Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony

IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOD…

1 PETER 1:16

“because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’”

Leviticus 11:45 says, “45 ‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” Peter is quoting the Old Testament in today’s verse. Whom do you think he had in mind? He had spent over three years with the holiest man alive, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. He had experienced holy as we never will this side of eternity.

Being holy isn’t just about getting saved and attending church. Being holy means we lay aside all that was before and take up all that God is. We live in His righteousness. We love our enemies. We put others before ourselves. We dwell in His presence daily. We “put on” God each day as we encounter others. Holiness has nothing to do with our abilities. It has everything to do with surrender.

APPLICATION

Have your children define “holy”. I love to hear children give definitions of spiritual things. Most of the time they are right on with simple, undefiled definitions. They don’t over think it. They just share what comes out first, unfiltered. Make a list of their definitions.

Now go to this verse and also look at the passage in Leviticus. Ask them what they think Peter was saying and more especially what God was saying. Explain to them the biblical definition too. They need to know that but put it in layman’s terms. Don’t spiritualize it. We tend to do that too much, don’t we? Remember, holiness is not about us. It’s all about Him.

How are you doing living holy? Are you trying too hard? Surrender. Let God’s holiness pour out of you through the power of the Holy Spirit. After all, His name is HOLY Spirit. I think He knows a little bit about being holy. If you will let Him have complete control, holiness will ooze out of you.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty! I want to live holy and dwell in Your Holiness. Thank You for filling with Your Holy Spirit.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Sanctification, Scripture, Testimony

BE HOLY

1 PETER 1:15

“but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;”

Now, wait just a minute, Peter. I may be a lot of things, but holy? How do you expect me to be holy? I am flesh. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am a long way from holy. I think it’s a little much for you to command me to be holy.

Come on, now. Don’t you feel the same way sometimes? We have to remember, though, that God never asks us to do anything He knows we can’t do. The truth is we can’t be holy. It’s Him in us that makes holy. Don’t try to do it on your own. You can’t do it. But when we surrender to Him, His holiness will thrive in you.

APPLICATION

Tell your son or daughter in the morning that you expect them to be holy today. Tell them that you will not accept anything less. You may have a child who says, “I can do that.” Seriously, they can’t, and you know it. Just let them try. I guarantee it won’t be long in the day until they do something to blow that holiness. They really don’t have a clue what being holy means.

When they blow it, read them this verse. Explain to them what being holy means. The Greek word for “holy” means having the likeness of nature with the Lord and being different from the world. Ask your child what they think that means. How can they be like Jesus and different from the world? They can tell you. Listen. You may just learn something.

How holy were you today? Did the likeness of the Father live through you? As I told you earlier, you can’t be holy. The only thing holy about us is Jesus. Our flesh loves to raise its ugly head. It wants us to be like the world. It prefers unholiness. Squash your flesh by yielding to Him today. All the Holy One to make you holy!

I know there is nothing holy in me except Your Spirit. Help me surrender today to Your Spirit so I can live holy. I want to be holy, as You are.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Encouragement, Eternity, Heaven, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Purity, Religion, Righteousness

STAINED OR UNSTAINED

TITUS 1:15

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.”

Have you ever used stain on a piece of wood? My dad taught me how to stain. He showed me the difference between a piece of stained and unstained wood. You can see the grains that run through the wood when it’s unstained. But when you apply even a light coat of stain, those grains pop out. It changes your view of the wood.

That’s probably a poor analogy, but today’s verse has two very contrasting views – pure and defiled. You could translate these two words as unstained and stained. One is not distracted by the world. The other lives for it. One sees all things as God sees them. The other sees all things as they prefer to see them. Which are you?

APPLICATION

Shaping your child’s worldview is so important. But it begins with their salvation. Only God can truly change how they see the world. You, however, play a huge role in that you help set the environment in which they can readily adjust their eyes to see God’s truth and be ready to hear His voice. Once they respond to His calling (and He is calling them) He will give them that pure heart which will cause them to see “all things are pure.”

Or, you could choose to let your child just decide on their own about religion. After all, you wouldn’t want to influence them in such a private matter. Hogwash! What is more important – where they will spend eternity or being at school on time? We guide our children in life changing decisions. We don’t let them “figure it for themselves.”

Do you see the world clearly? Are you looking through lenses shaped by God’s purity? If not, you have chosen to wear the eyewear of the world in which everything is defiled and stained. Why not today trade in your old glasses for a brand, new pair fashioned by the Lord exclusively for you?

Thank You, Lord, for focusing my eyes on You. I know I can see more clearly when I see with a pure vision. I choose to look up, not down on this world You have placed me in.

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EXPECTATIONS

TITUS 1:8

“but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,”

What do you expect from your leaders? Well, Paul continues to lay out the Lord’s expectations for Elders. These leaders are so important to the healthy function of the body of Christ. By living up to these expectations they are showing others that these are possible through Christ. Let’s look at these quickly.

“Hospitable” literally means to love strangers. “Loving what is good” is really a lover of what God loves. “Sensible” can be translated as self-control. “Just” is approved by God. “Devout” means beloved by God. And finally, “self-controlled” has the meaning of being mastered from within.

APPLICATION

Why did I go through all those words? Because you need to know them, and your children need to know them. You need to know that they are all possible through Christ. The Lord will never put an expectation on you or your children that He cannot empower you to do. He can give you the ability to love strangers. He can give your children the ability to love what God loves.

Do you believe that? Or do you think these qualifications only apply to Elders? NO!!!! They apply to us all. All believers need to live this way. So, what keeps us from doing that? That’s simple. Our flesh, our self gets in the way. And the only way to get rid of that is to die to it daily and surrender your all to Him. When you do that, your kids see that.

Are you willing to live this way? Can you embrace these qualities knowing He can live these through you? Decide today to do this. If you allow Him to control you, He will use you in ways you cannot imagine. And as He uses you, your children will see that and hopefully begin to emulate these qualities they see in you.

I want to be just like You, Lord. All these qualities are You. I will surrender my will to You today.

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KEEP AN EYE ON YOU

TITUS 1:7

“For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,”

The position of overseer or elder has often been misinterpreted as a position of authority or title. The Greek word for “overseer” actually means someone who intently keeps their eye on something or someone. In the church that man is watching over the church body to provide first-hand care and protection. It’s a service role more than an authority role.

Now, elders must help guide the body. But they do this from a position of service, not by brow beating. That is exactly why Paul lays out all these qualifications. In this verse he gives six more character traits (good steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain). He has further limited the pool of men who rise to the position, this ensuring their heart for service, not rule.

 APPLICATION

It is interesting that these traits Paul lists for an elder are traits we as parents want for our children. We want them to handle what God gives them well. Money management is an important skill for us to teach them. Secondly, we want them to think more of others than themselves. Self-willed children will face many more challenges. Thirdly, we definitely want them to know how to control their temper, to not be easily upset or angry.

We also want our children to know how to handle the issue of drinking. If you think they won’t face that temptation, you are fooling yourself. You have to model that. The next trait, not pugnacious, means not a fighter. Some kids are always ready for a fight. We want to teach them how to avoid that. And finally, we want them to not be greedy. In fact, we want them to share liberally.

So, you see these elder traits are really traits for us all. How are you living up to these? These are all characteristics of someone surrendered to Christ. It requires dying to self daily. Then you too can help oversee the flock. You can keep your eye on your brother or sister to help guide and protect. Aren’t we all called to do that in the family of God?

Father, remind me to live my life in such a way that I am worthy of “overseeing” my brother and sister. I want to live like Jesus so I can help guide others in the path of righteousness.

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RUN!!!

2 TIMOTHY 2:22

“Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

Too many of us try to resist or fight our youthful lusts. No!!! Paul tells Timothy and us to flee, to run away, to get out of Dodge. We tend to think we can play with matches and not get burned. Listen, my brother or sister, you cannot! That’s why Paul tells Timothy to run. He tells us the same thing.

And as we are running from those youthful lusts, we need to be pursuing righteous, faith, love and peace. We already have all of those, if we are believers. They are all centered in and through Christ whom we possess at the moment of salvation. However, we allow ourselves to pursue other things and drop it.

APPLICATION

Most kids are good at following orders. Not really, lol. I mean, inside they want to please you and God. All they have to do is listen to what you say and do it, right? All they have to do is read God’s Word and do what it says, right? What if you read them this verse and told them when they are tempted to do something wrong to run? What do you think they would do?

Make a game of it. Write out some of these “youthful lusts.” What are those? Well, they do involve sensual pleasures, but they also include things like the inclination to gratify the appetites and senses of the body. They even include things like  pride, ambition, vain-glory, rashness, contention, obstinacy. These things make young people obnoxious. Mix in some good things like faith, hope and love. Use your imagination. Hold up one of the cards and have them either run toward you for a hug or run away.

But let me ask you a question. How do you respond to these things? Do you run towards these lusts or away? Do you shun them or embrace them? We adults must have the same flight response as children. These things will defeat us and cripple our walk with Christ. Pursue the good stuff and soar.

You are an amazing God who gives us everything we need to succeed in our walk with You. Help me today to listen closely to You and allow You to lead me away from those things that seek to harm me.

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FOR OTHERS

2 TIMOTHY 2:10 

For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. 

Paul’s thoughts always seemed to be on two things – the Lord Jesus and others. His passion and drive was to share the gospel of Jesus with as many as he could before leaving this world. Even now, in prison, his mind is on this. He is reflecting on his current situation (prison) and glorifying God that even this is working to bring others to Jesus. 

That Greek word for “endure” means to bear up under and is only possible through the power of God in someone’s life. Paul knew the only way he could endure all the things he had endured was the supernatural empowering of the Holy Spirit. But with Him, there was nothing that he couldn’t endure.  

APPLICATION 

How do we teach our children to “endure”? How do we teach them to do it for others? Endurance can be taught through physical exercise. You work and work and eventually get stronger. You push through the pain day after day. Then you notice you can run a little further or lift a little more weight. It is through the daily struggle that you gain more and more endurance. 

But why would we do that for others? Simple! Because of what Christ endured for us. When we teach our children about Jesus, we need to make sure to teach them what He gave up for us. He took all our sins on Himself. He became sin so that we could take on His righteousness. Now, He asks us to share that with others, no matter what it takes. We must be willing to endure sufferings in order to bring a lost world into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

Are you? Are you willing to endure whatever the Lord allows in your life for the purpose of showing others how to believe and trust in Him? You are called to this purpose at salvation. Now, you may never suffer a day in your walk or you may be the one who suffers constantly. Whichever it is, endure. Do it all for His glory. 

Father God, I accept Your will in my life today and gladly endure the cross of suffering. I desire to see others come to Jesus, and if my suffering can bring that, then use me. 

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