Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Gifts, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Patience, Salvation, Scripture

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

2 PETER 3:15

“and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,” 

Just how patient are you? I like to think I am very patient, but truth be known, I am probably not. And why aren’t I? Because I want my way. I want things done how I want them. I want… Well, you see where this is going. My flesh gets in the way.

Aren’t you glad Jesus isn’t like me? Before you yell You better believe it, ask yourself how you compare. Jesus is the patient or long-suffering one. This Greek word for patience is the same word used in Galatians 5:22. “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” You see, you can’t be patient without the Spirit controlling you.

APPLICATION

How do you teach your children patience? The best way is to model it for them. How patient are you with them? Ouch! Did that hit home? Sometimes we aren’t very patient with our little ones. Jesus is so long-suffering with us. Don’t forget that. How can you extend that to your kids?

Jesus was patient towards you in regards to your salvation. That’s what Peter said in today’s verse. He waited for you to respond. He didn’t hurry you or force you. Can you show that patience toward your child? That fruit of the Spirit is so important to show to others, especially your children.

How patient are you toward your work colleagues? How about your neighbor who infringes on your property? Hmmm. Well, Carl, you don’t understand. I don’t have to. Jesus does, and He can give you the power to be patient. In fact, He already has, if you are believer. That fruit is yours to exercise.

Lord, I long to be just like You, including being patient with others. I know I don’t have it within me to do that without the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Patience

RESTORING OLD FRIENDS

2 TIMOTHY 4:11

“Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.”

I have to tell you that this verse warms my heart. Mark had joined Paul, Barnabus and Silas, but split at Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 13:13). So when Barnabus wanted to bring his cousin Mark back on the next journey (Acts 15:38) it lead to a split between Barnabus and Paul, causing each to go their separate way – Paul with Silas an Barnabus with Mark.

But skip ahead to today’s verse, almost 20 years later, and who does he ask Timothy to bring with him – Mark. Why? Undoubtedly Mark had redeemed himself through his missionary work. Sometime between 50-60 AD Mark wrote his gospel. Paul had heard of his growth and work and now he wanted to see him in his last days. We can learn some lessons from this verse.

APPLICATION

These are applications for us all, not just parents and not just children. And they are not original. Credit belongs with the author, Kevin Laymon – http://glorybooks.org/paul-barnabas-split-progression-john-mark/.

He gives us four lessons we can learn:

  1. Our past mistakes don’t have to define our future. God constantly works within us to make us more like Him. No matter the extent of our failure, we should learn from it, and allow God to continue to work out his sanctification process in us. It’s never too late.
  2. If you mess up in ministry, or in life, don’t ever feel like you can’t get back in the game. Mark was a late bloomer, as are some of us. Sometimes God works in people for years, with many falls along the way, before they are ready for ministry. Be patient.
  3. It’s never too late to reconnect with someone you’ve let down. We’ve all failed someone in our past. Time spent being sanctified can be a powerful healer.
  4. It’s never too late to forgive someone who let you down. Just as we’ve all failed someone else, we’ve also had someone fail us. Sometimes people go years without speaking because of a falling out. Someone hurts us and we assume they’ll always be that type of person–unchanging. But we need to always remember that if we can change over time, so can someone else. Reach out to them. They just might surprise you.

Lord, let this forgiving, redeeming spirit reign through me. There are many to whom I need to extend grace now after years of separation.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, Labor, Obedience, Parenting, Patience

FARM LIFE

2 TIMOTHY 2:6 

The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 

I didn’t grow up on a farm, but my hometown was an agricultural based economy. Farmers around my community depended on local businesses and banks to extend the credit to plant their crops each year. The local businesses and banks depended on the farmers for their business. One really couldn’t exist without the other. I’ve seen my hometown struggle without the big farms over the last few decades. 

So, when I read this verse, I understood exactly what Paul was saying. A farmer depended on his crops for three things. He had to feed his family. He had to have seed for next year. And he had to sell the crops to pay back his debt. But I also know those farmers depended on the Lord to grow their crops. They knew He was the one who provided the rain and nutrients for their success. 

APPLICATION 

How do you apply this verse to your children? Well, look at the verse again. Paul is telling us that labor precedes reward. The farmer has to plant, tend to and harvest his crops before he can enjoy the fruits of his labor. That’s a lesson worth teaching our children. So many kids expect reward before labor.  

That’s why I believe children should have chores at home. Some chores are just part of being in the family. Cleaning their room, helping with the dishes and taking out the trash do not have to be rewarded with allowance. Now, that’s your call. But going beyond the everyday stuff should be rewarded. How much is also your call. They will learn that labor comes before reward. 

Do you expect something for nothing? Do you enjoy your labor as well as the fruits of your labor? I believe it was Mark Twain who said if you love what you do for a living, you will never work a day in your life. If you labor as unto the Lord, you will love the opportunity the Lord has given you to provide for yourself and your family. Dedicate your “crops” to the Lord today. 

Lord, You are the one who blesses my labor. I will give You today my hands and feet with which I labor. Make them strong so that I can be a blessing to those who depend on me. 

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Disciplemaking, Elders, Encouragement, Friends, Lies, Parenting, Patience, Wisdom

WAIT AND WATCH

1 TIMOTHY 5:24

“The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after.”

Context, context, context! We can’t forget the context of this verse. Taken out of context you could apply this incorrectly and use it to judge others unfairly. But Paul is talking to Timothy about choosing men to serve as Elders in the church. Basically, he is telling him some men are open books. Everyone knows their character, flaws and strengths. Others, however, play a good game. They hide their secret sins, but they will be revealed.

Have you ever met someone and thought they were awesome, only to find out later that you had been conned?  People do it all the time. Deception is their life. They present one way to the public, but privately they live a whole other life. Paul is telling us to wait and watch. Give it some time. Don’t be too hasty. Their true self will reveal itself.

APPLICATION

Oh, listen! This is so important to teach your children. And you can teach it when they are pretty young. I bet you they are going to want something at the local Walmart that you know is not going to last very long. The item is not well made, so you know it’s only going to last the weekend. Have you had this experience? But they are begging for it. They even say they will use their own money.

So, you let them buy the item. Sure enough, it breaks within 24 hours. Now you have a great object lesson. Tell them that people can be that way. What appears to be great on the outside can hold deceptive parts. People who seem like great people can be hiding some very bad motives. The object here is not to get them to not trust people. The object is for them to learn discernment and patience. God will reveal to them the truth or the falsehood in the person. (Now, give them their money back since you used this as an object lesson, lol.)

This devotional may seem like I am “negative Nancy.” I believe the Word teaches us wisdom. It shows us the way to avoid situations. This is one of them. Don’t rush to judgment on someone, good or bad. Wait and watch. Let the Lord reveal their character. It will come out. Just watch.

Father, give me Your eyes and ears to discern truth in others. Help me see them as You see them. Expose any deception before I am deceived.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Family, Friends, Hope, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Patience, Scripture

I SURE HOPE SO

1 TIMOTHY 3:14

“I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long;”

Strong’s Concordance defines “hoping” as “actively waiting for God’s fulfillment about the faith He has inbirthed through the power of His love.” I really like that – actively waiting. If you are like me, I never considered waiting an active thing. Waiting for a movie to start is the worst. I really don’t like just sitting there and seeing all those commercials or previews. I came to see the movie, not that. Maybe I need to see that waiting as active also.

Paul was hoping to come to see Timothy there in Ephesus. He was longing to reunite with his apprentice, his child in the faith, his traveling buddy. And this hope was based on faith. Paul loved Timothy, and I am sure he missed him. Aren’t reunifications after long periods of time sweet?

APPLICATIONS

I bet your little Gertrude is hoping for something right now. It may be a new doll or a new dress. It may be a visit to or from someone special. Whatever it is, ask her why she wants that. Get her to explain why she is so passionate about it. She may find it hard to put into words but encourage her to do so. Hoping for something is not a bad thing. It can, in fact, build faith.

As believers, we are hoping for that glorious day of Christ’s return. We know He is coming. We just don’t know when. It could be today. Now explain to your child this hope. It’s like none other because we KNOW it will come to pass. No other hope is as sure. Hoping in Christ is a done deal. All we have to do is “actively” wait.

Are you actively waiting? Or are you like me at the movie theater waiting on that movie to start. Today as you sit in traffic or wait in line at a restaurant, try waiting actively. Take that time while you are waiting to recite some Scripture. Sing a hymn. Pray. Don’t let those moments slip by without using them to invest in God’s kingdom.

Help me, Lord, to redeem each moment given to me today. Help me use every second to help fulfill Your kingdom here on earth. My hope lies only in You.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Evangelism, Family, Fatherhood, Forgiveness, Friends, Grace, Mercy, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Patience, Surrender

AN EXAMPLE

1 TIMOTHY 1:16

“Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” 

Could the Lord use you as an example? Paul was used that way. The Lord saved him from certain destruction and set him up as an example of His mercy and grace. God showed Paul patience as only God could do. 

Paul saw God’s actions as purposeful, not just for himself, but for others, as well. Paul’s salvation and life in Christ were an example God was using to draw others to Himself. Can God do that with you? Is your life one that the Lord can hold up to show others what He can do in someone who is surrendered to Him? 

APPLICATION

Sometimes we parents will tell one of our children, “Why can’t you be more like your sister (or brother)?” We compare their behaviors. That is NOT what I am talking about here. We should never compare our children. God has created each of them unique. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. Instead, we should always point them to Christ. Let Him be their example.

You also have to be an example to them. Your life should be a reflection of Christ to them, so they can see what a true believer looks like. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. No one is. But we are the ones the Lord has entrusted with this little life. He gave them to us to give back to Him. Do all you can to ensure you are doing that.

Okay, so how are you doing? If a total stranger met you for the first time, would they know within a few minutes that you are a child of the King? Better yet, do your close friends and family see Christ lived out in your life every day? Can the Lord say you are an example of His perfect patience?

Thank You, Father, for extending Your grace to me. I am grateful for Your perfect patience in my life. Without it I would be doomed for eternity.

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