Advice, Bible, Child Bearing, Child Raising, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Following, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony

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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Comfort, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

PRIVATE TIME

MARK 13:3

“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,”

Can you imagine having a private, sit down meeting with Jesus? These two sets of brothers probably did this often. They had been the first 4 disciples chosen by Jesus. He often took three of the four out with Him. So, sitting with Jesus wasn’t an unusual thing for them.

Jesus had just told them the temple would be destroyed. They wanted to know when. Jesus gives them lots of warnings but doesn’t give the exact time. Those warnings still hold true today. Jesus is returning one day. He told us that. We can bank on that.

APPLICATION

Private time with Jesus is available to each of us. Teach your children that. They can take His word, find a quiet place and read and pray. Jesus loves meeting us there. Children need to develop that habit of quiet time. This is one thing they can carry all through their life.

You may have to do it with them to begin with. Quiet times have to be developed. The Word is a big part of that. Jesus speaks to us through His word. It is amazing how many times the verse(s) I read are exactly what I need that day. And then our prayer time allows us to talk to the Lord and share our desires and needs.

Do you have your quiet times daily? If you don’t, you are missing out. We may not can physically sit down with Jesus, but we sure can talk to Him. He will be there, waiting to talk. He will not be too busy. He won’t get distracted while you are talking. Just go to Him and enjoy it.

I am thankful that You are all ears anytime I come to You. Help me be more disciplined. I look forward to our next conversation.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Foreknowledge, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

BEFORE

1 PETER 1:20

“For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you”

I remember playing football on Friday nights in South Georgia. I loved that. But the game could not have taken place without all the preparation before the game. We spent hours Monday through Thursday practicing, running plays, getting in shape and fixing our mistakes. All that “before” work prepared us for Friday night.

Jesus “was foreknown before.” He, in fact, has always existed. His knowledge of the world, which He created, is unsurpassed. Don’t you trust people who know what’s going on? Of course, you do. There is no one who knows what’s going on more than Jesus. He came to reveal Himself so we would trust Him.

APPLICATION

Can you ride a bike? How did you learn? Someone who knew how taught you. Foreknowledge in that case was greatly beneficial to you. Without that knowledge you would have been in trouble trying to learn how to ride that bike. You will pass that knowledge on to your child when they want to ride. You have been there and done that.

In the same way, Jesus has been there and done that. Name it, and He knows it. This is one principle your children need to learn to rely on. There is nothing they can’t take to Jesus. He is waiting to answer. He will always give them the right answer. When they are facing those difficult decisions, they need to go to Him first. They may come to you too. Make sure you go to Him. Don’t base your response on your knowledge. Make sure it comes from Him.

What do you want to know today? Are you facing a tough decision today? Let the one who has always existed and has all knowledge be your source for advice. Jesus loves to come to His children and tell them how to handle things. But He won’t barge in without being asked. Ask Him. Trust Him.

Lord, I know You are the only reliable source of knowledge. Show me how to hear You clearly through Your Word and prayer. I want to trust You.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Forgiveness, Friends, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Repentance, Scripture, Testimony

TREE KILLING FAITH

MARK 11:21

“Being reminded, Peter said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.’” 

Do you remember this story? Jesus had walked by this fig tree earlier and, when He found it had no figs, cursed it. Now, as they walk by it on the return trip, Peter notices it has withered. He is amazed, but Jesus tells him (and us) that he has the same power through our prayers. We can even move mountains. He goes on to say, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”

Real faith can do anything. We can even kill trees, not that I would want to. I don’t even want to move a mountain. The key to praying and believing, though, is to pray with a pure heart. Jesus told His disciples they must pray with a forgiving heart. You can’t pray while holding a grudge or resentment towards someone. Confess that and the floodgates of heaven are opened to you.

APPLICATION

As you teach your children to pray, make sure you teach this principle. They need to be all confessed up. They need to forgive their brother or sister. They need to forgive that friend who has hurt their feelings. Teach them that unforgiveness drives a wedge, not only between them and the person, but also between them and God. Christ won’t allow our unforgiving spirit to continue.

When our children learn this lesson early in life, it will free them for powerful prayer lives. We adults wonder sometimes why God isn’t listening. We need to examine our forgiving attitudes. It is easy to hold resentments. Sometimes we even forget we are doing that until we see that person again.

Are you depriving yourself of tree killing faith? Are you refusing to forgive someone who has hurt you? Let it go. Let Christ in you give you the desire and ability to forgive them, no matter how deep the hurt. Only Christ can. You can’t. Our flesh demands justice. Christ has already paid the price. Forgive.

I will forgive as You forgive, Lord. It is not easy, practically impossible. But in You all things are possible.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Friends, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Parenting

THE INNER CIRCLE

MARK 5:37

“And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James.”

Have you ever been one of the inner circle, the in-crowd? When you are selected for that honor, you may wonder why you. Right? Jesus selected Peter, James and John to be his closest disciples. I wonder why. Why not Nathaniel or Andrew? We don’t know, but we can be sure that Jesus had a reason for selecting these three.

King David has his mighty men, but also had the three mightiest.  The Trinity is comprised of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three seems to be an important number in Scripture. But the point of this devotional isn’t the number three. It’s about being in that inner circle. Guess what? We are all part of that group now. Jesus sent His Spirit to live in us to bring us in.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever been pushed out of an inner circle of friends? Friends can be cruel. They will probably be a part of many close-knit groups through their life. Some will be social. Some will be work related. And others will be spiritual. Those are the ones you need to focus on. We need to steer them towards those groups that will feed their souls.

How do you do that? Well, first you need to have them involved in a Bible teaching church so they can spend time with like-minded friends. You need to encourage them to participate in retreats and Bible studies. They need to develop relationships with other kids who share their worldview. You play a huge role in that.

Are you engaged in a group like that? We adults need that too. That need for closeness doesn’t end at childhood. Who is in your inner circle? Can you depend on them to be there? Make sure Jesus is the center of your group. Make sure you are following His desires as you do life with your circle.

I am so thankful I am part Your inner circle. I know You are always there and that I can always depend on You. I love You, Lord.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Heaven, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation

CAN’T BE BOUGHT

1 PETER 1:18

“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,”

This is plain and simple. There is not enough money (silver and gold) in the world to redeem us. There would always be another tradition or obligation laid on by men that would come up. The world does not want to let us go. Satan keeps raising the price. We will never meet his demand.

But, thanks be to God, there has been a price paid. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, so we could receive the redemption He promised us. All we have to do when Satan starts to argue is point to the cross. Redemption’s price has been paid. There is a “Paid In Full” stamp across our heart.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever wanted to buy something at the store but didn’t have enough money? Boy, that happened to me. I remember going to the Western Auto store as a little boy and seeing something I really wanted for my spider bike. I had to work and save to go back and purchase (redeem) that item for myself. I wasn’t guaranteed it would still be there when I got the money, either.

The next time your child faces this dilemma, use it as a teaching moment. Without their knowledge, if you’re able, go buy it for them. Surprise them. Then explain that there is no expectation of payback from them. You redeemed that for them fully. There is nothing they can do to redeem it. It has been paid for. Tell them in the same way (but much bigger) Jesus paid for their salvation. They can’t do a thing to get it. He paid the full price, the only acceptable price.

Now, that is a feeble attempt to explain redemption, I know. It falls way short of the deep theological meanings. But, for your child, it is understandable. You can teach them more later. They just need to know that they can’t be good enough for heaven. Heaven is simply the reward we get for yielding to Jesus and acknowledging His supreme sacrifice.

Thank You for redeeming me. Thank You for paying the ultimate price to free me.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Testimony

MY IMPARTIAL FATHER

1 PETER 1:17

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;”

Our Father judges impartially. What does that mean exactly? It means He is not a respecter of people in that He sees us all the same. You can’t be the teacher’s pet. We are all judged alike. That Greek word translated as “impartially judges” only appears right here in this verse.

This is a “if-then” statement. If you address, (then) conduct yourselves in fear. If you call Him Father, then live like it. You know what I like best about this verse, though. It’s the word “stay.” It means we are passing through, to dwell in a strange land. We don’t belong here. Praise God.

APPLICATION

Do you have more than one child? Then you know where I am going. Do you show favoritism to one child? Of course, not. You love your children equally. You may have more in common with one of them, but that doesn’t change the love you have for the others. But I bet you have been accused of loving one more, haven’t you?

Ask your children who they think you love more. “What Carl? I can’t do that.” Sure, you can. You know it’s not true. Just ask them. Then ask them why they think that. Read them today’s verse and explain you love them the same way. Because you love the Father, you love like the Father – impartially. That’s a model they can follow.

Have you ever felt you were judged unfairly? I have. It’s not fun. Isn’t it comforting to know our heavenly Father loves us equally. He loves us all completely. So why don’t we live like it. Peter tells us to conduct ourselves in fear. He doesn’t mean to walk around scared. He means with reverence and respect. Can you do that today for your Father?

Thank You, Father, for loving me and judging me impartially. I trust Your judgment. I pledge today to live my life to honor You.

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