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WALKING AWAY

1 PETER 2:25

“For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Sheep get lost by walking away. They don’t run away. They simply stop watching their shepherd and wander away. Before they know it, the shepherd is nowhere in sight. Unless the shepherd comes and finds them, they will most likely stay lost.

We are the same way. We can become hopelessly lost unless we turn our eyes on the Shepherd. Only He can save us from a life spent in the wilderness, away from the watchful gaze of the “Guardian of your souls,” as Peter describe Him. He knows where the green pastures are and will lead us to them.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever gotten lost? They didn’t mean to, but they wandered away from you in a shopping mall or amusement park. Their eyes were fixed on something that intrigued them. Instead of watching you or holding your hand, they were pulled away by their own interests.

We need to remind our children that Satan has a way of luring us away from what we know to be safe and sound. Before we come to Christ, Satan doesn’t usually bother us much. He has us where he wants us. But once we come to Christ, he tries to entice us away from following Him. He can’t unsave us, but he can sure can distract us and make us feel unusable.

Have you strayed away from the safe and gentle embrace of the Shepherd? He desires for you to return to Him. He won’t force you, though. Your return is up to you. If that’s you, repent today and watch how quickly He picks you up. He longs for your embrace as well.

Father, forgive me for wandering. Fix my eyes on You so I can stay near to Your side. I want to spend my days close to You.

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Caregiver, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Healing, Inspirational, Modeling, Parenting, Passion, Prayer

EYE WITNESS

LUKE 8:51

“When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother.”

Once again, we see Jesus choose Peter, James and John to witness something the other disciples didn’t. In this case, He wanted them to witness His healing powers. Everyone in the house told Him the little girl was dead. She probably was, but what is death to God?

Put yourself in Peter’s sandals. What would you have been thinking? Come on, Jesus. I know You have powers, but raising from the dead? This would not be the only time they would witness this, culminating with His own victory over death.

APPLICATION

I don’t expect you to show your children how to raise the dead. So, what is the message from this verse? Simple! God can do whatever He chooses to do whenever He chooses to do it. Your children need to know that. They need to know they can trust Him to work in their lives to protect and defend them.

But there is another message. Perhaps, the Lord will allow them to be an eyewitness to His workings in someone’s life. He may choose to use their prayers to heal someone. Now, hear me clearly. God heals, but He uses us to encourage and comfort. And those experiences build our faith.

Would you want to be an eyewitness? I would and I have been. I have seen people healed who should have died. In order to see those healings, you must believe. Believe God is good and desires only the best for each of His children. Let Him use you to comfort others. You may be surprised at what He allows you to see.

Father, use me as Your tool. If that means in healing, so be it. Just use me to accomplish Your desires.

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GOOD MEDICINE

1 TIMOTHY 5:23

“No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”

Don’t jump to the conclusion that Paul is saying to go out and buy some wine and start drinking. You’ve got to understand the culture of the day. It was common practice back then for young people (that was considered under 30) to not drink at all. It was actually frowned upon. Timothy was still a young man, although he was the leader of the church at Ephesus. Therefore, he probably abstained from any wine.

Undoubtedly, Timothy had some stomach issues which could be aided by the wine. They didn’t have Pepto Bismol or Tums back then. So, diluted wine was used to settle the stomach. Many times, the wine would be mixed with water (1 part wine, 2 parts water). Whatever you think about this verse, it is not a license to drink with liberality.

APPLICATION

This is one of those no-brainer verses. Of course, you are not going to teach your children to drink wine. That would be absurd. What you can do, however, is to teach then personal responsibility. That way, when they are older, they can make their own choice about this. The important thing to remember is their testimony is only as reputable as their conduct and behavior.

We don’t need wine to settle our stomach. We have medications now to do that. You can justify anything, but should you? There are some things that you are going to have to weigh against the entirety of God’s Word. Then you can make your decision. This is one of those things. So, teach your child well with this one.

This topic of drinking is so controversial in the church today. Don’t make this the hill you die on. Don’t judge others too quickly. Ask for wisdom and love each other. Paul was writing this letter to his child in the faith, Timothy, to encourage him to “take a little wine” to help his stomach. It was about his love for Timothy, not about the wine.

Father, thank You that You give us the wisdom to do as You lead us. Help me follow You as You direct. I want to please You, not man.

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WORTHY OF HONOR

1 TIMOTHY 5:10

having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.” 

Just look at the list of this widow’s character traits making her worthy of honor by the church. She has a good reputation. She is a child raiser. She is hospitable, service oriented, full of mercy and devoted. Wow! That’s some woman!

But shouldn’t we all be like that? I mean, look at the list again. Which one of those traits don’t belong in your life? The bottom line is she puts others before herself. Therein lies the rub. We don’t want to do that. We want to see ourselves first. We want to meet our needs first. It’s always me, me, me!

APPLICATION

Well, this is a no brainer. As parents, we are constantly teaching our little Gertrudes and Elords how to not be selfish. We teach children to share because they are naturally selfish. We teach them to watch out for their little brother or sister because they are not concerned with that. 

But once again, this is better caught than taught. We must model these behaviors. When they see us showing mercy to someone, they learn from that. When they observe us serving someone else, they watch how it’s done. We are living out the traits they need to embrace. So, be very careful what you do and say. Little eyes and ears are watching and listening.

How are you in regard to these traits? Are you hospitable? Do you show mercy or wrath? We may not be a widow who needs to be put on the church list, but we still need to live out these same godly traits. And what is amazing is that when we do these things, we are the ones who are blessed. Be a blessing!

I do enjoy blessing others, Lord. Help me see their need even before it is apparent. Let me be Your hands and feet to them.

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SIGN THEM UP

1 TIMOTHY 5:9

“A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,” 

I’m a list maker. I didn’t used to be. After my bout with chemo several years ago I lost some of my short-term memory skills. So, now I have to make lists or poof – that thought vanishes. You are probably asking yourself, “Carl, what does your short-term memory loss have to do with today’s verse?” I’m glad you asked.

Widows and widowers are quickly forgotten. When their spouse dies, we all run to their home to console and love on them. However, after a few weeks, we forget about them. We get back into our routine and forget their routine has been forever altered. 

APPLICATION

Why don’t you get your family to “adopt” a widow or widower? Of course, you may have one in your own family to care for, but if you don’t, I am sure your church has a list of them who need someone to come alongside them. What a great way to teach your little Susie how to love others.

It’s the little things that are needed by them. Things a widow’s husband would have done around the house go undone. Even little things like changing that light bulb in the ceiling light are huge for them. For the widower, it might be missing those homecooked meals by his wife. Let your children help you as you minister to one of these on the list.

Who do you know right now who could use that kind of TLC? Give them a call and tell them you want to take them out to dinner this weekend. Drop by with your tool box and ask if they need anything done around the house. Ask them first. They will probably welcome the visit.

Father, forgive me when I overlook those who have such simple needs. I want You to use me to help them with these daily tasks. I know they are precious in Your sight.

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JUST ONE WIFE

1 TIMOTHY 3:12

“Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.”

Most of us could not imagine a husband having more than one wife. But in some parts of the world, that is not an unusual custom. That undoubtedly was an issue where Timothy was or Paul would not have mentioned it here and back in verse 2 of this chapter. Paul would not have wasted words on this if it wasn’t an issue.

So, what does Paul say about this – that a deacon should only have one wife? He is specific – he said ONE. But why? So he could concentrate more on things of the Lord. If a man has multiple wives, he would not be able to focus on his responsibilities as a deacon. That’s all Paul is really trying to say.

APPLICATION

Now, I am not telling you to talk to your children about only having one husband or wife. That would be silly. So, how do you apply this verse to them? Let me ask you a question. Do you believe every verse of the Bible has meaning for everyone? Of course, it does. 

I believe our focus should be on teaching our children to not allow distractions to pull them away from their service to Christ. Whatever that might be should be removed or avoided. As believers, we cannot allow anything to tear us away from serving our Lord. Even the choice of a mate needs to be highly considered.

Are you single focused? Do you allow anything or anyone to distract you from serving Jesus? I can’t imagine having more than one wife. I would be torn who to love the most. I would be so concerned about them that I would be useless for my Master. Don’t you do that.

Thank You, Father, for working in and through me. Help me stay focused on You and eliminate things that pull me away. Staying focused is key.

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CAREGIVER

1 TIMOTHY 3:5

“(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),”

Paul continues his qualifications for an elder in today’s verse with an explanation of the previous verse. This verse tells us why it is important for a man to manage his household properly. If he can’t, he sure can’t “take care” of the church. Now, just wait until you hear about the Greek word for “take care.” It is so cool.

This Greek word is only used three times in the New Testament. It is used here and two times in Luke 10:34-35. Here is the cool part – that is the story of the good Samaritan. Do you remember that story? He took care of the Jewish man beaten by robbers and left for dead. He even paid the inn keeper to take care of him once he left. That is how an elder is supposed to take care of the church, and he can’t do that if his own house is not in order.

APPLICATION

Okay, you know where I am going with this, don’t you? You have to jump back to the Good Samaritan story to explain this word and verse to little Elrod and Gertrude. They will get that. You can even act out the story with you. You can show them how to “take care” of someone. They will love it.

Then, once they have a good picture of this, take them back to today’s verse and explain how a good leader in the church does the same thing for those in the church. He helps bind their spiritual wounds and enlists others to help.

Are you a caregiver? Do you even care how your church family is doing? So many of us just go to church and go home. We don’t get involved in each other’s lives. But we need to. We need to care for those who hurting. We need to care for those who are going through some kind of trial. Will you care today?

You are the greatest caregiver, Lord. Help me see what You are doing and just get involved in it. I want to please You in all I do.

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