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CARRIED SAFELY AWAY

1 PETER 2:19

“For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”

Today’s verse is the perfect example of why it is so important to dig deep into God’s Word and not take it at face value. What do I mean by that? I don’t mean to not value the Scriptures. I mean that the original language of the passage can often give us so much more understanding.

For example, the phrase “bears up under” may be interpreted to mean to just deal with it or to endure it. But this Greek word means to endure because you are carried safely away from danger. When you suffer unjustly, God is there to carry you away. How precious. He is there with you in the midst of the suffering and is ready to rescue you. That should comfort you.

APPLICATION

Do your children believe you will rescue them if they were facing danger? I bet they do. Ask them. I can just hear them now. Children, at least most of them, believe mom and dad can do anything. They trust you to come to their rescue if the need is there. And I am sure you would do anything you could to do that, right?

But what if they were suffering unjustly? How would you react? The Lord allows us to suffer unjustly in order to build our faith and trust in Him. Be hesitant about rushing in to rescue your child in this situation. You may rob them of a lesson God is trying to teach them. He will tell you when to respond. You have to trust Him.

Are you suffering unjustly right now? Many are. Rest in this verse today. Endure it knowing that you will be carried away to safety by the only one capable of doing that – the Lord Jesus. He has conquered death and the grave. He can surely conquer an unjust suffering you are going through. And when you are safely in His arms, give Him praise.

I will trust You to rescue me. I know You know what is going on in my life. Nothing can touch me that hasn’t gone through Your fingers first.

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LOOKING AT OTHERS

JOHN 21:20-23

“20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’ 23 Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?’”

Why do we compare ourselves to others? You can always find someone “lower” than you and someone “above” you. All we need to be concerned about is ourselves as far as the Lord is concerned. But Peter looks behind him and sees John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and couldn’t help himself. He had to ask Jesus about John.

Jesus was not one to pass on a teachable moment. I love the middle part of His answer. He said, “What is that to you?” Peter, don’t worry about John. Worry about yourself. You follow Me. I’ll take care of John. We would do well to heed Jesus’ words ourselves, right? Our first concern needs to be our own personal relationship with Him.

APPLICATION

Our children are prone to worry about how someone else is being treated. They want to make sure no one is treated better than them. I remember my brother-in-law telling me how he solved the last piece of pie debate with his two kids. One would divide the piece, but the other one got to choose which piece they wanted. Boy, that was the most evenly cut piece of pie in history, lol.

But the lesson for our kids from this verse is the same lesson Jesus gave Peter. They need to concentrate on their own faith walk first. Don’t worry if others seem to be getting “more” from God. He is not a respecter of persons. He is the most fair judge  there is. No one can persuade Him to treat them more fairly than they should be. Remind your children of that.

Do you look at others and envy them? Do you feel like they are being treated better than you? This verse is for you then. If our heart is surrendered to Jesus, we won’t care if others “get more.” In fact, we will be thrilled at the blessings they are receiving. God will take care of you.

Lord, I thank You that You are fair and just. I also thank You that You are always focusing me on my walk with You, not someone else’s walk.

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YOUR BOSS

1 PETER 2:18

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.”

It’s easy to be submissive to your boss when he’s nice and treats you right, isn’t it? But Peter doesn’t say that. If he had just stopped with “gentle.” Right? But he continued on with “but also to those who are unreasonable.”  Come on, Peter. Couldn’t you to pull up short once?

But that word “unreasonable” needs explaining. It’s more than that. The word means crooked, perverse, unfair, curved or tortuous. Have you ever had a boss like that? I have once, a long time ago, and it was tough. I wish I could say I was always submissive, but I can’t. But he was my boss, and God intended for me to submit.

APPLICATION

This is one of those verses our children need to hear early in life. They will have to submit to others all their life. When they get their first job, they may have a boss who is “unreasonable.” They are to submit. They may have teacher who is “unreasonable.” They are to submit. Submission is not weakness. It’s strengthening. Why? Because our ultimate submission is to God who gives us the strength to submit to others.

I remember counseling my own children regarding bosses they have had. My advice has always been to submit (unless it was illegal or immoral). If God gave them the job, then He intended for that boss to be in their lives for a reason. I know my children both learned from “unreasonable” bosses in their past, which has prepared them for where they are now.

Are you one who is always complaining about your boss? Stop it! Begin praying for your boss. Ask the Lord to give them spiritual eyes. If they aren’t saved, pray for their salvation. Maybe the Lord intended for you to be there under them for just such a purpose. Thank God for your boss today.

Father, thank You for those who are authorities in my life. May they be blessed with Your love and mercy. Give me the attitude to bless them in Your name.

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DO YOU LOVE ME?

JOHN 21:15-17

“15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ 16 He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ 17 He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’”

Do you get the feeling from this passage that Jesus is trying to get a point across to Peter? Most scholars agree that is was no coincidence that Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times just days earlier. I believe these three questions were on purpose.

But what you can’t see from the English is that Jesus uses a different word for love in the first two questions than Peter. He uses the Greek word agapao which is God’s kind of love. Peter replies with phileo which is a friendship kind of love. It was as if Jesus was asking him how deep was his love for Him – love like God loves or just as a friend.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how much they love you. They may stretch out their little arms and say This much! Don’t you just love that? My daughter, Casey, and I have this little thing we do when she tells me she loves me. I always reply I love you more. In fact, she gave me a key chain that says that on it. She knows I love her.

The question for us to really ask our kids is if they love Jesus. And I don’t mean just as a friend. Have they accepted Him as Lord and Savior and do they love Him with that agape love, a love that can only come from God? You see, His love accepts us just as we are and is totally unconditional. That’s real love!

How about you? How do you love Jesus? He has to be more than a friend. Friends come and go. Jesus is eternal. He deserves a deeper, richer love. If Jesus appeared to you today, as He did to Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and asked you Do you love Me, what would you say? I pray you would say I agapao You. Love Him today.

Father, I do love You. You have done so much for me for which I could never repay You. You are worthy of all praise, glory and love.

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NOT AN OPTION

1 PETER 2:17

“Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

Peter gives us four commands in this short verse. And he pretty much covers everyone in these commands. Honor all people means to place value on someone according to how precious you consider them. He says to do the same toward the king. That’s convicting, isn’t it? How precious do you consider everyone? How precious do you hold your “king”, which for us would be our President or leaders? Hmmm!

Then Peter says to love the brotherhood which refers to all believers. Be honest, aren’t there some believers you don’t like? Peter doesn’t leave room for that. He uses the Greek word for love agapao which means always doing what the Lord prefers. Ouch! And finally, he says to fear God. Now, he doesn’t mean to be scared of God, but rather to be in awe of, to show reverence toward.

APPLICATION

Teaching our children to honor, love and fear is no small task. Some of these they won’t get until they are older, but we must start when they are young. But all these are best taught by example. We have to model these behaviors. Therein lies the rub, eh? Children learn the easiest by observing us, we have to love, honor and fear.

Ask your children what they think it means to love, honor and fear. You just might learn something. Often their answers are convicting to we adults. They speak with such innocence (at least most of the time) that it drives the point home. You know Jesus often used children to illustrate faith. Don’t you think if He used them, we could learn something from them?

How are you loving, honoring and fearing? Well Carl, I’m doing pretty good with the fearing thing, but that loving thing is tough. I know it is, but all four of these are in the imperative which means they are commands, not suggestions. If you are aren’t doing so good on one or more of these, you need to ask the Lord to show you how. He will you know.

Honor, love and fear need to be more a part of my daily behaviors. I need to spend more time loving and less time judging. I need to depend on You for my ability to do these.

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DON’T COVER UP

1 PETER 2:16

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.”

Peter gives us some very good advice in this verse and uses a word that is only used right here – the word covering. It actually means a covering, a cloak, a veil. What is Peter saying here? He is telling us, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to not pretend to be one thing while saying we are something else.

In other words, live truthful. Remember, we, as Christians, are bondslaves of God. We have willingly indentured ourselves to our Lord. We have committed ourselves to serving Him. If we are in service to Him, there is no room for doing evil. There is no room for cloaking evil in our lives.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever tried to cover up a wrong done? Most children will do that at one time or another. Perhaps they made a mistake or accidently broke something. That is not what I am talking about. I talking about deliberately choosing wrong and then trying to hide it. Read them this verse. You can’t get much plainer than this verse.

I remember when I was growing up, I did this on several occasions. I didn’t want to get spanked (and boy, could my dad spank). I would hide my wrongdoings. Some my parents never found out about. But guess what? God still knew. I became more aware of that after I came to Christ. I always knew it, but it wasn’t until I became a bondslave did it really sink in. The same is true for your kids.

Are you cloaking your sin? Are you hiding your wrongdoings now? God is aware. You can’t cloak your sins from Him. Confess those now and bow in obedience to His sovereign will. A bondslave loves his master and is loved by His master. A bondslave lives to please the master. Is that you?

Forgive me, Lord, for trying to hide my disobedience. Forgive me for not bowing before You each day as Your bondslave. Today I will bow and obey.

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PUT ON YOUR SWIMSUIT

JOHN 21:4-8

“4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you do not have any fish, do you?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.”

I love this fish story. I really love how Jesus asked the question. Take it from a fisherman. That was a little jab. He could have asked, “Do you have any fish?” But He asked, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” He already knew they didn’t have any fish. Remember, this is the Son of God. He’s all knowing.

But the funny part of this story to me is what Peter does. When John tells him the man on the beach is Jesus, He puts on more clothes and jumps in. You normally take off clothes if you are jumping in water. More clothes make you heavy. Maybe he was hoping Jesus would walk on the water again and bring him to shore. Peter had a strange swimsuit.

APPLICATION

Do your children like to swim. Most kids love the water. The next time you are helping them get ready to go swimming, tell them this story. Ask them why they think Peter put on more clothes before he jumped in. Ask them if they would do that. I think I will ask Peter that question when I meet him one day, lol.

The real lesson here is Peter wanted to get to Jesus. Remember how he left Him. He had seen the resurrected Jesus earlier, but he had not had a chance to talk about his denial of Jesus. I think Peter wanted to get to shore before the others to talk privately with his Lord. I am just speculating here, of course. Remind your children that they can talk to Jesus any time.

Are you putting on your swimsuit to jump in and talk to Jesus?

Are your conversations with Him one way or do you listen as well? Jesus will find you wherever you are. He is ready to meet you, even if you are worn out and tired from fishing all night or working night and day. Take the time to talk to Him. Run, don’t walk, to Him today. He’s waiting.

I need conversation with You today, O Lord. I depend on Your guidance to make my decisions. Talk to me, and I will listen.

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