Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Inspirational, Parenting, Prayer

IT’S ALL ABOUT PRAYER

ACTS 1:12-14

“12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

What a difference in the response of these disciples. Before they had just gone fishing. Now, after Jesus has just ascended to heaven, they are back in Jerusalem and committed to prayer. I love that Luke says here “with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.” Those days with the resurrected Jesus had changed their focus.

All eleven of the disciples were present plus others, including Mary the mother of Jesus and His brothers. Wouldn’t you love to know how they were praying? They were waiting on the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Have you ever prayed with such anticipation? They were probably praying with one eye open, just sitting on pins and needles.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how excited they get the night before Christmas. Ask them to describe it. I bet they can come up with some pretty descriptive words. Explain to them that the disciples were just as excited about the coming of the Holy Spirit and were gathered in prayer. Ask your children to guess what they think they were praying about.

If your child can write, ask them to write out Peter’s prayer. Remember, they had just spent the past forty days or so seeing Jesus after His resurrection. He appeared to them on different occasions and now He was in heaven. Don’t you think that altered their prayer life?

Peter and the disciples were bound together in prayer. What binds you to fellow believers? Are you spending time with other believers praying for your church, your nation, or the lost? Prayer is everything to us. We need to spend time together talking to the Lord. Find some friends to pray with today. It will encourage you, I promise.

I lift my voice to You, O Lord. As I pray with others, remind us how we are knit together through Your Spirit.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Encouragement, Faith, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Suffering, Testimony

CARRIED SAFELY AWAY

1 PETER 2:19

“For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”

Today’s verse is the perfect example of why it is so important to dig deep into God’s Word and not take it at face value. What do I mean by that? I don’t mean to not value the Scriptures. I mean that the original language of the passage can often give us so much more understanding.

For example, the phrase “bears up under” may be interpreted to mean to just deal with it or to endure it. But this Greek word means to endure because you are carried safely away from danger. When you suffer unjustly, God is there to carry you away. How precious. He is there with you in the midst of the suffering and is ready to rescue you. That should comfort you.

APPLICATION

Do your children believe you will rescue them if they were facing danger? I bet they do. Ask them. I can just hear them now. Children, at least most of them, believe mom and dad can do anything. They trust you to come to their rescue if the need is there. And I am sure you would do anything you could to do that, right?

But what if they were suffering unjustly? How would you react? The Lord allows us to suffer unjustly in order to build our faith and trust in Him. Be hesitant about rushing in to rescue your child in this situation. You may rob them of a lesson God is trying to teach them. He will tell you when to respond. You have to trust Him.

Are you suffering unjustly right now? Many are. Rest in this verse today. Endure it knowing that you will be carried away to safety by the only one capable of doing that – the Lord Jesus. He has conquered death and the grave. He can surely conquer an unjust suffering you are going through. And when you are safely in His arms, give Him praise.

I will trust You to rescue me. I know You know what is going on in my life. Nothing can touch me that hasn’t gone through Your fingers first.

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LOOKING AT OTHERS

JOHN 21:20-23

“20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’ 23 Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?’”

Why do we compare ourselves to others? You can always find someone “lower” than you and someone “above” you. All we need to be concerned about is ourselves as far as the Lord is concerned. But Peter looks behind him and sees John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and couldn’t help himself. He had to ask Jesus about John.

Jesus was not one to pass on a teachable moment. I love the middle part of His answer. He said, “What is that to you?” Peter, don’t worry about John. Worry about yourself. You follow Me. I’ll take care of John. We would do well to heed Jesus’ words ourselves, right? Our first concern needs to be our own personal relationship with Him.

APPLICATION

Our children are prone to worry about how someone else is being treated. They want to make sure no one is treated better than them. I remember my brother-in-law telling me how he solved the last piece of pie debate with his two kids. One would divide the piece, but the other one got to choose which piece they wanted. Boy, that was the most evenly cut piece of pie in history, lol.

But the lesson for our kids from this verse is the same lesson Jesus gave Peter. They need to concentrate on their own faith walk first. Don’t worry if others seem to be getting “more” from God. He is not a respecter of persons. He is the most fair judge  there is. No one can persuade Him to treat them more fairly than they should be. Remind your children of that.

Do you look at others and envy them? Do you feel like they are being treated better than you? This verse is for you then. If our heart is surrendered to Jesus, we won’t care if others “get more.” In fact, we will be thrilled at the blessings they are receiving. God will take care of you.

Lord, I thank You that You are fair and just. I also thank You that You are always focusing me on my walk with You, not someone else’s walk.

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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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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.

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QUITE A CATCH

JOHN 21:11

“Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.”

From catching nothing the night before to an overwhelming catch! One hundred fifty three, not fifty two or fifty four! This catch was so big with large fish that the disciples counted the fish. John records the number of fish. Why? Because this was an unusually large catch. This miraculous catch of fish convinced them all that it was indeed the Master on the shore.

And Jesus tells them in verse ten to bring some of the fish to Him so they can eat, even though He already had some fish on the fire. Why? Matthew Henry’s commentary says He wanted them to eat some of their labor. He wanted them to taste of the miracle that He had just performed. Aren’t we all supposed to bring to the Master anything He has done through us? Peter ran to do that.

APPLICATION

How many fish can your children catch? When we have our Family Fishing Rodeos at our church, some of the children are especially good at catching fish. Some catch stringers full of nice fish to take home and eat. Catching fish is always fun.

Ask your children what they have done if Jesus had helped them “land the big one.” Would they bring the fish to Him or run off to show their friends? This lesson isn’t about the fish. It’s about bringing to Jesus whatever He chooses to do through us. He deserves all the praise, not us. Anything we do on our own is temporal. Everything He does through us is eternal.

What has the Lord done through you lately? Did you give Him praise for using you? I have known some people who love getting attention for things they do in the church. They love the praise others pour on them. Don’t be like that. If you are being used right now by the Lord, make sure everyone knows who it is who deserves the praise.

I thank You for using me, Father. Let all the praise be given to You. I am only the net You use to gather the fish.

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DON’T COVER UP

1 PETER 2:16

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.”

Peter gives us some very good advice in this verse and uses a word that is only used right here – the word covering. It actually means a covering, a cloak, a veil. What is Peter saying here? He is telling us, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to not pretend to be one thing while saying we are something else.

In other words, live truthful. Remember, we, as Christians, are bondslaves of God. We have willingly indentured ourselves to our Lord. We have committed ourselves to serving Him. If we are in service to Him, there is no room for doing evil. There is no room for cloaking evil in our lives.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever tried to cover up a wrong done? Most children will do that at one time or another. Perhaps they made a mistake or accidently broke something. That is not what I am talking about. I talking about deliberately choosing wrong and then trying to hide it. Read them this verse. You can’t get much plainer than this verse.

I remember when I was growing up, I did this on several occasions. I didn’t want to get spanked (and boy, could my dad spank). I would hide my wrongdoings. Some my parents never found out about. But guess what? God still knew. I became more aware of that after I came to Christ. I always knew it, but it wasn’t until I became a bondslave did it really sink in. The same is true for your kids.

Are you cloaking your sin? Are you hiding your wrongdoings now? God is aware. You can’t cloak your sins from Him. Confess those now and bow in obedience to His sovereign will. A bondslave loves his master and is loved by His master. A bondslave lives to please the master. Is that you?

Forgive me, Lord, for trying to hide my disobedience. Forgive me for not bowing before You each day as Your bondslave. Today I will bow and obey.

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