Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, Gifts, Giving, God's Will, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

WHAT A GIFT!

2 PETER 1:3

“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Can you think of the greatest gift you ever got? Probably, as a child, it was my first gun. Now, before you judge me, it was a BB gun. I loved that gun. I spent hours outside in my backyard and in the woods behind my house with that gun. I think that may have led to my love for the outdoors and hunting I have today.

The Greek word used here for the phrase “has granted” is only used three times in the New Testament. It is used here and the next verse (2 Peter 1:4) and also in Mark 15:45 when the centurion gave Joseph the body of Jesus. The word means to be given as a gift. Peter is telling us that God has gifted us everything we need for life and godliness. Isn’t that amazing?

APPLICATION

What is the last gift you have your child? Was it expensive? I bet you gave them some instructions about how to use it properly, if it was. We don’t want to give our children expensive things and then watch them destroy them, do we? Of course, not. We have an investment in it.

The same is true with the gifts God gives us. He has made an investment in us through the death of His Son. He wants to make sure we appreciate these gifts and use them correctly. That’s why He gave us His Word. In it are all the guidelines we need to use these gifts. Read His Word to your children. Let them see there really is a user’s manual for life.

Are you using God’s gifts in the way He intended? Do you believe He has given you everything pertaining to life and godliness? What a promise. So, why do we complain about life? God has the answers. Will you listen to Him today?

Thank you, God, for giving me Your gifts. I don’t deserve them and will surely abuse them. But please forgive me and teach me to use them according to Your Will.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Following, Giving, Heaven, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

HOW ABOUT ME?

MATTHEW 19:27

“Then Peter said to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?’” 

Right after the rich, young ruler walks away from Jesus, Peter makes this statement. Surely, he was thinking, “That rich dude wouldn’t leave everything for You, Jesus, but we did. What do we get? Do we get to inherit the kingdom?” I don’t presume to know Peter’s motive for asking this question, but he was probably like a lot of us.

We tend to look out for ourselves. We want to make sure we are taken care of first, don’t we? Thinking unselfishly is hard. Trusting someone else to watch out for us can be difficult. But the Lord tells Peter in the following verses (28-30) that those who follow Him will inherit eternal life. What else could we ask for? We will live with Him forever in glory.

APPLICATION

Our kids are born selfish. Listen to most toddlers in a play area with other children. What word do you hear the most? Mine! Everything is “Mine.” We don’t like to share. We must teach our children to share. That is an important principle to learn. I believe if we are taught that well, we will have fewer disagreements with co-workers, neighbors and even spouses.

More importantly, if we are less concerned about ourselves and more concerned about others, we will want to share. I have been the recipient of many gifts through the years. Some of those have been large and some were small. It’s hard for me to receive sometimes. I get so much more joy in giving. That’s the joy we should want our children to experience. Teach them that by doing it yourself. Make them part of your sharing.

Stop a minute and think about what the Lord has promised you today. He was speaking to you when He said those who follow Him will inherit eternal life. Since you know your future is secure, why not give Him more of your “present”? Why not share as much of yourself as you can? I promise you He will restore everything plus more. His promises are true.

You have promised me eternal life which is more than I could ever hope for. Point my eyes to those to whom You would have me share. Turn my thoughts outward rather than inward.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Crowns, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Giving, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Testimony

BE CAREFUL

TITUS 3:8

“This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.”

How careful are you? Paul tells believers in this verse to be careful to engage in good deeds, but what exactly does he mean? Let’s look at that word “careful.” It means to continuously connect your insight or your inner perspective to your outward behavior. In other words, to do what you know you should do. In this case, that is engaging in or setting the example in good deeds.

And we are careful to do that, not to gain favor with God, but because they “are good and profitable for men.” We don’t do good deeds to get brownie points. We do good deeds because it is the right thing to do and because we love the Lord. Our deeds should always be motivated by love, not by our desire to get something back.

APPLICATION

Are your children good deed doers? Some kids are just built that way. They love to help others. Encourage that. Find ways to help them fulfill that desire. There are plenty of opportunities around you. Perhaps you have an elderly neighbor who needs their lawn mowed or raked. Maybe your child can help cut out crafts for Sunday School. Help them to be “careful.”

But you also may have a child who isn’t bent that way. They tend to be more self-centered. Well, now is the time to teach them. But don’t make it burdensome or they will resent it. Find something that will interest them. I am sure they have some kind of interest which can be redirected towards someone else’s need. Perhaps someone on their ball team doesn’t have all the equipment they need because they can’t afford it. Have them share. There is always way to help them be “careful.”

And how about you? Are you putting into practice your inner perspective? Are you being careful to do good deeds? You can set the example for your children. Let your actions be profitable for men, especially your children. As they see you and perhaps help you to do good deeds, you are teaching them to be obedient to the Lord. That pleases Him. It’s a win-win-win.

I will be careful today to do good deeds. I will put my inner desires into action. Above all, Lord, I want to please You.

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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.

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Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Elders, Encouragement, Fighting, Gentleness, Giving, Mentoring, Modeling, Money, Obedience, Parenting, Qualifications, Righteousness, Service, Testimony

KEEP AN EYE ON YOU

TITUS 1:7

“For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,”

The position of overseer or elder has often been misinterpreted as a position of authority or title. The Greek word for “overseer” actually means someone who intently keeps their eye on something or someone. In the church that man is watching over the church body to provide first-hand care and protection. It’s a service role more than an authority role.

Now, elders must help guide the body. But they do this from a position of service, not by brow beating. That is exactly why Paul lays out all these qualifications. In this verse he gives six more character traits (good steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain). He has further limited the pool of men who rise to the position, this ensuring their heart for service, not rule.

 APPLICATION

It is interesting that these traits Paul lists for an elder are traits we as parents want for our children. We want them to handle what God gives them well. Money management is an important skill for us to teach them. Secondly, we want them to think more of others than themselves. Self-willed children will face many more challenges. Thirdly, we definitely want them to know how to control their temper, to not be easily upset or angry.

We also want our children to know how to handle the issue of drinking. If you think they won’t face that temptation, you are fooling yourself. You have to model that. The next trait, not pugnacious, means not a fighter. Some kids are always ready for a fight. We want to teach them how to avoid that. And finally, we want them to not be greedy. In fact, we want them to share liberally.

So, you see these elder traits are really traits for us all. How are you living up to these? These are all characteristics of someone surrendered to Christ. It requires dying to self daily. Then you too can help oversee the flock. You can keep your eye on your brother or sister to help guide and protect. Aren’t we all called to do that in the family of God?

Father, remind me to live my life in such a way that I am worthy of “overseeing” my brother and sister. I want to live like Jesus so I can help guide others in the path of righteousness.

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Advice, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Contentment, Family, Gifts, Giving, Heaven, Obedience, Parenting, Treasures

ENTRUSTED

2 TIMOTHY 1:14 

Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 

What does that mean – entrusted? It means to assign something for safekeeping. What kind of things do you entrust to someone? I bet not much. We tend to hold on to our special stuff. But God gives us the most precious of gifts to hold for Him AND use it for His glory. His Gospel.  

Once we have received the Lord through the understanding and knowledge of the word, we are entrusted with it to care for it. It’s a special gift given only to those who have bowed their knees to the Father. God doesn’t entrust stuff to those whom He knows won’t keep it safe. 

APPLICATION 

We pass things down to our kids, don’t we? I passed down a knife my dad gave to me at twelve-years-old to my son when he turned twelve. I didn’t just give it to him. I took it and had it cleaned, sharpened and shined. It had a bone handle and german steel. I hope he still has it to pass on to his child one day.  

But that is trivial. The more important thing to pass on, to entrust to your children is your faith. You teach your children about your Lord with the hopes they will embrace that faith and make it their own. That special treasure of knowing the Lord as your Savior is something they can hold on to and pass along.  That’s truly a treasure worth finding, protecting, entrusting and sharing. 

Are you holding on to your own treasures of the gospel without sharing them with others? The beauty of this treasure is the more your share it, the more it grows. The more it grows, the more special it become. Don’t be a treasure hoarder. Entrust this special gift to all your come in contact with today. 

My treasure is in You, Lord. There is no other item in the world that means as much to me as knowing You and sharing You with others. Thank You for giving Yourself for me and to me. 

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Advice, Child Raising, Giving, Modeling, Treasures

TREASURES

1 TIMOTHY 6:19 

storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. 

Who doesn’t like treasure? What child has not played treasure hunt, right? Why do we dream of hidden treasure? We think instant wealth and riches will make us happy or solve all our problems. People have forsaken everything for the chance to find it. 

But if you look back at the previous verse in 1 Timothy 6, you find that only by giving it away do you become rich. What? That makes no sense. You see, our treasure is not of this world. Our riches are from God and go back to God. He enriches us with blessings that cannot be quantified. And when, in turn, we bless others, God continues to bless us. 

APPLICATION 

Children learn from us what is valuable. If we put all our energy into gaining wealth and making money, they will see that as the most important thing. In contrast, if they see us prioritizing our walk with Christ, they learn that is the important thing. How have you shown this to your children? If asked, what would they say daddy and mommy love most? 

You may have heard it said that you can see what a person values by looking at their calendar and their checkbook (now that is probably their online bank account). Where you spend your time and money is your treasure. Children will learn that from you.  

Can I see your calendar? How about your bank account? No? Really? I don’t need to. God sees it with every transaction and every second spent. Is He pleased with what you are modeling for your family? Are you storing up His treasures as a firm foundation for the coming age? 

O Father, You are the Giver of all good gifts. I rest in You. Help me share with others all You have given me. My treasure is eternal. 

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Giving, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

GIVE IT UP

1 TIMOTHY 6:18

Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,”

I truly love to give. It gives me joy to be able to bless someone who has a need, especially if I can do that without them knowing. The Greek word for “to be generous” gives us a great picture of what this means. It means “spontaneous, willing giving and emphasizes being ready for outreach.” It “describes someone who ‘open-handedly’ (willingly) shares.”

God can use your grudgingly given gift, but you won’t feel blessed by it. Some people give to the church as if the preacher was holding a gun on them. And some preachers guilt people into giving as if their very souls depend on it. Neither is right. We give because Christ lives in us and works through us. Give for Him, not for you or anyone else.

APPLICATION

Begin teaching your children when they are young the importance of giving. If you give them an allowance, show them what the tithe would be for that. If you don’t do allowance, do the same for money they may earn doing chores for you or the neighbors. However they get the money, teach them the concept of giving. 

I have seen so many children who have the gift of giving. They willingly give up their birthday money for missions. They give their money for a needy family. If your child comes to you and asks if they can give like that, by all means, let them. In fact, pitch in with them.

Are you a giver? “But Carl, I don’t have enough to give.” Yes, you do. Give to your ability. We are not under law. We are under grace. Give as the Lord directs you. He will bless the rest.

Thank You, Lord, for all You give to me. Help me to be more generous with Your resources. I will follow Your promptings and give how You direct me.

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