Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gifts, Perseverance, Self-control

GOD POWERED

2 PETER 1:6

“and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,”

It’s easy to see God in the last word of this verse – godliness. That’s a no-brainer. But did you know that the other attributes of a believer mentioned here by Peter also involve God in their very definitions. I am referring to “self-control” and “perseverance.”

“Self-control” is basically dominion within which proceeds out from within yourself, but not by yourself. For the believer, self-control can only be accomplished by the power of the Lord. And “perseverance” means steadfastness, especially as God enables the believer to “remain under” the challenges He gives in life. You see, you can’t gain these traits without God.

APPLICATION

How many times have you wished your child had more self-control? It doesn’t come easy. Do you know why? Because you aren’t born with it and you can’t manufacture it. As I said above, it only comes through the power of God. As your child grows in faith and learns complete surrender, that self-control will come.

And teaching our children about perseverance is difficult. Perseverance is birthed out of hard times, challenging times. Your children earn starting positions on sports teams through perseverance. They have to apply themselves and work hard. Spiritual perseverance is built under pressure. We learn to trust the Lord and allow Him to raise us up under that pressure. It’s more caught than taught.

How are you doing with these two traits which lead to godliness? If you are like most believers, you struggle with these. You especially struggle if you are attempting to do them on your own. Just remember that God is the one who grows us. We just have to be willing to grow. Surrender to Him today and allow Him to nourish you and cultivate you.

Father, You are the one I depend on to grow my faith. It cannot do this on my own. I praise You for the opportunities You give me to grow.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Godliness, Inspirational, Knowledge, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture

GET INTO IT

2 PETER 1:5

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,” 

There’s a Greek word that is really missing in the English translation of this verse (at least in the NASB). It’s only used right here in the whole New Testament. It’s the Greek word  pareispheró, and it means real personal involvement or energy. The Lord is telling us through Peter that we have to be involved in our spiritual growth. It doesn’t just happen.

Now, I am not inferring we need to be “works” minded. However, we need to be focused on our faith. Peter begins in this verse and continues in verse 6 to list several areas that will help us grow as believers. You need to exhibit moral excellence which only comes through God. Through that you gain knowledge of God, a personal experience of Him. Those two are listed first. Do you have those in your life?

APPLICATION

Your child’s faith in the beginning is normally a reflection of yours. They mimic your spiritual walk. They do what you do. However, they can’t stay there. Usually, around the middle school years, they begin to develop their own spiritual understanding of God. Along with that comes doubts. That’s normal. Our job is to help them work through that and keep pointing them to Christ.

We can’t grow them spiritually. What? Yep, that’s what I said. We can only provide the spiritually rich environment for growth. It’s the same as growing a garden. We can’t make the seed grow, but we can prepare the soil and add in the nutrients needed. We can water the seed when it’s dry. But only the seed can germinate itself. Make sure your children are involved in their own spiritual growth process.

Too many believers want to be spoon fed when it comes to growing spiritually. Often times, the Lord chooses trials and hard times to grow us. We complain and bicker and fail to see these as opportunities to develop moral excellence and knowledge of God. Get involved in your spiritual development. Seek out ways to grow and become more like Him.

Thank You, Lord, for growing me. I want to be more like You each day. Help me see each challenge as an opportunity for growth.

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Eternity, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

MAGNIFICENT PROMISES

2 PETER 1:4

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 

All I can say is wow! What a verse! How have I missed this verse all these years? Peter continues his thought from verse 3 (look it up) on the gift of everything pertaining to life and godliness. But he goes on to say God has granted us his precious and magnificent promises. I want to camp out there in this verse.

That word “magnificent” is used to describe how the shepherds reacted at the news of the angels. It says with “great joy.” That word “great” is the same word used here. It’s amazing. But what is? His promises. And get this. That Greek word for “promises” ends with -ma. Why is that important? Because it focuses on the results of the promise and not the promise itself. We know God’s promises never fail.

APPLICATION

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Promises mean nothing if you don’t keep them (the -ma on the end). It’s the results of the promises you make that your children will remember. They will always remember those broken promises and the promises you keep.

Teach your children to make keepable promises (I think I just made that word up, lol). It’s so easy to promise things we know we can’t keep. We need to teach them to follow the Lord’s example. He can do anything, so there are no promises He can’t keep. But even God’s promises all make sense. He promises to love and protect us. He promises to take us to heaven based on our decision to follow His Son. Promises are good – as long as they are kept.

What promises have you made that you have not kept? Can you fix those? If so, do that today or this week. It’s never too late to keep a promise. And before you make the next one, make sure it’s one you can keep and that agrees with the direction the Lord is leading you.

You have made promises, Lord, that I know You will keep. I look forward to seeing the -ma to many of those.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, Gifts, Giving, God's Will, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

WHAT A GIFT!

2 PETER 1:3

“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Can you think of the greatest gift you ever got? Probably, as a child, it was my first gun. Now, before you judge me, it was a BB gun. I loved that gun. I spent hours outside in my backyard and in the woods behind my house with that gun. I think that may have led to my love for the outdoors and hunting I have today.

The Greek word used here for the phrase “has granted” is only used three times in the New Testament. It is used here and the next verse (2 Peter 1:4) and also in Mark 15:45 when the centurion gave Joseph the body of Jesus. The word means to be given as a gift. Peter is telling us that God has gifted us everything we need for life and godliness. Isn’t that amazing?

APPLICATION

What is the last gift you have your child? Was it expensive? I bet you gave them some instructions about how to use it properly, if it was. We don’t want to give our children expensive things and then watch them destroy them, do we? Of course, not. We have an investment in it.

The same is true with the gifts God gives us. He has made an investment in us through the death of His Son. He wants to make sure we appreciate these gifts and use them correctly. That’s why He gave us His Word. In it are all the guidelines we need to use these gifts. Read His Word to your children. Let them see there really is a user’s manual for life.

Are you using God’s gifts in the way He intended? Do you believe He has given you everything pertaining to life and godliness? What a promise. So, why do we complain about life? God has the answers. Will you listen to Him today?

Thank you, God, for giving me Your gifts. I don’t deserve them and will surely abuse them. But please forgive me and teach me to use them according to Your Will.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Grace, Knowledge, Parenting, Peace

MULTIPLICATION

2 PETER 1:2

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;” 

I will never forget Mrs. McCracken. She was my fourth grade homeroom teacher and also my math teacher. That was the year we had to learn our multiplication tables. Remember those? We had to recite them correctly or stay inside during recess and work on them. I still remember those multiplication tables, so I guess it worked.

But we don’t get to know God by quoting multiplication tables, do we? I love the Greek word for “knowledge” here. It is epignosis. The second half of that word, gnosis, means knowledge, but the epi on the front intensifies it. It has the idea of contact knowledge or first-hand knowledge. That’s how grace and peace is multiplied – by getting to know God first-hand.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how they get to know somebody. They may say by talking to them on the phone. Wrong! They may say by facetiming. Wrong again. We get to know someone by spending time with them face to face. Not on some screen.

They need to know that they get to know God by spending time with Him. By reading His Word and spending time in prayer they get to know the God of the universe. By setting aside time each day to be alone with Him, the grace and peace multiplies. They get the answers to life’s questions. They learn to grow as a believer. But they have to get first-hand knowledge.

How is your time with Him? Do you need more grace and peace in your life? Then there is only one way to get it. You need to know Him more fully. Spend time. Spend some energy getting to know Him. Trust Him to pour Himself into you as you open up more and more to Him.

Lord, I want to know You more. I need more grace and peace and am relying on You to multiply it in my life.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture, Testimony

PRECIOUS FAITH

2 PETER 1:1

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:” 

Peter’s second epistle (letter) to the same recipients as received the first letter begins in a very unique way. Just reading it in the English translation you can miss one particular phrase. “Of the same kind as ours” could be translated “equally precious as ours.” I really like that. See, Peter is saying the Gentiles who have received Christ as their Savior are equal to the Jewish believers.

We both have received a precious faith which is through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He makes no bones about it. Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ are equal. We have the same Lord. We worship the same God. We rest in the same promises. That still holds true today. All believers (red, yellow, black and white) are equal in God’s eyes.

APPLICATION

In our crazy world right now, there is a lot of racial divide. Sadly, there are believers on both sides of this argument. We need to spend as much time as possible making sure our children understand that God does not see color. Our God, who created all the peoples of the world, is spiritually colorblind. We should be also.

There is nothing sweeter than to watch young children, who haven’t developed all those societal biases, play together. They don’t care what color the other boys and girls are. We need to foster that. In fact, we can learn from that. We need to see others as our little children see them – God’s creation who just need a Savior.

Will you join me in reaching across the racial divide to embrace a brother or sister today? Will you lose your racially sensitive glasses and become colorblind for Jesus? We cannot allow the devil to divide the Universal church along color or race. The world is watching. If we can’t link arms in love, the world will tear us apart.

Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Son to cross not only religious lines, but also racial lines. I am grateful for my friends who look different than me. I need them in my life.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Gentleness, Greetings, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

KISSY, KISSY

1 PETER 5:14

“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.”

Peter is NOT implying we need to kiss everybody. Nope, no way, nada. If you have never been around another culture group, many of them greet that way. They grab you and kiss you on the cheek, sometimes both cheeks. The first time it happened to me was when I became friends with a guy from El Salvador. I have to admit it kind of freaked me out, lol.

But Peter is talking about greeting other believers in love. He loves these people he is writing to and wants them to pass on his affection and love to everyone. Sincere affection is often expressed by a kiss without any romantic overtones. The word “love” here is the word for God’s love – agape.

APPLICATION

At your next family reunion, make it a point to greet everyone with a holy kiss (on the cheek). Kiss grandma and grandpa. Kiss Uncle Albert. Kiss everyone. You might just surprise some people. I bet they will all be talking when you leave. I bet your children will be asking you what you are doing. Tell them you are just following the Scriptures and read them this verse.

Now explain to them what Peter is really talking about and why. I wouldn’t encourage your children to go around and kiss everyone at church. You may be asked to find a new church. But we do need to teach our children to show true affection to others. We need to be accepting of them. We need to welcome them and make them feel loved.

Is there someone you need to reach out to today? Does someone need to feel loved? Maybe you aren’t the one to do it. But get someone to reach out. Your fellow believers need to know they are loved. You may be surprised how many aren’t told that regularly. Be the vessel God intends you to be.

I welcome Your affection and love today, Lord. Give me the opportunity today to show Your love to someone else.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Comfort, Encouragement, Gentleness, Greetings, Hugs, Kindness, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

GREETINGS

1 PETER 5:13

“She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark.”

Who is “she” mentioned here by Peter? Most scholars agree that he is referring to a church or churches in the area of Babylon. And the Mark mentioned by Peter here is most probably John Mark who had accompanied Paul and Barnabus before he left them. This same Mark was picked up by Barnabus later. He also happens to be the author of the Gospel by his name.

But the point of this devotional today isn’t on that church or Mark. It’s on the word “greetings.” This word means to enfold in your arms. In other words, it means a hug. Now, I’m a hugger. I love to embrace with a hug. What better way to say “hi” to someone than with a big ole bear hug? Peter is sending a hug to the readers.

APPLICATION

When is the last time you hugged your child? I bet you did it today. If you haven’t, go do it now. Tell them Pastor Carl told you to. Most kids love hugs. Why? Because it’s intimate. It feels good. It’s warming. If you aren’t a hugger, ask yourself why you aren’t.

Don’t deprive your child of a good daddy or mommy hug every day. They need it. They need it especially when they have done something wrong. After you administer the discipline, hug them. This reassures them you love them, and all is forgiven. Hugs heal. I really believe that. Heal someone today.

Can I send you a virtual hug right now? ((( ))) Do you feel it? Guess what? God gives great hugs. He wants to embrace you and enfold you in His arms. You may not feel very embraceable right now, but that’s okay. God doesn’t care. He doesn’t dispense His hugs based on your value. Open your arms and feel His embrace right now.

Thank You, Father, for not withholding Your hugs from me. I need them daily. And I will pass them on to someone else.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Grace, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting

STAND FIRM

1 PETER 5:12

“Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”

Paul is closing this letter and gives some final kudos to Silvanus, believed to be the one who penned this for Peter. Can you imagine listening to Peter and being his scribe? I am sure Silvanus had no idea the words he was writing, inspired by the Holy Spirit through Peter, would one day be canonized as part of the Holy Scriptures.

But the point Peter makes in this verse is in the last part. He tells us to “stand firm in it.” In what? The true grace of God. The word means to be placed or set. It implies to stand so as to not be moved. Peter is telling us to hold these truths about God’s grace forever. Don’t be swayed. Don’t be led astray.

APPLICATION

Did you ever play “King of the Mountain” when you were growing up? It’s a fun, rough and tumble game. You have to find a hill and gather some friends who are willing to play. One person starts out on top of the hill and the rest of the players try to push him/her off.

Our children need to be reminded that there are people who are going to try to “push them off” the hill of truth. Some will come at them face to face, but others will come at them from behind or out of their peripheral view. They will be sneaky and forceful. However, nothing can move them from God’s truth, if they will stay firmly rooted. That is only done by daily commitment to His Word and following God’s Will for their life.

Are you standing firm today? Can you be moved? I pray you are relying on the truths of God’s grace to guide you and hold you steady. There are way too many distractions out there today to lure us away from following the Lord. Stand firm!

I will stand firm for Jesus. I will trust Your truths, Lord. Hold me fast.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Hope, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Power, Promises, Scripture

POWERFUL GOD

1 PETER 5:11

“To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

We read that word “dominion” and don’t stop to think what it really means. We all know God is God, right? We know He is all powerful, omnipotent. But what does “dominion” mean? The Greek word used here is kratos. It carries with it the idea of exerted power. It’s not just that He is strong. He shows it.

How does God show His power? He showed it at creation when He created the world and all that is in it. He showed His power when He parted the Red Sea to allow the Hebrew children to escape Pharoah. He showed it when Jesus turned water into wine. And He shows it in our lives every day by assuring our salvation.

APPLICATION

Dads, I bet your children used to think you were all powerful. They were awed at your biceps, right? Seriously though, most children see their parents as strong and powerful when they are small. They look up to you and admire your strength. But as they get older, they realize your strength is not any greater than anyone else’s.

That’s why we have to point them to the all powerful One. They need to know that God is the only one who has the strength to see them through their hardest times. And God is not afraid to  show His strength. He is always ready to exert His strength for His children. But He does it on His timetable. Peter says in this verse today, “forever and ever.” That means for infinity.

Do you need to see the Lord exert His strength today? Are you hurting and in need of a Savior? Let His dominion show out in your life. Surrender to Him. Stop trying to do it in your strength. You can’t do it on your own. The world may say you can, but you can’t. You need Jesus to empower You so He can work in and through you.

I will allow Your strength to work through me today. I can’t wait to see what You will do. Thank You, Lord, for always being there.

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