Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commitment, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Self-control, Sincerity, Testimony

PROMISE MADE – PROMISE KEPT

1 JOHN 2:25


“This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.”

Don’t you hate it when someone makes a promise and doesn’t keep it? It’s frustrating and inconsiderate. I have not always been good at that. Honesty time here. I have made promises I have not kept. Sometimes that was due to things outside of my control. Other times…well…I just didn’t follow through with what I promised I would do. For that I am sorry. I have confessed that and have asked for forgiveness from God and those whom I have offended.

But John tell us today of the sure promise made by God – eternal life. The Greek word here for “promise” refers to a legal term that means an officially sanctioned promise. It’s not some off the cuff, last minute promise. No, this is thought out and guaranteed. In fact, almost every promise mentioned in the New Testament points back to a promise made in the Old Testament. God is a God of His Word.

APPLICATION

Have you ever made a promise to your child and failed to follow through? Hands please? Yep, we’ve all done that. Now, the hard question. Have you asked your child’s forgiveness? What? Me ask my child to forgive me? Yep, that’s exactly what I mean. We must do that. They need to see forgiveness asked for and given modeled by us.

Better yet – don’t make promises you know you can’t keep. We are prone to do that sometimes just to get our kids to cooperate. Bad idea. Read them today’s verse. Explain how God always keeps His promises and that you want to be more like Him. They will understand and appreciate that.

Is there someone you need to go to and ask forgiveness for not keeping your promise? Do that today. It may be something small to you, but it could be huge to them. Recognizing your failure to follow through is the first step, but you have to go the next step and make it right. Rest in the fact that God will never have to come to you and ask you to forgive Him for failing you. He never will.

Lord, thank You for being so sure. Your Word means just what it says. You will never fail me.

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DID YOU HEAR THAT?

1 JOHN 2:24

“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”

One of your most valuable senses when you are deer hunting is your hearing. Sure, you need to see the deer to shoot them, but hearing them is important as well. You listen for the rustle of leaves or a twig being snapped as they walk. You listen for the grunt of a buck or the blowing of a doe. Hearing is important. You can hunt without it, but you sure lose an advantage.

John is telling us in today’s verse that hearing from God and His messengers is so important. But it’s not just the hearing. It’s what you do with what you heard. Many people have heard the gospel, but not all of them have responded. If you hear and allow that Word to nestle in your heart, you will remain or abide with the Father and the Son.

APPLICATION

How many times have you called for your children and they didn’t respond? Ten times? A hundred times? You know they heard you, but they just sit there playing their video games. Hearing without obeying is just hearing. Disobedience to you, their parents, is a direct breach of your relationship. Of course, your children don’t see it that way, but you have to teach them that.

Relationships are built on trust. In the case of parents and children, it also involves obedience. When our children disobey a direct request, no matter how innocent it may seem, it is a direct affront to our authority. Disobedience to God is the same. We are saying that we know better. How absurd!

Are you hearing and abiding in the Father? I pray you are. I pray you are not just hearing. Do you want to abide in Him? That requires hearing and obeying. Do that now! He is waiting.

I will hear and obey. I desire to abide in You.

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YOU DO OR YOU DON’T

1 JOHN 2:23

“Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.”

Have you ever thought you had something but couldn’t find it? I mean, you were sure you had it. You can see where you put it, but you just can’t lay your hands on it. Believe me, after several cycles of chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants, my memory ain’t what it used to be, lol. I misplace things all the time. Just ask my wife.

John isn’t talking about misplacing something. He’s saying you either have the Father or not. That all depends on your surrender to Jesus. It doesn’t matter what you think you have. Joining church doesn’t mean anything. Attending a hundred bible studies won’t save you. Only confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior puts you in a relationship with the Father.

APPLICATION

Your children understand relationships. From their earliest days you started building that relationship with them. When you held them and fed them, you were bonding. They never had to confess you were their mom or dad. They were born into that relationship. Nothing will ever change that fact. Sure, there will be challenges to that relationship, but family is family.

However, they need to understand that your faith is not their faith. They don’t get to heaven on your shirt tails. They have to come to a saving knowledge of Christ on their own. You can’t do it for them. You can’t pray them into heaven (although you need to be praying for that). Teach them this truth. And when they do hear His voice calling their name, teach them to respond and confess Jesus as Lord.

Have you confessed Jesus as Lord? I pray you have. You may think you know God without doing that, but you have no idea. You may know about God, but you will never know the Father until you know the Son. The Father wants to show you more of Himself every day.

Father, I am so grateful that I know You. I am Your child because of Your Son. Thank You for sending Him to rescue me.

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DENIAL

1 JOHN 2:22

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

Contrary to popular opinion, denial is not a river in Egypt. Sorry, I had to say that. Have you ever been in denial about something? I want to deny the fact that I’m getting older, but the facts speak for themselves. After two stem cell transplants in the past ten years, my body feels much older than my sixty years should feel. It’s just the facts. I can deny it all I want, but I just can’t do all that I used to do.

John attributes denying to lying. He must have encountered a lot of liars. The Greek word for “liar” is only used ten times in the New Testament. John uses it seven of those times. You know he had to run across a lot of people who denied the divinity of Christ. But he continued to preach and teach the message of Christ to those around him, eventually causing his exile on the island of Patmos.

APPLICATION

Have your kids ever gotten into an argument about something one of them claimed was true and the other one didn’t believe? Probably so, huh? They can go back and forth and back and forth. Is true! Is not! Is true! Is not! What an opportunity to teach this verse about denial.

Sit down with them and try to figure out what’s going on first. Explain to them that there is only one truth. It could be that they are both confused about the truth. It could just be that the one sibling doesn’t want the other sibling to be right. Whatever it is, use this opportunity to teach real truth. Explain to them that people have been arguing about stuff for a long time. But only one truth really matters – Jesus.

What are you in denial about today? It could be a health issue. It might be your marriage is in trouble and you are burying your head in the sand refusing to acknowledge it. You may be denying the fact that you are not walking with Christ as you should. Stop the denial. Confess to Him all those things. He knows them anyway. Live in truth today.

I will choose to live in truth today. I will stop denying all those those I know to be true and live to honor You.

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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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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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IN OR OUT

1 JOHN 2:19

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

Have you ever had a “friend” turn on you? You thought you could trust them. You thought they were someone you could rely on. You thought they cared for you. And then, all of a sudden, they start treating you like an enemy. They start talking about you. That hurts, doesn’t it?

John must have experienced this firsthand. This verse is pretty powerful. I am surprised he didn’t name them. He just said, “they were not really of us.” Their actions told the tale. True friends are true. True believers are true to other believers. John knew that. We should too.

APPLICATION

What is the application for our children? Tell them to pick their friends carefully. We must instill in them the importance of having like-minded friends. When two friends have differing world views, there will come a time when they disagree and then the fur can fly. Picking the right friends can avoid all that.

Now, don’t hear me saying that our children can’t have nonbelievers as acquaintances. We need to reach the lost. But we have to guard our hearts from being impressed by those who do not agree with our worldview. You may think this is radical. But let me tell you from experience, when the Spirit binds you together, you can accomplish so much, but when you don’t have that common bond, well…

How about you? Are you in or out? Do you belong in the household of God or the world? You can’t have it both ways. You are either living for Jesus or yourself. What would John say about you? I pray he would say you were “of us.”

Thank You, Father, for adopting me into Your family. Thank You for taking me in. I know where I belong.

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THE LAST HOUR

1 JOHN 2:18

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”

Picture yourself at a ball game. Your team is behind and the clock is ticking. You have the ball and are driving towards the end zone (yes, this is a football analogy, lol). Just before the clock hits zero the ball is snapped to the quarterback who makes an incredible pass into the end zone for a game winning catch to his receiver. You cheer and yell. Your team has won.

We should be doing that very thing regarding the antichrist. We don’t know when he will appear, but it is no matter. We have already won. There is no way we can lose. We’ve already seen the end of the war. Jesus is victorious and there is nothing that the antichrist can do about it.

APPLICATION

Do or did your children play soccer or another sport? Ask them how hard they would have played a game if they knew they were going to win. Some kids may say they would slack off, but I bet most of them would say they would play even harder because they would know the outcome. The game would be much more fun because they already knew they would win.

Explain to them that’s how we should live our lives in Christ. There is no reason to worry about what the enemy does because there is no way he can defeat us. We have the trump card – Jesus. And the best thing about this is our enemy knows he can’t win. That means we are victorious. We just have to keep playing the game. We can’t stop in the middle of the game.

Don’t read today’s verse and start worrying about the antichrist. In fact, be excited about it. Why? Because that just means the Lord’s return is near. Isn’t that great? Keep living daily as if it could be the day of His return. Don’t cower in a corner.

Lord, I welcome Your return. I will not fear the arrival of the antichrist because I know he is toothless.

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LIVE FOREVER

1 JOHN 2:17

“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

My great grandmother lived to be over 100 years old. She was half Eastern Creek Indian and always used to scare me when I was little. She almost always had her hair pulled back in a bun and she wore long skirts and dipped snuff. I didn’t like the way she looked or smelled. Man, I wish I could go back now and talk to her. I know she loved Jesus and would love to hear her testimony.

Personally, I don’t want to live to be that old.  I don’t want my grandkids talking about the way I look or smell, lol. Some people will do anything to live longer. I mean life here is okay, but I am banking on my next life. I want to live forever with Jesus in heaven. There is really nothing on this earth worth living here forever.

APPLICATION

I wonder what your kids would say if you asked them how old they want to live to be. Some may say 1000 years old. Others may say 50 years old (as if that’s old, lol). More importantly, ask them what they want to do with their life. How do they want to live it?

You see, John is pretty plain about the expectations the Lord has for us. If we want to live forever, we need to do God’s will. What does that mean for a child? Do you think a child can understand God’s will for their life? Sure, they can. Teach them to obey God’s Word and glorify Him. Even little kids can do that.

How about you? Are you striving to do His will? If you do, you will live forever. Can you imagine living in His presence forever? Trading life here for life there would be incredible. No more sickness. No more tears. No more taxes (sorry, had to throw that one in). Perfect living. Paradise. But there is only one way to get there – Jesus.

Lord, I know I will live forever because I am Your child. Give me the courage and strength to obey Your will daily.

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I WANT THAT

1 JOHN 2:16

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

The world is constantly bombarding us with things that we just have to have. If you just buy this product, you will have all your problems solved. If you take this medication, you will be cured of whatever ails you. And we spend hours online shopping for stuff we don’t need.

John calls all that “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.” Got to have it. Got to have it. It’s interesting that the Greek word for “boastful pride” can be used to describe a vagabond who makes empty promises to try to sell you a product. Isn’t that exactly what the world does?

APPLICATION

We have to warn our children of this. Kids can believe anything. They can get so hoodwinked by false advertisements. They can be fooled into thinking something is true just because someone says it is. How do we teach them that all that glitters is not gold? Well, unfortunately we have to let them “buy” some of that false gold.

Nothing teaches us better lessons than a failure. We have to allow our kids to fail safely. If we can do that, and it’s hard, we will give them a huge lesson. Now, don’t think I am saying we should set them up for failure. That would be just wrong. But failure is a great motivator. Our kids have to learn to not trust the world’s offerings. They are not designed to teach them truth or glorify God.

What are your eyes lusting for? What are you boasting about? Be careful. Keep your eyes looking up. Keep searching for the things that bring Him honor. You may not have the flashiest car or the designer clothes, but you will please the Father. After all, isn’t that all that matters?

Lord, I want heavenly things, not things of the world. Keep my eyes and ears focused on You.

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