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HIS SON

1 JOHN 5:12

“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

It’s neat this verse fell on today’s date because this is my son’s birthday. He’s thirty-four today. That’s interesting to me because that falls right in the middle of the ages of Christ’s ministry on earth (@32-36) to the best of our knowledge. When I think of my son at his age leading a bunch of disciples around, it kind of blows my mind. Jesus was a young man. Yes, He was and still is God, but humanly speaking He was young.

Yet, here we are, two thousand years later, looking back at this God-Man for guidance. John says here if we “have Him” we have life, and if we don’t have Him, we don’t have life. That’s so true. Think back to your days without Christ. Life was so meaningless. It had no purpose. It had no direction. I don’t care how old you were before Christ, you had no life without Him.

APPLICATION

Our children need to learn this early in life. I know you are praying they give their lives to Christ, if they haven’t already. But they need to learn what it means to surrender completely. It’s not just saying a prayer. It’s total surrender of everything to Him. That involves how they talk, how they play and how they think. Oh, that last one is hard, isn’t it? Even we adults struggle with that one.

So, how do we direct our children to do this? How do we help them learn the importance of total surrender? By modeling it ourselves. Don’t you get tired of hearing that? Sorry, but it’s true. We have to show them how to surrender. We have to exemplify total surrender ourselves in the way we talk, the way we treat people and the way we think. No, our kids can’t read out minds, but they sure can see our behaviors.

Is the Son in your life? If so, live like it. It’s the Christmas season. Act like it. Live like every day could be your last day to share Jesus with someone. Live like He is all that matters. After all, He is all that matters. When you surrender to His Will, His life becomes your life. Try that today.

I have life only because of His life, Father. Thank You for giving Him to the world. We must show others the value of living in Him.

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DO YOU BELIEVE?

1 JOHN 5:1

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.”

I guess I have always believed in Jesus. I was raised in a church-going home. We were there every Sunday. I remember going to

Sunday School, church, revivals, etc. Church was a regular part of our family life. But you have to understand something. It was all head knowledge. All that church going gave me a false sense of salvation.

It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I truly believed. When the Holy Spirit drew me towards the Father through the Son, I surrendered my life to Him. My church-going belief became true belief in Christ. I joined the family John is describing in today’s verse. I finally fully believed that Jesus was the Christ. What a change! Knowledge about something does not equal belief in something.

APPLICATION

As your children grow, I am sure you have been telling them about God and Jesus. You may even have pictures of Jesus or other Christian decorations in your house. You talk about Jesus at Christmas and celebrate His birth. You have been filling their little skulls full of mush with knowledge about Jesus. But try as you might, you can’t flip a switch and give them saving knowledge. That is truly between them and God.

So, how do you ensure your child comes to faith? No one wants to think of the alternative, right? You have to remain consistent in your teaching. You have to take every opportunity to talk about what Jesus has done for you. When a prayer is answered, make sure you share that with them. They need to see Jesus working in your life. God may just use that to draw them to Himself. And, of course, pray every day for their salvation. God hears your prayers.

Can you effectively share your salvation experience with someone? Can you articulate the joy you have in Christ? You may need to practice doing that. The Lord will give you the words to say each and every time He gives you the opportunity to share. You have to trust Him. Tell the world about your saving knowledge of Jesus. He is the Christ. Celebrate it.

I praise You, O Lord, for sending Your Son, Jesus, to rescue me. He is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

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FIRE ALARM

2 PETER 3:7

“But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

What do you do when you hear a fire alarm? You look for the nearest exit and get out quick. We conduct fire drills all the time in our schools to keep our children safe. Businesses conduct fire drills to keep employees safe. Hmmm! Why is that so important?

I ask that question because I want you to think about this verse. Fire is coming. We are told that in Scripture. The “present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire.” God will destroy the world with fire one day. So, why aren’t we having fire drills for that? Why aren’t we screaming, “Fire, it’s coming!”?

APPLICATION

Do you have fire drills in your home? You should. You and your family should have a plan in case of a fire. You should all know what door to take. You should have a second story escape plan. Why don’t you practice that with your family tonight?

When you come back in from that, talk about the real fire drill. Does all your family know Christ? What a great time to talk about the certain escape plan. Jesus offers us security and safety in His heavenly home. All we have to do is accept the plan God laid out at the foundation of the world.

If you have that plan nailed down, why not share it with someone else? Why not spread the good news? So many around us are going to burn eternally unless we can usher them into God’s plan. Take a moment and think of someone you can share with today. You will be so glad you did.

I hate the thought of anyone being caught in that fire, Lord. Help me spread the good news to all I meet.

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TRUE ESCAPE

2 PETER 2:20

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

We’ve all seen the suspense movie where the characters are being chased and finally escape. We all breathe a sigh of relief and then out of nowhere the villain reappears and catches them. They were so close. They had broken free. If only they had kept moving. We see it so clearly when it’s someone else, don’t we?

Peter is talking about that very thing here. People throw off the worldly lusts and desires and for a short time they live right. Now, this verse is NOT saying they are believers who have backslidden. A knowledge of Christ is not the same as knowing Christ as your Savior. Without that saving knowledge, what do they do? They return to the world, much like a meth addict quickly returns to the meth.

APPLICATION

How do you make application of this for yourself or your children? Have you and your children ever caught butterflies in a net? How do you catch them? Do you snatch them out the air or while they are on the flower? It is much easier to catch them while they are enjoying the flower nectar. Once they are entangled in the net, they can’t escape.

Explain to your kids that sin works the same way. The devil attracts us with stuff our flesh craves. Once we taste it, we keep going back for more. Before you know it, we are trapped. The more we go back, they more we are hooked. There is only one way out – Jesus.

Do you find yourself looking for an escape? He’s right in front of you. He’s waiting for you to stop struggling and allow Him to guide you to freedom. Let Him take your hand. Let Him take you in His arms. There is an escape. There is peace.

Oh Lord, I long for freedom from the desires of my flesh. Cleanse my thoughts today. Purify my mind so I can follow you.

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THE LORD KNOWS HOW

2 PETER 2:9

then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,” 

God is our deliverer. When will we get that through our thick skulls? I am talking to myself here, as well. I can forget God’s faithfulness at times and start wringing my hands. I may find myself in a predicament and begin to fret. I am so glad Peter wrote these words – “the Lord knows how.”

Aren’t those words comforting? It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again – Everything over our heads is under His feet. God just knows how to rescue us. But look what it says – “the godly.” That Greek word is only used three times in the New Testament. Once referring to Cornelius, the Roman Centurion who sent for Peter. The second time it is in reference to one of Cornelius’ soldiers. And the third time is here in 2 Peter. It can be translated as devout.

APPLICATION

So, if we want the Lord to rescue us and our children, we need to work on that devout thing. How do we do that? Being devout sounds like you have to be in full-time ministry or something. But it’s not. It just means you strive to live for the Lord in all you do. Are you doing that? Are you modeling that for your children?

What better legacy to leave your children than to be seen and known as a devout Christian? What better joy could you have than see your children living devout lives. It is not impossible. It is not reserved for the “super godly.” NO! It is within the possibility of every believer to live sold out lives for Christ.

What are you doing to prepare yourself for that kind of living? Are you in the Word daily? Are you spending time in prayer for others? Our “devoutness” is really a residual effect of spending time with the Lord. You absorb His glory. You soak in His holiness, thus making you devout. It’s nothing you can do on your own.

I am so thankful for the osmosis process of godliness. I know the more time I spend with You, Lord, the more godly I will be.

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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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SNATCHED AWAY

2 PETER 2:7

“7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” 

Peter continues the example of verse 6 into verse 7 by naming Lot, Abraham’s nephew, who had chosen to live in this area long ago. And now he finds himself surrounded by lewd men, men who had no restraints on their conduct. This conduct went against the laws of God and there was nothing Lot could do about it.

Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? Our world has become tolerant of any and all behaviors, no matter the effect it may have on others. We, who hold to God’s principles, are supposed to smile and just go along with it. If we speak up, we are labeled as intolerant and cruel. But God rescued (snatched away) Lot from this immoral situation. He will rescue you, as well.

APPLICATION

Part of our roles as parents is to snatch away our children from situations which we know are immoral and against God’s principles. As long as your children are with you, you have to do that. We can’t allow our children to wallow with the pigs (I use this analogy loosely) and not get dirty. Evil influences will eventually affect them.

So, how do you do that? Prayerfully. There may be sports teams they can’t play on because of an immoral coach. There may be schools they can’t attend due to the philosophy of the administration or teachers. I know this is a hard decision to make, but you are not making it just for now. This is an eternal decision.

Lot could have stayed right where he was and compromised his beliefs. After all, he was living there, right? He could have fit in. But God heard his cries for deliverance and sent two angels to bring him and his family out. God still delivers today. Cry out to Him for the deliverance of your family. He will answer.

O God, rescue me from the evil which surrounds me. Protect my thoughts and actions as I dwell here. I will shine here as long as You have me here.

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FREE

ACTS 12:7

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.

You really need to read Acts 12:1-19 to get the full story of Peter’s imprisonment and release. It’s a fascinating story of God’s miraculous power. This verse, in the midst of that story, is great. Peter is sleeping between two soldiers when an angel appears, wakes him up and his chains fall off.

Can you imagine Peter’s surprise? But notice too that Peter was sleeping. He was at rest in prison. He was not up all night wringing his hands. He was trusting his Savior with his outcome. Whether he was released, kept in jail or killed, he was at peace. We could take a lesson from Peter here. Even when in chains, trust.

APPLICATION

This story would be a fun one to act out. Get your family together and assign the parts (Peter, angel, guards, Rhoda). Kids learn a lot from role playing. Act it out two or three times, changing roles each time. You have to video this too. Make sure to get the reaction of “Peter” each time he is awakened by the angel.

Ask your kids what they would do if an angel woke them up in the middle of the night. Ask them if they would follow the angel’s instructions or hide under the sheets. Our children need to understand that God still performs miracles. He may never send an angel to them, but He is still working in their lives every day. They just have to keep their eyes open.

What would you do with an angelic message? More importantly, what will you do with the message of God’s Word? He is speaking to you, if you will listen. The Scriptures are God’s way of talking to you today. But you have to read it to receive the message. Take time each day to read it.

Thank You, Lord, that I am free wherever I am because of Jesus in my life. The chains of sin have fallen off of me.

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NOT BEING

1 PETER 2:24

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

There is an interesting word in this verse. The phrase “we might die” is the Greek word apoginomai. It literally can be translated “from being.” Ginomai means to become, to begin.

This word apoginomai is only used right here in this verse. So, what is Peter trying to tell us about sin?

Christ’s death on the cross and the stripes and wounds He bore rescued us from the penalty of sin. We don’t have to be sinful anymore. We have been moved away from death and into life. We are to live righteously because of His sacrifice on the cross. Hallelujah!

APPLICATION

Children can come up with all sort of excuses for doing wrong. It’s their sibling’s fault. They just couldn’t help themselves. They didn’t know that was wrong. And the truth is, before Christ comes into their life, they don’t know any better. They are sinful creatures.

But if your children have accepted Christ as their Savior, there is no excuse for sin. We must point them towards living righteously. Read them this verse. Show them what Christ has done for us. He bore our sins. He took our punishment upon Himself. Ask your children if anyone has ever taken their punishment for them. Ask them how that would make them feel.

Do you realize, I mean really realize, what Christ has done for you? He has freed you to live righteously. The pain and suffering of sin has been paid for. You are debt free. How would you live if you were debt free financially? You are debt free spiritually, not because of anything you have done, but because of what Christ has done for you. Live like it today.

I am free to live righteously today. I praise You, Lord, for paying the price for my freedom. I will live today to honor You.

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YOU CAN TELL ME

JOHN 13:21-24

“21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.’ 22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, ‘Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.’” 

Have you ever wanted to know something that others knew? They had the inside scoop, and you wanted to know. It can be very aggravating to be left out, especially if the information is important.

When Jesus told the disciples that one of them was going to betray Him, they all (with the exception of Judas) wanted to know who it was. We see here in these verses that Peter leans over to John (whom Jesus loved) and basically said, “You’re His favorite. Surely you know.” I wonder if they had been told it was Judas if they would have done anything to stop him.

APPLICATION

Sometimes it’s important to keep information to yourself. Jesus couldn’t tell them who it was because this was all part of His Father’s plan. He had to be betrayed and die to save mankind from their sins. There was nothing Jesus would not do to accomplish His mission.

Is there anything you wouldn’t do to keep your children safe and protected? I bet not. They are precious to us and have been placed into our care by the Father. We will do whatever it takes to see our children grow up. But are you willing to do whatever

God asks of you? If you will listen, He will give you the secrets of raising your children. It’s all contained in His word.

Lean close to Jesus. Don’t you want to be called the one “whom Jesus loved”? He doesn’t keep secrets from you. He will tell you whatever you want to know when you are ready to hear it. He knows your future. Trust Him with it. He has much to tell you.

Father, I do trust You with my future. I do believe You know what’s best for me and will tell me what I need to know when I need to know it.

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