Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Death, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

FACING DEATH

2 TIMOTHY 4:6

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.”

What would you do and what would you say if you knew your death was imminent? Paul knew this. He had been in prison for a while now and knew he would die for the faith soon. But look at how he describes that. He doesn’t say, “I’m about to die.” Neither does he say, “They are about to kill me.” He says, “I am pouring my life out as a sacrifice.”

The Greek word for “being poured out as a drink offering” is one word. It occurs here and also in Philippians 2:17. Paul wrote Philippians about four years earlier during his first imprisonment. But even then he saw his life as a sacrifice for Jesus. He didn’t fear death. He was pouring his own life out for Him. No one could take what he freely gave.

APPLICATION

Test this with your children. Ask them if there is something they really value they are willing to give away. Perhaps it is a special toy or gift they have received. They may know someone who would really love it, maybe more than they do. If they are willing to give it up, let them. This could be a huge learning opportunity.

Now, go to this verse and explain that just as Paul willingly gave up his life for Jesus, nothing they are willing to give away can be taken from them. It doesn’t matter how it leaves their hands once they have decided to give it away. It’s the giving up that matters. The same holds true for their life. Is it fully given up to Jesus?

How about you? Is your life being poured out as an offering? Does your heart fully belong to Jesus? Until you are willing to give up your life for Him you will never fully know what Paul is referring to here in this verse. If we are holding on to our life, we are holding back full allegiance. Now, Jesus probably will never ask you to die for Him. But if He did, would you? That’s a hard question.

Father, my life is Yours to do with as You choose. To live is Christ and to die is gain. I pour out myself for You today.

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SORRY, DON’T KNOW YOU

2 TIMOTHY 2:12 

If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 

I have become more honest as I get older. Now, I am not saying I used to lie, but I wouldn’t quite be honest sometimes. Like when someone comes up to you, calls you by name and begins this long conversation, but you have no idea who this person is. In the past I would say, “Hey bud, how are you doing?” Now I say, “Hey, I’ve forgotten your name. Forgive me.” 

Jesus knows our name, whether we accept Him or not. But He promises us reigning power or powerlessnes, based on our response to Him. Paul tells us here that if we will endure with Christ, we will reign with Him. If we turn our backs and run, He will also deny us before the Father. 

APPLICATION 

Children like to be recognized. They love hearing their name called when they see you. What they don’t like is to be ignored. Try it for a day with your kids. Go through your normal routine, but each time a child calls your name, ignore them. (If they have an emergency make an exception). 

At the end of the day explain what you did and why. Read today’s verse. Ask them how they think the Lord feels when we do that. When we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father. And I really want to meet the Father, don’t you? Make a point to call your child by his/her name. Their name means something, and your child should know it.  

Are you being called to serve specifically in this area – the area of name calling? It’s a gift. It is so good to see the look on the other person (adult or child) when they hear their name. God loves you and has you surrounded by His love this evening. 

I know right now You are calling out my name before the Father. One day, I will see You face to face. One day, I will meet the Father. 

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Comfort, Contentment, Death, Faith, Forgiveness, Life, Parenting, Resurrection

DIE TO LIVE

2 TIMOTHY 2:11 

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 

Huh? How is that possible? If you die, you die. Right? And if you live, you live. But Paul says, “For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him.” Logically, that makes no sense at all. But there we go. It’s not about logic. It’s about faith. 

At the cross, the moment Christ died, He died a death for all who would believe in Him. His death was for everyone. Our sins were nailed to that old rugged cross right along with Him. And then, when He walked out of that tomb, we also walked out with Him as resurrected creatures.  

APPLICATION 

Let me explain this concretely so your kids can understand. My brother-in-law described this as being “biscuits for Jesus.” Get all the ingredients to make biscuits (flour, buttermilk, butter, salt, oil, etc) and mix them all together. They are “with” each other but are still able to be separated. But once you cook those biscuits, something happens. Those ingredients are now “with” each other in a whole new way which can’t be separated. 

Both of the verbs in today’s verse have that second “with” attached. It’s a little Greek pronoun “syn.” That’s us in Christ. We die with Him, and we live with Him. We cannot be separated. We are bound together with Him for eternity. That’s death to life.  

Are you bound with Christ? Do you know that nothing can separate you from the presence of Christ in your life, if you are a believer. You may feel distant at times, but His life courses through your veins as a Christian. You are just choosing not to walk in victory. Choose life today! 

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank You, Lord, for making me whole. Thank You, Lord, for giving to me, life more abundant. 

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EMPTY HANDED

1 TIMOTHY 6:7

“For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” 

Come on! Think about it. When you are born what do you bring with you? Nothing! Nada! Zero! And when you die, you leave this earth with…the same! So, let me ask you a question. Why do we spend so much time accumulating stuff? Now, don’t get me wrong. I like stuff as much as the next guy. But does the process of getting it ruin it for you?

I recently discovered that one of my ancestors was Charlemagne, a king in the 1stCentury who ruled over the Franks, Lombards and Romans. He was buried in 814 seated on his throne with his crown on his head and scepter in his hand. It seems even in death, he was determined to rule and hold on to what he had. But he couldn’t. No one can.

APPLICATION

This is kind of a morbid topic for kids, huh? Well, I don’t mean it to be. What I am trying to say in this devotional is stuff doesn’t matter. Whatever we manage to get here on earth will be left for someone else. Do this! Take your child to their room and ask them to pick out their five most important possessions. Put them in a box and tell them you want to see how long they can “live” without them.

After the crying stops (just kidding) talk about those five things. What were they? Why were they important? Who gave it to them? Read them today’s verse and let the words sink in. Those five favorite things can’t go to heaven with them. When they are older, they will have five different favorite things. They can’t go either. Instead help them focus on what can go with them – their love for Christ, the Word of God they have memorized and the peace in their hearts that God is real and loves them. Those are true possessions.

What are you holding on to with a death grip? Would you willingly lay it down if the Lord asked you to? If not, you’ve got a problem. Parents, you can invest in your children’s lives and lead them to a saving knowledge of Christ. You may be gone long before they are, but one day they will be with you in eternity. Now, that’s something to hold on to.

O God, I long to see Your face. There is nothing on this earth that I would hold on to that could keep me from coming to You. You have blessed me, and I only want to You.

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TURNING ASIDE

1 TIMOTHY 5:15

for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.” 

What a sad statement! “For some have already turned aside.” It literally means to turn away from one thing or person to follow another. That’s what they have done. They have chosen to follow Satan. Now, this is not a devotional on losing your salvation. That’s for another time. 

Some people think they can play both sides, but the instant you turn towards Satan, you turn away from Jesus. You cannot follow Satan and follow Jesus. You cannot please Satan and please Jesus. You have to choose. Choose wisely because this is an eternal decision.

APPLICATION

Children will follow easily. That’s why it is so important for you to teach them who to follow. If you don’t, the world will. The world is appealing and exciting. Who doesn’t want to follow that? It has all the bells and whistles. 

Teach your children that all that looks exciting is not. They can always trust where the Lord leads them, even if the path looks dangerous. Following Jesus is not always easy, but it is always fulfilling. Following Jesus may not always be safe, but He will protect them. Teach them to abandon their own despair for His hope.

Who are you following? Remember, one road leads to destruction but looks so inviting. Satan will disguise his path to appear smooth and easy. But boy oh boy, the second you are on the path, he starts setting traps. Then you are caught. Jesus invites you to walk along His blood-stained path. And when the path gets hard, He carries you.

Father, remind me why I follow you. I choose today to follow You wherever You lead.

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Advice, Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Death, Encouragement, Modeling, Money, Parenting

DEAD WOMAN WALKING

1 TIMOTHY 5:6

But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.”

Have you heard the expression “Dead Man Walking”? It implies someone who is alive but living and acting as if he is dead. He has a careless disregard for life. Death is just all over him and is ready to snatch him away. Well, today’s verse says the same thing about this widow, the one who chooses “wanton pleasure.”

Now, what is wanton pleasure and how do we help the widows we know not live like that? “Wanton pleasure” means to live extravagantly or luxuriously. It’s the widow who has no regard for the cost of things. She spends money like it grows on trees. Paul is not saying it’s bad to have money. He is saying it is sin to live with that mindset. 

APPLICATION

Teach your children the value of money now. If you begin early, they will understand when you say, “Honey, we just can’t afford that right now.” Some parents don’t want to ever tell their little Johnny or Susie no, so they give them anything they want. That will lead them to live like the widow in today’s verse.

Instead, help them earn some money through extra chores or small jobs around your house. When they are old enough help them get a job in the neighborhood mowing grass or babysitting. As they get older, they will be ready for that first part-time job in the community. However you do it, teach them that money is simply a tool God has given us to live. It’s not what we live for.

How do you see wealth? Did you know that money is mentioned over 2,000 times in the Scriptures? It must be important for the Lord to spend so much time talking about it. He wants us to understand why He blesses us with the resources to live. Take some time and do a word study on money. You may just learn something. I know I did.

I know all I have belongs to You. Thank You, Lord, for blessing me with the means to care for my family. Help me be more generous with the resources You have given me.

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I’M NUMBER ONE

1 TIMOTHY 1:15

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”  

Paul called himself the number one sinner. Why would anyone do that? That is not a title I want. But he was making a point. Jesus died for all sinners, even the worst sinner of all. Paul, obviously, was reflecting on his past actions before he came to Christ. He was a persecutor of the early church. He sanctioned murder of Christians. He was there when the first martyr, Stephen, fell. He was, in fact, eager to bring them all to justice.

So, how does this relate to us? We are just as bad. We may not have killed anyone or persecuted anyone, but our sins are just as wicked. Our sins, left unforgiven, will lead us directly to hell. There are no little sins. Sin is sin – period. We all vie for the title of number one sinner.

APPLICATION

If you are like most parents, you don’t want to see your little Johnny or Susie as a sinner. Sure, they misbehave at times, but to think they will spend eternity separated from a holy God breaks your heart. It is hard to accept. But it is the truth. Unless your little angel turns to Christ and surrenders their will to His, they will not see the glory of heaven.

Our number one job as parents is to do all we can to introduce them to Jesus. We must prepare the spiritual environment in our homes to allow them to know Him and accept Him. We can’t make them choose Christ, but we must do everything within our power to prepare the way. How are you doing with that?

And this responsibility doesn’t just apply to our household. We are commanded by God to share His good news to everyone. Are you sharing that? Will you share that today? Ask the Lord to send people into your life today with whom you can share the greatest story ever told. You won’t regret it. It will be the best part of your day.

O God, Savior of my soul, thank You for redeeming me. Thank You for not turning Your back on me when I came seeking You. I, like Paul, am the foremost of sinners.

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