Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, Following, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Prayer, Satan, Scripture

ASLEEP

MATTHEW 26:36-41

“36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’ 39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’ 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’”

As I write this, it is 12:40 a.m. I don’t sleep very much, normally 4-5 hours a night. Most nights I’m awake by 1:30 or 2:00. Tonight, it’s a little earlier. So, I can relate to Peter in this story. They had traveled that day and had just finished eating the Passover meal. Tired + stomach full = ZZZZZZ. It’s no wonder he and the others fell asleep.

Do you think he would have dozed off if he had known what was about to happen in a matter of hours? I don’t think so, but we are quick to condemn Peter for sleeping. “How could he do that to Jesus?” How many times have you “fallen asleep” spiritually on Jesus? How many times has He asked you to follow Him only to hear you snoring? Don’t be too critical.

APPLICATION

The next time you catch your son or daughter falling asleep take a picture. When they wake up (and are alert enough to listen) read them this story. Ask them why they fell asleep. Ask them why they think Peter fell asleep. Sleep is a good thing. We need it to stay strong. Jesus wasn’t condemning sleep. He knew what was coming.

Jesus wants us to be prepared for the evil one. Judas was on the way to betray Jesus in the garden. He had asked Peter, James and John to “keep watch with Me.” Explain to your child the importance of keeping watch. Satan is always on the alert for our weakest moments. Make sure you’re ready to face him with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you snoozing? Or are you alert and keeping watch? Satan doesn’t take any days off. I’m not telling you to not sleep physically. I am saying to not sleep spiritually. Stay in the Word. Stay in the spirit of prayer. Be discerning. Let the Spirit guide you in your words and deeds. Wake up, sleepy head.

Father, keep me alert to Your every command. Let me rest in You, knowing You are able to defend me. You are my peace.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evil, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Testimony, Understanding

PUT A MUZZLE ON HIM

TITUS 1:11

“who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.’

One time our dear, precious dog named Reese had to be muzzled. He had hurt his back chasing birds in our back yard and had to see the vet. Because he was hurting so bad, the vet knew he would be very defensive about being touched, even though the vet was trying to help him. So, on went the muzzle. The vet worked on him and then took it off.

Why am I talking about muzzles? Because the Greek word for “must be silenced” means exactly that. The word only appears right here in the New Testament and means to stop the mouth or muzzle. These people’s words are harmful and need to be stopped. Now, you can’t put a muzzle on people (although that would be nice sometimes, lol), but you can stop the words from influencing your family by refusing to listen and changing the environment.

APPLICATION

Your children are going to hear all kinds of wrong teaching and ideas as they grow up. How do you protect them? Well, you insulate them rather than isolate them. As you teach them the truth of God’s Word, they will learn to recognize the false teachings. You must teach them when they hear these things to handle them. What do I mean by that?

They may not be able to leave the situation if they are in a classroom hearing this from a teacher. In that case, they must be prepared to stand their ground and defend the Gospel. If they are somewhere from which they can remove themselves, that might be the best option. And they may have to change some friends who refuse to hear the truth and openly oppose it. Those are tough lessons, but the Lord will protect and defend them.

Are you willing to stand for the Gospel and defend your family from the attacks of the evil one? You may need to change your tv habits. You may need to adjust the music you are listening to. You may have to avoid certain situations with your children because you know there will be conflict with some people. Whatever it is, you need to decide to stand tall and trust the Lord. He’s got your back.

I am grateful for Your steadfast presence in my life. I know I can trust You to defend me when I am attacked. Help me be strong and bold in the face of opposition.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith, Faithfulness, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

OUT OF THE LION’S MOUTH

2 TIMOTHY 4:17

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.”

Do you know any lions? Boy, I do. I have encountered a few. Now, I don’t mean real lions, of course. I am referring, as Paul was, to those who wanted to destroy me. If we stand for the cause of Christ, His enemies are going to try to take us out. They do not want us proclaiming the Gospel. Why? Because it exposes their sins.

However, most of these “lions” do not see their sins as sin. How dare we call their lifestyles sinful? How dare we insinuate that they can’t live as they want and be ushered into heaven with the saints? Paul’s goal was to preach Jesus to the Gentile world which was filled with idolatry and wickedness. Guess what? Our mission is the same.

APPLICATION

Your children probably have heard the story of Daniel and the lions’ den, right. Well, read them this verse and then read them that story. Ask them what they think Paul was referring to. I mean, he wasn’t with Daniel. But he faced just as ferocious an enemy.

Ask your kids why others who don’t love Jesus would want to “eat them up.” You can make it a little funny. That’s okay. But make sure they understand that when they live a life pleasing God, those who rebel against Him, knowingly or unknowingly, are going to try to stop them, discourage them or outright fight against them. That’s to be expected. It’s okay. Just keep living for Him.

Are you in the mouth of a lion right now? Pray for deliverance. Ask the Lord to give you the boldness to stand against the enemies of the cross and proclaim Him even louder. The Lord can defang the most ferocious of lions. Ask Him for pliers.  Lol

Lord, I do not fear the fangs of the lions because You are with me. Give me strength, as You did Paul, to face them courageously and victoriously.

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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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Cowardice, Deception, Demons, Direction, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, Family, Fighting, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Satan

PREDATORS

2 TIMOTHY 3:6

“For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,”

The first word that came to mind when I read this verse was “predator.” A predator is someone or something that preys on a weaker species. They take advantage of their weaknesses and use them to their advantage. That’s what these people Paul is describing in chapter 3 do. They only think of self, of satisfying their own appetites. They have no regard for the emotional, physical or spiritual well-being of anyone else. So, they leave a wake of human tragedy behind them.

You need to know that the Greek word for “enter” here means to creep in. It doesn’t mean to knock and announce yourself. These people don’t do that. They are sneaky. And then they take you captive. You are led away as if you are a defeated enemy captured in war. But don’t be fooled. It is war.

APPLICATION

Oh, this is a fun verse to act out with your children. Have you ever played “Battle” or “War” with your kids? You’ve got to take the time to do this. You will need to get some more players and set up some battle lines, but trust me, it will be worth the effort. Kids love acting out scenarios. And when we can teach a Biblical truth at the same time – Bam!

Choose sides and start the war with the goal of capturing the other team’s flag at their headquarters. People miss the fact that stealth, covert (sneaky) tactics are usually much more effective than blatant frontal assaults. Once the game is over, talk about that and apply this verse. Satan is on the attack against us every day. The difference is the game you just played is temporal. Satan is playing an eternal game.

Are you prepared to defend yourself against the onslaught of the devil or his minions? Don’t just look for the obvious. Watch for the subtle things that distract you. Keep a look out for the things that don’t quite match up with the truth you’ve been taught. Above all, hold to your battle plan – follow the Master.

Lord, I will follow You in the deepest, darkest battle line knowing You will never lead me where You do not want me to go. And whatever comes my way in the battle, I will give You all the glory.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Demons, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Satan, Scripture, Surrender

WE ALL HAVE A MASTER

2 TIMOTHY 2:26

“and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Boy, oh boy! This verse says it pretty plain. If you aren’t serving Jesus, you are serving the devil. Jesus is your Master and Lord, or the devil is. I love the way Paul phrases this verse, though – “and they may come to the senses and escape from the snare of the devil.” Let’s look at that a little.

The Greek word for “they may come to their senses” only occurs here. It literally means to sober up, to regain their senses. It’s as if Paul is saying they were intoxicated with self before, but now are free to think clearly. And to get out of a snare requires help. Who do you think that was? Jesus is the snare breaker.

APPLICATION

This will be fun. Let’s tie your kids up! What? Just keep reading. I bet your kids will love it. Get some rope or cloth and tie their feet and hands so they can’t move around and then leave the room for five minutes or so. If they get upset, of course, shorten that. Tell them you have a very unique Bible lesson today. When you return ask them if they tried to get free. Most will but some may just sit there.

As you are untying them, explain to them that the devil ties us up and uses us to do his will. He doesn’t want us free to serve Jesus. He doesn’t want us to even know we are tied up. But his snare is a good one and we can’t get out by ourselves. That’s where Jesus comes in. He in the only one who can free us through the power of His shed blood. This is a lesson they won’t soon forget

(Please know I am NOT advocating tying children or any form of abuse. Only use this if you KNOW your child can handle this for a few minutes and only do this with children who don’t have issues with self-harm.)

Are you in a snare today? Have you fallen prey to one of the devil’s traps? It’s easy to do. If you are a believer, however, his snares cannot hold you. You have the power of the Holy Spirit coursing through you. Just ask the Lord to free you, and He will. You must come to your senses, though. Repentance is necessary. Do it now, if you need to.

I praise You, Father, that You truly have provided a way of escape for me. I am not Houdini. This is not an illusion. These snares of the devil are real, but they hold no power over me as I trust You.

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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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