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DO YOU BELIEVE?

1 JOHN 5:1

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.”

I guess I have always believed in Jesus. I was raised in a church-going home. We were there every Sunday. I remember going to

Sunday School, church, revivals, etc. Church was a regular part of our family life. But you have to understand something. It was all head knowledge. All that church going gave me a false sense of salvation.

It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I truly believed. When the Holy Spirit drew me towards the Father through the Son, I surrendered my life to Him. My church-going belief became true belief in Christ. I joined the family John is describing in today’s verse. I finally fully believed that Jesus was the Christ. What a change! Knowledge about something does not equal belief in something.

APPLICATION

As your children grow, I am sure you have been telling them about God and Jesus. You may even have pictures of Jesus or other Christian decorations in your house. You talk about Jesus at Christmas and celebrate His birth. You have been filling their little skulls full of mush with knowledge about Jesus. But try as you might, you can’t flip a switch and give them saving knowledge. That is truly between them and God.

So, how do you ensure your child comes to faith? No one wants to think of the alternative, right? You have to remain consistent in your teaching. You have to take every opportunity to talk about what Jesus has done for you. When a prayer is answered, make sure you share that with them. They need to see Jesus working in your life. God may just use that to draw them to Himself. And, of course, pray every day for their salvation. God hears your prayers.

Can you effectively share your salvation experience with someone? Can you articulate the joy you have in Christ? You may need to practice doing that. The Lord will give you the words to say each and every time He gives you the opportunity to share. You have to trust Him. Tell the world about your saving knowledge of Jesus. He is the Christ. Celebrate it.

I praise You, O Lord, for sending Your Son, Jesus, to rescue me. He is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

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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.

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THE ULTIMATE APPEASEMENT

1 JOHN 4:10

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Have you ever angered someone so badly that you had no clue how to make it right? I have. In the past, I have searched and searched how to seek forgiveness. Most of the time I have received that, but only after true remorse. I don’t want to ever intentionally harm someone. But it happens sometimes.

Aren’t you glad that God took the initiative to provide the means for forgiveness for us? We could have never satisfied His wrath. There is nothing we could do on our own. But…by the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate appeasement. He satisfied an angry God (His Father) for us. Wow!

APPLICATION

I bet your children know when you are angry at them. They can usually tell when dad or mom are about to blow. They may push it to the last straw, but most kids know when to stop pushing. But do they know how to make things right with you? What do you expect from them? Ask them that. Ask them if they know how to appease you. They will probably say Huh? Then explain.

You are seeking to train them how to seek forgiveness from the Father. Take them to today’s verse. Explain that word “propitiation.” They need to understand how important it is to our Christian faith. In fact, we would have no faith without it. Yet that word only appears twice in the Scripture. The other time is in 1 John 2.2. Christ died for them to satisfy the requirements of forgiveness God had established. Only Jesus could do it, and He did it for them.

Do you realize the depth of this? Christ died for you. He gave His life to satisfy the price of sin in your life. And all you have to do is claim that forgiveness. I pray you have, but if you haven’t, do it right now. Ask Jesus into your life to be your Savior and Lord. Confess your sins to Him. Acknowledge His death, burial and resurrection. Then welcome His Holy Spirit into your life. It’s that simple.

Lord, I praise You for sending Your Son to die for me to satisfy the price which I could never pay. I am eternally grateful.

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IN THE FLESH

1 JOHN 4:2

“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;” 

One of the joys of being a Children’s Pastor is going to the hospital when a baby is born. I love seeing that newborn for the first time. The whole process of conception, pregnancy and delivery amazes me. Looking at those little fingers and toes just blows my mind. I understand the biology behind the whole thing, but it is still a miracle.

Jesus came that way. We all know the story. He was born as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem. We can probably all tell the  story by heart, right? So, John tells us here in today’s verse that knowing that and confessing that shows that the Spirit of God dwells in you. You may be saying Well, everyone believes that. Not really. There are many who deny the birth of Christ, especially the virgin birth.

APPLICATION

Why don’t you lead your kids in some Christmas carols? I know it’s only November, but it’s never too soon to do that. I love “Away in a Manger” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Don’t you? Let your kids pick out a few, but keep them about Jesus. There will be plenty of time for the silly Christmas songs later.

Now, that you have done that, talk about the songs. Ask them why we celebrate Jesus coming in the flesh. Get them to thinking. How else could Jesus have come? He could have just appeared with the angels in the sky over Bethlehem. Why was it important for Him to come as a baby in the flesh? He had to be the God-Man, perfect and divine, to die for our sins on the cross. He had to shed His blood for us. That’s why His fleshly birth was important.

Do you celebrate Christmas correctly? Do you recognize the importance of His humanness? Don’t skip to the ministry years and His death. It all began in Bethlehem. Aren’t you glad? God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son. Don’t ever forget that. Thank the Lord today for His birth. Praise Him for coming in such a humble way.

I praise You, Lord, for humbling Yourself and taking the form of man. Thank You for yielding Your Spirit to take on the form of flesh for us.

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GOD IS GREATER

1 JOHN 3:20

“in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”

We can rationalize our sins, can’t we? We can excuse our “little” inconsistencies and insist they are not so bad. We can always point at someone else and their sins. They are so much worse, right? Guess what? Sin is sin! Period. We can’t rely on what our heart condemns. We have to rely on the One who judges all things.

John tells us God is greater than our hearts. He knows our every little thought. He knows our motives. He knows our hearts much better than we do. We cannot hide our secret sins. We have one choice – to come to Him in full confession. He does know all things, including every thought of our heart.

APPLICATION

Have you convinced your children you have eyes in the back of your head? Lol. A lot of children would swear that their parents do. They can’t seem to get away with anything. That’s a good thing, huh? Of course, we know we don’t. We just have a little more experience and can spot a lie or deceitful heart.

Our children need to learn that there is no reason to try to hide their hearts. God loves them and wants them to walk with Him in Spirit and truth. Keeping your heart confessed before Him allows you to not be condemned. If you have asked Christ to be your Lord and Savior, there is no reason to walk in condemnation. That’s the tactic of the devil. He wants to accuse us. God doesn’t. He forgives us.

So, are you feeling condemned? Get rid of that right now. God is great, not because He wants to zap you. God is great because He loved you enough to send His Son to die for you. God has no desire to condemn you. Nor does He want you to allow your heart to condemn you. He longs for you to come to Him. Won’t you do that today?

Father, I confess I am not worthy to even be called Your child, but You call me that. I bring all those sins before You now for cleansing.

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CHANGING SEATS

1 JOHN 3:14

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”

Have you ever asked to change seats on a plane so you could have the window seat? I used to like to sit by the window so I could look out. Over the years that interest faded. I just want to sit somewhere now where I can rest or read and not be bothered by others getting up and crawling across my lap. Lol

But sometimes a change of scenery is good. We’ve been given that in Christ. Our previous view was death. We were doomed to an eternal damnation with no way to get out on our own. But then Christ came and shed His blood for us. That changed everything. We now have life, and it shows in our love for each other.

APPLICATION

I often am told by parents that they can tell when their young child has committed themselves to Christ. Their heart gets tender. They start asking for forgiveness for wrongs done. Their very nature has changed. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? We should look different on the outside. People should be able to tell we have life now.

Once you see your child striving to live like Jesus, you can waste no time discipling them. They are going to need your guidance in how to study the Word and how to pray. You can’t leave this up to chance. No matter how young or old your child is when they come to that saving knowledge of Jesus, they are going to need you to walk with them.

Aren’t you glad you no longer walk in death? You now can walk in newness of life every day. Jesus walks with you as you learn to love others as He does. He can teach you the joys that come in life. The fear of death is gone. You only have glory to look forward to one day. Hallelujah!

I do walk in life! You are the reason, Lord. Help me introduce others as well.

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THE ERASER

1 JOHN 3:5

“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.”

There was nothing better than a good eraser when I was in grade school. In fact, my mom used to buy us extra erasers. We loved the kind that went on the end of your pencil. You were really cool if you had some kind of cartoon figure eraser. But we also had those big, pink rectangle-shaped erasers. Those could last a long time. Erasers were essential when I was in school.

Jesus is our sin eraser. Because He knew no sin, only He was qualified to be that sin eraser. One definition of the Greek word for “take away” is to sail away. I like that. Our sins simply sail away. They have weighed anchor. They are no longer here. Jesus makes them vanish. How great is that?

APPLICATION

Get your kids to try out some different erasers with different writing instruments. Start out with a sharpie. Have them try to erase it. Then try an ink pen. Finally, give them a pencil. Some marks we make cannot be erased with a plain eraser. They are pretty much permanent.

Ask your children how they erase their own mistakes, their own sins. They may say they ask someone to forgive them. They may say they promise to never do that again. Those are like the sharpie and pen marks. Our efforts to erase our sins just don’t work. Only through Jesus can we get the forgiveness we need. Teach your kids to confess their sins daily. A clean slate is always good.

Does your slate need cleaning? Go the One who can erase all your mistakes. He can forgive you and give you the cleansing you need. All you have to do is confess. That may be a little painful, but it is the only way. Make it right with Him and experience the joy of walking in forgiveness.

Lord, I need Your eraser in my life. I confess to You today the ways I have fallen short. Cleanse me now.

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PROMISE MADE – PROMISE KEPT

1 JOHN 2:25


“This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.”

Don’t you hate it when someone makes a promise and doesn’t keep it? It’s frustrating and inconsiderate. I have not always been good at that. Honesty time here. I have made promises I have not kept. Sometimes that was due to things outside of my control. Other times…well…I just didn’t follow through with what I promised I would do. For that I am sorry. I have confessed that and have asked for forgiveness from God and those whom I have offended.

But John tell us today of the sure promise made by God – eternal life. The Greek word here for “promise” refers to a legal term that means an officially sanctioned promise. It’s not some off the cuff, last minute promise. No, this is thought out and guaranteed. In fact, almost every promise mentioned in the New Testament points back to a promise made in the Old Testament. God is a God of His Word.

APPLICATION

Have you ever made a promise to your child and failed to follow through? Hands please? Yep, we’ve all done that. Now, the hard question. Have you asked your child’s forgiveness? What? Me ask my child to forgive me? Yep, that’s exactly what I mean. We must do that. They need to see forgiveness asked for and given modeled by us.

Better yet – don’t make promises you know you can’t keep. We are prone to do that sometimes just to get our kids to cooperate. Bad idea. Read them today’s verse. Explain how God always keeps His promises and that you want to be more like Him. They will understand and appreciate that.

Is there someone you need to go to and ask forgiveness for not keeping your promise? Do that today. It may be something small to you, but it could be huge to them. Recognizing your failure to follow through is the first step, but you have to go the next step and make it right. Rest in the fact that God will never have to come to you and ask you to forgive Him for failing you. He never will.

Lord, thank You for being so sure. Your Word means just what it says. You will never fail me.

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ARE YOU A HATER?

1 JOHN 2:9

“The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.”

People can say anything. They can claim to love others but just watch how they treat them. The word “hate” seems to imply a horrible action. But did you know the Greek word here can actually mean to love less. Now wait a minute, Carl. That seems a little harsh. Oh really? Do you think Jesus loves them less than you? He loves them all.

John tells us that if we hate, we are still in the darkness. We are walking in the darkness. We are stumbling. What happens when you stumble in the darkness? You hurt yourself. You could break your toe or leg or worse. It’s the same when we hate. We hurt ourselves.

APPLICATION

If your child hasn’t said it yet, they will. They will come home saying they hate someone for something they have done. I am sure you correct them for that. Try sharing this verse with them. Let them see what God says about hate. Ask them if they want to be in the darkness. I bet they don’t.

There are going to be people we don’t like in life. That’s just the truth. So, what do we do? We pray for those individuals. We ask the Lord to give us His love for them. Is that easy? No! It’s impossible by ourselves. But with Christ in us, we can do anything, including loving those we do not like.

Are you tired of stubbing your toe in the darkness because you refuse to stop hating? Come to the light. Stay in the light. Let Jesus direct your path, especially when others are trying to block it. Love them anyway. Jesus does.

Oh Father, I fall so short in this area. I can always justify my hate, but Your Word convicts me. Thank You.

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WHAT IS PROPITIATION?

1 JOHN 2:2

“and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

Most people will read today’s verse and never have a clue what “propitiation” means. They just read it and consider it one of those church words and go on. No! Stop right there! Don’t go any further until you understand this word well enough to tell someone else what it means. It’s an important word, one we all need to understand.

The Greek word for “propitiation” is only used twice in the N.T., both times in 1 John (2.2 and 4.10). Read this definition: an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party. Wow! That’s what Jesus did. He offered Himself, He shed His blood to satisfy His Father’s wrath. God was offended by our sin and demanded a sacrifice. Jesus did that.

APPLICATION

Ask your child if they are willing to take the blame for their sibling’s misconduct. Yeah right! I don’t know any child who would willingly do that. If their brother or sister broke a rule in your house that demanded discipline, would they take their punishment. Chances are their sibling is going to suffer, lol.

Now explain to them that is what Jesus did for them. They, being a sinner from birth, have broken God’s law, His requirements. They may have lied or cheated. They may have disobeyed you. But they have done something to incur God’s wrath. Without Jesus stepping in with His blood, they would be doomed to an eternal hell. Sound rough? Yes, it is. But it is the truth. Praise be to God that Jesus stepped in.

Are you grateful for this propitiation? Are you able now to explain it to someone? It’s not just a churchy word. It’s our hope. It’s our promise. It gives us life eternal with our Heavenly Father.

O God, I thank You for sending Your Son to pay the price You demanded for my salvation. I am free because of Him.

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