Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Forgiveness, Friends, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Repentance, Scripture, Testimony

TREE KILLING FAITH

MARK 11:21

“Being reminded, Peter said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.’” 

Do you remember this story? Jesus had walked by this fig tree earlier and, when He found it had no figs, cursed it. Now, as they walk by it on the return trip, Peter notices it has withered. He is amazed, but Jesus tells him (and us) that he has the same power through our prayers. We can even move mountains. He goes on to say, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”

Real faith can do anything. We can even kill trees, not that I would want to. I don’t even want to move a mountain. The key to praying and believing, though, is to pray with a pure heart. Jesus told His disciples they must pray with a forgiving heart. You can’t pray while holding a grudge or resentment towards someone. Confess that and the floodgates of heaven are opened to you.

APPLICATION

As you teach your children to pray, make sure you teach this principle. They need to be all confessed up. They need to forgive their brother or sister. They need to forgive that friend who has hurt their feelings. Teach them that unforgiveness drives a wedge, not only between them and the person, but also between them and God. Christ won’t allow our unforgiving spirit to continue.

When our children learn this lesson early in life, it will free them for powerful prayer lives. We adults wonder sometimes why God isn’t listening. We need to examine our forgiving attitudes. It is easy to hold resentments. Sometimes we even forget we are doing that until we see that person again.

Are you depriving yourself of tree killing faith? Are you refusing to forgive someone who has hurt you? Let it go. Let Christ in you give you the desire and ability to forgive them, no matter how deep the hurt. Only Christ can. You can’t. Our flesh demands justice. Christ has already paid the price. Forgive.

I will forgive as You forgive, Lord. It is not easy, practically impossible. But in You all things are possible.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Inspirational, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation

PRECIOUS

1 PETER 1:19

“but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”

When I say the word “precious what comes to mind? A little baby? Puppies? Surely not kittens, lol. Something being seen as precious really depends on the one looking at it. In fact, the Greek word is defined that way. It means having recognized value in the eyes of the beholder.

Why do I tell you all that? Because the blood of Christ is only precious to those who have accepted it. The world rejects it. Satan hates it. Unbelievers don’t see it. Only we who have been washed in it see it as precious. Only we see it as valuable. We know what it has purchased. We acknowledge that it is priceless.

APPLICATION

I bet your child has something they consider precious. My little two-year-old granddaughter (if she could talk clearly) would probably tell you her baby dolls are precious. How do I know? By the way she cares for them. She feeds them, puts them to bed, covers them up and rocks them. She doesn’t want them far out of her sight.

Ask your children what they consider precious and why. Then read them today’s verse. You may need to back up a verse to get the context. Explain to them why Christ’s blood is so precious. Explain that there is no other blood in the world that is precious. Only His blood could have paid the price for our sins. That’s precious!

Have you stopped to think about His precious blood lately? I’m reminded of the words to a song.

       O, the blood of Jesus

       O, the blood of Jesus

       O, the blood of Jesus

       It will never lose its power

Lord, thank You for the precious blood of Your Son. Thank You for sending Him to the pay the price for my sin. I will always see it as precious.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Friends, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Parenting

THE INNER CIRCLE

MARK 5:37

“And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James.”

Have you ever been one of the inner circle, the in-crowd? When you are selected for that honor, you may wonder why you. Right? Jesus selected Peter, James and John to be his closest disciples. I wonder why. Why not Nathaniel or Andrew? We don’t know, but we can be sure that Jesus had a reason for selecting these three.

King David has his mighty men, but also had the three mightiest.  The Trinity is comprised of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three seems to be an important number in Scripture. But the point of this devotional isn’t the number three. It’s about being in that inner circle. Guess what? We are all part of that group now. Jesus sent His Spirit to live in us to bring us in.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever been pushed out of an inner circle of friends? Friends can be cruel. They will probably be a part of many close-knit groups through their life. Some will be social. Some will be work related. And others will be spiritual. Those are the ones you need to focus on. We need to steer them towards those groups that will feed their souls.

How do you do that? Well, first you need to have them involved in a Bible teaching church so they can spend time with like-minded friends. You need to encourage them to participate in retreats and Bible studies. They need to develop relationships with other kids who share their worldview. You play a huge role in that.

Are you engaged in a group like that? We adults need that too. That need for closeness doesn’t end at childhood. Who is in your inner circle? Can you depend on them to be there? Make sure Jesus is the center of your group. Make sure you are following His desires as you do life with your circle.

I am so thankful I am part Your inner circle. I know You are always there and that I can always depend on You. I love You, Lord.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation

CAN’T BE BOUGHT

1 PETER 1:18

“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,”

This is plain and simple. There is not enough money (silver and gold) in the world to redeem us. There would always be another tradition or obligation laid on by men that would come up. The world does not want to let us go. Satan keeps raising the price. We will never meet his demand.

But, thanks be to God, there has been a price paid. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, so we could receive the redemption He promised us. All we have to do when Satan starts to argue is point to the cross. Redemption’s price has been paid. There is a “Paid In Full” stamp across our heart.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever wanted to buy something at the store but didn’t have enough money? Boy, that happened to me. I remember going to the Western Auto store as a little boy and seeing something I really wanted for my spider bike. I had to work and save to go back and purchase (redeem) that item for myself. I wasn’t guaranteed it would still be there when I got the money, either.

The next time your child faces this dilemma, use it as a teaching moment. Without their knowledge, if you’re able, go buy it for them. Surprise them. Then explain that there is no expectation of payback from them. You redeemed that for them fully. There is nothing they can do to redeem it. It has been paid for. Tell them in the same way (but much bigger) Jesus paid for their salvation. They can’t do a thing to get it. He paid the full price, the only acceptable price.

Now, that is a feeble attempt to explain redemption, I know. It falls way short of the deep theological meanings. But, for your child, it is understandable. You can teach them more later. They just need to know that they can’t be good enough for heaven. Heaven is simply the reward we get for yielding to Jesus and acknowledging His supreme sacrifice.

Thank You for redeeming me. Thank You for paying the ultimate price to free me.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Kindness, Names, Parenting

NEW NAME

Mark 3:16

“And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),” 

Why would Jesus do that? Why change his name? He had a reason. Jesus never did (and still doesn’t) anything without a reason. Do you think He knew who Simon was and how he was wired? Of course, He did. He knew Simon was going to need a name to remind him of his strength. So, Jesus called him Peter, which means rock.

Now, I’ve been given other names by people. My nickname growing up was Carlie Warlie. Never liked that one. I was called W by a college roommate. That was okay. But I like my name my parents gave me, Carl. Why? Because it means strong and manly. It was also my maternal grandfather’s name, whom I never knew.

APPLICATION

What do you call your children? I had several nicknames for my daughter. I called her Penelope, Tootle bump and Pumpkin noodle. I don’t know why. They were just cute nicknames. The important thing is that we never call them something to put them down. We should always be building them up.

Jesus’ purpose in renaming Simon was to build him up. He knew what he was going to face one day. Jesus knows what our children are going to face one day, and He is depending upon us to build them up. Never, and I mean never, call your child a derogatory name that demeans them. Those words stick like glue. Instead give them a name that will boost them every day.

What does God call you? You are His child, His beloved, His chosen one. He loves you so supremely. He has removed all the old, including any and all names you were called to put you down. He has set you up to be one of His family. And in His family, there are no bad names – only good ones.

Lord, You have called me blessed. I praise You for calling me Your own.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Testimony

MY IMPARTIAL FATHER

1 PETER 1:17

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;”

Our Father judges impartially. What does that mean exactly? It means He is not a respecter of people in that He sees us all the same. You can’t be the teacher’s pet. We are all judged alike. That Greek word translated as “impartially judges” only appears right here in this verse.

This is a “if-then” statement. If you address, (then) conduct yourselves in fear. If you call Him Father, then live like it. You know what I like best about this verse, though. It’s the word “stay.” It means we are passing through, to dwell in a strange land. We don’t belong here. Praise God.

APPLICATION

Do you have more than one child? Then you know where I am going. Do you show favoritism to one child? Of course, not. You love your children equally. You may have more in common with one of them, but that doesn’t change the love you have for the others. But I bet you have been accused of loving one more, haven’t you?

Ask your children who they think you love more. “What Carl? I can’t do that.” Sure, you can. You know it’s not true. Just ask them. Then ask them why they think that. Read them today’s verse and explain you love them the same way. Because you love the Father, you love like the Father – impartially. That’s a model they can follow.

Have you ever felt you were judged unfairly? I have. It’s not fun. Isn’t it comforting to know our heavenly Father loves us equally. He loves us all completely. So why don’t we live like it. Peter tells us to conduct ourselves in fear. He doesn’t mean to walk around scared. He means with reverence and respect. Can you do that today for your Father?

Thank You, Father, for loving me and judging me impartially. I trust Your judgment. I pledge today to live my life to honor You.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Denial, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Repentance, Scripture, Shame

FAILURE

MATTHEW 26:74-75

“74 Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’ And immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”

Epic fail! Peter realized immediately when he heard that rooster crow that he had failed his Master. He probably wanted to throw up. Can you imagine the thoughts that ran through his mind? This wasn’t a minor fail. He had denied Jesus threw times, just as Jesus predicted.

How many times have you failed our Lord? You’ve been told to do something, but you don’t. You know He placed someone on your heart to call or go see and you don’t. He places someone in your path to witness to and you walk away without doing it. Fail!

APPLICATION

Children are going to have failures. That’s part of learning and growing. I believe they can learn more from failures than successes if we help them. If we don’t, those failures can crush them. Losing can build character. Failing can do the same. You need to ask them what went wrong. How could have they prevented the failure?

They are also going to fail God. Tell them an experience you’ve had. They need to know you can relate. And then tell them how the Lord forgave you and showed mercy. They need to hear that. Read them this passage in Matthew and then skip ahead and read how Jesus forgave him after He resurrected.

Are you still living in failure? Take it to Jesus. He can forgive. Don’t put that confession off. It won’t go away. We have the God of the universe waiting for us to talk to Him. He wants to forgive. He wants to talk to us. Don’t make Him wait. Right now, bend your knee and ask for forgiveness for that failure. He’s ready to forgive.

I ask You to forgive me today for the many times I have failed You, Lord. Cleanse me and make me right in Your eyes. Show me how to be more obedient today.

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