Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Encouragement, Eternity, Glory, Holy Spirit, Hope, Love, Parenting, Rapture, Scripture

HE’S COMING

TITUS 2:13

“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”

Waiting can be hard, can’t it? It’s especially hard when you know what’s coming. The Greek word for “looking” can also be translated as “awaiting” or “watching for.” It carries the idea of anxiously waiting and ready to receive. That’s a lot more than just looking. Paul knew Jesus was going to return and was anxious for the day. He was ready for it.

Paul calls Jesus the “blessed hope” and “our great God and Savior.” He wanted to make sure Titus understood just who He was. We have no other hope than Christ. All other hopes pale in comparison. All other hopes can fail to materialize. All other hopes are just that – hopes. They aren’t certain. And why is Jesus certain? Because He is God!

APPLICATION

How do you teach your kids to wait? That’s a hard one. Some kids are better at it than others. Parents will do just about anything to keep their children calm while waiting for something. I’ve seen parents bribe their kids. I’ve seen parents come prepared with toys and activities and snacks. Waiting is hard for little ones.

But the most important “wait” we need to prepare them for is Christ’s return. We know He’s returning, but we don’t know when. Our role as Christian parents is to introduce and lead our children to Jesus so that however long the “wait” is, they are ready. We don’t want them caught off guard. We don’t want them left behind when He appears. Once they know Him as their personal Savior and Lord, they can join you in the wait. It could be today.

Are you anxiously waiting for His appearing? Are you prepared for His return? If not, get ready today. Give your heart to Jesus. Let Him fill you with His Spirit. And then do all you can to bring as many as you can with you. If you are like me, I know dozens of people who will be left behind if He came today. That burdens my heart. Let’s join together to bring them with us when He appears again. Keep watching.

Lord, I know You are coming because You said You were. Help me lead others to You so they can join us. I am ready! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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BE A MODEL


2 THESSALONIANS 3:9

“not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.” 

Before you start freaking out about my title today, let me explain. I am NOT telling you to be a fashion model or a swimsuit model. You may want to do that, but that is not what I am referring to in today’s verse. Paul is telling the Thessalonians that he and his companions were examples or models of Christ. He wanted them to only see Jesus in them.

I was told recently by someone that they could tell just by watching me that I was a nice person. They observed this in me not through conversation or interaction. They came to that conclusion by the way I was behaving and interacting with others. I was quite humbled and was very glad I had behaved myself, lol. But our goal should always be to model Christ, so that others would be drawn to Him, not us.

APPLICATION

Well, here we are again. The best way for us to teach our children this truth is to MODEL it ourselves. We have to live it for them to see it. We have to look like Jesus. I don’t mean to grow out your hair and wear a robe. I mean to treat others as Christ would. I mean to parent your child as Christ would. I mean to live and act like Jesus. Be a model of Christ to them.

As we do that our children learn to model Him too. They have to have an example to follow. What better example than Jesus? If your children can learn this truth at an early age, they will avoid a lot of heartaches because of the way they interact with others. Modeling Jesus isn’t easy, but it is the best way to live your life. 

“But Carl, I have blown it so many times.” That’s okay. Start fresh. Begin today to change your appearance. Be a model of Him for others to follow. Make sure when others point out your “specialness” that you point it right back to Him. It is only through Him that you can begin to look and act like Him. 

I want to look like Jesus, Father. I want others to see Him in me. Help me today to share the gospel and, if necessary, to use words.

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OUTLAWS

2 THESSALONIANS 2:3

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” 

Who is this “man of lawlessness” or this “son of destruction”? Well, you could read a dozen commentaries and probably get two dozen opinions. Some believe it referred to one of the Caesars. Others think it was the Pope. Others believe it represented a group of men through history. We won’t know Paul’s exacts thoughts through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit until we see him in glory.

Paul is telling the Thessalonians that certain things must take place before Christ returned. The same still holds true today. We shall always have lawless and destructive men around us. Some men have no other desire than to try to destroy anything holy. That is what Paul is talking about. They are outlaws of the faith. They want nothing to do with it.

APPLICATION

Warning our children of these men’s deception is critical. These types of “outlaws” don’t necessarily wear black hats. They come disguised so as to deceive and lead away unsuspecting people. Our children need to be prepared to recognize and detect these individuals. Leaving them defenseless is not smart and could cost them their very eternity.

“Wow, Carl, you are getting pretty heavy.” You think? Well, that’s the beauty of going verse by verse in the Bible. This is NOT my soapbox. It’s God’s. I didn’t write this. He did. And He still wants to warn us to be watchful and prepared. Parents for generations have taught their children the truth to protect them from evil men. We must do the same.

Let me ask you a question. Can you recognize these evil men? Are you grounded in the Word enough that you can discern when one of these “outlaws” tries to lead you astray? I pray you are. One good way to know is ask yourself if what you are being asked to do will glorify Jesus. If it won’t, then don’t go down that road. We should always be pointing others to Him.

Thank You, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit can tell me when I am wrong. Help me listen more closely to His voice. Give me the wisdom and discernment to spot evil and wicked people who desire to lead me astray.

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KEEP IT TOGETHER

2 THESSALONIANS 2:2

“that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” 

In verse 1 of chapter 2 of 2 Thessalonians Paul makes a request of the church there. This is it! Keep it together! Don’t get upset! Don’t let some spirit or message or letter get you all excited. Rumors were spreading that Jesus had already returned and they had missed Him. People were beginning to doubt the message Paul had given them concerning the return of the Lord. So, Paul was asking them to just calm down.

Have you ever planned to meet someone for an important meeting? What if you had that all planned and when you got there someone told you that you had just missed them? Would you be upset? You may have been planning this meeting for days, weeks or even months and now you missed it. It was a potential life changing meeting. That is what was happening right here in this verse.

APPLICATION

Has your child ever missed the bus or a ride home? Many children do that. In fact, it happens all the time. The next time that happens or you hear of it happening to one of their friends, pull out this verse. The Thessalonians thought they had missed their “ride home.” They were anticipating the return of Christ to carry them to heaven. Now they were “stuck” here on earth, looking like idiots for believing Paul.

The difference in your child missing a ride and us missing Jesus’ return is one is temporal and the other is eternal. If your child is a believer, there is NO WAY they can miss that ride. It’s a guaranteed trip. But if they aren’t a Christian, well… 

Do you have your ticket punched for the ride home? If you do, don’t worry or fret about when Christ is returning. He will, and when He does, He will carry all of us to Glory. Do you know some friends or family who are saved? If so, take the time today to share with them the saving knowledge of Christ so they too can be assured of that trip.

O God, give me the opportunity today to be a deliverer of that ticket to someone. Let me show them the way home to You.

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COMING TOGETHER

2 THESSALONIANS 2:1

“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,” 

Isn’t it funny how circumstances can change how we ask people things? For instance, if you know you will never see someone ever again, you might be led to ask them something you REALLY want to know. If you are going to see them the next day, you might wait until later. Timing is everything when it comes to choosing your words.

Paul is beginning this second chapter (remember, there weren’t chapters in the original letter) by saying, “Since Jesus is coming and we will all be together, I need to ask you for something.” We’ll see what he asks for later. But in today’s verse he is setting the stage. He is sure they will be together and that Jesus is coming. So, with that in mind, he feels free to ask them anything.

APPLICATION

We need to teach our children how to be more tactful when it comes to asking people things, right? Have your children ever asked someone something that embarrassed you? Kids can do that. They don’t have a filter yet. As they get older they learn the appropriate time to ask certain things. But they also may lose some of that boldness.

For example, I have a nephew who would ask total strangers on a plane or in the airport if they were saved. I was humbled by his boldness. He wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed to ask that question. Why should he be? We shouldn’t be. In fact, since the Lord is coming back (as Paul says), shouldn’t we be bold asking our friends and neighbors that very question. 

Will you be bold today? Will you ask the question since He’s coming soon? Don’t put it off. Tomorrow may be too late. He’s on His way. And He wants all who are willing to come with Him to heaven. Don’t you?

I will ask someone today, Lord, what their eternal plan is. I want to be bold and deliberate as I talk to friends and strangers alike. Give me the courage to speak!

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RELIEF

2 THESSALONIANS 1:7

“and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,” 

Have you ever been so stressed that you felt you were tied up in ropes? Every breath is labored. Your chest is tight. Your teeth are clinched. It is as if every fiber in your body is constricting. Well, take comfort my brother. Listen, my sister. Today’s verse should encourage you. The God of the universe is well aware of your struggle and has the answer.

He gives you relief. He promises to untie that which binds us. He frees us from our confinement. There is only one requirement. We have to trust Him. Look at the verse. Jesus is coming back with angels in flaming fire. Whoa! And we are on their side. All those who are afflicting us will be destroyed. We will be avenged by the Lord Himself.

APPLICATION

The next time you have to come to your child’s rescue you could share this verse with them. Now, you won’t be coming in a flaming fire, but you will swoop in to help them. Explain to them that just as you are willing to go to any length to keep them safe and rescue them, God will send His Son back one to defeat all our enemies. He is watching over us right now.

Children have lots of questions, and they may ask why He is waiting. Don’t make up an answer to just satisfy their question. Talk about how God is sovereign and perfect. He is waiting for just the right time to allow as many as will to come to Him for salvation. He doesn’t want to lose one of His children.

Are you looking for His return? I am! I can’t wait! But at the same time, there are many people in my life for whom I am praying for their salvation. If He returns today, they would spend eternity in hell. I definitely don’t want that. Would you join me in praying for all your lost friends and family? 

It is a relief to know that You will send Jesus with His angels to rescue us. But Father, I desire, as You do, to see all the lost saved. Give me the boldness to share with those who need You today.

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HEAVENLY LIVING


1 THESSALONIANS 5:10

“who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.” 

I just cAn’t get over the imagery of Christ’s death. It is His death on the cross that gives us the opportunity for life, life eternal. Paul is assuring the Thessalonians and us that whether they are alive when Christ returns or are asleep (as we saw in chapter 4), we WILL be with Christ for eternity.

There are not many people I can think of I would want to live with here on earth. Living with people requires you to share space. It requires you to communicate with them about household stuff. People you live with now just get in your stuff, don’t they? But eternal living will be different. Why? Because our focus will NOT be on us. It will be on Him. 

APPLICATION

Why not ask your children how they like living in their family. Get ready for some crazy answers. Ask them if they could, who would they add or leave out. Now, this is not a time for scolding or correcting. Just let them answer and tell why. You could learn a lot by their answers. 

After you have heard all their answers, talk about our eternal home. Explain how living here is really just preparation for living there. Getting along with family here is preparing us for eternal living. Encourage them to be more forgiving of that brother or sister whom they may spend eternity with. Model this for them by treating your spouse with the kind of affection you will receive from Jesus in your heavenly home. 

Are you ready for eternal living? If you are a believer, God is trying to get you ready each day down here. He is attempting to mold you into a perfect eternal kingdom citizen. Just think how sweet it would be if we could start living heavenly down here. Heaven on earth is possible if we let Him live in and through us.

Father God, give me the wisdom today to live heavenly. Let me treat my earthly family like I will treat my heavenly family. Give me Your eyes today to see them as You see them.

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DON’T PASS OUT


1 THESSALONIANS 5:6

“so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” 

Paul is admonishing us to stay awake, to not get lazy, to remain “alert and sober.” But for how long? As long as it takes. Paul doesn’t specify a timeframe. He just says, through the Holy Spirit, to not sleep, to say alert and to stay sober. 

When you are asleep you aren’t aware of what is going on around you. When you are drunk you don’t have control of your senses. You get confused. As believers, we have to be alert at all times. This isn’t just in reference to Christ’s return, but it applies to everyday life. 

APPLICATION

I had the privilege to take my great nephew out hunting last season. One thing I told him as we climbed the tree to get into our tree stands was to stay alert. He couldn’t sleep and expect to see any deer approaching. He couldn’t start daydreaming and spot that allusive white-tail buck creeping up.  He had to stay alert and undistracted.

Most children are easily distracted. The latest fad or video game will consume them. Make sure your children spend time every day in His Word and in prayer. That doesn’t have to be for hours, but there should specific time set aside for this every day. And as they go through the rest of their day, they should stay alert for God moments. He is at work all around us.

Are you alert and sober? Are you awake? Allow the Holy Spirit to give you the energy to stay focused on Him. We don’t have a “5 hour energy” drink for God. It has to be a deliberate decision on your part to look toward God and allow Him to work in and through you. Do that today.

I need You, O Lord, to stay alert and sober. I need You to keep me focused on heavenly things. I praise You for Your strength to do this today.

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GET READY, GET SET, …


1 THESSALONIANS 5:4

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;” 

The last several verses in 1 Thessalonians have been focused on the return of Christ. We know, as believers, that we are going. We know He is coming quickly. But in this verse Paul tells us that we won’t be surprised IF… If what? If we are not in darkness.

All through Scripture darkness is an analogy for sin. Think about it – if we are walking in darkness (sin), we will be preoccupied with our self. We won’t have our minds set on things above, as Colossians 3 tells us. When we are in sin our focus is completely off Christ. But if we are walking in light and living expectedly for His return, we won’t be caught off guard.

APPLICATION

Children love tag games. Remember being “it” and having to count to 100 or so. Then you would yell, “Ready or not, here I come.” They love to race each other. Someone lines up the racers and shouts, “Get ready, get set, GO!”

With both of these examples you have a warning. With both of these examples there is no surprise. That’s how it is for the believer who is watching for Christ’s return. It’s almost like the Father in heaven is saying, “Get ready, get set…” When we accept Christ as our Savior, we are ready and set. All that is left is “Go.”

Are you ready and set to go? Are you walking in the light so that you will not be surprised? If you are walking in darkness right now, get out of it. Get back into the light of God’s Word. Get into fellowship with Him and other believers. Ready or not, here HE comes.

O Lord, You will be a welcomed sight. I want to stay in the light so that I can clearly see You. Help me stay out of the darkness of sin.

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SUDDENLY


1 THESSALONIANS 5:3

“While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.” 

It’s pretty amazing to me that the word “suddenly” is only used two times in the New Testament – here and in Luke 21:34, where it also is referring to the return of Christ. In the Luke passage, it is Christ Himself saying it. Wow! Don’t you think we should get prepared?

Sudden things can be both exciting and terrifying. For the unbeliever, the sudden return of Christ will be terrifying. They will be left behind to face a world without any holy influence. But for the believers, it is an exciting event we can look forward to. I am ready, aren’t you?

APPLICATION

Ask your little Elrod how fast he thinks “suddenly” is. Let him explain in the best way he knows how. Children can be quite descriptive if you give them a chance. Write down how he describes it. Then look up some definitions of the word.  It can mean quickly, unexpectedly, immediately or instantaneously. In other words, it’s fast.

The point is this. Make sure your child knows now fast He will return. They can’t see Him coming and get ready. They have to be ready BEFORE He returns. There is no in between. Prepare your children for His coming. Prepare your family because He is coming before you know it.  Suddenly!

Are you prepared for His sudden return? His sudden return will not catch you by surprise if you have already surrendered to Him. Be ready and watch! Then “suddenly” will be a welcomed word. And you will SUDDENLY we caught up with Him in the air.

Father, I praise You for promising the SUDDEN return of Your Son. I am ready to see Him part the sky. Sudden can’t be quick enough!

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