Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Eternity, God's Will, Heaven, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

LIVE FOREVER

1 JOHN 2:17

“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

My great grandmother lived to be over 100 years old. She was half Eastern Creek Indian and always used to scare me when I was little. She almost always had her hair pulled back in a bun and she wore long skirts and dipped snuff. I didn’t like the way she looked or smelled. Man, I wish I could go back now and talk to her. I know she loved Jesus and would love to hear her testimony.

Personally, I don’t want to live to be that old.  I don’t want my grandkids talking about the way I look or smell, lol. Some people will do anything to live longer. I mean life here is okay, but I am banking on my next life. I want to live forever with Jesus in heaven. There is really nothing on this earth worth living here forever.

APPLICATION

I wonder what your kids would say if you asked them how old they want to live to be. Some may say 1000 years old. Others may say 50 years old (as if that’s old, lol). More importantly, ask them what they want to do with their life. How do they want to live it?

You see, John is pretty plain about the expectations the Lord has for us. If we want to live forever, we need to do God’s will. What does that mean for a child? Do you think a child can understand God’s will for their life? Sure, they can. Teach them to obey God’s Word and glorify Him. Even little kids can do that.

How about you? Are you striving to do His will? If you do, you will live forever. Can you imagine living in His presence forever? Trading life here for life there would be incredible. No more sickness. No more tears. No more taxes (sorry, had to throw that one in). Perfect living. Paradise. But there is only one way to get there – Jesus.

Lord, I know I will live forever because I am Your child. Give me the courage and strength to obey Your will daily.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Inspirational, Light, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

GOD IS LIGHT

1 JOHN 1:5

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

I have to get a little technical to explain this verse. Do you mind? The phrase “we have heard” is in the Perfect tense. What does that mean? It means completed action with ongoing results. The word “announce” is in the Present tense which means ongoing action.

Thank you, Carl, that really blessed me. Now listen. John heard from Jesus that God is light and that He contains no darkness. That message changed his life, and he had to share it. We have heard that message ourselves. Are we sharing it?

APPLICATION

The next time you are planning a family vacation somewhere the kids are going to love (Disney World, the beach, etc), watch what happens. They are going to tell everyone. They are so excited about this message. This message has changed their lives.

Then sit the kids down and read them this verse. Explain to them that the message about vacation is awesome. But…it could change. It could get cancelled. Or it could happen and then be over. God’s message can’t be cancelled. It is never over. It won’t come and go. It’s eternal.

Are you living for the temporal or eternal? God’s message of light in a dark world is incredible. We hold the power source for the universe in our hearts. His light can shine through us, if we let it. His light can permeate the darkest heart if we will share it. Shine on.

Your light has changed my life. Thank You for shining it on me. Help me shine it on others.

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Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Fellowship, Following, Friends, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Joy, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

PUNCH AND COOKIES

1 JOHN 1:3

“what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 

What is fellowship? Is it just punch and cookies? I sure hope not. The Greek word is koinonia, which means something that is shared in common. I have to admit I have eaten many a meal with people with whom I didn’t share a whole lot in common. That is not what John is referring to here.

We have fellowship with each other only because we also have fellowship (something in common) with the Father and His Son. That common bond brings us together. We don’t need punch and cookies to do that. I have had the joy of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ when nothing physical passed over my lips. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good potluck dinner as much as the next person. But that doesn’t make fellowship.

APPLICATION

Kids can naturally fellowship. They find common things with other boys and girls pretty quickly. Their fellowship may center around Legos or video games. It may be over American Girl dolls or a sports game. Our challenge, as parents, is to direct them to the lasting fellowship that is only possible through Jesus.

I promise you, those childhood “fellowships” are going to fade. The only eternal fellowship is a spiritual one, as John describes in the verse today. Point your child toward that fellowship. It will last forever.

With whom are you in fellowship? Do you have a group of believers with whom you share that common bond? I pray you do. We can’t do this alone. We need fellowship. This recent Covid 19 pandemic has reduced our opportunities for fellowship and people are suffering. We need each other. Will you make the effort this week to fellowship with someone?

How I desire the fellowship with other believers. I long for their spiritual “embrace.” Thank You for providing that common bond through Your Son, Jesus.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Following, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Revelation

NOT HIDDEN

1 JOHN 1:2

“and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—”

I’ll never forget one Sunday at John de la Howe School in McCormick, S.C. when I preached on this passage to a chapel full of kids and adults. Nineteen children came to Christ that day. That had nothing to do with me and everything to do with Jesus. But what I remember is that I only preached on one word of that verse – “manifested.”

The power of that word! It refers to something made clear, to be made visible. I compared it to my mama’s pressure cooker she used when I was growing up. You know, the old kind with the jiggling little weight on top that controlled the pressure. I would come home and see that pot on the stove. I knew something good was inside, but I couldn’t see it. When she took off that lid, ohhhh, the wonderful meal was revealed.

APPLICATION

Kids understand this concept of hidden and revealed. They’ve been playing hide and seek for years. How many times have you played that game with them over the years? Even infants get a joy out of playing peekaboo. Revealing what’s covered, finding the “hidden” brings us joy and excitement.

Make sure your kids understand that God did that in one way by manifesting Himself in Jesus. Jesus, of course, concealed His glory while on earth, except for on the mount of transfiguration when He was revealed to James, John (the author of this verse) and Peter. But God does not play hide and seek with us. He’s not trying to hide. He has revealed Himself through Jesus.

Have you found Him? He knows where you are. You can’t hide from Him. He wants to show Himself to you. Will you behold Him? Jesus came to show us His Father. He told His disciples if they had seen Him they had seen the Father. One day, we believers will see Him face to face. Hallelujah!

Your life has been manifested in me. Help me let it manifested through me. I want others to only see You in me.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Following, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Scripture, Surrender

HOW WILL HE FIND YOU?

2 PETER 3:14

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,” 

Have you ever been caught off guard by someone or something? Boy, I have. It can be embarrassing or even dangerous. It’s always best to be prepared. When I’m hunting, I try to be prepared for any situation, but I can still be caught sometimes not looking in the right direction or moving when I shouldn’t.

Peter is telling us in this verse to be found by Jesus in peace, spotless and blameless. Well, good luck with that, lol. Listen, you can’t be found “in” peace until you are “at” peace. That only comes through Him. And you will never be found spotless and blameless unless you are covered in His blood through your salvation. You see, it is really all about Him.

APPLICATION

Have you ever found your child’s room to be spotless? I doubt it, unless you have a remarkable child who just loves cleaning. Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you surprise your child and clean their room and make it spotless? When they see it, you can explain that you wanted to bless them by doing this.

Then read them this verse and explain how Jesus makes us spotless when we come to Him. Explain that unlike their room which will get dirty again, we are made spotless in His sight for eternity. Sure, we may sin again and need to confess that, but He sees us in our glorified state already. Isn’t that cool?

Are you at peace with God? Are you spotless and blameless? That’s how He wants to find you when He returns. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to strive for it. He says so in His word. Our God demands holiness, and He gives us the ability to be holy as we surrender daily to His Spirit. Now, go “scrub” yourself.

Thank You, Lord, that my holiness does to rely on me. You produce holiness in me through Your Holy Spirit. I want to be found worthy of You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Exhortation, Godliness, Holiness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

HOLY LIVING

2 PETER 3:11

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” 

Forget about the end of the world. That’s what Peter is saying in the first part of this verse. He had just been writing about the destruction of the heavens and the earth with intense heat and fire. Then he says, “Since…” We know this is going to happen. What do we do?  Well, he goes on to tell us.

He actually asks us a question. “What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” What does that mean? How can we live in holy conduct and godliness? Both of these deal with our outward behavior based on our inner beliefs. Living what you believe. Putting feet to your faith. Letting your actions speak louder than your words. You get the picture?

APPLICATION

Children usually learn best by participating in their learning. Heck, most people do. But children need some “hands on” learning for it to sink in. When we read them a verse like this one, we need to help them experience what it means to live in holy conduct and godliness. How can you help them put their faith into practice?

How about taking your kids down to the local soup kitchen to serve meals to the homeless? That’s quite an eye opener for a lot of kids. Getting them involved helping a senior adult around the house doing some basic household chores. That teaches them. And, of course, spending time studying the Word and praying for the lost. All of these are part of that.

How are you living? Are you a Christian in name only? Maybe you are saved and are excited about Christ’s return. That’s great. But how are you living in the meantime? We all can improve in our holy conduct and godliness. Will you join me?

Father, I have so far to go. I feel I don’t measure up most days to Your standards. Thank You, Lord, for leading me along the path of holy living.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Direction, Eternity, Forgiveness, Hypocrisy, Judgment, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Repentance, Testimony, Truth

THAT’S JUST GROSS

2 PETER 2:22

“It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.’”

Why in the world (or should I say in God’s name) would Peter pen this verse? What is he trying to say? Well, it’s not complicated and doesn’t require any deep research of the original languages. He is quite simply saying that these individuals he has been discussing in this chapter have never changed. Just like a dog will always be a dog and a pig will always be a pig, these people have never changed.

People can pretend to be a lot of things. They can dress up and come to church every Sunday. They can even volunteer to help in different areas of the church. But until their heart is changed, they remain the same – lost. Do you know people like that? Do you know individuals who have done that all their lives?

APPLICATION

Do your children like to dress up in superhero costumes or princess attire? A lot of kids do, but do those costumes make them those characters? Get your kids to dress up as something. Anything goes. After they have gotten all dressed up and after you have bragged about how great they look, ask them if they have become their character.

Now, I know kids who would probably answer “yes” to that question. If they do, ask them to perform one of their “powers.” Now the game is over. They can’t produce. Try as they may, they are still just a child. They can’t become that character. Explain to them, in the same way, we can’t just put on a Christian costume each day. We have to change internally first.

Have you been changed internally? Have you been changed eternally? I pray you have. Put all the noise of the world out of your head for just a second. Plow through all the distractions and set your mind on Christ. Only He can change who you are. He can give you a whole new heart – one that beats for Him.

I am so thankful for the assurance of my salvation and the power I have in Christ. Through Him I can be all things.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Encouragement, Eternity, Fear, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

GOING HOME

2 PETER 1:14

“knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.” 

The Lord speaks to my wife from time to time very clearly and tells her things that are going to come to pass. I’ve often joked that if my wife tells me I am going to die, I am going to go ahead and crawl in the grave. LOL. That’s not being morbid. I just know she hears from the Lord. Peter had heard from the Lord that his days were short on this earth. He was at peace with this.

We know that Peter was crucified upside down. He requested that because he felt he didn’t deserve to die in the same manner as His Lord. But he was ready to go. He knew where he was going. He had given his life to Christ and had spent the remainder of his life serving the Lord.

APPLICATION

Death is not something we discuss with our children very often. That usually doesn’t happen unless a friend or family member passes away. But death shouldn’t be a taboo topic in our households. For believers, death is just a portal to glory. We may not like the idea of dying, but death is not to be feared.

I truly believe the more we talk about death with our children when the proper times arise, the better it is for them. Death, for believers, is not final. It’s actually a beginning. They need to know that. Death brings us face to face with the One whom we love – Jesus. Why should that be scary? It’s not.

Do you fear death? Don’t! Rest in the knowledge that Christ has you securely in His arms. He paid the ultimate price for us on the cross so that death would not have a grip on us. We pass from this life to the next with expectancy. When we close our eyes in death, the next face we see will be Jesus. Hallelujah!

Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory? Thank You, Lord, for removing the threat of death from me when I gave my life to You.

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Eternity, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

MAGNIFICENT PROMISES

2 PETER 1:4

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 

All I can say is wow! What a verse! How have I missed this verse all these years? Peter continues his thought from verse 3 (look it up) on the gift of everything pertaining to life and godliness. But he goes on to say God has granted us his precious and magnificent promises. I want to camp out there in this verse.

That word “magnificent” is used to describe how the shepherds reacted at the news of the angels. It says with “great joy.” That word “great” is the same word used here. It’s amazing. But what is? His promises. And get this. That Greek word for “promises” ends with -ma. Why is that important? Because it focuses on the results of the promise and not the promise itself. We know God’s promises never fail.

APPLICATION

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Promises mean nothing if you don’t keep them (the -ma on the end). It’s the results of the promises you make that your children will remember. They will always remember those broken promises and the promises you keep.

Teach your children to make keepable promises (I think I just made that word up, lol). It’s so easy to promise things we know we can’t keep. We need to teach them to follow the Lord’s example. He can do anything, so there are no promises He can’t keep. But even God’s promises all make sense. He promises to love and protect us. He promises to take us to heaven based on our decision to follow His Son. Promises are good – as long as they are kept.

What promises have you made that you have not kept? Can you fix those? If so, do that today or this week. It’s never too late to keep a promise. And before you make the next one, make sure it’s one you can keep and that agrees with the direction the Lord is leading you.

You have made promises, Lord, that I know You will keep. I look forward to seeing the -ma to many of those.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Eternity, Faithfulness, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Rejoicing, Suffering, Teaching, Witnessing

CROWNED

I PETER 5:4

“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

Did you know the Bible mentions five crowns believers may receive from the Lord? Here is a link that shows all five.

https://images.app.goo.gl/uHNGkAp8QQz2j6Ny5. They are the crown of life (Revelation 2:20), the crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19), the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25) and the crown of glory (here in 1 Peter 5:4).

This last one, which we see in today’s verse, is given to those who feed the flock. Peter is writing to the elders, encouraging them feed the flock. This is a special task recognized by the Lord and deserving of a special crown. Not everyone who goes to heaven will receive that crown, and that’s okay because we will all lay any crowns we receive at His feet anyway. Right?

APPLICATION

Now you may wonder how in the world this verse applies to our kids. We should teach our children about these five crowns. Who knows, perhaps your child will be one who feeds the flock. Your child may be used by God to teach the Word to others. Your child may be a soul winner, thus earning the crown of rejoicing.

The point is this – God sees what we are doing down here. We aren’t overlooked. He knows exactly what we are doing and why. He is so pleased when we are obedient out of love for Him. He wants to bless us and reward us. That’s the message to our kids. Please the Lord.

Perhaps the Lord has chosen you to receive the crown of life for suffering for His sake. What an honor. Not everyone is chosen for that. Are you concerned with pleasing Him? I sure hope so. I pray your motivation isn’t just to receive something from Him. Our motivation, your motivation should always be out of love for what He has done for you.

Father, I am grateful for my salvation. I know one day I will receive crowns, but they all belong to You. You alone are deserving of praise.

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