Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Submission, Surrender

FILLED

ACTS 4:8

“Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people,’”

When you read this verse you see that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. That sounds great doesn’t it? We know he received the Spirit at Pentecost. But what you can’t see from the English translation is this. That word “filled” in the original Greek means filled to capacity. That changes things.

Peter was not only full, he was totally full. He couldn’t hold any more Spirit. That’s what gave him the ability to preach like he does in the following verses. He was simply overflowing with the Spirit of God. It was the Spirit speaking through him. He was just the vessel God decided to use to preach the Gospel to those listening.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse to share with your kids. Ask them if they have ever been full of joy or happiness. Ask them how they acted when that happened. They may get excited telling you and even have to act it out. That’s great. Ask them what they think would have happened if they had tried to hold all that joy and happiness in. They will probably say they would have burst.

That’s how it is with the Spirit of God inside of us. Explain to your children that when they are surrendered to the Spirit and allowing Him to live through them, they will be filled to overflowing with the Spirit. The Spirit will bubble over on people. Their countenance will better. Their speech will be sweeter. They will be bursting with the Spirit.

How is your Spirit gauge? Are you running on empty? The Spirit never leaves us as believers, but we can sure push Him down and not allow Him to show Himself in our lives. Our flesh is strong and can win out much of the time if we don’t surrender our lives to the Spirit every minute of every day.

Lord, I surrender myself to Your Spirit within me today. I won’t to overflow with the love of Jesus which is exhibited through the Spirit You have given me.

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WALKING AWAY

1 PETER 2:25

“For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Sheep get lost by walking away. They don’t run away. They simply stop watching their shepherd and wander away. Before they know it, the shepherd is nowhere in sight. Unless the shepherd comes and finds them, they will most likely stay lost.

We are the same way. We can become hopelessly lost unless we turn our eyes on the Shepherd. Only He can save us from a life spent in the wilderness, away from the watchful gaze of the “Guardian of your souls,” as Peter describe Him. He knows where the green pastures are and will lead us to them.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever gotten lost? They didn’t mean to, but they wandered away from you in a shopping mall or amusement park. Their eyes were fixed on something that intrigued them. Instead of watching you or holding your hand, they were pulled away by their own interests.

We need to remind our children that Satan has a way of luring us away from what we know to be safe and sound. Before we come to Christ, Satan doesn’t usually bother us much. He has us where he wants us. But once we come to Christ, he tries to entice us away from following Him. He can’t unsave us, but he can sure can distract us and make us feel unusable.

Have you strayed away from the safe and gentle embrace of the Shepherd? He desires for you to return to Him. He won’t force you, though. Your return is up to you. If that’s you, repent today and watch how quickly He picks you up. He longs for your embrace as well.

Father, forgive me for wandering. Fix my eyes on You so I can stay near to Your side. I want to spend my days close to You.

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IT WASN’T ME

Acts 3:11-12


“11 While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?”

Most of the time when we say it wasn’t me, we are trying to get out of being blamed for something bad. I know I did my fair share of that growing up. There used to be a cartoon strip in the paper called “The Family Circus.” Every once in a while “I Don’t Know” would show up. Usually he appeared when something got broken or messed up. The kids in that cartoon were always blaming “I Don’t Know.”

Peter isn’t trying to get out of being blamed. He simply wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t the healer of this lame one. Jesus was. Peter had no power of his own. He didn’t want the crowd to see him or John as something special. It wasn’t about them. It was about Jesus.

APPLICATION

The next time your child tries to blame “I Don’t Know,” read them this verse. Tell them it’s okay to deny responsibility for something if they really didn’t do it or someone else deserves the credit. That latter one is so important. Giving someone else the credit is a good thing. Just don’t blame others for bad stuff if you know they didn’t do it.

And it is so important to teach them to give Jesus praise for all the good stuff He does through them. When they lend a hand to an older neighbor, that’s Jesus. When they give their allowance to the mission offering instead of buying something for themselves, that’s Jesus. When people try to brag on them, teach them to just point to Jesus.

Are you a glory hound or do you give credit where credit is due? Our Heavenly Father exalts the humble and humbles the exalted. On which side do you want to be? Let Him exalt you when it’s time. Don’t run toward the limelight. It doesn’t last. His exaltation of you will.

I humbly bow before You, Lord. I desire all the praise to go to You. Let me serve faithfully whether anyone notices or not.

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NOT BEING

1 PETER 2:24

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

There is an interesting word in this verse. The phrase “we might die” is the Greek word apoginomai. It literally can be translated “from being.” Ginomai means to become, to begin.

This word apoginomai is only used right here in this verse. So, what is Peter trying to tell us about sin?

Christ’s death on the cross and the stripes and wounds He bore rescued us from the penalty of sin. We don’t have to be sinful anymore. We have been moved away from death and into life. We are to live righteously because of His sacrifice on the cross. Hallelujah!

APPLICATION

Children can come up with all sort of excuses for doing wrong. It’s their sibling’s fault. They just couldn’t help themselves. They didn’t know that was wrong. And the truth is, before Christ comes into their life, they don’t know any better. They are sinful creatures.

But if your children have accepted Christ as their Savior, there is no excuse for sin. We must point them towards living righteously. Read them this verse. Show them what Christ has done for us. He bore our sins. He took our punishment upon Himself. Ask your children if anyone has ever taken their punishment for them. Ask them how that would make them feel.

Do you realize, I mean really realize, what Christ has done for you? He has freed you to live righteously. The pain and suffering of sin has been paid for. You are debt free. How would you live if you were debt free financially? You are debt free spiritually, not because of anything you have done, but because of what Christ has done for you. Live like it today.

I am free to live righteously today. I praise You, Lord, for paying the price for my freedom. I will live today to honor You.

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GETTING MORE THAN YOU ASK FOR

ACTS 3:6

“But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!’”

I love this story in Acts 3. If you read verses 1-10, you will get the full picture of what happens here. A lame beggar is lying outside the Temple asking for money from anyone entering the Temple. He sees Peter and John and asks them for some. All he is expecting is a few coins to perhaps buy some bread or other food for the day. What he gets surprises him.

Peter and John look at him as he hollers at them passing by. Peter, being led of the Spirit, offers him healing instead of money. Notice he heals him in the name of Jesus, not himself. Peter knows where the healing comes from and wanted this beggar and anyone else listening to know also. This beggar got so much more than money. He got his legs for the first time.

APPLICATION

Have you ever given your child more than they asked for? I bet you have. They asked for something simple for Christmas, but you blessed them with the newest game system. Isn’t it just as exciting for you? You can’t wait for them to open up that gift under the tree.

I bet Peter and John were just as excited to see this man jump up and walk as the man was. This is Peter’s first recorded miracle. Let your children think about that for a second. How would they have reacted to the beggar by the Temple? Ignore him? Step around him? Tell him to be quiet? Not Peter. In the boldness of his newly indwelt Spirit, he commands healing.

Do you realize that the same Spirit that indwelt Peter indwells us? We have the same power. Do you believe that? God wants to use you to do great things for Him today. God’s miracle working power is still present in today’s world. The problem is we don’t believe He can do those things today. Let God work through you as He desires.

I want to be used by You to do things that can only be explained as coming from You. I vow to give You all the credit and point others to You.

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NO PAYBACK

1 PETER 2:23

“and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;”

Most of us want payback when we’ve been done wrong. What do I mean by that? When someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back. We take revenge seriously. I’ve known people who planned that revenge and waited months to get that person back. That kind of thinking is not of Christ.

Look what Peter wrote about our Lord in today’s verse. He said, “He did not revile in return.” That word “revile” means to spew hateful words. Can you even imagine Jesus doing that? He was always speaking the words of His Father. He had no intention of talking that way. But we lash out at others if they insult us or speak evil against us. That is not the way of Christ.

APPLICATION

Boy, this is definitely a lesson for our children. They definitely are going to face insults from others. What can we do, as parents, to steer them in the right direction? I can think of two things. The first is model the correct behavior. Little ears are always listening. When we encounter someone who is not kind to us, we need to be kind in return. I don’t mean to be a doormat, but I do mean to be like Jesus.

Secondly, we need to teach our children to pray for those individuals. That person may not know Christ, and our reaction to them could mean the difference in them coming to Him. Or that person could be a believer who is just having a hard time right now and is lashing out at anyone in their path. We should forgive as Jesus does. That teaches our children lifelong lessons.

Are you a reviler? Are you someone who lashes out at those who insult you? Take a lesson from Christ. Even during His trial and crucifixion, He forgave. He, unlike you, could have called ten thousand angels to defend Him, but He didn’t. His forgiving actions had one purpose – to draw men to Himself. Shouldn’t we be doing the same?

Forgive me, Lord, when I retaliate against those who harm me. I have no right to do so. Let my actions reflect You in all I do.

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REPENT

Acts 2:37-38

“37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ 38Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

I have always believed that at the end of every sermon, you must give the people an opportunity to respond and make a decision for Christ. Why else preach the Gospel? So many people don’t know how to respond. They don’t understand what the next step is. But I have never had a congregation ask me what to do. Peter had the door slung wide open.

And what did Peter do? He didn’t tell them to be good and try hard to please God. He didn’t say to give more to the church. He didn’t say work hard so God will forgive you. No! He said, “Repent!” Simple enough, right? The baptism follows the repentance. It isn’t necessary for the forgiveness. And when you repent, the Holy Spirit is sent your way.

APPLICATION

This is such an important lesson for our children. They need to know that there is nothing they can do to earn forgiveness. The only action required is repentance, to turn from going in one direction and begin to go in another direction. To turn from doing wrong to follow Jesus. Nothing else is required. Repent.

Have your children repented of their sins? Remember, they are going to understand this at their level. They are not going to comprehend all the truths of Scripture yet. I bet you don’t understand them all either, do you? Children repent to the best of their ability, with the limitations of their intellect. The Spirit will do the rest.

Have you repented? Are you a child of the King? If you have repented, then His Spirit lives within you. He is promised to you. You need to follow that up with baptism as a sign of obedience, but your confession of sin in the act of repentance is all that is required. Do you believe that? Then live like it.

I am so thankful You drew me to repentance. I still remember the day You spoke my name and called me to Yourself. Thank You for forgiving me and sending Your Spirit to live within me.

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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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FIRSTS

ACTS 2:14

“But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: ‘Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.’” 

I remember the first sermon I preached. It was at Harmony Baptist Church in Pelham, GA. I was asked to preach at their annual Youth Sunday. I prepared what I thought was the perfect sermon and was sure it would last the allotted thirty minutes. Lo and behold, I was done in about seven, lol. But I found out something. No one complains about a short sermon.

Peter had been transformed by the arrival of the Holy Spirit. He was filled with the very presence of Christ now. He was no longer that disciple who had denied Jesus. He was now the leader of a new movement to evangelize the world. And here he is preaching his first sermon. What a message! What a transformation.

APPLICATION

Do you recall the first time your child performed at church or school? Perhaps their first solo or part in a play? I sure do. I was so proud of them. My shirt almost lost buttons, lol.  Tell your kids about that. Tell them how proud you still are of them. They won’t soon forget that.

Then tell them how proud the Lord is when they share Christ with someone for the first time or when they make that first gift to the church. First times can be hard and challenging, but the Lord will give them the courage to follow through. Challenge your children to take on those “firsts” just like Peter did. He was accused of being drunk when the Spirit came upon him and the other disciples. But he didn’t get mad and leave. He delivered his first sermon empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Are you fearful of stepping out on those “firsts”? Don’t be. Trust the Lord to use the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and give you the courage. He loves to encourage us. We just have to step up and trust Him. Will you do that today? Who knows, maybe your first sermon may last longer than seven minutes.

I will trust You, Lord, to empower me to step out and do what You ask, even if it is for the first time. I want to honor You with my obedience.

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TRACING LETTERS

1 PETER 2:21

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,”

Have you ever traced letters? That’s how we used to be taught how to write the alphabet. I remember distinctly tracing the letters until I could write them just as they appeared on the paper. It took hours of practice to get them right, but I kept on until I had it.

The Greek word for “example” is only used right here in the New Testament. The word is hupogrammos, which comes from two Greek words, hupo and grapho. It literally means under writing, to trace. We are to “trace” our lives after Christ’s life. We are to follow His example of suffering. Yippee! Aren’t you excited? But that is the example He left us. He endured the cross for us, and He was innocent, unlike us.

APPLICATION

Have a tracing contest with your children. Find a picture you all can trace and see who can trace it the fastest and not mess up. You see, tracing doesn’t work unless you stay in the lines. Share today’s verse with your children when you’re through and explain that we are “tracing” Jesus. We are to follow His example. And just like tracing a picture, we need to stay within the lines when we are tracing Jesus.

Now, does that mean you won’t ever make a mistake? Of course not. We are human and we fail. I am far from perfect. Sometimes I find myself tracing the wrong picture. I have totally gotten my eyes off of Jesus and am tracing the world or a hobby. Your children will mess up too. When they do, give them a new piece of paper and help them to start “tracing” again.

What are you tracing right now? Are you following the example of suffering left to us by Christ? Too many of us run from the very thought of suffering. But suffering with Jesus can be a sweet experience as He meets us in the valley. He will bring us out, if we will continue to follow His example.

I hate suffering. I’m just being honest, Lord. But I trust you. So, I will follow Your example and embrace the suffering You send my way.

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