Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, Gifts, Giving, God's Will, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

WHAT A GIFT!

2 PETER 1:3

“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Can you think of the greatest gift you ever got? Probably, as a child, it was my first gun. Now, before you judge me, it was a BB gun. I loved that gun. I spent hours outside in my backyard and in the woods behind my house with that gun. I think that may have led to my love for the outdoors and hunting I have today.

The Greek word used here for the phrase “has granted” is only used three times in the New Testament. It is used here and the next verse (2 Peter 1:4) and also in Mark 15:45 when the centurion gave Joseph the body of Jesus. The word means to be given as a gift. Peter is telling us that God has gifted us everything we need for life and godliness. Isn’t that amazing?

APPLICATION

What is the last gift you have your child? Was it expensive? I bet you gave them some instructions about how to use it properly, if it was. We don’t want to give our children expensive things and then watch them destroy them, do we? Of course, not. We have an investment in it.

The same is true with the gifts God gives us. He has made an investment in us through the death of His Son. He wants to make sure we appreciate these gifts and use them correctly. That’s why He gave us His Word. In it are all the guidelines we need to use these gifts. Read His Word to your children. Let them see there really is a user’s manual for life.

Are you using God’s gifts in the way He intended? Do you believe He has given you everything pertaining to life and godliness? What a promise. So, why do we complain about life? God has the answers. Will you listen to Him today?

Thank you, God, for giving me Your gifts. I don’t deserve them and will surely abuse them. But please forgive me and teach me to use them according to Your Will.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Grace, Knowledge, Parenting, Peace

MULTIPLICATION

2 PETER 1:2

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;” 

I will never forget Mrs. McCracken. She was my fourth grade homeroom teacher and also my math teacher. That was the year we had to learn our multiplication tables. Remember those? We had to recite them correctly or stay inside during recess and work on them. I still remember those multiplication tables, so I guess it worked.

But we don’t get to know God by quoting multiplication tables, do we? I love the Greek word for “knowledge” here. It is epignosis. The second half of that word, gnosis, means knowledge, but the epi on the front intensifies it. It has the idea of contact knowledge or first-hand knowledge. That’s how grace and peace is multiplied – by getting to know God first-hand.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how they get to know somebody. They may say by talking to them on the phone. Wrong! They may say by facetiming. Wrong again. We get to know someone by spending time with them face to face. Not on some screen.

They need to know that they get to know God by spending time with Him. By reading His Word and spending time in prayer they get to know the God of the universe. By setting aside time each day to be alone with Him, the grace and peace multiplies. They get the answers to life’s questions. They learn to grow as a believer. But they have to get first-hand knowledge.

How is your time with Him? Do you need more grace and peace in your life? Then there is only one way to get it. You need to know Him more fully. Spend time. Spend some energy getting to know Him. Trust Him to pour Himself into you as you open up more and more to Him.

Lord, I want to know You more. I need more grace and peace and am relying on You to multiply it in my life.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture, Testimony

PRECIOUS FAITH

2 PETER 1:1

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:” 

Peter’s second epistle (letter) to the same recipients as received the first letter begins in a very unique way. Just reading it in the English translation you can miss one particular phrase. “Of the same kind as ours” could be translated “equally precious as ours.” I really like that. See, Peter is saying the Gentiles who have received Christ as their Savior are equal to the Jewish believers.

We both have received a precious faith which is through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He makes no bones about it. Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ are equal. We have the same Lord. We worship the same God. We rest in the same promises. That still holds true today. All believers (red, yellow, black and white) are equal in God’s eyes.

APPLICATION

In our crazy world right now, there is a lot of racial divide. Sadly, there are believers on both sides of this argument. We need to spend as much time as possible making sure our children understand that God does not see color. Our God, who created all the peoples of the world, is spiritually colorblind. We should be also.

There is nothing sweeter than to watch young children, who haven’t developed all those societal biases, play together. They don’t care what color the other boys and girls are. We need to foster that. In fact, we can learn from that. We need to see others as our little children see them – God’s creation who just need a Savior.

Will you join me in reaching across the racial divide to embrace a brother or sister today? Will you lose your racially sensitive glasses and become colorblind for Jesus? We cannot allow the devil to divide the Universal church along color or race. The world is watching. If we can’t link arms in love, the world will tear us apart.

Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Son to cross not only religious lines, but also racial lines. I am grateful for my friends who look different than me. I need them in my life.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Gentleness, Greetings, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

KISSY, KISSY

1 PETER 5:14

“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.”

Peter is NOT implying we need to kiss everybody. Nope, no way, nada. If you have never been around another culture group, many of them greet that way. They grab you and kiss you on the cheek, sometimes both cheeks. The first time it happened to me was when I became friends with a guy from El Salvador. I have to admit it kind of freaked me out, lol.

But Peter is talking about greeting other believers in love. He loves these people he is writing to and wants them to pass on his affection and love to everyone. Sincere affection is often expressed by a kiss without any romantic overtones. The word “love” here is the word for God’s love – agape.

APPLICATION

At your next family reunion, make it a point to greet everyone with a holy kiss (on the cheek). Kiss grandma and grandpa. Kiss Uncle Albert. Kiss everyone. You might just surprise some people. I bet they will all be talking when you leave. I bet your children will be asking you what you are doing. Tell them you are just following the Scriptures and read them this verse.

Now explain to them what Peter is really talking about and why. I wouldn’t encourage your children to go around and kiss everyone at church. You may be asked to find a new church. But we do need to teach our children to show true affection to others. We need to be accepting of them. We need to welcome them and make them feel loved.

Is there someone you need to reach out to today? Does someone need to feel loved? Maybe you aren’t the one to do it. But get someone to reach out. Your fellow believers need to know they are loved. You may be surprised how many aren’t told that regularly. Be the vessel God intends you to be.

I welcome Your affection and love today, Lord. Give me the opportunity today to show Your love to someone else.

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Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Comfort, Encouragement, Gentleness, Greetings, Hugs, Kindness, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

GREETINGS

1 PETER 5:13

“She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark.”

Who is “she” mentioned here by Peter? Most scholars agree that he is referring to a church or churches in the area of Babylon. And the Mark mentioned by Peter here is most probably John Mark who had accompanied Paul and Barnabus before he left them. This same Mark was picked up by Barnabus later. He also happens to be the author of the Gospel by his name.

But the point of this devotional today isn’t on that church or Mark. It’s on the word “greetings.” This word means to enfold in your arms. In other words, it means a hug. Now, I’m a hugger. I love to embrace with a hug. What better way to say “hi” to someone than with a big ole bear hug? Peter is sending a hug to the readers.

APPLICATION

When is the last time you hugged your child? I bet you did it today. If you haven’t, go do it now. Tell them Pastor Carl told you to. Most kids love hugs. Why? Because it’s intimate. It feels good. It’s warming. If you aren’t a hugger, ask yourself why you aren’t.

Don’t deprive your child of a good daddy or mommy hug every day. They need it. They need it especially when they have done something wrong. After you administer the discipline, hug them. This reassures them you love them, and all is forgiven. Hugs heal. I really believe that. Heal someone today.

Can I send you a virtual hug right now? ((( ))) Do you feel it? Guess what? God gives great hugs. He wants to embrace you and enfold you in His arms. You may not feel very embraceable right now, but that’s okay. God doesn’t care. He doesn’t dispense His hugs based on your value. Open your arms and feel His embrace right now.

Thank You, Father, for not withholding Your hugs from me. I need them daily. And I will pass them on to someone else.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Grace, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting

STAND FIRM

1 PETER 5:12

“Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”

Paul is closing this letter and gives some final kudos to Silvanus, believed to be the one who penned this for Peter. Can you imagine listening to Peter and being his scribe? I am sure Silvanus had no idea the words he was writing, inspired by the Holy Spirit through Peter, would one day be canonized as part of the Holy Scriptures.

But the point Peter makes in this verse is in the last part. He tells us to “stand firm in it.” In what? The true grace of God. The word means to be placed or set. It implies to stand so as to not be moved. Peter is telling us to hold these truths about God’s grace forever. Don’t be swayed. Don’t be led astray.

APPLICATION

Did you ever play “King of the Mountain” when you were growing up? It’s a fun, rough and tumble game. You have to find a hill and gather some friends who are willing to play. One person starts out on top of the hill and the rest of the players try to push him/her off.

Our children need to be reminded that there are people who are going to try to “push them off” the hill of truth. Some will come at them face to face, but others will come at them from behind or out of their peripheral view. They will be sneaky and forceful. However, nothing can move them from God’s truth, if they will stay firmly rooted. That is only done by daily commitment to His Word and following God’s Will for their life.

Are you standing firm today? Can you be moved? I pray you are relying on the truths of God’s grace to guide you and hold you steady. There are way too many distractions out there today to lure us away from following the Lord. Stand firm!

I will stand firm for Jesus. I will trust Your truths, Lord. Hold me fast.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Hope, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Power, Promises, Scripture

POWERFUL GOD

1 PETER 5:11

“To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

We read that word “dominion” and don’t stop to think what it really means. We all know God is God, right? We know He is all powerful, omnipotent. But what does “dominion” mean? The Greek word used here is kratos. It carries with it the idea of exerted power. It’s not just that He is strong. He shows it.

How does God show His power? He showed it at creation when He created the world and all that is in it. He showed His power when He parted the Red Sea to allow the Hebrew children to escape Pharoah. He showed it when Jesus turned water into wine. And He shows it in our lives every day by assuring our salvation.

APPLICATION

Dads, I bet your children used to think you were all powerful. They were awed at your biceps, right? Seriously though, most children see their parents as strong and powerful when they are small. They look up to you and admire your strength. But as they get older, they realize your strength is not any greater than anyone else’s.

That’s why we have to point them to the all powerful One. They need to know that God is the only one who has the strength to see them through their hardest times. And God is not afraid to  show His strength. He is always ready to exert His strength for His children. But He does it on His timetable. Peter says in this verse today, “forever and ever.” That means for infinity.

Do you need to see the Lord exert His strength today? Are you hurting and in need of a Savior? Let His dominion show out in your life. Surrender to Him. Stop trying to do it in your strength. You can’t do it on your own. The world may say you can, but you can’t. You need Jesus to empower You so He can work in and through you.

I will allow Your strength to work through me today. I can’t wait to see what You will do. Thank You, Lord, for always being there.

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Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Foundation, Inspirational, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Suffering, Testimony

FOUR WAYS

1 PETER 5:10

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

We are going to have periods of suffering. Peter says, “for a little while.” Believe me, when you are going through that time of suffering, it doesn’t feel like a little while. But look what awaits you. Peter mentions four things the God of grace will do in you.

He will perfect you, which means to make you exactly fit so you will be in good working order. He will confirm you which means He will set fast or givesupport to secure or firmly establish. He will also strengthen you. This Greek word is only used right here and means to make strong in order to be able to move in a way that achieves something in the most effective way. And finally, He will establish you or ground and settle you as a foundation.

APPLICATION

When your children are struggling, remind them what God is up to. He hasn’t forgotten them. He is still with them, even though they can’t feel Him. He is about to do those four great things, if they will just wait and watch.

Who doesn’t want to be perfected? I want to fit wherever God puts me. Ask your children that. Ask them if they want to fit exactly where God puts them. I especially like that word “strengthen.” Ask your children if they want the strength to move in the most effective way. It’s kind of like learning those basic skills of a sport so they can move in the best way during a game. God will prepare them for future struggles.

Are you willing to go through the suffering to receive these gifts? When God says He will do something, He will do it. Just remember, He is making you more like Him through every period of suffering. In the depths of suffering, look heavenward and tell the Lord you are waiting for these gifts. He will bring them.

Thank You Lord, for the promises of perfection, confirmation, strength and establishing. I look to You for these gifts as I suffer for You.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Devil, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture, Suffering

RESIST THE DEVIL

1 PETER 5:9

“But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

What does it mean to resist the devil? We too often blame the devil for the things we do that he had no part in. Our natural self, the evil flesh, takes over and we run with it. Then we blame the evil one. To be honest, the devil has bigger fish to fry. If you are so busy blaming him, he doesn’t have to worry about you too much.

The Greek word for “resist” means to take a complete stand against, to take a 180 degree, contrary position. It means to establish one’s position publicly by holding your ground and refusing to be moved or pushed back. It’s not just saying, “not right now” to the devil. We are enemies with Satan. We can’t give him an inch.

APPLICATION

As your children come to faith, you need to remind them of the battle we are in. I don’t mean you have to scare them with stories of the devil. But I do mean you have to teach the dangers of evil that are all around. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes and very seldom appears in its real form. If it did, most everyone would run.

So how do you teach your children to resist the devil? Peter says to be firm in your faith. Foundation, foundation, foundation! It is the key. What is that foundation? Living out the Word of God. Notice I didn’t say reading or memorizing it. You have to live it. The Word will show you exactly how to resist the devil if you spend time in it and apply its principles to your life. Teach your children that.

Are you resisting the devil? Are you glorifying God with your actions? If we focus on glorifying Him with our words and deeds, we will naturally resist any actions from the devil. The devil doesn’t stand a chance against the Word of God. Just live it out as you encounter others. The Lord will be pleased, and the devil will hate it.

Your Spirit within me is much stronger than any attack of the devil, Lord. Keep my eyes on You and I know I will be able to resist those fleshly lusts.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Deception, Demons, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Fighting, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Safety, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

A ROARING LION

1 PETER 5:8

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Have you ever seen and heard a roaring lion? I don’t mean one on television. I mean in real life. I saw a lion in Uganda once on a safari, but it wasn’t roaring. It was lying in the shade sleeping. It didn’t seem very scary. In fact, it looked very calm and peaceful. But believe me, I wasn’t about to jump out of that jeep and go over and scratch its belly. I knew what it was capable of.

Peter is warning about the dangers of the devil. We can’t let our guard down. He says to be sober and alert. The devil can lull us into thinking there is no danger and then he attacks. Just like a lion, he stalks his prey. He doesn’t present himself as he really is. He disguises himself and slips in for the kill. Don’t let him devour you or those around you.

APPLICATION

The last thing I want you to do is scare your children about the devil. However, they do need to know he is real and not some imaginary figure. We don’t want him to be talked about in the same company as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They must know the devil has one goal – to take as many souls to hell with him as possible. He knows he has already lost the war, but he wants to cause as many casualties as possible along the way.

How do you protect your child from this? By pouring the Word of God into them from birth. We raise our children to love and honor their God. And when they come to Christ and accept Him as their Savior, they are secure from the grasp of the devil. Then we must continue to disciple and mentor them to walk in the light and avoid those dark recesses where Satan dwells.

Living sober and alert may sound draining, but it’s not. The key is to stay in the Word. The moment we start living for ourselves and we put down the Word, we open ourselves up to attacks. The Word is called the sword for a reason. Use it to protect yourself and others from that nasty roaring lion.

I thank You for giving me the Word to defend against the schemes of the devil. I will watch carefully as I advance the kingdom, knowing he will do all he can to distract and attack.

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