Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Hearing, Inspirational, Parenting

DID YOU HEAR THAT?

1 JOHN 2:24

“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”

One of your most valuable senses when you are deer hunting is your hearing. Sure, you need to see the deer to shoot them, but hearing them is important as well. You listen for the rustle of leaves or a twig being snapped as they walk. You listen for the grunt of a buck or the blowing of a doe. Hearing is important. You can hunt without it, but you sure lose an advantage.

John is telling us in today’s verse that hearing from God and His messengers is so important. But it’s not just the hearing. It’s what you do with what you heard. Many people have heard the gospel, but not all of them have responded. If you hear and allow that Word to nestle in your heart, you will remain or abide with the Father and the Son.

APPLICATION

How many times have you called for your children and they didn’t respond? Ten times? A hundred times? You know they heard you, but they just sit there playing their video games. Hearing without obeying is just hearing. Disobedience to you, their parents, is a direct breach of your relationship. Of course, your children don’t see it that way, but you have to teach them that.

Relationships are built on trust. In the case of parents and children, it also involves obedience. When our children disobey a direct request, no matter how innocent it may seem, it is a direct affront to our authority. Disobedience to God is the same. We are saying that we know better. How absurd!

Are you hearing and abiding in the Father? I pray you are. I pray you are not just hearing. Do you want to abide in Him? That requires hearing and obeying. Do that now! He is waiting.

I will hear and obey. I desire to abide in You.

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Advice, Advocate, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Scripture, Submission, Surrender

ANOINTED

1 JOHN 2:20

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.”

Okay, before you get all anxious about talking about “anointing,” hear me out. I am not going to talk about some extreme, cultic behavior. John doesn’t either in today’s verse. He had experienced this anointing in the upper room at Pentecost and had never forgotten it.

Neither should you. The Greek word for “anointing” refers to how the Holy Spirit teaches us and guides us to receive God’s will. Boy, isn’t that something everyone desires – to know and understand God’s will? It’s possible through the Holy Spirit. How? Because the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, lives within us.

APPLICATION

Explain this to your child this way. Stephen Curry is a great basketball player. Your son or daughter could watch every game he has ever played and never fully understand how he does all he does on the court. But if Stephen Curry somehow got into their body and played for them, then they would experience first-hand his skill and ability.

The Holy Spirit does that for us. He climbs inside us at salvation and is just waiting for us to surrender our will to His. He won’t force us to follow God’s will. Nope! But He knows it completely. We just have to let Him show us. Easy? Nope again! But is it worth it? You better believe it.

Are you struggling with your anointing? Why? Let go and allow the Holy Spirit of God to direct you. All those huge problems that bother you will be understood. They may not all go away, but you will understand. God is not playing hide-and-seek with His will. He really does want you to know it.

Lord, show me Your will. I surrender my stubbornness and rebellion. I want to be guided by Your Spirit.

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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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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, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Confession, Darkness, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Harmony, Hypocrisy, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Surrender

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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Knowledge, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Surrender

HOW DO YOU KNOW?

1 JOHN 2:3

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

I get asked a lot by people how they can be sure they are saved. They want a firm reassurance that they can rest on. Well, here is one way. John states it pretty clearly. He says, “By this we know that we have come to know Him.” Both times that word “know” is used it refers to a knowledge gained through experience. You know it because you have experienced it.

Then John goes on to say how we will know – by keeping God’s commandments. Simple enough, right? If you have given your heart to Jesus and are following His commands, you know the Lord. You obey out of love. You don’t obey to be loved. Keeping God’s commandments is just a natural result of knowing Him.

APPLICATION

Do your children obey you? Now, come on. Be honest. Do they obey you all the time? Probably not. Do they trust that what you ask them to do is for their good? Most children do. But why? Because they know you. They have grown up with you. You have been there through all their challenges. You have been there in the good times and bad times. You know them and they know you.

Explain this to your son or daughter the next time you have to discuss a “rule” with them. It is just like obeying the Father. He has known them even before they were born. He knows them completely. He has fashioned His plan for their lives for their good. He has written His Word to guide them towards perfection. They simply have to believe and follow Him.

Doesn’t that all sound easy? Well, we both know it isn’t. In fact, it’s impossible – by ourselves. But when we surrender to the Lord and bow before Him, all those challenges become opportunities to trust Him. All those hard times become times for growth.

Lord, I’m thankful You have given me Your commandments to follow. I know I can trust them to lead me where You want me to go. I trust Your Word.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God's Will, Grace, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Redemption, Repentance, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony

SPARKLY

1 JOHN 1:9

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Man, I loved my first car so much. I guess all guys do. Mine was a 1971 Buick Skylark. It was royal blue with a white vinyl top. It had key-colored mag wheels AND a Craig AM/FM eight-track Powerplay stereo. I kept that car pretty much spotless. I was relentless to remove the dirt and grime. I wanted to present a clean car to everyone.

All we have to do to present ourselves as “sparkly” is to confess our sins to the Father. When we do, He is faithful and righteous (or just) to forgive them and to clean us up. I love that the word “forgive” in the Greek means to send away. He sends our sins away. Why? Because they are cleansed by the blood. He wants us to be presentable to the lost to draw them also to Him.

APPLICATION

Bath time for kids can be a challenge. Most kids go through a time when they just really fight against it. They don’t want their hair washed or they don’t want to have their backs scrubbed. Of course, we bathe them anyway because we know we can’t leave them that way.

The next time you are bathing your child or have to remind them to get a bath, share this verse with them. They will probably think you are crazy, lol. Explain to them the importance of not only keeping their body clean, but they also need to keep their heart clean by confessing their sins to God. Unconfessed sin makes us comfortable with the grime of sin. After a while we stop smelling ourselves.

Are you all scrubbed? I mean are you confessed up? What are you waiting for? Don’t you want to feel refreshed spiritually? Of course, you. Turn to Him right now. Just say, “Father, forgive me for my sins. I confess to You my wrongdoings and failures. I want to walk in Your light. Thank You for forgiving me and cleansing me.” That’s it. You’re sparkly!

Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son Jesus to die for me so I can come to You for forgiveness. I know His blood has covered my sins. Help me walk in righteousness.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rejoicing, Scripture, Testimony

FULL OF JOY

1 JOHN 1:4

“These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”

There’s a difference in being joyful and being full of joy. Being joyful can be spontaneous and last for a while. Being full of joy is more about a lifestyle. Let me prove my point from the text. The Greek word for “complete” is pleroo. Any time you see a Greek word which ends in -oo the emphasis is more about the result of the word than the word itself. That word means “fill to individual capacity.

Being full of joy is a choice we make as believers that has results. We cast that joy onto others. We want to spread the joy to others because we know how great we feel because of it. We know the source of the joy is not of our own making. It comes from the Lord, so the source is bottomless.

APPLICATION

Ask your child if he/she knows what joy is. Let them define it in their own way. This could be quite hilarious. Then ask them if they would want to always feel that way. Some kids may say “no.” Why? Because they don’t know how to handle it? Maybe.

Here’s your opportunity to talk about the reason Christ gives us joy. We are not supposed to handle it. We are to pass it on. When we are full of the joy of Christ, we spread it around to all we meet. You can show your kids this by the way you treat others in your home and in the public.

But Carl, you don’t know what I’m dealing with right now. I don’t have any joy in my life. Remember, I said this is not a joy you produce. It comes from Christ through you to others. You have to surrender to Him. When you do that, the joy flows. It flows to overflowing. It becomes your lifestyle. Be full of joy!

Joyful, joyful we adore Thee. Lord, fill me to overflowing with Your joy. I want to spill out on others.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Following, God's Will, Grace, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting

HEAR, SEE AND TOUCH

1 JOHN 1:1

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—”

Have you ever watched toddlers in a room full of toys for the first time? They run from shelf to shelf grabbing and holding these treasures. They may even squeal with happiness. What fun! They are so excited. They may run up to you showing you their new found toys. They just have to share it.

John is that excited! He has to share all he knew about Jesus. Look what he says. He’s heard and seen and looked and touched! He spent these years with Jesus, this Word of Life, and he is busting to tell someone. You can just feel the joy in the words he has penned for us.

APPLICATION

What gets your child excited? Disney World? A certain movie? How about their favorite meal? Get them to tell you all about it. Watch their facial expressions. In fact, if you can, video them telling you about it. Then let them watch the video. Point out those things in the video that show their excitement.

Now read them today’s verse and talk about John’s excitement about Jesus. Shouldn’t we have the same kind of excitement? Shouldn’t we be bubbling over with joy? The very Son of God came to earth to save us from a certain judgment. Wow! He gave Himself for us.

How would you react today if Jesus showed up? Well, guess what – He already has. He lives in you. He lives in other believers. Why aren’t we more excited to tell someone about it? The greatest story ever told is at our fingertips. Share it with someone today.

O God, I don’t deserve the joy You have given me. I praise You for filling me with capacity for joy. Let it overflow!

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GOD’S WISH

2 PETER 3:9

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Do you ever make wishes? I have been known to wish for a large, stuffed crust pepperoni pizza. I have wished for a new fishing boat or a new rifle for hunting. We all make wishes, don’t we? We also wish for someone to have good health or we wish someone good luck.

My point? We can wish all day, but we can’t make those wishes come true. God’s wishes, though, are certain. Look what He wishes for. He wishes for no one to perish but for all to repent. Wow! That kind of puts our feeble wishes in place. Shouldn’t we join God in that wish?

APPLICATION

Get your kids to make a wish list. Tell them anything goes. Give them 15 minutes to write down as many things as they can. I am willing to bet that 95% of their wishes are things. Am I right? Unless you have a very special child, most kids are thinking about their immediate satisfaction.

Now, read them the verse above and ask them how many of their wishes line up with God’s wish. I am not trying to get you to make them feel bad. That’s not my point. I am simply trying to get you to point them towards God’s wish list. His list is always about others.

Can you say that about your own wish list? Do you focus more on yourself? Lay that down. Look around you. Who needs your wishes? Your wishes can be turned into prayers for others. Instead of saying I wish so and so, say I pray so and so. Point your wishes heavenward and watch how God works through you.

I am thankful, Lord, for the privilege to pray for others. Show me their needs so I can “wish” them to You. Let my wishes always be Yours.

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