Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Godliness, Holiness, Mentoring, Parenting, Purity, Repentance, Sanctification, Scripture

WHAT HOPE?

1 JOHN 3:3

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Well, last night I went to bed with my team, the Atlanta Braves, leading in the fifth inning in game seven of the National League Championship. I tried to stay up but was just too tired. I went to bed with a hope they would hold on to win and go to the World Series. Guess what? That didn’t happen. The Dodgers came back to win, sending Atlanta home.

If you read this verse by itself, you have to ask yourself, “What hope?” That hope is not my hope in the Braves (thank goodness). You need to go back and read verses 1 and 2 of chapter 3. That hope is solely in Christ. John tells us if our hope is in Him then we should live in such a way to honor Him. We should purify ourselves by putting anything out of lives that dishonors Him.

APPLICATION

Don’t you just love bath time with the kids? Really? You don’t? It can be a challenge, especially when they get a little older. Little boys love to play outside and do not necessarily like to wash that outside off once they come in. The smells of where they have been and what they have been doing are all over them.

The next time you are discussing bath time with the kiddos, read them this verse. I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. Explain to them that just as the physical world can affect how we smell, the spiritual world can affect how we live. We have to keep ourselves cleaned up spiritually through confession and righteous living to remove the stench of sin. You may not can smell that sin, but you can sure see the results of it in your life.

How pure are you today? Jesus wants you to walk before Him purified and reflecting Him. He is not honored by our wallowing in sin and professing to be a believer. He, in fact, demands pure living. Will you confess whatever it is you need to confess today? Let Him cleanse you and help you walk in purity.

Thank You for Your cleansing power in my life. Thank You for convicting me of the impurities I carry along with me. I want to walk representing You.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Following, Inspirational, Modeling, Peace, Perseverance, Purity, Trust

PROVEN PRECIOUS

I PETER 1:7

“so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 

Our faith is precious, more precious than gold. And Peter reminds us how gold is proven to be precious. It is tested by fire. The same is true about our faith. It, too, will go through testing.

One scholar wrote,
“Christians should be willing to pass through trials: (a) They will purify their religion, just as the fire will remove dross from gold.

(b) They will make it shine more brightly, just as gold does when it comes out of the furnace. (c) They will disclose more fully its value. (d) They will furnish an evidence that we shall be saved; for that religion which will bear the tests that God applies to it in the present life, will bear the test of the final trial.”

APPLICATION

So, how do you apply this verse? By living through those testings. As you encounter hard times, you have the God given opportunity to trust Him to prove your faith. Your children are watching. As you talk to them about how you are trusting the Lord in the process, they are listening.

You may not think these moments will be remembered by them. After all, they are young. But, oh, they will remember. God will make sure of that. Trusting moments stick. Faith producing moments make impacts, especially on young lives. And when God brings you through, and He will, celebrate that with your children.

Are you in a trial right now? Is your faith being put through the fire? Thank the Lord that He is purifying it. Thank Him that You know it is more precious than gold. Gold will not last forever. Even it is eventually destroyed. But not our faith. With each “firing” it becomes stronger. Believe that!

I praise You for the fires! I may not enjoy the process, but I am thankful for the outcome. Purify me, Lord!

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SHOW YOURSELF

TITUS 2:7

“in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,”

Bottom line? Our faith is public! Our relationship with Jesus is private. But if our faith is real, others are going to see it. Paul is telling Titus that so clearly here. Every word of this verse points this way. “Show yourself” has the meaning of holding something up close to someone to show them. You can’t hide stuff when it’s up close. They see it all.

And what should they see? That you are an example. That word has the idea of a stamp that is on you. They can see the image of it on you. What’s the image? Christ, course. They are His good deeds done through you, not yours. Your teaching, which is done publicly, is imperishable and pure. It’s not tainted. They can trust it. And finally, he says “dignified.” This invites reverence from others because they see you are the real deal. Public, not private.

APPLICATION

Public faith in your home begins with you, mom and dad. You can’t just tell your kids about Jesus. You have to live it out. Seeing faith lived out shows them how to do it. Head knowledge is great. We must teach them the Word of God. We need to memorize His Word. But unless we are willing to apply it in our everyday lives, it is futile and meaningless.

Faith is a shareable commodity. We receive it from the Lord at salvation, and we are expected to share it. It’s one of those rare items that grows the more we give it, like love. As you share your faith in your daily life, as others see you live it out, it inspires them toward a deeper faith. You may never even know who you are influencing, but they are watching. There will be times you make a faith decision when your children are in the background just observing. God is using you. It’s public, not private.

Are you one of those “private” Christians? Are you afraid you may offend someone if you share your faith? Listen, if you are sharing the example of faith given to you in Christ, let it offend. I don’t mean to be judgmental or critical. I mean let it convict. True faith in Christ will expose those around us who are living outside of faith. Let your faith draw them home.

Faith is Your gift to me You gave with the intention of giving it away. Help me live my life today that others can see my faith in You is real and alive. I pray someone will come to faith today.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Encouragement, Eternity, Heaven, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Purity, Religion, Righteousness

STAINED OR UNSTAINED

TITUS 1:15

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.”

Have you ever used stain on a piece of wood? My dad taught me how to stain. He showed me the difference between a piece of stained and unstained wood. You can see the grains that run through the wood when it’s unstained. But when you apply even a light coat of stain, those grains pop out. It changes your view of the wood.

That’s probably a poor analogy, but today’s verse has two very contrasting views – pure and defiled. You could translate these two words as unstained and stained. One is not distracted by the world. The other lives for it. One sees all things as God sees them. The other sees all things as they prefer to see them. Which are you?

APPLICATION

Shaping your child’s worldview is so important. But it begins with their salvation. Only God can truly change how they see the world. You, however, play a huge role in that you help set the environment in which they can readily adjust their eyes to see God’s truth and be ready to hear His voice. Once they respond to His calling (and He is calling them) He will give them that pure heart which will cause them to see “all things are pure.”

Or, you could choose to let your child just decide on their own about religion. After all, you wouldn’t want to influence them in such a private matter. Hogwash! What is more important – where they will spend eternity or being at school on time? We guide our children in life changing decisions. We don’t let them “figure it for themselves.”

Do you see the world clearly? Are you looking through lenses shaped by God’s purity? If not, you have chosen to wear the eyewear of the world in which everything is defiled and stained. Why not today trade in your old glasses for a brand, new pair fashioned by the Lord exclusively for you?

Thank You, Lord, for focusing my eyes on You. I know I can see more clearly when I see with a pure vision. I choose to look up, not down on this world You have placed me in.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Parenting, Purity, Sanctification, Satan, Scripture

GANGRENE

2 TIMOTHY 2:17

“and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,”

What is a gangrene? Medically, it is a condition where an infection gets so bad that it begins to destroy surrounding tissue and bone. The body literally starts to kill itself. So, how does this apply to us in today’s verse. Oh beloved, look closely. When the body of Christ allows the poison of the world (look at verse 16) to remain in its midst, that poison, that infection, will begin to destroy it from within.

The only cure for gangrene is extreme purification of the area. It can lead to actual amputation of toes, fingers or even whole limbs. All the dead tissue must go. It is full of poison. The same goes for the body of Christ. Those who are poisoning the body can’t remain. They have no desire for healing, only killing. They are NOT a part of the healthy body. Ouch! That’s hard.

APPLICATION

I bet your little boy or girl has at some point gotten an infection. Perhaps they have gotten something stuck in their finger or toe which led to an infection. They could see the splinter in there but couldn’t get to it. What a perfect way to explain this verse. That splinter has to come out for healing to occur. That foreign object, which has no purpose in their body, must be removed.

Explain to them that there will be people who will shove themselves into their lives who have one motive – to harm them. Once your child becomes a child of God (and I pray they have all done that) Satan cannot stand that. He can’t “unsave” them, but he will certainly do all he can to try to make them useless to the kingdom. That includes sending that “splinter” into their lives to produce infection. The remedy? Stay purified through the Word of God, remaining watchful for those whose words do not line up with it.

Are you suffering from gangrene right now? Do you have a Hymenaeus and Philetus in your life? These were two individuals who were in the church but were not part of it. They produced gangrene, not life. If you find yourself in the presence of such people, remove yourself. “Amputate” yourself from the surrounding infection. You cannot live for Christ in the midst of it. Choose healing and health.

I want to purify my body, soul and spirit, Lord, daily through You. Help me cut out all the infection in my life so I can stay strong and healthy spiritually. Today I choose to excise anything that reeks of infection.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Forgiveness, Obedience, Parenting, Purity, Righteousness, Scripture

CLEAN AS A WHISTLE

1 TIMOTHY 6:14

that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 

Do you ever wonder about how words or expressions come about? I do. I guess I am just curious that way. Today’s title for the devotional is “Clean as a whistle.” What does that really mean? There are several theories, but the one I like is it comes from the appearance of a whittled piece of wood, probably willow, after it is made into a whistle. A smooth, spotless surface was left.

Well, the word in our verse today for “without stain” means just that – spotless, clean as a whistle. Paul is adjuring Timothy that we need to live that way. We should remain unstained by the world, as James says. It is so easy to get the world on you. It can leave some hard to remove spots. But if we are living for Christ and following His commandments, we are less likely to get “dirty.”

APPLICATION

I bet your children have gotten clothes stained before. Am I right? My mama used to get so upset when I came home with grass-stained pants. But what is a boy supposed to do when he slides into home plate? You can’t exactly ask the catcher to let you walk in so you won’t get your pants dirty. Sometimes stains are inevitable.

However, we need to teach our children to avoid those staining agents when possible. We know how the world wants to dirty us up. We have the responsibility to point out those things to our children. They have to live in the world, but they don’t have to wallow in its filth. It is comforting to know that Jesus’ blood cleanses us completely. But it is also important to remember that some stains are the consequence of disobedience and can remain for a lifetime.

Are you tired of removing stains in your life? Then start following Jesus’ commandments more closely. He will lead you in the path of righteousness. He also may lead you into a very dirty area in order to reach others. Those stains are not held against you and are easily removed. It’s your choice – dirty or clean?

I am so thankful that I don’t need bleach to cleanse my soul. I am so glad that Jesus’s blood washes me white as snow. Help me walk in such a way that only stains You allow touch me.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Creation, Direction, Encouragement, Family, Fatherhood, God's Will, Mentoring, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Purity, Scripture, Women

TREAT THEM HOLY

1 TIMOTHY 5:2

the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.”

Treating women special has been around a long time. God has always commanded it. Sin changes that. Look at today’s verse. Paul tells Timothy (and us) to treat women “in all purity.” That word comes from the Greek word for “holy.” Treat them as holy? Really?

Paul isn’t saying we should worship them. He is saying, though, that we should treat them as set apart by God according to His purpose and plan. All women deserve respect. But those who are seeking to follow the Lord in their daily life should also be treated as holy and pure. That’s what God intends for them all.

APPLICATION

As parents we need to instill in our little boys and little girls that girls are different than boys. There is NOTHING belittling about that statement. In fact, it’s meant to be just the opposite. We should let all our daughters, sisters and wives know just how God sees them. They should be treated that way – as special creations in the eyes of our God.

It is up to the husbands, brothers and fathers to do this, however. So, do me a favor. Challenge the men in your life to treat women this way. And dads, YOU have to model this to your sons. They will treat their mom and sisters how you do. They will treat their future wife the way you do. 

So, how are you doing with this? Ladies, do you see yourself as pure? Men, do you see the women in your life as pure? If not, reread today’s verse. This is a command, not a suggestion. If you need to change your view of women, start with God’s view and go no further.

Father, forgive me when I do not see ALL women as you do. Thank You for the godly women you have put in my life. I am blessed because of them.

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YOU ARE NOT WEARING THAT

1 TIMOTHY 2:9

“Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,” 

Modesty seems to be a thing of the past. Have you walked through a mall lately? The things people are wearing and the things the stores are selling can be very, should we say, revealing. I know, I know. Every generation screams this. There was a day when if a woman’s ankle showed below her dress she was horrible.

But modesty isn’t just about what we wear. It’s about so much more. This Greek word for “modesty” is only used right here in this verse. It actually refers to an act that precedes or prevents a shameful act. Hmmm, Paul is trying to encourage the women to do just that. Modesty, in other words, can help prevent wrong things from happening.

APPLICATION

Modesty isn’t just for girls, though. This is appropriate for all of us. We should not only dress modestly, but we should behave that way. We should never present ourselves in such a way that lures others to make bad choices.  As parents, we teach our children modesty to protect them. When they are toddlers, it is cute to see them run around the house naked. Not so much when they are 10 or 12 or 18, right? 

But we teach them also not to draw attention to themselves. Remember, as believers we should always be pointing others to Jesus. When we dress or behave in such a way that all attention is on us, then we have strayed from our mission – to lead others to Him. Modesty helps us achieve our goal.

Maybe you struggle with this issue. Perhaps you like to flirt or show yourself off. Will you examine your heart today and ask the Lord to reveal how you should display modesty? He wants you to never be ashamed. He died so that you would not feel that way ever again. He is the image of modesty. Follow Him.

Let my every action point to You, O Lord. Make me aware of anything that pushes people away from You. 

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WHAT DRAWS YOU?

1 TIMOTHY 1:6

“For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,” 

It is so important to understand not just what, but how the Scriptures are written. What do I mean by that? I mean the choice of verbs and adjectives is important. Today’s verse is one perfect example. The verb phrase “have turned aside” is in the passive voice, which means an action has been done on the subject. In this case, we have to ask what turned them aside. It’s in the phrase before, “straying from these things.”

Don’t let me lose you. Hang on! You see, when we stray, when we miss the mark, we are turned aside from where we should be going to where we should NOT be going. That can be “fruitless discussion” or something more dangerous. You see, sin will take you further than you ever thought you would stray, cost you more than you ever thought you would pay and keep you longer than you ever thought you would stay (this saying is not original to me).

APPLICATION

This is why one of our most important jobs as parents is to teach our children to focus on the eternal perspective. When they lose sight of the eternal, the temporal will cause them to stray. Learning to sacrifice immediate gain for ultimate reward is huge. Setting long term goals is critical, even for children.

Let me give you an example. When I began mowing yards as a young boy to make some money, my dad took me to his company credit union to open an account. I gave him money each time I got paid which he deposited into that account. When I turned fifteen, I had enough money to buy my first car. He helped me see past the bubble gum and movie tickets to my ultimate goal (though years away) of getting a car.

Are you making deposits for your spiritual future? Or are you spending every blessing you receive as fast as it is received. We need to examine every decision we make with eternal eyes. How do our decisions affect our eternity and the eternity of others? That’s a heavy question, but one we need to ask ourselves.

Father, You are so good to give me exactly what I need when I need it. Teach me to see all things eternally and to let go of my own selfish desires. Pleasing You is so much more important than pleasing myself or others.

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SMOOCHIE, SMOOCHIE

1 THESSALONIANS 5:26

“Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.” 

Now, before you think I am trying to be funny, let me just say that we are told four times by Paul and once by Peter to greet each other with a holy kiss. It was common back then, but not so much today, at least not in my culture. Jesus uses this word twice. Once was when Mary anointed His fee with the ointment. He told Simon that he had not greeted Him with a kiss. The other time was when He asked Judas if he was betraying Him with a kiss. Those two weren’t exactly “holy” kisses.”

But that is the point. This kiss is supposed to be HOLY. It’s supposed to be a different kind of kiss. It isn’t a smoochie kiss. It was a greeting among close friends. It was meant to be tender but not intimate. It was sincere but not erotic. It was done properly and respectfully. It truly was a holy kiss.

APPLICATION

Don’t you love to kiss your children or grandchildren? I have always kissed my kids. Now that I have four grandchildren, I kiss them too. Those kisses were always given with love. Sometimes those kisses were playful, but they were always proper. Tell your children why you kiss them. Tell them it is a sign of love and tenderness. But also tell them that they must be done with the right motive.

In this day of wrong motivated people, we have to guard our children against receiving or giving improper affection. Explain to them that a holy kiss ALWAYS respects the other person and is NEVER forced. In fact, a holy kiss could be seen as how you would greet the Lord Himself. You are kissing another believer in the name of the Lord, so that would always be right and proper.

But this holy kiss isn’t for everyone. There are people in your church body you would not even dream of giving a holy kiss. Why? Because they would not know how to receive it. There are others, however, who would know how it is meant and would receive it warmly. It is an expression of love for our Savior and a bond between believers. Show your close brothers and sisters some love today.

Father, Your kisses from heaven to me are welcomed and appreciated. Help me give a holy kiss to that fellow believer today who needs it.

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