Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Obedience, Parenting, Waiting

I’M GOING FISHING

JOHN 21:2-3

“2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will also come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to fish. I love being at the lake or pond, whether I’m bank fishing or on a boat or kayak. There’s just something about fishing that soothes my soul. So, I can relate to Peter in this passage.

Remember, Jesus had sent word after His resurrection to the disciples for them to go to the Sea of Galilee and wait for Him. We don’t exactly how long they had been waiting, but Peter got bored. So, he said, “I am going fishing.” Before you know it, several of them joined Peter. However, they came up empty. They caught nothing.

APPLICATION

Have you ever taken your children fishing? Most kids love it. We have “Fishing Rodeos” at our church where families can come to a local pond and fish for the day. Memories are made, whether fish are caught or not. Just being with mom and dad makes the event worthwhile.

The next time you go fishing, read your kids this verse. Remind them that even Peter, James and John, who were professional fishermen, sometimes didn’t catch anything. I don’t whether Jesus cared if they fished or not while they waited for Him. I just know their minds were elsewhere while they were fishing and that never helps you catch fish.

Are you waiting on the Lord right now? Stay busy while you wait. Go fishing. Read a book. Study a book of the Bible. Don’t just sit there. Jesus can get your attention. When He’s ready to tell you something, He will. He’s never late. And if you don’t “catch anything” hang on. He’s got a better plan.

I will wait on You. However long You want me to wait, I’ll wait. But as I wait, I will stay busy about Your business.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Praise, Punishment, Sanctification, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

PUNISHMENT OR PRAISE

1 PETER 2:14

“or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”

I don’t know about you, but I had much rather be praised than punished. It just feels better, doesn’t it? Working with people as I have for over 40 years in ministry, I have tried to practice the sandwich principle. If I had to discipline a staff member or a child, I always tried to begin and end with some kind of praise and put the hard part in the middle. That wasn’t always possible, but I tried to.

Peter is continuing the command he began in verse 13 (there weren’t verses numbered in his letter, by the way). If you do what’s right, you are subject to praise. If you insist on doing evil, well…punishment is your reward. Your choice. What do you choose today?

APPLICATION

Children especially need praise. I used to tell my staff at the children’s homes, say yes if you can. Some of us automatically say no to children’s request. Let me encourage you today to say yes, unless there is a very good reason to say no. You may be surprised at your child’s response to you in other areas.

Praise your children or grandchildren for making their bed. Praise them for taking out the trash. Praise them for being kind to their sister or brother. And when you must punish or discipline, make sure you pay special attention to praise before and after. Let the last words out of your mouth be praise.

Are you a “praiser” or a “punisher”? Some of us relish the latter. We think it gives us power. Real power comes from the Lord. He had much rather praise you than punish you. He isn’t waiting to zap you every time you fail (and we fail a lot). Jesus was a praiser. He saw the potential in people and tried to draw that out. He took Peter, a crude, uneducated fisherman, and turned him into the leader of The Way. He can change you too.

O Father, I am thankful I can praise people rather than punish them. You give me that power. Let my words encourage rather than discourage those I meet.

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Death, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Inspirational, Joy, Parenting, Resurrection, Scripture

WHERE DID HE GO?

JOHN 20:6-7

“6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.” 

Don’t you know Peter’s first thought was Where did He go? I am sure he didn’t remember right away that Jesus had told them He would rise from the dead. Jesus had told them but not in so many words. All Peter knew was Jesus had died and now He was not in that tomb. He had been told by Mary that He was alive, but he needed to see Him for himself.

And what about the linens? There were two piles – one where the body was and another with the wrappings from the head. It was as if Jesus had unwrapped Himself. Was that possible? Or did the angels he heard had been here done that. This was just too much to take in. Where was Jesus?

APPLICATION

Sometimes we see things that we just can’t believe. I have a friend who is a Christian illusionist. He can do things that make you scratch your head. I have often said when I watch him perform that there is no way he just did that. Of course, all his illusions are tricks. He will tell you that himself.

Jesus had not just performed a parlor trick. He had really risen from the dead. Ask your children if they have ever met anyone who has done that. Of course, they will think you’re crazy for even asking that. But then remind them, when you meet Jesus and ask Him into your heart, you just met someone who has done that. No one else has defeated death themselves. Jesus simply threw off the grave clothes and walked out of a sealed tomb.

Do you believe everything you see? You shouldn’t. But you should believe this. Jesus is alive. He is seated right now beside His Father, as much alive as when He walked the earth. His position in heaven does not diminish His life in the least. And He wants you to live each day with that knowledge. Live knowing He’s alive.

Knowing You are alive gives me hope for tomorrow. You are always watching over me and walking beside me. I may not can see You now, but I know You are there.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

I BOW

1 PETER 2:13

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,” 

Who likes to submit? Really, no one, if they are honest. We all want our own way. But that’s not the Lord’s way. Just look at today’s verse. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake.” The word submit is used a lot in the New Testament, so it must be important. The word means “under God’s arrangement, according to the Lord’s plan.”

So, when you submit, it’s not to someone. It’s to the Lord. Any authority over you has been placed there by God. He establishes kings and kingdoms. If He has placed it, we should submit to it. To not submit is disobedience to God. Now, that submission should not involved illegalities or immoralities. Other than that, submit.

APPLICATION

Your children’s priority in submission is to you, their parents. This verse applies to them too, even though they are just children. Keep in mind, when they disobey you, they are disobeying God. That should be your focus. That means you must parent according to God’s principles.

So, what happens when we don’t submit. Most importantly, we disappoint the Lord. We are His representatives to the world. When we “rebel” against the authorities, we are not displaying a Christlike spirit. God expects us to submit. Otherwise, we would not have today’s verse in the Bible.

Are you someone who is always complaining about those you answer to? You need to take a minute and reflect on today’s verse. Who are you really complaining about? God! If He’s placed these people over you, it’s for a reason. Obey Him and you will almost all the time obey them.

Father, I submit to You today. Help me understand more fully the reasons why You have placed the authorities in my life. I want to honor You.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Commands, Direction, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Inspirational, Love, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony

COME ON IN

JOHN 18:15-16

“15 Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.” 

Peter probably came in to where he really didn’t want to go. It’s kind of like watching a horrible scene and not being able to stop looking. He knew what was happening to Jesus and was probably fearful for his own life, but he just couldn’t tear himself away.

John, the other disciple in this story, brought him in. Why? Because he knew Jesus would want him there to witness this. John knew how much Jesus loved Peter. He probably felt Peter needed to be near his Master during His last hours. I am sure later on Peter probably thanked John for getting him in the courtyard.

APPLICATION

Sometimes we need to be somewhere we really don’t want to be. Your kids are going to face that decision at some point. It could be a hospital visit of a family member or friend. Those are great opportunities for ministry. Or it could be going to a funeral home or funeral. Those are also times to love on the family members who are grieving.

Being in the right place, even if we don’t want to be there, can be a God-ordained event. Prepare your children to respond as Jesus would have them respond. Teach them to ask themselves if it would glorify God. It may feel awkward or even very uncomfortable, but the Lord can calm their nerves and give them the right words.

Are you willing to go where you don’t want to go if the Lord leads you? Follow His lead and trust Him. I promise He will never lead you where He won’t accompany you. Do you believe that? If you do, come on in.

Open doors for me, Lord. Lead me where You would have me go. I will “come on in” knowing You are with me.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith, Following, Glory, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

YOUR TESTIMONY

1 PETER 2:12

“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

So often Christians are ridiculed and made fun of by the world. Sometimes, as in persecuted countries, Christians are seen as evil or lawbreakers. This was the case in Peter’s day. Not only did the Jews hate the Christians, the Roman government persecuted them.

Peter is telling the believers to continue living in an excellent way. Let their behavior talk for them. He wanted those who persecuted them to see their good deeds and eventually glorify God. This “day of visitation” is hotly debated among the scholars. Some think it meant a day of judgment while others believe it was a day of blessing. Either way, we must conduct ourselves as He would have us live.

APPLICATION

This is a perfect verse (not that all verses aren’t perfect) to talk with your children about. They understand behavior, whether it be good or bad. Ask them what they think “excellent” behavior is. It doesn’t mean they have to be perfect. The word actually means to behave in such a way to inspire others to want to act like you. Be a role model.

How many times have you told your older children to do that? How many times have you said, “Be an example for your brother”? This is the verse to use to back that up. God’s word says it, not just you. You want them to behave in such a way that you can glorify God. Right?

How are you living right now? Do your work colleagues even know you are a Christian? Walk the walk. Your faith is personal, but it’s not private. Everyone we meet should know what we believe and why we believe it. We should live in such a way that they too can be drawn to a saving knowledge of Christ and give God the glory for our testimony. Is that you?

O Lord, help me live in such a way that others see Jesus in me. Let me never say or do anything that would drive them away from You.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Healing, Inspirational, Kindness, Mentoring, Parenting, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

EARLESS

JOHN 18:10-11

“10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. 11So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?’”

This story is one of the few that is told in all four gospels. It is interesting, though, that only Luke, who was a physician, tells us that Jesus touched Malchus and healed him. Of course, a doctor would record that. And only here in John are the sword bearer and the servant identified.

But my thoughts are on Malchus. Don’t you want to know what happened to him? I mean, you came with the crowd to arrest this man whom everyone claimed to be a threat to your faith. You have your ear cut off, nearly having your throat cut. Then this man named Jesus reaches out and touches the spot where your ear used to be and restores it. Malchus’ life had to be changed.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they think about this story. Ask them how they would have felt if Jesus had basically put their ear back on. When they get hurt and need some medical attention from mom or dad, how do they feel afterwards? Grateful? Thankful?

Perhaps Malchus believed in Jesus afterwards. One day we will find out. When I get to heaven I think I will ask Jesus if Malchus is there. Then I want to meet him and hear his account of the story. If he is there, don’t you know he will have quite a story to tell.

Guess what? So do you. You may not have had your ear cut off and restored. But you have had your hard heart replaced with a soft, pliable one. Jesus performed heart surgery on you. You have been healed from a sure death sentence. Don’t you have a story to tell? You had better believe it. Start telling it.

Jesus, You are the healer of my soul. I thank You for healing my broken heart. I will share my story as You give me opportunities.

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