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CRITICAL THINKING

1 JOHN 5:20

“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Do you ever get to thinking about something so intensely that you lose track of time? I’ve done that. The topic becomes so interesting that I could spend hours researching every side angle or story. I look at both sides of the story. I delve into opposing views. And by doing so, I come away with a better understanding of the topic and how to apply it to my life.

That’s the word “understanding” used by John in this verse. And the word “given” is in the Perfect tense which means it happened in the past with lasting results. So, Jesus gave us understanding that will last. He has given us the gift of knowing Him who is true. That truth sets us free. We are in Him, and He is in us. Praise be to God.

APPLICATION

Sometimes the hardest thing to teach our children is why we teach our children. Did I lose you there? Listen. We are so busy teaching our children things that we often forget to teach them why we are teaching them. They need to understand that we are not just teaching them stuff to make us feel better. There is a purpose behind our teaching, right? Do you know that?

We teach them so they can teach others. It’s the 2 Timothy 2:2 principle of passing our knowledge on to the next generation. Without a clear understanding of what we are teaching and why we are teaching, that won’t happen. That’s why rules without reasoning don’t work. Even our children need to experience critical thinking.

Are you doing that? Are you critically thinking about your faith and why you live it? You need to know why you believe what you believe. You need to be able to apologetically defend the faith. I don’t mean you need to be able to argue your points. I mean you need to fully understand it so if you are asked why you believe, you can explain it. Better yet, let the Spirit inside of you do that. He can speak better than any of us. Amen?

Father God, thank You for giving me understanding of You and Your Word. Help me, when asked, to explain my faith to others. Let me be bold and daring when faced with opposing views. 

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PUT A MUZZLE ON HIM

TITUS 1:11

“who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.’

One time our dear, precious dog named Reese had to be muzzled. He had hurt his back chasing birds in our back yard and had to see the vet. Because he was hurting so bad, the vet knew he would be very defensive about being touched, even though the vet was trying to help him. So, on went the muzzle. The vet worked on him and then took it off.

Why am I talking about muzzles? Because the Greek word for “must be silenced” means exactly that. The word only appears right here in the New Testament and means to stop the mouth or muzzle. These people’s words are harmful and need to be stopped. Now, you can’t put a muzzle on people (although that would be nice sometimes, lol), but you can stop the words from influencing your family by refusing to listen and changing the environment.

APPLICATION

Your children are going to hear all kinds of wrong teaching and ideas as they grow up. How do you protect them? Well, you insulate them rather than isolate them. As you teach them the truth of God’s Word, they will learn to recognize the false teachings. You must teach them when they hear these things to handle them. What do I mean by that?

They may not be able to leave the situation if they are in a classroom hearing this from a teacher. In that case, they must be prepared to stand their ground and defend the Gospel. If they are somewhere from which they can remove themselves, that might be the best option. And they may have to change some friends who refuse to hear the truth and openly oppose it. Those are tough lessons, but the Lord will protect and defend them.

Are you willing to stand for the Gospel and defend your family from the attacks of the evil one? You may need to change your tv habits. You may need to adjust the music you are listening to. You may have to avoid certain situations with your children because you know there will be conflict with some people. Whatever it is, you need to decide to stand tall and trust the Lord. He’s got your back.

I am grateful for Your steadfast presence in my life. I know I can trust You to defend me when I am attacked. Help me be strong and bold in the face of opposition.

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IT’S ALL GOOD

2 TIMOTHY 3:16

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”

Have you ever heard that expression?  What does it mean?  Basically, it means every letter, word or marking of God’s Word.  This phrase comes from something Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 (Look it up).  So, when I hear people dismissing a part of Scripture because it is no longer culturally relevant, I cringe.  It’s all relevant to us today.  NO exceptions.

And look what it does for us.  It teaches, reproves, corrects and trains.  It covers all the bases.  So how do we use these verses in the lives of our kids?  How can we get across the truths of these verses in their lives?  Well, are you doing these four things?

APPLICATION

How are you teaching your children?  Better yet, what are you teaching?  The best textbook in the world is God’s Word.  Sure, you have to teach them math and stuff, but the best knowledge is contained in one book.  Are you reproving them?  That means to point out the errors of their ways, to convict.  That sounds bad, but if we don’t help our children see their mistakes, they will most certainly repeat them.

How about correcting?  That means to put them back on the right path.  Reproving without correcting is demeaning and hopeless.  They go together.  And finally, are you training them?  That word means to instruct until they reach full maturity.  That goes well beyond high school today.

I don’t know about you, but I have made a lot of mistakes in my child rearing days.  And just about every one of them was because I deviated or completely ignored the truth of these verses.  If we, as parents, will follow every jot and tittle of God’s Word, our children are much more likely to follow Him.

Father, I pray all parents will use Your Word as their textbook for their children. I pray they will find these timeless truths to be applicable every day as they raise their children to love You.

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BUT I WANT TO UNDERSTAND!

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.  

APPLICATION 

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. 

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