Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gossip, Holy Spirit, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sin, Truth

TRUTH VS LIE

1 JOHN 2:21

“I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.”

Have you ever been confused about what was the truth and what wasn’t? I have. In these days we are living you can be so easily fooled. Digital imaging can be manipulated so well now that it can be very hard to tell what is real. Obviously, there must have been some confusion during John’s day as well.

Let me ask you a question. Do you know THE truth? There’s only one. The devil will try to persuade you through his lies that what he is saying is the truth. How do you know? By comparing it to the Word. The devil will never agree with the Word. He always lies.

APPLICATION

Do your children know the difference between lies and truth? Have you ever caught them in a lie? You probably have. I’ve had parents tell me they have literally caught their child with their hand in the cookie jar and they would deny it. Crazy, huh?

What do you do when catch them? Don’t just correct them. That’s right. You have to point them to the truth. Just punishing them for lying won’t fix the problem. Unless you show them the flip side of lying, they will continue to tell those fibs that drive you crazy. Read them this verse. Even a child can understand this.

How are you with your truth telling? Adults tend to rationalize their lies. We are real good at justifying our sins. What? That’s right – lying is sin. Let me encourage you to pause your words before you speak. Make sure they agree with what God would say. Speaking truth is much easier, by the way. You don’t have to cover up your previous comments. Try it.

Let Your Words be my words, Lord. Let my tongue speak only the truth so those who are darkness can be led to the light.

Standard
Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Enemies, Evil, Following, Gossip, Mentoring, Opponents, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture

MOCKERS WILL COME

2 PETER 3:3

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,” 

Peter makes it plain. Mockers will come. To get technical, the verb used here in the Greek is future indicative. That means that it is a fact that they will come at some point. There is no doubt. We have seen that for decades and are seeing it today everywhere. If you believe the Word of God is THE truth, you are made fun of and ridiculed.

The word “mockers” or “mocking” comes from the word which means to play as a child. So, these mockers are actually acting like children. Just because they don’t like what the Word says, they make fun of it, just like a child will do to another child. So, keep that in mind when you encounter one of these mockers. Their childish words mean nothing.

APPLICATION

Oh, what a verse for kids, especially since we just discussed the meaning of that word “mockers.” The next time you hear your children or their friends mocking each other, pull them aside and read them this verse and explain the meaning. I didn’t mention the last phrase of the verse, but it can come into play here when you discuss it with your kids.

Mockers mock because they want to pursue their own “lusts.” They want what they want when they want it. All that matters are their own desires. Basically, they just want their own way, and if anyone gets in their way, they are going to run them over. They did it back then and are still doing it today.

Have you been mocked lately? No? Well, maybe you haven’t been living much different than the world. Ouch, that’s harsh isn’t it? I’m not trying to be mean. But if the world doesn’t see us as different, why not? We should stand out like a sore thumb in our world today. And when they ask why, we should be ready to tell them why we are different. Be willing to be mocked today. Remember, those words are just childish words. We have the real Words of life.

Thank You, Lord, for Your Word. Thank You for giving me the courage to stand up against those who would ridicule and mock You.

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Friends, Gossip, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Reputation, Testimony, Witnessing

ARE YOU STRANGE?

1 PETER 4:4

“In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;

If you do the right thing around some people they are going to think you are strange. Peter says so right here. The Greek word translated as “are surprised” means to think strange. You see, if you don’t hang out with them and do the things they do, they not only think you are strange, but they will also “malign” you.  That means they will speak evil of you.

When I got saved the summer before my senior year in high school, my lifestyle changed. Most of my friends acted exactly as this verse says. They asked what was wrong with me. They wanted to know why I wasn’t hanging out with anymore and doing the things they were doing. That was a tough year. I lost a lot of those friends that year, who interestingly enough now love the Lord.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse to read to your children when they are made fun of for standing up for Jesus. It will never fail. If your kids are living for Jesus, the devil will send people into their lives to try to discourage them. Peer pressure is tough. Our kids can be easily manipulated by a bunch of friends to compromise their convictions.

That’s why their convictions have to be built upon God’s Word and not what mom or dad says. His Word is plain and simple. If we keep them in it and work to disciple them appropriately, we have to leave the rest of it up to God. He is big enough to convict and lead them to make the right choices. All our yelling and screaming does is drive them away. Lean on Him.

So, let me ask you again. Are you strange? I hope so. I hope you stick out like a sore thumb. I hope all those around you notice you are different. I want them to ask you why you are different. And I want you to be ready to respond with the Gospel. Be strange for Jesus.

Father, being strange doesn’t sound too good. I want to be considered normal, but I don’t want to “fit in” with the crowd. Give me the boldness to be strange.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deceit, Encouragement, Evil, Godliness, Gossip, Inspirational, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Speech, Testimony

NASTY MOUTH

1 PETER 3:10

“For, ‘THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.’”

This verse and the next two verses come from Psalm 34:12-16. Peter isn’t just giving his opinion. He gives us truth from God’s Word. Shouldn’t we all do that? And this truth is one worth sharing. Let’s just look at this verse.

The Psalmist says if you desire life watch your mouth. The word “evil” there refers to an inner evil, one that is really foul. And the word “deceit” means luring others into a trap. Get the picture? You must keep your tongue and mouth from evil if you want life. You can’t talk like this and see good days.

APPLICATION

This is a no brainer for our kids. Aren’t we always correcting their speech, especially when it’s not nice? We don’t let our children talk that way. But where do they learn it? Most of the time from us. That’s not always the case, but it is most of the time. We have to watch our lips because little ears are listening.

Sometimes they learn this speech from their friends. So, ask yourself if you want your kids around these other children. You may have to limit their contact with people who are negatively influencing them. That’s tough, but necessary.

How’s your mouth? Are you talking out of both sides of your mouth? Our words should be consistent no matter where we are. Why? Because the One who matters is always listening. If we submit our tongues and lips to Him, only the right words will proceed from us. Will you do that today?

O Father, I desire for my words to be pleasing to Your ear. Speak through me Lord.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Faith, Friends, Gossip, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Opponents, Parenting, Persecution, Reputation, Scripture, Trust, Truth

OPPONENTS

TITUS 2:8

“sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”

Have you ever had an opponent? I mean, someone who was just against you? The Greek phrase for “opponent” reads “he who is of the contrary.” Ever known a contrary person? It seems everything you do or say they are against. You just can’t seem to get along. Well, we are going to face those people, and Paul tells us how to deal with them.

It’s pretty simple really. We just speak truth, sound “speech which is beyond reproach.” If we do that, they have “nothing bad to say about us.” They may try, but it’s not true. In fact, then word “nothing” there means not even one. My brother-in-law used to say that means zero with the lid kicked off. I like that.

APPLICATION

Boy, oh boy, this is an application to make. Our children are going to have people, friends even, who talk about them. Kids love to talk and tease and criticize. The sooner we prepare our children how to handle those comments, the better off they will be. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That may be a cute phrase, but words can hurt if you don’t know how to handle them.

Here are some tips to handle these opponents:

  1. Know the truth about you – Teach your kids who they are in Christ. No words from others can change that.
  2. Know that your opponents are actually Christ’s opponent – He will fight for you. If you stand for Christ, He promises to defend you.
  3. Know those opponents need Jesus – Just like you before Christ, they are operating out of the flesh and need a Savior.
  4. Know that truth will prevail – Trust that “the truth will make you free.

There you have it. A few tips for dealing with those contrary folks. It won’t be easy, but they can keep you focused. Perhaps you have a tendency to be contrary. If that is you, listen to the truth of His Word. Let it transform your thinking. There is no victory in opposing Christ. You just can’t win. Submit to Him today and experience of true freedom and rest.

Guard my tongue, O Lord, and let me speak only sound words. Allow the truth spoken through me draw all opponents to You. Protect me as You have promised.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Evil, Fighting, Gossip, Lies, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Perseverance, Revenge, Scripture, Service, Suffering, Trust, Witnessing

THE LORD WILL REPAY

2 TIMOTHY 4:14

“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.”

It’s pretty obvious that Alexander didn’t care for Paul. We aren’t exactly sure who he was, but there are a few speculations. He may have been one of the metal workers thrust forth by the Jews to denounce Paul in Ephesus. Demetrius had begun this protest, but a man named Alexander was trying speak about how Paul’s mission work was hurting the sale of idols of the great temple of Artemis, which was their livelihood.

This name appears later in Acts at Paul’s trial. This time he is there publicly to speak against Paul. Animosity, hatred, pure evil. Paul knew it, but what did he tell Timothy? Turn the other cheek. Do not engage this man. God will handle him. As powerful and as loud as Alexander may appear, God is bigger and louder (if necessary).

APPLICATION

Do you think your children are going to face an Alexander? You had better believe it. If your children are attempting to live for Jesus, there will be people who will feel threatened. You may not know why they feel threatened, but they will. It may go to their own insecurities. It could be from their wrecked childhood. But for some reason, they have it out for your son or daughter. So, what do you tell them to do? The exact same thing Paul told Timothy – let God have it.

Do you now what all “Alexanders” need? Jesus! They need His forgiveness. They need His love. They need His mercy. And all of that comes through us. God still uses His people to deliver the gospel. Teach your children to be that deliverer of hope to “Alexanders.” And when they rise up in hatred, love them more.

Who do you need to approach in love today whom has set out to tear you down? We all have someone who just doesn’t like us. We may not know why, but God does. Ask Him. You may share a past with that person that could bring them to Christ. But whatever you do, don’t retaliate. That’s the Lord’s job, and He can handle it much better than you.

Father, I lay down my plans to get even right now. It is hard not to want to get back at those who have harmed me. But at Your command, I will obey.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Gossip, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Thanksgiving, Witnessing

STOP TALKING LIKE THAT

2 TIMOTHY 2:16

“But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,”

I just love the way the Holy Spirit led the writers of Scripture to use certain words. Take for instance the Greek word “worldly” in today’s verse. It is only used five times in the New Testament. Four of those times it is used by Paul writing to Timothy in his two letters to him. It means unauthorized access to something. It refers to people who are not fit to know God because they approach Him without faith. That was the kind of place Timothy was living. Sounds familiar.

And then we have the phrase “empty chatter” which is one Greek word and means babble or just hollow or empty talk. It’s only used here. Paul is telling Timothy to stay away from that kind of useless talk. It’s meaningless and just wastes time. Are you guilty of doing that?

APPLICATION

How do we teach our children this? The Lord doesn’t expect us to spend all our time speaking King James English and quoting verses. That is not what Paul is saying here. But our minds should be focused on the eternal. When we allow our minds to be cluttered with useless, trivial, worldly pursuits, we forget about the Lord and His purpose in our lives.

That’s why we teach our children to memorize His Word. That’s why we may ask, “What would Jesus do?” When we teach our children to keep that focus in our conversations, always running in the back of our mind, our thoughts are on Him. When we surrender our tongues to Him, He will give us the words to say.

I had to have my trucked towed recently, twice within about a two-hour span. I had the same tow truck driver the second time. When he got in the cab of his truck after loading my truck, he turned to me and jokingly said, “I bet you are ready to cuss this time.” Fortunately, I allowed the Spirit to speak and said, “This is just a temporal thing, brother. That truck’s not eternal. No biggie.” He was shocked, and I was able to share why I could say that with him. Watch your focus. Temporal or eternal?

Lord, You are my focus. I will not waste my time on empty, worldly conversations. I will approach You boldly because I am known by You and I know You.

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Friends, Gossip, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience

YOU JUST CAN’T HIDE IT

1 TIMOTHY 5:25

Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.”

Have you ever tried to conceal a wrong? You messed up, you know it and now you are trying to hide it. Most of us have. Paul knew about wrong deeds. Remember his past? He had sought out and persecuted the believers. I am sure there were some things he did he wished he could have hidden. But he also knew that truth was the only way.

Paul is also warning us of the same. Some people’s good works are so evident. They may or may not want the attention for doing them, but the fact remains that did them. On the other hand, there are many who appear as good, yet try to conceal their true actions and motives. Paul is saying they will come out. Give it time.

APPLICATION

Teaching your little one to do good is something I am sure you are doing. We don’t have to teach them how to do bad stuff, do we? That comes naturally. And we know they are going to mess up. That’s unavoidable. What we must do, however, is teach them to own up to their mistakes, to confess, to make it right. Concealment only leads to bigger problems.

I can deal with just about any problem, but when someone outright lies to me, that’s hard to stomach. Trust is broke. Your children need to know that. And you need to be quick to deal with deception from your children. Quick and natural consequences are the key. Why? We want them to be truthful, even if it means they may suffer a consequence. 

So, how do you handle this yourself? Are you tempted to cover up your bad behaviors? Do you make excuses for your failures? Be upfront. Be honest. Take responsibility. Little ones are watching and listening. Let your good deeds be quite evident. Don’t be the one trying to conceal your wrong deeds.

O Lord, help me to be open and honest at all times. I represent You and want to draw all to you. Help me confess my wrongdoings and accept whatever consequence may come.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Gossip, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Trust

ACCUSED

1 TIMOTHY 5:19

Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.” 

We have probably all been accused of something we haven’t done. It’s not a fun thing to go through. You know you didn’t do it. You are positive they are wrong. But the longer the accusations go on, the less sure you are about your own innocence. Constant accusations can bring you down. That’s exactly what Satan wants. That’s exactly what Satan does.

It’s interesting that the Greek word here for “accusation” is also used in John 18:29 where Pilate asks the Jewish leaders what accusation they are bringing against Jesus. Even He was falsely accused. But unlike us, Jesus WAS completely innocent. He was sinless, yet He was accused. Living righteously does not protect you from being accused. 

APPLICATION

Probably one the best things you can teach your child is to be confident in who they are. Teach them to be forthright about their actions, to not hide their behaviors. That way if they are ever accused of something they haven’t done, they will be confident in themselves. They need to know, though, that following Jesus may just bring false accusations.

The world doesn’t like us shining the light of the Lord on their activities. When we stand for truth and God’s Word, the world will do all it can to shut us down. They will lie and make up things about us to try to shame us. Teach your kids now to stand up for the Lord, no matter what. Teach them to trust Him to defend and protect them against the enemy.

Are you trusting the Lord in your battles? Maybe you don’t have any battles because you have compromised your principles to fit in at work or community. If that is the case, repent. Stand up! Make your love for Christ known. Then you will know true freedom.

Father, I praise You for allowing me to suffer false accusations. I know the world cannot bring me down. They do not have the power to unseat You on the throne of my life.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Forgiveness, God's Will, Gossip, Inspirational, Lies, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT?

1 TIMOTHY 5:13

At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.” 

Women get the bad reputation of being the gossipers, but have you have been to a barber shop? We men are just as bad, if not worse. Most of that gossip starts out as, “Did you hear about…” Or if the person telling the “news” is a believer, they may say, “Oh brother, we need to pray for…” Either way, it’s gossip.

That word in the Greek is only used right here. It has the idea of a pot that has boiled over, ruining whatever was in it and the area around it. That’s exactly what our gossip does. It ruins stuff, especially the reputation of the one gossiping and the one being gossiped about.

APPLICATION

This is a simple application. If you can’t catch this truth, maybe you need to go back to kindergarten. We teach our children that it is not nice to talk about people, and then we proceed to do it right in front of them. I know I have been guilty of that. Lord, please forgive me. As I said above, as believers we always disguise it as a prayer request, but it’s still gossip.

What would you do if your little Johnny was caught gossiping and spreading stuff about you? You would probably discipline him. So, what should the Lord do to you for doing the same thing? I am not saying He will, but you have definitely grieved His heart. Not living like Jesus grieves the Father’s heart. And we should never want to do that.

Are you a gossiper? Are you a “prayer request” giver? Make sure the news you are sharing about someone is true and appropriate. It may be completely true but is it worthy of sharing. Those little, juicy tidbits are so tempting, aren’t they? Don’t do it. Ask the Lord before you “share” that information. He will let you know if it is appropriate and worthy to be shared.

O Father in heaven, forgive me for gossip. Forgive me for talking about others. Forgive me for letting my desire to look better than someone else lead me to babble and boil over.

Standard