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PRIVATE TIME

MARK 13:3

“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,”

Can you imagine having a private, sit down meeting with Jesus? These two sets of brothers probably did this often. They had been the first 4 disciples chosen by Jesus. He often took three of the four out with Him. So, sitting with Jesus wasn’t an unusual thing for them.

Jesus had just told them the temple would be destroyed. They wanted to know when. Jesus gives them lots of warnings but doesn’t give the exact time. Those warnings still hold true today. Jesus is returning one day. He told us that. We can bank on that.

APPLICATION

Private time with Jesus is available to each of us. Teach your children that. They can take His word, find a quiet place and read and pray. Jesus loves meeting us there. Children need to develop that habit of quiet time. This is one thing they can carry all through their life.

You may have to do it with them to begin with. Quiet times have to be developed. The Word is a big part of that. Jesus speaks to us through His word. It is amazing how many times the verse(s) I read are exactly what I need that day. And then our prayer time allows us to talk to the Lord and share our desires and needs.

Do you have your quiet times daily? If you don’t, you are missing out. We may not can physically sit down with Jesus, but we sure can talk to Him. He will be there, waiting to talk. He will not be too busy. He won’t get distracted while you are talking. Just go to Him and enjoy it.

I am thankful that You are all ears anytime I come to You. Help me be more disciplined. I look forward to our next conversation.

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MY IMPARTIAL FATHER

1 PETER 1:17

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;”

Our Father judges impartially. What does that mean exactly? It means He is not a respecter of people in that He sees us all the same. You can’t be the teacher’s pet. We are all judged alike. That Greek word translated as “impartially judges” only appears right here in this verse.

This is a “if-then” statement. If you address, (then) conduct yourselves in fear. If you call Him Father, then live like it. You know what I like best about this verse, though. It’s the word “stay.” It means we are passing through, to dwell in a strange land. We don’t belong here. Praise God.

APPLICATION

Do you have more than one child? Then you know where I am going. Do you show favoritism to one child? Of course, not. You love your children equally. You may have more in common with one of them, but that doesn’t change the love you have for the others. But I bet you have been accused of loving one more, haven’t you?

Ask your children who they think you love more. “What Carl? I can’t do that.” Sure, you can. You know it’s not true. Just ask them. Then ask them why they think that. Read them today’s verse and explain you love them the same way. Because you love the Father, you love like the Father – impartially. That’s a model they can follow.

Have you ever felt you were judged unfairly? I have. It’s not fun. Isn’t it comforting to know our heavenly Father loves us equally. He loves us all completely. So why don’t we live like it. Peter tells us to conduct ourselves in fear. He doesn’t mean to walk around scared. He means with reverence and respect. Can you do that today for your Father?

Thank You, Father, for loving me and judging me impartially. I trust Your judgment. I pledge today to live my life to honor You.

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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.

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IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOD…

1 PETER 1:16

“because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’”

Leviticus 11:45 says, “45 ‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” Peter is quoting the Old Testament in today’s verse. Whom do you think he had in mind? He had spent over three years with the holiest man alive, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. He had experienced holy as we never will this side of eternity.

Being holy isn’t just about getting saved and attending church. Being holy means we lay aside all that was before and take up all that God is. We live in His righteousness. We love our enemies. We put others before ourselves. We dwell in His presence daily. We “put on” God each day as we encounter others. Holiness has nothing to do with our abilities. It has everything to do with surrender.

APPLICATION

Have your children define “holy”. I love to hear children give definitions of spiritual things. Most of the time they are right on with simple, undefiled definitions. They don’t over think it. They just share what comes out first, unfiltered. Make a list of their definitions.

Now go to this verse and also look at the passage in Leviticus. Ask them what they think Peter was saying and more especially what God was saying. Explain to them the biblical definition too. They need to know that but put it in layman’s terms. Don’t spiritualize it. We tend to do that too much, don’t we? Remember, holiness is not about us. It’s all about Him.

How are you doing living holy? Are you trying too hard? Surrender. Let God’s holiness pour out of you through the power of the Holy Spirit. After all, His name is HOLY Spirit. I think He knows a little bit about being holy. If you will let Him have complete control, holiness will ooze out of you.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty! I want to live holy and dwell in Your Holiness. Thank You for filling with Your Holy Spirit.

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KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE

MATTHEW 26:58

“But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome.”

Peter wasn’t stupid. He saw what was happening. Jesus had just been arrested and was being led away, probably to be put to death. The Sanhedrin had tried before. Now they had him, thanks to Judas. How could he do that? After all Jesus had taught them, Judas had betrayed him. Peter was keeping his distance.

Before you judge Peter, ask yourself how many times you have shied away from standing up for Jesus. In our situation we were only avoiding potential harassment or embarrassment. We weren’t facing the possibility of arrest and death. How can we keep our distance after all He has done for us?

APPLICATION

Do your children face ridicule and scorn at school for standing up for Jesus? Have they ever come home in tears because some other kid made fun of them for being a Christian? If they have, you have the perfect chance to encourage them. Read them this whole story of Peter’s denial and his ultimate shame. Remind them of Jesus sacrifice for them. We must stand tall in the face of persecution.

This world does not like Christians. That’s just a fact. Your children are going to encounter persecution, however slight it may seem. Standing for truth invites opposition. But we need to draw close to Him during those times, not keep our distance. Distance only increases the chance we will deny Him. Drawing close allows us to experience His loving embrace. That’s the message for our kids.

Are you a distance keeper? Do you hide the fact that you are a believer? Stop that! Take a stand. Don’t you believe Jesus will defend you? Don’t you know that no matter how harsh the persecution, you still win. No one can ever take your salvation away from you. Nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ. Stay in His footsteps. Don’t hide in the shadows.

Forgive me, Father, for the times I have kept my distance. I will trust You to defend me. I will stay close and feel Your embrace.

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WHAT DO YOU DESIRE?


1 PETER 1:14

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,”

What do you desire? I mean, what do you strongly desire? You see, the Greek word here for “lusts” is neither bad nor good. It all depends on the object of your desires. Peter is warning us here to not go back to the former things, those things that kept us away from God. Those things are never good.

However, we can “lust” or strongly desire the things of God. Do you hunger and thirst for His Word? Do you passionately pursue your time in prayer? I am as guilty as the rest in not spending enough time in either. I have my quiet times and pray, but in proportion to my other pursuits, how do they measure up?

APPLICATION

Ask your child what they like more than anything else in the world. They may name a game, a certain kind of food or a person. Ask them why that is so important to them. Now, this could get interesting, but just let them talk. Read them this verse and explain how we have certain desires (you may have to explain that word to them) before we get saved.

Then tell them the Holy Spirit moves us to change our desires. When we give our hearts to Christ, He puts within us a desire to please our Heavenly Father. That desire was not there before. We are guided by the Holy Spirit toward things that make us more like Christ and away from those old, selfish desires. We move from thinking about ourselves to thinking about others. Those former “lusts” are replaced by godly desires.

Are you holding on to some former lusts? Let them go. Let Jesus fill you with desires that honor Him. Those old desires will never draw you close to God. We have to lay them aside. You cannot hang on to them. Pursue the desires that come from Him.

I desire You, O Lord. Fill my heart with a passion to please You. Guide in my thoughts so all I do honors You.

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GIRDING

1 PETER 1:13

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Girding! That’s a funny word to me. The phrase “prepare…for action” could be translated as “gird.” The Greek word is only used right here in verse 13. Do you know what gird means? It has the word picture of someone wearing a long garment (as they did back in Peter’s day), reaching down, pulling it up and wrapping it around the waste. This was done when they had to move quickly or do some work which required bending and stretching. This gave them some freedom to move easily.

So, why would Peter use this word to talk about our minds? Because so many things can entangle our minds and not allow us think clearly and respond quickly. He is basically telling us to clear our minds of unnecessary things. That can be hard, can’t it? But we must do that to be ready to respond to the things of God.

APPLICATION

This can be a fun verse to talk about with your kids. Your little ones will especially like this. Get some fabric or find a long garment, one that goes to your child’s ankles. Now, you need to wear one too. They will love that, Dad. Once you are all dressed, go outside and have a race. See how easily you can run and jump with that long garment on.

Now it’s time to “gird” yourself. Show them how to reach down, gather up the fabric and secure it around their waist. Once you have all done that, do some more running and jumping. They will be amazed at that difference. Read the verse and make the application. They will get it and probably won’t quickly forget it (or seeing dad in a dress, lol). Visuals are so good with kids.

What’s hindering your action today? Do you need to rid your mind of some things to allow it to react quickly? God will show you how to gird your mind, to prepare it for action. But you must be willing to let some things go or at least put them on the back burner. Nothing is more important than being prepared to act when God calls. Are you ready?

Cleanse my mind today, O Lord. Let my thoughts be focused on You. Show me what You would have me do.

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