Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, Following, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Protection, Scripture, Self-control, Testimony

WHAT A STORY

1 JOHN 3:12

“not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.”

Have you ever heard a story told over and over? My brother-in-law, Dr. Wayne Barber, was a master storyteller. He just had a way of bringing you right into the story. He famously told his beaver dam story more times than I can count, but each time he told it, I was sucked right in. Some stories are just that memorable.

John is reminding us of a story we have all heard before. Cain killed his brother. Wow! He was jealous of his brother. And when he was confronted by God after he killed him, what did he say? Am I my brother’s keeper? Why yes, Cain, you are. That’s John’s point. We are all our brother’s keeper.

APPLICATION

If you have more than one child, don’t you teach your older children to keep an eye on the younger ones? I don’t mean they should be responsible for them. But they do have an obligation to watch over them, to help protect them. It’s just the right thing for siblings to do.

I will never forget defending my little sister on a school playground when I was in the second grade and she was in the first grade. The class bully had decided to pick on her during recess, and I was going to have none of that. After our confrontation (let’s leave it at that), he didn’t bother her again. Now, I am not advocating fighting. Please don’t hear me say that. But I am saying we have to teach our children to look after each other.

Is there a weaker brother who could use your support? Maybe someone is going through some marriage struggles right now and needs advice. Perhaps someone is struggling with a wayward child and you’ve got some experience in that area. Don’t turn your back. Ask the Lord to use you to lighten their load.

Use me, Lord, however you wish to come to the aid of those around me. I want to honor You.

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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, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Destruction, Devil, Enemies, Following, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Protection, Scripture

EMPTY PROMISES

2 PETER 2:17

“These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.”

Peter is rough on these false teachers, to whom he is referencing in this verse. He compares them to “springs without water” and “mists driven by a storm.” A spring without water is useless. It’s no good for anyone. And those mists he refers to are not any good either. They pass without dropping any measurable, beneficial moisture to the earth.

False teachers may look good and promise great things, but they fall way short. They will appear to deliver just what you want. And when you decide to follow, they have you. They will lead you right into that “black darkness” which is reserved for them.

APPLICATION

This is exactly why we have to guard our children from these evil influences. They can so easily lead our kids astray. You have to hold them close, mom and dad. I don’t mean to isolate them from the world. I do mean to keep talking to them. Know who their friends are. Know what they are listening to. Know what they are watching.

In this day of social media our kids can be watching and listening to people who can influence them negatively. When our children are following these individuals without our knowledge, before you know it, they are embracing different ideologies and beliefs. They start questioning authorities and God’s principles. Keep them close!

Have you fallen for the false teaching of others? Have they tricked you into believing a lie? It’s not too late to turn back to the truth. God’s truth trumps any lies from the devil. Returning to Him is the only way to protect yourself from these individuals. Knowing Him fully will allow you recognize these false teachers quickly.

Lord, protect my heart from those who want to drag it away from You. Point them out to me before they even get near. Use Your Holy Spirit to guide me away from them and toward You.

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Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Protection, Rescue, Scripture, Surrender

TORMENTED

2 PETER 2:8

“(for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),” 

I have to say that I have never been tormented. The Greek word here actually means to be tortured. Lot’s life (that’s who Peter is referring to here) must have been horrible. He was living in a cesspool of sin with seemingly no escape. His world was collapsing around him.

Have you ever felt that way? Troubles seem to follow you wherever you go? You can’t seem to catch a break? Listen to me, God has a way out for you. Those troubles are meant to drive you closer to Him. I can speak from experience – it’s no fun. But the final destination is worth it! He’s waiting there for you.

APPLICATION

Have you ever taken your children on a long bike ride, maybe a trail ride? I bet at some point they wanted to stop, didn’t they? When the trail got tough, they probably started complaining. What did you do? You probably said something like this. Come on, honey. It’s just a little bit further. Or maybe you said I know you can make it. Just dig a little deeper. You can do it.

God is whispering the same words to you. If He has led you down this path, He intends to see you through it. Perhaps your torments are of your own choosing. Even then, when you turn to the Lord, He will bring you out. You may have some scars, but He will complete the course with you.

The question is do you trust Him. Do you? Do you trust the creator of the universe to rescue you? Why wouldn’t you? If He can create the world in six days, He is powerful enough to pull you through. Surrender to Him today. No matter what you are facing at the moment, surrender it to Him.

Lord, I am thankful You can rescue me from the torments in my life. This world will try to bring me down, but You are there to raise me up.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Devil, Encouragement, Mentoring, Parenting, Protection, Satan, Scripture, Submission

AN EYE ON YOU

2 PETER 2:5

“and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;” 

Oh, I never tire of discovering hidden meanings in the original languages of Scripture. Today’s verse is no exception. In verses 4-10 of 2 Peter, Peter gives us four examples of how God works. In this example of Noah and his family, God “preserved” them inside the ark while the rest of the world drowned. We are all very familiar with that story.

But do you know what “preserved” means in the Greek? It literally means to keep your eye on something so as to guard and protect it. It is used of a sentry in the military keeping watch. It is used of shepherds watching over their sheep. God kept watch over Noah and his family. He didn’t just put them in a boat. He does the same for us.

APPLICATION

Do you watch over your children? I pray your answer is a resounding yes. I am always concerned when I see parents not watching their children in public. There are so many ways a child can be hurt today. There are people who prey on unattended children. We have to be diligent to protect them from harm.

But are you as diligent to protect them spiritually? The evil one is prowling around your children seeking to snatch them away. I have heard far too many parents say I will let my child make up their own mind about religion. Wake up! If we leave our children unattended spiritually and left to figure it out on their own, they are ripe for picking by the devil. Guard your children. Preserve your children.

Our Father in heaven is watching and guarding us all the time. He does not sleep, and He does not slumber. He is always alert to any schemes of the devil and will move in quickly to defeat them. But we have to remain under His protective umbrella by submitting to His authority in our life. We have to want His protection. Do you?

I am comforted by knowing the Great Shepherd is constantly at watch over me. Guard me, Lord. I am asking for Your protection.

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