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GOT KIDS?

 

Mark 9:36-37 “36 Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.’”

I just love this passage. It starts out in verse 33 with Jesus questioning the disciples about their discussion on the road. Being a little embarrassed they didn’t admit that they were discussing who would be greatest, but Jesus knew anyway. So, as He did so many times, He uses a child as an illustration.

Now get the picture. There had to be children in the home, so He pulls one up in His arms and says, “Whoever receives one child like this…” He didn’t say “children.” He said “one child.” Do you get that? Just one child can make the difference.

He goes on to say if you receive the child in His name and receive Him you receive His Father. So basically He is saying if you want to know God, then receive Him. When you receive Him, you will want to receive a child in His name. Have I lost you yet? I hope not because children were precious to Jesus when He walked this earth. They are precious to Him now.

Take note also that, as far as we know, this child He was holding wasn’t the child of any of His disciples who were arguing about their greatness. The child wasn’t important because of his or her parents. The child was important because of our Heavenly Father. That’s why we receive each child – because the Father does.

Moms and Dads, I know you “receive” your children. Will you reach out to just one more? That will please Jesus and thereby also please the Father.

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INSULATE, DON’T ISOLATE

 

Numbers 33:55 “’But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live.’”

Here they were, at the threshold of the Promised Land. And just before they go in the Lord tells them to make sure they do not intermingle with the pagans of the land. Why? Didn’t the Lord think the Israelites could convert the pagans? Didn’t the Lord believe the pagans would adopt the faith of the Israelites? Nope! He knew that the Israelites were weak and very persuadable. He knew they would be easily influenced, and He wanted to protect them.

Moms and Dads, your children are going to have friends who aren’t Christians. How do you handle this? How do you keep your children from being influenced by their friends rather than the other way around? It is impossible to totally isolate your children unless you move to an uninhabited island somewhere (while that may seem peaceful, it is not practical).

Make your home an oasis! Invite their friends to YOUR home. I remember my daughter use to have her basketball team over to our home the afternoons before home games. We didn’t live far from the school and those girls who didn’t have time to go home and get back would crash at our house. Many of them were not believers, but they knew our daughter was. We loved on those girls during those years of basketball. They knew they were welcomed in our home where WE could influence THEM.

Don’t isolate your kids. Insulate them with the Word of God and with an environment that is full of His Spirit. This will draw others to them, rather than the other way around.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?

 

Mark 8:14-21 “14 And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 “HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “Seven.” 21 And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?””

How many times have your kids asked, “Mom (Dad), what’s for lunch?” They just assume, because you fed them breakfast, that there is more food coming. Right? They don’t even question the fact that you would let them go hungry.

Then tell me why the disciples got all worked up about not having enough bread on the boat. They had just seen him feed 5000 and then 4000. But now they were worried about lunch.

But before you get all spiritual and judge them, how many times have you questioned God’s provision in your life? We wring our hands when the checking account balance gets low or when we don’t see how we are going to pay that bill. We are just like the disciples. We question God’s ability to meet our needs.

The next time you are faced with that kind of situation, bring your kids in the room and share with them about the need. Then lead them in praying for that need. When the need is met, and it will be in His time, make sure they know how it was met. It may just surprise you how this will encourage them in their walk with Christ.

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ARE YOU LISTENING?

 

Numbers 29:40 “Moses spoke to the sons of Israel in accordance with all that the LORD had commanded Moses.”

The previous 69 verses are directions spoken by God to Moses for the people. He gives some very specific commands regarding sacrifices, festivals and family life. God is a God of detail and order. He doesn’t want us to “guess” what He expects. He tells us right here in His word.

But I would like to point out one Hebrew word, kol. The English translates this as “in accordance with all.” It could be translated simply as “all.” Do you get it? Moses didn’t just pick and choose what to tell the people. He told them ALL. Even though a command might have seemed trivial or repetitive, he still told them ALL.

Our children need to learn to obey ALL, not just select things. Of course, like Moses, we need to pass on what the Lord has commanded us, ALL He has commanded us. But in order for us to pass them on, WE must first obey them ourselves. And in order to obey them, we must be in the Word ourselves.

Parents, are you in the Word daily? Remember, you are not just raising children. You are raising child-raisers. Isn’t that great? You are actually raising those who will raise your grandchildren (whom you can spoil). We can affect generations to come just by being obedient to the Lord’s commands and passing them on to the next generation.

So, are you listening to the Lord, as Moses did? Are you willing to pass on ALL?

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Wash, Wash, Wash your Hands!

 

Mark 7:1-2 “The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed.”

I use to teach Red Cross Child Care courses to teen moms. One of the courses was “Preventing Infectious Diseases.” In this course the video had a Health Fairy (I know, kind of lame) that taught a song (sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row your Boat) that had the lyrics “Wash, wash, wash your hands; play the handy game, rub and scrub, scrub and rub, germs go down the drain.” Cute, huh? Feel free to use that with your kids. Lol

It would have been nice if the Pharisees were just concerned about germs, but their hand washing was more ceremonial than hygienic. It was all about appearances. Did they look clean? Did they act clean? Did they follow all the laws about staying clean?

Well, while we may not wash our hands before meals to keep the law, we do other things that we think keeps us “clean” before the Lord. And the sad thing is we force those ideas on our kids. Do I need to remind you that we are under Grace, not Law? We are free because of the law of liberty, as James says.

So, the next time your kids run in from playing outdoors and their hands are dirty and before you say, “Elrod, go wash your hands,” think why you are saying that. After all, a little dirt never hurt anyone, right Mom?

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Hee Haw!

 

Numbers 22:28 “And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?’”

Your kids will love this story!!! You really have to read Numbers 22-24 to them to tell them the whole story. But this verse – wow – will have their eyes bugging out. Lol

A donkey talks? Really? What an amazing thing! It just proves that God can do anything He wants anytime He wants to anyone (or thing) He wants. He is not limited by what WE think is possible. Come on! A donkey talking?

There are many lessons in this passage, but the one I want to share today is really quite simple. God will use anyone who is willing to be used and recognizes Him for Who He is. The donkey saw the Angel of the Lord! Balaam was not looking for God, so he didn’t. But God opened the eyes (and then the mouth) of the donkey to recognize the holiness and awesomeness of the Angel of the Lord.

Your kids need to see in this passage that they too can be used to speak great truths to others if they will keep their eyes open and their mouths willing. God can use them to speak truth to others to protect them from dangers that they do not see but which the Lord has revealed to them. They can tell their friends, “I wouldn’t do that because in the Bible it says….” Simple truths that carry a great message.

The next time someone tells you, “Don’t be a donkey,” remind them that God can use a donkey sometime. Amen?

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THOSE WHO KNOW ME BEST

 

Mark 6:4 “Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.’”

Boy, isn’t that the truth? Those who know us best can be the most critical. But here is Jesus, the Son of God, who was PERFECT, and He wasn’t honored or respected by his hometown, relatives or household. Why would we expect to be treated differently?

Before you jump ahead of me, let me make my point. Just because we don’t expect to be treated this way does not give us the excuse to “let our hair down” around those who know us best. We have to teach our children that we need to be just as loving, holy and Christ-like at home as we would be at church or around strangers. Unfortunately, we tend to act the most not like Christ at home sometimes. We would never behave at church like we do at home. What is that teaching our kids?

I am as guilty as the next person so I am not pointing fingers. But I am thankful that the Holy Spirit convicts me when I speak harshly or act unkind towards my wife or children. This happened just recently. I didn’t really do anything, but the perception from my wife was I was angry. I had to apologize and ask her forgiveness for the way I had portrayed myself to her. Sometimes we inflict hurt and don’t even know it. We still have to make that right.

Moms and Dads, let me encourage you today to live for Jesus in your home first. Be Jesus to your family above all others. That will teach your children more about living the Christ Life that any words you use.

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I WANT WHAT YOU HAVE

 

Numbers 16:1-3 “1 Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took action, 2 and they rose up before Moses, together with some of the sons of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, chosen in the assembly, men of renown. 3 They assembled together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?’”

Jealousy is a dangerous thing, isn’t it? Wanting what someone else has just because they have it and you don’t can get you in all kinds of trouble. Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On were jealous of Moses and Aaron because of the position God had placed them to rule over and lead the people. They were jealous of the Priesthood. Wow! If they had only known the heavy weight that was on them! Their jealousy led to the death of approximately 15,000 people.

Our children will fight this battle from an early age. What is the favorite word of a two year old? “Mine!” They want anything someone else has, especially a toy or a snack. They see it, and they want it. If we don’t teach them early how to share and how to be content with what they already have, we will see this escalate as they grow older.

One of the best ways I’ve seen for children to learn this lesson is by teaching them to give. Have your kids once a year go through their toys, books, and clothes and pick out some items they would like to share with another child that is less fortunate. Now, I don’t mean to give up that old torn up, ragged out item. Have them select something that they really like but don’t really need.

When they see the look on the face of the child or the parent when they give that gift, they will want to do it more. They will learn that everything we have should be held with an open hand, willing to give it up for someone else. What a lesson!

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MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS

 

Mark 5:17 “And they began to implore Him to leave their region.”

This chapter begins with the story of the demon possessed man in the region of Gerasene. Can you imagine having a man living in the local cemetery who screamed all night and ran around with chains hanging from him and cutting himself with rocks? Wouldn’t that be a little scary? Would you not be a little happy if he left the area or stopped behaving that way?

Well, Jesus shows up and casts all those demons out of the man. He became calm and everything looked great. So, why did they ask Jesus to leave in verse 17? Because he had cast the demons in the pigs and they had ran off the cliff and died in the sea. He was costing them money. 2000 pigs just died and they were basically saying, “Why don’t you mind your own business? We were just fine before you got here. Why don’t you just leave?”

We need to teach our children that we WANT Jesus “messing around” in our daily lives. We WANT Him in our homes. We WANT Him in our playtime with our friends. No matter what He does, it is ALWAYS for our good. We just have to trust Him.

So they next time you hear your kids say, “Won’t you mind your own business?” make sure they aren’t talking to Jesus. Lol Our business IS His business.

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BE CAREFUL LITTLE TONGUE

 

Numbers 12:1-2 “1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); 2 and they said, ‘Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?’ And the Lord heard it.”

What a powerful lesson we can learn about the superb hearing of the Lord. Here in this passage we see Aaron and Miriam complaining about Moses’ wife. Now understand – we don’t know for sure who this woman was, but we do know that the term “Cushite” referred to her skin being dark. So Aaron’s and Miriam’s problem with her was her skin color.

Now isn’t this a great verse to discuss with our children, considering the times in which we live. There is racial unrest everywhere. People hate people just because their skin is a different color. When we talk about people or call them names the Lord still hears. He is just as disappointed today as He was then.

If you read on in the passage you will see that this one little conversation, perhaps in private, had consequences, and I don’t mean just on Miriam (her leprosy). Her punishment caused the ENTIRE nation to have to wait until she could be pronounced clean. We need to teach our children that their words can have consequences. They can hurt people who in turn could hurt people who in turn…. Well, you see where this is going.

The Lord is ALWAYS listening. He knows our words even before we say them. He wants our words to be encouraging and loving. So teach your little ones the power of their words. Teach them to build up and not destroy.

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