Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evil, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Testimony, Understanding

PUT A MUZZLE ON HIM

TITUS 1:11

“who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.’

One time our dear, precious dog named Reese had to be muzzled. He had hurt his back chasing birds in our back yard and had to see the vet. Because he was hurting so bad, the vet knew he would be very defensive about being touched, even though the vet was trying to help him. So, on went the muzzle. The vet worked on him and then took it off.

Why am I talking about muzzles? Because the Greek word for “must be silenced” means exactly that. The word only appears right here in the New Testament and means to stop the mouth or muzzle. These people’s words are harmful and need to be stopped. Now, you can’t put a muzzle on people (although that would be nice sometimes, lol), but you can stop the words from influencing your family by refusing to listen and changing the environment.

APPLICATION

Your children are going to hear all kinds of wrong teaching and ideas as they grow up. How do you protect them? Well, you insulate them rather than isolate them. As you teach them the truth of God’s Word, they will learn to recognize the false teachings. You must teach them when they hear these things to handle them. What do I mean by that?

They may not be able to leave the situation if they are in a classroom hearing this from a teacher. In that case, they must be prepared to stand their ground and defend the Gospel. If they are somewhere from which they can remove themselves, that might be the best option. And they may have to change some friends who refuse to hear the truth and openly oppose it. Those are tough lessons, but the Lord will protect and defend them.

Are you willing to stand for the Gospel and defend your family from the attacks of the evil one? You may need to change your tv habits. You may need to adjust the music you are listening to. You may have to avoid certain situations with your children because you know there will be conflict with some people. Whatever it is, you need to decide to stand tall and trust the Lord. He’s got your back.

I am grateful for Your steadfast presence in my life. I know I can trust You to defend me when I am attacked. Help me be strong and bold in the face of opposition.

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Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Evil, Fighting, Gossip, Lies, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Perseverance, Revenge, Scripture, Service, Suffering, Trust, Witnessing

THE LORD WILL REPAY

2 TIMOTHY 4:14

“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.”

It’s pretty obvious that Alexander didn’t care for Paul. We aren’t exactly sure who he was, but there are a few speculations. He may have been one of the metal workers thrust forth by the Jews to denounce Paul in Ephesus. Demetrius had begun this protest, but a man named Alexander was trying speak about how Paul’s mission work was hurting the sale of idols of the great temple of Artemis, which was their livelihood.

This name appears later in Acts at Paul’s trial. This time he is there publicly to speak against Paul. Animosity, hatred, pure evil. Paul knew it, but what did he tell Timothy? Turn the other cheek. Do not engage this man. God will handle him. As powerful and as loud as Alexander may appear, God is bigger and louder (if necessary).

APPLICATION

Do you think your children are going to face an Alexander? You had better believe it. If your children are attempting to live for Jesus, there will be people who will feel threatened. You may not know why they feel threatened, but they will. It may go to their own insecurities. It could be from their wrecked childhood. But for some reason, they have it out for your son or daughter. So, what do you tell them to do? The exact same thing Paul told Timothy – let God have it.

Do you now what all “Alexanders” need? Jesus! They need His forgiveness. They need His love. They need His mercy. And all of that comes through us. God still uses His people to deliver the gospel. Teach your children to be that deliverer of hope to “Alexanders.” And when they rise up in hatred, love them more.

Who do you need to approach in love today whom has set out to tear you down? We all have someone who just doesn’t like us. We may not know why, but God does. Ask Him. You may share a past with that person that could bring them to Christ. But whatever you do, don’t retaliate. That’s the Lord’s job, and He can handle it much better than you.

Father, I lay down my plans to get even right now. It is hard not to want to get back at those who have harmed me. But at Your command, I will obey.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Cowardice, Deception, Demons, Direction, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, Family, Fighting, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Satan

PREDATORS

2 TIMOTHY 3:6

“For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,”

The first word that came to mind when I read this verse was “predator.” A predator is someone or something that preys on a weaker species. They take advantage of their weaknesses and use them to their advantage. That’s what these people Paul is describing in chapter 3 do. They only think of self, of satisfying their own appetites. They have no regard for the emotional, physical or spiritual well-being of anyone else. So, they leave a wake of human tragedy behind them.

You need to know that the Greek word for “enter” here means to creep in. It doesn’t mean to knock and announce yourself. These people don’t do that. They are sneaky. And then they take you captive. You are led away as if you are a defeated enemy captured in war. But don’t be fooled. It is war.

APPLICATION

Oh, this is a fun verse to act out with your children. Have you ever played “Battle” or “War” with your kids? You’ve got to take the time to do this. You will need to get some more players and set up some battle lines, but trust me, it will be worth the effort. Kids love acting out scenarios. And when we can teach a Biblical truth at the same time – Bam!

Choose sides and start the war with the goal of capturing the other team’s flag at their headquarters. People miss the fact that stealth, covert (sneaky) tactics are usually much more effective than blatant frontal assaults. Once the game is over, talk about that and apply this verse. Satan is on the attack against us every day. The difference is the game you just played is temporal. Satan is playing an eternal game.

Are you prepared to defend yourself against the onslaught of the devil or his minions? Don’t just look for the obvious. Watch for the subtle things that distract you. Keep a look out for the things that don’t quite match up with the truth you’ve been taught. Above all, hold to your battle plan – follow the Master.

Lord, I will follow You in the deepest, darkest battle line knowing You will never lead me where You do not want me to go. And whatever comes my way in the battle, I will give You all the glory.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Satan, Scripture, Surrender

WE ALL HAVE A MASTER

2 TIMOTHY 2:26

“and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Boy, oh boy! This verse says it pretty plain. If you aren’t serving Jesus, you are serving the devil. Jesus is your Master and Lord, or the devil is. I love the way Paul phrases this verse, though – “and they may come to the senses and escape from the snare of the devil.” Let’s look at that a little.

The Greek word for “they may come to their senses” only occurs here. It literally means to sober up, to regain their senses. It’s as if Paul is saying they were intoxicated with self before, but now are free to think clearly. And to get out of a snare requires help. Who do you think that was? Jesus is the snare breaker.

APPLICATION

This will be fun. Let’s tie your kids up! What? Just keep reading. I bet your kids will love it. Get some rope or cloth and tie their feet and hands so they can’t move around and then leave the room for five minutes or so. If they get upset, of course, shorten that. Tell them you have a very unique Bible lesson today. When you return ask them if they tried to get free. Most will but some may just sit there.

As you are untying them, explain to them that the devil ties us up and uses us to do his will. He doesn’t want us free to serve Jesus. He doesn’t want us to even know we are tied up. But his snare is a good one and we can’t get out by ourselves. That’s where Jesus comes in. He in the only one who can free us through the power of His shed blood. This is a lesson they won’t soon forget

(Please know I am NOT advocating tying children or any form of abuse. Only use this if you KNOW your child can handle this for a few minutes and only do this with children who don’t have issues with self-harm.)

Are you in a snare today? Have you fallen prey to one of the devil’s traps? It’s easy to do. If you are a believer, however, his snares cannot hold you. You have the power of the Holy Spirit coursing through you. Just ask the Lord to free you, and He will. You must come to your senses, though. Repentance is necessary. Do it now, if you need to.

I praise You, Father, that You truly have provided a way of escape for me. I am not Houdini. This is not an illusion. These snares of the devil are real, but they hold no power over me as I trust You.

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WRONG VIEW

1 TIMOTHY 4:1

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” 

I struggled with what to name this blog. It’s obvious what Paul is warning Timothy about. Some people, even believers, will listen to the wrong teachings. Perhaps unknowingly they will be led astray by deceitful spirits and demons. I mean, come on, who in the right mind would intentionally follow demons? Not many people.

So, I titled this “Wrong View” because I believe the problem is they started looking at the wrong thing. When our eyes remain on Jesus and His Word, there is less danger of this happening. If we are absorbing the truth of the Gospel daily, we can recognize deception when it comes creeping at our door. 

APPLICATION

How do we keep our children from falling away? All we can do is bathe them in God’s Word daily and pray. The ultimate decision is theirs. They must choose who they are going to follow. But God is faithful. I truly believe if we train our children in God’s Word, it will not be in vain. The seeds of the Gospel will be planted. We must trust the Lord to send others into their lives to water and harvest.

What do we do when our children “fall away”? Many God-fearing, Christian parents have faced this dilemma. First of all, if you have done your duty as a parent and taught them the truths of God’s Word, then don’t blame yourself. Secondly, pray daily for your prodigal child. Third, trust the Lord to bring them home. You can’t force it or demand it. 

The big question then is are you fulfilling your God-given responsibilities to raise your children in His Word? Are you? If you aren’t, start today. It’s not too late. Make the change personal. It has to begin with you. No one else can parent your children like you. 

Father, forgive me for not being a more insistent parent to speak Your truths into my children. Help me to plant one seed every day, no matter how they receive it. You have given me my children to give them back to You.

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DECEPTION

1 TIMOTHY 2:14

“And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”  

In this sixth verse of Paul’s instructions to women in 1 Timothy he returns to the Garden of Eden again. Timothy had heard this story, I am sure, from his Jewish mother. If you read this verse without the fuller context of Paul’s other letters, you could get the impression that Paul is blaming Eve for all of man’s problems. Paul is simply pointing out the order of the events in the garden.

The issue is not who was deceived first as much as it is the deception itself. Adam and Eve were both deceived by the evil one. He is still deceiving people today. I have been at events where it was obvious he was at work deceiving people. This Greek word has the idea of a baited hook. The hook is there, but the bait is just too good to pass up.

APPLICATION

Now, here is a perfect verse to teach your children the deception of the devil. Take them fishing and use some live bait. As you are baiting their hook talk about how the fish just can’t resist that bait. They see it and ignore the hook. The enticement of the bait is just too much. So, they are deceived into thinking they have a free meal. Once they bite, it’s too late.

Explain to your children that they are susceptible to the same deception from the devil. He will bait the hook for them with something he knows they want. They may even see the hook, but just can’t resist the bait. But Satan keeps his hooks sharp. They will cause pain. They will cause grief. The lure of sin is great, but with the Holy Spirit as their guide, they can avoid these deceptions.

Have you bitten the bait? Have you been deceived? It’s not too late. You may have a scar from that hook, but Jesus can cut that line that is holding you back. We all fall sometimes. Falling isn’t the end. Get back up. Let Jesus remove that hook and begin the healing in your life.  He wants you back in the kingdom work, not sidelined by sin.

Lord, point out to me those hidden hooks of sin that so easily entice me. Give me Your wisdom and discretion to recognize the bait when I see it. I want to serve You.

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INTO SATAN’S HANDS

1 TIMOTHY 1:20

“Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.”

How awful! How terrible! Handed over to Satan! What a way to have your name remembered! Hymenaeus was teaching false doctrine according to 2 Timothy 2:17-18. And Alexander may have been the same Alexander who was called the coppersmith who did great harm to the apostles and may have believed in the same false doctrines as Hymenaeus. 

Irregardless of their exact beliefs, they undoubtedly had blasphemed against our holy God. This was something which Paul could not tolerate. So, he had obviously withdrawn fellowship from them and was praying God to allow Satan to discipline. But even in this action, Satan is given an exact task which he couldn’t supersede.

APPLICATION

Children have to learn that choices have consequences. They may not experience the consequence immediately, but it will come. That is a truth you must teach your children. Some consequences are hard, like the one mentioned in today’s verse. Some may not seem so harsh. The bottom line is there will be consequences.

Direct disobedience can bring the harshest of consequences from God. Now, I am not telling you to teach your kids to watch out for God’s zaps from heaven. No, teach them to obey because they love the Lord, not because they fear His wrath. But obey they must.

Are you a Hymenaeus or Alexander? Are you thumbing your nose at God, not believing He is aware of your actions? Beware! He is. He knows all and sees all. He will hold you accountable. He has to because He is holy and just. Why not obey Him in all things? By doing that, you are pleasing the One who loves you dearly and longs to see you in His service.

Father, forgive me of failing You. I want to obey You willingly and joyfully. Thank You for holding me accountable.

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