Advice, Alone, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Courage, Cowardice, Direction, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Following, Inspirational, Obedience, Parenting, Salvation, Separation, Shame, Trust

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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Courage, Cowardice, Denial, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Joy, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture, Shame, Testimony, Witnessing

DANG ROOSTER

MATTHEW 26:33-35

“33 But Peter said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.’ 34 Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ 35 Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.’ All the disciples said the same thing too.”

Unfortunately, this is one of the most famous stories about Peter. He had pledged his undying allegiance to Jesus here in these verses only to deny Him three times (just as Jesus said) hours later. We forget that he wasn’t alone. The rest of the disciples (with the exception of John) deserted Him as well. Peter, however, bears the shame since Jesus addressed him directly.

I bet Peter couldn’t eat chicken for a while after this event. He had been so sure of himself. He would never fall away. He would never deny Him. Ask yourself what you would have done. We sit here 2000+ years later and say we wouldn’t do exactly what Peter did. Until you are facing death for your faith, you don’t know how you will respond. Don’t judge Peter too harshly.

APPLICATION

What is the application for us? Loyalty, I think. We need to work on our loyalty to Christ in the smallest of ways. This is what we teach our children. What do I mean by that? I mean, standing up for our beliefs when we are challenged. It means walking away from friends who are telling that “off-color” joke. It means not being ashamed of the gospel when the Holy Spirit prompts us to share.

We may not ever be faced with a life or death choice concerning our faith. We can, however, stand with Jesus every day. We can show our children our pride and joy of being known as a true believer. We can BE Jesus to our neighbors, even those who do not believe. Our children are watching us, just as those around that fire were watching Peter. What will you do?

Today you may be faced with a challenge to your faith. How will you respond? Will you shrink away or stand tall? People will test you. Satan will tempt you. Let your testimony be known among those you encounter today. Let there be no doubt with whom you stand – the King of Ages. He will stand with you.

I will not fall away. I will not deny You. Let my words be true. I do not want to fail You, Lord.

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Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cowardice, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Friends, Obedience, Parenting

WHEN FRIENDS DESERT

2 TIMOTHY 4:10

“for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.”

Just who was Demas? Well, Paul mentions him in the letter to the Colossians and also in his letter to Philemon. In both of these references it appears he is serving and loving the Lord. But…then we come to today’s passage. Some time has passed. Something has happened.

Paul says he has “loved this present world.” We don’t know what that means. Whatever lured him was responsible for leading him away from his faith. He abandoned Paul while he was in prison. That word “deserted” literally means to leave in a lurch, to walk away from. How sad and hurtful for Paul.

APPLICATION

Your children are going to have friends desert them. They will have friends who pretend to be friends and all of a sudden turn turn their backs on them for someone else. That is going to hurt, and there is no way to protect them from this. However, read them this verse. This has been going on for a long time. Even in this verse, Paul did not speak evil of Demas. He simply stated what he had done. Paul obviously still loved Demas.

It’s more important that we teach our children not to be a Demas. We do not want them to abandon their friends. That’s hurtful. And we sure don’t want them to walk away from their faith. That would be catastrophic. Ask your kids what they think drew Demas away. Ask them if there is anything that could draw them away. Then pray for their commitment to friends and faith.

Are you a faithful friend? Are you committed to Christ whatever may come? Don’t be like Demas who ducked and ran when things got tough. He probably knew Paul was about to die and decided he was better off back in the world. That is never true. Stay committed. The Lord will see you through any challenge you face, no matter how daunting.

O Lord, I can’t do this without You. Remind me daily of Your sustaining power. I want to represent You well.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Cowardice, Deception, Demons, Direction, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, Family, Fighting, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Satan

PREDATORS

2 TIMOTHY 3:6

“For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,”

The first word that came to mind when I read this verse was “predator.” A predator is someone or something that preys on a weaker species. They take advantage of their weaknesses and use them to their advantage. That’s what these people Paul is describing in chapter 3 do. They only think of self, of satisfying their own appetites. They have no regard for the emotional, physical or spiritual well-being of anyone else. So, they leave a wake of human tragedy behind them.

You need to know that the Greek word for “enter” here means to creep in. It doesn’t mean to knock and announce yourself. These people don’t do that. They are sneaky. And then they take you captive. You are led away as if you are a defeated enemy captured in war. But don’t be fooled. It is war.

APPLICATION

Oh, this is a fun verse to act out with your children. Have you ever played “Battle” or “War” with your kids? You’ve got to take the time to do this. You will need to get some more players and set up some battle lines, but trust me, it will be worth the effort. Kids love acting out scenarios. And when we can teach a Biblical truth at the same time – Bam!

Choose sides and start the war with the goal of capturing the other team’s flag at their headquarters. People miss the fact that stealth, covert (sneaky) tactics are usually much more effective than blatant frontal assaults. Once the game is over, talk about that and apply this verse. Satan is on the attack against us every day. The difference is the game you just played is temporal. Satan is playing an eternal game.

Are you prepared to defend yourself against the onslaught of the devil or his minions? Don’t just look for the obvious. Watch for the subtle things that distract you. Keep a look out for the things that don’t quite match up with the truth you’ve been taught. Above all, hold to your battle plan – follow the Master.

Lord, I will follow You in the deepest, darkest battle line knowing You will never lead me where You do not want me to go. And whatever comes my way in the battle, I will give You all the glory.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Cowardice, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting

DON’T BE A COWARD

2 TIMOTHY 1:7 

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 

Have you ever known a coward? I mean, someone who is frozen by fear and uncertainty? The word for “timidity” means that. It’s only used right here in 2 Timothy 1:7. It’s more than just being timid or shy. It’s more like coiling back and not responding. There is just no way you can live the Christian life that way. 

Something must have happened in Ephesus for Paul to write Timothy and tell him to not do this. Remember, he was a young man at the time. Perhaps some older men in the church were trying to intimidate him. As a young leader that is often the case. And without Paul around, they felt they could stir Timothy in their direction. We don’t know exactly what was going on, but we do know Timothy was dealing with something. 

APPLICATION 

You may have a very, shy child. That’s okay. Shyness isn’t sin. That is NOT what Paul is referring to. However, one of your roles as a parent is to build your child’s confidence and boldness. People who live in cowardice or timidity are easy prey for those who are brash and outgoing. You definitely don’t want that for your kids. 

And the best way to build that self-confidence is build them up in Christ. In Christ, there is no cowardice. We can take on the gates of hell with a water pistol when we are walking with Christ. In Christ, there is no need to shy away from a challenge because you are not the one doing the fighting. It’s Him. That’s how we prepare our kids to face life without cowardice. They do it all in Christ. 

How is your backbone today? Are you standing in the face of challenges that seem overwhelming? Good! Now you can let God handle them. Stand confident in the fact that He’s got this. There is no room for timidity or cowardice in your walk with Christ. Stand tall and proclaim victory. 

Lord, I know I am victorious only through You. My only hope for deliverance in the midst of a trial is stand and watch You work. I choose that today. 

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