Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Eternity, God's Will, Heaven, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

LIVE FOREVER

1 JOHN 2:17

“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

My great grandmother lived to be over 100 years old. She was half Eastern Creek Indian and always used to scare me when I was little. She almost always had her hair pulled back in a bun and she wore long skirts and dipped snuff. I didn’t like the way she looked or smelled. Man, I wish I could go back now and talk to her. I know she loved Jesus and would love to hear her testimony.

Personally, I don’t want to live to be that old.  I don’t want my grandkids talking about the way I look or smell, lol. Some people will do anything to live longer. I mean life here is okay, but I am banking on my next life. I want to live forever with Jesus in heaven. There is really nothing on this earth worth living here forever.

APPLICATION

I wonder what your kids would say if you asked them how old they want to live to be. Some may say 1000 years old. Others may say 50 years old (as if that’s old, lol). More importantly, ask them what they want to do with their life. How do they want to live it?

You see, John is pretty plain about the expectations the Lord has for us. If we want to live forever, we need to do God’s will. What does that mean for a child? Do you think a child can understand God’s will for their life? Sure, they can. Teach them to obey God’s Word and glorify Him. Even little kids can do that.

How about you? Are you striving to do His will? If you do, you will live forever. Can you imagine living in His presence forever? Trading life here for life there would be incredible. No more sickness. No more tears. No more taxes (sorry, had to throw that one in). Perfect living. Paradise. But there is only one way to get there – Jesus.

Lord, I know I will live forever because I am Your child. Give me the courage and strength to obey Your will daily.

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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.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Death, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Salvation

ARE YOU READY?

1 PETER 4:6

“For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”

This could be a confusing verse if you don’t look at it closely. What is Peter saying here? People who have been persecuted and killed (judged in the flesh) are now alive in the spirit. You see, people may kill your body for standing for Christ, but they cannot kill your spirit.

Why do we fear death and persecution? No one wants to suffer, of course. But our mortal bodies are simply the vessels God has given us to use on this earth to advance His kingdom. When we “give up” these bodies, where do we go? Heaven! So, there is no reason to fear death, no matter how it comes.

APPLICATION

Most parents shy away from talking to their kids about death. We are afraid it will scare them. Don’t do that. Talk about what death means for a Christian. Let them know how precious our eternity is. Death is nothing to fear. Death is simply a portal from this physical life to the next.

This may seem like a morbid subject to discuss with kids. It’s only morbid if we treat it like that. Celebrate life with your kids. Celebrate death of a believer with your kids. As Peter says in today’s verse, “they may live in the spirit.” We live, after death, in the spirit. That is certainly not morbid. It’s encouraging.

Do you fear death? I certainly don’t. I have a terminal disease and have gone through two stem cell transplants. I have “beat” death twice now. But I welcome death when it comes. There is no fear of it. I know where I am going when death comes. Do you? I pray you do. Make sure of that today.

I am thankful for the assurance I have in this life for my future life in heaven. Death is embraced, when it comes, as You welcome me into Your arms.

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GOOD CONSCIENCE

1 PETER 3:16

“and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”

What does it mean to “keep a good conscience”? Let’s break this down a bit. Actually, the Greek word translated as “keep” in this verse means to have or possess. The word “conscience” has the idea of the God-given capacity to know right from wrong. So, Peter is saying that no matter what others may say about us, as long as we know what we are doing is right, don’t worry about it. They are the ones who will be shamed.

Have you ever had someone put you down for something you have done? I have. I prayed about and had a perfect peace that what I was doing was God’s will. But because it went against or interfered in what someone else wanted, they ridiculed or at the very least questioned my intentions. All you can do at that point is trust the Lord and go on.

APPLICATION

Children face this all the time from their peers. It gets worse in the middle school and high school years. Whenever your child stands up for what God tells them, they are sure to be made fun of by others. It’s just the day in which we live. Living a life of integrity and purity is almost looked down on by those who choose to live another way.

As parents we hate to see them come home in tears or sullen. Our job is to encourage them with verses like this one today. Remind them that in the end those who have given them a hard time will be shamed. In the meantime, they are to continue to live for Jesus and trust Him to guard their hearts. Is it easy? By no means. But the end result is the key. He will reward the faithful.

How is your conscience? Are you remaining true to Him? Stay faithful, my friend. Allow the Lord to show you the big picture. Ask Him to give you a glimpse into the possibilities before you. He will as you surrender. He doesn’t want to keep secrets from you. He wants you in on His plans. Follow Him.

O God, I will trust You in the difficult circumstances. I will allow You to guard my heart as others attack. I will count it a privilege to suffer for You.

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ARISE

ACTS 9:40

“But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.” 

Acts 9:36-43 tells the story of Peter raising Tabitha (Dorcas in the Greek language) from the dead. What a wonderful story. Isn’t it? There were many friends of Tabitha there when this happened, so the word spread quickly throughout Joppa. What do you think happened?

Verse 42 tells us. “It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” This is the reason the Lord worked through Peter to raise Tabitha. It really wasn’t about her. It was about all those who would be led to the Lord. Bringing the spiritually dead to life is much more important than bringing the physically dead to life.

APPLICATIONS

Did you know your children are dead before they come to Christ? They are spiritually dead waiting to arise. As parents we pray for our children’s salvation and rejoice greatly when they surrender to the call of our Lord. You may be parents of unsaved children. Don’t stop praying. God is still raising dead people.

Once your children are saved and walking with the Lord, your job is to keep them “alive.” What do I mean by that? Walking in newness requires daily dying to self. Wnhe you die to self, you have to get up and walk with Christ through His life. You die and then arise. You surrender to Jesus daily and allow Him to direct your steps. Your children need to know this truth.

Are you dead or alive? Are you the dead Tabitha or the alive Tabitha? Your risen life in Christ can be used, like Tabitha’s, to draw many others to Jesus. Wouldn’t that be awesome? By your daily surrender to Him, others can see Jesus in you. Arise!

I want to walk in newness of life with You today. I lay my life before You to use however You desire. I want to draw others to You through my surrendered life. 

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NOT BEING

1 PETER 2:24

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

There is an interesting word in this verse. The phrase “we might die” is the Greek word apoginomai. It literally can be translated “from being.” Ginomai means to become, to begin.

This word apoginomai is only used right here in this verse. So, what is Peter trying to tell us about sin?

Christ’s death on the cross and the stripes and wounds He bore rescued us from the penalty of sin. We don’t have to be sinful anymore. We have been moved away from death and into life. We are to live righteously because of His sacrifice on the cross. Hallelujah!

APPLICATION

Children can come up with all sort of excuses for doing wrong. It’s their sibling’s fault. They just couldn’t help themselves. They didn’t know that was wrong. And the truth is, before Christ comes into their life, they don’t know any better. They are sinful creatures.

But if your children have accepted Christ as their Savior, there is no excuse for sin. We must point them towards living righteously. Read them this verse. Show them what Christ has done for us. He bore our sins. He took our punishment upon Himself. Ask your children if anyone has ever taken their punishment for them. Ask them how that would make them feel.

Do you realize, I mean really realize, what Christ has done for you? He has freed you to live righteously. The pain and suffering of sin has been paid for. You are debt free. How would you live if you were debt free financially? You are debt free spiritually, not because of anything you have done, but because of what Christ has done for you. Live like it today.

I am free to live righteously today. I praise You, Lord, for paying the price for my freedom. I will live today to honor You.

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UNDESERVED GIFTS

1 PETER 2:22

“WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;”

Yesterday was Easter. What a perfect verse we have today to remind us of Christ’s innocence. He didn’t deserve to die. He had done no wrong. But He took on Himself my sin and your sin in order to give to us something we did not deserve – His righteousness. Wow! What a gift!

Have you ever gotten a gift you didn’t deserve? I have had friends bless me with gifts. During my recent illness I had several friends who blessed us financially. They wanted to help ease the burden of traveling back and forth to the hospital and the month and a half stay away from home. We didn’t deserve this, but they gave anyway. Jesus gave His all when we didn’t deserve it.

APPLICATION

Surprise your children with a gift. They may have been terrible yesterday and disobeyed you all day long. Perfect! Give them a gift they are not expecting. When they ask you why you are giving them such a gift, explain to them the gift that Jesus gave you when you didn’t deserve it. Let them know that Jesus loves us that much. He doesn’t wait for us to get better to save us. He saves us just like we are.

Ask your children if they know what innocent means. You may have to explain that to them. Tell them that Jesus had never done anything wrong, even when He was a little boy. Every action He took reflected His Father in heaven. And despite His innocence, He took on the guilt of the world. Why? To give us this undeserved gift of salvation.

Have you thanked the Lord today for your undeserved gift of salvation? Do that right now. I’ll wait…. Now, don’t you feel better? It’s always good to thank someone for the gifts we have been given, especially those undeserved gifts. Do that daily, as He continues to bless you.

Dear Lord, I thank You for blessing me. I only deserve hell, but You have chosen me to be Your child and have given me a gift which I could never repay. I love You, Lord.

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WE ARE AT WAR

1 PETER 2:11

“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” 

I never served in the military. I came close after completing seminary. I looked into going into the Air Force as a Chaplain. That didn’t happen though, so I missed out on serving our country in uniform. I applaud all those who have served and are serving in every branch.

But I have been in a battle my entire life. It’s the one Peter refers to here in today’s verse. He calls us aliens and strangers because this world is not our home. We are just passing through. And as we pass through it, we are battling the flesh. Only through submission to Christ can we defeat these “fleshly lusts” which seek to pull us down.

APPLICATION

Your children may have a better idea of war since they have never known a day when our country, the United States of

America, was not at war. We’ve been fighting somewhere since 2001. Talk about that with your children. Ask them what they understand about this war we are fighting.

But then talk about today’s verse. Ask them if they realize they are in a daily battle. They are soldiers fighting against the lure of the flesh. Now, you may have to explain that to them. Things like lying, cheating, being mean to their siblings or disobeying you are all good examples of “fleshly lusts.”

How are you fighting? Are you armed with the sword of truth? You cannot fight this battle alone. You do not have the strength or wisdom. Only the power of the cross can defend you and guide you. Let Jesus be your Commander in Chief and lead you into battle today.

Lord, You are my Commander in Chief. I will follow You. Help me defeat the lusts of my flesh by surrendering to You daily.

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HOW TO LIVE

TITUS 2:12

“instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,”

Salvation is just the beginning. We are so thankful for the saving power of Jesus in our lives, but it doesn’t stop there. Paul tells us in today’s verse how to live. The grace which appeared instructs us to deny certain things and to live a certain way. We have to say “no” to stuff in order to say “yes” to others. You can’t walk two paths.

It’s pretty simple, really. We should have nothing to with not honoring God. He deserves it all. It all points to Him. And we should shun seeking to fulfill ourselves with temporal, worldly things. They just don’t last. Instead, we should live sensibly (calmly), righteously (approved by God) and godly (devout). Simple, huh? With Jesus, it is. Without Him, impossible.

APPLICATION

These are practical words for our children. Do this and don’t do that. Isn’t that what we are trying to do each day with them? Have them make a list of things they think are ungodly. Depending on their age, this list could be funny. But let them make the list. Then talk about how they can avoid those things. These are things they don’t want to be around.

Then switch it up and have them list some godly things. How do they pursue them? Ask them if they think doing godly things will make them godly. It’s so important they understand it doesn’t. Only Jesus can make us godly. We live godly because of Him. We do godly things because of Him. We are simply a reflection of His godliness.

Who are you reflecting today? You know you do that every day. You reflect your Savior or you reflect your flesh. One is godly. The other is not. One draws others to Christ. The other repels them. One is inviting and warm. The other – not so much. What kind of mirror are you today? Choose Jesus.

I am so thankful for simple instructions on how to live. Help me today to live as You would have me live. I want to please You.

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MY DAD’S TEA GLASS

2 TIMOTHY 2:20

“Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.”

When I was growing up in my parents’ home, my dad had a special gold colored tea glass. That was his glass. We knew not to use it and for goodness sake, when we were washing it (yes, we hand-washed dishes back then), not to break it. That glass pretty much stayed full of sweet, iced tea in the refrigerator and by his chair in the evening. He did love his tea.

That glass was nothing special. I mean, we actually had nicer glasses in the house. But that glass served its purpose as my dad’s tea glass. Each of us have our purpose in the body of Christ. We may think some roles are more important or look nicer, but each and every role serves the purpose it is designed to do for the body of Christ. We should not look down on someone who is fulfilling the “wooden” or “earthenware” roles.

APPLICATION

This is so important to teach our children. In fact, I truly feel it is important for our children to have several of those “wooden” or “earthenware” roles in the family as they grow up. Taking out the trash is certainly NOT a “golden” role, but let that job not get done for a few days and see what happens. How about cleaning the bathrooms? Let that go undone for a week or two, and no one will want to go in there.

We teach our children these lessons in the home so they understand that in other areas of life. In the church or in school, they will have the opportunity to serve in a variety of roles. Keeping that servant’s heart in whatever role they fill will give them opportunities to be Jesus to others. Isn’t that our goal – to teach them to be more like Him?

How is your attitude when you are asked to roll up your sleeves and perform a menial task? Do you think you are above that or do you dive right in? Take the opportunity to serve wherever you are and however you can. Don’t let your ego or pride get in the way of receiving a blessing from someone you have the chance to serve.

Thank You, Lord, for giving me plenty of opportunities to serve You by serving others. Help me to not ever think I am above the job. I want to exemplify You in my service.

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