Accountability, Belief, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Devil, Disciplemaking, Faith, Family, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Righteousness, Salvation, Sin

ARE YOU SINNING?

1 JOHN 5:18

“We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

I don’t know about you, but I sin. I don’t try to. It’s not my intention, but I occasionally mess up and sin. I think something about someone I shouldn’t. I say something hurtful to someone. I drive too fast (yes, that’s sin). So, today’s verse would concern me greatly, if I didn’t dig a little deeper.

When John says, “that no one who is born of God sins,” you have to look at the verb tense of “sins.” Now, hang on. You are going to want to see this. That verb tense is in the Present tense which indicates ongoing activity. John is saying if anyone practices sin, they are not saved. You can’t have a lifestyle of sin and be saved. Why? The next phrase tells us. Because if you are saved, Jesus keeps you and guards you from the devil’s influences.

APPLICATION

You can almost always tell when your child comes to Christ. Their attitude changes. They are remorseful when they have done wrong. They will respond to correction differently. They won’t argue and fight with their siblings as much. They are beginning to learn what it means to walk in the Spirit.

Now, they won’t be perfect. Don’t put that on them. Are you perfect? I am afraid not. So, don’t expect them to be. But now you have the chance to disciple them through their failures. When they mess up (and they will) show them in the Word how to overcome that. They will be more amenable to your teaching. Watch them grow as they learn these lessons.

Aren’t you glad Jesus keeps you and guards you? I sure am. There are dozens of times per day that the Spirit nudges me towards correction. He is constantly on guard to protect me from making those wrong choices. That’s how I know I am born again. I am in the family of God and am protected by His power (1 Peter 1:5). Hallelujah.

I know I am born again, Lord. I am thankful for Your power in my life which directs me towards righteous living.

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Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Disciplemaking, Judgment, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture, Sin, Unrighteousness

WHAT IS SIN?

1 JOHN 5:17

“All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.”

The Bible talks a lot about righteousness and unrighteousness. We Christians use these terms when we are talking about God. But have you ever stopped to think what these terms mean? What use is it to talk about something we can’t define?

Righteousness has to do with abiding by God’s standards, meeting His expectations. Unrighteousness, of course, means just the opposite. It means deviating from what God expects. This results in God’s disapproval of our choices. In short, it’s sin.

APPLICATION

Your children should know your expectations, right? They can’t follow rules they aren’t clear on. Now, for children we need to keep our rules and guidelines short and to the point. Complicated rules only confuse them. When we make our expectations clear and concise, they are more likely to obey.

We are laying the groundwork for them to obey God. When they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and accept Him as their Savior, His righteousness is bestowed on them. We teach them to pursue this and not the unrighteous deeds that are so prevalent. We hold them to His standards. We show the benefits of pursuing a godly lifestyle. This is a process that takes years. We model it for them and live our lives pursuing the very things we are teaching them.

Would you classify your lifestyle as one of righteousness or unrighteousness? I know, I know. We all say righteousness. We would never admit unrighteousness. But if we are not pursuing God’s standards in every area of our lives, it is so easy to drift into unrighteousness. If we sin in one area, it affects our entire life. Live righteously today. Pursue God wholly.

Help me, Lord, to flee from all unrighteousness. I want to pursue You. Your righteousness is all I need.    

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Appeasement, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

THE ULTIMATE APPEASEMENT

1 JOHN 4:10

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Have you ever angered someone so badly that you had no clue how to make it right? I have. In the past, I have searched and searched how to seek forgiveness. Most of the time I have received that, but only after true remorse. I don’t want to ever intentionally harm someone. But it happens sometimes.

Aren’t you glad that God took the initiative to provide the means for forgiveness for us? We could have never satisfied His wrath. There is nothing we could do on our own. But…by the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate appeasement. He satisfied an angry God (His Father) for us. Wow!

APPLICATION

I bet your children know when you are angry at them. They can usually tell when dad or mom are about to blow. They may push it to the last straw, but most kids know when to stop pushing. But do they know how to make things right with you? What do you expect from them? Ask them that. Ask them if they know how to appease you. They will probably say Huh? Then explain.

You are seeking to train them how to seek forgiveness from the Father. Take them to today’s verse. Explain that word “propitiation.” They need to understand how important it is to our Christian faith. In fact, we would have no faith without it. Yet that word only appears twice in the Scripture. The other time is in 1 John 2.2. Christ died for them to satisfy the requirements of forgiveness God had established. Only Jesus could do it, and He did it for them.

Do you realize the depth of this? Christ died for you. He gave His life to satisfy the price of sin in your life. And all you have to do is claim that forgiveness. I pray you have, but if you haven’t, do it right now. Ask Jesus into your life to be your Savior and Lord. Confess your sins to Him. Acknowledge His death, burial and resurrection. Then welcome His Holy Spirit into your life. It’s that simple.

Lord, I praise You for sending Your Son to die for me to satisfy the price which I could never pay. I am eternally grateful.

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Abiding, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Following, God's Will, Holiness, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture, Sin, Testimony

BORN OF GOD (TIMES 2)

1 JOHN 3:9

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

They say the key to getting someone to remember something is repetition. I will never forget Mrs. McCracken. She was my teacher who taught me the multiplication tables. Now back in those days you had to know them. We didn’t have many alternatives to learn them. You had to repeat them and repeat them. We had drills in class and competed against each other. It was hard, but I learned them. I can still recite most of them all these years later.

John repeats the phrase “born of God” twice in this short verse. He wants to make sure we understand what he is saying here. If we are born of God, if we have asked Jesus to come into our life through the power of the Holy Spirit, then we don’t practice sin. John is NOT saying we won’t ever sin. Accidents happen. But our birth into His family gives us a whole new spiritual DNA which draws us to Him.

APPLICATION

Ask your kids how long they think they can go without sinning. Remind them that sin is not just something we do. It can be something we say or even think. Jesus told us that. The only way some kids could go a day without sinning would be to lock them in their rooms, lol. Most adults are the same way.

John wants us to value our birth. Why else would he say “born of God” twice in such a short verse. It was obviously on his mind. John had experienced the joy of that new birth and wanted all those around him to know it too. God does the birthing, not us. And if God did it, we sure can’t undo it. We are secure in His family.

Are you thankful for your new life in Christ? Have you thanked Him today? Take a minute right now and tell Him. You are born of God, not of man, not of church, not of religion. You are forever a part of His family. Doesn’t that just blow your mind? It should. It does mine every time I think about it.

I am a child of the King, born into His kingdom through His glorious Son. Thank You, Lord.

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Abiding, Accountability, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Lawlessness, Mentoring, Parenting, Sin

IF A EQUALS B

1 JOHN 3:4

“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”

Okay, let’s be honest. Who likes Geometry? Can I see a show of hands? Lol. I am sure there is someone out there who does, just not me. I mean, it wasn’t the course itself. I just didn’t see the need to memorize all those formulas. If A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C. Right?

John isn’t exactly writing a Geometry problem here, but it’s close. If we live a lifestyle of sin, he says we also live a lifestyle of lawlessness. So, sin is lawlessness. Close your books and go home. There it is. John is warning us about our choices and the ramifications of it. Sin is a disregard for God’s laws, plain and simple.

APPLICATION

When your children disobey you, they don’t realize (most of the time) that they are disregarding your authority. They just want to do what they want to do. But the truth is they are stating by their actions that they don’t care what you say. Your rules don’t matter to them.

The next time you have to discipline your child for something talk about how this reflects on their spiritual life. Listen, before you accuse me of spiritualizing everything, everything is spiritual. We are in a constant battle every day of the flesh against the spirit. Just because our children are too young to understand that doesn’t make it not true. Point them to His Word.

Do you realize your choices you make every day are a reflection of your belief in God? We trust or we don’t. We believe or we don’t. We follow or we don’t. Every choice we make is at some level a spiritual choice. It’s a reflection of who we are in Christ. As you make your choices today, stop and ask yourself how God can be glorified in the process.

I choose You, Lord. I want to honor You with the choices I make today.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gossip, Holy Spirit, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sin, Truth

TRUTH VS LIE

1 JOHN 2:21

“I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.”

Have you ever been confused about what was the truth and what wasn’t? I have. In these days we are living you can be so easily fooled. Digital imaging can be manipulated so well now that it can be very hard to tell what is real. Obviously, there must have been some confusion during John’s day as well.

Let me ask you a question. Do you know THE truth? There’s only one. The devil will try to persuade you through his lies that what he is saying is the truth. How do you know? By comparing it to the Word. The devil will never agree with the Word. He always lies.

APPLICATION

Do your children know the difference between lies and truth? Have you ever caught them in a lie? You probably have. I’ve had parents tell me they have literally caught their child with their hand in the cookie jar and they would deny it. Crazy, huh?

What do you do when catch them? Don’t just correct them. That’s right. You have to point them to the truth. Just punishing them for lying won’t fix the problem. Unless you show them the flip side of lying, they will continue to tell those fibs that drive you crazy. Read them this verse. Even a child can understand this.

How are you with your truth telling? Adults tend to rationalize their lies. We are real good at justifying our sins. What? That’s right – lying is sin. Let me encourage you to pause your words before you speak. Make sure they agree with what God would say. Speaking truth is much easier, by the way. You don’t have to cover up your previous comments. Try it.

Let Your Words be my words, Lord. Let my tongue speak only the truth so those who are darkness can be led to the light.

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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, 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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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Deception, Destruction, Devil, Following, Freedom, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

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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Advice, Angels, Bible, Blasphemy, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Enemies, Evil, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Sin

NOT NICE PEOPLE

2 PETER 2:10

“and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,” 

I had to read this verse a few times to catch all the negative words in it. All of them are referring to those who will be judged by the Father for their conduct and behaviors. Just look at this list:

  1. Indulge the flesh
  2. Corrupt desires
  3. Despise authority
  4. Daring (this word means to foolishly ignore safety)
  5. Self-willed (this word means to selfishly satisfy self)
  6. Do no tremble at God
  7. Revile God

Wow! Unfortunately, we are seeing that all around us today. These behaviors are front page news. We see it being carried out in protests and riots across our world. This is nothing new. Sin is sin. Until the Lord returns, we will be faced with an ever- growing resistance to the Lord and His teachings.

APPLICATION

Thanks Carl. Now that I am thoroughly depressed, what do we do about it? I didn’t mean to depress you. It’s just our reality. But there is hope. The Lord will handle those who rebel. We don’t have to. Our job is to be Jesus in a lost and fallen world. We can change the world one life at a time.

As parents, we can affect the next generation by teaching our children to do the exact opposite of those things listed above. We should teach them to not indulge the flesh and to respect authority. You can go through the whole list and develop ways to teach them how to do it God’s way.

Can you live in this world and live for Jesus? Certainly! But you have to depend on Him to guide you. You can’t do this on your own. And when you encounter those who live like Peter describes in this verse, just be Jesus to them. Respond to them in the same way Christ would have – in love.

Lord, I know I live in a fallen world. But with You living in and through me, I know I can face any challenging person or situation.

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