Accountability, Bible, Cleansing, Compassion, Confession, Eternity, Forgiveness, Grace, Holy Spirit, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture

HORRIBLE SINS

HOSEA 10:9

“Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, Israel; there they stand! Will the battle against the sons of injustice not overtake them in Gibeah?”

I have had too many people tell me they were too wicked or bad for God to forgive. They have claimed their atrocities were so bad that even the blood of Jesus wasn’t enough to wash them away. These individuals were convinced they would spend eternity in hell and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Today’s verse refers to a horrible sin committed by the men of Gibeah (Benjamites) that brought the entire nation of Israel against them (Read Judges 19-20). The entire tribe was wiped out except for six hundred, which God saved as a remnant of the tribe. I believe it’s a picture of God’s mercy, even in the face of seemingly unforgiveable sins.

APPLICATION

I won’t ask you what sins you have committed. That’s between you and God. Aren’t you glad? None of us want our sins plastered on a billboard for all to see, do we? You may be one of those who can’t believe God could forgive you. You may even be a Christian, but you still can’t forgive yourself. You must let it go. God has.

There’s only one sin that is unforgiveable. That’s the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This sin will take you to a spot where you no longer feel the drawing of the Spirit. You no longer feel any conviction for your sins. But as long as you feel the Spirit nudging you toward repentance, you can rest assured you have hope.

I know I am saved and sealed. I believe Jesus’ blood rescued me. All my past, present and future sins are forgiven. To say God can’t save me is to say God has limited powers. We know that’s not true. His power to save reaches beyond what we can ask or think. I am so glad because my flesh is wicked beyond description and is only redeemed through His grace. How about you?

What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Gifts, Giving, Grace, Love, Mentoring, Mercy, Parenting, Peace, Scripture

A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS GIFT

2 JOHN 3

“Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

Don’t you love getting exactly what you wanted for Christmas? I  can remember going through the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog when I was little and circling all the things I wanted for Christmas. Of course, I didn’t get all those things, but my parents always managed to get me at least one of those things on my list. I can still remember some of those toys. Where they are now, no one knows. Lol

It just seems fitting that on this day, Christmas Eve, as we prepare for Christmas that we land on this verse in 2 John. I mean what else could you hope for? Grace, mercy and peace are given to us from the Father and the Son. And they give it in truth and love. I can just see the package all wrapped with their names on it as the senders. Merry Christmas from God.

APPLICATION

How long is your child’s Christmas list? Some kid’s list seems to be a mile long. Others ask for just one thing. You may be able to get them everything they want, or you may struggle to by just one. Don’t let the present buying get you down or break you. Remember that Christmas is not about buying stuff and giving presents. Your kids need to understand that.

What would happen if you told your children all they were getting for Christmas is grace, mercy and peace? I bet they would be confused and probably throw a fit. Am I right? But if their sole focus is on getting presents, you need to refocus them on what really matters. There is nothing more precious than those three gifts.

Would you be happy with those gifts from the Father and Son? Well, their yours. You just have to claim them. Those three things will give you all you need to walk with Christ in victory. In every situation you face you can apply those three things. Is that true for other gifts you might receive? Hardly. Enjoy your gifts.

Father, I am so thankful for the grace, mercy and peace You have given me. The only gift I can give You is my life. It’s Yours.

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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, 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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Repentance, Scripture, Sin

GROW IN GRACE

2 PETER 3:18

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Don’t you just love that phrase – “grow in the grace”? In the Greek text, the definite article isn’t there. Therefore, it could read “grow in grace.” But what does that really mean? I thought only God extended grace. How can we GROW in it?

The Helps Ministries definition of this word is “(“to grow”) is key to authentic discipleship. Indeed, the Lord requires non-stopprogress (development) in the life of faith.” That’s pretty good. As we experience God’s grace over and over, we grow in it. We recognize it. We seek it. We do not sin to get it, but we get it when we sin.

APPLICATION

How can we teach this principle to our kids? By extending them grace. I don’t mean to be easy on them. I mean when you can do it, show them grace. Maybe your child has unintentionally done something that is wrong. It was not their motive to disobey. Those are the times it is easy to extend grace.

But what do you do when they have knowingly sinned against God? Well, what does God do once they have repented? He extends grace. We should do the same. That may be hard sometimes. We want to remember those events and remind them of their failure over and over again. We justify that by saying we want to keep them from doing it again. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t do that?

The next time you bow your head and ask for forgiveness for something, remember the grace that is being extended to you. It’s not because of anything you deserve. Jesus died for you to have that grace. It is because of His shed blood that you can even go to the Father with the boldness to ask for forgiveness. Praise God.

I am thankful, Father, for grace. Help me grow in grace so I can show it to others.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Grace, Knowledge, Parenting, Peace

MULTIPLICATION

2 PETER 1:2

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;” 

I will never forget Mrs. McCracken. She was my fourth grade homeroom teacher and also my math teacher. That was the year we had to learn our multiplication tables. Remember those? We had to recite them correctly or stay inside during recess and work on them. I still remember those multiplication tables, so I guess it worked.

But we don’t get to know God by quoting multiplication tables, do we? I love the Greek word for “knowledge” here. It is epignosis. The second half of that word, gnosis, means knowledge, but the epi on the front intensifies it. It has the idea of contact knowledge or first-hand knowledge. That’s how grace and peace is multiplied – by getting to know God first-hand.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how they get to know somebody. They may say by talking to them on the phone. Wrong! They may say by facetiming. Wrong again. We get to know someone by spending time with them face to face. Not on some screen.

They need to know that they get to know God by spending time with Him. By reading His Word and spending time in prayer they get to know the God of the universe. By setting aside time each day to be alone with Him, the grace and peace multiplies. They get the answers to life’s questions. They learn to grow as a believer. But they have to get first-hand knowledge.

How is your time with Him? Do you need more grace and peace in your life? Then there is only one way to get it. You need to know Him more fully. Spend time. Spend some energy getting to know Him. Trust Him to pour Himself into you as you open up more and more to Him.

Lord, I want to know You more. I need more grace and peace and am relying on You to multiply it in my life.

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STAND FIRM

1 PETER 5:12

“Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”

Paul is closing this letter and gives some final kudos to Silvanus, believed to be the one who penned this for Peter. Can you imagine listening to Peter and being his scribe? I am sure Silvanus had no idea the words he was writing, inspired by the Holy Spirit through Peter, would one day be canonized as part of the Holy Scriptures.

But the point Peter makes in this verse is in the last part. He tells us to “stand firm in it.” In what? The true grace of God. The word means to be placed or set. It implies to stand so as to not be moved. Peter is telling us to hold these truths about God’s grace forever. Don’t be swayed. Don’t be led astray.

APPLICATION

Did you ever play “King of the Mountain” when you were growing up? It’s a fun, rough and tumble game. You have to find a hill and gather some friends who are willing to play. One person starts out on top of the hill and the rest of the players try to push him/her off.

Our children need to be reminded that there are people who are going to try to “push them off” the hill of truth. Some will come at them face to face, but others will come at them from behind or out of their peripheral view. They will be sneaky and forceful. However, nothing can move them from God’s truth, if they will stay firmly rooted. That is only done by daily commitment to His Word and following God’s Will for their life.

Are you standing firm today? Can you be moved? I pray you are relying on the truths of God’s grace to guide you and hold you steady. There are way too many distractions out there today to lure us away from following the Lord. Stand firm!

I will stand firm for Jesus. I will trust Your truths, Lord. Hold me fast.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith, Forgiveness, Freedom, Grace, Inspirational, Life, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Rescue, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture

NOT BEING

1 PETER 2:24

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

There is an interesting word in this verse. The phrase “we might die” is the Greek word apoginomai. It literally can be translated “from being.” Ginomai means to become, to begin.

This word apoginomai is only used right here in this verse. So, what is Peter trying to tell us about sin?

Christ’s death on the cross and the stripes and wounds He bore rescued us from the penalty of sin. We don’t have to be sinful anymore. We have been moved away from death and into life. We are to live righteously because of His sacrifice on the cross. Hallelujah!

APPLICATION

Children can come up with all sort of excuses for doing wrong. It’s their sibling’s fault. They just couldn’t help themselves. They didn’t know that was wrong. And the truth is, before Christ comes into their life, they don’t know any better. They are sinful creatures.

But if your children have accepted Christ as their Savior, there is no excuse for sin. We must point them towards living righteously. Read them this verse. Show them what Christ has done for us. He bore our sins. He took our punishment upon Himself. Ask your children if anyone has ever taken their punishment for them. Ask them how that would make them feel.

Do you realize, I mean really realize, what Christ has done for you? He has freed you to live righteously. The pain and suffering of sin has been paid for. You are debt free. How would you live if you were debt free financially? You are debt free spiritually, not because of anything you have done, but because of what Christ has done for you. Live like it today.

I am free to live righteously today. I praise You, Lord, for paying the price for my freedom. I will live today to honor You.

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GRACE IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 2:20

“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.”

No one wants to suffer, right? Who wants to suffer at any time for anything? Peter’s words here, though, should encourage us. Why? Because of one little word toward the end of the verse – “favor.”

Now, that word is a precious word. Do you know what the Greek word is there? It’s charis. This is also translated “grace” throughout the New Testament. So, what Peter is saying is God extends grace to you when you suffer for doing right. God sees what is going on, and He remembers you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He is watching and observing.

APPLICATION

Teaching this life principle to children is difficult. It’s hard on the parents, as well. No one wants to see their children suffer. So, when they do the right thing and suffer for it, we want to defend them. We want to retaliate against those who have harmed our little ones.

But our children must learn this principle too. Facing ridicule from friends for taking a stand for Christ could happen. Being passed over for a part in that play because of their Christian testimony could happen. But God’s grace is sufficient for them. He will see them through those difficult times. He will show them favor.

Have you suffered unjustly? What did you do? I hope you didn’t seek revenge. God allows things to happen in our life for a reason. Perhaps He allowed that unjust suffering so He could extend grace to you. As I said earlier, He is not caught off guard at your suffering. He is very aware. Trust Him to bring you through it.

Father, I don’t want to suffer. Who does? But I will trust You in the midst of it. I will wait on Your grace and favor.

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DO YOU LOVE ME?

JOHN 21:15-17

“15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ 16 He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ 17 He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’”

Do you get the feeling from this passage that Jesus is trying to get a point across to Peter? Most scholars agree that is was no coincidence that Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times just days earlier. I believe these three questions were on purpose.

But what you can’t see from the English is that Jesus uses a different word for love in the first two questions than Peter. He uses the Greek word agapao which is God’s kind of love. Peter replies with phileo which is a friendship kind of love. It was as if Jesus was asking him how deep was his love for Him – love like God loves or just as a friend.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how much they love you. They may stretch out their little arms and say This much! Don’t you just love that? My daughter, Casey, and I have this little thing we do when she tells me she loves me. I always reply I love you more. In fact, she gave me a key chain that says that on it. She knows I love her.

The question for us to really ask our kids is if they love Jesus. And I don’t mean just as a friend. Have they accepted Him as Lord and Savior and do they love Him with that agape love, a love that can only come from God? You see, His love accepts us just as we are and is totally unconditional. That’s real love!

How about you? How do you love Jesus? He has to be more than a friend. Friends come and go. Jesus is eternal. He deserves a deeper, richer love. If Jesus appeared to you today, as He did to Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and asked you Do you love Me, what would you say? I pray you would say I agapao You. Love Him today.

Father, I do love You. You have done so much for me for which I could never repay You. You are worthy of all praise, glory and love.

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