Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Denial, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Grace, Inspirational, Love, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Repentance

DO YOU LOVE ME?

JOHN 21:15-17

“15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ 16 He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ 17 He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’”

Do you get the feeling from this passage that Jesus is trying to get a point across to Peter? Most scholars agree that is was no coincidence that Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times just days earlier. I believe these three questions were on purpose.

But what you can’t see from the English is that Jesus uses a different word for love in the first two questions than Peter. He uses the Greek word agapao which is God’s kind of love. Peter replies with phileo which is a friendship kind of love. It was as if Jesus was asking him how deep was his love for Him – love like God loves or just as a friend.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how much they love you. They may stretch out their little arms and say This much! Don’t you just love that? My daughter, Casey, and I have this little thing we do when she tells me she loves me. I always reply I love you more. In fact, she gave me a key chain that says that on it. She knows I love her.

The question for us to really ask our kids is if they love Jesus. And I don’t mean just as a friend. Have they accepted Him as Lord and Savior and do they love Him with that agape love, a love that can only come from God? You see, His love accepts us just as we are and is totally unconditional. That’s real love!

How about you? How do you love Jesus? He has to be more than a friend. Friends come and go. Jesus is eternal. He deserves a deeper, richer love. If Jesus appeared to you today, as He did to Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and asked you Do you love Me, what would you say? I pray you would say I agapao You. Love Him today.

Father, I do love You. You have done so much for me for which I could never repay You. You are worthy of all praise, glory and love.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Denial, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Love, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Shame, Testimony

THAT LOOK

LUKE 22:61-62

“61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ‘Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.’ 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.”

My dad had “that look.” Words were not necessary. I knew I was in trouble when I got that look. Peter got “the look” from Jesus, but it wasn’t a look of coming discipline. It was more of “I told you so.” He had told Peter he would deny him, and so it happened.

It’s interesting that only Luke records this “look.” Who told Luke about this? I have to believe it was Peter himself. I bet he never forgot that look, although Jesus forgave him and restored him to leadership. That look pierced his soul.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if you have “that look.” I bet they say you do. You may not even be aware of the look, but we parents tend to develop it. It can come in real handy when you need to correct your child when they are across a room. They understand the look sometimes much better than words.

But don’t forget to restore them. Jesus didn’t leave Peter hanging with that look. He came to him after His resurrection and let Peter know He had faith in him. Our children need to know our love isn’t diminished due our disappointment in their behaviors. Our love is unconditional.

Have you received “that look” from Jesus? Jesus loves us enough to correct us, but His love is lessened. When you get “that look” immediately confess whatever it is you need to confess. Let His look do its work.

When You look at me, Jesus, I know it is with love. Help me to confess quickly and often. The last thing I want to do is disappoint You.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Denial, Encouragement, Envy, Evil, Hypocrisy, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Prejudice, Reputation, Slander

TAKE OUT THE TRASH

1 PETER 2:1

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,”

Some things just stink. And whether we are born again or lost, stinky things seem to want to hang around us. That’s why Peter tells us to figuratively take out the trash. He lists five things that have no place in a believer’s life. Are they in yours?

Malice is just plain badness – enough said. Deceit is wrong every time – misleading others. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you’re not – never good. Envy is holding a grudge which is the opposite of forgiveness. And finally, slander which is speaking evil of someone.

APPLICATION

Now, your kids are going to have to deal with all these things. Sometimes it may be them displaying these traits. If that’s the case, you need to deal with it quickly. Whether they are directing these to strangers, friends or family, these behaviors must be corrected.

They be the recipient of these traits. They never feel good. When you are attacked it hurts. These are the times when you must come alongside your child to encourage them and if need be, protect them. Teach your children to insulate themselves with the truth of the Gospel. Jesus is their true defender.

How are you doing with the trash? Have you put it all aside? Or are you hanging on to some of them? Our flesh loves to keep some “weapons” around, doesn’t it? Lay it all down. Put it all aside. Take out the trash. Don’t let the stinky things foul up your walk with Jesus.

Help me, Lord, to rid myself of those things that don’t smell like You. I want to reflect You in all my words and deeds. That’s not easy sometimes, but with You all things are possible.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Denial, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Service, Shame, Trust, Witnessing

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE

MARK 16:7

“’But go, tell His disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.”’” 

Oh boy, do I remember those days. I was quite the class clown and got sent to see the principal on numerous occasions. I wasn’t mean. I just loved making people laugh. Let’s just say the principal knew me well. His paddle did too.

I don’t know what the disciples were thinking when they heard these words from the women. But I bet Peter was thinking Oh no! What will I say? I just denied Him three times just as He said. Will He tell the others? Peter probably felt embarrassed and a little scared.

APPLICATION

Your child will probably do something that cause them to feel like I did. They, hopefully, won’t deny Jesus like Peter. But being ashamed is hard. When you have to deal with them, use this passage. Ask them how they think Peter felt. Ask them what they think happened when Jesus finally saw Peter.

Skip ahead and read that passage in John 21. Your children need to see how Jesus restored Peter to his leadership role. If hadn’t done that, Peter may have spent the rest of his life in deep grief and sorry. Jesus restored him because had just spent three years preparing him to accomplish his mission to a lost world.

What has Jesus been preparing you for? Will you let him use you? You may have unconfessed sins that are holding you back from being fully utilized by Him. Confess them today. Let Jesus use you to accomplish His mission. He still uses us. Let Him have you.

Take my life and use it, Lord. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me now so there is nothing in me that could thwart Your mission.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Denial, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Repentance, Scripture, Shame

FAILURE

MATTHEW 26:74-75

“74 Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’ And immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”

Epic fail! Peter realized immediately when he heard that rooster crow that he had failed his Master. He probably wanted to throw up. Can you imagine the thoughts that ran through his mind? This wasn’t a minor fail. He had denied Jesus threw times, just as Jesus predicted.

How many times have you failed our Lord? You’ve been told to do something, but you don’t. You know He placed someone on your heart to call or go see and you don’t. He places someone in your path to witness to and you walk away without doing it. Fail!

APPLICATION

Children are going to have failures. That’s part of learning and growing. I believe they can learn more from failures than successes if we help them. If we don’t, those failures can crush them. Losing can build character. Failing can do the same. You need to ask them what went wrong. How could have they prevented the failure?

They are also going to fail God. Tell them an experience you’ve had. They need to know you can relate. And then tell them how the Lord forgave you and showed mercy. They need to hear that. Read them this passage in Matthew and then skip ahead and read how Jesus forgave him after He resurrected.

Are you still living in failure? Take it to Jesus. He can forgive. Don’t put that confession off. It won’t go away. We have the God of the universe waiting for us to talk to Him. He wants to forgive. He wants to talk to us. Don’t make Him wait. Right now, bend your knee and ask for forgiveness for that failure. He’s ready to forgive.

I ask You to forgive me today for the many times I have failed You, Lord. Cleanse me and make me right in Your eyes. Show me how to be more obedient today.

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Denial, Direction, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Safety, Witnessing

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.

Standard
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.

Standard