Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Enemies, Humility, Mentoring, Opponents, Parenting, Relationships, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

GOT TO BE FIRST

3 JOHN 9

“I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.”

Some people just have to be first. They push to be first in line. They insist on being recognized first in meetings. They give their opinion loudly even when no one wants to hear it. Don’t those people aggravate you? Be honest. You probably try to avoid them. Am I right?

Well, it appears Diotrephes was that kind of person. He rejected John’s counsel that was sent to the church in a previous letter. Obviously, Diotrephes wanted to be in charge and discounted John’s advice. We don’t know why he did that. Perhaps he didn’t like John. Maybe he just wanted control of the church himself. Whatever the reason, John called him out (check out verse 10).

APPLICATION

While it is good for our children to be ambitious and push themselves, it is never good for them to let their ambitions run over others. I am reminded of the story Jesus told about the wedding guests. He said it was better to sit at the lower seats of the table and be asked to move up than to sit at the best seat and be asked to move down.

This is really about humility and submission. Diotrephes refused to humble himself and submit to John. John! A disciple of Jesus Himself. The disciple Jesus loved, probably more than any other disciple. That was the person Diotrephes was rejecting. Teach your children to respect those who have walked the walk. They need to show honor to such followers of Christ.

Do you find yourself pushing for recognition or are you content to serve unnoticed? The Lord will exalt the humble, but He will also humble the exalted. If we insist on “tooting our own horn,” we may find ourselves without a horn to toot. Don’t be a Diotrephes. Submit yourself to those in authority over you. Allow them to direct you. This honors our Lord, and He will honor you.

Thank You, Lord, for placing people in my life to lead me. I want to honor You by submitting to their leadership.

Standard
Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Rearing, Conceit, Following, Humility, Inspirational, Life, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

HAVE YOU GONE TOO FAR?

2 JOHN 9

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”

Some people just can’t help themselves. Well actually, they can, but they just choose not to. These people have to be out front. They have to be the ones calling the shots, even if the shots are wrong. I’ve known folks like that. It’s really hard to deal with them. Why? Because their focus is totally on themselves and not on others.

John talks about those people in verse 9 of 2 John. He even says if they go too far, they are not abiding in the teaching of Christ and they don’t have God. Now, that’s pretty harsh, isn’t it? What John doesn’t say but is implied here is there is no humility. You see, you can’t be humble and put yourself out front. And we know that humility is a characteristic Christ showed.

APPLICATION

We are always pushing our kids to excel, aren’t we? We want them to make straight A’s. We want them to be the captain of the ball team. We want… You get the picture. By doing that, we can unintentionally create a monster. We want our kids to do their best, but we don’t want them to put themselves above others in a negative way.

We have to teach our kids how to excel without getting the bighead. They need to know that any achievements they have are the result of God’s blessing in their lives. Sure, they may have worked hard for it, but God gave them the ability. With every triumph, point them back to Jesus. He is the one who gives them the strength and wisdom to achieve great things.

Have you ever gone too far? Have you put yourself over your spouse or work colleagues? If you have done that, confess that as sin and make it right with those whom you have harmed. That’s where the humility comes in. A humble leader can lead armies.

I am so thankful for the way You have gifted me, Lord. I thank You for allowing me to achieve great things for You.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Exalting, Faithfulness, Following, Humility, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Submission, Teaching

RIGHT ON TIME, JUST IN TIME

1 PETER 5:6

“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time”

My brother-in-law used to end every church service by starting a saying in which the congregation would take part. It would go like this:

Pastor: “God is good.”

Congregation: “All the time”

Pastor: “Right on time”

Congregation: “Just in time”

Pastor: Why?

All: Because that’s His nature. Whooo!

It may have just been a great way to end the service, but it holds such truth. Look at today’s verse. Peter ends it by saying “at the proper time.” That’s exactly what my brother-in-law knew and was teaching the church. God’s timing is always perfect. He is never late. He is also never early. He knows the exact time to exalt you.

APPLICATION

Do your children have a problem waiting? Are they impatient? Most children are. Have you ever made them wait for something just to teach them to wait? It’s not a bad idea. Waiting teaches us a lot. I have often said that life if full of red lights with just a few blinking green lights. We have to learn to wait.

How do you teach children to wait? Teach them by your actions. When you are waiting at a red light, instead of complaining and drumming your fingers on the steering wheel nervously, sing along with the radio or play a game with your kids in the car. “I Spy” is a great one to play. Make waiting fun.

As you wait on God, allow Him to teach you. He allows us to wait for a reason. It’s always a teaching moment. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t figured this waiting thing out either. I don’t like it. But I have learned when I listen closely in those waiting times God is whispering my name. He is lifting me up. He is exalting me.

God My Father, I will wait on You. Even when I am faced with seemingly impossible timetables, I will wait. You are faithful and always on time.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Humility, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

ACE BANDAGE

1 PETER 5:5

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

Did you know that the Bible mentions ace bandages? Yep, sure does. Well, kind of. The Greek word for “clothe” here in today’s verse is egkomboomai. Part of that word means a roll, band, girth. It’s used to imply someone is secured by something. An Ace bandage!  Lol. It’s only used here in all of Scripture.

And of all things it says to wrap ourselves in, it says to clothe yourselves in humility. Now, that is something we all need to be covered in. No one has enough humility. We all get our proud moments, don’t we? But if you are wrapped, if you are secure in it, it comes much easier. You have to relax to be wrapped, though. Let Him do the wrapping.

APPLICATION

This will be a fun verse to share with your kids. Get some ace bandages and wrap them up. Have them struggle a little bit and see how easy it is and how it looks when you’re done. Then do it again and have them stay very still. You will be both be amazed at the difference.

Explain to them about humility. It’s putting others before ourselves. It’s not seeing ourselves above others. It’s knowing where we are in relation to Christ. He is above us – always. That’s what we wrap ourselves in.

Are you struggling inside your Ace bandage? How does it look? Rest in Him. Surrender. Let Jesus wrap you in humility. Let His presence be all around you. Doesn’t that feel good? Don’t you feel secure? I bet you will never look at another Ace bandage the same.

Wrap me, Lord. Secure me with Your Spirit of humility. I only want to honor You.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Courage, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Humility, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Sanctification, Scripture, Suffering, Testimony, Witnessing

DOING GOOD REGARDLESS

1 PETER 3:17

“For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”

This just sounds backwards, doesn’t it? You shouldn’t suffer for doing what is right. You should only suffer for doing the wrong things. At least that is what we think. But God doesn’t think like we think. Boy, I’m glad that is true, aren’t you?

So, what does this verse mean for believers? At times the Lord will call on us to suffer. Suffering is NOT punishment. Suffering is a gift. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. In the midst of suffering we discover God in a whole new way. Others see Jesus in us and are encouraged in their own faith or perhaps drawn for the first time to give their lives to Christ. We must stand up for what is right, no matter the cost.

APPLICATION

Teaching suffering to our children is no easy thing. We don’t want to see our children suffer. They may not understand why they are suffering for doing the right thing. These are teaching moments. Don’t overlook them just trying to soothe your child. You shouldn’t tell them to suck it up and get back on their feet either. It’s okay to feel hurt. That’s normal. We comfort them through God’s Word.

Suffering is a teaching time for our children. Perhaps you are going through a tough time right now. Maybe the Lord has led you into a suffering season just to model how to handle it for your children. Embrace it and live like Jesus. Your kids will never forget how you suffer for Him.

This is not a subject we want to talk about. We don’t want to suffer, especially when we are doing all the right things. We want to be blessed and be found faithful. You can be blessed through suffering also. Trust me, I know. Everyone’s suffering is different, but it is the same God who sees us through.

I will embrace the suffering You have for me, Lord. I know You know what is best for me. I trust You to teach me through the suffering.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Conceit, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Godliness, Humility, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Praise, Scripture, Worship

JUST A MAN

ACTS 10:25-26

“25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am just a man.’” 

I have known people who would love to be worshipped. In fact, most of those people worship themselves. They think they are God’s gift to humanity. They walk around looking down on everyone, because they know they are better than them. Or so they think.

I am not trying to rude or uncaring. It’s just a fact. Our flesh loves to be worshipped. But Peter was having none of that. The instant Cornelius fell to his feet, Peter didn’t just speak to him. He raised him up and said, “I too am just a man.” In other words, there is only one God and I am not Him. Peter knew where worship belonged.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse for our kids because they can develop heroes who they idolize. Sports figures, singers and movie stars are just some examples. None of these people have the right to be worshipped. We must direct our children to the One who is worthy.

Let me go further. We believers can put pastors or Christian leaders on a pedestal. Guess what? People on pedestals tend to fall off. I have had the privilege to know several “famous” individuals. They are just human, like us. And the ones I respect the most always pointed me back to Jesus. They knew where all the credit lies.

Are you an idol worshipper? Do you put people on pedestals? Maybe you are the one on the pedestal. You long for people’s praise. Be very careful. As I said earlier, there is only one God and you are not Him. He alone is worthy of praise and worship.

I worship You and You alone. I praise you for all You have done in my life and will continue to do. Thank You, Lord.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Following, Humility, Husbands, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Testimony, Wives

SILENT WITNESS

1 PETER 3:1

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,”

Actions speak louder than words. You’ve probably heard that expression, haven’t you? Well, that’s kind of what Peter is saying here to wives. Instead of nagging their husbands to obey the word, he tells them to influence them by their behavior. Let them watch you live for Jesus.

The Greek word translated “may be won” is the same word Paul uses over in 1 Corinthians 9:19-21. This is the passage where he says he will be all things to all people so he can win them for Christ. Paul was an evangelist who would do whatever it took to win people to Christ. Wives can do the same with their husbands. Just be Jesus.

APPLICATION

We all want our children to behave, don’t we? We begin at an early age teaching them to say “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am.” We teach them proper table manners. We are so concerned with the outward behaviors. Why? So they won’t embarrass us or themselves? Perhaps.

But we should be more concerned with their behaviors as they relate to Christ. I know most of you pray for your children daily. You pray for their salvation and safety. You pray for their future spouse. You pray for their friends. Let me encourage you to pray for their behavior as it relates to walking with Christ. We want them to influence their friends and others for Jesus, right? Then spend some time praying that they will surrender their will to Jesus so He can use them to change the world.

Let me ask you a question. Would your behavior lead someone to Christ or drive them away? You may have heard this expression – Preach Jesus, if necessary use words. The things we do really do speak louder than words. Be careful today to be Jesus in your actions.

Lord, I want others to see Jesus in the things I do. May they be drawn to You by what they see in me. Help me preach the Gospel without using words.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Humility, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Service, Testimony

NO NEED TO BATHE

JOHN 13:5-11

“5 Then He poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, ‘Lord, do You wash my feet?’ 7 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.’ 8 Peter said to Him, ‘Never shall You wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’ 9 Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’ 10 Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’ 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’”

Back in Jesus’ days on earth walking was the primary means of travel. If you were lucky, you may have a donkey to ride. But the roads were still pretty much dirt roads and were well…dirty. It was customary for someone to provide you water to wash your feet or have a servant to wash them for you. This was considered the lowliest job in the home.

Remember, back then they didn’t sit around a table in chairs. They reclined on the floor with their feet to the side or in front of them. No one wanted to eat with nasty feet in their face. So, when Jesus began to wash their feet, the act itself wasn’t unusual. But the thought of their master performing the act was more than Peter could handle.

APPLICATION

I bet your children would enjoy a foot washing. Act out the story we read today. Ask them how it feels to have your feet washed by someone else. Have each family member take turns washing feet. Ask them how it felt to wash someone’s feet. This is not a common practice today, so they may not get to experience elsewhere.

Explain to them what Jesus was teaching – humility and servanthood. Even He, the Son of God, came to serve. We should never think we are too good for service. God may give you the blessing of service at your church or at a mission. Never place yourself above the person God has asked you to serve.

When is the last time you humbled yourself in service? Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity today. When is the last time you have been the recipient of service? Don’t shun it. God wants to bless you and use someone else in the process. Let them bless you.

Lord, thank You for this example of humility and service to others. Give me opportunities to serve others and humble myself.

Standard