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GOOD SEED, BAD SEED

1 PETER 1:23

“for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

When I was growing up, I worked for a few years at a Feed-N-Seed store. We sold all kinds of seed to the local farmers and to small garden folks. The important thing was to sell them good seed. There is nothing much worse than to spend money on seed, plant them and nothing happens. We had to make sure the seed was imperishable.

Peter is telling us here that we have been born again with seed that is imperishable. And what is that seed? He tells us. It is the living and enduring word of God. God’s Word will never perish. He will always produce fruit.

APPLICATION

How about teaching this verse to your kids in their own little garden? Make it fun. Get some various seeds from your local nursery. Get some pots and fill them with potting soil. Now, plant those seed, but save one. In that pot plant a jellybean. Explain that you have to wait a while for the seed to sprout.

Boy, when you see that first sprout your kids are going to be so excited. But wait! Is the jellybean pot sprouting? Of course not. Jellybeans don’t sprout. Explain to your children the difference. You have to have the right seed. Only the Lord has the right seed that can make us imperishable. We are destined for heaven.

Have you stopped to thank the Lord today for your salvation which you received through that imperishable word? He planned it all for you. He cared enough about your salvation that He made a perfect way.

Thank You, Lord, for the imperishable Word. Thank You that it is the source of my growth and knowledge.

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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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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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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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NOT MY WORDS

1 PETER 1:11

“seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.”

Can you recognize the central word of this verse? Nope – not Spirit. Nope – not Christ. It’s a little word, but oh, how important. It’s the pronoun “He.” Why do I say that? Peter is referring to the prophets in this verse, but “He” refers to God. Everything they spoke came from God. He gave them the message, and they delivered it.

So, in this verse God is predicting the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. The prophets weren’t making the predictions. Only God knew what was to come. That is true today. People may make predictions, but only God knows for sure. Be careful predicting the future. Make sure if you speak for God that they are His words.

APPLICATION

It is so important for our children to know this principle. We plan and plan for their future. Only God knows what that is. Now, it is important to plan. We need to teach our children to plan. You’ve heard it said that to fail to plan is to plan to fail. But we can’t plan without hearing from the Lord. That is the first and foremost principle our children need to learn from us.

How do we teach our children to hear from God and only speak His words? By keeping them in His Word and by praying to Him. Reading and speaking! Listening and meditating! Spending time with Him is the only way. If we don’t show them how important this is in our lives, they will never make it a part of their lives.

Are you hearing Him? Are you listening? Is He speaking? He always is. Once you hear you have the responsibility to speak for Him. God still uses you and me to speak to others. Speak boldly. Speak often. Let His words course through your veins and bring the good news to others.

I am listening, Lord. I want to only speak Your words, not mine. Speak through me.

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ARE YOU GOOD AT MATH?

MATTHEW 18:21-22

“21 Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”

I have always liked math. I know – call me a nerd. But there is something about solving math problems and completing the formulas. But I don’t think the Lord was playing math games with Peter here. This answer to Peter’s question was about much more than the number of times he was expected to forgive.

Jewish law taught they should only forgive someone three times. So, Peter was already more than doubling that number when he said seven. I bet he thought Jesus would say, “That’s more than enough.” But Jesus says, “Seventy times seven.” He didn’t mean four hundred and ninety. He meant we should always forgive. The number of offenses is not the issue. It’s all about our willingness to forgive.

APPLICATION

Has your child needed to forgive someone? How about more than once? If they have siblings, chances are they have. What a great verse to share with them the next time. Forgiveness is not for the person you are forgiving. Forgiveness is for you. You may have heard the expression that unforgiveness is the only poison you drink and hope the other person dies. When we don’t forgive, it eats at us, not them.

Now, I am not saying it is easy. I am not saying to forgive and instantly trust that person again. What is clear from this passage is that Jesus wants us to forgive them every time. That’s enough for me. He knows we can’t change their heart by our forgiveness. But He does know it will change our heart. That’s His message to us. Forgive!

Is there someone you need to forgive today? Have you told them? Why not go to that person and tell them so. They may not even be aware of the hurt you are feeling. They may be aware and not care. That’s okay. Forgive them anyway. Just think of the thousands of times the Lord has forgiven you.

Forgiveness is such a hard thing at times, Lord. Help me forgive those who are truly unforgiveable. I know You can give me the ability to do so.

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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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