Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony

YOUR TESTIMONY

3 JOHN 3

“For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.”

Years ago I used to do some consulting with other children’s homes in the area of accreditation. During those years, accreditation was getting more and more attention, and many states were starting to require it from licensed facilities. My reputation as a consultant began to be known, and I was contacted by a lot of agencies that were unknown to me. Others had talked about me which led to new contacts for me. Your reputation matters.

John is telling Gaius that very thing. Other brethren had come to John and told him how awesome Gaius was representing Christ. He was walking in truth. Now listen, that was not always easy, especially for a first century Christian. Persecution was real. However, Gaius was standing for truth. What a testimony! Don’t you know John was proud to be known as his friend.

APPLICATION

Our children need to learn early that their reputation, their testimony matters. It takes years to earn a good reputation, but one stupid mistake can erase all of that. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. I am not talking about making mistakes. I am talking about deliberately choosing evil over good. I am talking about walking down the wrong path, knowing you have taken the wrong path.

So, how do they keep their testimony pure and pointing others toward Christ? By relying solely on Him daily. By surrounding themselves with godly friends who will help them in their walk. By reading God’s Word daily and making application of it in their lives. By spending time in prayer daily. You see, all of these things point them to Jesus and away from the world. Taking their eyes off of Jesus will only cause them to stumble.

How is your testimony? If those brethren had visited you and gone back to John to report on you, what would they have said? Hmmm. I pray they would have given the same report they gave about Gaius. Are you walking in truth today? Follow Jesus and truth is your path.

Truth is my goal each day, Father. I want to be known as someone who walks in truth.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Inheritance, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reward, Scripture

HOW ARE YOUR EYES?

2 JOHN 8

“Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.”

If you have read many of my blogs, then you know my love for hunting and fishing. It’s hunting season now, and I’m actually on a hunt in Mississippi as I write this. One thing I brought with me on this hunt was a pair of binoculars. Why do you think I did that? Because I might be in a place where I need a little extra vision to see what might be coming. I don’t want to miss a shot because I didn’t see something and prepare for it.

John tells us in verse 8 to “watch ourselves.” The Greek word for “watch” means to see something physical, with spiritual results. The verb is written as a command also. So, John is telling us to look closely with spiritual eyes. Why? To guard ourselves. To keep from losing what we’ve worked for. And by doing so, we will receive a reward. Who doesn’t want that?

APPLICATION

Children love rewards, don’t they? And there is nothing wrong with giving them rewards. When our kids do something good or right, we should praise them. Little rewards when they are young can give them the incentive to continue doing good. But all those rewards come only when they do what is good. That’s the hard part. Some kids want to be rewarded for breathing, lol.

So, how do you teach them to watch themselves? Most kids, left to watch themselves, will make a mess. We teach them to use the only guide, the only source that will help them. They must know how to use God’s Word. They must know where to turn to find the answers. I can’t stress this enough. This book has the answer to every question, if we will just take the time to look. Will you teach your children that?

How about you? How are you watching yourself? We adults are quick to point out our children’s failures and mistakes, but we overlook our own. Has your child ever pointed out something you’ve done that wasn’t right? How did that make you feel? I say it a lot but we have to model what we teach to our kids. They learn best by watching us. So, watch yourself today!

O Lord, thank You for giving me spiritual eyes to watch myself.  Do want to receive my reward, but only because I have pleased You. 

Standard
Advice, Belief, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confidence, Direction, Disciplemaking, Faith, Gifts, Giving, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Knowledge, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Truth, Understanding

CRITICAL THINKING

1 JOHN 5:20

“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Do you ever get to thinking about something so intensely that you lose track of time? I’ve done that. The topic becomes so interesting that I could spend hours researching every side angle or story. I look at both sides of the story. I delve into opposing views. And by doing so, I come away with a better understanding of the topic and how to apply it to my life.

That’s the word “understanding” used by John in this verse. And the word “given” is in the Perfect tense which means it happened in the past with lasting results. So, Jesus gave us understanding that will last. He has given us the gift of knowing Him who is true. That truth sets us free. We are in Him, and He is in us. Praise be to God.

APPLICATION

Sometimes the hardest thing to teach our children is why we teach our children. Did I lose you there? Listen. We are so busy teaching our children things that we often forget to teach them why we are teaching them. They need to understand that we are not just teaching them stuff to make us feel better. There is a purpose behind our teaching, right? Do you know that?

We teach them so they can teach others. It’s the 2 Timothy 2:2 principle of passing our knowledge on to the next generation. Without a clear understanding of what we are teaching and why we are teaching, that won’t happen. That’s why rules without reasoning don’t work. Even our children need to experience critical thinking.

Are you doing that? Are you critically thinking about your faith and why you live it? You need to know why you believe what you believe. You need to be able to apologetically defend the faith. I don’t mean you need to be able to argue your points. I mean you need to fully understand it so if you are asked why you believe, you can explain it. Better yet, let the Spirit inside of you do that. He can speak better than any of us. Amen?

Father God, thank You for giving me understanding of You and Your Word. Help me, when asked, to explain my faith to others. Let me be bold and daring when faced with opposing views. 

Standard
Advocate, Bible, Confidence, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

CONFIDENCE

1 JOHN 4:17

“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.”

I like being around confident people. Their confidence makes me more confident. I had a football coach in Junior High School who was like that. He was always positive and upbeat. He wasn’t the greatest coach, but his confidence was infectious. It made us better players. We played hard for him because he made us more confident.

The Greek word here for “confidence” means to be bold, to speak with resolve, to be remembered. That’s it! We have boldness. We live in such a way that we will be remembered. And John says we will be confident “in the day of judgment.” I know that I know that I know I am in Christ, so I do not fear judgment. My sins are forgiven.

APPLICATION

Don’t you want confident children? A father I meet with regularly was speaking about one of his young sons recently. He was concerned that he was “too whiny.” We talked about that. We both agreed that he needs more time with him than perhaps his other kids. He needs to build more confidence in him now at an early age so he won’t be whiny and complaining as a teen or young man.

The best way to build confidence in our kids, of course, is leading them to a saving knowledge of Christ. Even before they make that decision, we need to be pouring Jesus all over them. We need to reassure them of His love for them. We need to remind them over and over that He will fight for them. We want them to have that confidence in the day of judgment knowing that their sins have been washed away and they can stand boldly before the throne of God, not because of anything they have done, but because of Jesus.

What is your confidence in? I pray it is not in your own abilities or talents. Those can be lost so quickly. I pray it’s not in your position or career. That too can be snatched away. Is your confidence in Christ? He is the only sure thing. He is always there. He will always be with you, no matter what you face. He has to be your confidence.

I am confident in You, Lord. I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep me until that day.

Standard
Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, Following, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Protection, Scripture, Self-control, Testimony

WHAT A STORY

1 JOHN 3:12

“not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.”

Have you ever heard a story told over and over? My brother-in-law, Dr. Wayne Barber, was a master storyteller. He just had a way of bringing you right into the story. He famously told his beaver dam story more times than I can count, but each time he told it, I was sucked right in. Some stories are just that memorable.

John is reminding us of a story we have all heard before. Cain killed his brother. Wow! He was jealous of his brother. And when he was confronted by God after he killed him, what did he say? Am I my brother’s keeper? Why yes, Cain, you are. That’s John’s point. We are all our brother’s keeper.

APPLICATION

If you have more than one child, don’t you teach your older children to keep an eye on the younger ones? I don’t mean they should be responsible for them. But they do have an obligation to watch over them, to help protect them. It’s just the right thing for siblings to do.

I will never forget defending my little sister on a school playground when I was in the second grade and she was in the first grade. The class bully had decided to pick on her during recess, and I was going to have none of that. After our confrontation (let’s leave it at that), he didn’t bother her again. Now, I am not advocating fighting. Please don’t hear me say that. But I am saying we have to teach our children to look after each other.

Is there a weaker brother who could use your support? Maybe someone is going through some marriage struggles right now and needs advice. Perhaps someone is struggling with a wayward child and you’ve got some experience in that area. Don’t turn your back. Ask the Lord to use you to lighten their load.

Use me, Lord, however you wish to come to the aid of those around me. I want to honor You.

Standard
Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commitment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Godliness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture, Self-control, Surrender

THE PROOF’S IN THE PUDDING

1 JOHN 2:29

“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

What do I mean by that title? It comes from a very old proverb. I’ve read that the original version is “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” It means you have to try out the food in order to know whether it is good. I agree with that. Something may look good, but how does it taste. Have you ever experienced that?

John knew that not everyone who said they were a Christian really were. They had to show it. They had to live righteously. That’s what he means when he says, “practices righteousness.” The Greek word for “practices” means to do, to live it. And when you do that, you show you are born again.

APPLICATION

Don’t you just hate it when you ask your children to do a chore, they promise they will do it, and then they don’t? When they say they will, you expect it, right? The next time they let their chores slide after promising to do them, take them to this verse. Let me explain.

God has expectations of us when we become His child, just like you do of your child. He expects righteous living. If we say we are His, we need to live like it. Remind your children that part of living righteously before God is obeying their parents. After all, you have to do the same thing. You have to obey your Father.

How are you living righteously? Do you find it difficult? You don’t need to struggle. Let Jesus live through you. He IS righteousness. Righteousness is not something you do. It’s who you are in Christ. He has made you righteous. Live like it.

I am righteous because of You, O Lord. Thank You for living through me.

Standard
Abiding, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Knowledge, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Teaching, Truth

KNOW IT ALL

1 JOHN 2:27

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

Have you ever known someone who knew everything about everything? You couldn’t tell a story without them butting in and finishing it or trying to top it. Name any subject and they would have an opinion. You really couldn’t tell them anything. Those kinds of people are kind of annoying, aren’t they?

You could read this verse and think John is telling us to be like that. You may even think he is shunning education and teachers. I mean, at first glance it appears that way. He actually says, “you have no need for anyone to teach you.” But John is warning us to be careful of who we let influence us. Everything must be in agreement with what the Spirit tells us according to the Word of God.

APPLICATION

This is never more true than today. Our children are constantly being told how naïve and even ignorant they are if they believe in the creation story. After all, science teaches that evolution is reality, right? But what does God’s Word say? Does evolution match up to Genesis 1-3? No, it doesn’t.

Other examples of teachings that go contrary to the teachings of God are abortion and the redefinition of marriage. We have to keep pointing our children to the only true source of knowledge. Only God’s Word gives the wisdom needed to guide us through life. Only God’s Word will always point us in the right direction. There is no other truth.

Let me encourage you today to reexamine your knowledge base. Whom or what do you trust for truth? We have seen in just the past few months the vacillation of scientist on the covid-19 causes and treatments. What one holds as truth, another says is not true. Aren’t you glad that we know THE Truth – Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?

Father, thank You for sending Your Spirit to be my teacher. I thank You also for sending others into my life to mentor and direct me.

Standard
Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Foundation, Holiness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Submission, Surrender

NOTHING NEW

1 JOHN 2:7

“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”

One thing I hate is when someone changes the rules in the middle of the game. Don’t you? I mean, if you have rules, just stick with them. It’s really not fair to make adjustments based on someone’s lack of following the rules. Nor is it okay to lower the standard just because someone has trouble measuring up.

John is telling us that is exactly what God is NOT doing. These words John is writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, agree with everything else God has written. He isn’t changing the rules. He still demands holiness. He still requires obedience. He still expects us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Nothing has changed.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get out their favorite card or board game and start playing. Every few minutes change a rule. Make up new ones. Talk about confusing! It won’t take long for your children to get very frustrated and stop playing. Why? Because they knew the old rules. They knew what to expect.

Read them today’s verse. Talk about how God does the same for us. He hasn’t changed. He is consistent with His expectations of us. The big difference is Jesus. Now, under grace, He paid the penalty for our transgressions. We are free. That is one change for which we should all be grateful.

The key question, though, is this. Do you know what God requires of you? Do you know how to please Him? It is so simple – total surrender. Yep, it’s that easy. You may say Carl, that’s not so easy. Sure, it is. You just have to die to your own selfish desires and follow Him. Can you do that? You can through Him.

Lord, thank You for not trying to confuse me with new rules for living. I know what You expect. Help me live it daily.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Fellowship, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender

IF-THEN

1 JOHN 1:7

“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

Using the “If-Then” method of child-rearing is a good way of teaching them. If your child does his chores, then he can receive his allowance. If she cleans her room as promised, then you will take her to get ice cream. Now, you may not agree with rewarding children for doing their chores, but it is one method.

John is telling us here in today’s verse that we will receive a reward if we do a certain thing (If-Then). If we walk in the light, then we will have fellowship and Jesus’ blood cleanses us. We can’t expect to have either of those if we walk in darkness. Only by walking in the light are they possible.

APPLICATION

I’ve kind of already hinted at the application for your kids. Try one of those “If-Then” situations with your child. Then take them to this verse. You see, your own “If-Then” training is preparing them for their own “If-Then” decisions with the Lord. They are going to face a lot of those moments in life.

They will face crucial decisions with peers. If I do this, then this could happen. If I do this, how will it glorify God? If-then, if-then, if-then. All through life they will have to make those decisions. They need to understand your training of them now is preparing them for later.

How about you? Do you desire fellowship and forgiveness? Then it’s simple – walk in the light. That means to come to Christ and accept Him as your Savior. You can’t walk in light if you’re lost. You may think you’re in the light, but you aren’t. You are in the darkness. Come to the light.

I desire to stay in the light, Father. I desire fellowship with You and others. I know I am forgiven through the blood of Your Son.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holiness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Rapture, Salvation, Scripture

THIEVES

2 PETER 3:10

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

Okay, you need to understand something. Peter is not calling the Lord a thief. But I guess you knew that, right. Peter is just using a thief as an example. If you knew a thief was going to rob your house, what would you do? You would get ready for him.  You would make sure all the doors and windows were locked and secured. You would make sure all your valuables were hidden away. But the problem is, thieves don’t give prior notice. They catch you just as you are.

So, the Lord Jesus isn’t going to announce that He is coming a certain day. We know, through Scripture, that He is coming. That means we have to be ready. How do you get ready? By staying in His Word and doing all we can to lead others to Him. We should have our spiritual doors open all the time waiting for Him. We should have nothing in our lives for which we are ashamed. He’s on His way.

APPLICATION

Ask your kids what they would do if they knew their favorite aunt or uncle was coming for a visit. Would they leave their room a mess? Would they put off taking a bath until after their visit. Now, some kids would love that, lol. But seriously, what would they do to prepare for them?

Explain why it is so important to prepare for the Lord’s return. The first thing, of course, is make sure their heart is right. Have they surrendered their life to Him? If that’s been done, let them know He wants them to live each day as if He’s coming back that day. We want to please Him in all we do every day.

Are you living today as if He is coming back soon? Let me encourage you to surrender fully to Him today. Let Him have full control over your life. Allow Him to use you to lead others to Him. And most of all, keep looking for Him. Know His return is close.

O God, I know many people who need You. Help me lead them to You before it is too late. I want them to know You.

Standard