Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Fighting, Forgiveness, Gentleness, Harmony, Modeling, Parenting, Testimony

EXPLAIN YOURSELF

ACTS 11:2-4

“2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, 3 saying, ‘You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.’ 4 But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence,” 

Disagreements happen. Even among believers, disagreements can occur. If we aren’t careful, those disagreements can erupt into fights and then grudges. Before you know it, friendships are shattered, and things are said that cause hurt feelings. I have seen churches split over small disagreements.

Peter was facing a pivotal moment. He needed to explain what had happened in Joppa with the Gentiles. Jews weren’t supposed to associate with Gentiles, and he was accused of eating with them. You need to read the rest of the story (Acts 11:5 and following) to see how he explained himself. He simply told them what God had done. It wasn’t Peter’s plan. It had been God’s.

APPLICATION

Your children are going to have disagreements and misunderstandings with their friends. How do you, as a parent, help them navigate these troubled waters? Once again, how you handle these situations yourself will teach them. How do you handle disagreements with your spouse? How about with other family members? They are watching you. Are you in the wrong? Have you done something to offend someone? Make it right.

And if you are doing the right thing and are falsely accused, how do you handle the situation? Do you get defensive? Show your children how to deal with this. Allow God to come to your defense. Be like Peter and calmly state what happened or what you did. Peter couldn’t be held responsible for how his accusers received his explanation. He just needed to tell his story and trust the Lord.

Do you trust the Lord with your relationships? He wants you to have healthy relationships, not ones that are strained and troubled. You simply need to do what He asks of you and leave the results up to Him. Try that today and see what He does in and through you.

O Lord, I trust you with my eternity so surely I can trust You with my relationships. Guard my tongue from unkind words. Let my spirit be knit with Your Spirit every moment.

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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.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Gentleness, Harmony, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Peace

CHASE THE RIGHT THINGS

1 PETER 3:11

“’HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.’”

Peter continues to quote from Psalm 34 in today’s verse, and it’s a good one. The Psalmist gives us four actions to follow: turn away from evil, do good, seek peace and pursue peace. Those are pretty good things to chase after, if you ask me. You see, you really can’t do good until you turn away from evil. You can’t do both at the same time.

And then he says to seek peace and pursue it. I just love the word “pursue.” In the Greek it means like a hunter chasing his prey. I’m a hunter, so I can relate to that definition. When you get on the trail of the game you are after, you diligently chase it. That’s how we are to pursue peace. I like that.

APPLICATION

Have you ever played tag with your kids? I am sure you have. Let me tell you, the older we get, the more they win. LOL. You know how it feels when you are chasing someone doggedly. You don’t give up. Play a game of tag with your kids, making some mental notes of who chased who.

Then read them this verse and explain the word “pursue” to them. Tell them how important it is to chase after peace. We should do all we can to make sure we are being peaceful with others. We don’t stop doing that, just like they didn’t stop chasing after the person they were trying to tag in the game.

Are you pursuing peace right now? We too often stop short of our goal in that area. We think the other person should bring the peace, not us. But this verse applies to all of us. We should all be pursuing it. We should all be peaceful in our actions and behaviors.

O Lord, I do desire peace. I know You are the Prince of Peace. Help me pursue You daily and live in Your peace.

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Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, Godliness, Harmony, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Surrender

BLESSING OTHERS

1 PETER 3:9

“not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”

Peter completes the thought he began in verse 8 here in verse 9. And what a wonderful way to do that. We should not return evil for evil or insult for insult. That’s a never-ending cycle. Payback is not the answer. Peter tells us how to respond. We should bless others when they insult us.

How in the world do we do that? I mean, come one. Is that even possible? Not by yourself. This is only possible through Jesus. If we see and treat others as Jesus would, we would indeed bless rather than curse. Do you want to inherit a blessing? Then be a blessing.

APPLICATION

Oh boy! Our children need to learn this lesson. Our first response when insulted is to insult right back. Our children’s flesh is strong. We can’t expect them to conquer this temptation on their own. Until they come to a saving knowledge of Christ, we have to be the one to correct this behavior. We point them to Jesus each time we do that.

And once they come to Christ, the Spirit who indwells them directs them to follow Christ. Our job is one of discipling and modeling that behavior. That’s right! We must live out the behavior we want to see in our children. They will imitate us. Let’s help them imitate the right actions.

Do you lash out at those who insult you? Do you want a blessing? Then be a blessing. I know it’s hard. Actually, it’s impossible without yielding to Christ. Remember, Christ is the one blessing others through you. Let Him!

I want to bless rather than curse others. Help me hold my tongue when insulted. I trust You to speak blessings through me.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Harmony, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony

HAVE THE SAME MIND

1 PETER 3:8

“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;” 

I really like this verse. Actually, it’s one of the memory verses in a discipleship study I have led for years. If we could all live this verse every day, we would not have any problems with people. Peter starts out, I think, with the most important thing first – be harmonious. This Greek word is only used right here in this verse. It literally means divinely inspired unity, to think alike, to have the same mind.

Now the rest of these things listed (sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted and humble) make it possible to be harmonious. If you are doing all those things, there will be no problem in having the same mind. Are these easy? They are impossible outside of Christ. But with Him guiding you, they are a snap.

APPLICATION

Just try making your children be harmonious. Ha! It can’t be done. You can’t make anyone have the same mind. They have to want to do that. Our children are independent thinkers. If you don’t think so, spend some time with a toddler. That’ll teach you independent thinking. But we can’t live our lives that way. We have to learn to live in harmony.

We have to teach our children the value of harmonious living. You can practice this in your home. Learning to agree and think alike about things can only come through our mutual surrender to Christ in our lives. Apart from that, our flesh will reign supreme. Teaching our children the surrendered life is key to them learning how to live in harmony with anyone.

Are you a harmonious person? Or do you insist on your own way? Too many of us, myself included, can do that. Independent thinking is not a sin. We need to have ambition and drive. But we also have to consider others, especially those we do life with. Ask yourself today if the decisions you are making today will affect someone else. If so, talk to them first. Make your minds one.

I am guilty, Lord, of thinking too much about what I want. Direct my thoughts today towards others. Let me live in harmony today.

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