Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Eternity, Faithfulness, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Rejoicing, Suffering, Teaching, Witnessing

CROWNED

I PETER 5:4

“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

Did you know the Bible mentions five crowns believers may receive from the Lord? Here is a link that shows all five.

https://images.app.goo.gl/uHNGkAp8QQz2j6Ny5. They are the crown of life (Revelation 2:20), the crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19), the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25) and the crown of glory (here in 1 Peter 5:4).

This last one, which we see in today’s verse, is given to those who feed the flock. Peter is writing to the elders, encouraging them feed the flock. This is a special task recognized by the Lord and deserving of a special crown. Not everyone who goes to heaven will receive that crown, and that’s okay because we will all lay any crowns we receive at His feet anyway. Right?

APPLICATION

Now you may wonder how in the world this verse applies to our kids. We should teach our children about these five crowns. Who knows, perhaps your child will be one who feeds the flock. Your child may be used by God to teach the Word to others. Your child may be a soul winner, thus earning the crown of rejoicing.

The point is this – God sees what we are doing down here. We aren’t overlooked. He knows exactly what we are doing and why. He is so pleased when we are obedient out of love for Him. He wants to bless us and reward us. That’s the message to our kids. Please the Lord.

Perhaps the Lord has chosen you to receive the crown of life for suffering for His sake. What an honor. Not everyone is chosen for that. Are you concerned with pleasing Him? I sure hope so. I pray your motivation isn’t just to receive something from Him. Our motivation, your motivation should always be out of love for what He has done for you.

Father, I am grateful for my salvation. I know one day I will receive crowns, but they all belong to You. You alone are deserving of praise.

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REJOICE IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 4:13

“but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”

What a happy verse! You are probably saying Carl, are you crazy? Let me explain. You have to understand the words used in this verse. For instance, the Greek word for “share” is koinóneó. It’s the word we associate with fellowshipping. That’s usually a happy time.

And the Greek for “rejoicing” comes for the same root word for joy and grace. How happy is that? Finally, the Greek word for “exultation” has the idea of leaping for joy. Now, you can’t tell me that’s not happy. You see, the word that throws us in this verse is “sufferings.” You don’t see that as happy. But Peter is telling us here that we should rejoice in those times.

APPLICATION

The next time your children get overjoyed about something, read them this verse. Ask them if they have ever been happy about suffering. I bet they say no. Ask them if they think it is even possible to be happy (to rejoice) in suffering. This is a really hard concept to understand, especially for children.

Explain to them the key part of this verse is “at the revelation of His glory.” When Christ is fully revealed in all His glory, whether that be while we are still alive or after we have long been in heaven, we will rejoice. Get your kids to act out that word exultation (leaping for joy).  Measure how high they can jump for joy. Make it a game. Then make sure they know that jumping off the ground doesn’t really measure their joy. That’s a heart thing that only God can measure.

Are you jumping for joy? Do you rejoice in your times of suffering? I don’t mean your self-induced sufferings. I mean those sufferings on behalf of Christ. When we suffer for Christ, our hearts should leap for joy knowing we are being counted worthy of His sufferings. Amen?

No one likes to suffer, Lord, me included. But I will suffer for You when I am called upon to do so. I will consider it an honor to suffer in Your name.

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ARE YOU READY?

1 PETER 4:6

“For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”

This could be a confusing verse if you don’t look at it closely. What is Peter saying here? People who have been persecuted and killed (judged in the flesh) are now alive in the spirit. You see, people may kill your body for standing for Christ, but they cannot kill your spirit.

Why do we fear death and persecution? No one wants to suffer, of course. But our mortal bodies are simply the vessels God has given us to use on this earth to advance His kingdom. When we “give up” these bodies, where do we go? Heaven! So, there is no reason to fear death, no matter how it comes.

APPLICATION

Most parents shy away from talking to their kids about death. We are afraid it will scare them. Don’t do that. Talk about what death means for a Christian. Let them know how precious our eternity is. Death is nothing to fear. Death is simply a portal from this physical life to the next.

This may seem like a morbid subject to discuss with kids. It’s only morbid if we treat it like that. Celebrate life with your kids. Celebrate death of a believer with your kids. As Peter says in today’s verse, “they may live in the spirit.” We live, after death, in the spirit. That is certainly not morbid. It’s encouraging.

Do you fear death? I certainly don’t. I have a terminal disease and have gone through two stem cell transplants. I have “beat” death twice now. But I welcome death when it comes. There is no fear of it. I know where I am going when death comes. Do you? I pray you do. Make sure of that today.

I am thankful for the assurance I have in this life for my future life in heaven. Death is embraced, when it comes, as You welcome me into Your arms.

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST

1 PETER 3:19

“in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,”

This verse and the next couple of verses are some controversial verses among believers. My first thought is how sad. Our arguments about Scripture give the unbelieving world a reason to disbelief in the very truth of the Word. That being said…

The Spirit of Christ was present as Noah (mentioned in verse 20) preached to the people of his day. These people who died in the flood are “the spirits now in prison.” God has always desired people to come to Him. The flood victims were no exception. Instead, they laughed and made fun of Noah, ignoring the warnings given through him.

APPLICATION

This same Spirit of Christ speaks through us today. As we disciple our children, we must teach them this truth. The very Spirit of Christ lives in and through us. He is still preaching the Gospel today – as we allow Him. That’s the key. Our children need to be discipled to hear the Spirit when He speaks. Remember the story of Samuel as a child?

And here’s the great part. As we are obedient to allow the Spirit to speak through us, perhaps those who hear will respond and avoid the prison of hell. That’s our reward. Seeing others come to Christ is thrilling, is it not?

Will you allow Jesus to speak through you today? Will you be the one used of the Lord to slam those “prison doors” closed to prevent them from spending eternity there? There are so many people you come into contact with daily who are going to join the other inmates of hell unless someone shares Christ with them.

Place others in my path today who need to hear about Jesus. Use me to lead them to You. I want to see them welcomed into Your arms for eternity.

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UNDESERVED GIFTS

1 PETER 2:22

“WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;”

Yesterday was Easter. What a perfect verse we have today to remind us of Christ’s innocence. He didn’t deserve to die. He had done no wrong. But He took on Himself my sin and your sin in order to give to us something we did not deserve – His righteousness. Wow! What a gift!

Have you ever gotten a gift you didn’t deserve? I have had friends bless me with gifts. During my recent illness I had several friends who blessed us financially. They wanted to help ease the burden of traveling back and forth to the hospital and the month and a half stay away from home. We didn’t deserve this, but they gave anyway. Jesus gave His all when we didn’t deserve it.

APPLICATION

Surprise your children with a gift. They may have been terrible yesterday and disobeyed you all day long. Perfect! Give them a gift they are not expecting. When they ask you why you are giving them such a gift, explain to them the gift that Jesus gave you when you didn’t deserve it. Let them know that Jesus loves us that much. He doesn’t wait for us to get better to save us. He saves us just like we are.

Ask your children if they know what innocent means. You may have to explain that to them. Tell them that Jesus had never done anything wrong, even when He was a little boy. Every action He took reflected His Father in heaven. And despite His innocence, He took on the guilt of the world. Why? To give us this undeserved gift of salvation.

Have you thanked the Lord today for your undeserved gift of salvation? Do that right now. I’ll wait…. Now, don’t you feel better? It’s always good to thank someone for the gifts we have been given, especially those undeserved gifts. Do that daily, as He continues to bless you.

Dear Lord, I thank You for blessing me. I only deserve hell, but You have chosen me to be Your child and have given me a gift which I could never repay. I love You, Lord.

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WHERE DID HE GO?

JOHN 20:6-7

“6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.” 

Don’t you know Peter’s first thought was Where did He go? I am sure he didn’t remember right away that Jesus had told them He would rise from the dead. Jesus had told them but not in so many words. All Peter knew was Jesus had died and now He was not in that tomb. He had been told by Mary that He was alive, but he needed to see Him for himself.

And what about the linens? There were two piles – one where the body was and another with the wrappings from the head. It was as if Jesus had unwrapped Himself. Was that possible? Or did the angels he heard had been here done that. This was just too much to take in. Where was Jesus?

APPLICATION

Sometimes we see things that we just can’t believe. I have a friend who is a Christian illusionist. He can do things that make you scratch your head. I have often said when I watch him perform that there is no way he just did that. Of course, all his illusions are tricks. He will tell you that himself.

Jesus had not just performed a parlor trick. He had really risen from the dead. Ask your children if they have ever met anyone who has done that. Of course, they will think you’re crazy for even asking that. But then remind them, when you meet Jesus and ask Him into your heart, you just met someone who has done that. No one else has defeated death themselves. Jesus simply threw off the grave clothes and walked out of a sealed tomb.

Do you believe everything you see? You shouldn’t. But you should believe this. Jesus is alive. He is seated right now beside His Father, as much alive as when He walked the earth. His position in heaven does not diminish His life in the least. And He wants you to live each day with that knowledge. Live knowing He’s alive.

Knowing You are alive gives me hope for tomorrow. You are always watching over me and walking beside me. I may not can see You now, but I know You are there.

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WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

JOHN 13:36-37

“36 Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.’ 37 Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.’”

When my children were little, I traveled a good bit. I used to travel around the country inspecting other children’s homes. Most of these trips took four or five days. Inevitably, when I was packing, my son or daughter would ask me where I was going and if they could go with me. Of course, they couldn’t go, but I always brought them back something when I returned.

Jesus’ words before His arrest and crucifixion caused Peter to ask the same question. “Lord, where are You going?” Then those famous words before his denial of Christ. “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” Even after following Jesus three years, he didn’t get it. He didn’t want to see Jesus go anywhere without him.

APPLICATION

I’m sure your children have asked you the question mine asked me. And I am sure you gave them a logical explanation. But the more important answer is this. You are going to heaven. That is your final destination, if you are a believer. And I am sure you want your children to follow you there.

So, the most important thing we can do is prepare our children for that journey. We need to cultivate them when they are little by reading them God’s Word and teaching them to pray. Their transition from unbeliever to believer should be certain but seamless. That way when they ask you where you are going you can say, “The same place you are going – heaven.”

I pray you are headed heavenward. If you are not sure, make it sure today. If you are, take a crowd with you. Share Jesus with friends, family, neighbors and strangers. Where are you going?

Heaven is my eternal home, and I long for it. Help me share the good news of Jesus to as many as I can while I am here, so they too can know where they are going.

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PART OF A HOUSE

1 PETER 2:5

“you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

I love watching one particular home renovation show. They take older homes and redo them into unique living environments without giving up what made the house to begin with. Sometimes the end result is quite surprising.

We are going to be a part of a spiritual house in heaven. Christ, the living stone, will use us as living stones to build it. In fact, it’s already being built. We will be part of the ongoing “renovation” that is taking place daily as saints are added to the house. It’s hard to imagine, but one day we will see the end result and won’t be surprised at all.

APPLICATION

Challenge your children to a house building competition with blocks. See how tall you can make them. Undoubtedly, they will topple over at some point. Build them again. Who doesn’t like playing with blocks? Lol

Now, explain the spiritual house using those blocks. As you add more blocks tell your kids that we are called living stones who will be part of the spiritual house. The only difference is God can build His house as tall as He wants. It won’t topple. He’s been building it for centuries.

Do you feel like a living stone? If you are a child of God, you are. You will be a part of the most glorious house ever built. Now, we won’t be stuck in a wall like stones and mortar. But we will make up the spiritual house God is building. And if He is building it, we can rest assured the end result will be perfect.

I praise You for using me as part of Your house. I know You have chosen the perfect spot to place me. I am Your living stone.

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LIVING STONE?

1 PETER 2:4

“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,”

Most scholars agree that this verse is referring to Isaiah 28:16 which says, “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.’”

But only here in 1 Peter 2:4 is Jesus referred to as a living stone. Now, we know stones don’t live, so what does this mean? It means He is the source of life. He is the living foundation of the heavenly temple which, we will see in the next verse, is made up of us as living stones.

APPLICATION

Take your kids outside and each of you find a nice size rock. Bring it in and clean it up and then put each of them in its own little box. Explain to your children that you each are going to take care of your rocks as if they are living. Ask them what they think rocks like to eat. How often should you give them water? Should you take them for walks?

After your children look at you like you have rocks for brains, explain that today’s verse isn’t talking about stones that live. It’s an analogy for Christ being our firm foundation who lives today. That they can understand.

Do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus is alive today? Is He your firm foundation? A foundation is laid to stay in place and support the rest of the building. Is that what Jesus is for you? You can’t swap out the foundation. It’s meant to stay right where it was laid. Hold fast. Rest on the only firm foundation.

Thank You, Lord, for being my living stone, my firm foundation. I know no matter what comes my way, You are there.

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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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