Advice, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Encouragement, Eternity, Evangelism, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender

A HARD SALVATION

1 PETER 4:18

“AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?” 

Peter seems to quote from Proverbs 11:31 here. He expands on this verse to give us its full meaning, though. It is no easy thing for a righteous person to be saved. Their selfish ambitions, pride, fleshly desires and overall desire for sin are in the way. Only the Holy Spirit can draw them to a point of repentance and confession leading to salvation.

However, the godless man will not turn. They see no desire for change. The Greek for “what will become” is actually better translated “where will they appear.” The godless sinner will not disappear at death. They will appear again at the judgment. There is no escape.

APPLICATION

This is kind of a harsh verse, huh? But it is the truth. Our children need to be nurtured and taught to listen carefully for the call of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He calls us all at different times. Some children hear His call at an early age. Others don’t hear it until they are older. But their ears need to be tuned to Him.

How is that made possible? By filling their hearts and minds with the Word of God. The Spirit speaks through the Word. Did you know that most people come to Christ before the age of fourteen? These are crucial years. These are years where you have the privilege to speak Jesus into their lives every day. Then let the Spirit do His job.

When did you hear His voice? I heard it at sixteen, clear as day. He spoke to me as I was singing a solo in my youth choir practice the day before we left for a choir tour. He told me plain as day that I was lost and need a Savior. I yielded right then to His call and have never looked back since. Praise be to God.

Thank You, Lord, for not ceasing to call me. I thank You that You are still calling people today. Use me as Your mouthpiece.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Elders, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Kindness, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prejudice, Qualifications, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

LOVE STRANGERS

1 PETER 4:9

“Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”

All we hear today is stranger danger and for good reason. The world is an unsafe environment. Here, however, Peter tells us to love those strangers. The Greek word for hospitable comes from two Greek words, philos, which is brotherly love, and xenos, which is stranger. We are to love strangers.

It is interesting to me that this word is only used two other times where it is listed as a qualification for an elder. But here it is expected of all believers and with a qualifier. We are to do this “without complaint.” That literally means without murmuring or grumbling. Now, that’s hard, right?

APPLICATION

What a lesson for our kids! When they observe us doing this, they can get a glimpse of what real love is all about. Loving strangers because Jesus loves them is the key. Now, we should not be foolish and abandon all common sense. God doesn’t expect us to be foolish. But when opportunities present themselves, we need to be ready to show hospitality to those strangers God has placed in our paths.

How can you safely teach your children this? How about volunteering at the local soup kitchen? Maybe you could prepare sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless. Perhaps you could do a good deed for that neighbor on your street that no one likes or really knows too well. There are all sorts of ways to be hospitable. And remember, no grumbling.

You are probably saying, Well Carl, I don’t have the gift of hospitality. That’s a cop out. We have, through the Holy Spirit, access to all the gifts. Sure, we have primary ones which the Lord has gifted us with, but all the gifts are ours through Him. If He tells you to show a stranger kindness, don’t argue with Him. Just do it. You will be blessed!

I don’t feel comfortable approaching strangers, Lord, but I will do that as You lead. I will trust You to give me the words to say and the actions to take.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Freedom, God's Will, Gospel, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation, Witnessing

GOD’S CHOICE

ACTS 15:7

After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

I am so grateful that the Lord chose me. Peter stands at the famous Council at Jerusalem to defend Paul and Barnabas’ mission to the Gentiles. Some were arguing that the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be true believers. Peter recalled his own defense of preaching to the Gentiles and their receiving the Gospel. I am thankful for his defense.

Just think. If the Council had agreed with the other side, we may be under so much law again. But we are free in Christ. We don’t need to add anything to the Gospel to be accepted by the Lord. Our salvation rests in the fact that we Admit we are sinners, Believe Jesus died for us and Confess our belief to God. A-B-C. It’s as simple as that.

APPLICATION

Don’t add to your children’s belief requirements. I have written about this too many times. Some parents want to be so sure about their child’s decision to follow Christ that they put off celebrating it. Just like the Gentiles who had no knowledge of God, our children come into this world clueless about the Father. It’s our teaching and training that gives them the knowledge. God, in His perfect time, draws them to Himself.

And when they admit, believe and confess, we should shout it from the highest roof top. We should begin right then the process of disciplemaking that will lead them to be a disciplemaker. Matthew 28:18-20 applies, not only to world missions, but also to our own family.

Aren’t you thankful God’s choice was to offer the Gospel to the Gentiles? I sure am. Are you doing your part to spread the Word? There are so many around us who need to hear it. Find someone today and tell them the good news.

I am so thankful for Your choice to share Jesus with me. I will do my part today to share Him with others.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Prayer, Reputation, Safety, Suffering, Testimony, Witnessing

FALSELY IMPRISONED

ACTS 12:5

“5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.”

Peter seemed to be in and out of prison a lot. The religious leaders did not want him preaching the Gospel. So, they threw him in jail time and time again. Peter was not hindered. God kept using him. He wasn’t afraid of prison bars because he knew he was free in Christ.

Let me ask you a question. If you were threatened with jail if you didn’t stop preaching about Jesus, what would you do? That probably won’t happen in the United States (and I say probably because things seem to be changing quickly). But it is a real threat in many parts of the world. People are praying for those who face this threat, just like people were praying for Peter.

APPLICATION

One thing we need to teach our children is to not fear sharing Jesus. It is hard for many of us to do that. We are afraid the person may get mad at us or that we may hurt their feelings. Help your children develop way to share without being harsh. Living for Jesus daily speaks volumes. Help your children tell others what Jesus has done for them.

But most importantly, help them to understand that if they are faithful to share His good news with others, God will take care of them. Now, that doesn’t mean they will be spared from insults or ridicule. It could even lead to more serious consequences. But we are safe in the arms of Jesus.

Are you willing to face the consequences for obeying Jesus? Or are you more concerned with your reputation? Peter had a mission, and nothing could keep him from it. You and I have that same mission – to spread the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

I am ready, Lord, to suffer for You. I don’t like saying that, but I know You will see me through whatever comes my way. I want to be obedient to share Jesus.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, Forgiveness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Testimony, Witnessing

IN A NUTSHELL

1 PETER 3:18

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”

This verse IS the Gospel in a nutshell. This verse says it all. Jesus died for all to forgive us of our sins and rose again to give us eternal life. I have heard it said we should have our testimony down to an elevator conversation. Do you know what that means? We should be able to share our faith in about as much time as it takes to ride on an elevator with someone.

That takes practice. You have to cover all the bases. You need to tell where you came from and what God has brought you to. Do you have a story to tell? Well, of course you do. If you are a believer, God has done a miracle in your life. He has rescued you from a sure damnation to a glorious salvation. That’s worth talking about.

APPLICATION

Our children can be taught to do this also, once they come to Christ. Help them write out their salvation. Then start whittling it down to a 12-15 second conversation. What? Yep! That’s about how much time you would have on an elevator. That may be the amount of time they would have with a friend at school between classes.

Help them practice sharing it so it’s second nature. It doesn’t need to be preachy. It needs to be practical and personal. Then help them develop a list of friends to whom they want to share their story. Be prepared to celebrate when their friends come to Christ.

Are you seeking out others with whom to share? Are you ready to share your story? Write it out and practice it, if necessary. But whatever you do, do it. Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. Make it a priority. Pray for those friends you know need Christ and prepare to share with them the life-changing story of your life.

Point me in the right direction today to share with someone the love of Jesus. Give me the words to share to get it across clearly and concisely.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Forgiveness, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Repentance, Surrender, Witnessing

THEY’RE SAVED?!

ACTS 10:44-45

“44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”

Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen in years and learned they are a believer now? You knew them in their B.C. (Before Christ) days and are shocked they are saved. I mean, you’re glad and excited, but still you’re shocked. That’s kind of what happened here. The circumcised believers with Peter were shocked that God had saved these Gentiles.

What a great verse to show God desires that everyone be saved. He loved these Gentiles. He had sent a message to Cornelius to have Peter come and share the Gospel with them. They heard and believed. Don’t ever think someone is unreachable. It’s not you who draws them to Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit working through you.

APPLICATION

Teach your children to share the Gospel. I never cease to be amazed at the boldness of children in sharing their faith. They don’t have the fears of rejection we adults have built up over time. Children just want to talk about Jesus. We could learn a lot from them.

So, help them prepare their Gospel message. Help them share what God has done for them. Help them share what God has done for their family. Help them make a list of friends they want to share their faith with. And most importantly, pray with them. Seek the Lord’s guidance, because He is the one who will direct them to the people to share.

Do you have a list of names of people you want to share Christ with? Have you prayed for those people today? If God has placed them on your heart, it’s for a reason. Seek those individuals out today. Ask the Lord to give you the words and the opportunity to share. He will!

Father, thank You for drawing me to You so many years ago. Put people in my path today to whom I can share Your message.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Family, Following, God's Will, Harmony, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Prejudice, Scripture, Separation, Witnessing

UNPARTIAL

ACTS 10:34

“Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,’”

These words of Peter should be music to our ears. God does not show favorites. The phrase “show partiality” is one Greek word that is only used right here in this verse. It means to be a respecter of persons. Think about it. What if God only picked a few people to save because of their skin color or eye color. Unfortunately, that is what we do.

If we are to live like Christ, we must also show no partiality. They say the most segregated time of the week is Sunday mornings. Whites go to their churches. Blacks go to theirs. Hispanics go to theirs and so on. Why? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all worship together? Wouldn’t it be great if we were “color blind” on Sundays?

APPLICATION

Our children must be taught the no partiality thing early in life. In fact, we must teach them that God loves everyone – period. The world will begin to bombard them with prejudices early in life. This not only applies to skin color. It applies to any prejudice you can think of. The kid others make fun of is loved by God, so our children should too.

Let me encourage you, mom and dad, to nip this in the bud (to borrow a Barney Fife phrase). Don’t let prejudice remain in your household. God wants to use us, just like He used Peter, to reach people groups we might not normally be drawn to. You will be amazed at the response, if you will simply be obedient.

Do you battle showing partiality? Most of us do. It’s normal. It’s human. But we are called to live above that. I bet you could think of a dozen reasons God shouldn’t love you, but He does. He takes you just as you are and transforms you into something beautiful. Don’t you want to be a part of that in someone else’s life?

Father, show me my prejudices. I want to confess those to You as sin. And put those people in my life You want me to have relationships with, regardless of who they are.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Following, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY?

ACTS 10:33

“‘So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.’”

I have to think Peter was thinking of this account with Cornelius when he wrote 1 Peter 3:15 “…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” Peter had no idea what to expect when he arrived at the home of Cornelius. He had to be ready.

Cornelius had no idea what to expect from Peter. He only knew God had told him to send for Peter. He was willing to hear whatever Peter had to say regarding his faith in Jesus Christ. What an opportunity lay before Peter. God had thrown it wide open for him.

APPLICATION

What will your child do if they are asked as Peter was asked by Cornelius to share what they know? Our children do not have to have all the answers. They just need to be able to share what Christ has done for them to their friends who ask. You can help them prepare for this by rehearsing it with them.

Role playing with your child is a great way for them to learn to be comfortable with sharing their faith. Pretend to be their friend asking about Jesus. Let them talk about Jesus in their own words. After the role play give them some tips if needed but praise them for the way they shared.

Pray someone may send for you. Pray the Lord will use you to share Christ to someone who is seeking. God may just send a Cornelius to ask you to tell all that you have been commanded by the Lord. Wouldn’t that be great?

I want to be used by You, Lord. Open ears that I may speak to them the wonderful things You have done in my life.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

ALWAYS READY

1 PETER 3:15

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

Are you ready? Peter is asking you that in this verse. We need to be ready at all times to defend our faith. The word “ready” in this verse implies that all the preparations have been made. Think about that for minute. What kind of events do you prepare for? Social events, family vacations and celebrations of all sorts are prepared for by all of us. We don’t think twice about spending inordinate amounts of time preparing for events that are temporal.

But when it comes to preparing ourselves for things which could affect someone’s eternity, we don’t bother. That’s the preacher’s job. That’s the church’s responsibility. No!!!!! Every believer has the responsibility to prepare themselves to “give an account for the hope that is in” them.

APPLICATION

Listen Mom and Dad. You have to spend time preparing your child to defend their faith. They will be challenged. They will be ridiculed. They will be made fun of. You can bet on that. You arm them with truth. You prepare them for battle. Only the Word of God can be used in this battle. So, they have to believe in its truths.

When I see a child who is able to explain why they believe, it warms my heart. I know an adult has spent time with that child explaining the “whys” to them. It was probably mom or dad, but it could have been a Sunday School teacher or Awana leader. Whomever does it doesn’t matter as much as that it is done. Don’t send your child into the world spiritually unarmed. They must be ready.

Too many believers do not arm themselves for the onslaughts of the devil. Oh, he’s real. And he loves to attack those who are unprepared. Take some time and learn how to address those who question your faith. Tell them what God has done in your life. Give them some real life examples of God’s Word in action. That will give them something to think about.

Lord, I know I cannot take on the schemes of the devil without You. But with You I can storm the gates of hell with a water pistol because You are with me.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, Inspirational, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Resurrection, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony, Witnessing

ARISE

ACTS 9:40

“But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.” 

Acts 9:36-43 tells the story of Peter raising Tabitha (Dorcas in the Greek language) from the dead. What a wonderful story. Isn’t it? There were many friends of Tabitha there when this happened, so the word spread quickly throughout Joppa. What do you think happened?

Verse 42 tells us. “It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” This is the reason the Lord worked through Peter to raise Tabitha. It really wasn’t about her. It was about all those who would be led to the Lord. Bringing the spiritually dead to life is much more important than bringing the physically dead to life.

APPLICATIONS

Did you know your children are dead before they come to Christ? They are spiritually dead waiting to arise. As parents we pray for our children’s salvation and rejoice greatly when they surrender to the call of our Lord. You may be parents of unsaved children. Don’t stop praying. God is still raising dead people.

Once your children are saved and walking with the Lord, your job is to keep them “alive.” What do I mean by that? Walking in newness requires daily dying to self. Wnhe you die to self, you have to get up and walk with Christ through His life. You die and then arise. You surrender to Jesus daily and allow Him to direct your steps. Your children need to know this truth.

Are you dead or alive? Are you the dead Tabitha or the alive Tabitha? Your risen life in Christ can be used, like Tabitha’s, to draw many others to Jesus. Wouldn’t that be awesome? By your daily surrender to Him, others can see Jesus in you. Arise!

I want to walk in newness of life with You today. I lay my life before You to use however You desire. I want to draw others to You through my surrendered life. 

Standard