Advice, Asking, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confidence, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Prayer, Promises, Relationships, Scripture

ASK WITH CONFIDENCE

1 JOHN 5:14 

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 

I remember a few times in my life when I asked for a raise. Have you ever done that? It can be a scary thing, can’t it? You’re not sure how your boss is going to take it. He may get mad or irritated by you for asking. Or he may grant your request. I have found that if you ask with confidence and boldness, you are more than likely going to get some kind of raise. 

I love that John uses the word “confidence” here in reference to prayer. That is the same word that the writer of Hebrews uses in Hebrews 4:16 referring to how we approach the throne of God in prayer. We do it with boldness because of whose we are in Christ. John tells us something similar in John 14:6. “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.” Ask! 

APPLICATION 

Most children don’t have a problem asking for things, do they? They may bug you and bug you about something until you finally give in and get it for them. I am not talking about that. We need to teach our children how to ask with boldness, with confidence. That word “confidence” means to speak out with resolve, with sureness. That’s how we want our children to ask, not timidly and fearful. 

But what do they need to ask for? Simple. John tells us. “Anything according to His will.” If we teach our children to ask the Lord to bless them according to His will, the Lord is quick to answer. He wants His will done in our lives. He wants to see us walking with Him. He is pleased when we ask for His will to be done. Teach your children that way of asking. 

Maybe you are stuck in the old pattern of asking what pleases yourself. You are wondering why God won’t answer your prayers. Well, that’s simple, too. God is trying to direct you towards His will. He could answer your prayers the way you ask, but you would not like the results. God knows best. Ask with confidence but ask according to His will. Then watch what happens. It will amaze you. 

I come before You to ask You to give me the wisdom to walk in Your light. I want to live in such a way that others are drawn to You.  

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Abiding, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Inspirational, Invisible, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Promises, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

IS GOD INVISIBLE?

1 JOHN 4:12

“No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”

When I first read this verse, it seemed like the first part had nothing to do with the second part. What has God not being seen to do with God abiding in us and His love? But then it hit me. Of course, we can’t see God, but we can see God when His love, which abides in us, is shown to others.

John talks about loving one another and God abiding in us a lot. So, he is not confused in this verse. All these thoughts in this verse go together. If we want people to see God, we have to love them. We have to show them how He abides in us and how His love is perfected in us.

APPLICATION

How do your kids know you love them? Do they read about it in some book? Do you just talk about it? No, they see how you love them by how you treat them, how you talk to them, how you express that love when they are the most unloveable. We teach our kids about our love for them by expressing that love.

I’m a hugger. I love to hug people. The hardest part about this covid-19 pandemic is not being able to do that. But you can hug your own kids. Express your love. Take every opportunity you have to do that. Kids need to be touched. They need to be cuddled. Do all that in Jesus’ name. Every time you hug them, ask them if they know who loves them more than mommy and daddy. Tell them just how much God loves them.

Who do you need to show God’s love to today? Maybe you have a neighbor who is struggling right now due to isolation in this pandemic. Find a way to express God’s love to them. Maybe a coworker is going through a hard time at work. Express God’s love to them. Remember, they can’t see God, but they can sure see God in you.

I may be the only Jesus someone sees today, Lord. Help me love them as You do. I want them to see You in me.

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Appeasement, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

THE ULTIMATE APPEASEMENT

1 JOHN 4:10

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Have you ever angered someone so badly that you had no clue how to make it right? I have. In the past, I have searched and searched how to seek forgiveness. Most of the time I have received that, but only after true remorse. I don’t want to ever intentionally harm someone. But it happens sometimes.

Aren’t you glad that God took the initiative to provide the means for forgiveness for us? We could have never satisfied His wrath. There is nothing we could do on our own. But…by the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate appeasement. He satisfied an angry God (His Father) for us. Wow!

APPLICATION

I bet your children know when you are angry at them. They can usually tell when dad or mom are about to blow. They may push it to the last straw, but most kids know when to stop pushing. But do they know how to make things right with you? What do you expect from them? Ask them that. Ask them if they know how to appease you. They will probably say Huh? Then explain.

You are seeking to train them how to seek forgiveness from the Father. Take them to today’s verse. Explain that word “propitiation.” They need to understand how important it is to our Christian faith. In fact, we would have no faith without it. Yet that word only appears twice in the Scripture. The other time is in 1 John 2.2. Christ died for them to satisfy the requirements of forgiveness God had established. Only Jesus could do it, and He did it for them.

Do you realize the depth of this? Christ died for you. He gave His life to satisfy the price of sin in your life. And all you have to do is claim that forgiveness. I pray you have, but if you haven’t, do it right now. Ask Jesus into your life to be your Savior and Lord. Confess your sins to Him. Acknowledge His death, burial and resurrection. Then welcome His Holy Spirit into your life. It’s that simple.

Lord, I praise You for sending Your Son to die for me to satisfy the price which I could never pay. I am eternally grateful.

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Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

OH, THE SPIRIT

1 JOHN 3:24

“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

I tried to think of a cute introduction to today’s devotional, but I couldn’t. This verse is just too in your face. It’s all about abiding in Him and He in us. John wrote all about this in His gospel. Take a minute and read John 15 if you haven’t in a while.

But then John adds that last phrase that just blesses my heart. He says, “by the Spirit whom He has given us.” That should bless your socks off if you’re a believer. Look at that gift. Jesus gives us His Spirit. He is the one who confirms Jesus is abiding in us. You see, the Spirit is the seal of His presence. It’s His guarantee and pledge. Abiding is a sure thing with the Spirit in us.

APPLICATION

Now, teaching abiding can be tricky with kids. How do you get them to understand that the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, actually lives in them once they accept Christ as their Savior? It doesn’t make sense logically, does it? I mean, how does someone live in you?

Children are concrete thinkers, for the most part. There are some things that just can’t be explained in concrete terms. As parents, we have to rest in the knowledge that God is big enough to assure your children the Spirit is there. I have seen children change when they accept Christ. What does that? Or should I say who does that? Simply put – the Spirit. God is capable of changing them from the inside out. Let Him take care of that.

You have to nurture those around you who are believers. You are to encourage them in their walk with Christ. You are to come alongside them when they need help. That’s the Spirit working through you. That’s a sure sign of your abiding. And as you abide, the Spirit makes you aware of those who need you. Rest in Him. He will show you. Enjoy the gift.

I am so thankful for the abiding presence of Your Spirit in my life. I want to tune into Him minute by minute so I don’t miss one opportunity to be used by You.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Surrender

ASK WHATEVER

1 JOHN 3:22

“and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Can you imagine asking for whatever you want and getting it? What would you ask for? A new car? Unlimited wealth? We tend to think about material things. I have to admit there are a few things I might ask for.

But John is not talking about that. The disclaimer is in the second part of the verse. He says, “because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” If we are doing that, then we will ask for things that bring Him glory, not satisfy our flesh. If we are obedient to His commands and seek to please Him, all that matters is Jesus.

APPLICATION

We teach our children to be content, don’t we? We don’t want them to be one of those kids in the checkout line screaming because they aren’t allowed to get the candy bar. We have to go so far beyond that, though, in our teaching. It’s not just about the physical wants. Our goal is to teach them to pursue spiritual satisfaction.

Do you realize teaching our children to obey our rules and seek to “please” us is a reflection of what we are teaching them in regards to the Lord? When they learn to obey in the small things, they will learn to obey in the bigger things. Small victories can lead to big victories. We can’t pass on the small things.

Are you struggling to keep His commands and please the Father? You don’t have to, you know. But you do have to decide to surrender. You can’t have it your way and His way. The promise is there – ask whatever we want. But we must be in unity with His Spirit. When we are, there is nothing He will withhold from us. How exciting.

I do not ask to please myself, Lord. I ask only to give You glory. I want all I ask to be in Your Will.

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Advice, Anxiety, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Double-minded, Doubts, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Trust, Truth

OF THE TRUTH

1 JOHN 3:19

“We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him”

Have you ever had doubts? I mean, really had doubts about something? You think you know what the truth is, but something just keeps bugging you. You can’t seem to put your finger on it. Doubt is a worrying thing, isn’t it? No one wants to feel unsure of themselves. At least, I don’t. I want to be assured that my actions and beliefs are grounded on something solid.

John is telling us here in this verse that we can be assured. How? By relying on the truths of God’s Word. Nothing else is certain. He says it “will assure our heart before Him.” What does that mean? The word “assure” means to be persuaded. But not just any persuasion. It means the Lord persuades the believer to be confident in His preferred-will. It involves obedience, but it is the result of God’s persuasion.

APPLICATION

Have you taught your kids to jump in the water to you? How did you do that? Did you stand way out in the pool or lake and tell them to just run and jump? Of course, not. You did it slowly. You stepped just away from them and had them jump into your arms. Then you backed away a little more, until they were literally diving out into your arms.

You had to persuade them to trust you. The Lord knows the same is true for us as we learn to trust Him. He wants us to teach our children these small truths of trust. As our children learn to trust the Lord in little things, they will begin to trust Him with bigger things. Of course, the biggest thing we trust Him with is our salvation. And if we can trust Him with that, why can’t we trust Him with the other stuff?

What are you holding back from God? What are you not trusting Him with? Let me ask you a question. Are you persuaded that you are in His will right now? Hmmm? The Lord doesn’t want you unstable or unsure in your ways. Lean on Him. Trust Him to guide you in all your days. He will!

Father, forgive me of my doubts. Reassure me today that You are guiding and protecting me. I will trust You! 

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Encouragement, Gifts, Giving, Hugs, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Relationships, Scripture

DON’T JUST TALK ABOUT IT

1 JOHN 3:18

“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

Have you ever promised to do something for someone and just never got around to doing it? We probably have all done that at some point. We have the best of intentions, but we get busy and forget about it. Or we just put it off because it doesn’t seem that important.

Well, it is. Our word means something, but only if we act on it. John is reminding us that our love is seen so much more by our deeds and actions. We can say we love someone, but until we show them our love by our actions, it doesn’t really hold a lot of truth. It can be the simplest sign, too. It just means so much more than words.

APPLICATION

This might be a time when we can learn from our kids. Kids show love easily. They are normally quick to run up and give a hug or kiss to express their love. They may make a special little gift for someone just because they want to. Little expressions of love from little ones mean so much. Why do we adults shy away from the simple ways?

And the biggest way we can show our love for others is by telling them about Jesus. Do you have friends whom you tell you love, but have never shared Jesus with? Do you really love them then? How can we say we love someone if we don’t share with them the most important thing in our lives? What better expression of our love?  Teach your kids to share their love of Jesus to others as well. That’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Tell someone today just how much Jesus loves them. Tell them how much you want to see them come to know Him as their Lord and Savior. Invite someone to church or to a small group. And if you have promised to do something for them in the name of Jesus, by all means, do it. Keep your word. Love in deed, my brother.

Father, let my love to others be more than just words. Let them see my love acted out to them in simple actions.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Contentment, Encouragement, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Promises, Remembering, Scripture, Testimony

JUST LIKE HIM

1 JOHN 3:2

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

Don’t you love it when your children put on your shoes or clothes and pretend to be you? It is so cute. In those days they totally admire you. They want to be just like you. You probably have pictures somewhere of them doing that. Precious memories.

Listen – we should be doing the same thing as it relates to God. We should be trying every day to be just like Him. John is telling us in this verse that our ability to do that depends on our vision of Him. Huh? Yes, we shall see Him one day fully, but we can see Him daily now. His Word shows us how to live. His Word directs our thoughts and actions.

APPLICATION

Break out some of those pictures of your kids I mentioned earlier. Or even better, find some of you doing the same thing. Your kids will get a kick out of that. If you have young children, do it now. Play dress up. Let them put on your shoes and clothes. Then read them this verse and talk about what we just discussed.

Explain to your kids the importance of walking in God’s shoes. Unlike yours, His will fit. He molds them especially for your journey. Unlike your pants or dress, His clothes will fit you just right. He doesn’t want you tripping or falling. He desires each of your steps to be unobstructed.

Are you struggling to be like Him? Maybe you are trying too hard. Stop trying to figure out how to be like Him and let Him be Himself through you. That is a lot easier. He knows how to be God. You don’t. But guess what – the more you do this, the more you look like Him.

Father, make me to look just like You. I want others to see Jesus in me – not me.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commitment, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Self-control, Sincerity, Testimony

PROMISE MADE – PROMISE KEPT

1 JOHN 2:25


“This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.”

Don’t you hate it when someone makes a promise and doesn’t keep it? It’s frustrating and inconsiderate. I have not always been good at that. Honesty time here. I have made promises I have not kept. Sometimes that was due to things outside of my control. Other times…well…I just didn’t follow through with what I promised I would do. For that I am sorry. I have confessed that and have asked for forgiveness from God and those whom I have offended.

But John tell us today of the sure promise made by God – eternal life. The Greek word here for “promise” refers to a legal term that means an officially sanctioned promise. It’s not some off the cuff, last minute promise. No, this is thought out and guaranteed. In fact, almost every promise mentioned in the New Testament points back to a promise made in the Old Testament. God is a God of His Word.

APPLICATION

Have you ever made a promise to your child and failed to follow through? Hands please? Yep, we’ve all done that. Now, the hard question. Have you asked your child’s forgiveness? What? Me ask my child to forgive me? Yep, that’s exactly what I mean. We must do that. They need to see forgiveness asked for and given modeled by us.

Better yet – don’t make promises you know you can’t keep. We are prone to do that sometimes just to get our kids to cooperate. Bad idea. Read them today’s verse. Explain how God always keeps His promises and that you want to be more like Him. They will understand and appreciate that.

Is there someone you need to go to and ask forgiveness for not keeping your promise? Do that today. It may be something small to you, but it could be huge to them. Recognizing your failure to follow through is the first step, but you have to go the next step and make it right. Rest in the fact that God will never have to come to you and ask you to forgive Him for failing you. He never will.

Lord, thank You for being so sure. Your Word means just what it says. You will never fail me.

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Advice, Advocate, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Scripture, Submission, Surrender

ANOINTED

1 JOHN 2:20

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.”

Okay, before you get all anxious about talking about “anointing,” hear me out. I am not going to talk about some extreme, cultic behavior. John doesn’t either in today’s verse. He had experienced this anointing in the upper room at Pentecost and had never forgotten it.

Neither should you. The Greek word for “anointing” refers to how the Holy Spirit teaches us and guides us to receive God’s will. Boy, isn’t that something everyone desires – to know and understand God’s will? It’s possible through the Holy Spirit. How? Because the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, lives within us.

APPLICATION

Explain this to your child this way. Stephen Curry is a great basketball player. Your son or daughter could watch every game he has ever played and never fully understand how he does all he does on the court. But if Stephen Curry somehow got into their body and played for them, then they would experience first-hand his skill and ability.

The Holy Spirit does that for us. He climbs inside us at salvation and is just waiting for us to surrender our will to His. He won’t force us to follow God’s will. Nope! But He knows it completely. We just have to let Him show us. Easy? Nope again! But is it worth it? You better believe it.

Are you struggling with your anointing? Why? Let go and allow the Holy Spirit of God to direct you. All those huge problems that bother you will be understood. They may not all go away, but you will understand. God is not playing hide-and-seek with His will. He really does want you to know it.

Lord, show me Your will. I surrender my stubbornness and rebellion. I want to be guided by Your Spirit.

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