was cast out along with the angels he had convinced to follow him. Their punishment was swift and just. God could not and would not tolerate sin.

Why do you think the devil and his demons hate us? Because they know what they have lost. They know they are doomed forever to those pits of darkness. They know once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are destined for the place they were cast from. So, their intent is to keep as many as possible from making that choice.

APPLICATION

Pretty heavy subject for the kiddos, right? But we shouldn’t shy away from the subject of hell around our kids. We don’t hesitate to talk about heaven, do we? Of course not. Hell is just as real, so they need to know about those who dwell there. Demons are real and are still being used in the spiritual realm in which we live.

The last thing you want, however, is for your children to be looking for a demon around every corner. We have to teach them to live for Jesus and trust Him to fight for them in these battles. They are no match for Jesus. He will defend His children. Evil exists in this world. Make sure your children know no matter how dark the evil, Christ’s light shines brighter.

Are you a demon watcher or a Jesus watcher? The devil wants your attention on the demons. By doing that your eyes are off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus and demons are of no concern to you. When you are walking in the light, the demons are exposed. They can’t stand that. Stay in the light.

I choose to walk in the light, Lord. May Your beams of light drive any evil away from me. Help me walk securely holding Your hand.

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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.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Conceit, Contentment, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Satan, Scripture, Surrender, Truth

TOO SMART TO LEARN

2 TIMOTHY 3:7

“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

There are two different Greek words for “learning” and “knowledge.” In English we commonly equate the two. But not in the Greek. The word “learning” refers to fact knowledge or book sense. “Knowledge” is an intensified word for experiential knowledge. In other words, these people have the knowledge to do what it is right but have chosen to do it their way, refusing the truth that stares them in the face.

I bet you have NEVER done that, lol. How many times have you done something you knew was wrong, thinking this time it won’t be so bad? You had the head knowledge, but you refused the truth of the situation and forged ahead, only to pay the price later. So, don’t be too quick to judge these people Paul is referring to here. I believe Paul knew these people he is referring to. We just don’t have their names. When you get out of line, don’t you want God to call your name?

APPLICATION

When I was little, my brother and I would save our money and buy model cars and ships. We spent hours gluing and painting, only in the end blowing them up with M80’s. What fun! But I hated the instructions. My brother, Tim, he followed them. For some reason, his models were always more stable and looked more like the box.

We teach our kids to follow the instructions (God’s Word) for a reason. We will have to apply them. When we do, God carries us through. But when we allow our children to make up their own rules and ignore truth, things get sloppy. They stop looking like the rest of the world and insist their normal is normal. A return to the pure instruction manual is the only remedy for our children and the children of the world.

Do you follow or make it up as you go along? Being in Children’s Ministry, I can’t “wing it.” Kids know it when you are winging it. They will bring down the house. Satan knows when you are winging it. He will bring all he can against you to try to make you miserable and unfit for ministry. Don’t let him. Cling to the truth. With it, you are able and to have the knowledge.

I only know what is useful to the kingdom or me because of You, Lord. I celebrate the freedom we have in Jesus to think, but also under constraint.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Cowardice, Deception, Demons, Direction, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, Family, Fighting, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Satan

PREDATORS

2 TIMOTHY 3:6

“For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,”

The first word that came to mind when I read this verse was “predator.” A predator is someone or something that preys on a weaker species. They take advantage of their weaknesses and use them to their advantage. That’s what these people Paul is describing in chapter 3 do. They only think of self, of satisfying their own appetites. They have no regard for the emotional, physical or spiritual well-being of anyone else. So, they leave a wake of human tragedy behind them.

You need to know that the Greek word for “enter” here means to creep in. It doesn’t mean to knock and announce yourself. These people don’t do that. They are sneaky. And then they take you captive. You are led away as if you are a defeated enemy captured in war. But don’t be fooled. It is war.

APPLICATION

Oh, this is a fun verse to act out with your children. Have you ever played “Battle” or “War” with your kids? You’ve got to take the time to do this. You will need to get some more players and set up some battle lines, but trust me, it will be worth the effort. Kids love acting out scenarios. And when we can teach a Biblical truth at the same time – Bam!

Choose sides and start the war with the goal of capturing the other team’s flag at their headquarters. People miss the fact that stealth, covert (sneaky) tactics are usually much more effective than blatant frontal assaults. Once the game is over, talk about that and apply this verse. Satan is on the attack against us every day. The difference is the game you just played is temporal. Satan is playing an eternal game.

Are you prepared to defend yourself against the onslaught of the devil or his minions? Don’t just look for the obvious. Watch for the subtle things that distract you. Keep a look out for the things that don’t quite match up with the truth you’ve been taught. Above all, hold to your battle plan – follow the Master.

Lord, I will follow You in the deepest, darkest battle line knowing You will never lead me where You do not want me to go. And whatever comes my way in the battle, I will give You all the glory.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Satan, Scripture, Surrender

WE ALL HAVE A MASTER

2 TIMOTHY 2:26

“and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Boy, oh boy! This verse says it pretty plain. If you aren’t serving Jesus, you are serving the devil. Jesus is your Master and Lord, or the devil is. I love the way Paul phrases this verse, though – “and they may come to the senses and escape from the snare of the devil.” Let’s look at that a little.

The Greek word for “they may come to their senses” only occurs here. It literally means to sober up, to regain their senses. It’s as if Paul is saying they were intoxicated with self before, but now are free to think clearly. And to get out of a snare requires help. Who do you think that was? Jesus is the snare breaker.

APPLICATION

This will be fun. Let’s tie your kids up! What? Just keep reading. I bet your kids will love it. Get some rope or cloth and tie their feet and hands so they can’t move around and then leave the room for five minutes or so. If they get upset, of course, shorten that. Tell them you have a very unique Bible lesson today. When you return ask them if they tried to get free. Most will but some may just sit there.

As you are untying them, explain to them that the devil ties us up and uses us to do his will. He doesn’t want us free to serve Jesus. He doesn’t want us to even know we are tied up. But his snare is a good one and we can’t get out by ourselves. That’s where Jesus comes in. He in the only one who can free us through the power of His shed blood. This is a lesson they won’t soon forget

(Please know I am NOT advocating tying children or any form of abuse. Only use this if you KNOW your child can handle this for a few minutes and only do this with children who don’t have issues with self-harm.)

Are you in a snare today? Have you fallen prey to one of the devil’s traps? It’s easy to do. If you are a believer, however, his snares cannot hold you. You have the power of the Holy Spirit coursing through you. Just ask the Lord to free you, and He will. You must come to your senses, though. Repentance is necessary. Do it now, if you need to.

I praise You, Father, that You truly have provided a way of escape for me. I am not Houdini. This is not an illusion. These snares of the devil are real, but they hold no power over me as I trust You.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, God's Will, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Thanksgiving, Witnessing, Worship

SAVE YOURSELF

1 TIMOTHY 4:16

Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”

I know what you are thinking.  “Save yourself? What are you saying, Carl?” Before you call the heresy police, let me explain. Paul is instructing Timothy to be careful to continue to teach true doctrine and follow it himself. By doing this he will show to others that he is a true follower of Christ and a faithful minister of the Gospel. His first concern should be his personal spiritual growth and then secondly, the salvation and growth of others.

There was a problem already arising in the early church of false teachers and preachers. They saw an opportunity to deceive others by preying on their desire to know God. So, these false teachers would teach false doctrines pointed at benefitting themselves. Paul was warning Timothy about appearing as one of them.

APPLICATION

We, as parents, should similarly instruct our children to have as their first priority to grow spiritually. Through Bible Study, prayer, worship and fellowship with other believers, they can continue their growth as a disciple of Christ. And then they will be prepared to reach out to the lost around them. But you can’t fully disciple others until you are grounded yourself.

I have seen far too many new converts get sidetracked trying to go back into the world to reach their lost friends. The lures of their past are strong. It is so easy to get sucked back into them. So, we need to help strengthen their resolve before unleashing them to pursue others. I am not saying they shouldn’t witness to others. I am saying they should be prepared to do so.

This does not give you an excuse to keep your faith to yourself. We are commanded to go witness to the world. But the Lord wants us to guard ourselves against the wiles of the devil. He knows our weaknesses and will throw everything he can at us to distract us or bring us down. Prepare yourself and be faithful to share.

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank You, Lord, for making me whole. Thank You, Lord, for giving to me life more abundant.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Creation, Demons, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God's Will, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Thanksgiving

IT’S ALL GOOD

1 TIMOTHY 4:4

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;”

No, I am not talking about spinach!  LOL. I am sure God didn’t make spinach. And I am also pretty sure He didn’t make red wasp. They had to come straight out of the pit of hell. Just kidding. God created all creatures and plants. I know that. But isn’t it funny how we love some things and hate others? I have never liked spinach and am not too fond of wasps (which, by the way, I was stung by yesterday).

Paul is simply saying, in response to the liars he just got through talking about, that we have no right to say what is and what is not good. That’s God’s business. He is the Master Creator and will let us know what is good for us. It’s not for man to say. After all, one day you hear that eggs are bad for you and the next day they are good for you. Eggs are eggs, yolks, I mean, folks.

APPLICATION

This may come in handy when you are trying to get little Johnny to eat his vegetables. The next time he declares that green beans are demonic, let him know that God made those green beans for him. The next time he refuses what God has declared good, read him this verse. It’s all about gratitude.

When I travel to Uganda and Kenya, I have the “privilege” to eat some foods that I normally do not and probably would not eat. But I am thankful for whatever is set before me. That’s the principle Paul is teaching here. We need to show thanks to God for everything He has placed in our lives, whether it’s spinach or ice cream.

Are you grateful? I know some people who are not grateful for anything. They would complain about their meal if they had a personal chef and ordered each meal at a time. You see, our gratitude is a heart issue. If our heart is not right with the Lord, nothing will make us thankful. Thankfulness comes from within when we realize just how blessed we are in Christ.

I thank You, Lord, for all You have provided. I ask Your forgiveness for not being thankful at times. I confess that as sin against You and Your gracious provision.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evil, Family, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Lies, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Rejection, Satan, Scripture, Surrender, Trust

WRONG VIEW

1 TIMOTHY 4:1

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” 

I struggled with what to name this blog. It’s obvious what Paul is warning Timothy about. Some people, even believers, will listen to the wrong teachings. Perhaps unknowingly they will be led astray by deceitful spirits and demons. I mean, come on, who in the right mind would intentionally follow demons? Not many people.

So, I titled this “Wrong View” because I believe the problem is they started looking at the wrong thing. When our eyes remain on Jesus and His Word, there is less danger of this happening. If we are absorbing the truth of the Gospel daily, we can recognize deception when it comes creeping at our door. 

APPLICATION

How do we keep our children from falling away? All we can do is bathe them in God’s Word daily and pray. The ultimate decision is theirs. They must choose who they are going to follow. But God is faithful. I truly believe if we train our children in God’s Word, it will not be in vain. The seeds of the Gospel will be planted. We must trust the Lord to send others into their lives to water and harvest.

What do we do when our children “fall away”? Many God-fearing, Christian parents have faced this dilemma. First of all, if you have done your duty as a parent and taught them the truths of God’s Word, then don’t blame yourself. Secondly, pray daily for your prodigal child. Third, trust the Lord to bring them home. You can’t force it or demand it. 

The big question then is are you fulfilling your God-given responsibilities to raise your children in His Word? Are you? If you aren’t, start today. It’s not too late. Make the change personal. It has to begin with you. No one else can parent your children like you. 

Father, forgive me for not being a more insistent parent to speak Your truths into my children. Help me to plant one seed every day, no matter how they receive it. You have given me my children to give them back to You.

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