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HAVE YOU EVER SMELLED WRETCHED?

 

Romans 7:24 “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

STINKY

I remember growing up in South Georgia and working for Mr. Pollock. He owned a variety of businesses, one of which was a Grain Bin Operation. He would buy the farmers’ corn once it was harvested and load it into large metal silos which in turn would be augered into waiting train cars. Grain in – Grain out. Unless….

One day someone, while checking the level of the grain in the bin, left the top door open. Well, it rained and the grain inside, which was down pretty low, got soaked. Inside that grain bin the temperature would rise to well over 115 degrees so that corn just fermented. I was one of the lucky ones who got sent into that grain bin to shovel that rotten, smelly, wretched corn into the auger so it could be cleaned.

I can’t begin to tell you how bad the smell was. You may have heard the expression “It would gag a maggot.” Well…it was worse than that. Needless to say, when we emerged out of that grain bin we smelled wretched. When I see that word I think of that smell. That’s how our sin smells.

TEACHING MOMENT

The next time your child gets real “stinky” why not talk about how our sin smells to God. That aroma is NOT sweet. After you give them a bath and they smell “sweet” again, talk about how once we confess our sins we have a sweet aroma to God. What a perfect example of our sin and forgiveness. Stinky to sweet! Wretchedness to holiness! Lost to found! Doomed to Blessed!

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WHERE IS YOUR HOPE?

 

Job 13:15a “’Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.’”

WHERE ARE YOU GOD?

If you have ever read the entire book of Job, you know that Job and his friends are arguing back and forth. The friends are begging him to repent, and Job keeps arguing his innocence. This goes on for chapters and chapters.

But even in the midst of these “discussions” we find nuggets of truth. Look at today’s verse. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” Job still wants to hear from God and argue his innocence, but he also still holds hope. He still accepts that God is God.

TEACHING MOMENT

As we are raising our children and teaching them the deep truths of the Lord, we need to teach them that God does allow hard times in our lives sometimes. But as we believe in the perfect sovereignty of God, we know that everything that touches us has been allowed by Him to make us more like Christ. That is hard to teach. It has to be lived.

The next time your child suffers one of those hard times, search with them to see what the Lord is trying to teach them. Often we have to wait for a while to see that. Other times we know almost immediately. That too is a lesson to be learned. But it is still important that we pray with our children to that end. We ask the Lord to reveal to us what He wants to teach us.

As I write this thought today, I have been a believer for almost 39 years. I am still learning to “hope in Him.” There are still times when I too question why. I want to learn the lesson quickly so I won’t repeat it. Sometimes the Lord tells me and other times I have to wait a while. I truly want to be able to say in each trial, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” How about you?

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COME ON IN

 

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

INSTANT ACCESS

I love this passage. The word “introduction” in verse 2 is the main point to me. The word actually means “access, admission.” Let me try to give you an example.

I left home pretty much at age 17 to go off to college. I came home from time to time and even still had my own house key. But there came a point when I gave that key back to my dad. But I knew my dad and mom kept a key to their house hidden outside. I knew where it was. Do you know what that meant? It meant I could go home anytime, take that key, open the door and walk right in. Why? Because that was still my home. I was always welcome. I could go in and get some good ole sweet tea from the frig (it was always there) and even grab some food. It was home.

TEACHING MOMENT

We need to teach our children that the Father is always welcoming them home. Once they receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they too have a key to His house. That key is Jesus. That key gives us access to all the riches of heaven. We will NEVER be homeless if we have Jesus in our lives.

No matter where your family lives or how many times you move, your heavenly home is always in the same spot and is always open for you. But let me ask you these questions. What are you bringing home? Who are you bringing home? Are you sure you are going home? That’s your homework for today. Talk to your children about your heavenly home. I know they would love to hear all about it.

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NOTHING TO SAY

 

Job 9:2 “’In truth I know that this is so; But how can a man be in the right before God.’”

SHUT YOUR MOUTH

As a child were you ever caught red-handed by your mom or dad? You were doing something you knew you shouldn’t do and got caught. They looked at you and said, “Young man, what do you have to say for yourself?” I hated that question. I wanted to say, “Well, if you hadn’t caught me everything would have been just fine.” But I knew better than to say that. Lol.

Job is being confronted by his friends who are begging him to repent and make things right with God. Job was innocent of doing anything against God, but he was guilty of his own self-righteousness. At this point in the book he hasn’t realized that. But this statement says a lot about his mindset.

TEACHING MOMENT

How do we teach our children to be proud, but not arrogant? How do we teach them to be righteous, but not self-righteous? How do we teach them to follow the Lord’s commands, but not be legalistic? It is a fine line, isn’t it? Humility is hard to teach. Meekness is better caught than taught.

The only way I know is to try to show them through me. I have to live humble. I have to live righteous. I have to live surrendered to His will and not mine. Even when I KNOW I AM RIGHT!!! That is the worst! I want to be right ALL THE TIME.

I am sure Job’s friends meant well. They sat for days with him before they even said anything. They wanted his suffering to end. They wanted to see him restored to his position before all this happened. But God does not work on our schedule or on the best wishes of our friends. He works in us according to His perfect Will.

Rest in that my friends. And teach your children to rest in it. The hymn says, “Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way.” That pretty much sums it up!

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ARE YOU SURE?

 

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

A BABY?

How can this be? Can we really believe that even a little, bitty baby is a sinner? How can that little sweet face be hiding the fact that their soul is wretched? I get those questions a lot. But, if we believe God’s Word is true, then we must accept the truth of this verse too.

The fall of man in the garden ushered in our sinful flesh, and we all have the burden of sin in our lives. We fight the flesh everyday, at least I do. I have often said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to die to self once and be done with it?” Sadly, it is a daily exercise of surrender.

TEACHING MOMENT

Our children will reach that age where they are accountable for their sins. When is that? There is no magic number. I believe it varies according to their ability to understand the truth of the Gospel. I don’t mean they have to understand all the theological concepts (no one really does), but they understand that Jesus died for their sins, was buried and rose again with victory over death.

Everyday we need to be leading our children toward the doors of salvation. We need to bathe them in prayer. We need to teach them that Jesus loves them so much and wants to spend eternity with them. God loves them so much that He was willing to send His own Son to die for them.

Yes, we have all sinned. But we also can ALL receive the promise of salvation if we believe on Him. So stop worrying about it. Believe!

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NO MATTER WHAT

 

Job 1:21 “He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.’”

ALL THAT YOU HAVE

Don’t you just love Job? I mean, come on, he has just lost everything – flocks, crops, children – and he blesses the Lord. Could you say that? Could you bless the Lord if you lost everything? Could you be like Job? Yes, you could, but only if you abandon it all right now.

Do you realize that your clothes aren’t your clothes? Do you realize your house is NOT your house? AND do you realize your children ARE NOT your children? Nothing in this world truly belongs to us. They are gifts from God. If we hold them with our hands open, if and when they are taken from us, we can willingly let them go.

TEACHING MOMENT

But how in the world do we teach our children that? When we take away a favorite toy as a consequence for bad behavior you would have thought we had cut off a finger. Lol Our kids get way too attached to stuff, don’t they? Today every child believes they have a RIGHT to a cell phone or Ipad. We have not helped them by indulging them.

Now there is nothing wrong with having stuff. We just have to hold it loosely. One of the best ways I know to show our kids how unimportant things are is to get them involved with a mission opportunity where they can see others who don’t have what they have. They can learn that you don’t need stuff to be happy. Have them take one of their favorite toys and give it away. Don’t force that, just encourage it.

We have been blessed with so much. But when all you have is Jesus, you discover that He is all you need!

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ONE MAN

 

Esther 10:3 “For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.”

RISKING IT ALL

What a great story. In the passage today in Esther we read that at the end of the whole story, Mordecai became great among the nation. He looked past his own self interests and to the good of everyone.

TEACHING MOMENT

Don’t we want our children to have the same compassion for others, not just for those closest to them? How do we teach them to love all men? We have to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, Who came for all men.

Do you reach out to others who don’t quite fit into your social circle? Unfortunately, many of us don’t. How will our kids ever learn to reach others if we aren’t doing it ourselves? We are commanded to reach the world for Christ? He has given us a mandate to go and make disciples. Won’t you do that? Won’t you take your children with you?

Mordecai saved an entire nation of people from extinction at the risk of his own life and the life of his niece, the Queen. One man risked it all! He knew he had to do it. WE HAVE to DO IT!

Make a difference! Teach your children to make a difference! You can with the help of Christ! He will give you the strength to do all He asks you to do.

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SNAKE BIT

 

Acts 28:3 “But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.”

OUCH

What luck Paul had! He had just survived a shipwreck and now, while trying to build a fire to stay warm with the rest of the people, he gets snake bit. That had to hurt, don’t you think? And then, to top it off, the islanders start shouting that he must be a murderer because he got bit.

Some days, everything seems to go wrong, doesn’t it? Everything you do or say just comes up short. But Paul wasn’t worried about the shipwreck or the snakebite. He calmly goes about his business and nothing happens to him. He knows his God is with him and has a mission for him to complete. I have said it before, “We are all immortal until God takes us home.” By that I mean, our days are numbered by God Himself.

TEACHING MOMENT

Have you explained life and death to your children? There comes an age when it is appropriate to tell them about that. Just telling them that someone has “gone away” is not helpful. If that person who has passed away is a believer, they need to know that we, as believers, will see them again one day. That’s a promise from the Father.

Snakebites, shipwrecks, automobile accidents or any other accident will not take us from this world until the Lord is good and ready to take us home. But when He does, we can rest in the fact that it is our time.

Wow! This devotion seems …well…morbid, doesn’t it? It is not meant to be. I just believe we need to be reminded that God loves us and has a home for us. That is why it is so important for us to do everything within our power to lead our children to Christ. Eternity is a long time!

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RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME

 

Esther 4:14b “’And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?’”

QUEEN FOR A REASON

Mordecai needed Esther to respond to Haman’s threat against all the Jews by going to her husband, the king, without being summoned. This could have resulted in her death, but Mordecai said, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” She was in the right place at the right time to intercede for her people.

Have you ever been in the right place at the right time? I mean, have you ever had the opportunity to do something meaningful at just the moment you were somewhere? You had not planned it. It just happened. We need to be ready at all times to respond when given the opportunity.

TEACHING MOMENT

How do we prepare our children to be ready at all times? How do we help them know when God wants to use them “for such a time as this”? That’s done by preparing them EVERYDAY. Each and every day we teach them to look for opportunities of service. That might be helping someone pick up something they have dropped on the floor. That might mean comforting someone who is upset. That might mean helping Mom prepare dinner. There are all kinds of ways to be of service.

Children love to help. Our challenge is to find the tasks that fit their abilities and their giftedness. Not every child wants to cook. Not every child can do yard work. But every child has some desires AND abilities to serve. We just have to figure that out, with the Lord’s help.

Watch them closely, and the Lord will reveal to you how to lead them in areas of service. They may never have to go before a king to plead for their people (I certainly hope not), but they may be given an opportunity to impact many lives for Christ.

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WHOSOEVER INCLUDES FAMILY

 

Acts 26:29 “And Paul said, ‘I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.’”

BOLDNESS

Don’t you just love the boldness of Paul? Even while standing before Agrippa and Festus in chains, he is proclaiming the truth of the Gospel and begging them all to come to Christ. He knew these men held his life in their hands, but that did not matter. What mattered more was the eternal condition of their soul.

What Paul had discovered through his own conversion and subsequent journeys is that nothing is more important than knowing Christ as Savior and telling everyone about Him. He wanted to spread the news of Christ to as many as he could. Perhaps that is part of the reason he appealed to Caesar. He wanted to share Jesus with Caesar himself in Rome.

TEACHING MOMENT

How important is sharing your testimony? Do your children know how you came to Christ? Have you told them your salvation story? They need to know that. They need to see how you have grown in your faith. They need to know their own faith heritage.

Educating your children about your family’s faith is so important. They need to know who in your family loves the Lord and who is trying to live for Him. They need to know which of their uncles, aunts, cousins or grandparents are lost so they can pray for them and perhaps share with them. I have known grandparents who were saved through the witness of a grandchild.

Witnessing can be hard sometimes, especially when it is to a family member who knows all your faults. But who deserves your witness more than those who are closest to you? Pray for your family, but also be diligent with your children to win them all to Jesus.

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