Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture, Testimony

PRECIOUS FAITH

2 PETER 1:1

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:” 

Peter’s second epistle (letter) to the same recipients as received the first letter begins in a very unique way. Just reading it in the English translation you can miss one particular phrase. “Of the same kind as ours” could be translated “equally precious as ours.” I really like that. See, Peter is saying the Gentiles who have received Christ as their Savior are equal to the Jewish believers.

We both have received a precious faith which is through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He makes no bones about it. Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ are equal. We have the same Lord. We worship the same God. We rest in the same promises. That still holds true today. All believers (red, yellow, black and white) are equal in God’s eyes.

APPLICATION

In our crazy world right now, there is a lot of racial divide. Sadly, there are believers on both sides of this argument. We need to spend as much time as possible making sure our children understand that God does not see color. Our God, who created all the peoples of the world, is spiritually colorblind. We should be also.

There is nothing sweeter than to watch young children, who haven’t developed all those societal biases, play together. They don’t care what color the other boys and girls are. We need to foster that. In fact, we can learn from that. We need to see others as our little children see them – God’s creation who just need a Savior.

Will you join me in reaching across the racial divide to embrace a brother or sister today? Will you lose your racially sensitive glasses and become colorblind for Jesus? We cannot allow the devil to divide the Universal church along color or race. The world is watching. If we can’t link arms in love, the world will tear us apart.

Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Son to cross not only religious lines, but also racial lines. I am grateful for my friends who look different than me. I need them in my life.

Standard
Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Gentleness, Greetings, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

KISSY, KISSY

1 PETER 5:14

“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.”

Peter is NOT implying we need to kiss everybody. Nope, no way, nada. If you have never been around another culture group, many of them greet that way. They grab you and kiss you on the cheek, sometimes both cheeks. The first time it happened to me was when I became friends with a guy from El Salvador. I have to admit it kind of freaked me out, lol.

But Peter is talking about greeting other believers in love. He loves these people he is writing to and wants them to pass on his affection and love to everyone. Sincere affection is often expressed by a kiss without any romantic overtones. The word “love” here is the word for God’s love – agape.

APPLICATION

At your next family reunion, make it a point to greet everyone with a holy kiss (on the cheek). Kiss grandma and grandpa. Kiss Uncle Albert. Kiss everyone. You might just surprise some people. I bet they will all be talking when you leave. I bet your children will be asking you what you are doing. Tell them you are just following the Scriptures and read them this verse.

Now explain to them what Peter is really talking about and why. I wouldn’t encourage your children to go around and kiss everyone at church. You may be asked to find a new church. But we do need to teach our children to show true affection to others. We need to be accepting of them. We need to welcome them and make them feel loved.

Is there someone you need to reach out to today? Does someone need to feel loved? Maybe you aren’t the one to do it. But get someone to reach out. Your fellow believers need to know they are loved. You may be surprised how many aren’t told that regularly. Be the vessel God intends you to be.

I welcome Your affection and love today, Lord. Give me the opportunity today to show Your love to someone else.

Standard
Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Comfort, Encouragement, Gentleness, Greetings, Hugs, Kindness, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

GREETINGS

1 PETER 5:13

“She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark.”

Who is “she” mentioned here by Peter? Most scholars agree that he is referring to a church or churches in the area of Babylon. And the Mark mentioned by Peter here is most probably John Mark who had accompanied Paul and Barnabus before he left them. This same Mark was picked up by Barnabus later. He also happens to be the author of the Gospel by his name.

But the point of this devotional today isn’t on that church or Mark. It’s on the word “greetings.” This word means to enfold in your arms. In other words, it means a hug. Now, I’m a hugger. I love to embrace with a hug. What better way to say “hi” to someone than with a big ole bear hug? Peter is sending a hug to the readers.

APPLICATION

When is the last time you hugged your child? I bet you did it today. If you haven’t, go do it now. Tell them Pastor Carl told you to. Most kids love hugs. Why? Because it’s intimate. It feels good. It’s warming. If you aren’t a hugger, ask yourself why you aren’t.

Don’t deprive your child of a good daddy or mommy hug every day. They need it. They need it especially when they have done something wrong. After you administer the discipline, hug them. This reassures them you love them, and all is forgiven. Hugs heal. I really believe that. Heal someone today.

Can I send you a virtual hug right now? ((( ))) Do you feel it? Guess what? God gives great hugs. He wants to embrace you and enfold you in His arms. You may not feel very embraceable right now, but that’s okay. God doesn’t care. He doesn’t dispense His hugs based on your value. Open your arms and feel His embrace right now.

Thank You, Father, for not withholding Your hugs from me. I need them daily. And I will pass them on to someone else.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Devil, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture, Suffering

RESIST THE DEVIL

1 PETER 5:9

“But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

What does it mean to resist the devil? We too often blame the devil for the things we do that he had no part in. Our natural self, the evil flesh, takes over and we run with it. Then we blame the evil one. To be honest, the devil has bigger fish to fry. If you are so busy blaming him, he doesn’t have to worry about you too much.

The Greek word for “resist” means to take a complete stand against, to take a 180 degree, contrary position. It means to establish one’s position publicly by holding your ground and refusing to be moved or pushed back. It’s not just saying, “not right now” to the devil. We are enemies with Satan. We can’t give him an inch.

APPLICATION

As your children come to faith, you need to remind them of the battle we are in. I don’t mean you have to scare them with stories of the devil. But I do mean you have to teach the dangers of evil that are all around. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes and very seldom appears in its real form. If it did, most everyone would run.

So how do you teach your children to resist the devil? Peter says to be firm in your faith. Foundation, foundation, foundation! It is the key. What is that foundation? Living out the Word of God. Notice I didn’t say reading or memorizing it. You have to live it. The Word will show you exactly how to resist the devil if you spend time in it and apply its principles to your life. Teach your children that.

Are you resisting the devil? Are you glorifying God with your actions? If we focus on glorifying Him with our words and deeds, we will naturally resist any actions from the devil. The devil doesn’t stand a chance against the Word of God. Just live it out as you encounter others. The Lord will be pleased, and the devil will hate it.

Your Spirit within me is much stronger than any attack of the devil, Lord. Keep my eyes on You and I know I will be able to resist those fleshly lusts.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Exalting, Faithfulness, Following, Humility, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Submission, Teaching

RIGHT ON TIME, JUST IN TIME

1 PETER 5:6

“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time”

My brother-in-law used to end every church service by starting a saying in which the congregation would take part. It would go like this:

Pastor: “God is good.”

Congregation: “All the time”

Pastor: “Right on time”

Congregation: “Just in time”

Pastor: Why?

All: Because that’s His nature. Whooo!

It may have just been a great way to end the service, but it holds such truth. Look at today’s verse. Peter ends it by saying “at the proper time.” That’s exactly what my brother-in-law knew and was teaching the church. God’s timing is always perfect. He is never late. He is also never early. He knows the exact time to exalt you.

APPLICATION

Do your children have a problem waiting? Are they impatient? Most children are. Have you ever made them wait for something just to teach them to wait? It’s not a bad idea. Waiting teaches us a lot. I have often said that life if full of red lights with just a few blinking green lights. We have to learn to wait.

How do you teach children to wait? Teach them by your actions. When you are waiting at a red light, instead of complaining and drumming your fingers on the steering wheel nervously, sing along with the radio or play a game with your kids in the car. “I Spy” is a great one to play. Make waiting fun.

As you wait on God, allow Him to teach you. He allows us to wait for a reason. It’s always a teaching moment. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t figured this waiting thing out either. I don’t like it. But I have learned when I listen closely in those waiting times God is whispering my name. He is lifting me up. He is exalting me.

God My Father, I will wait on You. Even when I am faced with seemingly impossible timetables, I will wait. You are faithful and always on time.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Elders, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Shepherd, Teaching

SHEPHERDING

1 PETER 5:2

“shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;”

Peter calls on the elders of the church to shepherd the flock. Do you know what it means to shepherd a flock? Most of us aren’t shepherds. We don’t understand the commitment and hard work it takes to shepherd a herd of sheep or goats. It involves long hours and keen senses. You have to be ready to guard against predators. You have to know when to move the flock to greener pastures.

Of course, Peter isn’t talking about sheep or goats. He’s talking about people. The elders of the church must also have these capabilities. They are instructed to guard, guide and graze the people of God. They must guard them from wrong doctrine and those who would want to harm the church. They need to be able to guide them through turbulent times. And they must feed them the Word of God.

APPLICATION

As a parent, you have the same responsibilities for your little flock. You are to guard, guide and graze them. Most parents are pretty good at guarding their children. We think of safety first. We don’t want them harmed. But we must also be just as diligent about guiding and grazing. Our children need our guidance well past their childhood years. This doesn’t stop when they become teenagers or even young adults.

And the most important thing we can do is feed them the Word. Our children need a constant diet from the Scriptures. And I don’t mean just reading them a nice bedtime story. I mean we need to live it out before them and put the Word to work in our lives so they will know what it means.

Which of those three areas (guarding, guiding, grazing) do you need the most work on? The Lord wants to use you, not only in your family, but also in the lives of those around you. Are you willing to shepherd someone today? Look around. I am sure there is someone who could use you in their lives.

Thank You, Lord, for shepherding me. Help me shepherd others who You have placed in my life.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Godliness, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Suffering, Surrender

TRUST YOUR CREATOR

1 PETER 4:19

“Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

This verse is one I have memorized as part of a men’s study called Every Man A Warrior. Dads, you should check it out, if you haven’t. Memorization of Scripture isn’t just about the memorizing part. It’s about putting into practice the verses you have memorized.

Take this verse for instance. The Greek word for “shall entrust” means to set close beside, to commit to in a very up-close-and-personal way. Wow! Can you do that? Can you commit to a very close relationship? It’s in those times of suffering that you have to draw close.

APPLICATION

Your kids need to draw close. They need to know the Lord is near, especially when times are difficult. Look back at the verse. Peter goes on to say, “in doing what is right.” No matter what is going on, we must continue to do the right thing. That is a great lesson for your children. Choosing to do what is right is difficult sometimes. But it is always God’s choice.

So how do you teach your children to draw near to God and do the right thing? Yep, you guessed it. You have to model it for them. They need to see you trusting the Lord in difficult times. They need to watch you choosing to do the right thing when retaliation or vengeance would be your choice.

So, I will ask you again. Can you commit to a close relationship with Jesus? Will you trust Him to see you through those times? Better yet, will you choose to do the right thing? Tough questions with an easy answer. Just say “yes.” Say yes to Jesus, and He will see you through your most challenging days.

I will draw close to You and do the right thing. I will trust You, Lord, when I face times of trouble, knowing You are there.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

1 PETER 4:15

“Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler”

When you read this verse, you are probably quick to say Well, I don’t do any of those things! Oh really? Sure, you may not be a murderer, but are you sure about the others? Thieves steal more than others’ possessions. They steal time from their employers. They take the towels from hotels. Yep, that’s stealing. And how about evildoers? That’s described as someone who makes trouble. Have you ever done that? Peter is the only one who uses this Greek word in the NT. He must have had some people in mind.

And finally, the one category we are probably all guilty of from time to time – troublesome meddler. That is someone who won’t mind their own business. That too is wrong. We all try to justify this, don’t we? We only want to help. But we need to simply stay out of things that don’t involve us, unless the Lord is specifically directing us.

APPLICATION

Boy, these are things our children should know. They all need to understand the ramifications of such things. Peter says to make sure we don’t suffer for doing these things. That implies they are worthy of punishment. We don’t want to see our kids suffer. So, we have in instill in them the mind of Christ.

If we do that, they will not be murderers, evildoers, thieves and meddlers. Christ would have never done any of those things. Point them to Jesus in all their actions. When you see your son or daughter “dabble” in these directions, quickly and swiftly correct them. Hold them accountable at the earliest age. You can’t start correcting these behaviors when they are older.

You are responsible for your actions. There’s no two ways about it. Our society today wants to excuse people’s actions. People are always hollering victimization. Listen, brother and sister, Christ died so that we would never see ourselves that way. Choose wisely. Choose godly.

Father, help me choose to do the right things and avoid the evil things. I know I am guilty too often of wanting my way.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Elders, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Kindness, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prejudice, Qualifications, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

LOVE STRANGERS

1 PETER 4:9

“Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”

All we hear today is stranger danger and for good reason. The world is an unsafe environment. Here, however, Peter tells us to love those strangers. The Greek word for hospitable comes from two Greek words, philos, which is brotherly love, and xenos, which is stranger. We are to love strangers.

It is interesting to me that this word is only used two other times where it is listed as a qualification for an elder. But here it is expected of all believers and with a qualifier. We are to do this “without complaint.” That literally means without murmuring or grumbling. Now, that’s hard, right?

APPLICATION

What a lesson for our kids! When they observe us doing this, they can get a glimpse of what real love is all about. Loving strangers because Jesus loves them is the key. Now, we should not be foolish and abandon all common sense. God doesn’t expect us to be foolish. But when opportunities present themselves, we need to be ready to show hospitality to those strangers God has placed in our paths.

How can you safely teach your children this? How about volunteering at the local soup kitchen? Maybe you could prepare sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless. Perhaps you could do a good deed for that neighbor on your street that no one likes or really knows too well. There are all sorts of ways to be hospitable. And remember, no grumbling.

You are probably saying, Well Carl, I don’t have the gift of hospitality. That’s a cop out. We have, through the Holy Spirit, access to all the gifts. Sure, we have primary ones which the Lord has gifted us with, but all the gifts are ours through Him. If He tells you to show a stranger kindness, don’t argue with Him. Just do it. You will be blessed!

I don’t feel comfortable approaching strangers, Lord, but I will do that as You lead. I will trust You to give me the words to say and the actions to take.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Passion, Scripture, Surrender

MAXIMUM POTENTIAL

1 PETER 4:8

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

Love, love, love! If we would all just love more, the world would be a better place. You have probably heard that at least once in your life. And Peter agrees, but there are a couple of qualifiers. One is it has to be God’s love. Both times in this verse the word agape is used. That’s God’s kind of love. We can’t produce that. It has to come through Him.

Secondly, Peter says to be “fervent in your love for one another.” The Greek word for “fervent” means to its maximumpotential, without slack because it is fully extended to its necessary outcome. That word is only used right here in this verse. Can you love to your maximum potential?

APPLICATION

The only way for your kids to learn to love fervently is for you to model that for them. Don’t you get tired of hearing that? But so much of parenting is role modeling. Remember, Peter isn’t telling us to fervently love our families. That is easy (well, it’s easy most of the time, lol). He is telling us to fervently love all our Christian brothers and sisters.

Now that’s a challenge. Your children will watch how you love them. They will listen how you talk about them. They will see if you are loving to your maximum potential. When they see us loving the unlovable with the love of God, then they will begin to understand this verse.

Who is causing you to struggle with this right now? Love them more. That doesn’t mean you have to condone what they do. It doesn’t mean you have to trust them. But it does mean to allow the Lord to love them through you. Be obedient to what the Lord has called you to do.

Lord, I will attempt to love fervently. I know it won’t be easy, but I will do it because You expect it and because You can empower me to do it.

Standard