Parenting, Child Rearing, Child Raising, Mentoring, Bible, Scripture, Truth, Evil, Blasphemy, Holiness, Deceit, Devil, Accountability

ANYTHING GOES

2 PETER 2:2

“Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;” 

This one little Greek word for “sensuality” is so big in meaning. One definition is outrageous conduct, conduct shocking to public decency, lewdness. You get the picture. Anything goes! Some people want to display their lewd conduct to disrupt and disturb the moral fiber of our society, what’s left of it.

We think these behaviors are new, but as we can see from today’s verse, they existed long ago. The depravity of man began at the fall of man in the garden. Sin exists for one purpose and Peter nails it – to malign the truth. What does that mean? It means to blaspheme or speak evil against. In other words, anything that tries to correct evil behaviors is seen as wrong in the eyes of these who practice them.

APPLICATION

Oh, moms and dads, the application is plain. You have got to protect your children from the influence of such evil doers. Okay, Carl. How do we do that? I’m glad you asked. You insulate them with the Word of God. You wrap them up daily with His teachings and tell them why they are true. You point out the evil when it rises its ugly head.

You will never protect your children from all the evil in this world. It’s too rampant. But you can help them by teaching them to navigate around it. There will be times they will have to take it head on, but that should be out of defense of the truth, not for trying to make a point. Live true to His Word.

What kind of “sensuality” have you allowed in your life? It is so easy to allow it to creep in today through our digital world. You may think no one knows, but God does. Every time you get “sensual” and dwell in that immoral world you are maligning the truth. Repent of that today and dwell in the holy.

Guard my heart and eyes from the influence of the evil one. Protect me as I walk this earth in anticipation of seeing You, the Holy One, one day.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Faith, Friends, Gossip, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Opponents, Parenting, Persecution, Reputation, Scripture, Trust, Truth

OPPONENTS

TITUS 2:8

“sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”

Have you ever had an opponent? I mean, someone who was just against you? The Greek phrase for “opponent” reads “he who is of the contrary.” Ever known a contrary person? It seems everything you do or say they are against. You just can’t seem to get along. Well, we are going to face those people, and Paul tells us how to deal with them.

It’s pretty simple really. We just speak truth, sound “speech which is beyond reproach.” If we do that, they have “nothing bad to say about us.” They may try, but it’s not true. In fact, then word “nothing” there means not even one. My brother-in-law used to say that means zero with the lid kicked off. I like that.

APPLICATION

Boy, oh boy, this is an application to make. Our children are going to have people, friends even, who talk about them. Kids love to talk and tease and criticize. The sooner we prepare our children how to handle those comments, the better off they will be. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That may be a cute phrase, but words can hurt if you don’t know how to handle them.

Here are some tips to handle these opponents:

  1. Know the truth about you – Teach your kids who they are in Christ. No words from others can change that.
  2. Know that your opponents are actually Christ’s opponent – He will fight for you. If you stand for Christ, He promises to defend you.
  3. Know those opponents need Jesus – Just like you before Christ, they are operating out of the flesh and need a Savior.
  4. Know that truth will prevail – Trust that “the truth will make you free.

There you have it. A few tips for dealing with those contrary folks. It won’t be easy, but they can keep you focused. Perhaps you have a tendency to be contrary. If that is you, listen to the truth of His Word. Let it transform your thinking. There is no victory in opposing Christ. You just can’t win. Submit to Him today and experience of true freedom and rest.

Guard my tongue, O Lord, and let me speak only sound words. Allow the truth spoken through me draw all opponents to You. Protect me as You have promised.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Disciplemaking, Faith, Inspirational, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Truth

DON’T GET LED ASTRAY

TITUS 1:14

“not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.”

This verse may not seem very important, but it really is. Paul is telling Titus to reprove the false teachers and make sure are not being led astray by “Jewish myths” and “commandments of men who turn away from the truth.” Did you get that? These men were listening to untruths and teaching them. They were being led astray.

Sometimes lies can sound so much like the truth. It can be easy to be led astray, especially if the information is coming from someone you trust. So, how do you protect yourself from that? You have to know the Word. Anything that goes against it is NOT the truth, no matter what the source. Traditions and ordinances are not the truth.

APPLICATION

Children will believe most people in authority – teachers, preachers, deacons, etc. That’s why it is important that they are grounded in the Word. That’s your job as parents. Teach them that if they hear anything that sounds a little odd to come to you to check it out. Theirs is nothing wrong with that. And a true teacher of the Word will never be offended by that.

What a valuable skill for your children. Recognizing truth and lies will help them throughout their life. The Word has to be their foundation, however. They are going to bombarded with “other” truths from seemingly trustworthy sources. Some of those sources will be people they admire, but any deviation from God’s truth is falsehood. God’s truth is timeless.

Do you struggle with discerning between truth and falsehood? Perhaps you have fallen for a “little falsehood.” Little falsehoods don’t exist. False is false. Lies are lies. Measure every truth and myth with THE TRUTH.

I know I can only trust Your truth, O Lord. Give me discernment to recognize and disclose any falsehoods. Let me be bold for Your Word.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Disciplemaking, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Truth, Witnessing

I CANNOT LIE

TITUS 1:2

“in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,”

We have probably all heard the story about George Washington (the first President of the United States) as a boy when he was asked who cut down the cherry tree. He said, “I cannot lie. I did it.” We don’t know if that was legend or truth, but he was known as an honest man, not prone to lie. In today’s verse we see that character trait attributed to God, who also cannot lie.

Now, unlike George Washington, God is truly not capable of lying. There is no deceit in Him. He is pure truth. It is interesting to me that the Greek word used here for “cannot lie” is only used right here in this verse. Only God cannot lie. Everyone else is capable, including you and me.

APPLICATION

How many times have you told your child, when correcting them, “Now, don’t lie to me”? We want them to tell the truth. I know when my children were small, I could deal with almost any behavior, but just don’t lie to me. That made things worse. So, how do you get your children to be truthful? Bathe them in the Word. Only the truth of God can transform them into truth tellers rather than liars.

Your job as mom and dad is to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life to provide the environment for salvation and spiritual growth. That includes you being truthful. Have you ever involved your child in a lie? What message does that send your child? If it’s okay for mom or dad, it’s okay for me. And then you punish them for lying to you. Confusing! You must model and live a truthful life for them to follow.

Are you known as a truthful person or a liar? When you give your word, can you be believed? If you are a believer, you represent our heavenly Father who cannot lie. Remember that. It’s not just about your reputation. If the lost world cannot trust Christians to tell the truth, why should they believe anything we say about the Gospel?

Forgive me, Father, for not being truthful at times. I tend to rationalize and justify my lies, but they are just sin. Help me remember it is You who lives within me, who cannot lie.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Holy Spirit, Lies, Parenting, Truth

IMPOSTORS

2 TIMOTHY 3:13

“But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

We find another one-time used Greek word in today’s verse. The Greek word for “impostors” is only used right here. There’s a reason the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to use it. No word was written haphazardly. Paul is using a strong wrong to describe those who intentionally seek to mislead and confuse others.

What is an impostor? One definition is “this person uses their verbal spells and incantations to give the (false) impression they can do miracles.” They are faking it, but they are so good at words they convince people they are real. Only by knowing the truth of God’s Word can we guard ourselves against these types of people. If we are bathed in truth, lies just naturally reveal themselves.

APPLICATION

Your children are going to encounter impostors along the way. How do you prepare them to recognize and avoid their influence? There’s only one way – through the diligent teaching and nurturing in His Word. This may sound simplistic, but it’s true. Impostors will take a portion of the truth and make it something it’s not. They only want what is best for themselves, not others.

That’s probably the easiest way to detect those impostors. Everything they do is about them. It’s self, self, self. Train your child to recognize that. If someone is constantly seeking self, they are not someone you want your child around. Paul lumps them with evil men who are deceiving or being deceived. Not the best crowd.

Are you faking it right now? A lot of people in the church today are going through the motions. They pretend to be a Christian to gain access to something. They may think by “joining” the church they will get some kind of special favor. Don’t be an impostor. Be a real, self-less follower of Christ and watch what He does in and through you. To God be the glory.

I want to represent only You, dear Lord. I lay down my motives an agenda to live for only You. May I please You today as I go through my duties.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Lies, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony, Truth

FAKERS

2 TIMOTHY 3:8

“Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.”

Just who are these two guys. They are mentioned nowhere else in the Bible. We are pretty sure these two men were the two lead magicians who opposed Moses in front of Pharaoh. There is a lot of Jewish literature that names them, and it would be normal for their names to have been preserved in ancient texts.

But why mention them here. Paul is saying that just as these two tried to fake the truth of Moses’ miracles to free the slaves, these people Paul is warning Timothy about were faking the truth of the gospel and pretending to have an equal claim to apostleship and power. There are still people around today who will do the same. Beware!

APPLICATION

Now, people won’t normally come up to you or your child and say, “I have the power of God. Listen to me.” That would be too obvious. We teach our children about stranger danger. If someone approaches them and claims mom or dad sent them to pick them up, what should they do? That’s right, run! The same holds true here.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are hearing “another” gospel that doesn’t quite match up to the truth of the gospel, run! Teach your kids that the moment the shift happens from all glory pointing to Jesus towards another person or object (church, event, etc.), run! Fakers fake because we fall for it. Fakers fake because we are not diligent to check them out.

Let me ask you a hard question. Are you a faker? Do you pretend to be walking in the truth but are actually living a lie? Stop right now and make that right. Set your feet on the firm foundation of God’s Word and never turn again. And be mindful of the other fakers around you trying to lure you into chasing things that are false and just don’t matter. Life is way too short to chase rabbits spiritually.

Give me Your eyes, Lord, so I can spot the fakers. You only stand for truth. That is all I desire.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Conceit, Contentment, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Satan, Scripture, Surrender, Truth

TOO SMART TO LEARN

2 TIMOTHY 3:7

“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

There are two different Greek words for “learning” and “knowledge.” In English we commonly equate the two. But not in the Greek. The word “learning” refers to fact knowledge or book sense. “Knowledge” is an intensified word for experiential knowledge. In other words, these people have the knowledge to do what it is right but have chosen to do it their way, refusing the truth that stares them in the face.

I bet you have NEVER done that, lol. How many times have you done something you knew was wrong, thinking this time it won’t be so bad? You had the head knowledge, but you refused the truth of the situation and forged ahead, only to pay the price later. So, don’t be too quick to judge these people Paul is referring to here. I believe Paul knew these people he is referring to. We just don’t have their names. When you get out of line, don’t you want God to call your name?

APPLICATION

When I was little, my brother and I would save our money and buy model cars and ships. We spent hours gluing and painting, only in the end blowing them up with M80’s. What fun! But I hated the instructions. My brother, Tim, he followed them. For some reason, his models were always more stable and looked more like the box.

We teach our kids to follow the instructions (God’s Word) for a reason. We will have to apply them. When we do, God carries us through. But when we allow our children to make up their own rules and ignore truth, things get sloppy. They stop looking like the rest of the world and insist their normal is normal. A return to the pure instruction manual is the only remedy for our children and the children of the world.

Do you follow or make it up as you go along? Being in Children’s Ministry, I can’t “wing it.” Kids know it when you are winging it. They will bring down the house. Satan knows when you are winging it. He will bring all he can against you to try to make you miserable and unfit for ministry. Don’t let him. Cling to the truth. With it, you are able and to have the knowledge.

I only know what is useful to the kingdom or me because of You, Lord. I celebrate the freedom we have in Jesus to think, but also under constraint.

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Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Truth

ARE YOU TRUSTWORTHY?

1 TIMOTHY 4:9

“It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.”

This phrase is used twice by Paul in writing to Timothy in this letter. He doesn’t use the phrase anywhere else. I wonder why. Why is Paul saying what he is saying is trustworthy? Did someone accuse him of lying? Was Timothy hearing other reports from Paul’s enemies? We don’t know, but we do know the Holy Spirit told him to put these words down.

So, how do they apply to us? Let me ask you a question. Can you say this about all your statements? Are all your words worthy? The word “deserving” can also be translated as “worthy of.” The word means to be weighed in God’s scale of truth. That’s a higher level of trustworthiness, isn’t it?

APPLICATION

This is a simple truth to teach your children. We need to model this first, though. Can our children trust our words? Do we say what we mean and mean what we say? Can they rely on us to follow through with what we say? They learn this truth by watching and listening to us. Are we trustworthy in our words to our children?

Too many parents lie to their kids. Yes, I said lie. They tell them something, knowing it will never happen. They make promises they know they cannot keep. If you are one of those parents, stop! Make sure your yes means yes and your no means no. Stop confusing your children with wishy washy parenting. Remember, you are not raising children. You are raising child raisers. What you model and teach will be repeated.

Are you trustworthy in your statements? Can people trust what you say? One of the worst reputations you can have is to be known as a liar. I have known people whom you could say if their lips were moving, they were lying. Not good! Don’t be that person. If you are a believer in Christ, you have THE truth in you.

Forgive me Lord, when I tell untruths. Convict me of this sin. Let me never be guilty of leading others astray by my statements. I want my words to line up with Your Word.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Family, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Questions, Satan, Scripture, Trust, Truth

OLD WIVES’ TALES

1 TIMOTHY 4:7

“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;”

You may have heard the phrase “old wives’ tales.” It refers to things that are passed down from one generation to another as being truth when it actually is just superstitions or false information. I used to teach First Aid and CPR in an area of Tennessee to teen moms where I heard a lot of these. One such old wives’ tale was to bind up your baby real tight and drop a pair of scissors behind their back if they have colic. That will cut the pain. Don’t try that at home, lol. 

Paul is warning Timothy about these fables and superstitions. He should stick to the truth of God’s Word. Only that will lead to discipline and godliness. Any other source of information is subject to verification. God’s Word is always reliable. It can be trusted throughout the generations.

APPLICATION

Your children will hear lots of silly fables (old wives’ tales) in their lives. Some may even have a smidgeon of truth in them. Those are really confusing to young minds. The easy way to verify if they are true is to measure them against God’s Word. If they agree, trust it. If they don’t, don’t trust it.

Learning to discern fact from fiction is a skill they will need as they navigate life. Satan is around every corner just waiting to try to confuse us or deceive us. When our children learn to recognize those untruths, they will be safer in their journey following Christ.

Are you one who believes all those old wives’ tales? Do you put more stock into what Grandma said than what God says? Give up all those generational truths and turn to the only source of truth. He will teach you whatever it is you need to know. And you can be guaranteed that it is always true.

Lord, help me discern fact from fiction. When I am unsure let me turn to You. I know You are truth and can set me straight.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Friends, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Trust, Truth

THE WRONG ORDERS

1 TIMOTHY 4:3

men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.”

Have you ever been told to do something that you just knew wasn’t right? Maybe you had a boss who wasn’t very honest, and he asked you to fudge the numbers on your report. Perhaps your older brother or sister made you promise to not tell Dad and Mom about the lamp they broke. Those are tough predicaments. What should you do?

Well, Paul called these people who are giving these wrong commands, these wrong orders, liars (look back in the previous verse). If they are liars, should we do anything they say? Of course, not.  Liars can’t be trusted. You can’t believe anything they say. And here they were telling people to not marry and to not eat certain foods, both of which God had blessed. 

APPLICATION

Children get this. They can usually spot a lie. Just try it. I’m serious. Deliberately tell them a bodacious lie. See if they want call you on it. We have to teach our children to recognize lies, but we do that by teaching them the truth. When they know the truth (God’s Word), they can easily see the lies.

They will be faced with similar situations that I mentioned in the first paragraph today. They may have a boss one day who asks them to lie. You have to teach them now to do the right thing. They may be exposed to false teaching once they leave home where you are not there to protect them. Teach them God’s principles and they will spot it right off.

But let me turn the tables. Are you the one spreading falsehoods? We do that, normally, to protect ourselves or make ourselves look better. If you are guilty of doing that, repent. Confess that as sin and ask the Lord to forgive you. Truth is the only way to go. All other avenues lead to destruction.

Lord God, You are Truth! I want to embody Your Truth. Help me today to only speak what is true.

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