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ANOINTED

1 JOHN 2:20

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.”

Okay, before you get all anxious about talking about “anointing,” hear me out. I am not going to talk about some extreme, cultic behavior. John doesn’t either in today’s verse. He had experienced this anointing in the upper room at Pentecost and had never forgotten it.

Neither should you. The Greek word for “anointing” refers to how the Holy Spirit teaches us and guides us to receive God’s will. Boy, isn’t that something everyone desires – to know and understand God’s will? It’s possible through the Holy Spirit. How? Because the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, lives within us.

APPLICATION

Explain this to your child this way. Stephen Curry is a great basketball player. Your son or daughter could watch every game he has ever played and never fully understand how he does all he does on the court. But if Stephen Curry somehow got into their body and played for them, then they would experience first-hand his skill and ability.

The Holy Spirit does that for us. He climbs inside us at salvation and is just waiting for us to surrender our will to His. He won’t force us to follow God’s will. Nope! But He knows it completely. We just have to let Him show us. Easy? Nope again! But is it worth it? You better believe it.

Are you struggling with your anointing? Why? Let go and allow the Holy Spirit of God to direct you. All those huge problems that bother you will be understood. They may not all go away, but you will understand. God is not playing hide-and-seek with His will. He really does want you to know it.

Lord, show me Your will. I surrender my stubbornness and rebellion. I want to be guided by Your Spirit.

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NOTHING NEW

1 JOHN 2:7

“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”

One thing I hate is when someone changes the rules in the middle of the game. Don’t you? I mean, if you have rules, just stick with them. It’s really not fair to make adjustments based on someone’s lack of following the rules. Nor is it okay to lower the standard just because someone has trouble measuring up.

John is telling us that is exactly what God is NOT doing. These words John is writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, agree with everything else God has written. He isn’t changing the rules. He still demands holiness. He still requires obedience. He still expects us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Nothing has changed.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get out their favorite card or board game and start playing. Every few minutes change a rule. Make up new ones. Talk about confusing! It won’t take long for your children to get very frustrated and stop playing. Why? Because they knew the old rules. They knew what to expect.

Read them today’s verse. Talk about how God does the same for us. He hasn’t changed. He is consistent with His expectations of us. The big difference is Jesus. Now, under grace, He paid the penalty for our transgressions. We are free. That is one change for which we should all be grateful.

The key question, though, is this. Do you know what God requires of you? Do you know how to please Him? It is so simple – total surrender. Yep, it’s that easy. You may say Carl, that’s not so easy. Sure, it is. You just have to die to your own selfish desires and follow Him. Can you do that? You can through Him.

Lord, thank You for not trying to confuse me with new rules for living. I know what You expect. Help me live it daily.

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SPIRITUAL SHOES

1 JOHN 2:6

“the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

Have you ever said I ought to get around to that or I ought to do that? What does “ought” mean? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that? The Greek word here for “ought” actually came from a legal term. It means not just someone’s legal and economic obligations but also their moral obligations to something.

So, look at this verse again. If someone says he abides or remains in Christ, he is obligated to walk as He walked. “Ought” is also in the Present tense, which means he needs to be doing it constantly. Well, Carl, that sounds good, but it’s not possible. Sure it is, if you let Him do the walking. Let Him walk through you.

APPLICATION

Have your children gotten your shoes out and tried to walk in them? Well, here is a perfect way to illustrate this verse. Ask them to get a pair of your shoes and walk across the floor. Then ask them to run across the floor. Not so easy for them, is it. Even if your kids are a little older, the shoes just don’t fit.

Now, you put on the shoes and walk and run across the floor. Why is it easier for you? Because the shoes fit. Explain to them how we can only walk like Jesus if we are wearing the right size shoes spiritually. We have to wear His shoes. We have to walk like He walked. We can’t rely on our own spiritual shoes. They just don’t fit.

I bet you have tried to walk in your own spiritual shoes, haven’t you? I bet you have tried to live the Christian life based on your own strength and wisdom. How has that worked for you? Stumbled a bit? I bet. I sure do. I think I can run on my own and fall flat on my face. Just walk with Him. In fact, you “ought” to.

Lord, I know if I remain in You, You will help me walk. Hold my hand, hold me up as we walk this life together.

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DON’T BE AN EXAMPLE

2 PETER 2:6

“and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;” 

Peter gives us another example in this list of examples in verses 4-10, and this time it’s a bad one. By that I mean, we don’t want to follow the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you don’t remember that story, you can read about it in Genesis 18 and 19. They were ungodly cities deserving of destruction.

You know, the scary part is there wasn’t much going on in those cities that isn’t going on in our world today. Why is God sparing our cities? Judgment could fall at anytime, and what are we doing about it? What kind of example are we being for the world? Can the world distinguish us apart from the unbelievers?

APPLICATION

Many, if not most, of us with children will tell the older sibling to be an example to their younger sibling. That’s really kind of unfair and burdensome for a child. We need to simply point them to Jesus. If they follow Him, they will be a good example for their sibling. Better yet, if we are living for Jesus, they will follow us.

Being an example is hard sometimes, especially if we are trying to accomplish it on our own. I know I am a poor example of Christ if I try to love people on my own. I won’t last one hour in a crowd without losing it. But when I surrender to Christ, He can live in and through me, showing my children and others how to live.

What kind of example are you? Are you an example of Christ or an example of Sodom and Gomorrah? Pointing others to Jesus is our goal. We simply want others to see Jesus in us so we can share with them all He has done in our lives. It really is that simple. Will you be His example today?

Use me, Lord, to exemplify You today. Hide me and show Yourself.

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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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WELL-PLEASED

2 PETER 1:17

“For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’”

Peter heard these words spoken by God Himself at the time of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-8). At the time he heard that he fell on his face trembling. We would probably do the same if a voice from heaven speak to us. And Peter believed the voice. He listened to Jesus and followed Him.

Let me ask you a question. Is He well-pleased with you? Well, sure He is, Carl. I go to church, give my tithe and try to be nice to everyone. Is that what Jesus did as the Son of Man? No! Jesus surrendered His life as a sacrifice for all mankind. Now, we can’t save mankind, but we can live a sacrificial life for others.

APPLICATION

Have you told your children lately how pleased you are with them? They really need to hear that. Give them opportunities to do things well. Don’t set the bar so high that they can’t possibly succeed. Children need small wins first. Things like teaching them to pick up their toys and bragging on them when it’s done are important.

And they are going to need spiritual wins. That, of course, starts with a firm foundation which you have laid with Scripture and prayer. When they pray for something and see that prayer answered, tell them how pleased you are that they trusted the Lord with that. When you observe them putting their faith into action by taking part in that mission outreach, make sure you tell them how pleased you are. They need to hear you say that again and again.

So, let me ask you again. Is He well-pleased with you? What have you done in the name of Christ to merit that? I am NOT saying we have to DO things to earn His love. He loves us unconditionally. We do things because of His love. And in return we can hear Him say This is my child with whom I am well-pleased. How sweet is that?

I want to please You, Lord. I want to hear those words from You. Forgive me for not being more obedient when You clearly give me opportunities.

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RIGHT ON TIME, JUST IN TIME

1 PETER 5:6

“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time”

My brother-in-law used to end every church service by starting a saying in which the congregation would take part. It would go like this:

Pastor: “God is good.”

Congregation: “All the time”

Pastor: “Right on time”

Congregation: “Just in time”

Pastor: Why?

All: Because that’s His nature. Whooo!

It may have just been a great way to end the service, but it holds such truth. Look at today’s verse. Peter ends it by saying “at the proper time.” That’s exactly what my brother-in-law knew and was teaching the church. God’s timing is always perfect. He is never late. He is also never early. He knows the exact time to exalt you.

APPLICATION

Do your children have a problem waiting? Are they impatient? Most children are. Have you ever made them wait for something just to teach them to wait? It’s not a bad idea. Waiting teaches us a lot. I have often said that life if full of red lights with just a few blinking green lights. We have to learn to wait.

How do you teach children to wait? Teach them by your actions. When you are waiting at a red light, instead of complaining and drumming your fingers on the steering wheel nervously, sing along with the radio or play a game with your kids in the car. “I Spy” is a great one to play. Make waiting fun.

As you wait on God, allow Him to teach you. He allows us to wait for a reason. It’s always a teaching moment. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t figured this waiting thing out either. I don’t like it. But I have learned when I listen closely in those waiting times God is whispering my name. He is lifting me up. He is exalting me.

God My Father, I will wait on You. Even when I am faced with seemingly impossible timetables, I will wait. You are faithful and always on time.

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MODELING BEHAVIOR

1 PETER 3:5

“For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;”

I wonder who Peter was thinking of when he wrote this verse? His mother? His wife? Old Testament saints? We don’t know, but surely he had someone in mind. These were women who were more concerned with pleasing their Lord than with their external adornment. I bet they were all beautiful women, because when you live like that the Lord shines through.

Do you know any women who live like this? In today’s culture submitting to your husband is seen as weakness by the feminist movement. Now, I am not trying to start a fight. I am just stating a fact. Thank the Lord we don’t have to live by today’s culture. We rely on the Word of God to direct our life choices. I am thankful for a submissive wife who honors God with her choices.

APPLICATION

How do you apply this verse to children? Well, we are to teach our little girls and our little boys what it means to submit. Our girls need to understand that they are not submitting to some man. They are submitting to the Lord. He is the one they are trying to honor.

And our boys need to understand what that submission means. It does NOT mean that their wives are their slaves. This is a partnership. They are to honor the Lord by protecting and nurturing their wives. In return, the Lord directs their wives to submit. Obedience to the Lord is the key.

If you know some godly woman who is living out this verse, praise her today. Tell her how much she inspires you with her walk. Encourage her today to continue to model for you and others. Perhaps you are that woman who struggles with submission. Seek the Lord’s direction today. Please Him. That’s all that matters.

Thank You for putting holy women in my life. I praise You for the example they give in surrender to You.

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FILLED

ACTS 4:8

“Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people,’”

When you read this verse you see that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. That sounds great doesn’t it? We know he received the Spirit at Pentecost. But what you can’t see from the English translation is this. That word “filled” in the original Greek means filled to capacity. That changes things.

Peter was not only full, he was totally full. He couldn’t hold any more Spirit. That’s what gave him the ability to preach like he does in the following verses. He was simply overflowing with the Spirit of God. It was the Spirit speaking through him. He was just the vessel God decided to use to preach the Gospel to those listening.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse to share with your kids. Ask them if they have ever been full of joy or happiness. Ask them how they acted when that happened. They may get excited telling you and even have to act it out. That’s great. Ask them what they think would have happened if they had tried to hold all that joy and happiness in. They will probably say they would have burst.

That’s how it is with the Spirit of God inside of us. Explain to your children that when they are surrendered to the Spirit and allowing Him to live through them, they will be filled to overflowing with the Spirit. The Spirit will bubble over on people. Their countenance will better. Their speech will be sweeter. They will be bursting with the Spirit.

How is your Spirit gauge? Are you running on empty? The Spirit never leaves us as believers, but we can sure push Him down and not allow Him to show Himself in our lives. Our flesh is strong and can win out much of the time if we don’t surrender our lives to the Spirit every minute of every day.

Lord, I surrender myself to Your Spirit within me today. I won’t to overflow with the love of Jesus which is exhibited through the Spirit You have given me.

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FIRSTS

ACTS 2:14

“But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: ‘Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.’” 

I remember the first sermon I preached. It was at Harmony Baptist Church in Pelham, GA. I was asked to preach at their annual Youth Sunday. I prepared what I thought was the perfect sermon and was sure it would last the allotted thirty minutes. Lo and behold, I was done in about seven, lol. But I found out something. No one complains about a short sermon.

Peter had been transformed by the arrival of the Holy Spirit. He was filled with the very presence of Christ now. He was no longer that disciple who had denied Jesus. He was now the leader of a new movement to evangelize the world. And here he is preaching his first sermon. What a message! What a transformation.

APPLICATION

Do you recall the first time your child performed at church or school? Perhaps their first solo or part in a play? I sure do. I was so proud of them. My shirt almost lost buttons, lol.  Tell your kids about that. Tell them how proud you still are of them. They won’t soon forget that.

Then tell them how proud the Lord is when they share Christ with someone for the first time or when they make that first gift to the church. First times can be hard and challenging, but the Lord will give them the courage to follow through. Challenge your children to take on those “firsts” just like Peter did. He was accused of being drunk when the Spirit came upon him and the other disciples. But he didn’t get mad and leave. He delivered his first sermon empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Are you fearful of stepping out on those “firsts”? Don’t be. Trust the Lord to use the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and give you the courage. He loves to encourage us. We just have to step up and trust Him. Will you do that today? Who knows, maybe your first sermon may last longer than seven minutes.

I will trust You, Lord, to empower me to step out and do what You ask, even if it is for the first time. I want to honor You with my obedience.

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