Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Encouragement, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Salvation, Surrender, Testimony

INEXPRESSIBLE JOY

1 PETER 1:8

“and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,”

How do you put into words something that is inexpressible? Peter didn’t know either. In fact, the Greek word used here for “inexpressible” is only used here in this verse. You just don’t have words to describe it. Nothing comes close.

But Peter isn’t referring to a beautiful scene or image. He is referring to the joy we have from loving and believing in Christ. Hold on, now. If that is expressible, how can we ever tell others about it? By living it! If we truly have that inexpressible joy in our lives, others will know. Words are necessary. It will show in our faces.

APPLICATION

Have you ever watched your child try to hide something exciting from someone? Their face gives it away. They just can’t help it. They want to tell so bad. The next time you buy a gift for their mom or dad, get them in on the purchase. Let them help pick it out. They will be so excited and bursting with joy. That look on their face is truly inexpressible.

Don’t you want your children to have that same inexpressible joy in loving and knowing Christ? Of course, you do. But you can’t manufacture that. There is nothing you can do to give that to them. That only comes as they surrender to Jesus. And then watch! You will see the joy explode on their face. They will beam with joy.

Do you remember the joy of your surrender to Christ? I sure do. I recall the fresh feeling I had in my heart. I recall the vividness of colors around me. Words could not fully express what I was I feeling inside. My life had to show others the joy I was experiencing. Will you do that today? Will you allow the inexpressible joy of loving and knowing Christ to spill over on whomever you encounter?

O Lord, I am full today. I am full of this inexpressible joy! Help me show others through my actions what I have experienced in You.

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Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Family, Following, Love, Ministry, Obedience, Parenting

FAMILY MAN

Matthew 8:14

“When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.”

Mark 1:29

“And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.”

We often don’t think of Peter as a family man. But from these references about Peter from Matthew and Mark, we see a few things. First, in Matthew, we see he was a homeowner, and secondly, he was married. His mother-in-law was in his home. Either she lived there or because she was sick, they had taken her in. Whatever the reason, Peter was providing a home for his family.

In Mark, we read “the house of Simon and Andrew.” This home may have been a larger home with multiple families (Peter’s and Andrew’s) or Peter also provided a place for his brother to live. We do not read anywhere that Andrew was married. Perhaps Peter was the big brother, so Andrew lived there with Peter’s family. Peter was a family man.

APPLICATION

“Big deal, Carl. How does this inspire me?” Well, think about it. Peter had all this – a fishing business, a home, a family – and left it all to follow Jesus. What are you willing to lay aside to follow Him? Ask your children if they could leave everything behind to follow.

I will never forget during one of our ministry moves our son was unusually upset. It was the first move that he was conscious of the packing and preparing for the move. When his mom asked why he was so upset he told her he didn’t want to leave his toys. Once she explained they were all going with us, he was fine. His stuff meant something to him.

Could you leave it all behind? Is there some possession or person that could hold you back? Peter laid it all aside to follow the Master. He asks us today to do the same. Now, He may not do that, but if He did… We don’t know what happened to Peter’s family during those three years he followed Jesus. I am sure he continued to provide for them. Jesus would not have allowed his family to suffer for Peter’s obedience. That’s not how Jesus works.

Thank You, Lord, for not only caring for me, but also for my family. I trust You to provide for them as I seek to follow You. Let them see You as their true source.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Faith, Family, Friends, Inspirational, Love, Parenting, Passion, Scripture

FAREWELL PARTIES

TITUS 3:13

“Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.”

Paul is urging Titus to make sure Zenas (who is only mentioned here in the New Testament) and Apollos are sent on to Nicopolis from Crete well supplied for the journey. Here is a link to show you the distance they would have had to travel from Crete to arrive in Nicopolis https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/apostle-paul-fifth-missionary-journey-large-map.html.

Paul needed Zenas and Apollos there to help teach the Word to the believers. So, he wanted a send off that was worthy of their calling. The word “diligently” means eagerly, with passion. Whenever I leave my brothers and sisters in Uganda or Kenya to come home, they give me this kind of send-off. I am usually given a gift and tons and tons of hugs. Their love for me is without a doubt.

APPLICATION

I’ve got a fun way to say good-bye at your next family gathering. It’s called the jelly roll hug. As each person or family group leaves have them make a line and hold hands. Then everyone else grabs one end of that line as they make one long line. When everyone has linked hands, the person on the end of the line opposite the person or family leaving starts to make a big circle around them. The person of family leaving stands still as everyone starts circling them over and over again. With each pass the circle gets tighter and tighter until the end of the line has been reached. Then, on 3, everyone squeezes those in the center.

It’s a fun way to say good-bye and something your kids won’t forget. Send offs can be sad, so anyway we can make them more enjoyable is much appreciated. Whether you are the person leaving or the person doing the sending, emotions can be raw. Make it a joyful experience. And don’t forget to pray for whomever is leaving, asking God’s protection and blessing on their journey.

When is the last time you have gone on a journey and had a great send off? When is the last time you have sent someone off? Remember Paul’s words and do it diligently.

I am grateful for friends and family who send me off with love and compassion. I know when that happens I am bathed in prayer. I know I am in Your hands.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Elders, Encouragement, Following, Godliness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Qualifications, Righteousness, Scripture, Testimony

EXPECTATIONS

TITUS 1:8

“but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,”

What do you expect from your leaders? Well, Paul continues to lay out the Lord’s expectations for Elders. These leaders are so important to the healthy function of the body of Christ. By living up to these expectations they are showing others that these are possible through Christ. Let’s look at these quickly.

“Hospitable” literally means to love strangers. “Loving what is good” is really a lover of what God loves. “Sensible” can be translated as self-control. “Just” is approved by God. “Devout” means beloved by God. And finally, “self-controlled” has the meaning of being mastered from within.

APPLICATION

Why did I go through all those words? Because you need to know them, and your children need to know them. You need to know that they are all possible through Christ. The Lord will never put an expectation on you or your children that He cannot empower you to do. He can give you the ability to love strangers. He can give your children the ability to love what God loves.

Do you believe that? Or do you think these qualifications only apply to Elders? NO!!!! They apply to us all. All believers need to live this way. So, what keeps us from doing that? That’s simple. Our flesh, our self gets in the way. And the only way to get rid of that is to die to it daily and surrender your all to Him. When you do that, your kids see that.

Are you willing to live this way? Can you embrace these qualities knowing He can live these through you? Decide today to do this. If you allow Him to control you, He will use you in ways you cannot imagine. And as He uses you, your children will see that and hopefully begin to emulate these qualities they see in you.

I want to be just like You, Lord. All these qualities are You. I will surrender my will to You today.

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Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Evangelism, Family, Love, Ministry, Parenting, Witnessing

WHO?

2 TIMOTHY 4:21

“Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.”

In this next to last verse of 2 Timothy, Paul mentions four individuals who we know nothing about. You might just read this verse and move right on. Who cares about Eubulus, Pudens, Linus and Claudia? Paul did. And he thought enough about them to mention them to Timothy who also must have known them by name. Otherwise they would not have been mentioned.

Some people are name droppers. They like to mention they know or have met “so and so.” Usually that person they mention is well known or famous. It would be like me saying when he was alive, “Yesterday Billy and I were just talking.” Of course, I am referring to Billy Graham. Listen, everyone is important. Treat them that way.

APPLICATION

I want you to make a list of all the friends that your children have. Sit down with them and do that. Then make up a scale of one to five and have them score them according to how much they like them. One will be the least liked and five will be their BFF. This may take a while so be patient.

When they get done tell them to tear it up. They may argue a bit but insist. Now, read the verse to them. Explain that these four individuals fell somewhere on that one to five scale, but they probably weren’t fives because in all of Paul’s letters they aren’t mentioned anywhere else. But here, in Paul’s very last letter, they are the last people he mentioned. Friends are friends. They are all important.

How many friends do you have? I have over two thousand on Facebook. Some I have met through other friends. Some are mere acquaintances. Do you know why I made them my friends on Facebook? So I can expose them to the Gospel and encourage them. Will you make the effort today to reach out to one of your “lesser” friends and encourage them? God placed them in your life for a reason. Don’t forget that.

I am grateful for each friend You have allowed to cross my path. Help me encourage them today through Your Word. Let me be the friend they need today.

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Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, Eternity, Evangelism, Family, Friends, Heaven, Love, Parenting, Separation, Witnessing

FRIENDS LEFT BEHIND

2 TIMOTHY 4:20

“Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.”

Both Erastus and Trophimus were trusted colleagues of Paul on his missionary journeys. Paul knew them both well and wanted to make sure Timothy conveyed his greetings in his farewell letter. Erastus was the treasurer of Corinth, so he was probably very well known. What an opportunity he had to share the Gospel.

Trophimus was left in Miletus by Paul when he became sick. Now, let’s talk about that. Didn’t Paul have the gift of healing? He had healed many people. So, why didn’t he just say, “Get up Trophimus. We’ve got to go.” Because God directs and does the healing, not us. We don’t decide when and whom to heal.

APPLICATION

Unless your children remain in your home all their life and you never move and their friends do the same, they are going to leave friends behind. That can be hard. I know it was for my children. We made a few moves during their childhood which forced them to leave friends and make new ones. So, how do we prepare them for that? What can we say and do to make that easier?

Here are few ideas:

  1. Invest in their friends while they are with them. Get to know them.
  2. Get to know their parents. Know them by name and talk about them to your children.
  3. Help your children share Jesus with them. Leaving behind a saved friend, knowing you will see them in eternity, is so much easier.
  4. Help your children make contact after the move easier. Let them FaceTime or Skype their friends.
  5. Pray with your children for those friends. Keep up with their prayer needs through their parents and pass them on to your children.

Now, these won’t prevent the tears from flowing when the parting comes. But knowing the separation is temporary (only here on earth) can be such a comfort. Do you have a friend that comes to mind whom you have had to leave behind? Why not this week reach out to them. It is so much easier today. And say a prayer for them. That’s the oldest form of long distance communication.

Father, thank You for friends. Thank You for companions who You put in our path through life. I ask You today to bless them.

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Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting

IT’S OKAY

2 TIMOTHY 4:16

“At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.”

I bet Paul had names on the tip of his tongue when he wrote this verse. People who knew him and his ministry got scared and wouldn’t back him up. They had fled the scene, kind of like John Mark in the garden when they grabbed his clothing. He peeled it off and ran. 

Even in the midst of that hurt, Paul says, “It’s okay. Don’t get upset they didn’t help.” Paul is so concerned about Timothy as he writes this last letter. He wants to make sure Timothy doesn’t hold any ill will towards anyone after he is gone. I believe Paul knew it was only going to get harder for Timothy and that he was going to need all the Christian brothers and sisters he could find to surround him.

APPLICATION

Our children will get their feelings hurt by friends. I guarantee it. The day will come when they come home from school or a game in tears or screaming mad because “such and such” just ignored them or dumped them for someone else. Quickly, take them to this verse. Remind them of the context of the verse (Paul’s last imprisonment, hole in the ground, going to die). Now, don’t make light of their situation. Feelings are real. Instead, point out Paul’s attitude.

They have a choice to make. They can either harbor resentment or forgive. Remember, forgiveness is always for the one forgiving, not the one forgiven. If you refuse to forgive someone, they may never know. But you will never forget it. Tell your child how sweet forgiveness is once you truly embrace it.

Is there someone in your life right now you need to forgive for a wrong against you? How long have you been holding on to this? Do they even know you have not forgiven them? Stop and forgive them now. As soon as you can call them or go see them. Make this right. It’s not about them. It’s about you walking in faith and believing in God’s powerful forgiveness. 

I can’t forgive one single person without knowing You are the one who extends the forgiveness. Thank You, Lord, for forgivng me when I was unforgiveable. I do deserve Your grace.

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