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READY TO FORGIVE


Best Verse: Psalm 86:5 “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.”

ANYONE

Man, O man.  This verse hit me hard.  I know God is always ready to forgive.  His will is that all men be saved, right?  What hit me hard was this question.  “Am I always ready to forgive?”  The answer is…No!  And that hurts.  Why am I not eager to forgive others?  What part of me won’t allow that?

It’s my old, sinful self.  It’s my flesh.  It’s my ego. It’s my hurt feelings. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  I don’t forgive because it’s all about me.  Wow! That is NOT godly, and for that I repent.  I need to be more like Him and forgive freely and willingly.

TEACHING MOMENT

Listen closely, mom and dad, grandma and grandpa.  Teach your children and grandchildren to forgive.  Teach them how to forgive.  Teach them why you forgive.  We forgive because He first forgave us.  We must exercise the same kind of mercy He shows us. 

But there is ONLY one way for your children to learn this.  You have to do it first.  Instead of talking about others, forgive them.  When someone hurts you, forgive them.  Let your children know, as much as is appropriate, that you have chosen to forgive that person because of Jesus.  You may want to retaliate or hold that grudge, but because of His love for you and them, you have chosen to forgive.

Who do you need to forgive right now?  I bet there is someone.  I bet there is someone in your life right now whom you are upset with.  Let it go.  Let the Lord Jesus love them through you.  Show them the mercy and grace you have experienced in Jesus.

Father of forgiveness, there is NO WAY I can forgive others.  But I know You can forgive them through me.  Help me today to die to myself and allow You to live and love through me.

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JUST ONE DAY


Best Verse: Psalm 84:10a “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.”

BETTER THAN A THOUSAND ELSEWHERE

Don’t you just love this verse?  Can you imagine standing in the court of God?  Many people fear that.  Not me. Why?  Because I am welcomed.  I am an heir to His kingdom.  He extends His scepter towards me in gesture of acceptance.  I had rather spend seconds with Him than eons without Him.

Being in God’s court means You can see Him rule and reign.  Being in God’s court means You can observe His mercy and grace.  Being in God’s court means You can see the multitudes who are bowing before Him.  Nothing will compare with being in His court.

TEACHING MOMENT

Take your child to court.  Now, I don’t mean to get him straightened out.  Let them observe a court room.  Most kids have never seen that, so this verse doesn’t make sense to them.  If possible, let them meet a judge.  Explain to them what the judge does.  He dispenses justice.  That’s his job. 

Let them walk up to the judge’s bench.  Sitting up there you can see the whole courtroom.  Nothing is hidden from your view.  That’s how it is with God.  He rules from above and can see all eternity.  His rule is just and fair.  He rules equally.  

Where are you in the courtroom?  Are you trembling before our holy judge?  I hope not. I pray you are there just in awe of His presence.  I pray you walk in without trepidation or fear, knowing that Jesus is your defense. The accuser may come, but his arguments against you fall short.  If that isn’t you, make it so today.

Judge of all, I stand before You innocent because of Jesus.  My case has been dismissed.  I praise You for the mercy and grace You extended me.

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SPEAK UP GOD


Best Verse: Psalm 83:1 “O God, do not remain quiet; do not be silent and, O God, do not be still.”

AND DO SOMETHING

How many times have you begged God to speak to you?  Come on, be honest.  I am sure you have had those times in your life when God was quiet, when He was silent. I’ve had those times.  It was like He had turned off His ears and stopped listening to me.  

He hasn’t.  God is at work even when we think He isn’t.  He is always listening.  He is always at work.  We just don’t have our ears tuned to hear Him or our eyes focused to see Him at work. We are so busy screaming at God that we miss Him by a mile.

TEACHING MOMENT

We are all pretty good at teaching our children to pray.  We make the time to get with them at bedtime and pray with them or for them.  But do you teach them to listen?  Listening is a skill that will enable them to hear when God is speaking.  It will also allow them to determine when He is quiet.  If God is quiet, it is for a reason.

I am sure your children understand quietness. They may not be very quiet, but they have probably experienced it.  The next time you are praying with them, take a few minutes and be quiet.  Tell them to not say a word.  Tell them to just listen to all the things around them.  Getting still will allow them to hear – sometimes the unexpected.

When is the last time you were quiet? Sometimes I just sit and listen for God. I bow my head, turn my palms upward and focus on listening.  I want to hear Him when He speaks.  I have to turn off “me” to hear Him.  How about you?

Speak Lord, speak. Let me hear Your voice.  Let me hear Your commands.  I want to follow only You.

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HELP THE HELPLESS


Best Verses: Psalm 82:3-4 “3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”

THEY ARE EVERYWHERE

There are so many people in the world who need a helping hand.  I am sure in your community there are hundreds of people who just need someone to come alongside them.  They are the weak, fatherless, afflicted, destitute and needy spoken of here in this Psalm. 

How can you help? How about meeting some immediate needs? It doesn’t do any good to preach to someone who is starving.  The Word is much more affective when they feel safe and warm.  Remember that everyone in this situation is also loved by our Father. He wants them to come home too.

TEACHING MOMENT

If your children are old enough, take them to a homeless shelter to help feed some people this year.  Find a local ministry that is meeting these needs and donate to it.  Help your child with a bake sale to raise money for a needy family.  If possible, do this anonymously.  That is so much more fun.

Teaching our children to reach out to others can be just as instructive for us as adults.  We get accustomed to our lifestyles and overlook those around us who have real needs.  There may be someone right in your church who just needs a little help. Be the family of God to them.

I have never known anyone who reached out to help someone who regretted it.  I believe you should always make sure the need is legitimate, but ultimately that is not your concern.  If the Spirit in you is leading you to help, do it.  He will handle the outcome.  

Lord, I look around and see those less fortunate than me everywhere.  Give me the desire to help.  Give me the courage to reach out and be the hand of Jesus.

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RESTORED


Best Verse: Psalm 80:19 “O Lord God of hosts, restore us; cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.”

I have written before on the topic of restoration.  But there is one HUGE difference between restoring something old and God’s restoration. When you restore something old, it’s still old.  When God restores us, we are a brand, new creature. He has changed us from the inside out.

Let me ask you, do you prefer just an outside restoration or a complete change?  I know what I want.  I want to be fully and completely restored.  And I have been.  My only problem is living that way.  I need to live more restored.

TEACHING MOMENT

Do you have a little restoration job around the house that your kids could get involved with?  Hands on instruction is hard to beat.  If you don’t, maybe a trip to a thrift shop would be good.  Whatever you decide to work on, let your kids get in there with you.  Let them see what’s involved in restoring something.

When you finish, they will probably say how much work that was.  That’s when you can tell them that this was nothing compared to the restoration God does in our lives.  All the junk in our lives is renewed through His blood.  We are set apart as holy.

So, restored or patched up?  That’s your choice.  As for me, I want the works.  I want to be brand new.  I want to be seen as perfect and holy in His eyes.  This is only possible through His perfect work.  Praise the Lord.

O God, you are way too good to me.  Your restoration of my life is complete in Him.  Thank You for making me whole.

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HIS SHEEP


Best Verse: Psalm 79:13 “So we Your people and the sheep of Your pasture will give thanks to You forever; to all generations we will tell of Your praise.”

HIS FLOCK

I am not sure how I feel about being called His sheep.  After all, sheep aren’t the smartest critters.  But then again, neither am I.  I need a shepherd.  I need someone to lead me beside still waters.  I need someone to take me to the grazing fields.  I need someone to watch over me and protect me from my enemies.  I guess I am a sheep.  LOL.

And my job as a sheep is to give thanks to Him forever and tell all generations about His praise.  Sheep talk to sheep, right?  So, I have to talk to other people.  I have to tell others about how great my shepherd is.  I will tell them how much He loves me.  I can praise Him and thank Him so that the other generations see and hear me. 

TEACHING MOMENT

Get your children to make a list of all the things they are thankful for.  Let it be their list.  When they are done, tape it to the mirror in the bathroom or their bedroom.  Let it be a daily reminder of God’s faithfulness.  Teach them to share these “blessings” with others, too.

Have them make a list of people they want to share Jesus with.  This could be family, friends or someone they just met.  Help them figure out how to do that.  Better yet, let them watch YOU share with someone on YOUR list.  Yes, you need a list, too.  You need to be sharing so they will see how it’s done.

Aren’t you excited to tell someone good news you have received?  Then why wouldn’t you tell them about the greatest news?  Tell them about Jesus.  Tell them about His greatness.  Tell them how much He loves them and wants them to be part of His flock of sheep.

Lord, place people in my path today with whom I can share about You.  Let me be Your mouthpiece.  Give me the words You want me to share.

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HOLDING BACK


Best Verse: Psalm 78:38 “But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; and often He restrained His anger and did not arouse all His wrath.”

I NEED THAT

If you want a clear picture of God’s restraint, read the account of the wilderness journey of the children of God out of Egypt. Time after time they rebelled against God.  He would punish them, and they would repent.  But before you know it, they are back at it again.  God withheld killing them, but only after Moses pleaded for them.

Sometimes I see God that way with me.  I consistently disappoint Him.  I want to be obedience, but I allow my flesh to gain control.  I don’t understand how He holds back His judgment on me.  And then I remember – His wrath is satisfied through the blood of His Son. I am declared innocent only because of His righteousness.

TEACHING MOMENT

Children need to learn restraint.  They can be quick to retaliate when wronged.  They can plot revenge on someone who has hurt them. Show your little Johnny this verse today.  Tell him how forgiving God is to us.  We should imitate His acts of kindness, not become judge and jury.

And when you see your son or daughter exhibiting those traits of forgiveness, praise them for it.  Let them know how proud you and the Lord are.  Let them know how you can see Jesus in them.  I believe practicing restraint can build character.  Help them do that.

Do you need to apply this verse today?  You may need to go to someone YOU have wronged and make it right.  You may need to ask someone to forgive you for retaliating against them.  Break that cycle of paybacks.  Allow the cleansing power of Christ to flow through you.

I am not worthy, Lord, of Your forgiveness.  I could never be.  But I am forever grateful that Your Son is.  It is His righteousness that makes me worthy.

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HOW COULD I FORGET THAT?


Best Verses: Psalm 77:11-12 “11 I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 12 I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds.”

DEEDS FOR ME

We are so quick to forget all the Lord has done for us.  To begin with He saved us.  If He did nothing else, that’s enough.  But He doesn’t stop there.  He gives us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to guide us daily.  He gives us the Church where we can fellowship with other believers.  And…I could go on and on.

We cry out to Him in times of trouble and forget Him as soon as it has passed.  Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, realizes that.  In fact, he recognizes that when he feels the Lord has changed, it’s his fault, not God’s.  He is the one who has moved.  He is the one who has forgotten.

TEACHING MOMENT

I guarantee you, your children have forgotten all you have done for them.  Most children take for granted that mom and dad are going to be there.  Most children, even the ones who are most grateful, forget all their blessings.  We should remind them, from time to time of the blessings God has given them.  

I don’t mean we need to make them feel guilty or try to shame them.  I mean truly remember and praise Him for His faithfulness.  How about the last time your child was sick?  Thank Him for healing.  How about finding the lost dog?  Thank Him for that, too.

We aren’t grateful most of the time.  Have you stopped and thanked God for your blessings? Have you given Him praise for all He has done in your life?  If not, do that right now.  Thank Him. Praise Him!  Glorify God!

I will praise You, O Lord, for all You have done for me.  You bless me when I don’t even realize it.  You are faithful even when I am not.

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BRIGHTNESS


Best Verse: Psalm 76:4 “You are resplendent, more majestic than the mountains of prey.”

HE IS LIGHT

To be honest, I had to look up the word “resplendent.”  Actually, I looked up the Hebrew word which is translated “resplendent.”  The word actually means “to be or become light.” That’s pretty cool.  So, the Psalmist is saying, “You are light.”

We can’t look directly at light with our eyes. It’s blinding.  And we have never seen true pure light, which is God.  That would certainly blind us.  But one day, we will see Him.  One day we will be able to look directly at Him with glorified eyes. His light will not only be bright, but it will also be inviting.

TEACHING MOMENT

Let’s perform an experiment with light.  Get a flashlight with your children and go in a dark room.  Shine it toward them.  Do it just for a second.  Don’t blind them.  But ask them to look directly at the light.  Then turn off the light and ask them if they still saw it briefly. Normally, we can still the light in our vision for a couple of seconds after the light is out.

Now think about that.  Your retina stores that image in your brain.  The light is gone, but you still see it briefly.  That’s how it should be with us and God.  If we are always looking at Him, at the brightness of His light in our life, then we should be able to maintain that light in the dark places.  The key is though is to keep looking at the light.  Never take your eye off of Him.

Have you lost the bright light?  Have you turned your attention to something else? Turn your sight back to Jesus.  Let Him shine in You.  Let others see His brightness in the way you talk and act. In that way, others will get a glimpse of His glory at work in you.  Wouldn’t that be marvelous?

Lord, You truly light up my life.  Let Your light shine in me.  Help me keep my eyes on You.

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DAY AND NIGHT


Best Verse: Psalm 74:16 “Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun.”

Day or night, night or day – they both belong to God.  He is the One who created them.  He established the sun to rule by day and the moon to rule by night.  He placed the sun in its orbit and gave the moon the power to affect the tides of the sea.  

Don’t you realize the power that is in that? If these two lights were not exactly placed where they are the earth would either freeze or burn up.  The seas would either flood the earth or they cease from rising.  God’s plan is perfect.

TEACHING MOMENT

Have your children ever been to an observatory? They are pretty fascinating.  You sit in this dark room and they reveal the constellations and planets to you.  Of course, they explain everything in terms of science.  But we know better.  We know who put them all in their places.  

Explain to your children the importance of the placement of the stars, including the sun and moon.  Explain to them how God knew EXACTLY where to put them to give life on earth.  Explain how He had the exact same perfection when He placed them in your family.  They were put there purposely.  Pretty cool!

Do you struggle with accepting situations in your life?  Do you realize that, as a believer, everything that touches your life goes through God’s hands first?  The very hands that placed the sun and moon touches your life daily.  Won’t you let Him place you in the perfect spot He has for you?

As I look at the sun and moon, Lord, I am reminded of Your perfect plan for me.  Thank You for placing me perfectly.  Thank You for allowing only those things that You touch to touch me.

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