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ALWAYS READY

1 PETER 3:15

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

Are you ready? Peter is asking you that in this verse. We need to be ready at all times to defend our faith. The word “ready” in this verse implies that all the preparations have been made. Think about that for minute. What kind of events do you prepare for? Social events, family vacations and celebrations of all sorts are prepared for by all of us. We don’t think twice about spending inordinate amounts of time preparing for events that are temporal.

But when it comes to preparing ourselves for things which could affect someone’s eternity, we don’t bother. That’s the preacher’s job. That’s the church’s responsibility. No!!!!! Every believer has the responsibility to prepare themselves to “give an account for the hope that is in” them.

APPLICATION

Listen Mom and Dad. You have to spend time preparing your child to defend their faith. They will be challenged. They will be ridiculed. They will be made fun of. You can bet on that. You arm them with truth. You prepare them for battle. Only the Word of God can be used in this battle. So, they have to believe in its truths.

When I see a child who is able to explain why they believe, it warms my heart. I know an adult has spent time with that child explaining the “whys” to them. It was probably mom or dad, but it could have been a Sunday School teacher or Awana leader. Whomever does it doesn’t matter as much as that it is done. Don’t send your child into the world spiritually unarmed. They must be ready.

Too many believers do not arm themselves for the onslaughts of the devil. Oh, he’s real. And he loves to attack those who are unprepared. Take some time and learn how to address those who question your faith. Tell them what God has done in your life. Give them some real life examples of God’s Word in action. That will give them something to think about.

Lord, I know I cannot take on the schemes of the devil without You. But with You I can storm the gates of hell with a water pistol because You are with me.

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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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