Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Denial, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Repentance, Scripture, Shame

FAILURE

MATTHEW 26:74-75

“74 Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’ And immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”

Epic fail! Peter realized immediately when he heard that rooster crow that he had failed his Master. He probably wanted to throw up. Can you imagine the thoughts that ran through his mind? This wasn’t a minor fail. He had denied Jesus threw times, just as Jesus predicted.

How many times have you failed our Lord? You’ve been told to do something, but you don’t. You know He placed someone on your heart to call or go see and you don’t. He places someone in your path to witness to and you walk away without doing it. Fail!

APPLICATION

Children are going to have failures. That’s part of learning and growing. I believe they can learn more from failures than successes if we help them. If we don’t, those failures can crush them. Losing can build character. Failing can do the same. You need to ask them what went wrong. How could have they prevented the failure?

They are also going to fail God. Tell them an experience you’ve had. They need to know you can relate. And then tell them how the Lord forgave you and showed mercy. They need to hear that. Read them this passage in Matthew and then skip ahead and read how Jesus forgave him after He resurrected.

Are you still living in failure? Take it to Jesus. He can forgive. Don’t put that confession off. It won’t go away. We have the God of the universe waiting for us to talk to Him. He wants to forgive. He wants to talk to us. Don’t make Him wait. Right now, bend your knee and ask for forgiveness for that failure. He’s ready to forgive.

I ask You to forgive me today for the many times I have failed You, Lord. Cleanse me and make me right in Your eyes. Show me how to be more obedient today.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Denial, Direction, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Safety, Witnessing

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

MATTHEW 26:69-72

“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean.’ 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ 71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ 72 And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’”

My dad always said, “You will be known by the company you keep.” Now, he told me that to steer me away from people who might lead me astray. In the case of Peter, he was recognized as being one of Jesus’ followers (being in His company). While that may seem like a good thing, at this moment, it could have gotten Peter in hot water.

So, what does he do? He denies knowing Jesus. Remember when Jesus warned him he would deny Him? Well, today’s verses are the first two denials. Two different servant-girls accused him, and both times he denied it. He wanted nothing to do with Jesus at the moment. How soon he forgot.

APPLICATION

Your children will have to choose who they hang out with. Some of those choices will be good and some will be bad. Only time will tell. Your role as mom or dad is to point them and guide them towards the right company. You may have to help them choose when their judgment gets a little off.

Peter chose wrong in this situation. He chose to blend into the crowd rather than standing up for his friend. Your children will face similar choices as they grow up. Do they choose popularity or safety over loyalty? These are hard lessons but are necessary ones. Don’t let them slip by.

Do you avoid being recognized as a follower of Christ when it becomes uncomfortable? What exactly makes you uncomfortable? Remember all Jesus has done and is doing for you. You have an obligation to Him. You have given Him your life. You belong to Him. Stay loyal and true.

Lord, give me the courage to stand tall in the face of opposition. I want to be known as Your friend. I want others to see Jesus in me.

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DON’T BE IGNORED

TITUS 2:15

“These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

We have a difficult word in today’s verse. The Greek word translated “disregard” is only used in this verse. It has more to do with us than others. Paul is telling Titus to be forceful, to stand up for himself. Now, that had nothing to do with who Titus was. It was about Who he represented and what he was saying. He said to “speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.”

People are going to despise us. People are going to try to ignore us or push us aside. There are times when we must stand up and be heard. I don’t mean in an ugly way. But we must speak truth and be heard. We, in fact, have an obligation to do that. When we have been entrusted with the only truth, and we hear it being twisted to lead others astray, we have to speak. Is that comfortable? Not to most of us, but it must be done.

APPLICATION

Teaching our children to stand up for themselves and the Lord is a worthy goal. We don’t want our children to be pushovers. But we also don’t want them to be arrogant and snobby. There’s a fine line which is successfully walked only when Christ reigns in their life. It is important that we live this out for them in the way we deal with others in their presence. We can all be Jesus to others wherever we are. It just requires us to submit and let Jesus do the talking.

Have you ever had your faith “attacked” by someone in front of your children? How did you respond? This is not a time to get into a theological debate. This is the time to simply speak the truth, but speak you must. To not reply can send the message to your child that it is not worth responding. They need to know that you will defend the Gospel and that you believe what it says. Our actions speak volumes.

Are you able to speak out? Are you willing to stand for truth? Will you “speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.” Paul’s command to Titus applies to us today, therefore, the last part of the verse does as well. “Let no one disregard you.” You represent the King of kings and Lord of lords. You have His authority. Act like it.

Father, I carry Your seal stamped on my heart. You have given me Your authority to yield. Help me stand for truth!

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WRONG VIEW

1 TIMOTHY 4:1

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” 

I struggled with what to name this blog. It’s obvious what Paul is warning Timothy about. Some people, even believers, will listen to the wrong teachings. Perhaps unknowingly they will be led astray by deceitful spirits and demons. I mean, come on, who in the right mind would intentionally follow demons? Not many people.

So, I titled this “Wrong View” because I believe the problem is they started looking at the wrong thing. When our eyes remain on Jesus and His Word, there is less danger of this happening. If we are absorbing the truth of the Gospel daily, we can recognize deception when it comes creeping at our door. 

APPLICATION

How do we keep our children from falling away? All we can do is bathe them in God’s Word daily and pray. The ultimate decision is theirs. They must choose who they are going to follow. But God is faithful. I truly believe if we train our children in God’s Word, it will not be in vain. The seeds of the Gospel will be planted. We must trust the Lord to send others into their lives to water and harvest.

What do we do when our children “fall away”? Many God-fearing, Christian parents have faced this dilemma. First of all, if you have done your duty as a parent and taught them the truths of God’s Word, then don’t blame yourself. Secondly, pray daily for your prodigal child. Third, trust the Lord to bring them home. You can’t force it or demand it. 

The big question then is are you fulfilling your God-given responsibilities to raise your children in His Word? Are you? If you aren’t, start today. It’s not too late. Make the change personal. It has to begin with you. No one else can parent your children like you. 

Father, forgive me for not being a more insistent parent to speak Your truths into my children. Help me to plant one seed every day, no matter how they receive it. You have given me my children to give them back to You.

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SEPARATION

2 THESSALONIANS 1:9

“These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”

What could be worse than eternal separation from God? No forgiveness, no redemption and, as it says here, eternal destruction. Now, you have to understand something about that word “destruction.” It does not mean that you will cease to be. It really means total ruin without extinction. Who wants that?

When I moved back to Chattanooga in 2007, I moved ahead of my family due to my daughter’s last year in high school. We didn’t want to pull her out that situation. So, we commuted back and forth to Lakeland, FL for eleven and a half months. We made it work but being separated for that amount of time on a daily basis was horrible. I can’t imagine an eternal separation.

APPLICATION

The next time you have to be away from your children draw out a countdown for them to mark off. For each day you are away they can put an “X” on that day when it is complete. This way they can see the days getting closer when you return to them. When you get home ask them how it felt to be apart for that time. Hopefully, they will tell you how much they missed you.

The Father feels the same way. He wants us home. He can’t wait until we are in His presence. He can’t make us come home, but He will do everything in His power to lead us that way. But, because He is a holy God, He can’t allow us to enter into His presence if we haven’t surrendered to His Son. We, in fact, force our own eternal destruction and separation by choosing to ignore His commands to repent.

Are you surrendered to Him? Are you headed home? I pray you are. If you aren’t, would you make that right today? If you aren’t sure, make it sure today. There is no greater peace than knowing your eternal destiny. And as you make sure of that, spread the news to others. Help them make sure too.

I know where I am headed one day, Lord. I look forward to seeing Your face. Help me spread the good news to as many as possible along the way.

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NO WRATH


1 THESSALONIANS 5:9

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 

Isn’t this an incredible promise of God? He, and only He, does not set us up or place us in wrath. The word “destined” is written in such a way that it means ONLY HE makes this decision. Why is it written that way? Because Satan would love to destine us for wrath. If he had a say in it, we all would. 

But we are destined to obtain salvation. Oh, listen to this. That word “obtaining” is used in Ephesians 1:14 and 1 Peter 2:9 to refer to “God’s own possession.” Do you get it? God has destined us, He has established us, He has determined that we will be HIS! Praise be to God!

APPLICATION

Do you have video of your child’s birth? Has your child seen it? If not, show it to them and explain to them that God determined to place them into your family long before they were born. The birth just made it reality. The Lord brought you and your husband or wife together and through that union established a family into which they would be born.

Explain to them that their birth into God’s family brings into reality what God had already established. It is God’s will, His desire that all men be saved. And because of that desire, whenever anyone enters the family, it brings into place what was destined to begin with. God WANTS all of His creation to come to Him.

I pray you have made that decision. I don’t assume for a second that just because you are reading this devotional that you are a believer. You may have just stumbled onto it through one of the hundreds of search engines out there on the web. Make God’s Will for you reality today. Accept His Son Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. You are NOT destined for wrath. He has destined you for salvation.

What a comforting thought, O Savior of my soul. I praise You for saving me. I thank You for allowing me to come into Your family and experience Your salvation.

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NOT FIRST


1 THESSALONIANS 4:15

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.” 

Come on now, be honest. Don’t you like to be first in line? We want that from our childhood. When children line up to go to lunch or recess at school, many of them want to be the first in line. Most teachers avoid this fight and assign daily line leaders. We don’t want to be bring up the rear. We want to be first.

But Paul tells us that if we are alive when Christ returns, we will NOT be the first to go. All those saints who have died before His return will precede us. They will burst forth from their graves, or wherever their bodies were laid, a precede us in the air to meet our Lord and Savior. But don’t worry. It will happen so fast you won’t even realize it.

APPLICATION

The next time your little Johnny or Susie fight to be first, read them this verse. First isn’t always better. Show them in this verse that if we are alive when Christ returns, WE will get to see that. Wouldn’t that be grand? Get your child to draw a picture of what they think that might look like. That’s worth being second, isn’t it?

Also, by giving up that fight to be first all the time, we have the opportunity to serve others and lead them to Christ. All those who have gone before us don’t have that opportunity anymore. But while we wait on Jesus to return, we can talk to others about Him and perhaps they can join us on that day.

What are you waiting for? Are you pushing to be first all the time? Don’t! Step back and let others go ahead of you. That can even work in traffic (God forbid, lol). Yield to Jesus. Let Him always be first.

I fight this battle every day, Lord. I want to be first in all my endeavors. Let me learn the humility of being in back of the line so I can serve others.

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