Bible, Child Raising, Completeness, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Scripture, Surrender

POURED OUT

TITUS 3:6

“whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”

Notice the first word of this verse – “whom.” Whom? Someone is poured out? That’s right. You have to look back at the last two words of verse 5 to understand this. It’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is “poured out upon us richly.” And look at how this done. “through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Only He can do that. That’s why He came. That’s why He ascended back to heaven.

At salvation Jesus infuses us, pours out on us the Holy Spirit. He fills every pore. He indwells us. How? Richly! Abundantly! Jesus doesn’t give us part of the Spirit. He doesn’t measure out a portion of the Spirit based on our potential. No! He sends THE Holy Spirit, all of Him, to fill us. He fills each of us simultaneously. That blows my mind.

APPLICATION

It’s important to remember that the same Holy Spirit that fills you as a believer is the same Holy Spirit that fills your child. You are connected by something far more powerful than shared DNA. The third person of the Trinity indwells both of you. How do you teach your children this? Well, I’ve got a simple object lesson that falls far short, but it gives a visual.

Get a large plastic tub. Fill it with water. Then get several glasses or jars, one for every family member. Label the tub “Holy Spirit.” Submerge each glass into the tub until all of them are under water. Ask your child which one is the fullest. Of course, they are all full. Explain to your child that’s how it is with the Holy Spirit is us. We are all filled without affecting the fullness of the other. And our filling does not diminish the ability of the Holy Spirit to fill others. The Holy Spirit is still whole. He just makes us part of His wholeness. Amazing.

Now, you can tear this analogy apart, I’m sure. Don’t analyze it. Just look at it as a simple object lesson to represent a Biblical truth. The Spirit has been poured out on every believer. And not just a small drop. No, richly! Abundantly. We are filled! Will you surrender to that fullness today?

O God of the Universe, thank You for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I have no reason to not do as You ask because You are in me. Help me pour out Your Spirit on others.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Eternity, Glory, Heaven, Parenting, Promises, Sanctification

THE THREE P’S

2 TIMOTHY 4:18

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

You may have heard salvation described this way – we were saved, we are being saved and we will be saved. Or maybe like this – we were saved from the penalty of sin, the power of sin and one day the presence of sin. That’s what today’s verse is saying.

Paul is thanking God in advance and telling Timothy that he is secure in the fact that the Lord will rescue him from the very presence of sin. He is going home to His heavenly kingdom where there is no sin. Can you imagine? No evil. No hurt feelings. No paybacks. Just pure joy!

APPLICATION

Ask your children to imagine a perfect place. Get them to draw a picture if they like to do that. Don’t talk about heaven yet. Just get them to describe their perfect place. What makes it perfect? Is it the people? Is it what they get to do? Just what determines perfection for your child?

Now, read them this verse and talk about different heaven will be from our earth without heaven. Ask them why they think Paul uses the words “rescue” and “bring me safely” when he describes going to heaven. Better yet, get them to draw a picture of Jesus doing that for them. Those should be some interesting pictures worthy of the kitchen frig.

Let me ask you point blank. Have you been rescued? Are you secure in your salvation? If not, why not surrender your heart and your life to Him today. If you have, are you walking in that victory we have in Jesus? You ARE free from the penalty of sin. You ARE free from the power of sin. And praise God one day you will be free from the very presence of sin. Sing Hallelujah!!!

I sing Your praises, O Lord. You are the only one who can deliver me. I rest completely in Your saving power.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Scripture, Wisdom

WISDOM

2 TIMOTHY 3:15

and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

What makes you wise? Knowledge? Not necessarily! I know a lot of people of who are very smart but aren’t vey wise. They know a lot of stuff, but don’t know what to do with it. Wisdom is far more than knowing stuff. It’s knowing what to do with the knowledge you have obtained. That’s Paul’s point here to Timothy.

And what is that source of knowledge? God’s Word. Since he was a boy, Timothy had been taught God’s Word by his mother and grandmother (see 2 Timothy 1:5). That knowledge leads to true wisdom – salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Because, come on, be honest. If you have all that knowledge and die without Christ, that’s pretty stupid.

APPLICATION

Wise children are obedient children. Wise children are respectful children. Wise children understand the importance of obeying parents, adults and most importantly, the Lord. And the only way to have wise children is through the instruction of God’s Word. They could have a 4.0 GPA and be dumb as rocks. It’s like I said earlier. Knowing what to do with knowledge makes you wise.

So, here’s the hard part. You have to let them apply their knowledge. You have to let them make choices that will affect their lives. They have to learn how God’s Word lives out in their lives through relationships and circumstances. If you continually rescue them from difficult situations where they have the chance to apply that knowledge, they will never gain the wisdom necessary to maneuver life’s challenges.

Where does your wisdom come from? Are you applying the knowledge of God’s Word you already have? If you have followed the Lord in salvation, you have already made the wisest decision of your life. Now, you simply need to continue in that pursuit of wisdom through salvation. You are in a process of salvation your entire Christian life, becoming more and more like Christ. What higher goal could you pursue for wisdom?

You are the all wise God who gives us exactly what we need when we need it. Help me pursue only the truth of Your Word to guide me in all wisdom.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Conceit, Contentment, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Satan, Scripture, Surrender, Truth

TOO SMART TO LEARN

2 TIMOTHY 3:7

“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

There are two different Greek words for “learning” and “knowledge.” In English we commonly equate the two. But not in the Greek. The word “learning” refers to fact knowledge or book sense. “Knowledge” is an intensified word for experiential knowledge. In other words, these people have the knowledge to do what it is right but have chosen to do it their way, refusing the truth that stares them in the face.

I bet you have NEVER done that, lol. How many times have you done something you knew was wrong, thinking this time it won’t be so bad? You had the head knowledge, but you refused the truth of the situation and forged ahead, only to pay the price later. So, don’t be too quick to judge these people Paul is referring to here. I believe Paul knew these people he is referring to. We just don’t have their names. When you get out of line, don’t you want God to call your name?

APPLICATION

When I was little, my brother and I would save our money and buy model cars and ships. We spent hours gluing and painting, only in the end blowing them up with M80’s. What fun! But I hated the instructions. My brother, Tim, he followed them. For some reason, his models were always more stable and looked more like the box.

We teach our kids to follow the instructions (God’s Word) for a reason. We will have to apply them. When we do, God carries us through. But when we allow our children to make up their own rules and ignore truth, things get sloppy. They stop looking like the rest of the world and insist their normal is normal. A return to the pure instruction manual is the only remedy for our children and the children of the world.

Do you follow or make it up as you go along? Being in Children’s Ministry, I can’t “wing it.” Kids know it when you are winging it. They will bring down the house. Satan knows when you are winging it. He will bring all he can against you to try to make you miserable and unfit for ministry. Don’t let him. Cling to the truth. With it, you are able and to have the knowledge.

I only know what is useful to the kingdom or me because of You, Lord. I celebrate the freedom we have in Jesus to think, but also under constraint.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Encouragement, Modeling, Parenting, Peace, Righteousness, Sanctification, Testimony

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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Advice, Affection, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Family, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification

CLEANSE THYSELF

2 TIMOTHY 2:21

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”

We really can’t do this. No one has the ability cleanse themselves spiritually. But Paul isn’t telling us to do that. This word “cleanses” is used here and over in 1 Corinthians 5:7. That’s it. In 1 Corinthians it used to describe getting rid of the old leaven. That’s his point.

We must choose to live a holy, sanctified life. That requires us to keep holy the things that are holy. We have to separate ourselves from people and situations that we know will work to tear us down. We can’t isolate ourselves, but we must make tough choices regarding our “influencers.”

APPLICATION

Kids have to make choices every day. Parents who make all the choices for them cripple them. It’s a control thing, I know. It’s much easier to do it for them and speed up the process. But if we don’t show them how to make difficult and hard choices when they are young, they won’t make them when they are older.

Why do we want them to cleanse themselves? So they will be useful to the Master. There’s something about a useless vessel. What happens to it? It’s either destroyed to make room for the useful or it is shelved out of mind. Invest in the time it takes to show your children how to make those hard decisions. Let them fail safely, too. They will learn a lot that way.

Are you willing to cast out all the leaven in your life? Are you able to make those hard choices? Those are necessary decisions for your spiritual growth. And the second you make that choice to be useful to the Master, He shows you how and where. Isn’t that cool? He wants to use us to further His kingdom.

I want to be used by You, Lord. Keep me focused on pleasing You, not man. Then I can give You all of me.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Parenting, Purity, Sanctification, Satan, Scripture

GANGRENE

2 TIMOTHY 2:17

“and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,”

What is a gangrene? Medically, it is a condition where an infection gets so bad that it begins to destroy surrounding tissue and bone. The body literally starts to kill itself. So, how does this apply to us in today’s verse. Oh beloved, look closely. When the body of Christ allows the poison of the world (look at verse 16) to remain in its midst, that poison, that infection, will begin to destroy it from within.

The only cure for gangrene is extreme purification of the area. It can lead to actual amputation of toes, fingers or even whole limbs. All the dead tissue must go. It is full of poison. The same goes for the body of Christ. Those who are poisoning the body can’t remain. They have no desire for healing, only killing. They are NOT a part of the healthy body. Ouch! That’s hard.

APPLICATION

I bet your little boy or girl has at some point gotten an infection. Perhaps they have gotten something stuck in their finger or toe which led to an infection. They could see the splinter in there but couldn’t get to it. What a perfect way to explain this verse. That splinter has to come out for healing to occur. That foreign object, which has no purpose in their body, must be removed.

Explain to them that there will be people who will shove themselves into their lives who have one motive – to harm them. Once your child becomes a child of God (and I pray they have all done that) Satan cannot stand that. He can’t “unsave” them, but he will certainly do all he can to try to make them useless to the kingdom. That includes sending that “splinter” into their lives to produce infection. The remedy? Stay purified through the Word of God, remaining watchful for those whose words do not line up with it.

Are you suffering from gangrene right now? Do you have a Hymenaeus and Philetus in your life? These were two individuals who were in the church but were not part of it. They produced gangrene, not life. If you find yourself in the presence of such people, remove yourself. “Amputate” yourself from the surrounding infection. You cannot live for Christ in the midst of it. Choose healing and health.

I want to purify my body, soul and spirit, Lord, daily through You. Help me cut out all the infection in my life so I can stay strong and healthy spiritually. Today I choose to excise anything that reeks of infection.

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Affection, Bible, Busyness, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, God's Will, Love, Mentoring, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Passion, Sanctification, Service, Widows

CHRIST FIRST

1 TIMOTHY 5:11

But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married,” 

I have to admit that I had to consult some commentators on this verse. At first glance in the English, this paints the younger widows in a bad way. Fortunately, the Greek meaning of the phrase “feel sensual desires in disregard of” was not originally meant to portray such a negative opinion. The Greek word for that phrase is only used here in the New Testament.

The purpose of “the list” of widows was for the church to minister to them and for the widows, in return, minister to each other and serve the Body. Paul is merely saying that younger widows will have the natural desires to remarry which will limit their ability to serve. He is not condemning these young widows. He is, in fact, releasing them from the obligation to serve.

APPLICATION

How in the world do you apply this verse to your children? Easy! Put Christ first! Putting Christ first is costly. Putting Christ first means letting other things go. Putting Christ first means not doing some things and pursuing other things. Now, tell me that doesn’t apply to your kids.

When we teach our children to pursue Christ first, they will have to make some tough choices. They will be given ample opportunities to pursue everything but Christ. They will have to choose which master to follow. If we invest the time to teach them the honor and privilege of putting Christ first, they will reap the benefits of that close, personal relationship that comes with that. Don’t you want that for your son or daughter?

Are you putting Christ first? Or are you pursuing the world, with all its distractions. You cannot put family or work or even ministry first and expect to have that intimate relationship with Christ. Whatever is causing you to put Christ anywhere but in first place in your life must be examined closely and put in its proper position in your life.

Lord Jesus, I want You to be first in my life. I want You to come before anything. I want You to be second to nothing.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Gifts, God's Will, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Thanksgiving

PONDERING

1 TIMOTHY 4:15

Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” 

Now, that’s a word you don’t use every day – pondering! That’s another translation for the verb “take pains.” The word means to be diligent about something. It’s only used one other time in the NT (Acts 4:25) when Peter and John quote Psalm 2:1-2. In that instance it is a negative use, but here in 1 Timothy it’s a good thing. Ponder, be diligent about using your spiritual gift.

If someone gave you an incredible gift, would you squirrel it away and never show anyone? If you learned how to cure cancer for everyone, would you keep that to yourself? Of course not! And your spiritual gift is greater than both of those things. Your spiritual gift being exercised could lead someone to a decision to accept Christ, thus altering their eternity!

APPLICATION

The best way to teach your children this verse is by living it yourself. If you have the gift of service, serve! And take your children along with you when you do so they know why you are doing what you are doing. If you have the gift of discernment, make sure your kids know when you use that gift and how. When they see you using your gifts to glorify God and build up the Body, they will be inspired to do the same.

There are many gifts. There are many lists of gifts in the New Testament. Let me encourage you to help your child learn which gift God has given them. It may not be the same gift as yours, which will require you to learn more about how they need to use their gift. None of us have arrived. We are all still progressing towards perfection in and through Christ.

How will you use your spiritual gift today? It isn’t just for Sundays. It isn’t just for your church. Use it wherever and whenever the Lord leads you. By being obedient in that and pondering on it, you will please the Father.

I am so grateful for the gifts you have given to us, Father. You give these gifts to be used and managed well. Help me use my gifts today to honor Your name.

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Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Sanctification, Truth

ARE YOU TRUSTWORTHY?

1 TIMOTHY 4:9

“It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.”

This phrase is used twice by Paul in writing to Timothy in this letter. He doesn’t use the phrase anywhere else. I wonder why. Why is Paul saying what he is saying is trustworthy? Did someone accuse him of lying? Was Timothy hearing other reports from Paul’s enemies? We don’t know, but we do know the Holy Spirit told him to put these words down.

So, how do they apply to us? Let me ask you a question. Can you say this about all your statements? Are all your words worthy? The word “deserving” can also be translated as “worthy of.” The word means to be weighed in God’s scale of truth. That’s a higher level of trustworthiness, isn’t it?

APPLICATION

This is a simple truth to teach your children. We need to model this first, though. Can our children trust our words? Do we say what we mean and mean what we say? Can they rely on us to follow through with what we say? They learn this truth by watching and listening to us. Are we trustworthy in our words to our children?

Too many parents lie to their kids. Yes, I said lie. They tell them something, knowing it will never happen. They make promises they know they cannot keep. If you are one of those parents, stop! Make sure your yes means yes and your no means no. Stop confusing your children with wishy washy parenting. Remember, you are not raising children. You are raising child raisers. What you model and teach will be repeated.

Are you trustworthy in your statements? Can people trust what you say? One of the worst reputations you can have is to be known as a liar. I have known people whom you could say if their lips were moving, they were lying. Not good! Don’t be that person. If you are a believer in Christ, you have THE truth in you.

Forgive me Lord, when I tell untruths. Convict me of this sin. Let me never be guilty of leading others astray by my statements. I want my words to line up with Your Word.

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