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THE ERASER

1 JOHN 3:5

“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.”

There was nothing better than a good eraser when I was in grade school. In fact, my mom used to buy us extra erasers. We loved the kind that went on the end of your pencil. You were really cool if you had some kind of cartoon figure eraser. But we also had those big, pink rectangle-shaped erasers. Those could last a long time. Erasers were essential when I was in school.

Jesus is our sin eraser. Because He knew no sin, only He was qualified to be that sin eraser. One definition of the Greek word for “take away” is to sail away. I like that. Our sins simply sail away. They have weighed anchor. They are no longer here. Jesus makes them vanish. How great is that?

APPLICATION

Get your kids to try out some different erasers with different writing instruments. Start out with a sharpie. Have them try to erase it. Then try an ink pen. Finally, give them a pencil. Some marks we make cannot be erased with a plain eraser. They are pretty much permanent.

Ask your children how they erase their own mistakes, their own sins. They may say they ask someone to forgive them. They may say they promise to never do that again. Those are like the sharpie and pen marks. Our efforts to erase our sins just don’t work. Only through Jesus can we get the forgiveness we need. Teach your kids to confess their sins daily. A clean slate is always good.

Does your slate need cleaning? Go the One who can erase all your mistakes. He can forgive you and give you the cleansing you need. All you have to do is confess. That may be a little painful, but it is the only way. Make it right with Him and experience the joy of walking in forgiveness.

Lord, I need Your eraser in my life. I confess to You today the ways I have fallen short. Cleanse me now.

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WHAT IS PROPITIATION?

1 JOHN 2:2

“and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

Most people will read today’s verse and never have a clue what “propitiation” means. They just read it and consider it one of those church words and go on. No! Stop right there! Don’t go any further until you understand this word well enough to tell someone else what it means. It’s an important word, one we all need to understand.

The Greek word for “propitiation” is only used twice in the N.T., both times in 1 John (2.2 and 4.10). Read this definition: an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party. Wow! That’s what Jesus did. He offered Himself, He shed His blood to satisfy His Father’s wrath. God was offended by our sin and demanded a sacrifice. Jesus did that.

APPLICATION

Ask your child if they are willing to take the blame for their sibling’s misconduct. Yeah right! I don’t know any child who would willingly do that. If their brother or sister broke a rule in your house that demanded discipline, would they take their punishment. Chances are their sibling is going to suffer, lol.

Now explain to them that is what Jesus did for them. They, being a sinner from birth, have broken God’s law, His requirements. They may have lied or cheated. They may have disobeyed you. But they have done something to incur God’s wrath. Without Jesus stepping in with His blood, they would be doomed to an eternal hell. Sound rough? Yes, it is. But it is the truth. Praise be to God that Jesus stepped in.

Are you grateful for this propitiation? Are you able now to explain it to someone? It’s not just a churchy word. It’s our hope. It’s our promise. It gives us life eternal with our Heavenly Father.

O God, I thank You for sending Your Son to pay the price You demanded for my salvation. I am free because of Him.

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FOOLISH THINKING

1 JOHN 1:10

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”

Have you every denied something, but you knew there might be a possibility that you could have done it? I have. I could have forgotten about it. That happens. But there are some denials that are just absolute. I can honestly say I have never given birth to a baby. There is just no way that is possible.

There’s something you can’t see in the English translation of this verse. It’s in the little word “not.” You see, there are two Greek words for “no” or “not.” There’s the one here, ou, and there’s the other one, me. Here’s the difference. Me is a qualified negative, whereas ou is the absolute negative. John is saying if you absolutely deny you have sinned, you are calling God a liar who has said that all men sin.

APPLICATION

Unless your children are floating along on clouds with little harps like cherubs, they have probably lied about something. They have probably denied their involvement in a fight with their sibling. They may deny eating those cookies you were saving for later. Children don’t want to get caught. So, they will lie or deny to get out of it.

The next time they do, read this verse. Their actions are no different than anyone else’s who try to portray themselves as above error. Honesty is always the best policy. Admission of guilt and confession of sin leads to forgiveness. That always feels good. That always restores fellowship.

Are you guilty of denying your sins? We tend to want to blame others for our failures. It is never our fault. Just confess them to your Father. He stands ready to forgive. Remember – denying your sin makes God a liar, which you and I both know is just not true.

Forgive me, Lord, for denying my sins. Cleanse me and set me straight. I want to honor You.

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SPARKLY

1 JOHN 1:9

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Man, I loved my first car so much. I guess all guys do. Mine was a 1971 Buick Skylark. It was royal blue with a white vinyl top. It had key-colored mag wheels AND a Craig AM/FM eight-track Powerplay stereo. I kept that car pretty much spotless. I was relentless to remove the dirt and grime. I wanted to present a clean car to everyone.

All we have to do to present ourselves as “sparkly” is to confess our sins to the Father. When we do, He is faithful and righteous (or just) to forgive them and to clean us up. I love that the word “forgive” in the Greek means to send away. He sends our sins away. Why? Because they are cleansed by the blood. He wants us to be presentable to the lost to draw them also to Him.

APPLICATION

Bath time for kids can be a challenge. Most kids go through a time when they just really fight against it. They don’t want their hair washed or they don’t want to have their backs scrubbed. Of course, we bathe them anyway because we know we can’t leave them that way.

The next time you are bathing your child or have to remind them to get a bath, share this verse with them. They will probably think you are crazy, lol. Explain to them the importance of not only keeping their body clean, but they also need to keep their heart clean by confessing their sins to God. Unconfessed sin makes us comfortable with the grime of sin. After a while we stop smelling ourselves.

Are you all scrubbed? I mean are you confessed up? What are you waiting for? Don’t you want to feel refreshed spiritually? Of course, you. Turn to Him right now. Just say, “Father, forgive me for my sins. I confess to You my wrongdoings and failures. I want to walk in Your light. Thank You for forgiving me and cleansing me.” That’s it. You’re sparkly!

Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son Jesus to die for me so I can come to You for forgiveness. I know His blood has covered my sins. Help me walk in righteousness.

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IF-THEN

1 JOHN 1:7

“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

Using the “If-Then” method of child-rearing is a good way of teaching them. If your child does his chores, then he can receive his allowance. If she cleans her room as promised, then you will take her to get ice cream. Now, you may not agree with rewarding children for doing their chores, but it is one method.

John is telling us here in today’s verse that we will receive a reward if we do a certain thing (If-Then). If we walk in the light, then we will have fellowship and Jesus’ blood cleanses us. We can’t expect to have either of those if we walk in darkness. Only by walking in the light are they possible.

APPLICATION

I’ve kind of already hinted at the application for your kids. Try one of those “If-Then” situations with your child. Then take them to this verse. You see, your own “If-Then” training is preparing them for their own “If-Then” decisions with the Lord. They are going to face a lot of those moments in life.

They will face crucial decisions with peers. If I do this, then this could happen. If I do this, how will it glorify God? If-then, if-then, if-then. All through life they will have to make those decisions. They need to understand your training of them now is preparing them for later.

How about you? Do you desire fellowship and forgiveness? Then it’s simple – walk in the light. That means to come to Christ and accept Him as your Savior. You can’t walk in light if you’re lost. You may think you’re in the light, but you aren’t. You are in the darkness. Come to the light.

I desire to stay in the light, Father. I desire fellowship with You and others. I know I am forgiven through the blood of Your Son.

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A HARD SALVATION

1 PETER 4:18

“AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?” 

Peter seems to quote from Proverbs 11:31 here. He expands on this verse to give us its full meaning, though. It is no easy thing for a righteous person to be saved. Their selfish ambitions, pride, fleshly desires and overall desire for sin are in the way. Only the Holy Spirit can draw them to a point of repentance and confession leading to salvation.

However, the godless man will not turn. They see no desire for change. The Greek for “what will become” is actually better translated “where will they appear.” The godless sinner will not disappear at death. They will appear again at the judgment. There is no escape.

APPLICATION

This is kind of a harsh verse, huh? But it is the truth. Our children need to be nurtured and taught to listen carefully for the call of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He calls us all at different times. Some children hear His call at an early age. Others don’t hear it until they are older. But their ears need to be tuned to Him.

How is that made possible? By filling their hearts and minds with the Word of God. The Spirit speaks through the Word. Did you know that most people come to Christ before the age of fourteen? These are crucial years. These are years where you have the privilege to speak Jesus into their lives every day. Then let the Spirit do His job.

When did you hear His voice? I heard it at sixteen, clear as day. He spoke to me as I was singing a solo in my youth choir practice the day before we left for a choir tour. He told me plain as day that I was lost and need a Savior. I yielded right then to His call and have never looked back since. Praise be to God.

Thank You, Lord, for not ceasing to call me. I thank You that You are still calling people today. Use me as Your mouthpiece.

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GIVING AN ACCOUNT

1 PETER 4:5

“but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

I saw a poster carried by someone who was marching in a protest that read, “Going to Hell and Proud.” How sad. This person either was mocking the reality of hell or believed in hell and didn’t care. They knew their lifestyle was contrary to God’s Word. They had just chosen to live that way anyway. This individual had no idea what was awaiting then eternally.

Peter is giving us fair warning here. We will give account for our past deeds. Our Heavenly Father will judge everyone one day. We believers have had our sins forgiven because of the payment made by Jesus Christ. There was still a payment made. That’s basically what “give account” means. We just didn’t make it. All others will be making their own payment, which will come up lacking.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever saved up money for something only to come up short? They had scrimped and saved for this special item they wanted. What did you do? Most parents would make up the difference. They would “give account” for the payment their child couldn’t make. What a great opportunity to teach your child God’s Word.

They cannot pay the price to cover their sins. There is nothing they can do. They can’t be good enough. They can’t obey enough. The price to cover their sins is too high. But thanks be to God, Jesus’ death was sufficient to cover it all. Your child needs to know and understand that.

Are you still trying to “give account” for your sins? Do you think if you do just one more thing for God that He will forgive you? God does not forgive us because of anything we have done. He forgives us because of what Christ has done. Will you rest in this promise today? Rest in the fact that Jesus has “given account” for your sins. If you have accepted Him as your Savior, payment has been made. Hallelujah!

I am thankful the price has been paid. I am thankful I do not have to give account for my sins. Praise You, Lord.

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THAT WAS ME?

1 PETER 4:3

“For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.”

So many of us lived lives described here by Peter. Now, you may not have done all these things, but a life without Jesus is a life wasted. A life without Jesus is filled with all sorts of sinful behaviors. You don’t have to be a drunken mess to be considered lost. Just living without Jesus qualifies you for that.

The good news is that can all be in the past. Peter says that. He says “for the time already past is sufficient.” We tend to hold on to the guilt of our previous sinful lives. We use it as an excuse. Our sins are forgiven. They don’t shape our future. We are secure in Christ.

APPLICATION

Your children need to learn this truth, and you are the key to that. How many times have you “reminded” your children of past behaviors? When our children mess up (and they will) and we deal with, let it go. Too many parents continue to pound on their child by constantly bringing up those past failures.

We, as parents, should be a mirror image of God’s forgiveness of us. How many times has God forgiven you? Don’t answer that, lol. But more importantly, how many times has God thrown your past in your face? Let me answer for you. Zero! That’s the image our children need of us and God.

Have you let your past go? Have you forgiven the past sins of a loved one? Remember all the Lord has done for you and reflect that on others. God will be pleased as you do as He does. Is this easy? Of course, not. God will give you the wisdom and discernment to do as He requires.

Father, it is not easy to forgive myself or others. Remind me daily of Your grace and mercy. I love You, Lord.

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GOD’S CHOICE

ACTS 15:7

After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

I am so grateful that the Lord chose me. Peter stands at the famous Council at Jerusalem to defend Paul and Barnabas’ mission to the Gentiles. Some were arguing that the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be true believers. Peter recalled his own defense of preaching to the Gentiles and their receiving the Gospel. I am thankful for his defense.

Just think. If the Council had agreed with the other side, we may be under so much law again. But we are free in Christ. We don’t need to add anything to the Gospel to be accepted by the Lord. Our salvation rests in the fact that we Admit we are sinners, Believe Jesus died for us and Confess our belief to God. A-B-C. It’s as simple as that.

APPLICATION

Don’t add to your children’s belief requirements. I have written about this too many times. Some parents want to be so sure about their child’s decision to follow Christ that they put off celebrating it. Just like the Gentiles who had no knowledge of God, our children come into this world clueless about the Father. It’s our teaching and training that gives them the knowledge. God, in His perfect time, draws them to Himself.

And when they admit, believe and confess, we should shout it from the highest roof top. We should begin right then the process of disciplemaking that will lead them to be a disciplemaker. Matthew 28:18-20 applies, not only to world missions, but also to our own family.

Aren’t you thankful God’s choice was to offer the Gospel to the Gentiles? I sure am. Are you doing your part to spread the Word? There are so many around us who need to hear it. Find someone today and tell them the good news.

I am so thankful for Your choice to share Jesus with me. I will do my part today to share Him with others.

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST

1 PETER 3:19

“in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,”

This verse and the next couple of verses are some controversial verses among believers. My first thought is how sad. Our arguments about Scripture give the unbelieving world a reason to disbelief in the very truth of the Word. That being said…

The Spirit of Christ was present as Noah (mentioned in verse 20) preached to the people of his day. These people who died in the flood are “the spirits now in prison.” God has always desired people to come to Him. The flood victims were no exception. Instead, they laughed and made fun of Noah, ignoring the warnings given through him.

APPLICATION

This same Spirit of Christ speaks through us today. As we disciple our children, we must teach them this truth. The very Spirit of Christ lives in and through us. He is still preaching the Gospel today – as we allow Him. That’s the key. Our children need to be discipled to hear the Spirit when He speaks. Remember the story of Samuel as a child?

And here’s the great part. As we are obedient to allow the Spirit to speak through us, perhaps those who hear will respond and avoid the prison of hell. That’s our reward. Seeing others come to Christ is thrilling, is it not?

Will you allow Jesus to speak through you today? Will you be the one used of the Lord to slam those “prison doors” closed to prevent them from spending eternity there? There are so many people you come into contact with daily who are going to join the other inmates of hell unless someone shares Christ with them.

Place others in my path today who need to hear about Jesus. Use me to lead them to You. I want to see them welcomed into Your arms for eternity.

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