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BETTER TRUST THE ONE YOU KNOW

 

I Kings 13:19 “So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house and drank water.”

Do you know this whole story? A “man of God” had come to Jeroboam, the King of the 10 Northern tribes, and rebuked him because of the altar he had built. God had told him to deliver the message and return home by another route. God also told him to NOT eat or drink anything while there. But another old prophet convinces him to come to his home and eat and drink with him. He said God had told him to tell the “man of God” it was okay. It wasn’t. He was killed by a lion when he left! Hmmmm! One was lying and there was also a lion.

Our children have to know that people will try to trick them. Some will actually tell them God said it was okay to do things that you, their Parents, have taught them was wrong. They will be told by others that God’s Word doesn’t have all the answers when they have been taught it does. There is only ONE truth – God’s truth. And the source of that truth is His Word.

We are so quick to teach them about “Stranger Danger.” We warn them to not trust people they don’t know. We warn them about choosing their friends carefully. But do we teach them to trust what the Lord says regardless of what others may say? Do we tell them to stick to their core values and convictions?

The “man of God” didn’t do anything horrible. He simply ate and drank something. It wasn’t what he did. It was that he did it. He disobeyed. That was the bottom line. If God says to do or not do something, you have to believe there was a reason for it. Trust Him! Teach your children to trust Him. Better yet, look for ways to show your children that you are trusting Him in a circumstance. That will teach them!

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ARE WE THERE YET?

 

John 6:21 “So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”

This miracle of Christ walking on the water is told in 3 of the 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark and John). But only here does the story mention this detail. Matthew includes Peter walking on the water. Mark says they were in the middle of the lake and Jesus saw them struggling from land. But John is the only one that says “Bam! They teleported to land.” Well, he doesn’t say that, but he does say, “…immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”

Wouldn’t that be just awesome if you were on a road trip with the kids? I know road trips can be fun, but there comes a point when you just want to get there, right? The kids have asked you for the one hundredth time, “Are we there yet?” Little Gertrude and Elrod are fighting in the back seat. The dog has thrown up in the floorboard. You are just so ready to get to your destination. Push the teleport button on the dash and instantly you arrive at your location.

But just like the disciples who had just witnessed Jesus feeding the 5000 with a little boy’s lunch, we too forget the little “miracles” along the way. We forget watching the kids giggle and laugh over silly songs. We forget them sharing the last fruit rollup. We forget the road games they played together peacefully.

Don’t be in such a rush. Why not enjoy the boat trip across the lake, I mean the road trip in the car? You won’t have that many more road trips with them, I promise. Before you know it, they will be too cool to go on vacations with Mom and Dad. They grow up and move out (you hope, lol) and all you have left are memories.

I bet the disciples sat around after Christ’s departure and told stories about those three years. “Hey Peter, remember the time…” “I remember when James and John…” Mark your memories and “miracles.”

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MARRYING WELL

 

I Kings 11:1-2 “1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, ‘You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.’ Solomon held fast to these in love.”

How many of us Parents pray that our children marry well? I might guess – ALL! Who would want their children to marry an unbeliever? Who would want their son or daughter to be “unequally yoked”? We want our children to find that mate who shares their love for Jesus and is committed to raise their future children (your grandchildren) to love Jesus.

God had the same desire for His children. He warned them NOT to intermarry with the pagans of the land. But here we see Solomon, the wisest man alive, fall into the trap of marrying pagan women. I have to guess these were probably beautiful women. Why else would the King of Israel marry them? He could have married any woman in Israel, but he chose pagan women. Why? What drove Solomon to disobey the Lord in this way?

I have often wondered why, if Solomon was so wise, he would want all those wives and concubines. The answer is really simple. He wanted his own way. I am the same way. You are the same way. And guess what? Your children are the same way.

My guess is also that these women were nice, pagan women. Solomon wouldn’t have married a mean or vicious woman. But their unbelief and their ties to pagan gods disqualified them as legitimate, God approved spouses for anyone who was a believer.

The same is true for your children, but they must make their own decision regarding their mate. They also, like Solomon, must live with the consequences. Solomon’s choices of wives and concubines led him away from the one true God and eventually cost his son, Rehoboam, the kingdom.

We must point our children toward God’s choice for them. That doesn’t mean we arrange their marriage, but that we lay the biblical foundation that will guide them as they seek God’s will for their future. Pray hard!

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HUNGER PAINS

 

John 4:32 “But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’”

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a good meal. Sitting down to a home cooked meal is one the true enjoyments of life. Now that meal may vary from country to country, but knowing it is home cooked makes it so much better.

The disciples had gone to town to fetch food, and now upon their return they had obviously prepared the meal and were encouraging Jesus to come eat. He, however, had no appetite for worldly provisions. His heart had been touched and His words had gone forth to a Samaritan woman, a despised Samaritan. He had offered her living water, and she ran off to tell her neighbors. Was Jesus so eager for their return to hear about the living water that He had no appetite to eat?

Jesus was always kingdom focused. He came with a purpose to seek and to save that which was lost. Surely, this Samaritan village was lost and in need of a Savior.

How about you? Are you so kingdom focused that you are always looking for opportunities to share the Gospel, to offer that cool drink of living water? Your children are watching and observing how you take those moments to minister. You are teaching them to seize every chance they have to share the good news with someone.

You might just be preparing the next Billy Graham to be bold in their witness. They may be filing away those lessons on witnessing until they are old enough and have the opportunities themselves to be a witness. I promise you they will have plenty of chances in this lost world in which we live. But you, Mom and Dad, are the ones who will role model that behavior. Will you?

Are you willing today to “take a chance” and pray to the Lord that He give you an opportunity to share with someone? You never know how the Lord will open the door for you to speak truth in the life of another.

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GRAINS OF SAND

 

I Kings 4:29 “Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.”

What was the source of Solomon’s wisdom? We know from Scripture that it was Jehovah God. Solomon prayed for it, and God blessed him with it. What a smart prayer! This verse says Solomon’s wisdom was “like the sand that is on the seashore.” That’s a lot.

Do you pray for your children to have wisdom? There have been times when I have prayed for my children to make wise decisions to honor God. Usually those were big decisions in their lives. But what about the every day decisions? I have to admit that wisdom was not on my daily prayer list for my children. I have been too “selective” in asking for it.

But is that right? No, of course not. Our children need wisdom every day. Just think about the decisions they have to make every day. They have to decide how to treat their sibling every day. They have to decide whether to yield to temptation and cheat on that test or not. They have to decide if they should follow their friends in behavior that may not be good.

They need wisdom every day. The Word says that people came from all over to hear Solomon’s wisdom. Wouldn’t it be cool to see others coming to your child for advice? Wouldn’t it please you to watch your child make the right, God honoring decisions each time they are faced with one? That cannot happen unless they rely on God as their source for wisdom.

So, where do they get it? There is one source from which they can find the answer to every one of life’s questions. That’s right – His Word. The next time your child comes to you with a situation that needs wisdom, take them to the Word. Show them that it too is “like the sand that is on the seashore.”

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BELIEF STARTS WHEN?

 

John 2:12 “After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days.”

As I read this passage about Jesus’ first miracle, turning the water into wine, I was struck by verse 12. Why did His mother and brothers follow Him to Capernaum? Of course, Mary knew all about Jesus and the message she received from the angel about His purpose on earth. Why else would she have asked Him to help with the wine issue. But His brothers? Maybe they thought He could help them out. You know how brothers are. Did they start believing in Him here or were they just along with Mom?

I get asked all the time by Parents how old should a child be before they place their trust in Jesus. Well, do they understand the simple truths of the Gospel? Do they believe He died for them, was buried and rose again? Do they admit they are a sinner and need cleansing? If so, there you have it.

Your children can’t ride your coat tails into heaven. There is no “family plan” for salvation. Being born into a Christian family no more makes them a Christian than being born in a garage makes them a car. They must come to a point where they recognize their own sin and need for a Savior. My question to you is “Are you listening to your child when they talk about Jesus?”

We don’t know when Jesus’ brothers recognized Him as the Messiah. But being born into the same family as Jesus did not give them any more heaven points than anyone else. For that matter, and this is going to make some people mad, even Mary wasn’t guaranteed salvation unless she too bowed her knee to her Son, her Savior.

Don’t rest on the fact that your children have always attended church and sang all the songs and memorized all the verses. Lead them to the miracle worker, Jesus Christ, their Savior and Lord.

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SACRIFICE IS COSTLY

 

II Samuel 24:24a “However, the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.’”

David had gotten a little cocky. He decided to number the people, and upon realizing he had sinned he sought the Lord’s forgiveness. So…God sent Gad to give David His message. All this led to David needing a place to build an altar to offer sacrifices to God. He was offered the land and everything he needed to conduct the sacrifice for free from Araunah. Sounds like a deal to me! But not to David. He knew his sin demanded that he make this his sacrifice, not one provided by another.

Teaching our kids about making sacrifices has a different meaning today. We don’t take them out and kill and lamb and burn it on an altar. Of course, roasted lamb is pretty good. No, making sacrifices today means giving up something that may be okay but just not right at the time. It may mean letting someone else get the bigger piece of pie. It may mean offering all your allowance to help someone who has a greater need than you.

However we teach them, sacrifice is a lesson that can only be learned by the individual doing the sacrificing. Your children can’t learn sacrifice by watching someone else. Now they can appreciate their sacrifice, but they can’t really understand the true nature of sacrifice until they willingly give something up.

Look for that “special” opportunity for your child to “sacrifice” something. God will show when it’s time to teach this lesson. Your child has to be ready to make the sacrifice on their own. Forcing a sacrifice is just as bad as providing it for them. God will tell you. Just listen!

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