Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Courage, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Humility, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Sanctification, Scripture, Suffering, Testimony, Witnessing

DOING GOOD REGARDLESS

1 PETER 3:17

“For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”

This just sounds backwards, doesn’t it? You shouldn’t suffer for doing what is right. You should only suffer for doing the wrong things. At least that is what we think. But God doesn’t think like we think. Boy, I’m glad that is true, aren’t you?

So, what does this verse mean for believers? At times the Lord will call on us to suffer. Suffering is NOT punishment. Suffering is a gift. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. In the midst of suffering we discover God in a whole new way. Others see Jesus in us and are encouraged in their own faith or perhaps drawn for the first time to give their lives to Christ. We must stand up for what is right, no matter the cost.

APPLICATION

Teaching suffering to our children is no easy thing. We don’t want to see our children suffer. They may not understand why they are suffering for doing the right thing. These are teaching moments. Don’t overlook them just trying to soothe your child. You shouldn’t tell them to suck it up and get back on their feet either. It’s okay to feel hurt. That’s normal. We comfort them through God’s Word.

Suffering is a teaching time for our children. Perhaps you are going through a tough time right now. Maybe the Lord has led you into a suffering season just to model how to handle it for your children. Embrace it and live like Jesus. Your kids will never forget how you suffer for Him.

This is not a subject we want to talk about. We don’t want to suffer, especially when we are doing all the right things. We want to be blessed and be found faithful. You can be blessed through suffering also. Trust me, I know. Everyone’s suffering is different, but it is the same God who sees us through.

I will embrace the suffering You have for me, Lord. I know You know what is best for me. I trust You to teach me through the suffering.

Standard
Advice, Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Godliness, Inspirational, Life, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Perseverance, Reputation, Scripture, Suffering, Testimony

GOOD CONSCIENCE

1 PETER 3:16

“and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”

What does it mean to “keep a good conscience”? Let’s break this down a bit. Actually, the Greek word translated as “keep” in this verse means to have or possess. The word “conscience” has the idea of the God-given capacity to know right from wrong. So, Peter is saying that no matter what others may say about us, as long as we know what we are doing is right, don’t worry about it. They are the ones who will be shamed.

Have you ever had someone put you down for something you have done? I have. I prayed about and had a perfect peace that what I was doing was God’s will. But because it went against or interfered in what someone else wanted, they ridiculed or at the very least questioned my intentions. All you can do at that point is trust the Lord and go on.

APPLICATION

Children face this all the time from their peers. It gets worse in the middle school and high school years. Whenever your child stands up for what God tells them, they are sure to be made fun of by others. It’s just the day in which we live. Living a life of integrity and purity is almost looked down on by those who choose to live another way.

As parents we hate to see them come home in tears or sullen. Our job is to encourage them with verses like this one today. Remind them that in the end those who have given them a hard time will be shamed. In the meantime, they are to continue to live for Jesus and trust Him to guard their hearts. Is it easy? By no means. But the end result is the key. He will reward the faithful.

How is your conscience? Are you remaining true to Him? Stay faithful, my friend. Allow the Lord to show you the big picture. Ask Him to give you a glimpse into the possibilities before you. He will as you surrender. He doesn’t want to keep secrets from you. He wants you in on His plans. Follow Him.

O God, I will trust You in the difficult circumstances. I will allow You to guard my heart as others attack. I will count it a privilege to suffer for You.

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, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Conceit, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Godliness, Humility, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Praise, Scripture, Worship

JUST A MAN

ACTS 10:25-26

“25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am just a man.’” 

I have known people who would love to be worshipped. In fact, most of those people worship themselves. They think they are God’s gift to humanity. They walk around looking down on everyone, because they know they are better than them. Or so they think.

I am not trying to rude or uncaring. It’s just a fact. Our flesh loves to be worshipped. But Peter was having none of that. The instant Cornelius fell to his feet, Peter didn’t just speak to him. He raised him up and said, “I too am just a man.” In other words, there is only one God and I am not Him. Peter knew where worship belonged.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse for our kids because they can develop heroes who they idolize. Sports figures, singers and movie stars are just some examples. None of these people have the right to be worshipped. We must direct our children to the One who is worthy.

Let me go further. We believers can put pastors or Christian leaders on a pedestal. Guess what? People on pedestals tend to fall off. I have had the privilege to know several “famous” individuals. They are just human, like us. And the ones I respect the most always pointed me back to Jesus. They knew where all the credit lies.

Are you an idol worshipper? Do you put people on pedestals? Maybe you are the one on the pedestal. You long for people’s praise. Be very careful. As I said earlier, there is only one God and you are not Him. He alone is worthy of praise and worship.

I worship You and You alone. I praise you for all You have done in my life and will continue to do. Thank You, Lord.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Righteousness, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

BLESSED IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 3:14

“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,” 

You are probably thinking right now, Carl, you are crazy! Blessed in suffering? Really? Well, that’s what the verse says. Don’t get mad at me, lol. It’s interesting that you don’t hear that preached much. Why? Because people don’t want to suffer. I don’t. No one welcomes suffering. It’s just not in our nature.

But let me tell you, as one who has gone through some suffering, when you are in the midst of it, you feel the blessing. I don’t want to give the impression that I enjoyed it. Not for a minute. But the blessing you feel can only come from one source – Jesus Christ. He seems to come closer when you are suffering. When you are chosen to suffer for righteousness, you will feel the blessings.

APPLICATION

Okay, let’s be real. How do you teach your children about suffering? We sure don’t want to see them suffer, even if it is for righteousness. The best way to show them this is by our faithfulness in suffering when it is brought upon us. Or when you see fellow believers suffering, make sure you talk to your kids about it. They can learn a lot by you doing that.

As we watch others suffer righteously, we are encouraged in our own faith. As we see the Lord working in the lives of other believers, we see just how He can work. God seldom works in the same way time and time again. He “customizes” His approach to the individual. Show your children that. He will customize their blessings as well.

Are you suffering right now? Give God the glory for allowing you the privilege to suffer for Him. That may sound strange to you, but I promise He is with you. Allow Him to use you in the lives of others. That’s part of the blessing you will receive. Be that blessing.

I will praise You for the suffering You allow in my life. I am not grateful for the suffering itself, but for the results of it in my life and the lives of others.

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Following, Holiness, Husbands, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Testimony, Witnessing

WITH THEIR OWN EYES

1 PETER 3:2

“as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” 

It’s one thing to hear about someone’s reputation. It’s another to see it with your own eyes. Peter is telling the wives that their husbands will be won to Christ by what they see in them. The way they behave towards their husbands could be the difference between heaven and hell for their husbands.

I have known people who act one way at home and a whole different way at church. Our behavior as believers is a twenty-four hour, seven days a week responsibility. We don’t get to take off days and live like we want to. Too many people are being influenced, especially family.

APPLICATION

Have you ever had your child’s Sunday School teacher tell you what a joy it is to have your child in their class? I am sure you are glad to hear that. But what if you heard that after a morning of screaming and yelling to get them dressed and out the door for church. I am sure you might think how nice it would be to see that kind of behavior at home.

Teaching our children to live consistent lives for Christ is hard. It’s hard for us to do that. Maybe that’s the problem with our children. They see us live one way at home and another at church. We have to model what we expect from them. Our lives are being observed by little ones every day. We can’t afford to “take a day off.”

How about you? Are you consistent in your walk? Don’t let your inconsistency influence someone to walk away from Jesus. You may not even be aware that someone is watching you to see if they want to respond to His call. You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.

I want to reflect Your life through my actions and behavior. Help me walk with You daily to influence those around me to follow You.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Teaching, Witnessing

TRUE KNOWLEDGE

Acts 4:13

“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.”

Where did these guys get their knowledge? That’s what the crowds were wondering. These men were ignorant fishermen. How could they know so much now? They hadn’t been to school. They weren’t educated men.

I love it says “they were amazed.” The Greek word there means they were astonished out of their senses. This didn’t make sense, until… They began to realize that Peter and John’s wisdom wasn’t from themselves. It was from Jesus. Jesus had taught them well the past three years.

APPLICATION

You may have a brilliant child, one that makes all A’s. Well, congratulations. But your child needs to know that didn’t all come from him. God made them with the ability to learn and retain that knowledge. God made them able to study and do well on tests. Yes, we have to do our part, but it is the Lord who empowers.

If you have more than one child, you have probably noticed they have different learning styles. One may be a visual learner while the other one is more auditory. Neither is wrong. God equips us to learn according to how He made us. God spent three years equipping Peter and John as they spent time with Jesus. With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, all that knowledge is pouring out.

My sister-in-law once said she wasn’t going to any more Bible conferences until she started living out all she had learned from the previous conferences. So true. Knowledge is great, but it needs to be put to good use. Peter and John used their new found, God-given knowledge to lead others to Christ. What will you do with yours?

I am thankful for the knowledge You have given me of Your Word. Give me opportunities to share with others. Give me courage to speak out when called upon by Your Spirit.

Standard