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, 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, Advocate, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Knowledge, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

PERFECT

1 JOHN 2:13

“I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.” 

You may read the title of this devotion and then read the verse and wonder how I got that title. Well, you have to dig a little deeper than the English translation. You have to look at the verbs in the verse and the tenses that were used. Now, hold on. Don’t let me lose you here. Keep reading.

All three verbs John used, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in reference to his audience (fathers, young men and little children) are in the Perfect tense. That Greek verb tense means an action was taken in the past sometime with lasting results. So, that means the fathers and little children knew God and still know God. The young men overcame Satan and have still overcome him.

APPLICATION

If you think about it, a lot of our actions have lasting results. Do you want your children’s actions to have good results or bad results? Simple question with an equally simple answer. Of course, you want good results. No one wants their children to fail or leave a disaster in their wake. How do you help them accomplish those good results?

The only sure way is to teach them make every decision based on God’s Word. If they bathe their decisions in prayer and allow Him to guide them, then the results aren’t up to them. They are up to God. We know that anything He does is perfect. There you have it – perfect results. We just have to get out of the way.

Are you wrestling with a decision right now and worried about the consequences of that decision? Let the Lord have it. Ask Him what will give Him glory. If you do that, you are placing your trust in the One who manages the cosmos. I think He can handle your problem. Don’t you?

I will allow You to perfect my decisions through Your perfect Will. I know You always want what is best for me.

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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, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan

BEING LED

2 PETER 3:17

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,” 

Okay, you’ve got to go back and read verse 16 to understand verse 17. I’ll wait. Did you do that? People will distort the Scriptures. Now that you know that, Peter says be careful, guard yourself. They will attempt to lead you astray. Peter says they are in error. They are lawless and unprincipled. They don’t care where you end up, as long as it is far away from the truth.

I’ve always said the devil doesn’t care if you go to church. He doesn’t care if you give a little money to the church and read your Bible. He just doesn’t want you to live for Jesus. He’s okay with you acting like a Christian as long as you don’t love like one. He will send people into your life to lead you astray. And in today’s world that can be done through tv, internet or social media.

APPLICATION

Let’s play a blindfold game with our kids. Go outside and set up a simple obstacle course which will require them to maneuver through. Blindfold your child and have them stand at one end of it. On your instructions have them walk the course. Purposely direct them entirely wrong. Make them bump into stuff (safely I might add). Take them way off the course and then have them remove their blindfold.

Now, take them back to the beginning of the course, remove their blindfold and have them walk through it. Nothing to it, right? What an illustration. We can’t go through this life with blinders. We have to be able to see the truth of our journey. That is only possible when we follow Jesus. We may only see a little of the journey at a time, but that’s okay. Others can lead us astray if we don’t know where we’re going. That’s a lesson worth teaching.

Are you walking around with blinders? Are you letting someone else lead you in your thinking about Scripture? Dig in yourself. But Pastor Carl, I don’t know how to study. There are hundreds of great study guides available today. Ask your Pastor for a recommendation. But dig it out yourself. Go deep with God.

Father, help me go deep with You. I don’t want to be led astray by others. I want to know Your truth and apply it to my life daily.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Deception, Destruction, Devil, Following, Freedom, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

TRUE ESCAPE

2 PETER 2:20

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

We’ve all seen the suspense movie where the characters are being chased and finally escape. We all breathe a sigh of relief and then out of nowhere the villain reappears and catches them. They were so close. They had broken free. If only they had kept moving. We see it so clearly when it’s someone else, don’t we?

Peter is talking about that very thing here. People throw off the worldly lusts and desires and for a short time they live right. Now, this verse is NOT saying they are believers who have backslidden. A knowledge of Christ is not the same as knowing Christ as your Savior. Without that saving knowledge, what do they do? They return to the world, much like a meth addict quickly returns to the meth.

APPLICATION

How do you make application of this for yourself or your children? Have you and your children ever caught butterflies in a net? How do you catch them? Do you snatch them out the air or while they are on the flower? It is much easier to catch them while they are enjoying the flower nectar. Once they are entangled in the net, they can’t escape.

Explain to your kids that sin works the same way. The devil attracts us with stuff our flesh craves. Once we taste it, we keep going back for more. Before you know it, we are trapped. The more we go back, they more we are hooked. There is only one way out – Jesus.

Do you find yourself looking for an escape? He’s right in front of you. He’s waiting for you to stop struggling and allow Him to guide you to freedom. Let Him take your hand. Let Him take you in His arms. There is an escape. There is peace.

Oh Lord, I long for freedom from the desires of my flesh. Cleanse my thoughts today. Purify my mind so I can follow you.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture, Self-control

STUCK

2 PETER 2:18

“For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error,”

Have you ever gotten stuck in the mud with your car or truck? I’ve done that a couple of times, and it’s no fun. The most frustrating part is when you think you’re almost out of that mud hole and then you wind up sinking again. I have been stuck for hours before. No fun!

Peter is warning us in today’s verse. He is saying that these false teachers especially like to entice or lure those who think they have escaped. Once the devil sees a weakness in us, he will go after us like a dog with a bone. He smells blood in the water. We have exposed our flesh to him, so he just gives us what our flesh desires.

APPLICATION

Can you name your child’s favorite candy? Mine is a Butterfinger candy bar. What would happen if you bought your child a huge bag of that candy and told them they could eat as much as they wanted as often as they wanted? Most kids would jump on that. That would eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their world just got a whole lot better – or so they think.

What’s going to happen to them if they continue to do that? They are going to get sick and/or have dental problems. They may get overweight and sluggish. Listen, fleshly indulgence never leads us in the right direction. Whether it is candy or something else our flesh desires, these enticements don’t lead us to God. Keep what’s holy before your child’s eyes. Let that entice them to godliness.

Have you succumbed to the lures of the devil and find yourself in a mudhole, stuck up to the axle? Stop spinning your tires. Only the Lord Jesus can get you out of that hole you’re in. Turn to Him and allow Him to “dig you out.” Jesus has already paid the price for your sin. Repent and allow Him to put you back on solid ground.

Thank You, Lord, for coming to my rescue. You are always listening for my prayers. Forgive me for trying to handle it myself.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Destruction, Devil, Enemies, Following, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Protection, Scripture

EMPTY PROMISES

2 PETER 2:17

“These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.”

Peter is rough on these false teachers, to whom he is referencing in this verse. He compares them to “springs without water” and “mists driven by a storm.” A spring without water is useless. It’s no good for anyone. And those mists he refers to are not any good either. They pass without dropping any measurable, beneficial moisture to the earth.

False teachers may look good and promise great things, but they fall way short. They will appear to deliver just what you want. And when you decide to follow, they have you. They will lead you right into that “black darkness” which is reserved for them.

APPLICATION

This is exactly why we have to guard our children from these evil influences. They can so easily lead our kids astray. You have to hold them close, mom and dad. I don’t mean to isolate them from the world. I do mean to keep talking to them. Know who their friends are. Know what they are listening to. Know what they are watching.

In this day of social media our kids can be watching and listening to people who can influence them negatively. When our children are following these individuals without our knowledge, before you know it, they are embracing different ideologies and beliefs. They start questioning authorities and God’s principles. Keep them close!

Have you fallen for the false teaching of others? Have they tricked you into believing a lie? It’s not too late to turn back to the truth. God’s truth trumps any lies from the devil. Returning to Him is the only way to protect yourself from these individuals. Knowing Him fully will allow you recognize these false teachers quickly.

Lord, protect my heart from those who want to drag it away from You. Point them out to me before they even get near. Use Your Holy Spirit to guide me away from them and toward You.

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Advice, Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Greed, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Shame

DON’T BE BAITED

2 PETER 2:14

“having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;”

Anyone who knows me knows I love to fish and hunt. Heck, I just love the outdoors. If you want to catch fish, you have to know what they are eating. Their menu changes with the seasons and conditions of the water. Use the wrong bait, and you won’t catch much. Use the right bait, and you have a better chance of catching fish that day.

The Greek word translated as “enticing” is exactly that word – bait. It’s only used three times in the New Testament. It’s used twice here in 2 Peter (2:14 and 2:18) and in James 1:14. All three times it used in a negative context. Bait hides the hook. Bait lures us into traps. But catch what Peter says. They entice “unstable souls.” This literally means people who don’t have a staff to lean on. They are ungrounded, unsteady, not dependable.

APPLICATION

So, how do we protect ourselves against being baited? How do we protect our kids? We get grounded in the Word. When we are in the Word daily and seeking God’s face, we can easily recognize those baited hooks. We can see the traps that are being laid for us. We have to be alert at all times, though, because the devil can get very creative.

What does that mean? The devil won’t come at you or your children the same way every time. He knows we can “wise up” and see him coming. So, he will disguise his traps. They may even look okay. Ask yourself and teach your kids to ask themselves one question. Will this action I am about to take bring glory to God. If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” run as fast as you can. Back up and take a hard look. Don’t be baited.

Have you fallen for the bait and now you sit there with a hook in your mouth? You may feel shame and regret. Listen! Turn to Jesus. He is the ultimate hook remover. He can forgive you and set you back on the right path. You may have a scar from that hook mark, but it will serve to remind you, not of your sin, but of the forgiving power of Jesus. Amen?

Forgive me, Father, for falling victim to Satan’s lures. Keep my eyes on You. I know You will never lead me toward defeat.

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