Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Hope, Inspirational, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Thanksgiving

JUMP FOR JOY

1 PETER 1:6

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,”

The Greek word here for “rejoice” literally means to get so excited that you jump up and down. I can just picture a little child on Christmas morning or when they see someone they really love. You just can’t contain the excitement. Your body explodes with emotion and nothing can keep you down. That’s what it means when Peter says “greatly rejoice.”

But…he reminds us that before we experience that joy regarding our salvation, we may have to first experience trials. “Great, Peter! Throw cold water on us.” He is just reminding us that this life has hardships. In fact, the Greek word for “have been distressed” means to experience deep, emotional pain or sadness, severe sorrow or grief. This word has even used of the pain of childbirth.  

APPLICATION

Now, it’s easy to watch our children rejoice. We love to see kids get excited. I can think back to many occasions when my own children or grandchildren got excited about something. The smiles burst forth, and the laughter erupts. Those are the fun times. Those are when we take the pictures or videos.

But how do we teach our children to bear the hardships. We don’t video those times, do we? We had rather forget them. So, why does Peter tell us this? It’s part of the journey. Pain prepares the ground for rejoicing. If we never had trials, we could not appreciate fully the highs of rejoicing. When your child has that next low moment, remind them of a joyous time. Remind them there is always reason to rejoice, knowing our future rests in Him.

Are you stuck right now in a perpetual season of trials? Rejoice anyway! Your hope is NOT in getting out of that trial. Your hope is based on the assurance of your eternal salvation. You will “greatly rejoice” in Glory one day. You can greatly rejoice now. Don’t let anything or anyone rob you of the joy you have in Christ.

O Heavenly Father, I will greatly rejoice in my salvation, even in the midst of extreme trials. I know my future is secure. You are faithful and trustworthy to see me through anything.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Encouragement, Eternity, Glory, Holy Spirit, Hope, Love, Parenting, Rapture, Scripture

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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Busyness, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Commands, Completeness, Direction, Encouragement, Hope, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

SELF AFFLICTED

1 TIMOTHY 5:12

thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge.” 

Have you ever known people who complain about how awful their life is only to find out their troubles are the result of their own decisions? People lose their driving privileges from DUI’s – self-afflicted. Getting a speeding ticket – self-afflicted. I could go on and on, but you see where I am going with this. Now, every situation is unique. However, most of our troubles (me included) are the result of self.

In today’s verse, the younger widows receive judgment or condemnation for deserting their first love, not for wanting to get married again. They had pledged to serve Christ but abandoned that calling. Before you judge them, however, we are the same way. We all just want what we want when we want it, disregarding previous commitments.

APPLICATION

We have the responsibility as parents to teach our children to keep their commitments. Once they agree to be a part of a team sport, they should complete that season unless injury or team conduct merits leaving the team. Once your child begins a project, they need to complete it. Finality is important. Seeing the project through to completion teaches great lessons.

Today, too many of us get bored with something and just drop it. We have forgotten the discipline of completion. We have forgotten the discipline of commitment. Don’t let your children do that. Hold them accountable. In the future they will thank you.

Are you guilty of quitting when it gets hard? If you are, go back and pick that project or task back up again. Finish it. Set some goals and accomplish them. Set reasonable goals, some you know you can meet. Then next time you can raise the bar a little bit. But just don’t quit.

Master and Teacher, You never quit on us. So, I will not quit on You. I will accept and complete the tasks You give me.

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FORSAKEN BUT FAITHFUL

1 TIMOTHY 5:5

Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.” 

That may seem like a strange title for a blog, but that is exactly what this widow was. To be “left alone” literally means forsaken. But despite that, she continues in her faith. She prays specifically for needs and prays generally for others. She knows her only source of help and comfort comes from above.

Do you know a prayer warrior like that? I do. In fact, I know several. Their solace is in spending time with the Lord, studying His Word and talking to Him. They know He will never leave them or forsake them. They may be “alone” in this world, but they are never alone spiritually.

APPLICATION

Children need to learn this peace early. They need to know that our God and Father will never leave them, if they are one His children. They may think they are alone and the world is against them. But He never leaves their side. Drive that truth into Him. They need to hear that over and over again.

Do you ever have to leave your child to go on trips? I am sure that is hard on them and you. When you come home there are kisses and hugs, right? Just think of this – God is always with us giving us those kinds of hugs and kisses. Now, I don’t mean physical hugs and kisses. But His presence is just as soothing and intimate.

Do you feel His presence in your prayer life? Do you spend the time you need to each day to commune with your holy God. He is waiting to talk to you. He won’t barge in on you. He waits for you to come to Him, but He’s always ready. Isn’t that unbelievable?  

Father, thank You for always being there for me. I praise You for your steadfast love and compassion and the way You show it each and every day to me.

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YOU’VE GOT A GIFT

1 TIMOTHY 4:14

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.” 

Don’t you just love getting gifts? I mean, even the smallest of gifts can be so exciting, especially when they are unexpected. The old saying goes “It’s the thought that counts.” That may be true, but that gift counts too, lol.

As a believer in Christ, we receive spiritual gifts from the Father when we accept Christ as our Savior. Strong’s Concordance defines this word as “divinely empowers a believer to share God’s work with others, i.e. Spirit-empowered service to the Church to carry out His plan for His people.” So, these are gifts you receive for one purpose – to share with others.

APPLICATION

Try this with your little Johnny or Susie. Give them a gift but explain to them that they have to share it with their siblings. What kind of response to you think you will get? Depending on the gift, you may get a “Sure Dad, I’ll be glad to do that” or “What!? This is mine. They can get their own.”

It’s not about the sharing, though, with spiritual gifts. It’s about benefitting someone else. You see, our spiritual gifts actually help others grow spiritually. Our gifts never run out. We can’t exhaust them. They come from above, so the power source is eternal.

What is your gift? Are you sharing it? God wants you to use your gift (and if you are believer, you have one) to build the Body of Christ. He wants you to exercise that gift in a way that blesses the church and those in it. He wants you to enjoy using your gift. If you don’t know your gift, talk to your Pastor. He can help you find a good Spiritual Gifts Inventory to use to help you.

Father, thank You for the gifts You have empowered me with to help others grow. I do enjoy using those gifts. But more importantly I love pleasing You with my obedience.

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I SURE HOPE SO

1 TIMOTHY 3:14

“I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long;”

Strong’s Concordance defines “hoping” as “actively waiting for God’s fulfillment about the faith He has inbirthed through the power of His love.” I really like that – actively waiting. If you are like me, I never considered waiting an active thing. Waiting for a movie to start is the worst. I really don’t like just sitting there and seeing all those commercials or previews. I came to see the movie, not that. Maybe I need to see that waiting as active also.

Paul was hoping to come to see Timothy there in Ephesus. He was longing to reunite with his apprentice, his child in the faith, his traveling buddy. And this hope was based on faith. Paul loved Timothy, and I am sure he missed him. Aren’t reunifications after long periods of time sweet?

APPLICATIONS

I bet your little Gertrude is hoping for something right now. It may be a new doll or a new dress. It may be a visit to or from someone special. Whatever it is, ask her why she wants that. Get her to explain why she is so passionate about it. She may find it hard to put into words but encourage her to do so. Hoping for something is not a bad thing. It can, in fact, build faith.

As believers, we are hoping for that glorious day of Christ’s return. We know He is coming. We just don’t know when. It could be today. Now explain to your child this hope. It’s like none other because we KNOW it will come to pass. No other hope is as sure. Hoping in Christ is a done deal. All we have to do is “actively” wait.

Are you actively waiting? Or are you like me at the movie theater waiting on that movie to start. Today as you sit in traffic or wait in line at a restaurant, try waiting actively. Take that time while you are waiting to recite some Scripture. Sing a hymn. Pray. Don’t let those moments slip by without using them to invest in God’s kingdom.

Help me, Lord, to redeem each moment given to me today. Help me use every second to help fulfill Your kingdom here on earth. My hope lies only in You.

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