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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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THEY’RE SAVED?!

ACTS 10:44-45

“44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”

Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen in years and learned they are a believer now? You knew them in their B.C. (Before Christ) days and are shocked they are saved. I mean, you’re glad and excited, but still you’re shocked. That’s kind of what happened here. The circumcised believers with Peter were shocked that God had saved these Gentiles.

What a great verse to show God desires that everyone be saved. He loved these Gentiles. He had sent a message to Cornelius to have Peter come and share the Gospel with them. They heard and believed. Don’t ever think someone is unreachable. It’s not you who draws them to Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit working through you.

APPLICATION

Teach your children to share the Gospel. I never cease to be amazed at the boldness of children in sharing their faith. They don’t have the fears of rejection we adults have built up over time. Children just want to talk about Jesus. We could learn a lot from them.

So, help them prepare their Gospel message. Help them share what God has done for them. Help them share what God has done for their family. Help them make a list of friends they want to share their faith with. And most importantly, pray with them. Seek the Lord’s guidance, because He is the one who will direct them to the people to share.

Do you have a list of names of people you want to share Christ with? Have you prayed for those people today? If God has placed them on your heart, it’s for a reason. Seek those individuals out today. Ask the Lord to give you the words and the opportunity to share. He will!

Father, thank You for drawing me to You so many years ago. Put people in my path today to whom I can share Your message.

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WHEN THE SPIRIT SPEAKS

ACTS 10:19-20

“19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.’”

Look at the verse. What was Peter doing when the Spirit spoke to him? He was reflecting on the vision. As he prayed on the rooftop, God gave him a vision. It was in the midst of his prayers that the Spirit spoke. Don’t miss that point. He wasn’t doing his laundry or preparing lunch. He was praying.

So many people complain about not hearing from God. They claim He doesn’t speak to them. It has been my experience that God speaks to those who listen. Our prayers are often so full of requests or demands that we don’t hear God trying to speak to us. We must be quiet at times during our prayers to hear the Spirit speak.

APPLICATION

As we teach our children to pray, don’t forget to teach them to be quiet and listen. Have you ever been in a service when the Pastor asked the congregation to engage in silent prayer? The silence can be deafening. And for many it is uncomfortable, because they haven’t made silence a part of their prayer life.

When you pray with your children, teach them to listen. After they have prayed through their list, teach them to just get quiet and listen in their spirit for the Spirit to speak. This isn’t some mystical exercise. The Spirit will speak to them in His own way. And when He does, teach them to write that down and then obey. You can always tell it’s the Spirit because He will always point you to the Father.

Are you listening? Are you willing to do what He asks? The Father wants to talk to you, but He won’t yell and scream over all your distractions. Find a place and get quiet. Just say, “Father, I’m listening. Speak to your child.” It may not be today, but He will speak. Listen.

I am listening Father to hear Your voice. Speak to me through Your Spirit for I am ready to obey.

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DO GOOD

1 PETER 3:13

“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?”

Some people are intent on harming others. This “harm” spoken of here is nasty. The Greek word comes from kakos which means inwardly foul and rotten. Not very nice. So those who want to harm you aren’t doing this by accident. They want to hurt you. They want to see you suffer.

This verse gives us hope against them. Why? Because the Lord promises to protect us, especially if we “prove zealous for what is good.” He will be our shelter and tower of safety. The key is our desire to do good.

APPLICATION

No one wants their children to be harmful people. We want them to be doers of good. Our role as parents includes teaching our children how to do good. In fact, the verse says to be zealous for good. That means to be very passionate about something. What are your children passionate about?

I bet your children are passionate about something. It may be friends or video games. But something drives them. Getting them passionate about doing good for the Lord is a worthy goal. I don’t mean they need to be “do gooders.” But doing good for God through the power of His Spirit is a very good thing.

Are you zealous for good? If so, God steps in to guard you against those who would seek to harm you. Now listen, God doesn’t require you to do good to gain His love. He loves you unconditionally. We do good because we love Him. Do you love Him? Then be zealous for Him, and He will do good through you.

I want to be passionate for good. Give me the desire to please You in all I do. Make me a zealot for good.

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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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SENT WITH A MISSION

ACTS 8:14-16

“14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” 

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had received the Gospel, they did not hesitate to send two of their own, Peter and John. They came down to pray over them so they may receive the Holy Spirit. This is a difficult passage, in that we know the Spirit is given to us at salvation. Many scholars believe the receiving of the Spirit involved the ability to speak in tongues and perform miracles.

I am not even going to delve into those topics. The mere fact that the apostles felt it necessary to send two of the prominent apostles to the hated Samaritans showed a complete openness to sharing the Gospel with whomever. They didn’t ignore the Samaritans because they were Samaritans. They were now fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

APPLICATION

Our children should know the importance of sharing Christ with anyone. In fact, there is no group of people that does not need a Savior. Sometimes, we believe certain people are lost causes. That is simply not true. I can speak from experience on that. God reached down and picked me up when I certainly didn’t deserve it.

Train your children to share their testimony. Practice on each other over dinner. Come up with different ways to share it. Make it a fun time. What could be more fun than leading someone to Christ, right? When your child experiences that for the first time, watch out. You may have unleashed another Billy Graham.

Do you avoid certain people groups? Are there people you avoid talking to? Those are probably the very people who need to hear the Gospel from you. Let me challenge you today to identify and then go to those groups in your life. Reach across those invisible barriers and be a Peter or John. Take the best story ever told to a lost and dying world.

Open my eyes to those around me in need of a Savior. Point me in the right direction today. Help me help others come to Jesus.

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INNER BEAUTY

1 PETER 3:3

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;”

You have probably heard that beauty is only skin deep. If Peter had heard that expression, he may have used it right here in today’s verse. It’s interesting that the word “adornment” is the Greek word kosmos which means worldly affairs, the world, the universe. We get our word “cosmetics” from this root word.

Now, I am not saying that all cosmetics are worldly. I am glad we have them. I just think we need to heed Peter’s words here. Beauty isn’t about the external, whether that be cosmetics, fixing your hair or wearing the latest fashions. Real beauty comes from the inside. And real, real beauty is only given by God.

APPLICATION

So, how do we apply this verse to our children? Easy, don’t let your little girls wear makeup, lol. Just kidding. But we should teach our boys and girls that the external isn’t as important as the internal. How you look is important, but it shouldn’t be what drives us. In other words, there is no reason to spend hours and hours in the bathroom getting ready.

Now, I am sure I will get cards and letters about this blog. That’s okay. I am just looking at what Peter said. The external is just not as important as the internal. God makes you beautiful, not Maybelline. All the cosmetics in the world can’t cover an ugly heart. Amen?

How’s your inner beauty? Are you allowing God to adorn you? He will. He will exercise the fruits of the Spirit in and through you today. Nothing is more beautiful than kindness, gentleness and self-control. Let Him work through you this day.

I am beautiful only because of You. Adorn me today with Your glory so others will see You in me.

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