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LOCK YOUR LIPS

Psalm 39:1 “I said, ‘I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.’”

THROW AWAY THE KEY

Oh wow!  How many times have you wanted to do this?  You hear or see something and just have to say something, right?  But look at God’s Word.  If we would take this verse to heart, we would lock our lips and throw away the key.  But, nooooo!  We like to talk.

Well, look at the last phrase.  We are to especially hold our tongue when we are in the presence of unbelievers.  We need to be a witness for Christ.  We should be different than the world.  The unbelievers should be able to see Christ in us with the words we use.  Our words should point to Christ, not us.

TEACHING MOMENT

I bet your children have never tattled on anyone.  Lol.  Doesn’t that just get to you sometimes?  Teaching our kids to guard their tongues is probably one of the hardest things we do.  This would be a great verse to share when they do it the next time.  How about getting a muzzle and show them how it works?  I don’t mean putting it on them (unless you think it will help, lol).

Keep our mouth closed, especially when we have been the victim, is difficult.  Just point your kids to Jesus’ example.  They ridiculed Him.  They falsely accused Him.  They spat on Him and crucified Him.  Yet, it says He was silent.  Wow!  That is one of the most amazing things of all to me.

Who has been badmouthing you?  Who have you been badmouthing?  Why don’t you take a moment right now and confess your evil thoughts towards those who have wronged you?  Ask the Lord to guard your lips.  Ask the Lord to muzzle you, if necessary.

God, You are the maker of my tongue and mouth.  Teach me to use them to glorify You and praise others.  Correct me when I fail and say unkind or evil things against others.

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AHHH, THAT NEW SMELL

Lamentations 3:22-23 “22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

FRESH

Don’t you just love the smell of something new?  Have you ever gone to a car dealership to just sit in the new cars and smell their interior?  I know, that sounds weird, right?  But you should try it sometime.  Now, I can’t afford a new vehicle, but it is nice to just smell the new sometimes.

How about the smell of fresh in the morning?  Walking outside early in the morning and taking a whiff of the sunrise reminds us of the promise of a brand new day.  All things new.  Brand new start.  Just like the lovingkindness of God.  That also is new every day.

TEACHING MOMENT

Has little Elrod come home lately in a funk?  He had a bad day at school or on the soccer field and feels like life is just over.  Read him these verses.  Maybe little Gertrude just had a fight with her best friend and feels her life is in shambles.  Read these verses to her.  As bad as it seems, God promises us a brand new beginning each and every day.

What can you do to help your children truly experience that?  Don’t get into the same old morning routine with them spiritually.  What do I mean by that?  I mean mix it up.  One morning pray with them for their friends.  The next morning read a passage of Scripture about family.  Another morning, sing your devotion.  Just keep it fresh.

Are you in a funk yourself?  Do you need a reminder that God sends us His compassion daily?  (Go sit in that new car and think of the newness of God, lol).  God wants to “freshen” you up.  And through His Spirit, He can.

Father of all, show me your lovingkindness and compassion today in a way I have not experienced lately.  Let me “smell” the “new smell” of faith today.

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TEARS

Lamentations 2:11 “My eyes fail because of tears, my spirit is greatly troubled; my heart is poured out on the earth because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, when little ones and infants faint in the streets of the city.”

WHAT DO YOU CRY FOR?

Jeremiah was heartbroken for his people.  He knew the judgment which had fallen on the nation was because of the sins of the people.  They had turned away from the Lord God and sought after other gods.  Because of their rebellion God had to correct them.

But look at this verse, especially the last phrase – “when little ones and infants faint in the streets of the city.”  These were innocent victims of their parents’ sin.  Jeremiah was weeping for these babies and children who were only guilty of being the children of those who had turned their backs on God.

TEACHING MOMENT

Now, understand me.  We are ALL guilty until forgiven. We are born with a sinful nature.  But sometimes the innocent suffer because of others.  Having worked for almost 40 years with children, I can tell you that children suffer due to their parents’ sin.  Divorce wrecks homes and children suffer.  Alcohol and drugs destroy the children as well as the parents who have the addiction.

As a parent, keep in mind that your sins will have an effect on your children.  The way you choose to live your life will determine the life little Johnny or Susie will face.  Most of us only want what is best for our children.  We want them to have it better than we did.  We want them to succeed.  If that is you, then choose righteousness.  Let that be their inheritance.

Are you causing your children to “faint in the streets”?  Are your sins forcing your children to struggle?  Repent!  Go before the Father right now and beg His forgiveness.  Ask Him to cleanse you of your desire for sin.  He will!  Do it for your children.  Don’t let your rebellion put your children in the very center of wickedness.

O Lord God, I repent of my sins which have been the cause of my children’s struggles.  Forgive me of choosing my desires over yours.  Let me see the effect my sin has had on my family and cleanse me of all of that.

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JUST CAN’T FIND IT

Jeremiah 50:20 “‘In those days and at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.’”

GONE!

Don’t you just love this verse?  After all the Lord has done to get Israel’s and Judah’s attention through the prophets and by using Babylon as His instrument of judgment, He is saying, “I have forgiven you and your sins can’t be found.”  Wow!  God hid their sins.

Have you ever hidden something so no one could find it?  I remember as a child I would do that with something I didn’t want my brother or two sisters to have.  I had a secret spot (and I am still not telling, lol) that I used.  They never could find anything I hid there.

TEACHING MOMENT

God does that with our sins. Once we confess them to Him, He takes them away.  He hides them, not only from others, but also Himself.  God forgives AND forgets.  Your child needs to know that.  They need to know that lingering guilt from sin which has been confessed is NOT from the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit will convict us and drive us to repentance, but once we have confessed all, ALL is forgiven and “hidden” away.

Satan is the great accuser.  He doesn’t want us to believe we are forgiven.  He will tell your children they don’t deserve forgiveness.  He will remind them of their weaknesses.  He will throw things in their face over and over to dredge up the old stuff.  But you need to remind your children of this verse.  God hides it all away from His sight.

So, what confessed sin are you holding on to right now?  What guilt are you wallowing in?  Stop it!  Let go of those thoughts.  God wants you to walk in freedom.  He wants you to be a vessel that He can use to advance His kingdom.  God sees you cleansed.  Look at yourself through His eyes.

Father, I do not understand it, but I accept it.  You have forgiven me of my sins and have removed them forever from Your sight.  Help me to stop bringing back up all the guilty thoughts I had of that confessed sin.  I am free!

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LOVE IN CORRECTION

Jeremiah 46:28 “‘O Jacob My servant, do not fear,’ declares the Lord, ‘For I am with you. For I will make a full end of all the nations where I have driven you, yet I will not make a full end of you; but I will correct you properly and by no means leave you unpunished.’”

PUNISHED

Why is it when we are punished (or if you prefer “disciplined”) that we feel like we aren’t loved?  Nothing is further from the truth.  I remember distinctly as a child dreading my “whoopings” from my dad.  Mom’s didn’t bother me too much, but dad…well…that was a whole different matter.  How could he give me a spanking like that?  Because he loved me.  I knew he did, but at the time, I sure doubted it.

God loves us so much that He will take us to the woodshed sometimes.  He says in our verse today that although He must punish Jacob (Israel) for their sins, He was still with them. He would destroy their enemies.  But first, He had to correct them.

TEACHING MOMENT

I don’t think I need to explain how this verse applies to our kids.  Just do me a favor.  Don’t say, “This is gonna hurt me more than it will you.”  As a child you never believed that, did you?  As a parent, you understand the phrase, but I guarantee your child won’t believe it either.  Lol

Disobedience has to be corrected.  It is our job to turn our children away from evil, sin, or whatever you want to call it.  We are NOT the Holy Spirit, but we do have the responsibility to be used by God to correct our children as He directs.  To do that, however, we must be obedient ourselves.

Does God need to take you to the woodshed?  Are you overdue for a whooping?  Confess!  Make things right with the Father.  He wants to draw you close to Him, not for punishment but for blessing. Let Him.  Don’t let sin come between you.

Father, I confess to You today for _______, which is sin against You.  Forgive me!  I am willing to lay it down and allow You to work in and through me to make me what You want me to be.

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WHEN ALL SEEMS LOST

Jeremiah 45:5 “‘But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the Lord, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.’”

HE WILL SEE YOU THROUGH

Baruch was distressed.  He had heard and even written all the judgments which Jeremiah had delivered against Judah.  His heart ached for his nation and for the loss of his potential position in the country.  He believed and followed Jeremiah, yet his flesh was weak.

God is reassuring Baruch here that although all seemed lost, He would spare his life.  God had a plan for Baruch which did not involve him dying right now.  Surely, Baruch was encouraged by a spoken, private prophecy through Jeremiah to him from the very lips of God.

TEACHING MOMENT

We must remind our children that God still speaks to us.  He speaks through His Word and through His people.  When our children surrender to God’s will and allow Him to direct their lives, they will understand that God will protect and defend them until He is ready to bring them home.

Now we shouldn’t talk about death with our kids too much.  We don’t want to seem morbid or depressed.  But there may be occasions when the topic comes up. When it does, we need to remind them God has a perfect plan for their life here.  They are safe in His arms.  Death will come, but even then, as a believer, it is welcomed.

Are you in one of those “Woe moments”?  Do you feel like Baruch?  Your life seems to be falling apart.  All hope seems gone.  Your future seems bleak.  Listen!  God may be trying to send you a private message through His Word. He may be trying to speak truth through a brother or sister.  Listen.

O Father, You speak most often in that still small voice.  Help me to listen intently to Your words and trust that You know what is best for me.

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SOMETIMES EVEN THE WICKED SEE

Jeremiah 40:2-3 “2 Now the captain of the bodyguard had taken Jeremiah and said to him, ‘The Lord your God promised this calamity against this place; 3 and the Lord has brought it on and done just as He promised. Because you people sinned against the Lord and did not listen to His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you.’”

STRANGE SOURCE OF TRUTH

Isn’t it amazing that as Jeremiah is being led to Babylon that he is confronted with truth from a pagan?  Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, basically repeated all Jeremiah had been saying would happen.  But have you ever thought how Nebuzardan knew this?  Who told him what the Lord said about Judah?

Have you ever had a lost friend who spoke truth to you?  I have.  Now, they may not have recognized their words as truth, but the Lord spoke through them.  How is that possible?  God will use whatever and whomever He pleases to speak to us.  His only concern is to have us listen.  He could speak directly to us with a loud, thundering boom.  But sometimes He uses the unexpected.

TEACHING MOMENT

So how do we tell our children to listen to truth.  We must show them how to check it out against the Word.  They will get all kinds of advice from people, lost and saved.  But the litmus test whether it is from God or not is how it agrees with the Word.  Does it line up with the truths taught there?  Does it conflict or agree?

Your little Flossie Jane may not know the Word that well, so what does she do?  She comes to you.  That means YOU must know the Word.  You must have a grasp on the truth.  You need to recognize falsehoods when you hear them which means you must study the truth.

Are you struggling right now with a decision?  Are you seeking advice?  To whom do you turn?  You have prayed, but God is silent.  So, what do you do?   You wait!  You keep praying.  You listen closely to those around you whom you can trust.  And then, if they give you counsel, you go to the Word to verify.  You have heard it said, “Trust, but verify.”  That applies here as well.

Father, I know You are the only trustworthy source in my life.  But I also know You send others my way to speak to me.  Open my eyes to recognize the truth when I hear it.  Help me to point others to Your truth.

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