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, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture

WHERE ARE YOU LIVING?

2 PETER 3:13

“But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would live in Kenya. I have been there several times and feel at home there. I love the people, the country and the opportunities to train Pastors how to study the Word. Sure, Kenya has its problems. What country doesn’t? But that is where I would live.

The Greek word for “dwells” means to feel at home. Look what Peter says in this verse. Righteousness dwells in the new heavens and the new earth. Notice he says “dwells.” Can I get technical for a second? That verb is Present Indicative Active. Do you know what that means? It means righteousness is already dwelling and has been dwelling and will continue to dwell in the new heavens and the new earth. Now that’s a place I want to live.

APPLICATION

Ask your children where they want to live. Tell them they can choose anywhere. I bet they may say Disney World or some other theme park. What child wouldn’t want that? But then ask them why. Well, Dad, it’s a cool place! Well, of course, it is. But ask them for a real reason. Ask them if they think they could live there forever.

Children don’t quite get it, do they? But then again, neither do we. Nowhere here on earth is perfect. Any place we choose to live is going to have its problem. Your children need to understand that. BUT…the new heavens and new earth will be perfect. Why? Because that’s where righteousness dwells. Whose righteousness? God’s righteousness!

So, why are you so worried about your current living situation? Why do we work so hard to perfect our physical living environment? I know we want to be comfortable, but is that the issue that really matters? No! We need to live more righteously so we will feel more at home when the new heavens and new earth arrive. Amen?

Father, prepare my heart to live righteously each and every day. I am looking for that new heaven and earth where You dwell.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Heaven, Hope, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Rapture, Scripture, Witnessing

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

2 PETER 3:12

“looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” 

The world will never understand believers’ anticipation of the return of Christ. In fact, many scoff at us. They think our faith in His return is shallow-minded. To them, His return is a fable told for centuries.

But we know better, don’t we? Peter says we are to be “looking for and hastening” His return. The Greek word for “looking” is a bit more than just scanning the horizon. It is an eager anticipation, almost a giddy yearning. “Hastening” means to speed it on. How can we speed it on? By sharing the good news with everyone we meet.

APPLICATION

Don’t be afraid to talk about Jesus’ return with your kids. Some parents don’t want to “scare” their children with this news. But this is great news. For believers, it won’t be a scary event. We will be transformed so quickly and ushered into heaven, we won’t know what hit us. It will be pure joy.

I hear many young believers say they want to do such and such before He returns. They want to get married first. They want to have a baby first. They want to…. Listen, make sure your kids know that nothing compares to seeing Jesus. There is no earthly joy that compares.

Are you giddy for His return? Does the thought He could come any day get you excited? It should. As a believer, we should be looking and hastening that day. We should be actively preparing and seeking. We should be telling others about Him whenever we get the chance. Soon and very soon.

You promised You would return, Lord. We are eagerly waiting. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Destruction, Fire, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Punishment, Rescue, Scripture

FIRE ALARM

2 PETER 3:7

“But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

What do you do when you hear a fire alarm? You look for the nearest exit and get out quick. We conduct fire drills all the time in our schools to keep our children safe. Businesses conduct fire drills to keep employees safe. Hmmm! Why is that so important?

I ask that question because I want you to think about this verse. Fire is coming. We are told that in Scripture. The “present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire.” God will destroy the world with fire one day. So, why aren’t we having fire drills for that? Why aren’t we screaming, “Fire, it’s coming!”?

APPLICATION

Do you have fire drills in your home? You should. You and your family should have a plan in case of a fire. You should all know what door to take. You should have a second story escape plan. Why don’t you practice that with your family tonight?

When you come back in from that, talk about the real fire drill. Does all your family know Christ? What a great time to talk about the certain escape plan. Jesus offers us security and safety in His heavenly home. All we have to do is accept the plan God laid out at the foundation of the world.

If you have that plan nailed down, why not share it with someone else? Why not spread the good news? So many around us are going to burn eternally unless we can usher them into God’s plan. Take a moment and think of someone you can share with today. You will be so glad you did.

I hate the thought of anyone being caught in that fire, Lord. Help me spread the good news to all I meet.

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Demons, Devil, Evil, Following, Heaven, Hell, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

FALLEN ANGELS

2 PETER 2:4

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;”

Did you ever wonder where demons come from? Well, here you have it. When Satan rebelled in heaven, he was cast out along with the angels he had convinced to follow him. Their punishment was swift and just. God could not and would not tolerate sin.

Why do you think the devil and his demons hate us? Because they know what they have lost. They know they are doomed forever to those pits of darkness. They know once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are destined for the place they were cast from. So, their intent is to keep as many as possible from making that choice.

APPLICATION

Pretty heavy subject for the kiddos, right? But we shouldn’t shy away from the subject of hell around our kids. We don’t hesitate to talk about heaven, do we? Of course not. Hell is just as real, so they need to know about those who dwell there. Demons are real and are still being used in the spiritual realm in which we live.

The last thing you want, however, is for your children to be looking for a demon around every corner. We have to teach them to live for Jesus and trust Him to fight for them in these battles. They are no match for Jesus. He will defend His children. Evil exists in this world. Make sure your children know no matter how dark the evil, Christ’s light shines brighter.

Are you a demon watcher or a Jesus watcher? The devil wants your attention on the demons. By doing that your eyes are off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus and demons are of no concern to you. When you are walking in the light, the demons are exposed. They can’t stand that. Stay in the light.

I choose to walk in the light, Lord. May Your beams of light drive any evil away from me. Help me walk securely holding Your hand.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Encouragement, Eternity, Fear, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

GOING HOME

2 PETER 1:14

“knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.” 

The Lord speaks to my wife from time to time very clearly and tells her things that are going to come to pass. I’ve often joked that if my wife tells me I am going to die, I am going to go ahead and crawl in the grave. LOL. That’s not being morbid. I just know she hears from the Lord. Peter had heard from the Lord that his days were short on this earth. He was at peace with this.

We know that Peter was crucified upside down. He requested that because he felt he didn’t deserve to die in the same manner as His Lord. But he was ready to go. He knew where he was going. He had given his life to Christ and had spent the remainder of his life serving the Lord.

APPLICATION

Death is not something we discuss with our children very often. That usually doesn’t happen unless a friend or family member passes away. But death shouldn’t be a taboo topic in our households. For believers, death is just a portal to glory. We may not like the idea of dying, but death is not to be feared.

I truly believe the more we talk about death with our children when the proper times arise, the better it is for them. Death, for believers, is not final. It’s actually a beginning. They need to know that. Death brings us face to face with the One whom we love – Jesus. Why should that be scary? It’s not.

Do you fear death? Don’t! Rest in the knowledge that Christ has you securely in His arms. He paid the ultimate price for us on the cross so that death would not have a grip on us. We pass from this life to the next with expectancy. When we close our eyes in death, the next face we see will be Jesus. Hallelujah!

Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory? Thank You, Lord, for removing the threat of death from me when I gave my life to You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Exhortation, Following, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting

A BUG IN YOUR EAR

2 PETER 1:12

“Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 

Have you ever heard the expression “Let me put a bug in your ear”? Usually that means “I’ve got something to tell you” or “You really need to hear this.” It doesn’t mean I’ve got an ear wiggler, and I am about to put it in your ear. Lol

Peter is telling the readers that he stood ready to “put a bug in their ear” or remind them of the things he has just told them about. We need people in our lives to hold us accountable. We need people to call us out when we aren’t living right. We don’t like it, and we just might get mad. But we still need it.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they like be reminded to do their chores. I can bet you I know what they will say. No way! If you are brave, try this experiment. Tell your children that for the next week you are not going to mention their chores once. I bet they will sing hallelujah. But let them know you will still be watching to see if they get their chores done.

At the end of the week reward them based on the completion of their chores. They won’t know what this reward is and will be surprised when you bring it up. They may even get mad that you didn’t mention the reward. God is watching how closely we follow His instructions. We are still in the family, but we may not receive all the rewards we could have received if we had lived according to His Word. We’ve missed out.

We don’t do things to get things from God. That’s not what I am saying. Any rewards we receive are laid at the feet of Jesus anyway, right? The very act of living righteously and following Him is a blessing. Heaven is a bonus. Experiencing the joy of Jesus here is worth it all. At least, that’s how I feel. I am glad I am going to heaven, but there is so much joy here also.

I can’t wait to lay all my rewards at Your feet, Lord. I deserve nothing. But I am thankful I can experience Your joy while I am here in this world.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture

COME ON IN

2 PETER 1:11

“for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”

This verse is tied to the previous verse. Without reading it, you are left wondering what “this way” is. Look back at verse 10. “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;”

“This way” is living the life outlined in verse 10. You have to practice (live) according to God’s principles. That, of course, begins by accepting Christ as your Savior and is continued by surrendering to His Will daily. When Peter says it “will be abundantly supplied to you,” he means you will be lavishly supplied to achieve a grand objective. Living for Jesus here makes our entrance into heaven even more elaborate.

APPLICATION

Let me give you an example. Use this with your family. The next time you plan a family trip I want you to have a family meeting. I want you decide on one of two options for packing. One – everyone goes to their room and haphazardly grabs anything they want and throws it into a suitcase without any consideration of your destination. Two – you make a list of the things you are going to need where you are going and then help each person pack accordingly.

Which of those two scenarios is going to turn out for the best? Of course, number two is. Why? You followed the instructions based on the information about where you are going. Hmmm. Does that fit with today’s verse? We have been given the instructions in His Word. This all prepares us for heaven. Why wouldn’t we follow it closely?

How are you packing for the trip? Are you packing your moral excellence and self-control? How about your brotherly kindness and perseverance? These are all necessary to prepare us for the journey. Now, here me carefully. Once you ask Christ to come into your life and you have accepted Him as your Savior, your ticket is punched. You are going to heaven. But living according to His principles makes the journey to heaven so much more enjoyable.

I am so thankful I have Your Word to guide my every step. I know, Lord, that You are there to make sure I follow Your principles for a full and glorious life here and one beyond.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Eternity, Faithfulness, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Rejoicing, Suffering, Teaching, Witnessing

CROWNED

I PETER 5:4

“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

Did you know the Bible mentions five crowns believers may receive from the Lord? Here is a link that shows all five.

https://images.app.goo.gl/uHNGkAp8QQz2j6Ny5. They are the crown of life (Revelation 2:20), the crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19), the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25) and the crown of glory (here in 1 Peter 5:4).

This last one, which we see in today’s verse, is given to those who feed the flock. Peter is writing to the elders, encouraging them feed the flock. This is a special task recognized by the Lord and deserving of a special crown. Not everyone who goes to heaven will receive that crown, and that’s okay because we will all lay any crowns we receive at His feet anyway. Right?

APPLICATION

Now you may wonder how in the world this verse applies to our kids. We should teach our children about these five crowns. Who knows, perhaps your child will be one who feeds the flock. Your child may be used by God to teach the Word to others. Your child may be a soul winner, thus earning the crown of rejoicing.

The point is this – God sees what we are doing down here. We aren’t overlooked. He knows exactly what we are doing and why. He is so pleased when we are obedient out of love for Him. He wants to bless us and reward us. That’s the message to our kids. Please the Lord.

Perhaps the Lord has chosen you to receive the crown of life for suffering for His sake. What an honor. Not everyone is chosen for that. Are you concerned with pleasing Him? I sure hope so. I pray your motivation isn’t just to receive something from Him. Our motivation, your motivation should always be out of love for what He has done for you.

Father, I am grateful for my salvation. I know one day I will receive crowns, but they all belong to You. You alone are deserving of praise.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Glory, Heaven, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Rejoicing, Scripture

REJOICE IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 4:13

“but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”

What a happy verse! You are probably saying Carl, are you crazy? Let me explain. You have to understand the words used in this verse. For instance, the Greek word for “share” is koinóneó. It’s the word we associate with fellowshipping. That’s usually a happy time.

And the Greek for “rejoicing” comes for the same root word for joy and grace. How happy is that? Finally, the Greek word for “exultation” has the idea of leaping for joy. Now, you can’t tell me that’s not happy. You see, the word that throws us in this verse is “sufferings.” You don’t see that as happy. But Peter is telling us here that we should rejoice in those times.

APPLICATION

The next time your children get overjoyed about something, read them this verse. Ask them if they have ever been happy about suffering. I bet they say no. Ask them if they think it is even possible to be happy (to rejoice) in suffering. This is a really hard concept to understand, especially for children.

Explain to them the key part of this verse is “at the revelation of His glory.” When Christ is fully revealed in all His glory, whether that be while we are still alive or after we have long been in heaven, we will rejoice. Get your kids to act out that word exultation (leaping for joy).  Measure how high they can jump for joy. Make it a game. Then make sure they know that jumping off the ground doesn’t really measure their joy. That’s a heart thing that only God can measure.

Are you jumping for joy? Do you rejoice in your times of suffering? I don’t mean your self-induced sufferings. I mean those sufferings on behalf of Christ. When we suffer for Christ, our hearts should leap for joy knowing we are being counted worthy of His sufferings. Amen?

No one likes to suffer, Lord, me included. But I will suffer for You when I am called upon to do so. I will consider it an honor to suffer in Your name.

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