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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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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Grace, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting

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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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Grace, Inspirational, Love, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Repentance

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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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture

DON’T STUMP YOUR TOE

1 PETER 2:8

“and, ‘A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.”

Have you ever been walking in the woods on a trail and stumble over a rock you didn’t see? Boy, I have. I have almost broken my neck over a small rock that seemed to jump up off the ground and grab my foot. Of course, that isn’t what happened.

What happened was I was distracted. I wasn’t watching where I was walking. The rock was just there. It didn’t do anything to cause me to stumble. I caused that. I was the cause of my own stumbling. That’s Peter’s point here. We stumble over the “Rock” because we aren’t looking to Him.

APPLICATION

I bet your kids have stumbled in the yard and scraped their knees, haven’t they? If they haven’t, they will. The next time they fall, read them this verse. Explain to them that Jesus is a stumbling block to those who don’t believe. They may ask, “Why does Jesus want to make people stumble?” Good question.

Jesus doesn’t want us to stumble. He just wants our eyes on Him. He wants us to let Him direct our steps so we don’t stumble. When we keep our eyes on Him we can avoid those stumblings. It’s a lot easier to walk with our eyes on Him.

Are you stumbling or are you walking with your eyes on Jesus? Have you scraped your knees lately? Jesus can take care of that too. The “STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE” is only bad for those who don’t believe. For we who believe, He is a constant reminder of what He has done for us. Amen!

I am thankful for the reminder of Your sacrifice. May I point those I know who do not believe towards You so You can bring them to Yourself.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation

CAN’T BE BOUGHT

1 PETER 1:18

“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,”

This is plain and simple. There is not enough money (silver and gold) in the world to redeem us. There would always be another tradition or obligation laid on by men that would come up. The world does not want to let us go. Satan keeps raising the price. We will never meet his demand.

But, thanks be to God, there has been a price paid. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, so we could receive the redemption He promised us. All we have to do when Satan starts to argue is point to the cross. Redemption’s price has been paid. There is a “Paid In Full” stamp across our heart.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever wanted to buy something at the store but didn’t have enough money? Boy, that happened to me. I remember going to the Western Auto store as a little boy and seeing something I really wanted for my spider bike. I had to work and save to go back and purchase (redeem) that item for myself. I wasn’t guaranteed it would still be there when I got the money, either.

The next time your child faces this dilemma, use it as a teaching moment. Without their knowledge, if you’re able, go buy it for them. Surprise them. Then explain that there is no expectation of payback from them. You redeemed that for them fully. There is nothing they can do to redeem it. It has been paid for. Tell them in the same way (but much bigger) Jesus paid for their salvation. They can’t do a thing to get it. He paid the full price, the only acceptable price.

Now, that is a feeble attempt to explain redemption, I know. It falls way short of the deep theological meanings. But, for your child, it is understandable. You can teach them more later. They just need to know that they can’t be good enough for heaven. Heaven is simply the reward we get for yielding to Jesus and acknowledging His supreme sacrifice.

Thank You for redeeming me. Thank You for paying the ultimate price to free me.

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