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FERVENT LOVE

1 PETER 1:22

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,”

Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurt? The Greek word for fervent comes across like that. It’s only used twice in the New Testament. The other time is in Acts 12:5 when Peter was in jail and the church was fervently praying for his release.

Peter had experienced that kind of love and now he is telling us to love each other that way.

Now, I realize there are some people who are hard to love. I bet you can name a few. But that doesn’t excuse us from loving them. Do you know why? Because we aren’t doing this from our own love. No!!! This is the fervent love of Christ. We are just the vessel He uses to express His love.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they think fervent means. Once they are done explain the word to them. Now, ask them to show you how they would express fervent love. Depending on the kid, this could be interesting. Most kids, however, don’t have a problem loving. We adults tend to shy away from fervent love.

I love standing at the door to the church I serve on Sunday mornings. Some of the kids will begin running down the sidewalk leading into the church the moment they see me. I’ve been out for several weeks with serious medical issue. I will probably get mowed down on my first Sunday back. I can’t wait. lol

Fervent love is proceeded by “purified your souls.” That’s important. Fervent love comes out of a pure heart. There is nothing hidden in that fervent love. It comes straight from above. Fervent love is an encouraging love. Go out today and fervently love someone. I’ll bet they will be surprised.

I fervently love You, Lord. Help me love others with as much passion. Love through me today.

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PRIVATE TIME

MARK 13:3

“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,”

Can you imagine having a private, sit down meeting with Jesus? These two sets of brothers probably did this often. They had been the first 4 disciples chosen by Jesus. He often took three of the four out with Him. So, sitting with Jesus wasn’t an unusual thing for them.

Jesus had just told them the temple would be destroyed. They wanted to know when. Jesus gives them lots of warnings but doesn’t give the exact time. Those warnings still hold true today. Jesus is returning one day. He told us that. We can bank on that.

APPLICATION

Private time with Jesus is available to each of us. Teach your children that. They can take His word, find a quiet place and read and pray. Jesus loves meeting us there. Children need to develop that habit of quiet time. This is one thing they can carry all through their life.

You may have to do it with them to begin with. Quiet times have to be developed. The Word is a big part of that. Jesus speaks to us through His word. It is amazing how many times the verse(s) I read are exactly what I need that day. And then our prayer time allows us to talk to the Lord and share our desires and needs.

Do you have your quiet times daily? If you don’t, you are missing out. We may not can physically sit down with Jesus, but we sure can talk to Him. He will be there, waiting to talk. He will not be too busy. He won’t get distracted while you are talking. Just go to Him and enjoy it.

I am thankful that You are all ears anytime I come to You. Help me be more disciplined. I look forward to our next conversation.

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HE’S COMING

TITUS 2:13

“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”

Waiting can be hard, can’t it? It’s especially hard when you know what’s coming. The Greek word for “looking” can also be translated as “awaiting” or “watching for.” It carries the idea of anxiously waiting and ready to receive. That’s a lot more than just looking. Paul knew Jesus was going to return and was anxious for the day. He was ready for it.

Paul calls Jesus the “blessed hope” and “our great God and Savior.” He wanted to make sure Titus understood just who He was. We have no other hope than Christ. All other hopes pale in comparison. All other hopes can fail to materialize. All other hopes are just that – hopes. They aren’t certain. And why is Jesus certain? Because He is God!

APPLICATION

How do you teach your kids to wait? That’s a hard one. Some kids are better at it than others. Parents will do just about anything to keep their children calm while waiting for something. I’ve seen parents bribe their kids. I’ve seen parents come prepared with toys and activities and snacks. Waiting is hard for little ones.

But the most important “wait” we need to prepare them for is Christ’s return. We know He’s returning, but we don’t know when. Our role as Christian parents is to introduce and lead our children to Jesus so that however long the “wait” is, they are ready. We don’t want them caught off guard. We don’t want them left behind when He appears. Once they know Him as their personal Savior and Lord, they can join you in the wait. It could be today.

Are you anxiously waiting for His appearing? Are you prepared for His return? If not, get ready today. Give your heart to Jesus. Let Him fill you with His Spirit. And then do all you can to bring as many as you can with you. If you are like me, I know dozens of people who will be left behind if He came today. That burdens my heart. Let’s join together to bring them with us when He appears again. Keep watching.

Lord, I know You are coming because You said You were. Help me lead others to You so they can join us. I am ready! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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CROWN ME

2 TIMOTHY 4:8

“in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Do you like to play checkers? That was the first thing I thought of when I read this verse. I know, call me weird, lol, But in checkers when you reach the opponents back row with one of your checkers, they have to crown you with another checker they have taken from you, giving that checker special power from that time forward in the game.

As believers, we don’t have to wait on the righteousness to come with the crown. If we are walking and talking like Jesus, we are living righteously. The crown is simply a recognition of who we are in Him. The crown belongs to Him because we have no ability for righteousness outside of Him. It is His righteousness that makes us righteous.

APPLICATION

So, how do we explain righteousness to our children? How do we get them to understand how to live that way? Let’s tell them what the word means. It simply means doing what is approved of by God, by His judicial approval, what is right in His eyes. Now, that weeds out a lot of nonsense, doesn’t it?

I explain it this way. It’s being right (salvation), knowing right (studying His Word) and doing right (walking daily according to His Word). If our children can do that, they are living righteously. If they understand that, they will receive that crown which they will turn right around and lay at His feet.

Where’s your crown? Do you have that coming? Remember, it’s His righteousness, not yours, that earns you that crown as a believer. Let me encourage you today to be, know and do right in God’s eyes. That is His definition of righteousness. If I am pleasing the Father, if you are pleasing the Father, that’s all that matters.

I will live to please You today, O God. Righteous living is godly living. Righteous living will be rewarded and for that I am grateful.

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BE AN EXAMPLE

2 TIMOTHY 1:13 

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 

Paul’s charge to Timothy in today’s verse still rings true for us today. We are to “retain the standard.” That literally means to keep the example. Better yet, we are to be the example. This is a command, not a suggestion. Timothy had to be the one in Ephesus to do so. He was the example of Christ in a pagan city. 

So are we! Our testimony is the starting point for each of us. However, we are asked of the Lord to represent Him from that point on. That can only be done through faith and love in Christ Jesus. He lives in and through us to point the way for a lost world.  

APPLICATION 

Preacher’s kids get a bum rap. People think they should be better than the other kids. That’s not fair to them. If you are in the ministry, don’t put that on your kids. However, we should hold our children to a higher standard once they accept Christ. Why? Because now they represent the king of kings. They bear His name. 

It’s hard to get some children to understand just how important their walk with Christ is for others. They may feel judged or pressured to conform or perform. No! We don’t want that. We want them to simply let Jesus live through them. All we want is for them to yield to Him. He will take care of them. Just be Jesus. 

So, what are you doing with this command? Are you retaining the standard? Are you a worthy example of what Christ can and will do with a surrendered life? If you are struggling putting something down, Jesus is talking with you. Put it in His hands. Don’t let anything come between you and following the Lord. He is faithful to see you through the hardest things life has to “offer.” 

Help me trust You completely, Lord, and allow you to hold me up as an example. Let anything in my life that is seen by others simply point them back to you. 

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NOT ON TARGET

1 TIMOTHY 6:21 

which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you. 

I have a crossbow which I use to hunt. I use it to hunt white-tail deer, turkey and even geese. There’s just something about using archery rather than a gun that seems more…well…natural. Don’t get me wrong, I still use a gun during gun season, but I like the challenge of the crossbow also. 

But you know what I have to do each year? I have to practice. I can’t lay my crossbow down and just pick it up the next season to hunt. I have to target shoot to make sure my crossbow is sighted correctly and so I know I can hit what I shoot at. And if you miss the target you are risk of losing that bolt (crossbow arrow).  

APPLICATION 

Buy and inexpensive bow and arrow kit from a toy or sporting store for your children. They will love shooting it. Set up some targets close, to begin with. Then keep moving the target out until they really have trouble hitting it. Then read them this verse. 

What a great way to explain this verse. If you don’t stay close to the Lord and continue to grow your faith, it is so easy to miss the mark, to miss the target. That’s what the phrase “gone astray” actually means. Literally it is “non target.”  Ask your children which they prefer – hitting the target or missing it. The same applies to our faith. 

Are you “on target”? Are you missing the mark? Make sure you stay focused. Make sure you stay sighted in. It takes practice. It takes determination. Will you commit to keeping your eyes on Jesus? If you do you will hit the mark He has set for you. 

O Father, my sights are on You. I want to hit the goal you have set for me. I will give you all the glory.  

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DON’T GO THERE

1 TIMOTHY 6:16

who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”

Unapproachable! Don’t even think about going there! The brilliance of our Lord will be blinding, yet we shall one day behold Him. This Greek word for “unapproachable” is only used right here in this verse. It literally means don’t go. Why? Why would the Lord dwell in unapproachable light? Why would He want to keep us away?

Because as mortal men, we cannot bear the glory of God. His holiness would instantly wipe us away. So, we are being protected. He is not trying to keep us away. He is trying to keep us safe. We will be bathed in the light. We just can’t go into it. We are not worthy. Only He can dwell in it.

APPLICATION

Do you have things in your home that are off limits? I bet you do. How about the fuse box? The power source for your house is in there. Your children can benefit from the power source, but they cannot approach the source itself. That’s a pretty close analogy for kids. 

There have to be boundaries for kids. There will be a day when they can have access to any area of the house. The limitations now are not meant to punish them. They are meant to protect them. As they mature, they will gain more and more access. In the same way, as we mature in our walk with Christ, He reveals more and more of Himself to us.

Are you ready for the unapproachable light? Boy, I am. I can’t wait to see Him. His glory will be amazing. But guess what? It is now. Don’t wait until eternity to be blown away. Let His brilliance amaze you.

O God of glory, Your light is ablaze. Let it shine through me so others can see You. One day I will dwell in Your light forever.

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