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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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Cleansing, Confession, Forgiveness, Lies, Modeling, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture, Testimony

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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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God's Will, Grace, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Redemption, Repentance, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony

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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Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Conceit, Confession, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

SINLESS

1 JOHN 1:8

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Have you ever met a perfect person? No, I don’t mean Jesus. I mean a regular human being. Neither have I. But I have met some people who thought they were perfect. They could never admit an error. They thought they could never do anything wrong. If something wrong happened, it was always someone else’s fault.

John has a way of hitting you right between the eyes, doesn’t he? He points out those kind of people in today’s verse. If someone has that attitude (no sin), he says they are deceiving themselves. We get our word “planet” from the Greek word for “deceiving.” It means we are off course, we are wandering. We are literally walking around as if blind, ignoring the true path.

APPLICATION

I bet more than once when your child has done something wrong or broken something they claimed they didn’t do it. Am I right? While that may appear cute when they are toddlers, it isn’t something to laugh at and excuse. Children need to be held accountable for their behavior, according to their age level. Sin is sin and left unchecked will lead to a lifestyle of denial.

I am not saying we should be the gestapo and try to catch them in every act. We do, however, need to point them to the truth each and every time they fall short (and they will). We need to, as appropriate, share with them our own struggles and failures. They need to know that mom and dad aren’t perfect. I know that’s hard to admit, lol.

When is the last time you went to the Lord confessing your sinful behavior? Are you letting them build up until you have a closet full? That’s silly. Go to Him right now. Unburden yourself. Allow His cleansing power to reveal all the sin in your life. Then you can walk in truth again. Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Cleanse me now, O Lord. I confess all my sins to You. I desire to walk in truth.

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Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Fellowship, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender

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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Repentance, Scripture, Sin

GROW IN GRACE

2 PETER 3:18

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Don’t you just love that phrase – “grow in the grace”? In the Greek text, the definite article isn’t there. Therefore, it could read “grow in grace.” But what does that really mean? I thought only God extended grace. How can we GROW in it?

The Helps Ministries definition of this word is “(“to grow”) is key to authentic discipleship. Indeed, the Lord requires non-stopprogress (development) in the life of faith.” That’s pretty good. As we experience God’s grace over and over, we grow in it. We recognize it. We seek it. We do not sin to get it, but we get it when we sin.

APPLICATION

How can we teach this principle to our kids? By extending them grace. I don’t mean to be easy on them. I mean when you can do it, show them grace. Maybe your child has unintentionally done something that is wrong. It was not their motive to disobey. Those are the times it is easy to extend grace.

But what do you do when they have knowingly sinned against God? Well, what does God do once they have repented? He extends grace. We should do the same. That may be hard sometimes. We want to remember those events and remind them of their failure over and over again. We justify that by saying we want to keep them from doing it again. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t do that?

The next time you bow your head and ask for forgiveness for something, remember the grace that is being extended to you. It’s not because of anything you deserve. Jesus died for you to have that grace. It is because of His shed blood that you can even go to the Father with the boldness to ask for forgiveness. Praise God.

I am thankful, Father, for grace. Help me grow in grace so I can show it to others.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Repentance

GOD’S WISH

2 PETER 3:9

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Do you ever make wishes? I have been known to wish for a large, stuffed crust pepperoni pizza. I have wished for a new fishing boat or a new rifle for hunting. We all make wishes, don’t we? We also wish for someone to have good health or we wish someone good luck.

My point? We can wish all day, but we can’t make those wishes come true. God’s wishes, though, are certain. Look what He wishes for. He wishes for no one to perish but for all to repent. Wow! That kind of puts our feeble wishes in place. Shouldn’t we join God in that wish?

APPLICATION

Get your kids to make a wish list. Tell them anything goes. Give them 15 minutes to write down as many things as they can. I am willing to bet that 95% of their wishes are things. Am I right? Unless you have a very special child, most kids are thinking about their immediate satisfaction.

Now, read them the verse above and ask them how many of their wishes line up with God’s wish. I am not trying to get you to make them feel bad. That’s not my point. I am simply trying to get you to point them towards God’s wish list. His list is always about others.

Can you say that about your own wish list? Do you focus more on yourself? Lay that down. Look around you. Who needs your wishes? Your wishes can be turned into prayers for others. Instead of saying I wish so and so, say I pray so and so. Point your wishes heavenward and watch how God works through you.

I am thankful, Lord, for the privilege to pray for others. Show me their needs so I can “wish” them to You. Let my wishes always be Yours.

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THAT’S JUST GROSS

2 PETER 2:22

“It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.’”

Why in the world (or should I say in God’s name) would Peter pen this verse? What is he trying to say? Well, it’s not complicated and doesn’t require any deep research of the original languages. He is quite simply saying that these individuals he has been discussing in this chapter have never changed. Just like a dog will always be a dog and a pig will always be a pig, these people have never changed.

People can pretend to be a lot of things. They can dress up and come to church every Sunday. They can even volunteer to help in different areas of the church. But until their heart is changed, they remain the same – lost. Do you know people like that? Do you know individuals who have done that all their lives?

APPLICATION

Do your children like to dress up in superhero costumes or princess attire? A lot of kids do, but do those costumes make them those characters? Get your kids to dress up as something. Anything goes. After they have gotten all dressed up and after you have bragged about how great they look, ask them if they have become their character.

Now, I know kids who would probably answer “yes” to that question. If they do, ask them to perform one of their “powers.” Now the game is over. They can’t produce. Try as they may, they are still just a child. They can’t become that character. Explain to them, in the same way, we can’t just put on a Christian costume each day. We have to change internally first.

Have you been changed internally? Have you been changed eternally? I pray you have. Put all the noise of the world out of your head for just a second. Plow through all the distractions and set your mind on Christ. Only He can change who you are. He can give you a whole new heart – one that beats for Him.

I am so thankful for the assurance of my salvation and the power I have in Christ. Through Him I can be all things.

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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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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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