Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Following, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY?

ACTS 10:33

“‘So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.’”

I have to think Peter was thinking of this account with Cornelius when he wrote 1 Peter 3:15 “…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” Peter had no idea what to expect when he arrived at the home of Cornelius. He had to be ready.

Cornelius had no idea what to expect from Peter. He only knew God had told him to send for Peter. He was willing to hear whatever Peter had to say regarding his faith in Jesus Christ. What an opportunity lay before Peter. God had thrown it wide open for him.

APPLICATION

What will your child do if they are asked as Peter was asked by Cornelius to share what they know? Our children do not have to have all the answers. They just need to be able to share what Christ has done for them to their friends who ask. You can help them prepare for this by rehearsing it with them.

Role playing with your child is a great way for them to learn to be comfortable with sharing their faith. Pretend to be their friend asking about Jesus. Let them talk about Jesus in their own words. After the role play give them some tips if needed but praise them for the way they shared.

Pray someone may send for you. Pray the Lord will use you to share Christ to someone who is seeking. God may just send a Cornelius to ask you to tell all that you have been commanded by the Lord. Wouldn’t that be great?

I want to be used by You, Lord. Open ears that I may speak to them the wonderful things You have done in my life.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

I BOW

1 PETER 2:13

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,” 

Who likes to submit? Really, no one, if they are honest. We all want our own way. But that’s not the Lord’s way. Just look at today’s verse. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake.” The word submit is used a lot in the New Testament, so it must be important. The word means “under God’s arrangement, according to the Lord’s plan.”

So, when you submit, it’s not to someone. It’s to the Lord. Any authority over you has been placed there by God. He establishes kings and kingdoms. If He has placed it, we should submit to it. To not submit is disobedience to God. Now, that submission should not involved illegalities or immoralities. Other than that, submit.

APPLICATION

Your children’s priority in submission is to you, their parents. This verse applies to them too, even though they are just children. Keep in mind, when they disobey you, they are disobeying God. That should be your focus. That means you must parent according to God’s principles.

So, what happens when we don’t submit. Most importantly, we disappoint the Lord. We are His representatives to the world. When we “rebel” against the authorities, we are not displaying a Christlike spirit. God expects us to submit. Otherwise, we would not have today’s verse in the Bible.

Are you someone who is always complaining about those you answer to? You need to take a minute and reflect on today’s verse. Who are you really complaining about? God! If He’s placed these people over you, it’s for a reason. Obey Him and you will almost all the time obey them.

Father, I submit to You today. Help me understand more fully the reasons why You have placed the authorities in my life. I want to honor You.

Standard
Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Eternity, Following, Holy Spirit, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation

ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?

I PETER 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 

Are you born again? You have undoubtedly heard that question at some point in your life? It’s one of those church questions? That question can confuse some people, especially those who have had no knowledge of Christ. The concept of being born again was brought up by Christ to Nicodemus in John 3. Even though Nicodemus was educated, he was confused by then idea.

The Greek word “born again” is only used twice in the New

Testament, both times in 1 Peter (1:3, 23). It means to be birthed again from on high. It is done to you by One who is greater than you. This rebirth occurs the moment you surrender your life to Jesus. God the Father, through God the Spirit, regenerates us and give us a brand, new life in God the Son.

APPLICATION

Ask your son or daughter what they would want to come back as if they could be reborn. This could be funny. Some may say a puppy or a cat. Some may say an eagle or a snake. Ask them why? Anything goes. Just let them talk.

Then talk about how we can be reborn into a new creature through the Lord. They may not understand all the theological concepts of rebirth, but they understand “new.” It’s a fresh start. It’s a new beginning. It’s a life without all the junk of the past holding us down. And tell your children the most beautiful part of this rebirth is it is eternal. There will never be a need for a second rebirth. Hallelujah!

Are you born again? Are you sure? If you have given your heart to Jesus, He has entered you through the Holy Spirit and cleansed you of all unrighteousness. It is His life that now resides in you. You have the power to conquer sin, not because of anything you can do, but because He is God. Enjoy your new birth. Relish in the freshness. Sing for joy because of Him.

I praise You for my new life in Christ. I thank You for birthing me on high and claiming me as Yours. I shall forever serve You.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Creation, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mercy, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation, Surrender, Testimony

BORN AGAIN

TITUS 3:5

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”

You’ve heard this expression, I’m sure. You are born again at salvation. Well, in today’s verse we have that expression defined in the word “regeneration.” The Greek word literally means birthed again. It’s only used twice in the New Testament. It’s used here and also in Matthew 19:28 where it refers to the rebirth of physical creation when Christ returns to begin His millennial reign.

But not only are you reborn, you are also renewed. This word means to have a whole new development, a renewal which is through God’s power. You see, this is all done by God. You didn’t rebirth yourself nor renew yourself. God saved you. That’s a fact. And if He does something, you can take it to the bank. It’s done. It’s complete. It’s forever.

APPLICATION

Explaining this to your children can be challenging, depending on their age. Do you have any videos of their birth? Drag them out. Show them the video and celebrate their birth. Then ask them this question. “Did you do anything to help in your birth?” Of course, the correct answer is “no.” All they did was surrender to the process. They were depending on mom pushing them out and the doctor delivering them.

The same is true for their spiritual birth. For that to happen they have to surrender to the One who is drawing them out of darkness. When they do, He delivers them into the light of His love. They are totally dependent upon the Lord to bring them into this new life.

Let me ask you this. If you are born again, are you living like it? Are you walking in your renewal? So many of us come to Christ and then try to keep one foot back in the old life. Regeneration and renewal imply a fresh start, a clean slate. The old has passed away. There is no room in the regenerated, renewed life for the old ways. Accept the change. Embrace your new life.

Lord, I will walk in newness today. I will lay aside all the past ways and embrace all You have for me in my new life. Thank You for my rebirth in Christ.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Disciplemaking, Faith, Family, Inspirational, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

WE’RE HIS

TITUS 2:14

“who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

As believers, we know we belong to the Lord. You are told that from the moment of salvation. But you need to take a look at today’s verse to truly understand what that means. Paul breaks it down so perfectly and completely. First, we are His because He paid the price for us. He gave Himself to redeem us. Why was that necessary? Because of our lawless deeds. He wiped them away by the shedding of His blood. That was the purchase price.

Then He purifies us because He will not and cannot allow sinful creatures to abide in His presence. He personally selects each of us. He knows us all by name. We are specially chosen. We belong in His collection. Isn’t that precious? Just like a collector who loves to take out his collection of stamps and admire them, Jesus loves to marvel at His collection of saints. We are each special to Him.

APPLICATION

Do your children collect anything? Maybe “collect” is the wrong word. My son used to have a huge collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars. He loved to play with those. He would get them out and line them up on the floor and play for hours. Each one had their special job in his imagination. But he loved them all.

We want our children to know just how special they are to Jesus. He has a special plan for their life, but it is part of the big plan. Their life is part of His master plan for His kingdom. He wants to use each of us to fulfill it. Can He fulfill it without us? Of course. But His perfect plan involves every believer doing their part. Point your children towards that – the bigger picture. You never know how He may choose to use them.

Are you being used by Jesus? What would He have you do today? Many of us are too busy to allow Him to redirect us. We have our days and weeks mapped out. Any “interference” from Him just gets in the way. Stop that now. Allow Him to take your calendar to the shredder if necessary. Yield to His plan today and enjoy the journey.

My day is Yours, Lord. Put me where You want me and use me however You see fit. I’m Yours.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Faith, Family, Giving, God's Will, Grace, Heaven, Inspirational, Light, Love, Praise, Salvation

THE LIGHT FROM HEAVEN

TITUS 2:11

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,”   

It never ceases to amaze me how God can orchestrate the smallest of details. I began looking at the Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy and Titus) back on January 1st. Today is Christmas day and lo, and behold, look at the verse that comes up today – the verse in Titus that speaks of Christ coming to us. The birth of His Son which brought us salvation.

And this verse contains a Greek word that carries that story. The Greek word for “appeared” has the image of a light appearing from heaven. It means to shine. What does the Christmas story mention? A star appeared in the sky to guide the wise men. The very light of heaven appeared on earth. Why a light? To shine in the darkness. Merry Christmas!

APPLICATION

Today read the Christmas story to your family. Take a moment before all the hustle and bustle of food and presents to reflect on the reason we celebrate. I know so many people who are gathering today to celebrate Christmas who aren’t even believers. I wonder why they do it. The holiday isn’t a holy day to them. We have reason to celebrate, whether or not we have presents or food. It’s about Him.

So, take a moment. Slow down. The presents will wait. Thank the Lord for His perfect gift. Thank the Lord for His grace which appeared and brought salvation to all men. Thank the Lord for each of your family who knows Him as their personal Lord and Savior. And pray for those who have not made that decision yet. Why don’t you agree as a family to do all you can in 2020 to bring them into God’s family?

Christmas is a special time of the year, not because of the trees, mistletoe and garland. Christmas is special because it is the time to recognize what God has done. Jesus’ birth changed history. Jesus’ birth changed the calendar. But most importantly, Jesus’ birth changed the hearts of every believer. We have that light in us which appeared over two thousand years ago in manger in Bethlehem. Praise Him.

I am eternally grateful for the birth of Your Son which gave me a new birth in You. Help me shine that light on others. Let it beam across the darkness and reflect Your love.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Fatherhood, Inspirational, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Motherhood, Obedience, Parenting

I’VE GOT FAITH IN YOU

TITUS 1:3

“but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,”

You can’t tell from the English translation, but “was entrusted” is the Greek word from which we get the word “faith.” It’s the verb form. It’s also a passive verb which means someone else has the faith in or has entrusted Paul with this proclamation. Who is that?

The same God who entrusts us with the Gospel entrusted Paul with the Gospel. He gave Paul a specific task – to preach His message to the Gentiles. Paul spent his whole ministry doing that. He was unashamedly bold in his approach. He risked it all because the Lord had faith in him.

APPLICATION

I pray you let your children know how much you believe in them. They need to hear you say that, not just think it. You may not have a task as big as Paul’s to give to your children, but they need to know that mom and dad believe in them. How do you do that? There are a number of ways, but here are a few.

  1. Give them small tasks to complete
  2. Encourage them to try out for that part in the play they want
  3. Be at their performances
  4. Let them hear as you tell others how proud you are of them.

You can determine the growth or the downfall of your child’s spiritual by the way you show your faith in them. How are you doing with that? I want you to think of at least one way today you can portray your faith in your child. They may not be in a good place right now. That’s not important. Let them know. Entrust them. Show faith in them. See what happens.

Lord, You have faith in me and I am thankful. Help me do the same for others. As underserving I am of Your faith in me, I will serve You.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Disciplemaking, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Truth, Witnessing

I CANNOT LIE

TITUS 1:2

“in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,”

We have probably all heard the story about George Washington (the first President of the United States) as a boy when he was asked who cut down the cherry tree. He said, “I cannot lie. I did it.” We don’t know if that was legend or truth, but he was known as an honest man, not prone to lie. In today’s verse we see that character trait attributed to God, who also cannot lie.

Now, unlike George Washington, God is truly not capable of lying. There is no deceit in Him. He is pure truth. It is interesting to me that the Greek word used here for “cannot lie” is only used right here in this verse. Only God cannot lie. Everyone else is capable, including you and me.

APPLICATION

How many times have you told your child, when correcting them, “Now, don’t lie to me”? We want them to tell the truth. I know when my children were small, I could deal with almost any behavior, but just don’t lie to me. That made things worse. So, how do you get your children to be truthful? Bathe them in the Word. Only the truth of God can transform them into truth tellers rather than liars.

Your job as mom and dad is to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life to provide the environment for salvation and spiritual growth. That includes you being truthful. Have you ever involved your child in a lie? What message does that send your child? If it’s okay for mom or dad, it’s okay for me. And then you punish them for lying to you. Confusing! You must model and live a truthful life for them to follow.

Are you known as a truthful person or a liar? When you give your word, can you be believed? If you are a believer, you represent our heavenly Father who cannot lie. Remember that. It’s not just about your reputation. If the lost world cannot trust Christians to tell the truth, why should they believe anything we say about the Gospel?

Forgive me, Father, for not being truthful at times. I tend to rationalize and justify my lies, but they are just sin. Help me remember it is You who lives within me, who cannot lie.

Standard
Affection, Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Comfort, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Friends, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

MY STUFF

2 TIMOTHY 4:13

“When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.”

Paul was in prison, his last imprisonment, and like a lot of prisoners, was asking a friend to bring him a few things. From what I have read about his conditions, they weren’t too nice. He was basically in a hole in the ground, guarded around the clock. It was a damp, cold, uncomfortable cell. So, he wanted that cloak to stay warm.

But why the books and parchments? He wasn’t through writing and reading God’s Word. We don’t know what the books were, but I bet they were Greek fables. Paul didn’t have time to waste on mindless thoughts. His focus, even there, was presenting the Gospel. And the parchments? I suppose they were for more writing. Aren’t you glad Paul wrote his thirteen letters of the New Testament for us to read today?

APPLICATION

You are probably thinking, “How will you apply this verse, Carl?” Well, think about it. How much time and energy are you wasting right now? Paul didn’t spurn one moment. He was laser focused even in his last days to present the Gospel. Are you and your children doing the same? We may not be in a prison cell, but we are in the last days. Yep, I believe that. I believe every day could be our last, so bring me my cloak and books and parchments.

Explain to your children that we have a responsibility to take every opportunity we have to share the Word of God with the lost. Do they have lost friends? Make sure your children know how to share with them. Do they have a teacher who needs to hear about the Lord? Perhaps you can go with them to share. That would be cool – tag teaming with your child.

Just don’t waste these moments. Take full advantage of every day the Lord allows you to be here on planet earth. He has placed you here and brought you to salvation for one purpose. He wants to use you to spread His message of salvation to a lost and dying world. Will you do that? What do you need? A cloak? Some books? Some parchments? Ask and it will given.

O Lord My God, I know You will give me exactly what I need to accomplish Your mission. Give me the gumption and desire to fulfill all You have for me. I want to see many come to You.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Completeness, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Faithfulness, Fighting, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Parenting, Testimony

THREE GOOD F’S

2 TIMOTHY 4:7

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;”

Most of the time when you hear someone has three F’s you think failure. But not this time. Paul has “fought,” “finished,” and remained “faithful.” Those are three awesome F’s. First, he fought the good fight. Both the verb “fought,” and the noun “fight” come from the same Greek word from which we get the word “agony.” It means to strive as if in an athletic contest or a battle.

He finished the course. The word for “finished” has the word picture of the old pirate’s scope that unfolds to complete it for use. It reaches an end. And “course” is a race. Paul has come to the end of his race. Finally, he kept the faith. He has guarded and protected the faith he has proclaimed. The most important thing about these three F’s is they are all in the perfect tense which means the action has lasting results. That’s cool.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they think it’s okay to fight. If you have taught them well, they will probably say it isn’t. Then read them this verse and explain some fights are worth fighting. We have to be ready to defend our faith. Have they ever run a race? If so, they know the fulfillment of completing that course. All the energy expelled is worth it when they cross the finish line. One day they will experience that, if they are a believer, when they finish the race we are in as Christians. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

And how do we teach them to guard the faith? By teaching them the truth of God’s Word. It’s not just a Sunday, feel-good book we read. It guides every decision they make. It is the truth above all truths. When they understand that, they will eagerly defend it against all attacks, thus defending their faith. The three F’s are still worth pursuing.

How’s your report card? Are you fighting, finishing and staying faithful? Sometimes we get tired in the fight. Don’t stop. The Lord is there to lift your hands. We get weary in the Christian race. Don’t throw in the towel. Keep your eyes on the finish line. And keep defending your faith against the enemy. Don’t give him an inch.

I will pursue these three F’s today. Above all I want to please You, O Lord my God. I know my efforts are strengthened through Your Spirit who indwells me, making all things possible.

Standard