Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Commands, Obedience, Rules, Scripture



“The LORD of armies says this: ‘Now ask the priests for a ruling:’”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a football fan, especially Georgia Bulldog football. But the one thing I don’t like about the game now are all the pauses in play for the official review of a play. In this scenario, the head umpire goes to the sideline to watch an instant replay of the play in question. This can take a few minutes to several minutes. All the while, the players are cooling down on the field and perhaps losing their momentum at that point in the game. But an official ruling is necessary before the game can continue.

It’s interesting to me that here in verse 11 of Haggai 2, we see God telling Haggai to ask the priests for a ruling. We will see that over the next couple of days. But why does God need the priests to make a ruling. He is not asking them for advice. No! He is just wanting them to take a closer look at His law, not their laws. Just like the head umpire, they need to look very close at what they are doing, at their rulings over people. God is always precise and perfect in His rulings. They weren’t.


What do you need to take a closer look at? James tells us in James 1:25, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.” “To look intently” means to stoop down and look, to really look. The same word is used in John when John and Peter went to the tomb after the resurrection of Jesus. It says John stooped and looked.

Take a few minutes today and “stoop and look” at how you are following Jesus. If you find yourself not following Him at all, stop whatever you are doing and come to Him. If for salvation, make today the day your surrender to Him. If for correction, let Jesus guide you back as you look intently at your walk.

We are all at different places in our walk with Jesus. But we all need to look intently and make a ruling about our journey. Make sure you are making the right ones. Only His Word can show you that. Take the time today. I promise it will be time worth taking.

I trust Your rulings in my life, O God. You are always right and true.

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Rules, Scripture



“and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

I get accused sometime of selective hearing. What does that mean? It means I choose to hear what I want to hear. I guess there is some truth to that. That’s probably true of most of us, though. We choose what we want to listen to or whom we want to listen to. If I am in the presence of someone I don’t want to hear, I can tune them out or leave the room. It’s my choice.

Paul is saying in today’s verse that these individuals have chosen to turn their hearing away from the truth and to turn instead to myths. Both of these verbs imply it’s their choice. No one has forced them. They have deliberately chosen this. How sad! But before you judge to quickly, we do the same. We love God’s Word until it says something we disagree with. Now, that’s really sad.


Try this with your kids. Sit down and make a list of your house rules. Hopefully, you don’t have a lot. But make a list. Now, ask them which ones they like and which ones they don’t like. Ask them which ones they won’t to do away with. I bet bedtime guidelines will be the first to go, lol. Another might be eating their vegetables. What kid likes that one?

But do your children understand the reasons behind these rules? That’s your responsibility. Rules without reasons are ridiculous. Of course, you have bedtime rules. They have to get their rest. Of course, they have to eat vegetables. They need a good diet. If you let them pick and choose which rules to listen to their little lives would be a mess in no time.

Are you a rule follower or a rule breaker? Do you follow God’s guidelines until they go against what you want to do? You must trust that He knows what is best for you. You may not understand why and that’s okay. You don’t have to. Just trust Him. He’s been guiding His saints a long time. Will you do that today?

I will trust You even when I don’t understand why. I know You always have my best interest in mind and want to make me more like Christ. Help me die to myself today and trust Your direction.

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, God's Will, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Rules, Scripture, Understanding


2 TIMOTHY 2:7 

Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 

Have you ever said, “But I really want to understand what you are saying”? Someone is trying to explain something to you, but you are just not getting it. It’s happened to me and can be very frustrating.  

It can even happen when we are trying to understand God, can’t it? But look at today’s verse. Paul is telling us how to understand. The Lord will give you the understanding. That word “understanding” means to put it all together, to connect all the dots. Only God can give you that ability. God really does want you to understand Him and what He is asking of you.  


We have the responsibility as parents to make sure our children understand what we ask of them. Nothing is more frustrating for a child than to have expectations put on them without understanding why. Clear and concise instructions and rules are so important. And the fewer the rules the better. Don’t hand your kid a list of rules to follow in the house that looks like a shopping list at Christmas. 

Help them understand the reason BEHIND the rules more so than the rules. Why does God want them to obey you? Because His Word says so. Why does God want them to learn to obey rules? Because it pleases Him when we are obedient to those He has placed over us. That gives understanding. 

Are you constantly bucking the rules? Do you argue with your bosses about every little policy in the HR manual? Paul told us to “consider what I say.” That’s a command, not a suggestion. He was just talking about following the rules in the previous verses. If you want true understanding from the Lord, that’s where it starts – follow the rules. 

Lord, I admit I tend to want my way too much. I confess that as sin and ask that You lead me to Your understanding. I want to see things as You see them. 

Advice, Affection, Blameless, Blasphemy, Busyness, Caregiver, Parenting, Qualifications, Rules, Sanctification, Scripture, Surrender, Trust, Truth


1 TIMOTHY 3:12

“Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.”

Most of us could not imagine a husband having more than one wife. But in some parts of the world, that is not an unusual custom. That undoubtedly was an issue where Timothy was or Paul would not have mentioned it here and back in verse 2 of this chapter. Paul would not have wasted words on this if it wasn’t an issue.

So, what does Paul say about this – that a deacon should only have one wife? He is specific – he said ONE. But why? So he could concentrate more on things of the Lord. If a man has multiple wives, he would not be able to focus on his responsibilities as a deacon. That’s all Paul is really trying to say.


Now, I am not telling you to talk to your children about only having one husband or wife. That would be silly. So, how do you apply this verse to them? Let me ask you a question. Do you believe every verse of the Bible has meaning for everyone? Of course, it does. 

I believe our focus should be on teaching our children to not allow distractions to pull them away from their service to Christ. Whatever that might be should be removed or avoided. As believers, we cannot allow anything to tear us away from serving our Lord. Even the choice of a mate needs to be highly considered.

Are you single focused? Do you allow anything or anyone to distract you from serving Jesus? I can’t imagine having more than one wife. I would be torn who to love the most. I would be so concerned about them that I would be useless for my Master. Don’t you do that.

Thank You, Father, for working in and through me. Help me stay focused on You and eliminate things that pull me away. Staying focused is key.

Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Comfort, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, Fatherhood, Forgiveness, Mentoring, Mercy, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rules, Scripture


1 TIMOTHY 1:13

“even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;” 

There are so many great words in this verse. Most of them point towards Paul’s former life before he met Christ on the Damascus road. Just like us, he acted ignorantly in unbelief. He thought he was doing right. He thought he was acting on God’s behalf. We do the same. We go through life as if we are just fine with God – UNTIL we meet Him on our own Damascus road.

But the key word today is “mercy.” Paul was shown mercy. Mercy is NOT getting what we do deserve. It’s God showing compassion and pity on us because of our covenant relationship with Him. Because of the shed blood of Christ, He extends mercy to us when we deserve hell. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are forgiven. 


There are times when you need to show mercy to your children. One more “crack down” on them will do them in. Our job is help mold their spirit, not break it. Sooner or later, your little Gertrude or Elrod is going to need some mercy. The question is can you give it.

Many parents think showing any kind of mercy is a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. You are the authority. You have the power to enforce whatever rule and consequence you choose. Choosing to show mercy is a sign of control and strength to your child. They need to understand, though, what you are doing. They need to understand that you are choosing to show them mercy, just like our holy God has chosen to show us mercy.

Perhaps you are one of those parents who refuse to show mercy. May I warn you of something? Those who show no mercy will be shown no mercy. Don’t go running to God for mercy when you cannot show it yourself. When you choose to show mercy, you can appreciate it even more when you receive it yourself. And when you do, marvel at the relationship you have in Christ.

Mercy! I cry mercy, Lord. Forgive me! Show me mercy in my repentance. And help me show mercy to others today.

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, Fatherhood, God's Will, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Rules, Sanctification, Scripture, Surrender, Trust, Truth



“realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers” 

I have noticed something about people who don’t like rules. They are usually the ones who break them. People who don’t like the law are normally lawbreakers. People who hate law enforcement officers are the ones who are repeatedly arrested for breaking the law. Hmm, there seems to be a pattern here.

That is exactly what Paul is saying here. The law isn’t an issue for the righteous. If we are living righteously, we have no problem with the law. If we are living righteously, we follow a higher law. But if we are lawless and rebellious, we constantly struggle against the law because it reminds us and convicts us of sin.


Try an experiment in your house. Abolish all rules for a week. Anything goes. No chores have to be done. No bedtimes. No rules about what and when you eat your meals. See what happens. It won’t take long for your children to start following rules that no longer exist. It sounds like freedom to have no rules, but it actually is much more confusing and tiring.

After this experiment (if you dare), ask your children what they liked or disliked about it. Take notes. You will want to refer back to them a few weeks when they begin to complain about the rules again, lol.  And take the opportunity to explain that rules (law) are not meant to punish us. Rules are meant to guide us. Encourage your little Gertrude to obey because of her desire to please God, not you.

Which “laws” are you breaking? Are you fearful of being caught? Hiding your lawbreaking can be exhausting. Why don’t you confess that as sin today and allow the Lord to give you a fresh start? Learn to embrace the law (rules) as it was intended. God only wants us to obey Him out of love.

Lord, forgive me for complaining about Your law. I know You give it to guide me. Let me see it as You intended.

Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, God's Will, Mentoring, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting, Rules, Sanctification, Scripture, Surrender, Truth



“But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,” 

We have rules for a reason. Rules help us keep order. Rules guide us correctly. Rules can teach us the right way to do something. Rules can keep us honest. So, why do so many people break them? For some, their motto is “Rules are made to be broken.”

Paul addresses the idea of rules in today’s verse. The word “lawfully” is only used twice in the New Testament – here and in 2 Timothy 2:5. Paul had been a rule follower. Remember, he was a Pharisee, a law-abider and a law enforcer. He knew the law couldn’t save you, but it could guide you. The law pointed out sin which can lead to repentance.


I don’t know many children who like rules. I used to tell my staff in the Children’s homes to have as few rules as possible in their cottages. Fewer rules made it easier for the kids to remember them. That applies to our own homes as well. Rules without relationships just don’t work.

That’s why we have to help our children understand the “why” behind the rule, not just the “what” of the rule. Get them to help make the house rules. Make sure the house rules agree with Scripture. Let them hold you accountable for the rules. If you break a house rule, they should be able to point that out to you without fear of reprisal. We ALL need to be held accountable.

But aren’t you glad that the Lord is less concerned about rules than He is about relationships? You see, we should obey the Lord’s commands because we love Him, not out of fear of being punished. Obedience out of love will always be easier than obedience out of fear. Remember, the Lord gives us rules for a reason. He wants to keep us safe and teach us to be more like Him – the Law Giver.

I am thankful for Your Law, O Lord. Let me follow obediently without becoming legalistic. I want to show others the joy of obeying You willingly.