Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Kindness, Names, Parenting

NEW NAME

Mark 3:16

“And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),” 

Why would Jesus do that? Why change his name? He had a reason. Jesus never did (and still doesn’t) anything without a reason. Do you think He knew who Simon was and how he was wired? Of course, He did. He knew Simon was going to need a name to remind him of his strength. So, Jesus called him Peter, which means rock.

Now, I’ve been given other names by people. My nickname growing up was Carlie Warlie. Never liked that one. I was called W by a college roommate. That was okay. But I like my name my parents gave me, Carl. Why? Because it means strong and manly. It was also my maternal grandfather’s name, whom I never knew.

APPLICATION

What do you call your children? I had several nicknames for my daughter. I called her Penelope, Tootle bump and Pumpkin noodle. I don’t know why. They were just cute nicknames. The important thing is that we never call them something to put them down. We should always be building them up.

Jesus’ purpose in renaming Simon was to build him up. He knew what he was going to face one day. Jesus knows what our children are going to face one day, and He is depending upon us to build them up. Never, and I mean never, call your child a derogatory name that demeans them. Those words stick like glue. Instead give them a name that will boost them every day.

What does God call you? You are His child, His beloved, His chosen one. He loves you so supremely. He has removed all the old, including any and all names you were called to put you down. He has set you up to be one of His family. And in His family, there are no bad names – only good ones.

Lord, You have called me blessed. I praise You for calling me Your own.

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DIRTY HANDS

MATTHEW 15:15-20

“15 Peter said to Him, ‘Explain the parable to us.’ 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17’ Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.’”

I am sure, as a fisherman, Peter ate lots of meals with dirty hands. When you are out on a boat it’s hard to use soap to clean up to eat. So, when Jesus answered the Pharisees this way about their concern they hadn’t washed their hands before eating the grain, he probably smirked a little. Still, he wanted to make sure he understood what Jesus was saying.

Why are some people so concerned about how they look on the outside, but their thoughts and words are filthy? If we had a machine in church on Sundays that could read the minds of the people as they came in the doors, we would probably be appalled. Jesus plainly tells us here that it is our inner thoughts and our words that defile us. Yes, washing our hands are important. But our inner cleanliness is so much more important.

APPLICATION

I bet when your children were little you washed their hands a lot, didn’t you? As they get older you teach them to wash their own hands and ask them before dinner, “Did you wash your hands?” What a perfect verse to discuss their spiritual cleanliness. Why not ask them at dinner, “Did you speak harshly to your sister today?” Instead of asking them, “Did you use soap to wash your hands?” ask them if they thought about the words they used today when they got upset at the video game.

It is so important to teach our children to guard their tongues. I have often said that words are like toothpaste. Once they are out you can’t stuff them back in the tube. Teach them to choose their words carefully. And if they do slip up, teach them how to make it right. Apologize. Ask for forgiveness. That’s another skill missing today.

Are you more concerned about how you appear to others than what’s in your heart? If you will flip that around, you won’t have to worry so much about how you appear. Your inwards thoughts will be reflected on the outside. Pause and think before speaking, even if what you are going to say may sound “spiritual.” Sometimes that is just not the right thing to say at the time.

I am thankful Your Spirit can guard my tongue. Help me surrender to You before each word is spoken. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.

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GREETINGS

TITUS 3:15

“All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.”

When you greet someone, what are you really doing? The Greek word here means I greet, salute, pay my respects to, welcome.” Is that true for everyone you greet? Think about it. We truly should be welcoming because we represent Jesus. We really should be respectful because He would be.

Greetings today are usually rushed. We are all in such a hurry. Paul was purposeful in his greetings. He passed on the greetings from those who were with him and asked Titus to give his greetings to those who were with him in the faith. He didn’t just say, “Bye.” It was thoughtful. It was meaningful.

APPLICATION

We teach our children to say thank you, your welcome and all the other proper words, don’t we? How about greetings? Giving a proper greeting is respectful. Refusing to acknowledge someone is just plain rude. So, we teach our children to say hello or good-bye as appropriate.

But it isn’t just about manners. As I said earlier, we represent someone bigger than us as believers. If your child is a believer, remind them of that. As they meet people, they may be the only “Jesus” that person meets today. They need to greet them in the name and spirit of Jesus. Just a simple “Hello, how are you today?” can mean a lot.

This is a strange way to end Titus, but it’s how Paul ended the letter. If he ended it this way, it must have been important. So, from me to you, greetings from all those who are with me. Greet all those who are with you in the faith. May God’s grace be upon you until we meet one day here or in heaven.

Help me greet those around me today with the love of the Lord. May they Him and not me. May my greeting be full of Jesus.

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A KIND GOD

TITUS 3:4

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,”

Have you ever thought much about kindness? Are you kind? Do you show kindness to others? The Greek word used here is the same one used as one of the fruits of the Spirit. One commentator says, “We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good.” The word refers to meeting real needs, in God’s way, in His timing.

God showed His kindness by sending Jesus to us. Now, we can never top that, but we can show His kindness to others. The best way, of course, is by sharing this wonderful gift of salvation with others. That is the ultimate kindness. But we can also show kindness to others by asking the Lord what He would have us do for others. Showing kindness is outside of most of us. We are selfish beings. But the Spirit of God can produce that kindness if we will surrender to Him.

APPLICATION

How do you teach your children to be kind? By being kind yourself. Look around your church or neighborhood for someone to whom you as a family can show kindness. Get your children involved in planning out what you can do to show kindness to that person or family. Make sure your children understand that you are doing this to show them Jesus’ kindness. And, of course, make sure when you carry out this act of kindness that you share the Gospel.

How about helping your children prepare some Ziploc bags of items to hand out to people on the street corners? My city has people all over town who stand on those corners with signs asking for help. Prepare some bags with items they can use like a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, soap, snack food, etc. And don’t forget a good Gospel tract. Pray over each bag, and let your children hand them out.

Kindness is not hard if we let the Spirit lead. But kindness is impossible if we allow our flesh to get in the way. Will you allow the Lord to use you? There is probably no better compliment than to be known as a kind person. Be kind! Do it because of the kindness He has shown to you.

I will be kind today to those around me, beginning with my family. Sometimes they are the hardest to be kind to. Forgive me, Father, for not showing Your kindness to others.

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