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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Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Denial, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Enemies, Following, Foundation, Inspirational, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

ARE YOU PERVERTED?

2 PETER 3:16

“as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 

I bet that title got your attention, didn’t it? Well, I am not talking about sexual perversion. I am talking about spiritual perversion. The Greek word for “distort” means to twist or distort. It’s in the Present tense which means they are constantly doing it.

Who is doing it? Peter tells us – the untaught (ignorant) and unstable (unsteady). Why do we listen to such people? Their words go totally against Scripture. They take one verse and twist it to make it say what they want it to say. That is so easy to do. You have to take Scripture in context and as a whole.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get a picture and cover up everything except one small corner. Then ask them to tell you what the picture is. Unless they’ve seen that picture before, they won’t be able to guess. Slowly uncover more and more of the picture until they can correctly identify it.

Now, explain to them that is how it is with Scripture. If they take one verse out of context, they can make it say just about anything. But as they grow in their knowledge of Scripture, the full picture of God’s grace and mercy is revealed. It becomes clearer and clearer. Scripture always compliments Scripture.

Do you battle others who want to argue with you about what God’s Word means? Don’t! Let the Word speak for itself. But you can’t do that if you don’t have knowledge of the Word. Memorize it. Study it. Dig into it. Then and only then can you faithfully represent its truths.

Show me in Your Word daily Your truths. As David said, “I would perish without Your Law.” Thank You, Lord.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

CLOSED EYES

2 PETER 3:5

“For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,” 

This is an interesting verse, especially the phrase “it escapes their notice.” Do you understand what Peter is saying? The Greek word here actually could be translated “I shut my eyes to it.” In other words, these people refuse to recognize the Word of God or His works in this world.

Have you run across people like that? I have more and more lately. They just don’t have any use for a God that doesn’t fit their lifestyle and beliefs. If the Word points out any sin in their life, they refuse to recognize it. Only their view of God matters. And most of the time, their view of God isn’t a true view of God at all.

APPLICATION

This is a warning verse for our kids. We teach them how God created the earth in six days. They are going to have that view of creation threatened. Depending on the kind of school they attend, it may occur early in their education. What do we do? We continue to teach them the Word. We explain why people believe the lies. We explain why their beliefs are wrong.

Don’t just say Because the Bible says so. We know that’s true, but our children need to be able to defend their beliefs. They need to know Genesis 1-3 aren’t just cute Bible stories they hear at church. It is the truth – period. It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it is something to be proud of. Celebrate it.

When you face people who challenge your faith, remember they have closed their eyes to the truth. Through the power of the Holy Spirit their eyes can be opened. God will use you to help do that. You just need to speak the truth and let God do the rest. Remain faithful to the Word and see what He does.

Lord, I trust You to work through me to open blind eyes. I know they need to see the truth.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Testimony, Truth, Witnessing

WE’VE HEARD THAT BEFORE

2 PETER 3:4

“and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’” 

These words in this verse are what Peter said those who were mocking and scoffing at the Gospel were saying. We are hearing those very same words today. In fact, those who oppose the Gospel have been saying those same words for centuries. That’s okay. Why? Because every day that passes means we are one day closer.

Can you feel the anticipation rising? I can. I believe we are in the last days. I know, I know. People have been saying that for years. But that’s what I believe. So, when people say these words of mocking to me, I just smile and pray for them. Listen, unless they believe in the authority of Scripture, there is nothing I can say to convince them otherwise. That’s the business of the Holy Spirit.

APPLICATION

I am not quite sure how to apply this to our children, except for us to be the role models in this. As they see or hear us confronting such individuals, they will learn to defend the Gospel. When we come into contact with our modern-day scoffers our job is to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in the conversation. He will, if we will let Him.

Our children learn best as they watch us. So, don’t lose your cool and get into a heated argument with a scoffer. That does not represent Christ. What would He do? Love them and pray for them. Jesus had the power to force everyone to believe in Him, but He didn’t. He actually sacrificed His life for them. What can we sacrifice to bring scoffers to Him?

Are you bad about getting into arguments with unbelievers? Or do you simply sneak away and refuse to discuss your faith with them? God is not asking you to charge hell with a water pistol. No! He does, however, ask us to stand firm and be courageous. Will you today?

Lord, give me opportunities today to defend my faith and belief that the days are short until Your return. Help me be a bold and courageous witness for You.

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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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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Grace, Inspirational, Love, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Repentance

DO YOU LOVE ME?

JOHN 21:15-17

“15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ 16 He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ 17 He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’”

Do you get the feeling from this passage that Jesus is trying to get a point across to Peter? Most scholars agree that is was no coincidence that Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times just days earlier. I believe these three questions were on purpose.

But what you can’t see from the English is that Jesus uses a different word for love in the first two questions than Peter. He uses the Greek word agapao which is God’s kind of love. Peter replies with phileo which is a friendship kind of love. It was as if Jesus was asking him how deep was his love for Him – love like God loves or just as a friend.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how much they love you. They may stretch out their little arms and say This much! Don’t you just love that? My daughter, Casey, and I have this little thing we do when she tells me she loves me. I always reply I love you more. In fact, she gave me a key chain that says that on it. She knows I love her.

The question for us to really ask our kids is if they love Jesus. And I don’t mean just as a friend. Have they accepted Him as Lord and Savior and do they love Him with that agape love, a love that can only come from God? You see, His love accepts us just as we are and is totally unconditional. That’s real love!

How about you? How do you love Jesus? He has to be more than a friend. Friends come and go. Jesus is eternal. He deserves a deeper, richer love. If Jesus appeared to you today, as He did to Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and asked you Do you love Me, what would you say? I pray you would say I agapao You. Love Him today.

Father, I do love You. You have done so much for me for which I could never repay You. You are worthy of all praise, glory and love.

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Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Denial, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Love, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Shame, Testimony

THAT LOOK

LUKE 22:61-62

“61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ‘Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.’ 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.”

My dad had “that look.” Words were not necessary. I knew I was in trouble when I got that look. Peter got “the look” from Jesus, but it wasn’t a look of coming discipline. It was more of “I told you so.” He had told Peter he would deny him, and so it happened.

It’s interesting that only Luke records this “look.” Who told Luke about this? I have to believe it was Peter himself. I bet he never forgot that look, although Jesus forgave him and restored him to leadership. That look pierced his soul.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if you have “that look.” I bet they say you do. You may not even be aware of the look, but we parents tend to develop it. It can come in real handy when you need to correct your child when they are across a room. They understand the look sometimes much better than words.

But don’t forget to restore them. Jesus didn’t leave Peter hanging with that look. He came to him after His resurrection and let Peter know He had faith in him. Our children need to know our love isn’t diminished due our disappointment in their behaviors. Our love is unconditional.

Have you received “that look” from Jesus? Jesus loves us enough to correct us, but His love is lessened. When you get “that look” immediately confess whatever it is you need to confess. Let His look do its work.

When You look at me, Jesus, I know it is with love. Help me to confess quickly and often. The last thing I want to do is disappoint You.

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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.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Denial, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Service, Shame, Trust, Witnessing

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE

MARK 16:7

“’But go, tell His disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.”’” 

Oh boy, do I remember those days. I was quite the class clown and got sent to see the principal on numerous occasions. I wasn’t mean. I just loved making people laugh. Let’s just say the principal knew me well. His paddle did too.

I don’t know what the disciples were thinking when they heard these words from the women. But I bet Peter was thinking Oh no! What will I say? I just denied Him three times just as He said. Will He tell the others? Peter probably felt embarrassed and a little scared.

APPLICATION

Your child will probably do something that cause them to feel like I did. They, hopefully, won’t deny Jesus like Peter. But being ashamed is hard. When you have to deal with them, use this passage. Ask them how they think Peter felt. Ask them what they think happened when Jesus finally saw Peter.

Skip ahead and read that passage in John 21. Your children need to see how Jesus restored Peter to his leadership role. If hadn’t done that, Peter may have spent the rest of his life in deep grief and sorry. Jesus restored him because had just spent three years preparing him to accomplish his mission to a lost world.

What has Jesus been preparing you for? Will you let him use you? You may have unconfessed sins that are holding you back from being fully utilized by Him. Confess them today. Let Jesus use you to accomplish His mission. He still uses us. Let Him have you.

Take my life and use it, Lord. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me now so there is nothing in me that could thwart Your mission.

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FAILURE

MATTHEW 26:74-75

“74 Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’ And immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”

Epic fail! Peter realized immediately when he heard that rooster crow that he had failed his Master. He probably wanted to throw up. Can you imagine the thoughts that ran through his mind? This wasn’t a minor fail. He had denied Jesus threw times, just as Jesus predicted.

How many times have you failed our Lord? You’ve been told to do something, but you don’t. You know He placed someone on your heart to call or go see and you don’t. He places someone in your path to witness to and you walk away without doing it. Fail!

APPLICATION

Children are going to have failures. That’s part of learning and growing. I believe they can learn more from failures than successes if we help them. If we don’t, those failures can crush them. Losing can build character. Failing can do the same. You need to ask them what went wrong. How could have they prevented the failure?

They are also going to fail God. Tell them an experience you’ve had. They need to know you can relate. And then tell them how the Lord forgave you and showed mercy. They need to hear that. Read them this passage in Matthew and then skip ahead and read how Jesus forgave him after He resurrected.

Are you still living in failure? Take it to Jesus. He can forgive. Don’t put that confession off. It won’t go away. We have the God of the universe waiting for us to talk to Him. He wants to forgive. He wants to talk to us. Don’t make Him wait. Right now, bend your knee and ask for forgiveness for that failure. He’s ready to forgive.

I ask You to forgive me today for the many times I have failed You, Lord. Cleanse me and make me right in Your eyes. Show me how to be more obedient today.

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