Advice, Beauty, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Contentment, Encouragement, Flesh, Gifts, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting

INNER BEAUTY

1 PETER 3:3

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;”

You have probably heard that beauty is only skin deep. If Peter had heard that expression, he may have used it right here in today’s verse. It’s interesting that the word “adornment” is the Greek word kosmos which means worldly affairs, the world, the universe. We get our word “cosmetics” from this root word.

Now, I am not saying that all cosmetics are worldly. I am glad we have them. I just think we need to heed Peter’s words here. Beauty isn’t about the external, whether that be cosmetics, fixing your hair or wearing the latest fashions. Real beauty comes from the inside. And real, real beauty is only given by God.

APPLICATION

So, how do we apply this verse to our children? Easy, don’t let your little girls wear makeup, lol. Just kidding. But we should teach our boys and girls that the external isn’t as important as the internal. How you look is important, but it shouldn’t be what drives us. In other words, there is no reason to spend hours and hours in the bathroom getting ready.

Now, I am sure I will get cards and letters about this blog. That’s okay. I am just looking at what Peter said. The external is just not as important as the internal. God makes you beautiful, not Maybelline. All the cosmetics in the world can’t cover an ugly heart. Amen?

How’s your inner beauty? Are you allowing God to adorn you? He will. He will exercise the fruits of the Spirit in and through you today. Nothing is more beautiful than kindness, gentleness and self-control. Let Him work through you this day.

I am beautiful only because of You. Adorn me today with Your glory so others will see You in me.

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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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Advice, Bible, Busyness, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Completeness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Light, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting

JUST TO MAKE SURE

1 PETER 2:6

“For this is contained in Scripture: ‘BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.’”

Peter hinted at this verse (Isaiah 28:16) a few verses earlier. Perhaps he just wanted to make sure we didn’t miss his reference to it, so he actually quotes it here. He wanted to leave no doubt. He didn’t want us to miss this point. There is something to be said for repeating ourselves.

Have you ever needed to repeat yourself to get your point across? Boy, I have. In fact, when I teach kids, I often will repeat my points two or three times. Repetition is a great way to learn something. I bet you already knew that, though.

APPLICATION

Have you ever helped your child learn a new memory? How did they learn it? I know how. They said it over and over. Repetition helps us remember. The real question isn’t if they can memorize. The question is what are they memorizing.

Challenge your kids to memorizing verses. Make it a game with real prizes. But be ready. Kids are notoriously competitive. The more verses the bigger the prizes. But don’t stop with quoting them to each other. Challenge them to share those verses with friends and strangers.

Are you memorizing any verses? Don’t use the excuse you are too old. You are never too old. Don’t use the excuse you don’t have time. You make time for everything else. Remember, repetition is the key. Make sure you share your newly memorized verse with someone also. Maybe even challenge them to memorize.

Lord, thanks for reminding me over and over again. You aren’t afraid of repeating Yourself to get Your point again. I’m glad Peter heard You and did the same thing.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Encouragement, Eternity, Foundation, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting

PART OF A HOUSE

1 PETER 2:5

“you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

I love watching one particular home renovation show. They take older homes and redo them into unique living environments without giving up what made the house to begin with. Sometimes the end result is quite surprising.

We are going to be a part of a spiritual house in heaven. Christ, the living stone, will use us as living stones to build it. In fact, it’s already being built. We will be part of the ongoing “renovation” that is taking place daily as saints are added to the house. It’s hard to imagine, but one day we will see the end result and won’t be surprised at all.

APPLICATION

Challenge your children to a house building competition with blocks. See how tall you can make them. Undoubtedly, they will topple over at some point. Build them again. Who doesn’t like playing with blocks? Lol

Now, explain the spiritual house using those blocks. As you add more blocks tell your kids that we are called living stones who will be part of the spiritual house. The only difference is God can build His house as tall as He wants. It won’t topple. He’s been building it for centuries.

Do you feel like a living stone? If you are a child of God, you are. You will be a part of the most glorious house ever built. Now, we won’t be stuck in a wall like stones and mortar. But we will make up the spiritual house God is building. And if He is building it, we can rest assured the end result will be perfect.

I praise You for using me as part of Your house. I know You have chosen the perfect spot to place me. I am Your living stone.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Friends, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Parenting

THE INNER CIRCLE

MARK 5:37

“And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James.”

Have you ever been one of the inner circle, the in-crowd? When you are selected for that honor, you may wonder why you. Right? Jesus selected Peter, James and John to be his closest disciples. I wonder why. Why not Nathaniel or Andrew? We don’t know, but we can be sure that Jesus had a reason for selecting these three.

King David has his mighty men, but also had the three mightiest.  The Trinity is comprised of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three seems to be an important number in Scripture. But the point of this devotional isn’t the number three. It’s about being in that inner circle. Guess what? We are all part of that group now. Jesus sent His Spirit to live in us to bring us in.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever been pushed out of an inner circle of friends? Friends can be cruel. They will probably be a part of many close-knit groups through their life. Some will be social. Some will be work related. And others will be spiritual. Those are the ones you need to focus on. We need to steer them towards those groups that will feed their souls.

How do you do that? Well, first you need to have them involved in a Bible teaching church so they can spend time with like-minded friends. You need to encourage them to participate in retreats and Bible studies. They need to develop relationships with other kids who share their worldview. You play a huge role in that.

Are you engaged in a group like that? We adults need that too. That need for closeness doesn’t end at childhood. Who is in your inner circle? Can you depend on them to be there? Make sure Jesus is the center of your group. Make sure you are following His desires as you do life with your circle.

I am so thankful I am part Your inner circle. I know You are always there and that I can always depend on You. I love You, Lord.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Encouragement, Faith, Glory, God's Will, Inspirational, Promises, Salvation

YOU’RE G0ING TO GET WHAT’S COMING TO YOU

1 PETER 1:9

“obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

When we hear “you’re going to get what’s coming to you,” we usually think that’s bad. If you’ve done something bad, that may be true. But that’s not the case in today’s verse. Peter is telling us we are going to reap the outcome of our faith at some point. And that is the salvation of our souls. Now that’s something to look forward to.

The Greek word for “outcome” is telos. We get our word “telescope” from it. In fact, this word can be illustrated with the old pirate’s telescope, unfolding one stage at a time to function at full-strength. Your faith will unfold fully one day to your full-blown salvation. Your faith grows up until the day you receive your salvation reward.

APPLICATION

Why not make a pirate’s telescope with your kids to explain this verse? Get some cardboard tubes and make one. Make sure it will slide out in at least three sections. Help them draw on each tube and label them Faith 1, Faith 2 and Faith 3. After the tubes are put together, slide them all out and write SALVATION across all three tubes.

Now, collapse the tubes and open them one at a time. Explain how our faith grows as we grow in Christ. Show them the tubes labeled Faith 1 and Faith 2. But also show them the letters that are showing for the word “salvation.” The word is growing. Open the third tube with Faith 3 and now showing the full word “salvation.” Our salvation is “full” when it reaches completion in glory.

Is that too elementary for you? Maybe. But our salvation is really not that complicated. God promises us an outcome of our faith. It’s the salvation of our souls. Believe it. If you are His child, you will get what’s coming to you. And that’s a good thing.

Lord Jesus, I am thankful for the promise of my salvation. Your promises are true! I look forward to the fulfillment of them all one day in glory!

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WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?

MATTHEW 16:16-19

“16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ 17 And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.’” 

Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi could be seen as a pivotal point in the life of Peter. Here he is, a fisherman. But he is realizing this man he is following is more than just a rabbi. He makes this declaration and Jesus commends him. He, in a sense, empowers him right there to lead the church that is to come.

Do you understand that the moment you declare Jesus as Christ, He empowers you to lead also? Once you are His child, He comes to live in you through the Holy Spirit and wants to use you to expand His kingdom on earth. Jesus could save everyone immediately, but He still chooses us to do His work. Just like Peter, we have to answer that question, “Who do you say that I am?”

APPLICATION

Kids love knock knock jokes, don’t they? They can come up with some silly ones. We laugh and go along with them. Jesus doesn’t use these, however, to reveal Himself. He doesn’t play games with identifying Himself. He wants to disclose Himself fully to each of us. I believe He wants to do that as early as possible in a child’s life. He doesn’t expect them to fully understand everything about Him before accepting Him as Lord.

Many parents want to make sure their child is totally clear and knowledgeable before making their decision public and getting baptized. Do you think Peter fully understood Jesus when he made that confession? Hardly. He still had much to learn. Yet Christ confirmed his belief at the level it was then.

Who do you say Jesus is? Do you fully understand who He is? No one does. We won’t know Him fully until eternity, but we have the opportunity to learn more each day we surrender. As we do that, Jesus shows us more. Oh, the joy of learning more.

Praise You, Lord, for revealing Yourself to me. Help me grasp who You are. And then let me share with others.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, Inspirational, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Service, Surrender, Witnessing

THE FIRST

MATTHEW 10:2-4

“2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.”

Of all the apostles, Simon, “who is called Peter,” is listed first. You could suppose that was because he was the very first one called by Jesus. But I think it was more than that. He was the only one whom Jesus changed his name. He was making a point. Simon would now be called Peter. He called him a rock, specifically a pebble that could be thrown.

Some scholars argue this referred to his future role as leader of the church. Jesus appointed Peter to be resolute and firm, compared to his original rashness and hot-headedness. Whatever the reason, Peter is the first of the disciples. Jesus chose him first. Jesus changed his name. Jesus used him fully. Jesus saw in Peter what he couldn’t see himself.

APPLICATION

Children often pick teams when they play games. I remember being chosen for teams during recess play times. No one wants to be chosen last. If you were picked first, it usually implied the one picking saw you as a good player and one who could help win the game. You had skills or at least the ability to make the team stronger.

Your child will probably face that situation and may come home dejected from being the last one chosen. Take them to this verse. “But Carl, won’t that make them feel worse?” Just wait! Listen, Jesus chooses ALL of us. We ALL have something to provide the team. Jesus sees in us what we can’t see ourselves. He sees what He will do to make us whole and complete. We just have to say “yes” and allow Him to use us.

Will you say “yes” today? Will you allow Jesus to make you part of His team of ministers spreading the gospel to a lost world? Peter was a fisherman. He was uneducated. He was brash and crude. But Jesus transformed him into the leader of the early church which shook the world. Jesus did in and through Peter what Peter could have never done on his own.

Father, take me and use me however You choose. Knock off my rough edges. Make me into an instrument of Your choosing.

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POURED OUT

TITUS 3:6

“whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”

Notice the first word of this verse – “whom.” Whom? Someone is poured out? That’s right. You have to look back at the last two words of verse 5 to understand this. It’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is “poured out upon us richly.” And look at how this done. “through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Only He can do that. That’s why He came. That’s why He ascended back to heaven.

At salvation Jesus infuses us, pours out on us the Holy Spirit. He fills every pore. He indwells us. How? Richly! Abundantly! Jesus doesn’t give us part of the Spirit. He doesn’t measure out a portion of the Spirit based on our potential. No! He sends THE Holy Spirit, all of Him, to fill us. He fills each of us simultaneously. That blows my mind.

APPLICATION

It’s important to remember that the same Holy Spirit that fills you as a believer is the same Holy Spirit that fills your child. You are connected by something far more powerful than shared DNA. The third person of the Trinity indwells both of you. How do you teach your children this? Well, I’ve got a simple object lesson that falls far short, but it gives a visual.

Get a large plastic tub. Fill it with water. Then get several glasses or jars, one for every family member. Label the tub “Holy Spirit.” Submerge each glass into the tub until all of them are under water. Ask your child which one is the fullest. Of course, they are all full. Explain to your child that’s how it is with the Holy Spirit is us. We are all filled without affecting the fullness of the other. And our filling does not diminish the ability of the Holy Spirit to fill others. The Holy Spirit is still whole. He just makes us part of His wholeness. Amazing.

Now, you can tear this analogy apart, I’m sure. Don’t analyze it. Just look at it as a simple object lesson to represent a Biblical truth. The Spirit has been poured out on every believer. And not just a small drop. No, richly! Abundantly. We are filled! Will you surrender to that fullness today?

O God of the Universe, thank You for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I have no reason to not do as You ask because You are in me. Help me pour out Your Spirit on others.

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THREE GOOD F’S

2 TIMOTHY 4:7

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;”

Most of the time when you hear someone has three F’s you think failure. But not this time. Paul has “fought,” “finished,” and remained “faithful.” Those are three awesome F’s. First, he fought the good fight. Both the verb “fought,” and the noun “fight” come from the same Greek word from which we get the word “agony.” It means to strive as if in an athletic contest or a battle.

He finished the course. The word for “finished” has the word picture of the old pirate’s scope that unfolds to complete it for use. It reaches an end. And “course” is a race. Paul has come to the end of his race. Finally, he kept the faith. He has guarded and protected the faith he has proclaimed. The most important thing about these three F’s is they are all in the perfect tense which means the action has lasting results. That’s cool.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they think it’s okay to fight. If you have taught them well, they will probably say it isn’t. Then read them this verse and explain some fights are worth fighting. We have to be ready to defend our faith. Have they ever run a race? If so, they know the fulfillment of completing that course. All the energy expelled is worth it when they cross the finish line. One day they will experience that, if they are a believer, when they finish the race we are in as Christians. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

And how do we teach them to guard the faith? By teaching them the truth of God’s Word. It’s not just a Sunday, feel-good book we read. It guides every decision they make. It is the truth above all truths. When they understand that, they will eagerly defend it against all attacks, thus defending their faith. The three F’s are still worth pursuing.

How’s your report card? Are you fighting, finishing and staying faithful? Sometimes we get tired in the fight. Don’t stop. The Lord is there to lift your hands. We get weary in the Christian race. Don’t throw in the towel. Keep your eyes on the finish line. And keep defending your faith against the enemy. Don’t give him an inch.

I will pursue these three F’s today. Above all I want to please You, O Lord my God. I know my efforts are strengthened through Your Spirit who indwells me, making all things possible.

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