Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith, Following, Glory, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

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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YOU ARE A PROCLAIMER

1 PETER 2:9

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may;” proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Many have memorized this verse. Most of us remember the first part but forget the second. Let’s take a look at that. Peter tells us we are chosen for a purpose. We are chosen to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

We tend to get stuck on the first part of the verse which makes us so special. But since we are chosen, since we are a royal priesthood and holy nation and since we are God’s own possession, He expects us to tell others. We are proclaimers of the good news of Christ.

APPLICATION

How hard would it be for your children if you asked them to keep a secret about something incredible? Suppose you have planned a fabulous vacation and you told your kids all about it but swore them to secrecy. Their little tongues would be chewed raw biting their tongues to keep from telling someone.

We should have the same excitement about what Christ has done for us. We should be busting at the seams wanting to tell everyone. But we relish in the chosen part without looking at the responsibility part. He saved us to use us to spread the good news.

Have you told someone lately how incredible Jesus is to you? Have you told them what He has done for you? Don’t miss an opportunity. Don’t simply rely on your position in Christ. Now, I don’t mean you HAVE to do anything to guarantee your salvation. What I mean is you should have a burden to share every chance you get.

Thank You for choosing me and claiming me as Your own possession. I belong to You. Help me spread the Word.

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YES, WE BELIEVE

JOHN 6:66-69

“66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ 68 Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’” 

Some of Jesus’ early followers fell away when His teachings became difficult. As long as He was healing people and performing miracles, all was cool. But when Jesus demanded commitment, they returned to their former way of life. If they had only known.

Peter and the other chosen disciples had been allowed to sit under Jesus and believed. Peter said, “You have words of eternal life.” They believed in Him. Was their faith perfect? Of course not. We see them struggle, but they believed to the best of their ability.

APPLICATION

I have written about this in the past, but it bears repeating. Parents, when your child comes to you professing Christ as Savior, don’t try to find holes in their testimony. Embrace their decision and work to disciple them into full understanding. We are often so quick to doubt their salvation because of their age.

Do they see themselves as a sinner in need of a Savior? Do they believe Jesus died on a cross and shed His pure, divine blood for them? Do they believed He was buried, rose again the third day and ascended to heaven? If they believe that and confess it with their little tongue, the Word says they are saved. Who are you to doubt that?

Your job as parent is to make them into a disciplemaker by investing your time in them. They must be taught how to study the Word. They must be taught how to pray. They must be taught how to live the Christ-life daily. That’s your job – not doubting their salvation. They have said as Peter said, “We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” Believe it!

Lord, I believe. Help me encourage all of those who come forth proclaiming their belief. Help me make them into disciplemakers, too.

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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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STILL FISHING

MATTHEW 17:24-27

“24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?’ 25 He said, ‘Yes.’ And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?’ 26 When Peter said, ‘From strangers,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are exempt. 27 However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.’”

What a strange story. It seems to appear out of nowhere and have nothing to do with Jesus’ ministry. Oh, but it does. Did you know this tax for which they were collecting was for the support of the Temple? It wasn’t a Roman tax, but rather a Jewish tax. Jesus was fulfilling Jewish law by paying this. He was showing Peter that He meant to support the temple, not fight against it.

I bet Peter thought He was a little crazy, though, when He said to go catch a fish and find the tax money. I’ve caught a lot of fish and have found a lot of things in their mouths. But I have never found money. Boy, if I did I would fish every day, lol. Jesus was providing what was needed at the time, nothing more. He still does that today, does He not?

APPLICATION

The next time you write that check to the church or put money in the offering plate, you can tell this story. Your children will definitely think this story is cool. Money in a fish’s mouth? Really? But that miracle isn’t the point of the story. Make sure they understand that. The story is about Jesus fulfilling His Father’s will. He came to fulfill and complete the law.

Jesus just chose an interesting manner to do it. He was exhibiting His omnipotence to His followers and doing what was expected in paying this tax. Explain to your children that they too can be a part of a miracle by giving to support the church. Now, we don’t pull coins from fish, but we do support ministries that change lives. The church supports missionaries around the world who touch lives who may have never heard the name of Jesus.

I bet you could find some money in an unusual place today to give to the Lord. You may have something you are not using anymore that could be turned into cash for the kingdom. Your child may have some toys they have outgrown. Sell them and lead them to give that money to missions. They and you will be finding “coins in a fish,” in a sense. Now, that’s cool.

Father, all I have is Yours. Help me see how to make it all available to the furtherance of Your kingdom. I want to be faithful to whatever You ask me to give.

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OUR SENTINEL

I PETER 1:5

“who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Peter uses an interesting word here for “protected.” It’s not the usual word we see in the New Testament. This Greek word is only used four times and has the idea of actively displaying whatever defensive and offensive means are necessary to guard. In other words, God is going to protect us, no matter what. That’s pretty reassuring.

He is protecting us to preserve our salvation “ready to be revealed in the last times.” In simple terms, that means our salvation isn’t going anywhere. The perseverance of the saints is referred to here. Our salvation is forever. In the last days, when we are called to glory, the fulfillment of our salvation will be revealed. Until then, God is our sentinel, guarding it for His glory.

APPLICATION

Do your children understand that you serve as their sentinel? As mom and dad, we are to protect and guard our little ones. Ask your kids what that means. Ask them how they think you guard them. Better yet, get them to draw a picture. I love kids’ pictures. They are so revealing.

After talking about their pictures, explain to them how you actually do that. And also tell them the limitations. You can’t always be there. You have to sleep. You have to go to work. Unlike you, however, God is always there. And once they are His, once they give their lives to Christ, He guards their salvation forever. That’s real protection.

Do you have that protection? Do you know the assurance of that salvation? If you don’t, what are you waiting on? If you do, rest in Him. He’s got you covered. He’s not going anywhere. Isn’t that good news worth sharing? Tell someone today what you have. I bet they will want it too.

Thank You, Lord, for protecting me. Thank You for securing my salvation all the way to glory. I cannot wait to see the fulfillment of my salvation with all the saints.

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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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