Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Sanctification, Scripture, Testimony

BE HOLY

1 PETER 1:15

“but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;”

Now, wait just a minute, Peter. I may be a lot of things, but holy? How do you expect me to be holy? I am flesh. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am a long way from holy. I think it’s a little much for you to command me to be holy.

Come on, now. Don’t you feel the same way sometimes? We have to remember, though, that God never asks us to do anything He knows we can’t do. The truth is we can’t be holy. It’s Him in us that makes holy. Don’t try to do it on your own. You can’t do it. But when we surrender to Him, His holiness will thrive in you.

APPLICATION

Tell your son or daughter in the morning that you expect them to be holy today. Tell them that you will not accept anything less. You may have a child who says, “I can do that.” Seriously, they can’t, and you know it. Just let them try. I guarantee it won’t be long in the day until they do something to blow that holiness. They really don’t have a clue what being holy means.

When they blow it, read them this verse. Explain to them what being holy means. The Greek word for “holy” means having the likeness of nature with the Lord and being different from the world. Ask your child what they think that means. How can they be like Jesus and different from the world? They can tell you. Listen. You may just learn something.

How holy were you today? Did the likeness of the Father live through you? As I told you earlier, you can’t be holy. The only thing holy about us is Jesus. Our flesh loves to raise its ugly head. It wants us to be like the world. It prefers unholiness. Squash your flesh by yielding to Him today. All the Holy One to make you holy!

I know there is nothing holy in me except Your Spirit. Help me surrender today to Your Spirit so I can live holy. I want to be holy, as You are.

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CURIOUS ANGELS

1 PETER 1:12

“It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.”

Did you catch that last phrase? “things into which angels long to look.” What does that mean? What are angels longing to look on? Do you understand that they are amazed at our salvation? God’s pardon of our sins blows them away. Why? Because they know the holiness of God. They have seen His majesty for centuries. How could such a holy God forgive such wicked sinners?

Why aren’t we as blown away? Why aren’t we amazed? We come to God for our salvation and almost immediately begin to take it for granted. We forget how wicked we were and how much He forgave. We should look on with the same longing as the angels and give thanks every day for His grace.

APPLICATION

What have your children taken for granted? Their clothes? Their toys? The food on the table? Have you ever reminded them how blessed they are? I bet you have. The next time your child takes a blessing for granted, read them this verse.

This is when you confess your guilt of taking things for granted from God. When they hear you confess, perhaps they will be convicted themselves. Now, you are not the Holy Spirit. He will do the convicting.

Aren’t you thankful today for the grace He has shown you time and time again? Thank Him today. Live for Him today. Give Him the praise He deserves for the salvation He so freely bestows on you. Lead your children to do the same. Angels are watching and scratching their heads. Show them what it looks like to live for Jesus.

Lord, I am amazed! Your gift of salvation is beyond anything I deserve. Thank You for saving me.

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DIRTY HANDS

MATTHEW 15:15-20

“15 Peter said to Him, ‘Explain the parable to us.’ 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17’ Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.’”

I am sure, as a fisherman, Peter ate lots of meals with dirty hands. When you are out on a boat it’s hard to use soap to clean up to eat. So, when Jesus answered the Pharisees this way about their concern they hadn’t washed their hands before eating the grain, he probably smirked a little. Still, he wanted to make sure he understood what Jesus was saying.

Why are some people so concerned about how they look on the outside, but their thoughts and words are filthy? If we had a machine in church on Sundays that could read the minds of the people as they came in the doors, we would probably be appalled. Jesus plainly tells us here that it is our inner thoughts and our words that defile us. Yes, washing our hands are important. But our inner cleanliness is so much more important.

APPLICATION

I bet when your children were little you washed their hands a lot, didn’t you? As they get older you teach them to wash their own hands and ask them before dinner, “Did you wash your hands?” What a perfect verse to discuss their spiritual cleanliness. Why not ask them at dinner, “Did you speak harshly to your sister today?” Instead of asking them, “Did you use soap to wash your hands?” ask them if they thought about the words they used today when they got upset at the video game.

It is so important to teach our children to guard their tongues. I have often said that words are like toothpaste. Once they are out you can’t stuff them back in the tube. Teach them to choose their words carefully. And if they do slip up, teach them how to make it right. Apologize. Ask for forgiveness. That’s another skill missing today.

Are you more concerned about how you appear to others than what’s in your heart? If you will flip that around, you won’t have to worry so much about how you appear. Your inwards thoughts will be reflected on the outside. Pause and think before speaking, even if what you are going to say may sound “spiritual.” Sometimes that is just not the right thing to say at the time.

I am thankful Your Spirit can guard my tongue. Help me surrender to You before each word is spoken. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.

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DON’T GO THERE

TITUS 3:9

“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

I know you’ve played tag, right. Every child has played some kind of tag game. Well, this is one tag game you don’t want to play. Paul tells us to “avoid” these things. Controversies, genealogies (really, he is talking about arguing about your pedigree), strife and disputes are all things we need to avoid. He just told us in verse 8 to be careful. You can’t be involved with these things and be careful.

Some people just like to fuss and argue. They are always looking for a fight. If we are to walk with Christ and be an effective witness, we can’t spend our time with those sorts of people. That may mean letting some relationships go. What? Yep! Some people are determined to bring you down. You should continue to pray for them, but don’t spend your time arguing and fussing with them. It will never end.

APPLICATION

This is an especially important lesson to teach our kids. They will be bombarded with people all their lives who want to drag them into endless arguments. The sooner they learn to avoid these “foolish controversies” the better. The hard part is when that person is a friend. But true friends don’t fuss and argue with us all the time, right?

That’s why your children need to have friends who share the same worldview. When you share God’s view of this world, there is normally fewer opportunities to disagree. I am not saying that will never happen, but there will less times. Why? Because you both see through God’s eyes. You both are surrendered to His will. You both are seeking to please Him. The petty things just don’t matter.

Are you an arguer? Do you seek out fights and quarrels? I know a lot of Baptist who are, lol. We need to spend our time concentrating on serving our Master instead of trying to make ourselves master. We have a God who is worth serving. Why don’t you and I both try to more diligent today in doing just that?

I confess I want my way too much. Forgive me for being argumentative and quarrelsome. I want to please You, Lord.

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NICE GUY

TITUS 3:2

to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”

Are you a nice person? I mean, do you portray these traits Paul lists in today’s verse? These are admirable traits, but I guarantee you they are not possible for long without Christ being the center of your life. Christ showed us all of these while He was here on earth. If He can live them out, we can too. We just have to allow Him to live them through us.

“To malign” means to speak evil against someone. That’s not our calling. “To be peaceable” literally means not to fight. For some of us that’s hard. “Gentle” means to be forbearing or reasonable toward others. That can be tested at times, can’t it? And “showing every consideration” has the idea that you can show restraint.

APPLICATION

Aren’t those four traits worth instilling in your children? How many times have you had to stop your children from doing the exact opposite? Instead of not speaking evil, they are constantly tattling or trying to get their sister or brother in trouble. Flesh does not have to be taught how to be fleshly. It comes natural. Our job as Christian parents is to consistently hold that flesh accountable. We must take every opportunity to point them towards the attributes of Christ.

Will your children embrace these traits? Only if they first know Christ. Trying to “force” these behaviors on your child before they know Him may get them to follow a rule, but it won’t change their heart. Only Jesus can do that. So, is it hopeless? Of course not! But know that the heart change is not your responsibility. Your job is to keep pointing them to Jesus. Jesus is big enough to handle the rest.

Which of these four traits gives you the most trouble? Probably, for me, it’s being gentle. I often have unreasonable expectations of others and am not very forbearing. I expect too much or I want them to comply to my wishes. That’s not being Jesus. The only way I can live this out is to surrender my desires to His. I have to see the other person through His eyes. Then I can show the gentleness of Christ.

I desire to live out these traits towards others, Lord. I know that I may be the only Jesus they ever see. Help me be that to them today.

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HOW TO LIVE

TITUS 2:12

“instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,”

Salvation is just the beginning. We are so thankful for the saving power of Jesus in our lives, but it doesn’t stop there. Paul tells us in today’s verse how to live. The grace which appeared instructs us to deny certain things and to live a certain way. We have to say “no” to stuff in order to say “yes” to others. You can’t walk two paths.

It’s pretty simple, really. We should have nothing to with not honoring God. He deserves it all. It all points to Him. And we should shun seeking to fulfill ourselves with temporal, worldly things. They just don’t last. Instead, we should live sensibly (calmly), righteously (approved by God) and godly (devout). Simple, huh? With Jesus, it is. Without Him, impossible.

APPLICATION

These are practical words for our children. Do this and don’t do that. Isn’t that what we are trying to do each day with them? Have them make a list of things they think are ungodly. Depending on their age, this list could be funny. But let them make the list. Then talk about how they can avoid those things. These are things they don’t want to be around.

Then switch it up and have them list some godly things. How do they pursue them? Ask them if they think doing godly things will make them godly. It’s so important they understand it doesn’t. Only Jesus can make us godly. We live godly because of Him. We do godly things because of Him. We are simply a reflection of His godliness.

Who are you reflecting today? You know you do that every day. You reflect your Savior or you reflect your flesh. One is godly. The other is not. One draws others to Christ. The other repels them. One is inviting and warm. The other – not so much. What kind of mirror are you today? Choose Jesus.

I am so thankful for simple instructions on how to live. Help me today to live as You would have me live. I want to please You.

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THE OPPOSITION

TITUS 1:10

“For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,”

In the previous five verses of Titus 1, Paul has laid out the qualifications of an Elder in the church. Now, he takes a one hundred and eighty degree turn and talks about the other side, the ones who are opposed to the church and the Gospel. These are not pleasant words and I pray none of these descriptions fit you.

Are you rebellious or insubordinate? It’s easy to fall into that trap. Don’t! How about an empty taker? That literally means speaking meaningless words. Do you deceive others? This particular Greek word for “deceive” is only used right here. It means to exploit others or to lead them in their own delusions. None of these three descriptions are nice. And none of them belong in the life of a believer.

APPLICATION

The application is simple today for your children. Don’t let them be this way. I am sure you have had to deal with a little rebellion from your children. Deal with that quickly and firmly. Unaddressed rebellion will only lead to more and more rebellion. And teach your children to use their words carefully. Talking just to talk can cause problems for them and others. No one likes a babbler.

But of these three, make sure you teach them the dangers of deception. Deception comes in many forms – lying, stealing, cheating. To deceive with the sole intention to exploit someone is the furthest thing from the heart of Christ. We should be doing all we can to bring others to Him, not drive them away by taking advantage of them.

Now, I am sure from time to time we have all been guilty of one of these three. We are flesh and still succumb to its influence. If you have, repent. If you are currently living opposed to the Gospel, stop where you are and come to Jesus. He is the only one is able to give you the power to overcome your flesh.

Thank You, Lord, for living through me. When I want to lash out at others, You are the one who quickens my spirit. I will give You all the glory.

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EXPECTATIONS

TITUS 1:8

“but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,”

What do you expect from your leaders? Well, Paul continues to lay out the Lord’s expectations for Elders. These leaders are so important to the healthy function of the body of Christ. By living up to these expectations they are showing others that these are possible through Christ. Let’s look at these quickly.

“Hospitable” literally means to love strangers. “Loving what is good” is really a lover of what God loves. “Sensible” can be translated as self-control. “Just” is approved by God. “Devout” means beloved by God. And finally, “self-controlled” has the meaning of being mastered from within.

APPLICATION

Why did I go through all those words? Because you need to know them, and your children need to know them. You need to know that they are all possible through Christ. The Lord will never put an expectation on you or your children that He cannot empower you to do. He can give you the ability to love strangers. He can give your children the ability to love what God loves.

Do you believe that? Or do you think these qualifications only apply to Elders? NO!!!! They apply to us all. All believers need to live this way. So, what keeps us from doing that? That’s simple. Our flesh, our self gets in the way. And the only way to get rid of that is to die to it daily and surrender your all to Him. When you do that, your kids see that.

Are you willing to live this way? Can you embrace these qualities knowing He can live these through you? Decide today to do this. If you allow Him to control you, He will use you in ways you cannot imagine. And as He uses you, your children will see that and hopefully begin to emulate these qualities they see in you.

I want to be just like You, Lord. All these qualities are You. I will surrender my will to You today.

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BUT I’M RELIGIOUS

2 TIMOTHY 3:5

“holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”

Have you ever known someone who was very religious, but also very ungodly? They keep all the holidays and are careful to do all the “right” things, but their daily life shows no sign of Jesus at all. These people relish the idea of following religious principles, but when it comes to treating people like Jesus would, they fall way short.

Religion allows us to work out something. We can achieve religion. We can count our points until we think we have measured up. Oh, but we are missing it by doing that. It’s all about surrender, not what we do. Paul is once again warning Timothy to be careful of those who seem so religious. Watch their motives. Watch their actions. The truth will come out.

APPLICATION

Moms and dads, don’t make your children religious. Teach them to be faithful. Religion is just something we can say we are a part of, like a club. But our faith…well…that’s the real thing. I was told once that Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. Do you want your children to have a relationship with Christ? Then teach them your faith, not your religion.

For your children to discover the real power of Christ in their life, they will have to understand this difference. Between you and other godly adults in their life living this out, they will see it. Real faith is lived out daily in our relationships. We allow the Lord to speak through us, love through us, disagree through us, just do life through us. But all of it reflects Jesus. Your kids will get that.

Are you religious or godly? Stop trying to please the Father by what you are doing. He loves you unconditionally and wants an intimate relationship with you. He doesn’t really care if you have perfect attendance at church if you are treating your family like dirt. He doesn’t care how much you give to the church if you are also cheating on your taxes. Relationships matter and the most important one in your life today is with the God of the universe who sent His Son to die for you. Embrace Him.

I love You, Lord. I want to know You more. I want that deep, intimate, personal relationship that only comes by spending time with You.

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MY DAD’S TEA GLASS

2 TIMOTHY 2:20

“Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.”

When I was growing up in my parents’ home, my dad had a special gold colored tea glass. That was his glass. We knew not to use it and for goodness sake, when we were washing it (yes, we hand-washed dishes back then), not to break it. That glass pretty much stayed full of sweet, iced tea in the refrigerator and by his chair in the evening. He did love his tea.

That glass was nothing special. I mean, we actually had nicer glasses in the house. But that glass served its purpose as my dad’s tea glass. Each of us have our purpose in the body of Christ. We may think some roles are more important or look nicer, but each and every role serves the purpose it is designed to do for the body of Christ. We should not look down on someone who is fulfilling the “wooden” or “earthenware” roles.

APPLICATION

This is so important to teach our children. In fact, I truly feel it is important for our children to have several of those “wooden” or “earthenware” roles in the family as they grow up. Taking out the trash is certainly NOT a “golden” role, but let that job not get done for a few days and see what happens. How about cleaning the bathrooms? Let that go undone for a week or two, and no one will want to go in there.

We teach our children these lessons in the home so they understand that in other areas of life. In the church or in school, they will have the opportunity to serve in a variety of roles. Keeping that servant’s heart in whatever role they fill will give them opportunities to be Jesus to others. Isn’t that our goal – to teach them to be more like Him?

How is your attitude when you are asked to roll up your sleeves and perform a menial task? Do you think you are above that or do you dive right in? Take the opportunity to serve wherever you are and however you can. Don’t let your ego or pride get in the way of receiving a blessing from someone you have the chance to serve.

Thank You, Lord, for giving me plenty of opportunities to serve You by serving others. Help me to not ever think I am above the job. I want to exemplify You in my service.

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