Advice, Bible, Busyness, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Completeness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Light, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting

JUST TO MAKE SURE

1 PETER 2:6

“For this is contained in Scripture: ‘BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.’”

Peter hinted at this verse (Isaiah 28:16) a few verses earlier. Perhaps he just wanted to make sure we didn’t miss his reference to it, so he actually quotes it here. He wanted to leave no doubt. He didn’t want us to miss this point. There is something to be said for repeating ourselves.

Have you ever needed to repeat yourself to get your point across? Boy, I have. In fact, when I teach kids, I often will repeat my points two or three times. Repetition is a great way to learn something. I bet you already knew that, though.

APPLICATION

Have you ever helped your child learn a new memory? How did they learn it? I know how. They said it over and over. Repetition helps us remember. The real question isn’t if they can memorize. The question is what are they memorizing.

Challenge your kids to memorizing verses. Make it a game with real prizes. But be ready. Kids are notoriously competitive. The more verses the bigger the prizes. But don’t stop with quoting them to each other. Challenge them to share those verses with friends and strangers.

Are you memorizing any verses? Don’t use the excuse you are too old. You are never too old. Don’t use the excuse you don’t have time. You make time for everything else. Remember, repetition is the key. Make sure you share your newly memorized verse with someone also. Maybe even challenge them to memorize.

Lord, thanks for reminding me over and over again. You aren’t afraid of repeating Yourself to get Your point again. I’m glad Peter heard You and did the same thing.

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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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SORRY, DON’T KNOW YOU

2 TIMOTHY 2:12 

If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 

I have become more honest as I get older. Now, I am not saying I used to lie, but I wouldn’t quite be honest sometimes. Like when someone comes up to you, calls you by name and begins this long conversation, but you have no idea who this person is. In the past I would say, “Hey bud, how are you doing?” Now I say, “Hey, I’ve forgotten your name. Forgive me.” 

Jesus knows our name, whether we accept Him or not. But He promises us reigning power or powerlessnes, based on our response to Him. Paul tells us here that if we will endure with Christ, we will reign with Him. If we turn our backs and run, He will also deny us before the Father. 

APPLICATION 

Children like to be recognized. They love hearing their name called when they see you. What they don’t like is to be ignored. Try it for a day with your kids. Go through your normal routine, but each time a child calls your name, ignore them. (If they have an emergency make an exception). 

At the end of the day explain what you did and why. Read today’s verse. Ask them how they think the Lord feels when we do that. When we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father. And I really want to meet the Father, don’t you? Make a point to call your child by his/her name. Their name means something, and your child should know it.  

Are you being called to serve specifically in this area – the area of name calling? It’s a gift. It is so good to see the look on the other person (adult or child) when they hear their name. God loves you and has you surrounded by His love this evening. 

I know right now You are calling out my name before the Father. One day, I will see You face to face. One day, I will meet the Father. 

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, Grace, Light, Love

PREACHER MAN

2 TIMOTHY 1:11 

for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 

I’ve got a friend who calls me “Preacher Man.” He says it with love, and I receive it that way. I cherish that title. Do you know why? Because of what it means. The Greek word for “preacher” used here in today’s verse is only used three times in the New Testament. Isn’t that amazing? You would think “preacher” would be used a lot more. Paul uses it in 1 Timothy 2:7, here and it is used again in 2 Peter 2:5 where it refers to Noah as a preacher of righteousness. 

But what does the word mean? It means someone who proclaims Christ with passion and authority. Not too shabby, huh? So, I love being known as a preacher man. You could be one too. In fact, we should all be preachers, telling the world with passion and excitement about Christ. 

APPLICATION 

What are your children excited about? Will your son talk for days about the newest video game? How about your daughter? Is she enthralled with the latest fashions? Get them talking about their favorite stuff and see how jacked up they get. That’s passion! They are so glad to talk about the stuff that demands their time and attention. 

Now, ask them how excited they are about sharing their faith. Cold water! Most kids don’t get excited about witnessing. I understand that. It can be intimidating. But the Lord wants us just as excited sharing about Him as we are about our interests. Help your children get that passion to “preach” Jesus. There is big world out there that needs a Savior.  

Are you committed to “preach”? Are you sold out on loving Jesus and telling everyone you know about it? God surely smiles down on His children who are busy about His business. Ask the Lord for the opportunity to pass on the best story ever told AND watch what God does in and through you. 

Father, You are worthy of all my praise. Help me spread Your story everywhere I go.  

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, Faith, Family, God's Will, Grace, Heaven, Light, Love, Parenting, Testimony

SPOTLIGHT

2 TIMOTHY 1:10 

but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 

I don’t know why, but every time I see the Greek word phaneroo in the New Testament I think of a spotlight. The phrase “has been revealed” in today’s verse is that word. It can be translated “manifested” as well. It means to make visible with light. 

People spotlight stuff all the time. They spotlight the preacher on the stage. They spotlight the front door at Christmas to show off the wreath or welcome sign. Some people spotlight their whole house. Whatever they decide to spotlight, it is to make sure others see it without a problem. You don’t spotlight something you are trying to hide. 

APPLICATION 

So, I said to myself, “Self, what is Paul telling us in this verse? What is God spotlighting?” I believe it is His grace. His grace is spotlighted through the resurrection of Jesus, which “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  How do you explain this to your children? 

Go into their room with a flashlight. Ask them to pick out something in their room which everyone needs to see to get out of that room (door, door handle). Now cut off the lights and look around the room with the flashlight until you see it. Turn on the lights and ask them if they think God wants everyone to find the door to heaven. That’s why He sent Jesus to die and rise again. He is the spotlighted door that leads to heaven. 

Now, that may sound super simplistic, but children need concrete, visible illustrations sometimes. I am sure someone could take that illustration and destroy it theologically if they tried. That’s okay. The truth still stands – God is not trying to hide the way to heaven. He has manifested it (spotlighted) for everyone to see. Will you shine for Him? 

I proudly shine my testimony which is a direct result of Your manifested power of grace in and through Jesus Christ. Help me to always get out of the way of that door to glory and let others see it clearly in You. 

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DON’T GO THERE

1 TIMOTHY 6:16

who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”

Unapproachable! Don’t even think about going there! The brilliance of our Lord will be blinding, yet we shall one day behold Him. This Greek word for “unapproachable” is only used right here in this verse. It literally means don’t go. Why? Why would the Lord dwell in unapproachable light? Why would He want to keep us away?

Because as mortal men, we cannot bear the glory of God. His holiness would instantly wipe us away. So, we are being protected. He is not trying to keep us away. He is trying to keep us safe. We will be bathed in the light. We just can’t go into it. We are not worthy. Only He can dwell in it.

APPLICATION

Do you have things in your home that are off limits? I bet you do. How about the fuse box? The power source for your house is in there. Your children can benefit from the power source, but they cannot approach the source itself. That’s a pretty close analogy for kids. 

There have to be boundaries for kids. There will be a day when they can have access to any area of the house. The limitations now are not meant to punish them. They are meant to protect them. As they mature, they will gain more and more access. In the same way, as we mature in our walk with Christ, He reveals more and more of Himself to us.

Are you ready for the unapproachable light? Boy, I am. I can’t wait to see Him. His glory will be amazing. But guess what? It is now. Don’t wait until eternity to be blown away. Let His brilliance amaze you.

O God of glory, Your light is ablaze. Let it shine through me so others can see You. One day I will dwell in Your light forever.

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