Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Inspirational, Joy, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Salvation, Sanctification, Scripture

SAFETY IN OBEDIENCE

1 PETER 3:20

“who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”

Noah’s family survived the flood because of their obedience to God, not because of the ark. The ark was simply the vessel God used. Peter is using this well known story to illustrate how our Heavenly Father chooses to save us. He has provided the vessel (Jesus) through which we are saved. Our obedience to His call results in being safely carried through life.

This verse mentions God’s patience. Remember, it is God’s will that all men be saved. He is patient, but He is holy. His desire is salvation for all, but He will not tolerate outright disobedience. Peter states this, not to be harsh, but to be direct.

APPLICATION

I bet you never have to deal with disobedience from your children. Right? Now that you are through laughing, let me ask you a question. Do you see how you deal with your children’s disobedience as a reflection of how God deals with ours? It should be. We should be showing a measure of grace and patience, but at the same time, showing justice.

Our children have to know that there are absolutes. The world does not exist in gray areas or situational obedience. Too many parents allow their children to “push the boundaries” without repercussions. Base your expectations on God’s Word, which never changes. Only His Word will provide the absolutes.

Do you live according to God’s absolutes or the world’s non-absolutes? It is really a choice of obedience or disobedience. Joy never precedes obedience. Let me say that again. Joy never precedes obedience. But when we obey our Lord, He fills us with joy. Don’t you want joy today?

I desire joy, Father. Lead me to obey You so You will pour Your joy on me.

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UNPARTIAL

ACTS 10:34

“Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,’”

These words of Peter should be music to our ears. God does not show favorites. The phrase “show partiality” is one Greek word that is only used right here in this verse. It means to be a respecter of persons. Think about it. What if God only picked a few people to save because of their skin color or eye color. Unfortunately, that is what we do.

If we are to live like Christ, we must also show no partiality. They say the most segregated time of the week is Sunday mornings. Whites go to their churches. Blacks go to theirs. Hispanics go to theirs and so on. Why? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all worship together? Wouldn’t it be great if we were “color blind” on Sundays?

APPLICATION

Our children must be taught the no partiality thing early in life. In fact, we must teach them that God loves everyone – period. The world will begin to bombard them with prejudices early in life. This not only applies to skin color. It applies to any prejudice you can think of. The kid others make fun of is loved by God, so our children should too.

Let me encourage you, mom and dad, to nip this in the bud (to borrow a Barney Fife phrase). Don’t let prejudice remain in your household. God wants to use us, just like He used Peter, to reach people groups we might not normally be drawn to. You will be amazed at the response, if you will simply be obedient.

Do you battle showing partiality? Most of us do. It’s normal. It’s human. But we are called to live above that. I bet you could think of a dozen reasons God shouldn’t love you, but He does. He takes you just as you are and transforms you into something beautiful. Don’t you want to be a part of that in someone else’s life?

Father, show me my prejudices. I want to confess those to You as sin. And put those people in my life You want me to have relationships with, regardless of who they are.

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GOOD CONSCIENCE

1 PETER 3:16

“and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”

What does it mean to “keep a good conscience”? Let’s break this down a bit. Actually, the Greek word translated as “keep” in this verse means to have or possess. The word “conscience” has the idea of the God-given capacity to know right from wrong. So, Peter is saying that no matter what others may say about us, as long as we know what we are doing is right, don’t worry about it. They are the ones who will be shamed.

Have you ever had someone put you down for something you have done? I have. I prayed about and had a perfect peace that what I was doing was God’s will. But because it went against or interfered in what someone else wanted, they ridiculed or at the very least questioned my intentions. All you can do at that point is trust the Lord and go on.

APPLICATION

Children face this all the time from their peers. It gets worse in the middle school and high school years. Whenever your child stands up for what God tells them, they are sure to be made fun of by others. It’s just the day in which we live. Living a life of integrity and purity is almost looked down on by those who choose to live another way.

As parents we hate to see them come home in tears or sullen. Our job is to encourage them with verses like this one today. Remind them that in the end those who have given them a hard time will be shamed. In the meantime, they are to continue to live for Jesus and trust Him to guard their hearts. Is it easy? By no means. But the end result is the key. He will reward the faithful.

How is your conscience? Are you remaining true to Him? Stay faithful, my friend. Allow the Lord to show you the big picture. Ask Him to give you a glimpse into the possibilities before you. He will as you surrender. He doesn’t want to keep secrets from you. He wants you in on His plans. Follow Him.

O God, I will trust You in the difficult circumstances. I will allow You to guard my heart as others attack. I will count it a privilege to suffer for You.

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WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY?

ACTS 10:33

“‘So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.’”

I have to think Peter was thinking of this account with Cornelius when he wrote 1 Peter 3:15 “…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” Peter had no idea what to expect when he arrived at the home of Cornelius. He had to be ready.

Cornelius had no idea what to expect from Peter. He only knew God had told him to send for Peter. He was willing to hear whatever Peter had to say regarding his faith in Jesus Christ. What an opportunity lay before Peter. God had thrown it wide open for him.

APPLICATION

What will your child do if they are asked as Peter was asked by Cornelius to share what they know? Our children do not have to have all the answers. They just need to be able to share what Christ has done for them to their friends who ask. You can help them prepare for this by rehearsing it with them.

Role playing with your child is a great way for them to learn to be comfortable with sharing their faith. Pretend to be their friend asking about Jesus. Let them talk about Jesus in their own words. After the role play give them some tips if needed but praise them for the way they shared.

Pray someone may send for you. Pray the Lord will use you to share Christ to someone who is seeking. God may just send a Cornelius to ask you to tell all that you have been commanded by the Lord. Wouldn’t that be great?

I want to be used by You, Lord. Open ears that I may speak to them the wonderful things You have done in my life.

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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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DO GOOD

1 PETER 3:13

“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?”

Some people are intent on harming others. This “harm” spoken of here is nasty. The Greek word comes from kakos which means inwardly foul and rotten. Not very nice. So those who want to harm you aren’t doing this by accident. They want to hurt you. They want to see you suffer.

This verse gives us hope against them. Why? Because the Lord promises to protect us, especially if we “prove zealous for what is good.” He will be our shelter and tower of safety. The key is our desire to do good.

APPLICATION

No one wants their children to be harmful people. We want them to be doers of good. Our role as parents includes teaching our children how to do good. In fact, the verse says to be zealous for good. That means to be very passionate about something. What are your children passionate about?

I bet your children are passionate about something. It may be friends or video games. But something drives them. Getting them passionate about doing good for the Lord is a worthy goal. I don’t mean they need to be “do gooders.” But doing good for God through the power of His Spirit is a very good thing.

Are you zealous for good? If so, God steps in to guard you against those who would seek to harm you. Now listen, God doesn’t require you to do good to gain His love. He loves you unconditionally. We do good because we love Him. Do you love Him? Then be zealous for Him, and He will do good through you.

I want to be passionate for good. Give me the desire to please You in all I do. Make me a zealot for good.

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CLEAN OR UNCLEAN

ACTS 10:15

“Again a voice came to him a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’”

Acts 10:10-16 tells the story of Peter’s vision of the sheet lowered from heaven with all kinds of animals. He is told to kill and eat, but many of the animals were unclean according to the Mosaic Law. What was Peter to do? He replied he had never eaten anything unclean. I love God’s response in verse 15. God says He has made them clean, so eat.

The New Covenant had come through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Peter was just learning that. He knew things were different, but he didn’t realize how different. He was still learning. God used this vision to open Peter’s eyes to a new theology, one which included Gentiles as well as Jews. His journey was about to begin.

APPLICATION

I bet your children think some foods are unclean, lol. Foods like brussels sprouts or broccoli turn some children’s noses up. They had rather have ice cream and cookies, right? The next time this happens at dinner time, read them this story about Peter’s vision. Explain to them that Peter had a wrong idea about these foods.

Now, of course, the lesson here is not about the food. The lesson here is about sharing the Good News with everyone. It’s not just for our friends. It’s for the homeless person on the street corner. It’s for the prisoner serving a life sentence for murder. It’s for everyone! Period! Our job is to spread what God has declared as good to the world.

Are you faithful to share the Gospel with those around you? Maybe you aren’t living in such a way that your testimony is believable. You have a responsibility to be God’s missionary to those you come into contact with daily. He wants to use you to reach them for Christ. Will you do that? Will you share what He’s done in and through you to someone today?

Lord, what you have declared clean I will no longer call unholy. I want to be used by you to take the Gospel to those who are shunned by the world. Give me opportunities to do that today.

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