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UNHINDERED PRAYERS

1 PETER 3:7

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

A lot of people will read this verse and think it is women bashing. Calling them weaker! That is NOT the purpose of this verse. God made men to lead and protect their wives. Their role is a protector, not a basher. And He warns the men in this verse. He says, “so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

In other words, God is telling the husbands if they mistreat their wives and don’t show them honor, their prayers will not reach Him. That’s what “hindered” means. It means blocked. Men, have you ever felt that your prayers weren’t getting past the ceiling? How are you treating your wives? Hmmm!

APPLICATION

This is another modeling verse. Husbands and dads, it’s your turn. How you treat your wife, the mother of your children, is so important. You are not just mistreating her. You are mistreating your children. Your daughters are endangered by believing that’s how women are meant to be treated. And your sons grow up believing that’s how they are supposed to treat their wives.

But…when you show honor to her, that gives your children a role model to follow. The word “show” is only used right here in this verse. It means to give what is due. God is telling you that your wife deserves honor, no matter what you think. And if you want an open line of communication with the Lord, this is required.

Are you guilty of not showing honor to someone? Let’s apply this verse to all of us, not just husbands, for a second. Is there someone you belittle and persecute? We should show honor to all of God’s people. God cannot look on sin and ignore it. And that kind of behavior is sin, dear friends.

Lord God, give me Your eyes for others. Let me show honor to all. And hear my prayers.

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GETTING MORE THAN YOU ASK FOR

ACTS 3:6

“But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!’”

I love this story in Acts 3. If you read verses 1-10, you will get the full picture of what happens here. A lame beggar is lying outside the Temple asking for money from anyone entering the Temple. He sees Peter and John and asks them for some. All he is expecting is a few coins to perhaps buy some bread or other food for the day. What he gets surprises him.

Peter and John look at him as he hollers at them passing by. Peter, being led of the Spirit, offers him healing instead of money. Notice he heals him in the name of Jesus, not himself. Peter knows where the healing comes from and wanted this beggar and anyone else listening to know also. This beggar got so much more than money. He got his legs for the first time.

APPLICATION

Have you ever given your child more than they asked for? I bet you have. They asked for something simple for Christmas, but you blessed them with the newest game system. Isn’t it just as exciting for you? You can’t wait for them to open up that gift under the tree.

I bet Peter and John were just as excited to see this man jump up and walk as the man was. This is Peter’s first recorded miracle. Let your children think about that for a second. How would they have reacted to the beggar by the Temple? Ignore him? Step around him? Tell him to be quiet? Not Peter. In the boldness of his newly indwelt Spirit, he commands healing.

Do you realize that the same Spirit that indwelt Peter indwells us? We have the same power. Do you believe that? God wants to use you to do great things for Him today. God’s miracle working power is still present in today’s world. The problem is we don’t believe He can do those things today. Let God work through you as He desires.

I want to be used by You to do things that can only be explained as coming from You. I vow to give You all the credit and point others to You.

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EARLESS

JOHN 18:10-11

“10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. 11So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?’”

This story is one of the few that is told in all four gospels. It is interesting, though, that only Luke, who was a physician, tells us that Jesus touched Malchus and healed him. Of course, a doctor would record that. And only here in John are the sword bearer and the servant identified.

But my thoughts are on Malchus. Don’t you want to know what happened to him? I mean, you came with the crowd to arrest this man whom everyone claimed to be a threat to your faith. You have your ear cut off, nearly having your throat cut. Then this man named Jesus reaches out and touches the spot where your ear used to be and restores it. Malchus’ life had to be changed.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they think about this story. Ask them how they would have felt if Jesus had basically put their ear back on. When they get hurt and need some medical attention from mom or dad, how do they feel afterwards? Grateful? Thankful?

Perhaps Malchus believed in Jesus afterwards. One day we will find out. When I get to heaven I think I will ask Jesus if Malchus is there. Then I want to meet him and hear his account of the story. If he is there, don’t you know he will have quite a story to tell.

Guess what? So do you. You may not have had your ear cut off and restored. But you have had your hard heart replaced with a soft, pliable one. Jesus performed heart surgery on you. You have been healed from a sure death sentence. Don’t you have a story to tell? You had better believe it. Start telling it.

Jesus, You are the healer of my soul. I thank You for healing my broken heart. I will share my story as You give me opportunities.

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TASTY

1 PETER 2:3

“if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

I don’t know about you, but I know when something tastes good. Now, I will admit that people’s tastes vary greatly. For instance, my wife puts sugar on grits. God forbid. Being a southern boy, only salt and maybe some red-eye gravy, but never sugar. Yuk!

Peter is talking about tasting the kindness of the Lord. The Greek word chrestos describes what God defines is kind – and therefore also eternally useful! One scholar said we have no adjective in English that conveys this blend of being kind and good at the same time. This word describes the yoke in Matthew 11:30 when Jesus says it is easy.

APPLICATION

How do you explain this to your children? I only know one way – by living it. You have to show them through your actions what God’s kindness looks like. Once you have tasted it, you want to live it. Once you have experienced it, you want to give it to others, especially your family.

Why are we the harshest to our families? Why do we withhold the kindness of Christ? Maybe we think they can handle it. Perhaps we think it’s safe to let our hair down because they aren’t going anywhere. But does that make it right? No. Let me challenge you today to show kindness to your loved ones first. Watch what happens.

Do you need to ask someone to forgive you today? Have you tasted the kindness of the Lord and swallowed it whole without any thought of sharing? Spread it around. Be kind and good. It’s interesting that chrestos (kind, good) sounds like Christos (Christ). Just be Jesus.

I will strive today to be more kind to those around me. I want to spread the taste of Your kindness with others.

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NEW NAME

Mark 3:16

“And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),” 

Why would Jesus do that? Why change his name? He had a reason. Jesus never did (and still doesn’t) anything without a reason. Do you think He knew who Simon was and how he was wired? Of course, He did. He knew Simon was going to need a name to remind him of his strength. So, Jesus called him Peter, which means rock.

Now, I’ve been given other names by people. My nickname growing up was Carlie Warlie. Never liked that one. I was called W by a college roommate. That was okay. But I like my name my parents gave me, Carl. Why? Because it means strong and manly. It was also my maternal grandfather’s name, whom I never knew.

APPLICATION

What do you call your children? I had several nicknames for my daughter. I called her Penelope, Tootle bump and Pumpkin noodle. I don’t know why. They were just cute nicknames. The important thing is that we never call them something to put them down. We should always be building them up.

Jesus’ purpose in renaming Simon was to build him up. He knew what he was going to face one day. Jesus knows what our children are going to face one day, and He is depending upon us to build them up. Never, and I mean never, call your child a derogatory name that demeans them. Those words stick like glue. Instead give them a name that will boost them every day.

What does God call you? You are His child, His beloved, His chosen one. He loves you so supremely. He has removed all the old, including any and all names you were called to put you down. He has set you up to be one of His family. And in His family, there are no bad names – only good ones.

Lord, You have called me blessed. I praise You for calling me Your own.

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DIRTY HANDS

MATTHEW 15:15-20

“15 Peter said to Him, ‘Explain the parable to us.’ 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17’ Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.’”

I am sure, as a fisherman, Peter ate lots of meals with dirty hands. When you are out on a boat it’s hard to use soap to clean up to eat. So, when Jesus answered the Pharisees this way about their concern they hadn’t washed their hands before eating the grain, he probably smirked a little. Still, he wanted to make sure he understood what Jesus was saying.

Why are some people so concerned about how they look on the outside, but their thoughts and words are filthy? If we had a machine in church on Sundays that could read the minds of the people as they came in the doors, we would probably be appalled. Jesus plainly tells us here that it is our inner thoughts and our words that defile us. Yes, washing our hands are important. But our inner cleanliness is so much more important.

APPLICATION

I bet when your children were little you washed their hands a lot, didn’t you? As they get older you teach them to wash their own hands and ask them before dinner, “Did you wash your hands?” What a perfect verse to discuss their spiritual cleanliness. Why not ask them at dinner, “Did you speak harshly to your sister today?” Instead of asking them, “Did you use soap to wash your hands?” ask them if they thought about the words they used today when they got upset at the video game.

It is so important to teach our children to guard their tongues. I have often said that words are like toothpaste. Once they are out you can’t stuff them back in the tube. Teach them to choose their words carefully. And if they do slip up, teach them how to make it right. Apologize. Ask for forgiveness. That’s another skill missing today.

Are you more concerned about how you appear to others than what’s in your heart? If you will flip that around, you won’t have to worry so much about how you appear. Your inwards thoughts will be reflected on the outside. Pause and think before speaking, even if what you are going to say may sound “spiritual.” Sometimes that is just not the right thing to say at the time.

I am thankful Your Spirit can guard my tongue. Help me surrender to You before each word is spoken. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.

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GREETINGS

TITUS 3:15

“All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.”

When you greet someone, what are you really doing? The Greek word here means I greet, salute, pay my respects to, welcome.” Is that true for everyone you greet? Think about it. We truly should be welcoming because we represent Jesus. We really should be respectful because He would be.

Greetings today are usually rushed. We are all in such a hurry. Paul was purposeful in his greetings. He passed on the greetings from those who were with him and asked Titus to give his greetings to those who were with him in the faith. He didn’t just say, “Bye.” It was thoughtful. It was meaningful.

APPLICATION

We teach our children to say thank you, your welcome and all the other proper words, don’t we? How about greetings? Giving a proper greeting is respectful. Refusing to acknowledge someone is just plain rude. So, we teach our children to say hello or good-bye as appropriate.

But it isn’t just about manners. As I said earlier, we represent someone bigger than us as believers. If your child is a believer, remind them of that. As they meet people, they may be the only “Jesus” that person meets today. They need to greet them in the name and spirit of Jesus. Just a simple “Hello, how are you today?” can mean a lot.

This is a strange way to end Titus, but it’s how Paul ended the letter. If he ended it this way, it must have been important. So, from me to you, greetings from all those who are with me. Greet all those who are with you in the faith. May God’s grace be upon you until we meet one day here or in heaven.

Help me greet those around me today with the love of the Lord. May they Him and not me. May my greeting be full of Jesus.

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