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OLD WIVES’ TALES

1 TIMOTHY 4:7

“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;”

You may have heard the phrase “old wives’ tales.” It refers to things that are passed down from one generation to another as being truth when it actually is just superstitions or false information. I used to teach First Aid and CPR in an area of Tennessee to teen moms where I heard a lot of these. One such old wives’ tale was to bind up your baby real tight and drop a pair of scissors behind their back if they have colic. That will cut the pain. Don’t try that at home, lol. 

Paul is warning Timothy about these fables and superstitions. He should stick to the truth of God’s Word. Only that will lead to discipline and godliness. Any other source of information is subject to verification. God’s Word is always reliable. It can be trusted throughout the generations.

APPLICATION

Your children will hear lots of silly fables (old wives’ tales) in their lives. Some may even have a smidgeon of truth in them. Those are really confusing to young minds. The easy way to verify if they are true is to measure them against God’s Word. If they agree, trust it. If they don’t, don’t trust it.

Learning to discern fact from fiction is a skill they will need as they navigate life. Satan is around every corner just waiting to try to confuse us or deceive us. When our children learn to recognize those untruths, they will be safer in their journey following Christ.

Are you one who believes all those old wives’ tales? Do you put more stock into what Grandma said than what God says? Give up all those generational truths and turn to the only source of truth. He will teach you whatever it is you need to know. And you can be guaranteed that it is always true.

Lord, help me discern fact from fiction. When I am unsure let me turn to You. I know You are truth and can set me straight.

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AN URGE TO PRAY

1 TIMOTHY 2:1

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,…”

If you have ever had any doubts as to how you ought to pray, this verse should answer them. Paul spells out how to pray here in four unique and separate ways. Entreaties means “heart-felt petition, arising out of deep personal need coming from a sense of lack or want. Prayers literally means an “exchange of wishes.” You are swapping your desires for God’s desires. Petitions implies a “Spirit-directed intervention.” These are the prayers on behalf of others. And finally, Paul mentions thanksgivings which is “the giving of thanks for God’s grace.”

So, you are to let God know your needs (entreaties), pray His will (prayers), pray for others (petitions) and give Him thanks (thanksgivings). Pretty plain, huh? Are you still confused? Don’t be. Just start practicing these four things each day.

APPLICATION

Teaching our children to pray can be a real joy. Don’t cramp their style as they pray. Let them just talk to God. Don’t correct their theology during their prayers. That’s left for another time. Just let them pray. I truly believe the Lord bends His ear a little closer to the earth to hear the prayers of His little ones.

And may I encourage you to do something special? When your children are praying for a specific need they have or for something for someone else, make a note of that and the date they began praying for that. And then when (not if) God answers that prayer, bring out that note and show them. Children need to see answered prayers. God uses that to build their faith.

Do you believe in prayer? Do you have the urge to pray? I go through a daily, weekly and monthly prayer list each day. It keeps me in touch with my Master. I love talking to Him. Why? Because I now He is ALWAYS listening. He never tunes me out. As I pray and trust I rest in His sovereign timing to answer. Will you?

I am so thankful that You are listening to me, Lord. I know You care about my needs and the needs of others. Help me pray in such a way that all I desire is Your Will for my life.

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CONTRARY

1 TIMOTHY 1:10

“and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,” 

I am not going to get into the lifestyles of those who are mentioned in today’s verse. I do not think that is necessary. I want to pick out one word in the verse, though. Look at that word “contrary.” Have you ever known someone who was contrary? Do you even know what that means? It means someone who is against everything. They will argue with a fence post.

These kinds of people cannot be convinced with the truth because they do not believe it applies to them. Or they think they have the real truth. Paul has just listed in the past two verses those who fit into this category. They are opponents or enemies to sound teaching.

APPLICATION

Okay, then, how does this apply to our children? Easy, keep teaching them the truth. Point them constantly to God’s Word. Give them sound teaching. Only by doing this can they recognize the untruths. Only by consistently exposing them to truth will they be able to establish that baseline of truth and untruth. 

The world is going to throw enough untruths at your children. Satan does not want them to follow Jesus. He will hurl all sorts of lies at them to try to get them to believe them. You are that buffer when they are growing up. You shield them with the Gospel. You guard them with THE truth. And don’t stop just because they get saved. You have to continue to disciple and mentor them to spiritual maturity. You have a lifetime job!

But how about your spiritual maturity? Have you drunk the Kool-Aid of social tolerance? I don’t mean you can’t accept others and love them. I mean you can’t condone ungodly behavior, many of which are named in verses 9 and 10 of 1 Timothy 1. You have to decide if you are going to be contrary to sound teaching yourself.

Father, guard my heart against the lies of the devil. Reveal to me quickly anything that is contrary to your teachings. I want to live and speak truth.

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SINCERELY WRONG

1 TIMOTHY 1:7

“wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”

Sometimes you can be confident but also wrong. You strongly believe in what you are saying or doing, only to find out later that you were entirely wrong. That may be to your own lack of research or knowledge, or you may have been fooled by someone else.

Paul is addressing that in today’s verse. These individuals who had strayed into fruitless discussions (verse 6) thought themselves wise enough to teach the Law. But Paul says “they do not understand.” Remember, Paul was a very knowledgeable man. He had been taught by the best. He knew the Law. He could tell when someone was faking it.

APPLICATION

Before you spend all these years training your children, shouldn’t you make sure that what you are teaching them is correct? Your little Susie is relying on you to tell her what’s what. If all she grows up believing is incorrect, you have done her a great disservice. That’s why the only true source of wisdom from which you can teach her is God’s Word.

So, before you teach, research. Before you spend the time and energy training your little ones, make sure you check it out with Him. He wants you to teach truth because He is truth.

Have you been fooled by someone into believing something is true when it’s not? I think of the people of Israel when the Gibeonites fooled them into thinking they were from faraway nation wanting to make peace when they were, in fact, their neighbors. If they had only consulted the Lord, they would have known. Don’t take what you hear from others at face value. Check it out in His Word.

O Lord, I praise You that I can always trust Your teachings. I am thankful You are trustworthy. Help me teach only what You have taught me.

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WHAT DRAWS YOU?

1 TIMOTHY 1:6

“For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,” 

It is so important to understand not just what, but how the Scriptures are written. What do I mean by that? I mean the choice of verbs and adjectives is important. Today’s verse is one perfect example. The verb phrase “have turned aside” is in the passive voice, which means an action has been done on the subject. In this case, we have to ask what turned them aside. It’s in the phrase before, “straying from these things.”

Don’t let me lose you. Hang on! You see, when we stray, when we miss the mark, we are turned aside from where we should be going to where we should NOT be going. That can be “fruitless discussion” or something more dangerous. You see, sin will take you further than you ever thought you would stray, cost you more than you ever thought you would pay and keep you longer than you ever thought you would stay (this saying is not original to me).

APPLICATION

This is why one of our most important jobs as parents is to teach our children to focus on the eternal perspective. When they lose sight of the eternal, the temporal will cause them to stray. Learning to sacrifice immediate gain for ultimate reward is huge. Setting long term goals is critical, even for children.

Let me give you an example. When I began mowing yards as a young boy to make some money, my dad took me to his company credit union to open an account. I gave him money each time I got paid which he deposited into that account. When I turned fifteen, I had enough money to buy my first car. He helped me see past the bubble gum and movie tickets to my ultimate goal (though years away) of getting a car.

Are you making deposits for your spiritual future? Or are you spending every blessing you receive as fast as it is received. We need to examine every decision we make with eternal eyes. How do our decisions affect our eternity and the eternity of others? That’s a heavy question, but one we need to ask ourselves.

Father, You are so good to give me exactly what I need when I need it. Teach me to see all things eternally and to let go of my own selfish desires. Pleasing You is so much more important than pleasing myself or others.

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STUPID QUESTIONS

1 TIMOTHY 1:4

“nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.” 

You have probably heard the expression, “There are no stupid questions, just stupid answers.” Well, I beg to differ. I have heard some stupid questions in my life, none of which need to be repeated. And here, in today’s verse, we find Paul saying the same thing. When he writes “mere speculation” that really means “meaningless questions.” They serve no purpose. They are a waste of time.

Timothy was being bombarded, or at least it seems, with silly questions about faith. Paul is telling him to stick with the facts. He needed to remain true to the teachings and not allow anyone to cause him to chase rabbits. Nor should he allow others to do the same. It was a waste of time, and Paul wasn’t one to do that. 

APPLICATION

Now, when I say I have heard some stupid questions, I am not referring to the inquisitive questions asked by children. They are usually just seeking to learn something. And even when they may ask a silly question, it is all in fun and not to try to confuse or deceive anyone.  I enjoy children’s questions because many times it forces me to think a little more.

Don’t ignore your children’s questions. To the best of your ability, answer them. And when you can’t, find the answer. Asking the right questions can lead us to discover new truths. Asking questions gives us the ability to tap into the knowledge of others. But, as in all things, our questions should drive us toward truth and not falsehoods.

Let me ask you a question (not a silly one). Do you ask stupid questions? Do you ask questions that really have no purpose? The next time you start to ask a question pause and think about why you are asking it. You may be started to realize that you really don’t need to ask it. Do you really want to know the answer? Hmmm.

Father, I seek Your wisdom. Let my questions of faith and spiritual growth always be asked in the spirit of seeking You. Give me the wisdom to answer others as You would.

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