Accountability, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Hypocrisy, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Testimony

DO NOT LOVE

1 JOHN 2:15


“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

We are told that we need to love everyone, right? We talk about all the things we love – apple pie, beach trips, music, etc. But John is drawing a line here on what we should not love. It is pretty simple really. Don’t love this world. But what is wrong with loving the things that bring us pleasure and enjoyment?

Anything that takes our focus off of Jesus can lead us down a slippery slope. I love hunting and fishing, but if that ever started redirecting my devotion off of Jesus, it would be sin for me. The problem for many of us is the world is so alluring. We can so easily be distracted. We have to guard our hearts and minds and stay focused on Him.

APPLICATION

Try this. The next time your children sit down to do some homework, go into the room where they are and turn on the television or radio to something you know they like. Maybe start playing their favorite video game. Watch how quickly they get off track and either start watching you or listening to what you are listening to.

When you notice this has happened, make your point. First, apologize for distracting them. Then read them this verse. Explain to them how the world does the same thing to us in our walk with Christ. Satan, the prince of this world, will use whatever he can to get our minds off of Christ, just like you did getting their minds off of their homework.

What distracts you? Where is your focus? What do you love? Jesus has to be your first love. He has to be your focus. You can’t love this world and love Him supremely. But you have to decide. Jesus won’t make you love Him. He is worthy of it, though. Don’t you think?

I will love You above all else, Lord. There is nothing or anything more deserving of my love. Thank You for loving me.

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Advice, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Devil, Evil, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

THE SECRET TO OVERCOMING

1 JOHN 2:14

“I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

Look at this verse. What do you think the secret is to overcoming the evil one? Look closely. See it? “and the word of God abides in you.” John even said in his gospel, “apart from me you can do nothing.” Unless the Word of God is reigning supreme in our lives, we have no hope of overcoming anyone, much less the evil one.

So, how do you make sure the Word is abiding in you? Are you having your quiet time? Are you spending time daily in His Word to help guide you? You see, you can’t rely on your own strength to overcome the evil one. The devil is much smarter than you. He can outwit you and scheme against you. But with God’s Word go guide, he is no match.

APPLICATION

Your children need to know this truth. They may think they can handle it by themselves. This comes even more a danger when they get older. Teens get independent and don’t realize how deceitful the enemy is. Parents have to be diligent in teaching their older children the necessity of relying on the Word of God.

Are you teaching your children this? The bottom line is this. We can’t do it on our own. We have to be armed with the sword of the Lord. Your kids may think the Bible is outdated. We have to change that view by daily showing the applicability of it in our own lives.

Are you doing that? Are you using the Word to guide you? Do your children see you applying the Word to your daily decisions? Do they get tired of hearing you say, We need to see what God’s Word says about this? I hope they are. Don’t stop.

Lord, I will trust Your Word. I know it has the wisdom to guide me daily.

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Advice, Advocate, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Knowledge, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

PERFECT

1 JOHN 2:13

“I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.” 

You may read the title of this devotion and then read the verse and wonder how I got that title. Well, you have to dig a little deeper than the English translation. You have to look at the verbs in the verse and the tenses that were used. Now, hold on. Don’t let me lose you here. Keep reading.

All three verbs John used, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in reference to his audience (fathers, young men and little children) are in the Perfect tense. That Greek verb tense means an action was taken in the past sometime with lasting results. So, that means the fathers and little children knew God and still know God. The young men overcame Satan and have still overcome him.

APPLICATION

If you think about it, a lot of our actions have lasting results. Do you want your children’s actions to have good results or bad results? Simple question with an equally simple answer. Of course, you want good results. No one wants their children to fail or leave a disaster in their wake. How do you help them accomplish those good results?

The only sure way is to teach them make every decision based on God’s Word. If they bathe their decisions in prayer and allow Him to guide them, then the results aren’t up to them. They are up to God. We know that anything He does is perfect. There you have it – perfect results. We just have to get out of the way.

Are you wrestling with a decision right now and worried about the consequences of that decision? Let the Lord have it. Ask Him what will give Him glory. If you do that, you are placing your trust in the One who manages the cosmos. I think He can handle your problem. Don’t you?

I will allow You to perfect my decisions through Your perfect Will. I know You always want what is best for me.

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Foolishness, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Testimony

HATE BLINDS

1 JOHN 2:11

“But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

There is probably not a better verse for today than this one. So much hate. So much darkness. You see, hate blinds us to what is true. The devil loves that. He loves to keep us hating each other. When we hate, we literally can’t see straight. We only see what we want to see.

It was no different back in the day of John. The early church was not exempt from these feelings. Yes, that’s right. Even the early church, to whom John was writing, faced these same issues. Hate has been around since Satan’s fall from heaven. He hates God and anyone who loves Him. He will do anything to blind us with his hate.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they hate. Notice I said “what” not “who.” I hate brussel sprouts. I hate spinach. We can hate things. That’s really okay. I hate abortion. I am sure God does too. I hate sin. We all should. It does nothing good in this world.

But get your kid’s list of “hates.” Ask them why they hate these things. They are going to hear this word a lot in their life, so they need to understand the strength of that word. They should, however, never use that word in conjunction with a person. No one deserves to be hated. God loves all.

Who do you hate? Don’t answer that. Your answer should be no one. If you do, confess that as sin right now. Ask the Lord to forgive you for that hate. Ask Him to forgive you of walking in darkness. Ask Him to forgive you for following the devil rather than Him. Do that now. He is listening.

Forgive me, Lord, for any feelings of hatred I harbor against others. I know that is sin and displeases You. I want to walk in the Light.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Lies, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Testimony

DON’T TRIP

1 JOHN 2:10

“The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”

One of my favorite Greek words is in this verse. It’s the Greek word for “stumbling.” I even like saying it. It’s skandalon. It’s pronounced just like it’s spelled – skan-dal-on. Go ahead, say it out loud. I know you want to.

So, what does that word really mean. Get this definition from HELPS Word Studies: “the trigger of a trap (the mechanism closing a trap down on the unsuspecting victim); (figuratively) an offense, putting a negative cause-and-effect relationship into motion.” It’s something that trips you up and causes you to be captured or trapped. If we love our brother and are abiding in the Light, there is no cause for that.

APPLICATION

Visuals are so much better for kids. How about building a trap? It’s not hard. Get a box (cardboard works), a stick about a foot long and some string. You know where I am going with this? Get some bait like a carrot (if you want to catch a rabbit, lol). Tie one end of the string to the carrot and the other end to the stick. Use the stick to prop up the box. Then all you have to do is wait. If there’s a rabbit in the area, you might get lucky.

Now, the point is not to actually catch a rabbit. The goal is to show them how it works. The rabbit doesn’t know that carrot is a trigger for a trap. They just go in that box expecting a treat and wham-o, they’re trapped (or at least that is what is supposed to happen).

The same applies to us. We don’t see the trap until it’s sprung. The devil has a way of doing that. He is cunning and deceitful. He will promise us just about anything. And once we take the bait, wham-o. If we are believers, he can’t “unsave” us, but he can sure keep us down with his lies and traps. Don’t fall for it. Stay in the light!

I will walk in the light because that is where You are. That is the way to be sure of my steps. I will let You guide me.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan

BEING LED

2 PETER 3:17

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,” 

Okay, you’ve got to go back and read verse 16 to understand verse 17. I’ll wait. Did you do that? People will distort the Scriptures. Now that you know that, Peter says be careful, guard yourself. They will attempt to lead you astray. Peter says they are in error. They are lawless and unprincipled. They don’t care where you end up, as long as it is far away from the truth.

I’ve always said the devil doesn’t care if you go to church. He doesn’t care if you give a little money to the church and read your Bible. He just doesn’t want you to live for Jesus. He’s okay with you acting like a Christian as long as you don’t love like one. He will send people into your life to lead you astray. And in today’s world that can be done through tv, internet or social media.

APPLICATION

Let’s play a blindfold game with our kids. Go outside and set up a simple obstacle course which will require them to maneuver through. Blindfold your child and have them stand at one end of it. On your instructions have them walk the course. Purposely direct them entirely wrong. Make them bump into stuff (safely I might add). Take them way off the course and then have them remove their blindfold.

Now, take them back to the beginning of the course, remove their blindfold and have them walk through it. Nothing to it, right? What an illustration. We can’t go through this life with blinders. We have to be able to see the truth of our journey. That is only possible when we follow Jesus. We may only see a little of the journey at a time, but that’s okay. Others can lead us astray if we don’t know where we’re going. That’s a lesson worth teaching.

Are you walking around with blinders? Are you letting someone else lead you in your thinking about Scripture? Dig in yourself. But Pastor Carl, I don’t know how to study. There are hundreds of great study guides available today. Ask your Pastor for a recommendation. But dig it out yourself. Go deep with God.

Father, help me go deep with You. I don’t want to be led astray by others. I want to know Your truth and apply it to my life daily.

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Advice, Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Greed, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Shame

DON’T BE BAITED

2 PETER 2:14

“having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;”

Anyone who knows me knows I love to fish and hunt. Heck, I just love the outdoors. If you want to catch fish, you have to know what they are eating. Their menu changes with the seasons and conditions of the water. Use the wrong bait, and you won’t catch much. Use the right bait, and you have a better chance of catching fish that day.

The Greek word translated as “enticing” is exactly that word – bait. It’s only used three times in the New Testament. It’s used twice here in 2 Peter (2:14 and 2:18) and in James 1:14. All three times it used in a negative context. Bait hides the hook. Bait lures us into traps. But catch what Peter says. They entice “unstable souls.” This literally means people who don’t have a staff to lean on. They are ungrounded, unsteady, not dependable.

APPLICATION

So, how do we protect ourselves against being baited? How do we protect our kids? We get grounded in the Word. When we are in the Word daily and seeking God’s face, we can easily recognize those baited hooks. We can see the traps that are being laid for us. We have to be alert at all times, though, because the devil can get very creative.

What does that mean? The devil won’t come at you or your children the same way every time. He knows we can “wise up” and see him coming. So, he will disguise his traps. They may even look okay. Ask yourself and teach your kids to ask themselves one question. Will this action I am about to take bring glory to God. If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” run as fast as you can. Back up and take a hard look. Don’t be baited.

Have you fallen for the bait and now you sit there with a hook in your mouth? You may feel shame and regret. Listen! Turn to Jesus. He is the ultimate hook remover. He can forgive you and set you back on the right path. You may have a scar from that hook mark, but it will serve to remind you, not of your sin, but of the forgiving power of Jesus. Amen?

Forgive me, Father, for falling victim to Satan’s lures. Keep my eyes on You. I know You will never lead me toward defeat.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Devil, Encouragement, Mentoring, Parenting, Protection, Satan, Scripture, Submission

AN EYE ON YOU

2 PETER 2:5

“and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;” 

Oh, I never tire of discovering hidden meanings in the original languages of Scripture. Today’s verse is no exception. In verses 4-10 of 2 Peter, Peter gives us four examples of how God works. In this example of Noah and his family, God “preserved” them inside the ark while the rest of the world drowned. We are all very familiar with that story.

But do you know what “preserved” means in the Greek? It literally means to keep your eye on something so as to guard and protect it. It is used of a sentry in the military keeping watch. It is used of shepherds watching over their sheep. God kept watch over Noah and his family. He didn’t just put them in a boat. He does the same for us.

APPLICATION

Do you watch over your children? I pray your answer is a resounding yes. I am always concerned when I see parents not watching their children in public. There are so many ways a child can be hurt today. There are people who prey on unattended children. We have to be diligent to protect them from harm.

But are you as diligent to protect them spiritually? The evil one is prowling around your children seeking to snatch them away. I have heard far too many parents say I will let my child make up their own mind about religion. Wake up! If we leave our children unattended spiritually and left to figure it out on their own, they are ripe for picking by the devil. Guard your children. Preserve your children.

Our Father in heaven is watching and guarding us all the time. He does not sleep, and He does not slumber. He is always alert to any schemes of the devil and will move in quickly to defeat them. But we have to remain under His protective umbrella by submitting to His authority in our life. We have to want His protection. Do you?

I am comforted by knowing the Great Shepherd is constantly at watch over me. Guard me, Lord. I am asking for Your protection.

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Demons, Devil, Evil, Following, Heaven, Hell, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

FALLEN ANGELS

2 PETER 2:4

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;”

Did you ever wonder where demons come from? Well, here you have it. When Satan rebelled in heaven, he was cast out along with the angels he had convinced to follow him. Their punishment was swift and just. God could not and would not tolerate sin.

Why do you think the devil and his demons hate us? Because they know what they have lost. They know they are doomed forever to those pits of darkness. They know once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are destined for the place they were cast from. So, their intent is to keep as many as possible from making that choice.

APPLICATION

Pretty heavy subject for the kiddos, right? But we shouldn’t shy away from the subject of hell around our kids. We don’t hesitate to talk about heaven, do we? Of course not. Hell is just as real, so they need to know about those who dwell there. Demons are real and are still being used in the spiritual realm in which we live.

The last thing you want, however, is for your children to be looking for a demon around every corner. We have to teach them to live for Jesus and trust Him to fight for them in these battles. They are no match for Jesus. He will defend His children. Evil exists in this world. Make sure your children know no matter how dark the evil, Christ’s light shines brighter.

Are you a demon watcher or a Jesus watcher? The devil wants your attention on the demons. By doing that your eyes are off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus and demons are of no concern to you. When you are walking in the light, the demons are exposed. They can’t stand that. Stay in the light.

I choose to walk in the light, Lord. May Your beams of light drive any evil away from me. Help me walk securely holding Your hand.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Deception, Demons, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Fighting, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Safety, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

A ROARING LION

1 PETER 5:8

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Have you ever seen and heard a roaring lion? I don’t mean one on television. I mean in real life. I saw a lion in Uganda once on a safari, but it wasn’t roaring. It was lying in the shade sleeping. It didn’t seem very scary. In fact, it looked very calm and peaceful. But believe me, I wasn’t about to jump out of that jeep and go over and scratch its belly. I knew what it was capable of.

Peter is warning about the dangers of the devil. We can’t let our guard down. He says to be sober and alert. The devil can lull us into thinking there is no danger and then he attacks. Just like a lion, he stalks his prey. He doesn’t present himself as he really is. He disguises himself and slips in for the kill. Don’t let him devour you or those around you.

APPLICATION

The last thing I want you to do is scare your children about the devil. However, they do need to know he is real and not some imaginary figure. We don’t want him to be talked about in the same company as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They must know the devil has one goal – to take as many souls to hell with him as possible. He knows he has already lost the war, but he wants to cause as many casualties as possible along the way.

How do you protect your child from this? By pouring the Word of God into them from birth. We raise our children to love and honor their God. And when they come to Christ and accept Him as their Savior, they are secure from the grasp of the devil. Then we must continue to disciple and mentor them to walk in the light and avoid those dark recesses where Satan dwells.

Living sober and alert may sound draining, but it’s not. The key is to stay in the Word. The moment we start living for ourselves and we put down the Word, we open ourselves up to attacks. The Word is called the sword for a reason. Use it to protect yourself and others from that nasty roaring lion.

I thank You for giving me the Word to defend against the schemes of the devil. I will watch carefully as I advance the kingdom, knowing he will do all he can to distract and attack.

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