Alone, Angels, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Prayer

DON’T BE SHOCKED

ACTS 12:16

“But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed.” 

This story tickles me. Back up and read verses 6 through 15. Peter is in jail and the church is praying fervently, according to verse 5. If they were praying fervently for Peter, why was Rhoda and then the rest of the church so shocked when Peter showed up on their doorstep knocking? In fact, they thought Rhoda was crazy.

And poor Peter, recently “escaped” from jail, is left at the door knocking. He told them to be quiet. After all, he is an escaped prisoner. Then he leaves them after telling them the whole story. Can you picture their faces? They were probably thinking, God does really answer prayers. Are you as shocked as they were when God answers your prayers?

APPLICATION

Read your children this whole story and ask them what they think the people were praying. Then ask them why they were surprised Peter showed up. Emphasize the fact that God answers prayers. We should never be surprised when God does. He is always working to answer our prayers. The key is He does this according to His timetable.

Do your children have any prayer request right now to lift to the Lord? Pray those with them. Write them down somewhere and date them. And when (not if) God answers them, go back and see how long it took. Sometimes God answers quickly, like in Peter’s case. Other times, He waits. But He will answer.

How is your prayer life right now? Are you trusting the Lord with your needs? He wants to work miracles in and through you. Go to Him today with the needs of your heart and watch God work. You may be amazed. Don’t be. Expect it.

I want to live my life shock free. I want to expect Your answers, not be surprised by them. Thank You Lord for hearing my heart.

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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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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Courage, Encouragement, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Rescue, Scripture, Soldiers, Trust

FREE

ACTS 12:7

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.

You really need to read Acts 12:1-19 to get the full story of Peter’s imprisonment and release. It’s a fascinating story of God’s miraculous power. This verse, in the midst of that story, is great. Peter is sleeping between two soldiers when an angel appears, wakes him up and his chains fall off.

Can you imagine Peter’s surprise? But notice too that Peter was sleeping. He was at rest in prison. He was not up all night wringing his hands. He was trusting his Savior with his outcome. Whether he was released, kept in jail or killed, he was at peace. We could take a lesson from Peter here. Even when in chains, trust.

APPLICATION

This story would be a fun one to act out. Get your family together and assign the parts (Peter, angel, guards, Rhoda). Kids learn a lot from role playing. Act it out two or three times, changing roles each time. You have to video this too. Make sure to get the reaction of “Peter” each time he is awakened by the angel.

Ask your kids what they would do if an angel woke them up in the middle of the night. Ask them if they would follow the angel’s instructions or hide under the sheets. Our children need to understand that God still performs miracles. He may never send an angel to them, but He is still working in their lives every day. They just have to keep their eyes open.

What would you do with an angelic message? More importantly, what will you do with the message of God’s Word? He is speaking to you, if you will listen. The Scriptures are God’s way of talking to you today. But you have to read it to receive the message. Take time each day to read it.

Thank You, Lord, that I am free wherever I am because of Jesus in my life. The chains of sin have fallen off of me.

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Advice, Baptism, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Surrender, Testimony

BAPTISM SAVES?

1 PETER 3:21

“Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

Here lies a verse that is argued by many a scholar. Let me say I am not trying to start an argument or persuade others to my view of Scripture. I am merely using this verse to encourage others. Baptism is a symbol of our regeneration in Christ. The phrase “an appeal to God for a good conscience” implies a work that is already done. Baptism is an outward expression of an inner work.

Let me give you my example. I was baptized at eight years old. But I never really gave my heart to Jesus. I believed in Him, but I didn’t surrender to Him until age 16. I was baptized again as a believer. The first baptism meant nothing. I just got wet. But as a believer, I knew I needed to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.

APPLICATION

When should your child get baptized? I am asked this a lot. My simple answer is when they understand the basic Gospel message and have asked Jesus into their life. Jesus referred to a child’s faith over and over in Scripture. We adults complicate it. We want to “make sure” they understand everything. Let me ask you, mom and dad, do you understand everything about salvation?

I’ve been a believer since July 1977, and I am still learning. I have been in ministry over 40 years, and I am still learning. Trust your children when they tell you they have asked Jesus to be their Savior. Sure, talk to them about it. And then encourage them to be baptized.

Maybe you have put off this decision for years. Don’t wait any longer. Call your church and find out when the next baptism is and get it done. Be obedient. You will still get to heaven without baptism, but you will have missed a blessing.

Father, I want to be obedient to You in all I do. I am thankful I can follow Your Son’s example in baptism.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Prayer, Reputation, Safety, Suffering, Testimony, Witnessing

FALSELY IMPRISONED

ACTS 12:5

“5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.”

Peter seemed to be in and out of prison a lot. The religious leaders did not want him preaching the Gospel. So, they threw him in jail time and time again. Peter was not hindered. God kept using him. He wasn’t afraid of prison bars because he knew he was free in Christ.

Let me ask you a question. If you were threatened with jail if you didn’t stop preaching about Jesus, what would you do? That probably won’t happen in the United States (and I say probably because things seem to be changing quickly). But it is a real threat in many parts of the world. People are praying for those who face this threat, just like people were praying for Peter.

APPLICATION

One thing we need to teach our children is to not fear sharing Jesus. It is hard for many of us to do that. We are afraid the person may get mad at us or that we may hurt their feelings. Help your children develop way to share without being harsh. Living for Jesus daily speaks volumes. Help your children tell others what Jesus has done for them.

But most importantly, help them to understand that if they are faithful to share His good news with others, God will take care of them. Now, that doesn’t mean they will be spared from insults or ridicule. It could even lead to more serious consequences. But we are safe in the arms of Jesus.

Are you willing to face the consequences for obeying Jesus? Or are you more concerned with your reputation? Peter had a mission, and nothing could keep him from it. You and I have that same mission – to spread the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

I am ready, Lord, to suffer for You. I don’t like saying that, but I know You will see me through whatever comes my way. I want to be obedient to share Jesus.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Salvation, Sanctification, Scripture

SAFETY IN OBEDIENCE

1 PETER 3:20

“who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”

Noah’s family survived the flood because of their obedience to God, not because of the ark. The ark was simply the vessel God used. Peter is using this well known story to illustrate how our Heavenly Father chooses to save us. He has provided the vessel (Jesus) through which we are saved. Our obedience to His call results in being safely carried through life.

This verse mentions God’s patience. Remember, it is God’s will that all men be saved. He is patient, but He is holy. His desire is salvation for all, but He will not tolerate outright disobedience. Peter states this, not to be harsh, but to be direct.

APPLICATION

I bet you never have to deal with disobedience from your children. Right? Now that you are through laughing, let me ask you a question. Do you see how you deal with your children’s disobedience as a reflection of how God deals with ours? It should be. We should be showing a measure of grace and patience, but at the same time, showing justice.

Our children have to know that there are absolutes. The world does not exist in gray areas or situational obedience. Too many parents allow their children to “push the boundaries” without repercussions. Base your expectations on God’s Word, which never changes. Only His Word will provide the absolutes.

Do you live according to God’s absolutes or the world’s non-absolutes? It is really a choice of obedience or disobedience. Joy never precedes obedience. Let me say that again. Joy never precedes obedience. But when we obey our Lord, He fills us with joy. Don’t you want joy today?

I desire joy, Father. Lead me to obey You so You will pour Your joy on me.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Following, God's Will, Parenting, Surrender

GOD’S WAY

ACTS 11:17

“‘Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?’”

Peter ends his description of what happened when he visited Cornelius by making this statement. I love it. He just did what God asked him to do, and God has His way. Wouldn’t you like for God to have His way with you? He can and He will – if you will surrender. Peter just had to get out of the way and allow the Lord to use him.

When Peter made this last statement, those who were questioning him shut their mouths and glorified God. Man, wouldn’t that be great? When we yield to the Master, others can just look on and glorify God. They will see it is not us. It’s all Him.

APPLICATION

Nothing can make a mom or dad happier than to know God was having His way with their child. But you and I know that doesn’t just happen. Kids learn to let God have His way one tiny surrender at a time. They need to learn to let Him has His way in how they treat their siblings. And how about how they obey you?

You see, the problem with letting God have His way with our kids is we have to let our plans for them go. That’s right. His way may match up with your plans, but then again, it may not. Are you willing to let your kids go God’s way despite your plans for them? That’s a hard question. But in the end, He will be glorified.

It is very rare that God’s way and man’s way coexist. Our flesh gets in the way. We want to be glorified. Oh, we may never say that, but that is what our flesh desires. We want people to notice us. We want people to exalt us. Let Him have His way. You won’t be sorry.

I will surrender to Your way, O God. Your way is far better than mine. I know that. Show me how.

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