Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Hugs, Inspirational, Joy, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

MY DARLINGS

1 JOHN 2:12

“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.”

In this verse and the next verses in 1 John 2, John addresses three groups of people in the church – little children, young men and fathers (older men). In fact, John addresses each group twice in these verses. But the term “little children” in today’s verse is a totally different Greek word than the one in the next verse. Interesting.

The Greek word used here means dearly loved little ones. It can also be translated “my little darlings.” Now, that’s pretty special, don’t you think? Only John uses this form of the word. To me that is also special. John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” He understood intimacy and closeness. I think it comes out here in this verse.

APPLICATION

What do you call your children? Do you have pet names for them? Those are usually terms of endearment. They are our special names for them. When you call them that they know you are expressing a closeness. Your love is shown by just using that name.

Intimacy is not a given. We have to teach that to our kids. It requires snuggling and cuddles. It involves holding them when they are upset. It means kissing that boo-boo when necessary, All the while you are using those names to soothe them.

John was doing that here. He was saying, “My darlings, you know Jesus loved you so much He died to forgive you of your sins. Don’t forget that.” He wasn’t just calling down the children. He was calling them to closeness, to intimacy. Isn’t that great?

Call me Your darling, Lord. I know You love me with an endearing love. You call my name.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Confession, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Gospel, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Propitiation, Punishment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

WHAT IS PROPITIATION?

1 JOHN 2:2

“and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

Most people will read today’s verse and never have a clue what “propitiation” means. They just read it and consider it one of those church words and go on. No! Stop right there! Don’t go any further until you understand this word well enough to tell someone else what it means. It’s an important word, one we all need to understand.

The Greek word for “propitiation” is only used twice in the N.T., both times in 1 John (2.2 and 4.10). Read this definition: an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party. Wow! That’s what Jesus did. He offered Himself, He shed His blood to satisfy His Father’s wrath. God was offended by our sin and demanded a sacrifice. Jesus did that.

APPLICATION

Ask your child if they are willing to take the blame for their sibling’s misconduct. Yeah right! I don’t know any child who would willingly do that. If their brother or sister broke a rule in your house that demanded discipline, would they take their punishment. Chances are their sibling is going to suffer, lol.

Now explain to them that is what Jesus did for them. They, being a sinner from birth, have broken God’s law, His requirements. They may have lied or cheated. They may have disobeyed you. But they have done something to incur God’s wrath. Without Jesus stepping in with His blood, they would be doomed to an eternal hell. Sound rough? Yes, it is. But it is the truth. Praise be to God that Jesus stepped in.

Are you grateful for this propitiation? Are you able now to explain it to someone? It’s not just a churchy word. It’s our hope. It’s our promise. It gives us life eternal with our Heavenly Father.

O God, I thank You for sending Your Son to pay the price You demanded for my salvation. I am free because of Him.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rejoicing, Scripture, Testimony

FULL OF JOY

1 JOHN 1:4

“These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”

There’s a difference in being joyful and being full of joy. Being joyful can be spontaneous and last for a while. Being full of joy is more about a lifestyle. Let me prove my point from the text. The Greek word for “complete” is pleroo. Any time you see a Greek word which ends in -oo the emphasis is more about the result of the word than the word itself. That word means “fill to individual capacity.

Being full of joy is a choice we make as believers that has results. We cast that joy onto others. We want to spread the joy to others because we know how great we feel because of it. We know the source of the joy is not of our own making. It comes from the Lord, so the source is bottomless.

APPLICATION

Ask your child if he/she knows what joy is. Let them define it in their own way. This could be quite hilarious. Then ask them if they would want to always feel that way. Some kids may say “no.” Why? Because they don’t know how to handle it? Maybe.

Here’s your opportunity to talk about the reason Christ gives us joy. We are not supposed to handle it. We are to pass it on. When we are full of the joy of Christ, we spread it around to all we meet. You can show your kids this by the way you treat others in your home and in the public.

But Carl, you don’t know what I’m dealing with right now. I don’t have any joy in my life. Remember, I said this is not a joy you produce. It comes from Christ through you to others. You have to surrender to Him. When you do that, the joy flows. It flows to overflowing. It becomes your lifestyle. Be full of joy!

Joyful, joyful we adore Thee. Lord, fill me to overflowing with Your joy. I want to spill out on others.

Standard
Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Fellowship, Following, Friends, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Joy, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

PUNCH AND COOKIES

1 JOHN 1:3

“what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 

What is fellowship? Is it just punch and cookies? I sure hope not. The Greek word is koinonia, which means something that is shared in common. I have to admit I have eaten many a meal with people with whom I didn’t share a whole lot in common. That is not what John is referring to here.

We have fellowship with each other only because we also have fellowship (something in common) with the Father and His Son. That common bond brings us together. We don’t need punch and cookies to do that. I have had the joy of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ when nothing physical passed over my lips. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good potluck dinner as much as the next person. But that doesn’t make fellowship.

APPLICATION

Kids can naturally fellowship. They find common things with other boys and girls pretty quickly. Their fellowship may center around Legos or video games. It may be over American Girl dolls or a sports game. Our challenge, as parents, is to direct them to the lasting fellowship that is only possible through Jesus.

I promise you, those childhood “fellowships” are going to fade. The only eternal fellowship is a spiritual one, as John describes in the verse today. Point your child toward that fellowship. It will last forever.

With whom are you in fellowship? Do you have a group of believers with whom you share that common bond? I pray you do. We can’t do this alone. We need fellowship. This recent Covid 19 pandemic has reduced our opportunities for fellowship and people are suffering. We need each other. Will you make the effort this week to fellowship with someone?

How I desire the fellowship with other believers. I long for their spiritual “embrace.” Thank You for providing that common bond through Your Son, Jesus.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Following, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Revelation

NOT HIDDEN

1 JOHN 1:2

“and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—”

I’ll never forget one Sunday at John de la Howe School in McCormick, S.C. when I preached on this passage to a chapel full of kids and adults. Nineteen children came to Christ that day. That had nothing to do with me and everything to do with Jesus. But what I remember is that I only preached on one word of that verse – “manifested.”

The power of that word! It refers to something made clear, to be made visible. I compared it to my mama’s pressure cooker she used when I was growing up. You know, the old kind with the jiggling little weight on top that controlled the pressure. I would come home and see that pot on the stove. I knew something good was inside, but I couldn’t see it. When she took off that lid, ohhhh, the wonderful meal was revealed.

APPLICATION

Kids understand this concept of hidden and revealed. They’ve been playing hide and seek for years. How many times have you played that game with them over the years? Even infants get a joy out of playing peekaboo. Revealing what’s covered, finding the “hidden” brings us joy and excitement.

Make sure your kids understand that God did that in one way by manifesting Himself in Jesus. Jesus, of course, concealed His glory while on earth, except for on the mount of transfiguration when He was revealed to James, John (the author of this verse) and Peter. But God does not play hide and seek with us. He’s not trying to hide. He has revealed Himself through Jesus.

Have you found Him? He knows where you are. You can’t hide from Him. He wants to show Himself to you. Will you behold Him? Jesus came to show us His Father. He told His disciples if they had seen Him they had seen the Father. One day, we believers will see Him face to face. Hallelujah!

Your life has been manifested in me. Help me let it manifested through me. I want others to only see You in me.

Standard
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!

Standard
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.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commands, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, God's Will, Inspirational, Joy, Modeling

STIR ME UP, LORD

2 PETER 1:13

“I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,”

Have you ever been stirred up about something? I have seen large crowds stirred up over a bad call by a referee on the ballfield. I have been stirred up over bad news that I received about something. I did a little digging on this Greek word for “stir up.” I found a couple of interesting things.

This word is only used 6 times in the New Testament. Four of those times refer to Jesus or His actions. Check them out at Mark 4:39, Luke 8:24 (twice) and John 6:18. In three of these Jesus is stirred and in one He stirs the water (I believe He did that to teach the disciples). The other two times the word in used is here in 2 Peter (1:13 and 3:1).

Listen to me. Jesus is involved in all this stirring. He stirs us up for a purpose. The Holy Spirit inspired Peter to pen these words stating that through the Spirit he would stir them up to godly living. Don’t we all need that?

APPLICATION

I don’t know why, but I have this image in my head of children riding one of those little teacup rides at the carnival. You know the ride. You sit in a curved seat enclosure and the seat spins around on a circular track while the whole ride spins around. That’s what I call getting stirred up.

Now, God doesn’t want to make us sick, like that carnival ride. But He does want us to get out our complacency and get enthused about living for Him. We need someone to stir us up. We need someone to shake us up sometimes.

Are you finding yourself in need of being stirred up? Ask the Holy Spirit to send someone into your life to do that. It may be your spouse. It may be a friend from church. Whomever it is, listen to them. Let the Spirit speak through them to get you stirred up for Jesus.

Lord, thanks for stirring me up. Thanks for “unsettling” me at times to move me on to serving You.

Standard
Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Eternity, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

MAGNIFICENT PROMISES

2 PETER 1:4

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 

All I can say is wow! What a verse! How have I missed this verse all these years? Peter continues his thought from verse 3 (look it up) on the gift of everything pertaining to life and godliness. But he goes on to say God has granted us his precious and magnificent promises. I want to camp out there in this verse.

That word “magnificent” is used to describe how the shepherds reacted at the news of the angels. It says with “great joy.” That word “great” is the same word used here. It’s amazing. But what is? His promises. And get this. That Greek word for “promises” ends with -ma. Why is that important? Because it focuses on the results of the promise and not the promise itself. We know God’s promises never fail.

APPLICATION

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Promises mean nothing if you don’t keep them (the -ma on the end). It’s the results of the promises you make that your children will remember. They will always remember those broken promises and the promises you keep.

Teach your children to make keepable promises (I think I just made that word up, lol). It’s so easy to promise things we know we can’t keep. We need to teach them to follow the Lord’s example. He can do anything, so there are no promises He can’t keep. But even God’s promises all make sense. He promises to love and protect us. He promises to take us to heaven based on our decision to follow His Son. Promises are good – as long as they are kept.

What promises have you made that you have not kept? Can you fix those? If so, do that today or this week. It’s never too late to keep a promise. And before you make the next one, make sure it’s one you can keep and that agrees with the direction the Lord is leading you.

You have made promises, Lord, that I know You will keep. I look forward to seeing the -ma to many of those.

Standard
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.

Standard