Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Hope, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Power, Promises, Scripture

POWERFUL GOD

1 PETER 5:11

“To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

We read that word “dominion” and don’t stop to think what it really means. We all know God is God, right? We know He is all powerful, omnipotent. But what does “dominion” mean? The Greek word used here is kratos. It carries with it the idea of exerted power. It’s not just that He is strong. He shows it.

How does God show His power? He showed it at creation when He created the world and all that is in it. He showed His power when He parted the Red Sea to allow the Hebrew children to escape Pharoah. He showed it when Jesus turned water into wine. And He shows it in our lives every day by assuring our salvation.

APPLICATION

Dads, I bet your children used to think you were all powerful. They were awed at your biceps, right? Seriously though, most children see their parents as strong and powerful when they are small. They look up to you and admire your strength. But as they get older, they realize your strength is not any greater than anyone else’s.

That’s why we have to point them to the all powerful One. They need to know that God is the only one who has the strength to see them through their hardest times. And God is not afraid to  show His strength. He is always ready to exert His strength for His children. But He does it on His timetable. Peter says in this verse today, “forever and ever.” That means for infinity.

Do you need to see the Lord exert His strength today? Are you hurting and in need of a Savior? Let His dominion show out in your life. Surrender to Him. Stop trying to do it in your strength. You can’t do it on your own. The world may say you can, but you can’t. You need Jesus to empower You so He can work in and through you.

I will allow Your strength to work through me today. I can’t wait to see what You will do. Thank You, Lord, for always being there.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, Hope, Inspirational, Mentoring, Miracles, Parenting, Testimony

DISAPPEARING ACT

ACTS 12:18

“Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter.”

Where did he go? He was chained between us. Did you let him go? Can’t you just hear the soldiers the next morning? Peter had disappeared from the jail. No one could explain where he went. God had done a miracle, and they had missed it. Now, before you jump to conclusions, we probably would have missed it too.

How many miracles do you think you have missed in your life? They are all around us. These soldiers ended up being executed  for not keeping Peter in jail. Missing the miracle of Peter’s release from jail cost them their lives. I don’t think our missed miracles will cost us our lives, but we will miss a blessing.

APPLICATION

Play a disappearing game with your kids. Get everyone in a room one night. Prearrange to have someone in the family “disappear” on cue. Turn off all the lights and allow that person to slip out. Turn on the lights to reveal the missing person. Ask what happened to them. Your kids will be making up all sorts of explanations.

Ask your accomplice to return. Unlike Peter, they do come back to the scene. Read this story of Peter’s disappearance from the jail and ask your children to think how those soldiers felt. Puzzled, confused, scared. As believers, we have no reason to feel any of these. God can and will do miracles all around us. We just have to believe and be watchful. He will reveal Himself.

Do you believe in miracles? Do you think God still performs miracles? I sure do. We don’t build our faith on them, but it is great knowing a God of miracles. God might just use you in His next miracle, like He used Peter.

I am looking for You to do a miracle, Lord. I know You are still a God of miracles and can use me. Thank You, Father, for showing me Your power.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, Hope, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Peace, Resurrection, Scripture

FOOT RACE

LUKE 24:12

“But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.”

I think it’s funny that here in Luke it says, “But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. In John 20, we read that John went with him and outran him. Lol. No one wants to admit they got beat in a foot race.

But this story isn’t about who won the foot race. It’s about the destination of the foot race. Where were they running? Why were they running? They had just been told that Jesus’ tomb was empty. They couldn’t wait to check it out themselves.

APPLICATION

Okay, it’s foot race time. Gather your children and go outside for the race. Set the finish line out of their sight and explain that there will be a surprise when they get there. Watch how fast they line up to race. Surprises are exciting. Surprises get us every time.

When they all get there give them a special treat. If you can find them, get them one of those Resurrection Eggs. Kids love them. Read them this story and ask them how they think Peter felt when he got to the tomb and found it empty. Surprised? Shocked? Excited? Sad?

How would you have felt if you had been Peter? Your last experience with Jesus was shame. Now you have just been told He’s alive and wants to see you. How would you have been feeling? Embarrassed or excited? It’s no different today. He wants to see you. Even when you mess up, He forgives you and longs to be with you.

Lord, I long to be in Your presence. I look forward to Your embrace. Forgive me for all those times I have fallen short of Your calling.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Faith, Hope, Parenting, Salvation

SECURE

1 PETER 1:21

“who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

The same God who raised Jesus from the dead gives you your faith and hope. The God of the universe cares enough about you to bestow what is necessary – faith and hope. Through our faith we learn to trust God. Our hope is built on the assurance of God’s past works. We can trust Him because He has shown us through generations.

Let me ask you a question. Why do you believe? What experience moved you from unbelief to belief? We all have a moment we can look back to and say that was the point of surrender. Do you realize the God of the universe cares enough about you to draw you to Himself? He loves you.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse to discuss faith and hope with your children. Ask them what faith is. There’s an acrostic for faith which says “Forsaking All I Trust Him.” That might help your child understand it. We for forsake or give up everything when we come to Christ. He is all that matters.

And hope is defined as an expectation of what is sure. You see when we hope in God it’s a sure thing. It’s not the same as hoping for a toy or bike. Hoping in God according to His will is a sure thing. It may be quick or slow. But place your hope in Him.

Is your faith and hope in God? If not, why not? Why would you place that in any other person or thing? Today, yield it all to Him. He is waiting to answer you. He wants to prove His faithfulness. Let Him.

My faith and hope is in You, Lord. I trust You to work in my life to make me more like Christ. I love You.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Hope, Inspirational, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Thanksgiving

JUMP FOR JOY

1 PETER 1:6

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,”

The Greek word here for “rejoice” literally means to get so excited that you jump up and down. I can just picture a little child on Christmas morning or when they see someone they really love. You just can’t contain the excitement. Your body explodes with emotion and nothing can keep you down. That’s what it means when Peter says “greatly rejoice.”

But…he reminds us that before we experience that joy regarding our salvation, we may have to first experience trials. “Great, Peter! Throw cold water on us.” He is just reminding us that this life has hardships. In fact, the Greek word for “have been distressed” means to experience deep, emotional pain or sadness, severe sorrow or grief. This word has even used of the pain of childbirth.  

APPLICATION

Now, it’s easy to watch our children rejoice. We love to see kids get excited. I can think back to many occasions when my own children or grandchildren got excited about something. The smiles burst forth, and the laughter erupts. Those are the fun times. Those are when we take the pictures or videos.

But how do we teach our children to bear the hardships. We don’t video those times, do we? We had rather forget them. So, why does Peter tell us this? It’s part of the journey. Pain prepares the ground for rejoicing. If we never had trials, we could not appreciate fully the highs of rejoicing. When your child has that next low moment, remind them of a joyous time. Remind them there is always reason to rejoice, knowing our future rests in Him.

Are you stuck right now in a perpetual season of trials? Rejoice anyway! Your hope is NOT in getting out of that trial. Your hope is based on the assurance of your eternal salvation. You will “greatly rejoice” in Glory one day. You can greatly rejoice now. Don’t let anything or anyone rob you of the joy you have in Christ.

O Heavenly Father, I will greatly rejoice in my salvation, even in the midst of extreme trials. I know my future is secure. You are faithful and trustworthy to see me through anything.

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Encouragement, Eternity, Glory, Holy Spirit, Hope, Love, Parenting, Rapture, Scripture

HE’S COMING

TITUS 2:13

“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”

Waiting can be hard, can’t it? It’s especially hard when you know what’s coming. The Greek word for “looking” can also be translated as “awaiting” or “watching for.” It carries the idea of anxiously waiting and ready to receive. That’s a lot more than just looking. Paul knew Jesus was going to return and was anxious for the day. He was ready for it.

Paul calls Jesus the “blessed hope” and “our great God and Savior.” He wanted to make sure Titus understood just who He was. We have no other hope than Christ. All other hopes pale in comparison. All other hopes can fail to materialize. All other hopes are just that – hopes. They aren’t certain. And why is Jesus certain? Because He is God!

APPLICATION

How do you teach your kids to wait? That’s a hard one. Some kids are better at it than others. Parents will do just about anything to keep their children calm while waiting for something. I’ve seen parents bribe their kids. I’ve seen parents come prepared with toys and activities and snacks. Waiting is hard for little ones.

But the most important “wait” we need to prepare them for is Christ’s return. We know He’s returning, but we don’t know when. Our role as Christian parents is to introduce and lead our children to Jesus so that however long the “wait” is, they are ready. We don’t want them caught off guard. We don’t want them left behind when He appears. Once they know Him as their personal Savior and Lord, they can join you in the wait. It could be today.

Are you anxiously waiting for His appearing? Are you prepared for His return? If not, get ready today. Give your heart to Jesus. Let Him fill you with His Spirit. And then do all you can to bring as many as you can with you. If you are like me, I know dozens of people who will be left behind if He came today. That burdens my heart. Let’s join together to bring them with us when He appears again. Keep watching.

Lord, I know You are coming because You said You were. Help me lead others to You so they can join us. I am ready! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Standard
Busyness, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Commands, Completeness, Direction, Encouragement, Hope, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting

SELF AFFLICTED

1 TIMOTHY 5:12

thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge.” 

Have you ever known people who complain about how awful their life is only to find out their troubles are the result of their own decisions? People lose their driving privileges from DUI’s – self-afflicted. Getting a speeding ticket – self-afflicted. I could go on and on, but you see where I am going with this. Now, every situation is unique. However, most of our troubles (me included) are the result of self.

In today’s verse, the younger widows receive judgment or condemnation for deserting their first love, not for wanting to get married again. They had pledged to serve Christ but abandoned that calling. Before you judge them, however, we are the same way. We all just want what we want when we want it, disregarding previous commitments.

APPLICATION

We have the responsibility as parents to teach our children to keep their commitments. Once they agree to be a part of a team sport, they should complete that season unless injury or team conduct merits leaving the team. Once your child begins a project, they need to complete it. Finality is important. Seeing the project through to completion teaches great lessons.

Today, too many of us get bored with something and just drop it. We have forgotten the discipline of completion. We have forgotten the discipline of commitment. Don’t let your children do that. Hold them accountable. In the future they will thank you.

Are you guilty of quitting when it gets hard? If you are, go back and pick that project or task back up again. Finish it. Set some goals and accomplish them. Set reasonable goals, some you know you can meet. Then next time you can raise the bar a little bit. But just don’t quit.

Master and Teacher, You never quit on us. So, I will not quit on You. I will accept and complete the tasks You give me.

Standard
Affection, Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friends, Holy Spirit, Hope, Love, Ministry, Obedience, Parenting, Peace, Praise, Prayer, Scripture, Suffering, Widows

FORSAKEN BUT FAITHFUL

1 TIMOTHY 5:5

Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.” 

That may seem like a strange title for a blog, but that is exactly what this widow was. To be “left alone” literally means forsaken. But despite that, she continues in her faith. She prays specifically for needs and prays generally for others. She knows her only source of help and comfort comes from above.

Do you know a prayer warrior like that? I do. In fact, I know several. Their solace is in spending time with the Lord, studying His Word and talking to Him. They know He will never leave them or forsake them. They may be “alone” in this world, but they are never alone spiritually.

APPLICATION

Children need to learn this peace early. They need to know that our God and Father will never leave them, if they are one His children. They may think they are alone and the world is against them. But He never leaves their side. Drive that truth into Him. They need to hear that over and over again.

Do you ever have to leave your child to go on trips? I am sure that is hard on them and you. When you come home there are kisses and hugs, right? Just think of this – God is always with us giving us those kinds of hugs and kisses. Now, I don’t mean physical hugs and kisses. But His presence is just as soothing and intimate.

Do you feel His presence in your prayer life? Do you spend the time you need to each day to commune with your holy God. He is waiting to talk to you. He won’t barge in on you. He waits for you to come to Him, but He’s always ready. Isn’t that unbelievable?  

Father, thank You for always being there for me. I praise You for your steadfast love and compassion and the way You show it each and every day to me.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Completeness, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Gifts, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Hope, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Thanksgiving

YOU’VE GOT A GIFT

1 TIMOTHY 4:14

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.” 

Don’t you just love getting gifts? I mean, even the smallest of gifts can be so exciting, especially when they are unexpected. The old saying goes “It’s the thought that counts.” That may be true, but that gift counts too, lol.

As a believer in Christ, we receive spiritual gifts from the Father when we accept Christ as our Savior. Strong’s Concordance defines this word as “divinely empowers a believer to share God’s work with others, i.e. Spirit-empowered service to the Church to carry out His plan for His people.” So, these are gifts you receive for one purpose – to share with others.

APPLICATION

Try this with your little Johnny or Susie. Give them a gift but explain to them that they have to share it with their siblings. What kind of response to you think you will get? Depending on the gift, you may get a “Sure Dad, I’ll be glad to do that” or “What!? This is mine. They can get their own.”

It’s not about the sharing, though, with spiritual gifts. It’s about benefitting someone else. You see, our spiritual gifts actually help others grow spiritually. Our gifts never run out. We can’t exhaust them. They come from above, so the power source is eternal.

What is your gift? Are you sharing it? God wants you to use your gift (and if you are believer, you have one) to build the Body of Christ. He wants you to exercise that gift in a way that blesses the church and those in it. He wants you to enjoy using your gift. If you don’t know your gift, talk to your Pastor. He can help you find a good Spiritual Gifts Inventory to use to help you.

Father, thank You for the gifts You have empowered me with to help others grow. I do enjoy using those gifts. But more importantly I love pleasing You with my obedience.

Standard
Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Christianity, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Family, Friends, Hope, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Patience, Scripture

I SURE HOPE SO

1 TIMOTHY 3:14

“I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long;”

Strong’s Concordance defines “hoping” as “actively waiting for God’s fulfillment about the faith He has inbirthed through the power of His love.” I really like that – actively waiting. If you are like me, I never considered waiting an active thing. Waiting for a movie to start is the worst. I really don’t like just sitting there and seeing all those commercials or previews. I came to see the movie, not that. Maybe I need to see that waiting as active also.

Paul was hoping to come to see Timothy there in Ephesus. He was longing to reunite with his apprentice, his child in the faith, his traveling buddy. And this hope was based on faith. Paul loved Timothy, and I am sure he missed him. Aren’t reunifications after long periods of time sweet?

APPLICATIONS

I bet your little Gertrude is hoping for something right now. It may be a new doll or a new dress. It may be a visit to or from someone special. Whatever it is, ask her why she wants that. Get her to explain why she is so passionate about it. She may find it hard to put into words but encourage her to do so. Hoping for something is not a bad thing. It can, in fact, build faith.

As believers, we are hoping for that glorious day of Christ’s return. We know He is coming. We just don’t know when. It could be today. Now explain to your child this hope. It’s like none other because we KNOW it will come to pass. No other hope is as sure. Hoping in Christ is a done deal. All we have to do is “actively” wait.

Are you actively waiting? Or are you like me at the movie theater waiting on that movie to start. Today as you sit in traffic or wait in line at a restaurant, try waiting actively. Take that time while you are waiting to recite some Scripture. Sing a hymn. Pray. Don’t let those moments slip by without using them to invest in God’s kingdom.

Help me, Lord, to redeem each moment given to me today. Help me use every second to help fulfill Your kingdom here on earth. My hope lies only in You.

Standard