Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Devil, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Thanksgiving

AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD

1 PETER 3:22

“who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”

Do you realize how comforting it is to know Jesus, our Savior, is sitting at the right of the Father right now? Do you know what that means? Adam Clarke says this is “the place of the highest dignity, honor and influence.” He has the Father’s ear. God the Father is listening to God the Son.

And what is that conversation like? Jesus is appealing to the Father on our behalf. Every time the devil accuses us (believers) of something, Jesus speaks up and says, “That is paid for, Father. My blood took care of that.” He is our Advocate. He is constantly defending us.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they have ever spoken up for someone in their defense. You know, perhaps a friend is falsely accused at school of something and the teacher starts to come down hard on that person. Would your child speak up to defend them? How about if THEY were falsely accused of something and facing serious consequences. Wouldn’t they want someone to speak up for them?

Well, someone already has. Jesus has paid the price for all our sins. Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, there is NOTHING the devil can accuse us of. We are forgiven. We are free. We are secure in Jesus. That is worth sharing with everyone.

Are you celebrating your security in Jesus today? Take a minute and thank Him for interceding on your behalf today. Thank Him for speaking up against the devil when he mentions your name. Thank Him for setting you free from the guilt and punishment of your sins.

O Father, Your Son is whispering my name to You today. I know He is. I am so thankful He and You both know my name.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Confession, Direction, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony, Thanksgiving

RIGHTEOUS PRAYERS

1 PETER 3:12

“’FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.’”

There has never been a more misunderstood truth. So many people believe that whomever prays to God will have their prayers answered. That simply isn’t true. Now, hear me out. God will always respond to the prayer of anyone who is repenting and coming to surrender to Him. But if that same lost person is begging God for relief without surrendering to Him…well…today’s verse answers that question.

God longs to answer our prayers. He wants to work in our lives. But we must come to Him with repentant hearts. We must acknowledge our need for a Savior. He is not going to look on our sin and just look past them. He demands and deserves our allegiance in order for Him to work as He desires in our lives. This may sound harsh, but it is meant to drive us all to our knees.

APPLICATION

Teaching our kids this truth is so important. We want them to understand how to pray. I use the acrostic A-C-T-S to pray. A stands for Adoration. I praise Him for who He is and acknowledge His supremacy in my life. C stands for confession. I confess my sins each time I pray. I long to be sinless, but I haven’t arrived yet. T stands for thanksgiving. I thank Him for His blessings in my life. And S stands for supplication. Here is where I come to him on behalf of loved ones and myself, asking for His will to be done.

If our children will learn to pray this way, they will not go wrong. Our children need to understand that our righteousness depends on the blood of Christ, which we claim every time we confess our sins to Him. We, the righteous in Christ, have an open portal to the very throne of God.

Are you praying as a righteous child of God? Or do you pray because you are doing good deeds? Righteousness is not yours to earn. It is given freely through Christ to those who call Him Savior. And because we are righteous, we desire to live righteously. God is waiting to answer your prayers. Pray in righteousness.

I know the only thing good about me is You, Lord. It is Your righteousness that gives me the freedom to call on You daily for my needs and the needs of others.

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UNDESERVED GIFTS

1 PETER 2:22

“WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;”

Yesterday was Easter. What a perfect verse we have today to remind us of Christ’s innocence. He didn’t deserve to die. He had done no wrong. But He took on Himself my sin and your sin in order to give to us something we did not deserve – His righteousness. Wow! What a gift!

Have you ever gotten a gift you didn’t deserve? I have had friends bless me with gifts. During my recent illness I had several friends who blessed us financially. They wanted to help ease the burden of traveling back and forth to the hospital and the month and a half stay away from home. We didn’t deserve this, but they gave anyway. Jesus gave His all when we didn’t deserve it.

APPLICATION

Surprise your children with a gift. They may have been terrible yesterday and disobeyed you all day long. Perfect! Give them a gift they are not expecting. When they ask you why you are giving them such a gift, explain to them the gift that Jesus gave you when you didn’t deserve it. Let them know that Jesus loves us that much. He doesn’t wait for us to get better to save us. He saves us just like we are.

Ask your children if they know what innocent means. You may have to explain that to them. Tell them that Jesus had never done anything wrong, even when He was a little boy. Every action He took reflected His Father in heaven. And despite His innocence, He took on the guilt of the world. Why? To give us this undeserved gift of salvation.

Have you thanked the Lord today for your undeserved gift of salvation? Do that right now. I’ll wait…. Now, don’t you feel better? It’s always good to thank someone for the gifts we have been given, especially those undeserved gifts. Do that daily, as He continues to bless you.

Dear Lord, I thank You for blessing me. I only deserve hell, but You have chosen me to be Your child and have given me a gift which I could never repay. I love You, Lord.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Foundation, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Rejection, Testimony, Thanksgiving

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

1 PETER 2:7

“This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,’

You’ve heard the expression that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Well, in today’s verse the phrase “precious value” means what has value in the eyes of the beholder; the value (weight, honor) willingly assigned to something. Peter is telling us that we believers put great value on Jesus being our foundation and cornerstone.

Contrast that with the second phrase directed at non-believers. They may reject Jesus, but He is the very corner stone, the stone upon which the whole building is built upon. They don’t have to believe it, but it’s true. Only time will reveal this to them, either in this world or when they face judgment.

APPLICATION

What do your children hold most precious? Ask them to go to their room and return with their most precious possession. Unless they bring back their Bible, not a single item will last. Explain to them that all physical things are going to perish, pass away. Nothing will last.

That may upset them but reassure them that have (if they are a believer) and can have (if they aren’t) something that will never cease. They have the cornerstone, the sure thing, the never-ending Messiah. Jesus is with them, and they can rest assured He will never leave them.

Are you sure of your salvation? I mean, are you really sure? Which side of today’s verse do you fall on – believing or disbelieving? Make sure of that today. Jesus is here for you. Is He precious in your sight? I sure hope so, because you are in His.

You are precious in my sight. You are beautiful to me. Thank You for being my sure foundation.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, Friends, Inspirational, Love, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Thanksgiving

THE LAST SUPPER

LUKE 22:8-13

“8 And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it.’ 9 They said to Him, ‘Where do You want us to prepare it?’ 10 And He said to them, ‘When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters. 11 And you shall say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher says to you, ‘Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’” 12 And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there.’ 13 And they left and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.”

I find it a little funny that Peter and John wanted more information before they left to do what Jesus asked. They knew many homes in Jerusalem would have made rooms available to travelers who had come to town to celebrate the Passover. But I bet they didn’t expect Jesus to give them such detail. And don’t you know they were amazed it was exactly as he told them?

My mama used to give me instructions about how to help with dinner, but she knew her kitchen. She knew where everything was. In fact, she could lay her hand on every pot, pan or utensil in seconds. Jesus knew the room and the house because He was God. He had created that man. He had created the materials to build that house.

APPLICATION

The next time you plan a meal get your kids involved. Give them assignments. Have some set the table. Have others get the drinks. If they are old enough, have them bring the food to the table. Once you are all seated, ask them how they would feel if this was their last meal together. Shocked! Surprised! Tearful.

Now read them this passage. Explain that when Peter and John planned this meal, they had no idea this would be their last meal with Jesus before He was crucified. Jesus let them know during the meal that things were about to change, but I’m not sure it hit home until hours later.

What if your last meal was your last meal? Would you treat those with whom you shared it differently? Don’t waste your moments. We never know when the Lord will call us home. Make sure you are making memories during those meals. You can’t redo them.

I am thankful for the times I have to spend with family. Let me cherish each meal and each gathering. Most of all, let those moments revolve around You.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Hope, Inspirational, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Thanksgiving

JUMP FOR JOY

1 PETER 1:6

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,”

The Greek word here for “rejoice” literally means to get so excited that you jump up and down. I can just picture a little child on Christmas morning or when they see someone they really love. You just can’t contain the excitement. Your body explodes with emotion and nothing can keep you down. That’s what it means when Peter says “greatly rejoice.”

But…he reminds us that before we experience that joy regarding our salvation, we may have to first experience trials. “Great, Peter! Throw cold water on us.” He is just reminding us that this life has hardships. In fact, the Greek word for “have been distressed” means to experience deep, emotional pain or sadness, severe sorrow or grief. This word has even used of the pain of childbirth.  

APPLICATION

Now, it’s easy to watch our children rejoice. We love to see kids get excited. I can think back to many occasions when my own children or grandchildren got excited about something. The smiles burst forth, and the laughter erupts. Those are the fun times. Those are when we take the pictures or videos.

But how do we teach our children to bear the hardships. We don’t video those times, do we? We had rather forget them. So, why does Peter tell us this? It’s part of the journey. Pain prepares the ground for rejoicing. If we never had trials, we could not appreciate fully the highs of rejoicing. When your child has that next low moment, remind them of a joyous time. Remind them there is always reason to rejoice, knowing our future rests in Him.

Are you stuck right now in a perpetual season of trials? Rejoice anyway! Your hope is NOT in getting out of that trial. Your hope is based on the assurance of your eternal salvation. You will “greatly rejoice” in Glory one day. You can greatly rejoice now. Don’t let anything or anyone rob you of the joy you have in Christ.

O Heavenly Father, I will greatly rejoice in my salvation, even in the midst of extreme trials. I know my future is secure. You are faithful and trustworthy to see me through anything.

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STOP TALKING LIKE THAT

2 TIMOTHY 2:16

“But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,”

I just love the way the Holy Spirit led the writers of Scripture to use certain words. Take for instance the Greek word “worldly” in today’s verse. It is only used five times in the New Testament. Four of those times it is used by Paul writing to Timothy in his two letters to him. It means unauthorized access to something. It refers to people who are not fit to know God because they approach Him without faith. That was the kind of place Timothy was living. Sounds familiar.

And then we have the phrase “empty chatter” which is one Greek word and means babble or just hollow or empty talk. It’s only used here. Paul is telling Timothy to stay away from that kind of useless talk. It’s meaningless and just wastes time. Are you guilty of doing that?

APPLICATION

How do we teach our children this? The Lord doesn’t expect us to spend all our time speaking King James English and quoting verses. That is not what Paul is saying here. But our minds should be focused on the eternal. When we allow our minds to be cluttered with useless, trivial, worldly pursuits, we forget about the Lord and His purpose in our lives.

That’s why we teach our children to memorize His Word. That’s why we may ask, “What would Jesus do?” When we teach our children to keep that focus in our conversations, always running in the back of our mind, our thoughts are on Him. When we surrender our tongues to Him, He will give us the words to say.

I had to have my trucked towed recently, twice within about a two-hour span. I had the same tow truck driver the second time. When he got in the cab of his truck after loading my truck, he turned to me and jokingly said, “I bet you are ready to cuss this time.” Fortunately, I allowed the Spirit to speak and said, “This is just a temporal thing, brother. That truck’s not eternal. No biggie.” He was shocked, and I was able to share why I could say that with him. Watch your focus. Temporal or eternal?

Lord, You are my focus. I will not waste my time on empty, worldly conversations. I will approach You boldly because I am known by You and I know You.

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MY SUPPLIER

1 TIMOTHY 6:17

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”

God is our only real and trusted source for everything. I love the way Paul wrote this to Timothy. He says God is the one “who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” The word “supplies” does not mean that God just gives us stuff. No! It means He gives or offers in a up close and personal way.

And the Lord gives it for us “to enjoy.” Wow! We are actually supposed to enjoy what He blesses us with. Do you enjoy God’s blessings? Do you feel guilty for what He has given you? Don’t! We are supposed to appreciate and enjoy them. Do you see this clearly? God wants us to be blessed and enjoy everything He carefully and personally gives us.

APPLICATION

Don’t you just love giving your children things? The next time you have the occasion to bless your children with a special gift (birthday, Christmas, special achievement), read them this verse. Talk about how you picked out this gift especially for them. Since you know them so well, you knew they would love this gift. You knew they would enjoy this gift.

Ask them how they would have felt if you had given them something that they didn’t like. What if you had given your son, who loves baseball, a hockey stick? What if you had given your daughter, who loves to cook, a set of barbells? Just like you know their desires, God knows them as well. He provides richly all things for them to enjoy. Don’t let them forget that.

Are you aware of just how much the Lord enjoys blessing you? Remember, each gift He gives has been hand-picked by Him especially for you. He knows the perfect gift for you. He knows just exactly what will meet your needs. Accept it and enjoy it.

You are the supplier of all my needs, Lord. I praise You that You know my deepest desires and needs. I will continually thank You.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Parenting, Thanksgiving

THE BARE NECESSITIES

1 TIMOTHY 6:8

If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” 

Do you remember Baloo the bear singing “The Bare Necessities” to Mowgli in the movie, Jungle Book? Here is the chorus: 

“Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That’s why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life”

If you want to watch the original clip of the song, here it is: 

Cute song, but it actually has some truth to it. All we really need in life is the basics, if we have Christ. The Greek words here for “food” and “covering” are only used here in today’s verse. Paul is pointing out to Timothy that he does not need to get hung up on all the complexities of life. If Christ is our life, we don’t need anything else. He is our all.

APPLICATION

Does your little Johnny ever say, “I’ve just got to have…”? The newest video game is a must have, right? Or the newest tennis shoes or the new (fill in the blank). He can’t live without it. Oh really? Guess what? He can. I think the best way for our children to learn this truth is to engage them in helping others who are less fortunate.

How about taking them down to the local soup kitchen to help serve? Or how about taking them to a children’s home to do a project. Expose them to the fact that most people are not blessed with all that stuff. The basics are all that are required. There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but the bare necessities of life bring contentment if you are in Christ.

Do you just need Christ? Is your car not nice enough? Are your clothes not measuring up to your friends’ fashion? Stop and take a good look at what you really need. Rest in Jesus. Trust Him to provide what you need. He can, and He will.

I am content, Lord, to rest in You. You are all I really need. Help me to be more thankful for all You have blessed me with.

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THE ANTI WEIGHT WATCHERS’ VERSE

1 TIMOTHY 6:6

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” 

That title is not mine. I borrowed it from a friend. But I thought it kind of funny. Seriously though, look at the verse. Paul is saying to Timothy that godliness is a means of great gain WHEN it is accompanied by contentment. Oh, that’s the key – contentment.

What is contentment? Well, the Greek word here is only used twice – here and in 2 Corinthians 9:8. It means to be self-sufficient, having all you need THROUGH the indwelling power of Christ. You can have true peace and contentment only through Jesus. When you are content, you are able to live a more godly life, thus leading to great gain spiritually. Incidentally, the Greek word for gain is only used twice also – both times right here in 1 Timothy 6:5 and 6.

APPLICATION

How do you teach your children to be content? Stop giving them everything they want! “But Carl, I am trying to make them content by doing that.” Well, how’s that working for you? The more a person has the more they want. We live in a fifteen second world. We are used to everything happening fast. We are not satisfied with a slow pace. We are not willing to “settle” for anything.

This lack on contentment only breeds more discontent. Help your children thank the Lord today for what they have. Start with the basics of a bed to sleep in and a roof over their heads. How about thanking Him for the food each meal. I know this sounds simplistic, but we seem to overlook the small stuff. Your children will never be satisfied and content until they appreciate the small things.

Are you content? Do you struggle with your walk with Christ because you aren’t content? Take a moment and make a list of your blessings. Keep the list handy and add to it each day as another blessing pops up. Pray through that list or at least mention a couple of them each time you pray. As you do this, I promise you will be drawn closer to the Lord, which will lead you to godliness.

I am so thankful for all You given me. I am truly a blessed man. I thank You for the little things I often overlook like clean clothes to wear and shoes to put on my feet. Help me spread my contentment to others.

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