Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deceit, Deception, Encouragement, Exhortation, Following, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Protection, Relationships, Scripture

FAIR WARNING

1 JOHN 2:26

“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.”

I told you not to touch that.Have you ever heard that before? Boy, I have. Too many times. My daddy warned me about grabbing an electric fence. But what did I do? That’s right – I grabbed the electric fence. My daddy also gave me fair warnings about other stuff. Some of those I listened to. Others I didn’t. My dad was trying to point me in the right direction.

John, however, is warning us about those who want to lead us on the wrong path. That word “deceive” means that. These individuals are trying to mislead you. That want you to mess up. They want you to fail. They don’t want you living for Christ or doing what is pleasing to Him.

APPLICATION

I think the application is pretty plain here. As parents, we are constantly guiding and directing our children in the right way. God forbid that we should ever teach them to do the wrong stuff. I’ve known parents like that. I once knew some parents who taught their children how to go into Walmart, get a buggy full of stuff and just push it right out the door. After all, who suspects little kids of stealing like that.

We must continue to show our children why we need to stay on the right path. There is nothing wrong with pointing out the consequences of bad behavior. Sin has consequences. Our kids need to know that. Allowing ourselves to be misled by others can, and most often does, lead directly into sinful behavior. That’s what we are trying to help them avoid.

What’s your excuse? Carl, I didn’t realize it until it was too late. Let me ask you a question. Did you stop and ask if what you were about to do would glorify God? If the answer is “No” or “I’m not sure,” then you should stop right there. There is no gray line with sin. It is either sin or it’s not. Period. Live that way.

Forgive me, Father, for making excuses for my sin. Forgive me for allowing anyone but the Holy Spirit to guide me.

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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.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gossip, Holy Spirit, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sin, Truth

TRUTH VS LIE

1 JOHN 2:21

“I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.”

Have you ever been confused about what was the truth and what wasn’t? I have. In these days we are living you can be so easily fooled. Digital imaging can be manipulated so well now that it can be very hard to tell what is real. Obviously, there must have been some confusion during John’s day as well.

Let me ask you a question. Do you know THE truth? There’s only one. The devil will try to persuade you through his lies that what he is saying is the truth. How do you know? By comparing it to the Word. The devil will never agree with the Word. He always lies.

APPLICATION

Do your children know the difference between lies and truth? Have you ever caught them in a lie? You probably have. I’ve had parents tell me they have literally caught their child with their hand in the cookie jar and they would deny it. Crazy, huh?

What do you do when catch them? Don’t just correct them. That’s right. You have to point them to the truth. Just punishing them for lying won’t fix the problem. Unless you show them the flip side of lying, they will continue to tell those fibs that drive you crazy. Read them this verse. Even a child can understand this.

How are you with your truth telling? Adults tend to rationalize their lies. We are real good at justifying our sins. What? That’s right – lying is sin. Let me encourage you to pause your words before you speak. Make sure they agree with what God would say. Speaking truth is much easier, by the way. You don’t have to cover up your previous comments. Try it.

Let Your Words be my words, Lord. Let my tongue speak only the truth so those who are darkness can be led to the light.

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Foolishness, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Testimony

HATE BLINDS

1 JOHN 2:11

“But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

There is probably not a better verse for today than this one. So much hate. So much darkness. You see, hate blinds us to what is true. The devil loves that. He loves to keep us hating each other. When we hate, we literally can’t see straight. We only see what we want to see.

It was no different back in the day of John. The early church was not exempt from these feelings. Yes, that’s right. Even the early church, to whom John was writing, faced these same issues. Hate has been around since Satan’s fall from heaven. He hates God and anyone who loves Him. He will do anything to blind us with his hate.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they hate. Notice I said “what” not “who.” I hate brussel sprouts. I hate spinach. We can hate things. That’s really okay. I hate abortion. I am sure God does too. I hate sin. We all should. It does nothing good in this world.

But get your kid’s list of “hates.” Ask them why they hate these things. They are going to hear this word a lot in their life, so they need to understand the strength of that word. They should, however, never use that word in conjunction with a person. No one deserves to be hated. God loves all.

Who do you hate? Don’t answer that. Your answer should be no one. If you do, confess that as sin right now. Ask the Lord to forgive you for that hate. Ask Him to forgive you of walking in darkness. Ask Him to forgive you for following the devil rather than Him. Do that now. He is listening.

Forgive me, Lord, for any feelings of hatred I harbor against others. I know that is sin and displeases You. I want to walk in the Light.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Lies, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Testimony

DON’T TRIP

1 JOHN 2:10

“The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”

One of my favorite Greek words is in this verse. It’s the Greek word for “stumbling.” I even like saying it. It’s skandalon. It’s pronounced just like it’s spelled – skan-dal-on. Go ahead, say it out loud. I know you want to.

So, what does that word really mean. Get this definition from HELPS Word Studies: “the trigger of a trap (the mechanism closing a trap down on the unsuspecting victim); (figuratively) an offense, putting a negative cause-and-effect relationship into motion.” It’s something that trips you up and causes you to be captured or trapped. If we love our brother and are abiding in the Light, there is no cause for that.

APPLICATION

Visuals are so much better for kids. How about building a trap? It’s not hard. Get a box (cardboard works), a stick about a foot long and some string. You know where I am going with this? Get some bait like a carrot (if you want to catch a rabbit, lol). Tie one end of the string to the carrot and the other end to the stick. Use the stick to prop up the box. Then all you have to do is wait. If there’s a rabbit in the area, you might get lucky.

Now, the point is not to actually catch a rabbit. The goal is to show them how it works. The rabbit doesn’t know that carrot is a trigger for a trap. They just go in that box expecting a treat and wham-o, they’re trapped (or at least that is what is supposed to happen).

The same applies to us. We don’t see the trap until it’s sprung. The devil has a way of doing that. He is cunning and deceitful. He will promise us just about anything. And once we take the bait, wham-o. If we are believers, he can’t “unsave” us, but he can sure keep us down with his lies and traps. Don’t fall for it. Stay in the light!

I will walk in the light because that is where You are. That is the way to be sure of my steps. I will let You guide me.

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WALK THE TALK

1 JOHN 2:4

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;”

When I was in high school, I played football. I loved the game. I loved hitting people. I know that sounds bad, but on the field it was great. One thing I learned about football. Don’t let your mouth get in front of your action. If you said you could take out the other player, then you had better do it. You had to earn the right to run your mouth.

Now, before you think I’m some awful guy, that’s just part of the game. You have to get inside your opponent’s head. John is pointing out something for us today in this verse. Those who say they are a Christian but live differently are just trying to get in our heads. They are trying to convince us their lifestyle of Christianity is okay. We have to stick to the Word. They must keep His commandments.

APPLICATION

Our children can get easily confused today by watching how the world defines their love for God. Marriage has been “redefined” contrary to biblical standards. People live one way all week but profess allegiance to Christ on Sundays. This can confuse little ones. Heck, it can confuse adults as well.

Oh, please listen to this, if you forget everything else. You, as mom and dad, have to live consistent. They have to see you living out the Christ life daily. If you say one thing and do another, you are not discipling your children well. The old saying Do as I say, not as I do, is not a good one to follow. Walk the talk.

How are you walking? Does it match your talk? Are you singing praises to the Father on Sundays and living praises to the devil? Ouch! Did that hurt? Did that offend? Well, good. It is the Father’s desire to be with you daily. He doesn’t take days off from you. You shouldn’t take days off from Him, either.

Lord, help me consistent in my walk. I never want my actions to cause someone else to stumble.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Cleansing, Confession, Forgiveness, Lies, Modeling, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture, Testimony

FOOLISH THINKING

1 JOHN 1:10

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”

Have you every denied something, but you knew there might be a possibility that you could have done it? I have. I could have forgotten about it. That happens. But there are some denials that are just absolute. I can honestly say I have never given birth to a baby. There is just no way that is possible.

There’s something you can’t see in the English translation of this verse. It’s in the little word “not.” You see, there are two Greek words for “no” or “not.” There’s the one here, ou, and there’s the other one, me. Here’s the difference. Me is a qualified negative, whereas ou is the absolute negative. John is saying if you absolutely deny you have sinned, you are calling God a liar who has said that all men sin.

APPLICATION

Unless your children are floating along on clouds with little harps like cherubs, they have probably lied about something. They have probably denied their involvement in a fight with their sibling. They may deny eating those cookies you were saving for later. Children don’t want to get caught. So, they will lie or deny to get out of it.

The next time they do, read this verse. Their actions are no different than anyone else’s who try to portray themselves as above error. Honesty is always the best policy. Admission of guilt and confession of sin leads to forgiveness. That always feels good. That always restores fellowship.

Are you guilty of denying your sins? We tend to want to blame others for our failures. It is never our fault. Just confess them to your Father. He stands ready to forgive. Remember – denying your sin makes God a liar, which you and I both know is just not true.

Forgive me, Lord, for denying my sins. Cleanse me and set me straight. I want to honor You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Hypocrisy, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

DO YOU LIE?

1 JOHN 1:6

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;” 

Boy, John doesn’t pull any punches here. He speaks pretty plainly. If we say one thing, but do the other, we lie. Wow! That should make you examine your life. So many people in the church today are doing that. They pretend to have fellowship with God, they say all the “right” things, but their private life is in the darkness.

Those lies will come out sooner or later. We may know they are lying, but they will answer to God, not us. We do have the responsibility to confront our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is the loving thing to do, but we can’t make them correct their behavior.

APPLICATION

Now, this is a practical application for our children. They can’t say one thing and do another. We can’t allow them to get away with such behavior. Why? Because it leads to a lifestyle of wrong decisions. Accountability is important. We are not just raising children. We are raising child raisers.

So, what do we do? We teach them how to walk in light and not darkness. We do what we say. We live at home like we say we do at church. We treat our family better than we treat the Pastor. We read God’s Word daily at home and not just in church.

Are you walking in light or darkness? Are you pretending? Examine your life. Make sure you are truly having fellowship with the Father. He wants you to be truthful and consistent. Make sure your walk reflects your talk.

Oh Lord, I want my walk to be seen as truthful. Keep me in the light.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan

BEING LED

2 PETER 3:17

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,” 

Okay, you’ve got to go back and read verse 16 to understand verse 17. I’ll wait. Did you do that? People will distort the Scriptures. Now that you know that, Peter says be careful, guard yourself. They will attempt to lead you astray. Peter says they are in error. They are lawless and unprincipled. They don’t care where you end up, as long as it is far away from the truth.

I’ve always said the devil doesn’t care if you go to church. He doesn’t care if you give a little money to the church and read your Bible. He just doesn’t want you to live for Jesus. He’s okay with you acting like a Christian as long as you don’t love like one. He will send people into your life to lead you astray. And in today’s world that can be done through tv, internet or social media.

APPLICATION

Let’s play a blindfold game with our kids. Go outside and set up a simple obstacle course which will require them to maneuver through. Blindfold your child and have them stand at one end of it. On your instructions have them walk the course. Purposely direct them entirely wrong. Make them bump into stuff (safely I might add). Take them way off the course and then have them remove their blindfold.

Now, take them back to the beginning of the course, remove their blindfold and have them walk through it. Nothing to it, right? What an illustration. We can’t go through this life with blinders. We have to be able to see the truth of our journey. That is only possible when we follow Jesus. We may only see a little of the journey at a time, but that’s okay. Others can lead us astray if we don’t know where we’re going. That’s a lesson worth teaching.

Are you walking around with blinders? Are you letting someone else lead you in your thinking about Scripture? Dig in yourself. But Pastor Carl, I don’t know how to study. There are hundreds of great study guides available today. Ask your Pastor for a recommendation. But dig it out yourself. Go deep with God.

Father, help me go deep with You. I don’t want to be led astray by others. I want to know Your truth and apply it to my life daily.

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ARE YOU PERVERTED?

2 PETER 3:16

“as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 

I bet that title got your attention, didn’t it? Well, I am not talking about sexual perversion. I am talking about spiritual perversion. The Greek word for “distort” means to twist or distort. It’s in the Present tense which means they are constantly doing it.

Who is doing it? Peter tells us – the untaught (ignorant) and unstable (unsteady). Why do we listen to such people? Their words go totally against Scripture. They take one verse and twist it to make it say what they want it to say. That is so easy to do. You have to take Scripture in context and as a whole.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get a picture and cover up everything except one small corner. Then ask them to tell you what the picture is. Unless they’ve seen that picture before, they won’t be able to guess. Slowly uncover more and more of the picture until they can correctly identify it.

Now, explain to them that is how it is with Scripture. If they take one verse out of context, they can make it say just about anything. But as they grow in their knowledge of Scripture, the full picture of God’s grace and mercy is revealed. It becomes clearer and clearer. Scripture always compliments Scripture.

Do you battle others who want to argue with you about what God’s Word means? Don’t! Let the Word speak for itself. But you can’t do that if you don’t have knowledge of the Word. Memorize it. Study it. Dig into it. Then and only then can you faithfully represent its truths.

Show me in Your Word daily Your truths. As David said, “I would perish without Your Law.” Thank You, Lord.

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