Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Disciplemaking, Judgment, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture, Sin, Unrighteousness

WHAT IS SIN?

1 JOHN 5:17

“All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.”

The Bible talks a lot about righteousness and unrighteousness. We Christians use these terms when we are talking about God. But have you ever stopped to think what these terms mean? What use is it to talk about something we can’t define?

Righteousness has to do with abiding by God’s standards, meeting His expectations. Unrighteousness, of course, means just the opposite. It means deviating from what God expects. This results in God’s disapproval of our choices. In short, it’s sin.

APPLICATION

Your children should know your expectations, right? They can’t follow rules they aren’t clear on. Now, for children we need to keep our rules and guidelines short and to the point. Complicated rules only confuse them. When we make our expectations clear and concise, they are more likely to obey.

We are laying the groundwork for them to obey God. When they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and accept Him as their Savior, His righteousness is bestowed on them. We teach them to pursue this and not the unrighteous deeds that are so prevalent. We hold them to His standards. We show the benefits of pursuing a godly lifestyle. This is a process that takes years. We model it for them and live our lives pursuing the very things we are teaching them.

Would you classify your lifestyle as one of righteousness or unrighteousness? I know, I know. We all say righteousness. We would never admit unrighteousness. But if we are not pursuing God’s standards in every area of our lives, it is so easy to drift into unrighteousness. If we sin in one area, it affects our entire life. Live righteously today. Pursue God wholly.

Help me, Lord, to flee from all unrighteousness. I want to pursue You. Your righteousness is all I need.    

Standard
Advocate, Bible, Confidence, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

CONFIDENCE

1 JOHN 4:17

“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.”

I like being around confident people. Their confidence makes me more confident. I had a football coach in Junior High School who was like that. He was always positive and upbeat. He wasn’t the greatest coach, but his confidence was infectious. It made us better players. We played hard for him because he made us more confident.

The Greek word here for “confidence” means to be bold, to speak with resolve, to be remembered. That’s it! We have boldness. We live in such a way that we will be remembered. And John says we will be confident “in the day of judgment.” I know that I know that I know I am in Christ, so I do not fear judgment. My sins are forgiven.

APPLICATION

Don’t you want confident children? A father I meet with regularly was speaking about one of his young sons recently. He was concerned that he was “too whiny.” We talked about that. We both agreed that he needs more time with him than perhaps his other kids. He needs to build more confidence in him now at an early age so he won’t be whiny and complaining as a teen or young man.

The best way to build confidence in our kids, of course, is leading them to a saving knowledge of Christ. Even before they make that decision, we need to be pouring Jesus all over them. We need to reassure them of His love for them. We need to remind them over and over that He will fight for them. We want them to have that confidence in the day of judgment knowing that their sins have been washed away and they can stand boldly before the throne of God, not because of anything they have done, but because of Jesus.

What is your confidence in? I pray it is not in your own abilities or talents. Those can be lost so quickly. I pray it’s not in your position or career. That too can be snatched away. Is your confidence in Christ? He is the only sure thing. He is always there. He will always be with you, no matter what you face. He has to be your confidence.

I am confident in You, Lord. I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep me until that day.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Judgment, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Separation

TEST THE SPIRITS

1 JOHN 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 

Don’t you hate when you have batteries lying around and you don’t know if they are good or not? I hate that. When you need a battery, you need a battery. Most of us don’t have battery tester at home. So, what do you do? You put that battery in the device to see if it works. If it doesn’t, you throw it away.

John tells us to test the spirits. In fact, the word “test” means to test to see if it’s good. It’s not so much testing to see if it’s bad. You see, if it’s good, it’s from God. If it’s not, well… As John says, “because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” There are many who will try to deceive us. But if we are mindful to test the spirits, according to God’s Word, He will show us who to believe.

APPLICATION

Take some of those batteries you have lying around the house and get your children to help you test them. Come on, go buy that tester. You know you need it. Teach them how to test the different sizes – AA, AAA, 9 volt. Now, it’s important to teach them how to know what a good test is.

A weak battery is as no good as a dead battery. Did you get that? Do you believe that? Of course, you do. A spirit that tests “okay” is as bad as a spirit that does not test good. Your kids need to know this. They need to understand that. And the tester they will use throughout their life is the Word of God. It will reveal what is truth and what is not.

Do you struggle knowing what is true, what is good? You don’t have to. Measure everything according to His Word. It will never let you down. You will know instantly whether that spirt, that preacher, that evangelist, that speaker is of God or not by how they measure up to the Word. Trust it.

O God, I am thankful I have the “tester” necessary to test the spirits. You have given me Your Word as the instrument of truth.

Standard
Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Confession, Deception, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Exhortation, Following, Judgment, Lies, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony

DENIAL

1 JOHN 2:22

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

Contrary to popular opinion, denial is not a river in Egypt. Sorry, I had to say that. Have you ever been in denial about something? I want to deny the fact that I’m getting older, but the facts speak for themselves. After two stem cell transplants in the past ten years, my body feels much older than my sixty years should feel. It’s just the facts. I can deny it all I want, but I just can’t do all that I used to do.

John attributes denying to lying. He must have encountered a lot of liars. The Greek word for “liar” is only used ten times in the New Testament. John uses it seven of those times. You know he had to run across a lot of people who denied the divinity of Christ. But he continued to preach and teach the message of Christ to those around him, eventually causing his exile on the island of Patmos.

APPLICATION

Have your kids ever gotten into an argument about something one of them claimed was true and the other one didn’t believe? Probably so, huh? They can go back and forth and back and forth. Is true! Is not! Is true! Is not! What an opportunity to teach this verse about denial.

Sit down with them and try to figure out what’s going on first. Explain to them that there is only one truth. It could be that they are both confused about the truth. It could just be that the one sibling doesn’t want the other sibling to be right. Whatever it is, use this opportunity to teach real truth. Explain to them that people have been arguing about stuff for a long time. But only one truth really matters – Jesus.

What are you in denial about today? It could be a health issue. It might be your marriage is in trouble and you are burying your head in the sand refusing to acknowledge it. You may be denying the fact that you are not walking with Christ as you should. Stop the denial. Confess to Him all those things. He knows them anyway. Live in truth today.

I will choose to live in truth today. I will stop denying all those those I know to be true and live to honor You.

Standard
Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deceit, Deception, Encouragement, Friends, Harmony, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

IN OR OUT

1 JOHN 2:19

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

Have you ever had a “friend” turn on you? You thought you could trust them. You thought they were someone you could rely on. You thought they cared for you. And then, all of a sudden, they start treating you like an enemy. They start talking about you. That hurts, doesn’t it?

John must have experienced this firsthand. This verse is pretty powerful. I am surprised he didn’t name them. He just said, “they were not really of us.” Their actions told the tale. True friends are true. True believers are true to other believers. John knew that. We should too.

APPLICATION

What is the application for our children? Tell them to pick their friends carefully. We must instill in them the importance of having like-minded friends. When two friends have differing world views, there will come a time when they disagree and then the fur can fly. Picking the right friends can avoid all that.

Now, don’t hear me saying that our children can’t have nonbelievers as acquaintances. We need to reach the lost. But we have to guard our hearts from being impressed by those who do not agree with our worldview. You may think this is radical. But let me tell you from experience, when the Spirit binds you together, you can accomplish so much, but when you don’t have that common bond, well…

How about you? Are you in or out? Do you belong in the household of God or the world? You can’t have it both ways. You are either living for Jesus or yourself. What would John say about you? I pray he would say you were “of us.”

Thank You, Father, for adopting me into Your family. Thank You for taking me in. I know where I belong.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Repentance

GOD’S WISH

2 PETER 3:9

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Do you ever make wishes? I have been known to wish for a large, stuffed crust pepperoni pizza. I have wished for a new fishing boat or a new rifle for hunting. We all make wishes, don’t we? We also wish for someone to have good health or we wish someone good luck.

My point? We can wish all day, but we can’t make those wishes come true. God’s wishes, though, are certain. Look what He wishes for. He wishes for no one to perish but for all to repent. Wow! That kind of puts our feeble wishes in place. Shouldn’t we join God in that wish?

APPLICATION

Get your kids to make a wish list. Tell them anything goes. Give them 15 minutes to write down as many things as they can. I am willing to bet that 95% of their wishes are things. Am I right? Unless you have a very special child, most kids are thinking about their immediate satisfaction.

Now, read them the verse above and ask them how many of their wishes line up with God’s wish. I am not trying to get you to make them feel bad. That’s not my point. I am simply trying to get you to point them towards God’s wish list. His list is always about others.

Can you say that about your own wish list? Do you focus more on yourself? Lay that down. Look around you. Who needs your wishes? Your wishes can be turned into prayers for others. Instead of saying I wish so and so, say I pray so and so. Point your wishes heavenward and watch how God works through you.

I am thankful, Lord, for the privilege to pray for others. Show me their needs so I can “wish” them to You. Let my wishes always be Yours.

Standard
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.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Evil, Following, Hope, Inspirational, Judgment, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

WATCH THAT WATER

2 PETER 3:6

“through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.” 

Peter, of course, is referring to the great flood which God sent upon the earth to destroy the wickedness which was prevailing. Only Noah and his family were spared. Noah warned them, but his warnings fell on deaf ears.

We see the same today. Wickedness is rampant. Evil seems to be winning. Rest assured – God is not blind to this. Judgment is coming. The wicked may think they are getting by. That’s not our concern. Our concern is to live godly lives and be an example of light and purity. Perhaps we will win some before it’s too late.

APPLICATION

Our children have been taught the story of the flood. They probably have toys of Noah’s ark, complete with all the animals. What a cute story, right? Wrong! It’s a clear picture of a holy God who will not tolerate sinful behavior. We can teach this story to children and not leave out the reason for the flood.

Ask your children to tell you the story about Noah’s ark. Let them tell it in their own way. Let them act it out. Let them draw pictures. As they are doing this fill in the blanks, if there are any. And make sure they know the morale to the story. God demands holy living, and He will deliver the righteous.

Are you in “the ark”? I pray you are living righteously. I pray you are safe in the arms of Jesus. If you aren’t and are living like those who perished in the flood waters, it’s not too late. Come to Him today. Allow Him to throw you that life vest. He’s waiting. Will you come?

Lord, I can’t imagine the world underwater physically, but I do see it underwater spiritually. Help me be used by You to lead others to safety.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Direction, Eternity, Forgiveness, Hypocrisy, Judgment, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Repentance, Testimony, Truth

THAT’S JUST GROSS

2 PETER 2:22

“It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.’”

Why in the world (or should I say in God’s name) would Peter pen this verse? What is he trying to say? Well, it’s not complicated and doesn’t require any deep research of the original languages. He is quite simply saying that these individuals he has been discussing in this chapter have never changed. Just like a dog will always be a dog and a pig will always be a pig, these people have never changed.

People can pretend to be a lot of things. They can dress up and come to church every Sunday. They can even volunteer to help in different areas of the church. But until their heart is changed, they remain the same – lost. Do you know people like that? Do you know individuals who have done that all their lives?

APPLICATION

Do your children like to dress up in superhero costumes or princess attire? A lot of kids do, but do those costumes make them those characters? Get your kids to dress up as something. Anything goes. After they have gotten all dressed up and after you have bragged about how great they look, ask them if they have become their character.

Now, I know kids who would probably answer “yes” to that question. If they do, ask them to perform one of their “powers.” Now the game is over. They can’t produce. Try as they may, they are still just a child. They can’t become that character. Explain to them, in the same way, we can’t just put on a Christian costume each day. We have to change internally first.

Have you been changed internally? Have you been changed eternally? I pray you have. Put all the noise of the world out of your head for just a second. Plow through all the distractions and set your mind on Christ. Only He can change who you are. He can give you a whole new heart – one that beats for Him.

I am so thankful for the assurance of my salvation and the power I have in Christ. Through Him I can be all things.

Standard
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.

Standard