Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commands, Commitment, Condemnation, Deceit, Faithfulness, God's Will, Holiness, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Reputation, Scripture, Testimony

MOVING THE LINE

HOSEA 5:10

“The leaders of Judah have become like those who displace a boundary marker; On them I will pour out My anger like water.”

There’s been a battle for a number of years over the official boundary marker on a part of the Georgia and Tennessee state lines. The battle is really about water rights to the Tennessee river. Georgia wants access to that water, mainly for their largest city, Atlanta. But the original boundary marker excludes that. They claim the line was drawn incorrectly and needs to be corrected. I doubt that boundary marker will ever be changed.

Hosea uses the idea of moving a marker to describe Judah. Anyone who would move a boundary marker without permission is dishonest. God does not tolerate that and certainly wouldn’t from Judah. Their deceit draws God’s anger. He says He will pour it out like water. Not good!

APPLICATION

Have you moved the line on someone? Have you been dishonest in your dealings with anyone? Have you been dishonest with God? God still does not tolerate that. As believers, we must be the most honest of all people. Why? Because we represent our Lord. Our dishonesty reflects on Him.

That is why God is angered over any dishonesty in our lives. Anything that brings dishonor to His name angers our holy God. His name means something. It stands for something. We have no right to associate Him with our behaviors. That’s why He tells us we are to be holy as He is holy. Again, we represent Him. Don’t forget that.

As for me, I don’t want to do anything to bring shame on myself from being deceitful or dishonest. I want my actions to reflect well on my Lord. I want Him to look at me and say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Don’t you?

I will not move the line, Lord. I want to honor You in all I do. I know my actions are a reflection of my testimony of my faith in You.

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Bible, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Fear, Following, Godliness, Holiness

TREMBLING

HOSEA 3:5

“Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.”

When I read this verse I had the image pop into my head of the cowardly lion from Wizard of Oz. Do you remember the scene when they finally get to Oz and they are approaching the Great Oz for the first time? When Oz shouts at them, the lion begins to tremble and shake. Then he takes off running and dives through a glass window to escape Oz.

Now, I don’t think that is what Hosea meant in this verse. But he did mean that Israel would be trembling before a holy God. They would be bowing before Him. They probably would not even lift their eyes to look upon Him, for fear of being struck down. They will realize they are in the presence of holiness.

APPLICATION

Sometimes I think we have relegated our God to a buddy. We don’t stand trembling in awe of Him. We don’t appreciate His holiness. In fact, we are way too comfortable. The reverence He is due has been forgotten.

How do you approach God? I am not implying that you need to be scared of Him. No! He is our friend and the lover of our soul. That it true. But we all need to recognize His divinity and holiness. We all need to see Him as the Creator of the universe and the Redeemer of our soul. His majesty is beyond description.

I come before Him each day in awe of the fact that He would even look upon me. I don’t deserve anything but hell, and He has given me His only Son to rescue me from that fiery destination. May I encourage you today to stop and reflect on His holiness? It might just amaze you.

Father God, I stand in awe. Actually, I bow in awe of You. You are holy and worthy of my praise.

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Abiding, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Following, God's Will, Holiness, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture, Sin, Testimony

BORN OF GOD (TIMES 2)

1 JOHN 3:9

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

They say the key to getting someone to remember something is repetition. I will never forget Mrs. McCracken. She was my teacher who taught me the multiplication tables. Now back in those days you had to know them. We didn’t have many alternatives to learn them. You had to repeat them and repeat them. We had drills in class and competed against each other. It was hard, but I learned them. I can still recite most of them all these years later.

John repeats the phrase “born of God” twice in this short verse. He wants to make sure we understand what he is saying here. If we are born of God, if we have asked Jesus to come into our life through the power of the Holy Spirit, then we don’t practice sin. John is NOT saying we won’t ever sin. Accidents happen. But our birth into His family gives us a whole new spiritual DNA which draws us to Him.

APPLICATION

Ask your kids how long they think they can go without sinning. Remind them that sin is not just something we do. It can be something we say or even think. Jesus told us that. The only way some kids could go a day without sinning would be to lock them in their rooms, lol. Most adults are the same way.

John wants us to value our birth. Why else would he say “born of God” twice in such a short verse. It was obviously on his mind. John had experienced the joy of that new birth and wanted all those around him to know it too. God does the birthing, not us. And if God did it, we sure can’t undo it. We are secure in His family.

Are you thankful for your new life in Christ? Have you thanked Him today? Take a minute right now and tell Him. You are born of God, not of man, not of church, not of religion. You are forever a part of His family. Doesn’t that just blow your mind? It should. It does mine every time I think about it.

I am a child of the King, born into His kingdom through His glorious Son. Thank You, Lord.

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Godliness, Holiness, Mentoring, Parenting, Purity, Repentance, Sanctification, Scripture

WHAT HOPE?

1 JOHN 3:3

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Well, last night I went to bed with my team, the Atlanta Braves, leading in the fifth inning in game seven of the National League Championship. I tried to stay up but was just too tired. I went to bed with a hope they would hold on to win and go to the World Series. Guess what? That didn’t happen. The Dodgers came back to win, sending Atlanta home.

If you read this verse by itself, you have to ask yourself, “What hope?” That hope is not my hope in the Braves (thank goodness). You need to go back and read verses 1 and 2 of chapter 3. That hope is solely in Christ. John tells us if our hope is in Him then we should live in such a way to honor Him. We should purify ourselves by putting anything out of lives that dishonors Him.

APPLICATION

Don’t you just love bath time with the kids? Really? You don’t? It can be a challenge, especially when they get a little older. Little boys love to play outside and do not necessarily like to wash that outside off once they come in. The smells of where they have been and what they have been doing are all over them.

The next time you are discussing bath time with the kiddos, read them this verse. I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. Explain to them that just as the physical world can affect how we smell, the spiritual world can affect how we live. We have to keep ourselves cleaned up spiritually through confession and righteous living to remove the stench of sin. You may not can smell that sin, but you can sure see the results of it in your life.

How pure are you today? Jesus wants you to walk before Him purified and reflecting Him. He is not honored by our wallowing in sin and professing to be a believer. He, in fact, demands pure living. Will you confess whatever it is you need to confess today? Let Him cleanse you and help you walk in purity.

Thank You for Your cleansing power in my life. Thank You for convicting me of the impurities I carry along with me. I want to walk representing You.

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Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Foundation, Holiness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Submission, Surrender

NOTHING NEW

1 JOHN 2:7

“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”

One thing I hate is when someone changes the rules in the middle of the game. Don’t you? I mean, if you have rules, just stick with them. It’s really not fair to make adjustments based on someone’s lack of following the rules. Nor is it okay to lower the standard just because someone has trouble measuring up.

John is telling us that is exactly what God is NOT doing. These words John is writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, agree with everything else God has written. He isn’t changing the rules. He still demands holiness. He still requires obedience. He still expects us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Nothing has changed.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get out their favorite card or board game and start playing. Every few minutes change a rule. Make up new ones. Talk about confusing! It won’t take long for your children to get very frustrated and stop playing. Why? Because they knew the old rules. They knew what to expect.

Read them today’s verse. Talk about how God does the same for us. He hasn’t changed. He is consistent with His expectations of us. The big difference is Jesus. Now, under grace, He paid the penalty for our transgressions. We are free. That is one change for which we should all be grateful.

The key question, though, is this. Do you know what God requires of you? Do you know how to please Him? It is so simple – total surrender. Yep, it’s that easy. You may say Carl, that’s not so easy. Sure, it is. You just have to die to your own selfish desires and follow Him. Can you do that? You can through Him.

Lord, thank You for not trying to confuse me with new rules for living. I know what You expect. Help me live it daily.

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Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holiness, Love, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Perfection, Promises, Scripture

ARE YOU PERFECT?

1 JOHN 2:5

“but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:”

Contrary to popular opinion, I have never been accused of being perfect. I didn’t have perfect attendance in school (never really wanted to, lol). I didn’t make a perfect score on the SAT (not even close). And I don’t have perfect pitch. So, you can see, I am far from perfect. Please, no comments from the peanut gallery.

But I am perfect in God’s eyes. Now, I don’t mean I am sinless. I mean I am perfectly forgiven. I am perfectly covered by the blood of Christ. I am perfect and complete because of Him. I strive to keep His word. John says if I do that the love of God has been perfected in me. Wow!

APPLICATION

Do you have a perfect child? If you are one of those helicopter parents (you know the type that hovers over their kids), you may think so. I hate to bust your bubble, but there is no such thing as a perfect child. Don’t believe me? Let’s put it to a test.

Challenge your child this week to be perfect. They can make no mistakes on any tests in schools. They can’t forget to do any of their chores (without reminders). They can’t say one wrong thing to you or their siblings. How long do you think they will last? One day? Two? Three? My guess is one day. It’s just not possible.

But oh, don’t leave it there. Show them this verse. There is only one way to perfection – through God’s love. Our children who strive for perfection need to know that. Our children who could care less about perfection need to know that. You need to know that. He perfects. Only He perfects you.

Perfect One, perfect me today. Pour out Your amazing love on me. Help me keep Your Word close.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Following, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Scripture, Surrender

HOW WILL HE FIND YOU?

2 PETER 3:14

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,” 

Have you ever been caught off guard by someone or something? Boy, I have. It can be embarrassing or even dangerous. It’s always best to be prepared. When I’m hunting, I try to be prepared for any situation, but I can still be caught sometimes not looking in the right direction or moving when I shouldn’t.

Peter is telling us in this verse to be found by Jesus in peace, spotless and blameless. Well, good luck with that, lol. Listen, you can’t be found “in” peace until you are “at” peace. That only comes through Him. And you will never be found spotless and blameless unless you are covered in His blood through your salvation. You see, it is really all about Him.

APPLICATION

Have you ever found your child’s room to be spotless? I doubt it, unless you have a remarkable child who just loves cleaning. Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you surprise your child and clean their room and make it spotless? When they see it, you can explain that you wanted to bless them by doing this.

Then read them this verse and explain how Jesus makes us spotless when we come to Him. Explain that unlike their room which will get dirty again, we are made spotless in His sight for eternity. Sure, we may sin again and need to confess that, but He sees us in our glorified state already. Isn’t that cool?

Are you at peace with God? Are you spotless and blameless? That’s how He wants to find you when He returns. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to strive for it. He says so in His word. Our God demands holiness, and He gives us the ability to be holy as we surrender daily to His Spirit. Now, go “scrub” yourself.

Thank You, Lord, that my holiness does to rely on me. You produce holiness in me through Your Holy Spirit. I want to be found worthy of You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Exhortation, Godliness, Holiness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

HOLY LIVING

2 PETER 3:11

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,” 

Forget about the end of the world. That’s what Peter is saying in the first part of this verse. He had just been writing about the destruction of the heavens and the earth with intense heat and fire. Then he says, “Since…” We know this is going to happen. What do we do?  Well, he goes on to tell us.

He actually asks us a question. “What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” What does that mean? How can we live in holy conduct and godliness? Both of these deal with our outward behavior based on our inner beliefs. Living what you believe. Putting feet to your faith. Letting your actions speak louder than your words. You get the picture?

APPLICATION

Children usually learn best by participating in their learning. Heck, most people do. But children need some “hands on” learning for it to sink in. When we read them a verse like this one, we need to help them experience what it means to live in holy conduct and godliness. How can you help them put their faith into practice?

How about taking your kids down to the local soup kitchen to serve meals to the homeless? That’s quite an eye opener for a lot of kids. Getting them involved helping a senior adult around the house doing some basic household chores. That teaches them. And, of course, spending time studying the Word and praying for the lost. All of these are part of that.

How are you living? Are you a Christian in name only? Maybe you are saved and are excited about Christ’s return. That’s great. But how are you living in the meantime? We all can improve in our holy conduct and godliness. Will you join me?

Father, I have so far to go. I feel I don’t measure up most days to Your standards. Thank You, Lord, for leading me along the path of holy living.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holiness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Rapture, Salvation, Scripture

THIEVES

2 PETER 3:10

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

Okay, you need to understand something. Peter is not calling the Lord a thief. But I guess you knew that, right. Peter is just using a thief as an example. If you knew a thief was going to rob your house, what would you do? You would get ready for him.  You would make sure all the doors and windows were locked and secured. You would make sure all your valuables were hidden away. But the problem is, thieves don’t give prior notice. They catch you just as you are.

So, the Lord Jesus isn’t going to announce that He is coming a certain day. We know, through Scripture, that He is coming. That means we have to be ready. How do you get ready? By staying in His Word and doing all we can to lead others to Him. We should have our spiritual doors open all the time waiting for Him. We should have nothing in our lives for which we are ashamed. He’s on His way.

APPLICATION

Ask your kids what they would do if they knew their favorite aunt or uncle was coming for a visit. Would they leave their room a mess? Would they put off taking a bath until after their visit. Now, some kids would love that, lol. But seriously, what would they do to prepare for them?

Explain why it is so important to prepare for the Lord’s return. The first thing, of course, is make sure their heart is right. Have they surrendered their life to Him? If that’s been done, let them know He wants them to live each day as if He’s coming back that day. We want to please Him in all we do every day.

Are you living today as if He is coming back soon? Let me encourage you to surrender fully to Him today. Let Him have full control over your life. Allow Him to use you to lead others to Him. And most of all, keep looking for Him. Know His return is close.

O God, I know many people who need You. Help me lead them to You before it is too late. I want them to know You.

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Accountability, Advice, Battles, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Enemies, Evangelism, Following, Friends, Holiness, Inspirational, Judgment, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Punishment, Reputation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

BAD COMPANY

2 PETER 2:13

“suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you,”

Some people are just not good to be around. Their intentions are wrong, and they seek to bring you down with them. Peter is warning us today about these people. They are going to suffer wrong. What does that mean? It means they are going to be given the same kind of justice they have given others. They will receive their judgment. They seek only their own pleasure. No one else matters.

Peter even calls them stains and blemishes. Not a very good reputation, huh? They love to deceive others even while they are pretending to fellowship with you. It is interesting that the word “carouse” is only used twice in the New Testament (here and Jude 12) and both times in a negative way.

APPLICATION

I believe Peter is telling us to not fellowship with these types of people. We still have the obligation to witness to them and love them in Jesus’ name. But that does not mean we are to be best buds with them. The old saying goes, “If you lie with dogs, you’re going to get fleas.” That’s true. If you hang out with these types of people they are going to influence you.

That’s why we guard our children from ungodly influences. We don’t let them spend the night with other boys and girls who parents live ungodly lives. That’s why we teach our children to only date fellow believers who share the same world view. That’s why we want to know who our children are hanging out with at school or on weekends. We want, to the best of our ability, to keep them from being “stained” or “blemished.”

Are you keeping yourself from being “stained” or “blemished”? It’s really not that hard, if you are following Jesus. Jesus just may send you to these types of people to share the Gospel. But He does not want you sharing their lifestyle. If you look no different than them, why would they want to hear anything about Jesus. Be different. Live holy.

Lord, protect me from the stains and blemishes of this world. Help me reach those who think and act like this, without putting myself at risk of evil influences.

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