Parenting, Child Rearing, Child Raising, Alone, Suffering, Comfort, Encouragement, Bible, Grace, Courage

GRACE IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 2:20

“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.”

No one wants to suffer, right? Who wants to suffer at any time for anything? Peter’s words here, though, should encourage us. Why? Because of one little word toward the end of the verse – “favor.”

Now, that word is a precious word. Do you know what the Greek word is there? It’s charis. This is also translated “grace” throughout the New Testament. So, what Peter is saying is God extends grace to you when you suffer for doing right. God sees what is going on, and He remembers you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He is watching and observing.

APPLICATION

Teaching this life principle to children is difficult. It’s hard on the parents, as well. No one wants to see their children suffer. So, when they do the right thing and suffer for it, we want to defend them. We want to retaliate against those who have harmed our little ones.

But our children must learn this principle too. Facing ridicule from friends for taking a stand for Christ could happen. Being passed over for a part in that play because of their Christian testimony could happen. But God’s grace is sufficient for them. He will see them through those difficult times. He will show them favor.

Have you suffered unjustly? What did you do? I hope you didn’t seek revenge. God allows things to happen in our life for a reason. Perhaps He allowed that unjust suffering so He could extend grace to you. As I said earlier, He is not caught off guard at your suffering. He is very aware. Trust Him to bring you through it.

Father, I don’t want to suffer. Who does? But I will trust You in the midst of it. I will wait on Your grace and favor.

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YOUR BOSS

1 PETER 2:18

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.”

It’s easy to be submissive to your boss when he’s nice and treats you right, isn’t it? But Peter doesn’t say that. If he had just stopped with “gentle.” Right? But he continued on with “but also to those who are unreasonable.”  Come on, Peter. Couldn’t you to pull up short once?

But that word “unreasonable” needs explaining. It’s more than that. The word means crooked, perverse, unfair, curved or tortuous. Have you ever had a boss like that? I have once, a long time ago, and it was tough. I wish I could say I was always submissive, but I can’t. But he was my boss, and God intended for me to submit.

APPLICATION

This is one of those verses our children need to hear early in life. They will have to submit to others all their life. When they get their first job, they may have a boss who is “unreasonable.” They are to submit. They may have teacher who is “unreasonable.” They are to submit. Submission is not weakness. It’s strengthening. Why? Because our ultimate submission is to God who gives us the strength to submit to others.

I remember counseling my own children regarding bosses they have had. My advice has always been to submit (unless it was illegal or immoral). If God gave them the job, then He intended for that boss to be in their lives for a reason. I know my children both learned from “unreasonable” bosses in their past, which has prepared them for where they are now.

Are you one who is always complaining about your boss? Stop it! Begin praying for your boss. Ask the Lord to give them spiritual eyes. If they aren’t saved, pray for their salvation. Maybe the Lord intended for you to be there under them for just such a purpose. Thank God for your boss today.

Father, thank You for those who are authorities in my life. May they be blessed with Your love and mercy. Give me the attitude to bless them in Your name.

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YOUR TESTIMONY

1 PETER 2:12

“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

So often Christians are ridiculed and made fun of by the world. Sometimes, as in persecuted countries, Christians are seen as evil or lawbreakers. This was the case in Peter’s day. Not only did the Jews hate the Christians, the Roman government persecuted them.

Peter is telling the believers to continue living in an excellent way. Let their behavior talk for them. He wanted those who persecuted them to see their good deeds and eventually glorify God. This “day of visitation” is hotly debated among the scholars. Some think it meant a day of judgment while others believe it was a day of blessing. Either way, we must conduct ourselves as He would have us live.

APPLICATION

This is a perfect verse (not that all verses aren’t perfect) to talk with your children about. They understand behavior, whether it be good or bad. Ask them what they think “excellent” behavior is. It doesn’t mean they have to be perfect. The word actually means to behave in such a way to inspire others to want to act like you. Be a role model.

How many times have you told your older children to do that? How many times have you said, “Be an example for your brother”? This is the verse to use to back that up. God’s word says it, not just you. You want them to behave in such a way that you can glorify God. Right?

How are you living right now? Do your work colleagues even know you are a Christian? Walk the walk. Your faith is personal, but it’s not private. Everyone we meet should know what we believe and why we believe it. We should live in such a way that they too can be drawn to a saving knowledge of Christ and give God the glory for our testimony. Is that you?

O Lord, help me live in such a way that others see Jesus in me. Let me never say or do anything that would drive them away from You.

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HEY BROTHER

JOHN 1:40-42

“40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).”

Matthew, Mark and Luke do not record this calling of Andrew and Simon (Peter). The other three Gospels record the calling around the Sea of Galilee and their fishing boat. There’s no mention of either in John. That’s what is so beautiful about God’s Word. When you take it as a whole book, it gives a much fuller picture of the story.

So, here’s Andrew, Peter’s little brother, bringing his big brother to Jesus. And he does that with this message – “We have found the Messiah.” I want you to ask yourself this question. Who have I brought to the Messiah? Anyone? Your family? Friends? Strangers?

APPLICATION

Ask your children what great news they would bring to their siblings, if they have them. If they don’t, ask them what they would say to friends or other family. What is the best news they could possibly tell them? They may give you an answer like “Look at this great game I just got.” Maybe it would be “Did you hear where we’re going on vacation?”

Andrew was excited to share about the Messiah. If your children are believers, they should have that same excitement for their own siblings or family members. They should want to tell everyone. One way I can always tell a child has really understood their salvation is they can’t wait to tell someone.

Are you excited about telling someone? Who have you not told? Do it today? What’s the worse they can do? Get mad? Better that than dying and going to hell. Andrew risked Peter blowing him off, but he couldn’t contain himself. Will you risk it today?

I will share with someone today? Lord, open the door for me. And when You do, give me the words to speak.

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JUST A TOUCH

LUKE 8:45

“And Jesus said, ‘Who is it that touched me?’ And when all denied, Peter said, and they that were with him, ‘Master, the multitudes press thee and crush thee.’”

Have you ever been in a huge crowd where you are being pressed from all sides? I always keep my hands on my wallet and keys because I am afraid of getting robbed. Lol. Here Jesus and the disciples are going through a crowd and someone touches Him. Jesus wants to know who touched Him and Peter says Are you kidding me?

The point wasn’t being touched. The point was someone touched Him intentionally to be healed. Jesus wanted that person to acknowledge their touch. Don’t you think He knew who touched Him? Of course, He did. Her faith was on display for all.

APPLICATION

Have you ever played tag with your children? I bet you have. Well, this “tag” is nothing like that game. In the game you are trying to touch someone to get rid of something. This woman was touching Jesus to receive something.

The next time you play tag give everyone several good things everyone else wants. Make little tags to pin to their clothes. The only rule is each time they get tagged, they have to give up one of their tags. Now at the end, you can decide who the winner is. Is it the one who gives all his good things to others or is the one who gains the most tags? It really depends on your perspective.

Think about it for a second. Did Jesus ever pursue getting things from others or was He constantly giving away? We have the same ability through the Holy Spirit if we will just stop being so selfish. Share your blessings. Give to others. Let others “touch” you. You will be blessed in the end.

I am so thankful You fill me with blessings I can share. I know they are given for that purpose. Put others in my path today, Lord, whom You would have me bless.

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THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

MATTHEW 26:69-72

“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean.’ 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ 71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ 72 And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’”

My dad always said, “You will be known by the company you keep.” Now, he told me that to steer me away from people who might lead me astray. In the case of Peter, he was recognized as being one of Jesus’ followers (being in His company). While that may seem like a good thing, at this moment, it could have gotten Peter in hot water.

So, what does he do? He denies knowing Jesus. Remember when Jesus warned him he would deny Him? Well, today’s verses are the first two denials. Two different servant-girls accused him, and both times he denied it. He wanted nothing to do with Jesus at the moment. How soon he forgot.

APPLICATION

Your children will have to choose who they hang out with. Some of those choices will be good and some will be bad. Only time will tell. Your role as mom or dad is to point them and guide them towards the right company. You may have to help them choose when their judgment gets a little off.

Peter chose wrong in this situation. He chose to blend into the crowd rather than standing up for his friend. Your children will face similar choices as they grow up. Do they choose popularity or safety over loyalty? These are hard lessons but are necessary ones. Don’t let them slip by.

Do you avoid being recognized as a follower of Christ when it becomes uncomfortable? What exactly makes you uncomfortable? Remember all Jesus has done and is doing for you. You have an obligation to Him. You have given Him your life. You belong to Him. Stay loyal and true.

Lord, give me the courage to stand tall in the face of opposition. I want to be known as Your friend. I want others to see Jesus in me.

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KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE

MATTHEW 26:58

“But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome.”

Peter wasn’t stupid. He saw what was happening. Jesus had just been arrested and was being led away, probably to be put to death. The Sanhedrin had tried before. Now they had him, thanks to Judas. How could he do that? After all Jesus had taught them, Judas had betrayed him. Peter was keeping his distance.

Before you judge Peter, ask yourself how many times you have shied away from standing up for Jesus. In our situation we were only avoiding potential harassment or embarrassment. We weren’t facing the possibility of arrest and death. How can we keep our distance after all He has done for us?

APPLICATION

Do your children face ridicule and scorn at school for standing up for Jesus? Have they ever come home in tears because some other kid made fun of them for being a Christian? If they have, you have the perfect chance to encourage them. Read them this whole story of Peter’s denial and his ultimate shame. Remind them of Jesus sacrifice for them. We must stand tall in the face of persecution.

This world does not like Christians. That’s just a fact. Your children are going to encounter persecution, however slight it may seem. Standing for truth invites opposition. But we need to draw close to Him during those times, not keep our distance. Distance only increases the chance we will deny Him. Drawing close allows us to experience His loving embrace. That’s the message for our kids.

Are you a distance keeper? Do you hide the fact that you are a believer? Stop that! Take a stand. Don’t you believe Jesus will defend you? Don’t you know that no matter how harsh the persecution, you still win. No one can ever take your salvation away from you. Nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ. Stay in His footsteps. Don’t hide in the shadows.

Forgive me, Father, for the times I have kept my distance. I will trust You to defend me. I will stay close and feel Your embrace.

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