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DO NOT BE ASHAMED

1 PETER 4:16

“but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”

I love these words from Peter. Why? Because sometimes when we suffer, we are made to feel ashamed, like we’ve done something wrong. When we suffer for living for Christ, we have nothing to be ashamed of. When we suffer for loving someone who has fallen into sin, we have nothing to be ashamed of. The devil wants us to feel shame. The Lord never does.

Now, let me explain that. The Lord does convict us, as believers, when we fall into sin. He wants us to know we have done wrong and need to repent. But He never shames us. He never wants us to feel unworthy. Guilt from sinful behavior is not the same as shame. Remember that.

APPLICATION

If you can’t see the application for our kids from this verse, you need to stop reading my devotions (just kidding, don’t do that, lol). Seriously, kids are so easily shamed. Their friends can shame them for doing the right thing. Society can shame them for bad behaviors. Shame should have no place in our kids’ lives.

Are you guilty of saying Shame on you when your kids misbehave? Lose that vocabulary. Never shame your kids. By all means, they need to be told when they do wrong, but don’t shame them. And when they are shamed by others for pleasing the Lord, you build them up and support them.

Live for Jesus no matter what others may say about you. When they try to shame you for living right, keep on living right. When they shame you for standing up for God’s principles, keep on standing. Do not feel ashamed of Jesus.

I will not be ashamed. I will be true to You, O Lord. I stand proud of knowing You and living for You.

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WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

1 PETER 4:15

“Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler”

When you read this verse, you are probably quick to say Well, I don’t do any of those things! Oh really? Sure, you may not be a murderer, but are you sure about the others? Thieves steal more than others’ possessions. They steal time from their employers. They take the towels from hotels. Yep, that’s stealing. And how about evildoers? That’s described as someone who makes trouble. Have you ever done that? Peter is the only one who uses this Greek word in the NT. He must have had some people in mind.

And finally, the one category we are probably all guilty of from time to time – troublesome meddler. That is someone who won’t mind their own business. That too is wrong. We all try to justify this, don’t we? We only want to help. But we need to simply stay out of things that don’t involve us, unless the Lord is specifically directing us.

APPLICATION

Boy, these are things our children should know. They all need to understand the ramifications of such things. Peter says to make sure we don’t suffer for doing these things. That implies they are worthy of punishment. We don’t want to see our kids suffer. So, we have in instill in them the mind of Christ.

If we do that, they will not be murderers, evildoers, thieves and meddlers. Christ would have never done any of those things. Point them to Jesus in all their actions. When you see your son or daughter “dabble” in these directions, quickly and swiftly correct them. Hold them accountable at the earliest age. You can’t start correcting these behaviors when they are older.

You are responsible for your actions. There’s no two ways about it. Our society today wants to excuse people’s actions. People are always hollering victimization. Listen, brother and sister, Christ died so that we would never see ourselves that way. Choose wisely. Choose godly.

Father, help me choose to do the right things and avoid the evil things. I know I am guilty too often of wanting my way.

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THAT WAS ME?

1 PETER 4:3

“For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.”

So many of us lived lives described here by Peter. Now, you may not have done all these things, but a life without Jesus is a life wasted. A life without Jesus is filled with all sorts of sinful behaviors. You don’t have to be a drunken mess to be considered lost. Just living without Jesus qualifies you for that.

The good news is that can all be in the past. Peter says that. He says “for the time already past is sufficient.” We tend to hold on to the guilt of our previous sinful lives. We use it as an excuse. Our sins are forgiven. They don’t shape our future. We are secure in Christ.

APPLICATION

Your children need to learn this truth, and you are the key to that. How many times have you “reminded” your children of past behaviors? When our children mess up (and they will) and we deal with, let it go. Too many parents continue to pound on their child by constantly bringing up those past failures.

We, as parents, should be a mirror image of God’s forgiveness of us. How many times has God forgiven you? Don’t answer that, lol. But more importantly, how many times has God thrown your past in your face? Let me answer for you. Zero! That’s the image our children need of us and God.

Have you let your past go? Have you forgiven the past sins of a loved one? Remember all the Lord has done for you and reflect that on others. God will be pleased as you do as He does. Is this easy? Of course, not. God will give you the wisdom and discernment to do as He requires.

Father, it is not easy to forgive myself or others. Remind me daily of Your grace and mercy. I love You, Lord.

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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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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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DIRTY HANDS

MATTHEW 15:15-20

“15 Peter said to Him, ‘Explain the parable to us.’ 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17’ Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.’”

I am sure, as a fisherman, Peter ate lots of meals with dirty hands. When you are out on a boat it’s hard to use soap to clean up to eat. So, when Jesus answered the Pharisees this way about their concern they hadn’t washed their hands before eating the grain, he probably smirked a little. Still, he wanted to make sure he understood what Jesus was saying.

Why are some people so concerned about how they look on the outside, but their thoughts and words are filthy? If we had a machine in church on Sundays that could read the minds of the people as they came in the doors, we would probably be appalled. Jesus plainly tells us here that it is our inner thoughts and our words that defile us. Yes, washing our hands are important. But our inner cleanliness is so much more important.

APPLICATION

I bet when your children were little you washed their hands a lot, didn’t you? As they get older you teach them to wash their own hands and ask them before dinner, “Did you wash your hands?” What a perfect verse to discuss their spiritual cleanliness. Why not ask them at dinner, “Did you speak harshly to your sister today?” Instead of asking them, “Did you use soap to wash your hands?” ask them if they thought about the words they used today when they got upset at the video game.

It is so important to teach our children to guard their tongues. I have often said that words are like toothpaste. Once they are out you can’t stuff them back in the tube. Teach them to choose their words carefully. And if they do slip up, teach them how to make it right. Apologize. Ask for forgiveness. That’s another skill missing today.

Are you more concerned about how you appear to others than what’s in your heart? If you will flip that around, you won’t have to worry so much about how you appear. Your inwards thoughts will be reflected on the outside. Pause and think before speaking, even if what you are going to say may sound “spiritual.” Sometimes that is just not the right thing to say at the time.

I am thankful Your Spirit can guard my tongue. Help me surrender to You before each word is spoken. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.

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ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?

I PETER 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 

Are you born again? You have undoubtedly heard that question at some point in your life? It’s one of those church questions? That question can confuse some people, especially those who have had no knowledge of Christ. The concept of being born again was brought up by Christ to Nicodemus in John 3. Even though Nicodemus was educated, he was confused by then idea.

The Greek word “born again” is only used twice in the New

Testament, both times in 1 Peter (1:3, 23). It means to be birthed again from on high. It is done to you by One who is greater than you. This rebirth occurs the moment you surrender your life to Jesus. God the Father, through God the Spirit, regenerates us and give us a brand, new life in God the Son.

APPLICATION

Ask your son or daughter what they would want to come back as if they could be reborn. This could be funny. Some may say a puppy or a cat. Some may say an eagle or a snake. Ask them why? Anything goes. Just let them talk.

Then talk about how we can be reborn into a new creature through the Lord. They may not understand all the theological concepts of rebirth, but they understand “new.” It’s a fresh start. It’s a new beginning. It’s a life without all the junk of the past holding us down. And tell your children the most beautiful part of this rebirth is it is eternal. There will never be a need for a second rebirth. Hallelujah!

Are you born again? Are you sure? If you have given your heart to Jesus, He has entered you through the Holy Spirit and cleansed you of all unrighteousness. It is His life that now resides in you. You have the power to conquer sin, not because of anything you can do, but because He is God. Enjoy your new birth. Relish in the freshness. Sing for joy because of Him.

I praise You for my new life in Christ. I thank You for birthing me on high and claiming me as Yours. I shall forever serve You.

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GOD KNOWS AND DOES

I PETER 1:2

“according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”

We are chosen! God desires that all men be saved and knows who will and who won’t respond to His call. When He calls, and we respond, we are made holy by the “work of the Spirit.” That “sanctifying” work means to make us holy. We don’t make ourselves holy. There is nothing in us or that we can do to do that. That’s God’s job through the Spirit. And when that happens, we are chosen.

I love that Peter adds “May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” In the Greek “May…be…in the fullest measure” could be translated “may be multiplied.” I actually like that better. In other words, to maximum capacity. Now, tell me, who doesn’t want that as a chosen child of God?

APPLICATION

It’s a given that children always want more of a good thing. Think of something they really like. It could be their favorite snack or candy. It could be the amount of time they get to watch tv or play video games. But kids can get too much of a good thing, can’t they? Too much ice cream can make them sick. Too much tv can dull their brains, lol.

But can you get too much grace and peace? I don’t think so. How can you teach your kids this? By teaching them to live holy lives surrendered to Christ. Only through obedient living will the Lord multiply that in us. He wants to extend grace and peace, but our actions limit it. And the best way for our children to see that is how we live our lives. They will observe (and it’s important we point it out) when God’s grace and peace are working in us. Those are moments that will stick with them.

Do you want that in your life? Do you want God to multiply His grace and peace? I sure do. I need it every day, whether it’s a good or bad day. Do you know why? Because when it is multiplied in me, I can give it to others. I, probably just like you, run across people every day who need grace and peace in their lives. When I have been increased in that area through my obedience, it naturally pours out on them. We are agents of His grace and peace.

Father, I thank You for Your grace and peace. I praise You for choosing me as I responded to the drawing of Your Spirit Who made me holy. I am Yours to use.

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KEEP AN EYE ON YOU

TITUS 1:7

“For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,”

The position of overseer or elder has often been misinterpreted as a position of authority or title. The Greek word for “overseer” actually means someone who intently keeps their eye on something or someone. In the church that man is watching over the church body to provide first-hand care and protection. It’s a service role more than an authority role.

Now, elders must help guide the body. But they do this from a position of service, not by brow beating. That is exactly why Paul lays out all these qualifications. In this verse he gives six more character traits (good steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain). He has further limited the pool of men who rise to the position, this ensuring their heart for service, not rule.

 APPLICATION

It is interesting that these traits Paul lists for an elder are traits we as parents want for our children. We want them to handle what God gives them well. Money management is an important skill for us to teach them. Secondly, we want them to think more of others than themselves. Self-willed children will face many more challenges. Thirdly, we definitely want them to know how to control their temper, to not be easily upset or angry.

We also want our children to know how to handle the issue of drinking. If you think they won’t face that temptation, you are fooling yourself. You have to model that. The next trait, not pugnacious, means not a fighter. Some kids are always ready for a fight. We want to teach them how to avoid that. And finally, we want them to not be greedy. In fact, we want them to share liberally.

So, you see these elder traits are really traits for us all. How are you living up to these? These are all characteristics of someone surrendered to Christ. It requires dying to self daily. Then you too can help oversee the flock. You can keep your eye on your brother or sister to help guide and protect. Aren’t we all called to do that in the family of God?

Father, remind me to live my life in such a way that I am worthy of “overseeing” my brother and sister. I want to live like Jesus so I can help guide others in the path of righteousness.

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THE RIGHT MAN

TITUS 1:6

namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.”

Paul begins a list of qualifications for elders in today’s verse that goes through verse 9. This list is long and intimidating. When I read it, I wonder who can fulfill it. Who can possibly meet all these expectations? Only the man who is one hundred percent surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.

Paul describes an elder, the men he wants Titus to find and appoint in Crete, as above reproach or blameless, He must not have more than one wife. He has to be old enough for his children to have accepted Christ. He can withstand accusations that he is unsalvageable or insubordinate. Wow! That bar is high.

APPLLICATION

Children play a key role in their father’s selection as elder. Why would their children’s salvation be a determining factor? Because it implies that he has spent the time to invest in their lives and lead them to Christ. It implies that family is a priority. They say your family should be your first mission.

This is why, mom and dad, I spend so much time telling you to read Scripture to your kids. Scripture is what draws them to salvation. It prepares their heart to hear from the Lord. That means you must be a student of the Word. You must be comfortable sharing and applying it. This is an eternal decision. Don’t take it lightly.How do you line up with the list given today? You may never be asked to serve as an Elder. But I believe we all need to strive for the highest standards. We all serve a mighty God. If you don’t meet the criteria, ask the Lord to change your heart. He can use you. Won’t you let him?

O precious Lord, I know I am not worthy, but You want to use me. I am Your vessel. I surrender to You.

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