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UNHINDERED PRAYERS

1 PETER 3:7

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

A lot of people will read this verse and think it is women bashing. Calling them weaker! That is NOT the purpose of this verse. God made men to lead and protect their wives. Their role is a protector, not a basher. And He warns the men in this verse. He says, “so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

In other words, God is telling the husbands if they mistreat their wives and don’t show them honor, their prayers will not reach Him. That’s what “hindered” means. It means blocked. Men, have you ever felt that your prayers weren’t getting past the ceiling? How are you treating your wives? Hmmm!

APPLICATION

This is another modeling verse. Husbands and dads, it’s your turn. How you treat your wife, the mother of your children, is so important. You are not just mistreating her. You are mistreating your children. Your daughters are endangered by believing that’s how women are meant to be treated. And your sons grow up believing that’s how they are supposed to treat their wives.

But…when you show honor to her, that gives your children a role model to follow. The word “show” is only used right here in this verse. It means to give what is due. God is telling you that your wife deserves honor, no matter what you think. And if you want an open line of communication with the Lord, this is required.

Are you guilty of not showing honor to someone? Let’s apply this verse to all of us, not just husbands, for a second. Is there someone you belittle and persecute? We should show honor to all of God’s people. God cannot look on sin and ignore it. And that kind of behavior is sin, dear friends.

Lord God, give me Your eyes for others. Let me show honor to all. And hear my prayers.

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HUSBANDS AND WIVES

TITUS 2:5

to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

Okay, I can’t use this verse and ignore that phrase – “being subject to their own husbands.” Some women, even Christian women, are offended when they are told that. It’s God’s Word, not man’s, so I guess you have to take it up with Him. But before you do, let’s look at it very briefly. Why did the Holy Spirit tell Paul to write this? It must have been important because God doesn’t waste words.

The Greek word here is hypotássō which comes from hypó, “under” and tássō, “arrange”. It literally means to put under God’s arrangement, to submit to the Lord plan. From the beginning, God placed order in the home and had a plan for men to lead and protect women. Is that always how it happens? No! But it is God’s design. And we know when we submit to God’s plan, it is always best for us.

APPLICATION

How do we teach our children subjection? By modeling it. Moms, when you have the opportunities to yield to your husband’s directions, do it and make sure your children know it. They must learn to trust his leadership as you do. The buck stops with him. However, dad, you will be a smart husband and father if you first consult and talk over any decision with your wife first. Her subjection to you does not give you the right to be her master. That is NOT the idea behind God’s plan.

There will be times when mom and dad disagree. Children need to see that resolved, not argued over. And in the end, God’s plan provides the protection. Remember, we are not simply raising children. We are raising child raisers. You want your boys and girls to grow up with this Biblical model so they in turn will raise your grandchildren this way.

This will probably not be a popular blog. That’s okay. The purpose of this blog is not to entertain. It’s to share a nugget from God’s Word. Some nuggets are sweet. Some are sour. Some are easy to chew. Some are tough to swallow. I just pray you won’t throw out the nugget. It’s there for a reason. Blessings!

Dear Lord, I know I have not led well as a husband or father at times. Forgive me. Let my plan always be in subjection to Your plan because I know it is best.

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YOU GOTTA LOVE

TITUS 2:4

“so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,”

Oh, what a beautiful word we have today in this verse. And like many words the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to use, the Greek word for “encourage” is only used right here in Titus 2:4. This word gives the picture of passing on to someone else what the Lord reveals is true balance. It has to do with discovering and living out His will.

Now, look at what that is in this verse. She is to encourage them to love their husbands and their children. And if this verb’s definition holds, they are to love each in a balanced way. Why do I bring that up? Because too many women put their children way before their husbands. It has to be balanced, ladies. Your love for your husbands must not fall below your love for your children. You are a team, and it must be balanced.

APPLICATION

“Well, my husband knows I love him.” Really, how many times have you put your child before your husband in the past week? Now, hear me out. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. There are times you have to put the child first and hubby has to come along and help. But oftentimes the child’s schedule dictates the marital relationship.

How about you two scheduling some time just for you. It doesn’t have to be a date outside the home. It could just be 10 minutes to talk. And, depending on the age of your children, let them know this is daddy-mommy time. I promise they will learn to respect it and appreciate it. It shows them you have a commitment to each other which makes them feel secure.

I don’t want to leave you dads out today, though. This can happen on your side as well. You can’t spend all your free time with Johnny on the ballfield and neglect your wife’s needed time with you. Balance is the key. Make sure she WANTS to spend time with you. And then blow her socks off with an unexpected gift or praise.

Father, thank You for giving us children to love and spouses to partner together. Help me to love my wife only as You can through me. The love of Christ is all I want to share.

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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.

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FIRE IT UP

2 TIMOTHY 1:6 

For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 

We have a great Greek word in today’s verse. It’s only used right here in this verse and comes from the combination of three Greek words – ana, zoon and purNow hold on and don’t glaze over on me. This is cool.  

Ana means upward, zoon means a living creature/beast, and pur means fire or flame. So, to kindle means to light up a flame or fire as if it is living. Isn’t that neat? Paul is telling Timothy to get fired up about his giftedness in Christ. Shouldn’t we all? 

APPPLICATION 

Moms and dads, we need to nurture and help develop our children’s natural gifts and abilities. You know their passions and desires. But those are not the gifts Paul is talking about. Once your child accepts Christ as their Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit indwells them and gives them spiritual gifts to use in the kingdom. Those are the gifts we must nurture. 

Whether your child accepts Christ at age five or fifteen, those gifts are given for their lifetime. They now have a part in the kingdom of God, and He wants them to utilize those gifts to bring others to Christ. So, your job as parents is help them find ways to develop those gifts to do just that. You aren’t the gift giver, but you are the gift builder. 

How are you doing with that? Are you just happy that your child gets saved? There is so much more to it! It is such a joy to watch your children start to use their gifts of encouragement or service. When you see that, jump on the chance to help them. As a you help build their opportunities to exercise their gifts you help build their faith for years to come. 

Thank You Lord for giving us gifts to benefit the kingdom. Help me to guide my children to use their gifts as they grow in their walk with Christ.

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PASSING IT DOWN

2 TIMOTHY 1:5 

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 

What a perfect verse to tell us the importance of passing our faith to the future generations. Timothy’s grandmother and mother had instructed him in the faith. But where was his father? We know from Acts 16:1 that his father was a Greek. Even though the Scriptures don’t say specifically, it seems he played no part in Timothy’s spiritual upbringing. 

But his Jewish mother and grandmother did. They had taught him the Scriptures. They taught him a love for God, which sprang into a love for the Savior when he heard the Gospel preached. And now Timothy is being used in ways that his mother and grandmother could probably not even have imagined.  

APPLICATION 

I think you can see the application here, right? As a believer in Christ, you have the responsibility to teach your children the Word of God and prepare their hearts to receive Jesus. There is not a more important role you play. I have said it time and time again. If you clothe, feed and educate your child without introducing them to Jesus, you have wasted your time. Salvation is THE key to parenting a child. 

They have to accept it themselves, but if you are modeling the Christ life and teaching them what that means, chances are much higher they will hear the calling of the Lord. Who knows? Your child could be another Timothy who shares with millions about Jesus. But it starts with you. 

Are you diligent about praying with and reading with your children? Are you as diligent about living it out in front of your children? The latter is so important. Children see what we do so much more clearly than what we say. Be Jesus to them. Let them see Him in you every day. 

Help me raise my children, Lord, to honor and serve You. I pray they come to know You at an early age and live a life of service and devotion to Your kingdom. 

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RELATIONSHIPS

2 TIMOTHY 1:2 

To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 

This verse is almost the same words as 1 Timothy 1:2. He changes his description of Timothy slightly from “my true child in the faith” to “my beloved son.” I think I like this one better. There is just something about calling someone beloved that speaks of intimacy. 

There is no doubt Paul loved Timothy. He doesn’t call any of his other companions “beloved.” Timothy was special to him. He had invested years in his life to prepare him to lead. Even today when men mentor other men, it is often referred to as a Paul/Timothy relationship.  

APPLICATION 

As parents, we have the responsibility to see our children as a Timothy. We have approximately 18-20 years to prepare our children to face life. There is no better preparation than turning them into disciplemakers. If our children grow with the passion of Matthew 28:19-20 (look it up), they will have an entirely different worldview than the rest of the world. 

It is all about relationships. It begins with ours with the Lord. Then it goes to our family (spouse, children, grandchildren). As we invest our energy in the next generation, they learn to do the same. Will they always do that? No. Everyone has their free will and can choose to accept or deny. Our job is to try. 

In whom are you investing today? Do you have a Timothy? Are you being a Paul? Don’t let your faith experiences go left unshared. Don’t ignore that plea from another believer who wants to be mentored and taught how to face life challenges. Who knows, you may have a part in discipling the next great voice of the kingdom. 

I want to share my faith with others in order to help them walk with You. Show me those around me who need a Paul. Give me the courage to approach them and invite them into a disciplemaking relationship. 

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DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE

1 TIMOTHY 6:2

“Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.

This verse can be a little confusing. Let me try to break it down for you very simply. Paul is telling us that we should not disrespect our bosses by taking advantage of the fact they are believers. For instance, we shouldn’t use our common faith as an excuse to get special privileges. We shouldn’t show any less respect for them since we are “equals” in the eyes of the Lord.

You’ve seen people do that, I’m sure. I’ve even had people try to do that to me. It’s hard to keep that line between Christian brother and boss, especially if you are serving in full-time ministry. But God designed these roles for a reason. Being buddies with your boss may sound great, but it can lead to problems when he/she has to correct you.

APPLICATION

This is no more applicable than in our relationships with our children. We want to be close to our kids. We want them to consider us their friend and confidant. But we should never be their buddy. When we blur the lines between parent and friend, we open ourselves up to disrespect and misunderstandings. 

I’ve seen it too many times. Parents tell me they are best friends with their child. Your best friend should be our spouse, not your son or daughter. God designed the family to have roles. As parent, you are the authority over your child. Then you become an advocate and guide as they get older. But you are never designed to be their best friend. You can be a better friend by being a better parent.

You may disagree with me on this one. But the fact remains the same. We have God’s Word to guide us in all our relationships. So, don’t treat your boss like a buddy. That is disrespect. And don’t rely on your child for friendship. We are actually more than friends. We are family. That never ends.

I want to thank You, Lord, for allowing me to have close relationships with my parents. I also thank You for the friendships I have had in the workplace. Help me keep those relationships where they should be so we can follow Your guidelines.

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RESPONSIBILITIES

1 TIMOTHY 5:8

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

In Book Two of the Every Man A Warrior disciplemaking study, Lonnie Berger says this, “After becoming a Christian, marriage is the most life changing event in your life. When you marry, you give up your life in order to live it for someone else. You work for the other person. You begin to think about permanence, buying a house, saving for the future and providing for your children. You come to a whole new level of maturity.”

The phrase “does not provide” in today’s verse would lead you to think Paul is merely talking about food and shelter. No! The word actually has more to do with what Lonnie said. It’s about respecting your family. It’s about thinking about them first. It’s about acting according to God’s will on behalf of your family. That’s showing responsibility.

APPLICATION

Fathers, teach your sons to be men. Now, I am not taking ANYTHING away from the strength and power of women. We men would be doomed without them. But God intended for men to care for their families. The father is expected to provide for his family. Our society has downgraded that responsibility to the point that some men ignore that.

A real man loves his family. A real man comes home at night to his wife and children. A real man thinks about his family BEFORE he makes his plans. A real man consults his wife BEFORE he makes a purchase that can affect the household budget. A real man follows God.

Do you get the picture? Today’s blog is more directed toward the men, but ladies, you too have a responsibility to put your family before yourself. For most of you that is not a problem. But if it is, stop and correct that. And teach your children the same.

O God, thank You for my family. Thank You for convicting me when I become selfish in my time and energy. I want to please You as I care for my family.

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TREAT THEM HOLY

1 TIMOTHY 5:2

the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.”

Treating women special has been around a long time. God has always commanded it. Sin changes that. Look at today’s verse. Paul tells Timothy (and us) to treat women “in all purity.” That word comes from the Greek word for “holy.” Treat them as holy? Really?

Paul isn’t saying we should worship them. He is saying, though, that we should treat them as set apart by God according to His purpose and plan. All women deserve respect. But those who are seeking to follow the Lord in their daily life should also be treated as holy and pure. That’s what God intends for them all.

APPLICATION

As parents we need to instill in our little boys and little girls that girls are different than boys. There is NOTHING belittling about that statement. In fact, it’s meant to be just the opposite. We should let all our daughters, sisters and wives know just how God sees them. They should be treated that way – as special creations in the eyes of our God.

It is up to the husbands, brothers and fathers to do this, however. So, do me a favor. Challenge the men in your life to treat women this way. And dads, YOU have to model this to your sons. They will treat their mom and sisters how you do. They will treat their future wife the way you do. 

So, how are you doing with this? Ladies, do you see yourself as pure? Men, do you see the women in your life as pure? If not, reread today’s verse. This is a command, not a suggestion. If you need to change your view of women, start with God’s view and go no further.

Father, forgive me when I do not see ALL women as you do. Thank You for the godly women you have put in my life. I am blessed because of them.

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