Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Courage, Cowardice, Denial, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Joy, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture, Shame, Testimony, Witnessing

DANG ROOSTER

MATTHEW 26:33-35

“33 But Peter said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.’ 34 Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ 35 Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.’ All the disciples said the same thing too.”

Unfortunately, this is one of the most famous stories about Peter. He had pledged his undying allegiance to Jesus here in these verses only to deny Him three times (just as Jesus said) hours later. We forget that he wasn’t alone. The rest of the disciples (with the exception of John) deserted Him as well. Peter, however, bears the shame since Jesus addressed him directly.

I bet Peter couldn’t eat chicken for a while after this event. He had been so sure of himself. He would never fall away. He would never deny Him. Ask yourself what you would have done. We sit here 2000+ years later and say we wouldn’t do exactly what Peter did. Until you are facing death for your faith, you don’t know how you will respond. Don’t judge Peter too harshly.

APPLICATION

What is the application for us? Loyalty, I think. We need to work on our loyalty to Christ in the smallest of ways. This is what we teach our children. What do I mean by that? I mean, standing up for our beliefs when we are challenged. It means walking away from friends who are telling that “off-color” joke. It means not being ashamed of the gospel when the Holy Spirit prompts us to share.

We may not ever be faced with a life or death choice concerning our faith. We can, however, stand with Jesus every day. We can show our children our pride and joy of being known as a true believer. We can BE Jesus to our neighbors, even those who do not believe. Our children are watching us, just as those around that fire were watching Peter. What will you do?

Today you may be faced with a challenge to your faith. How will you respond? Will you shrink away or stand tall? People will test you. Satan will tempt you. Let your testimony be known among those you encounter today. Let there be no doubt with whom you stand – the King of Ages. He will stand with you.

I will not fall away. I will not deny You. Let my words be true. I do not want to fail You, Lord.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Faith, Friends, Gossip, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Opponents, Parenting, Persecution, Reputation, Scripture, Trust, Truth

OPPONENTS

TITUS 2:8

“sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”

Have you ever had an opponent? I mean, someone who was just against you? The Greek phrase for “opponent” reads “he who is of the contrary.” Ever known a contrary person? It seems everything you do or say they are against. You just can’t seem to get along. Well, we are going to face those people, and Paul tells us how to deal with them.

It’s pretty simple really. We just speak truth, sound “speech which is beyond reproach.” If we do that, they have “nothing bad to say about us.” They may try, but it’s not true. In fact, then word “nothing” there means not even one. My brother-in-law used to say that means zero with the lid kicked off. I like that.

APPLICATION

Boy, oh boy, this is an application to make. Our children are going to have people, friends even, who talk about them. Kids love to talk and tease and criticize. The sooner we prepare our children how to handle those comments, the better off they will be. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That may be a cute phrase, but words can hurt if you don’t know how to handle them.

Here are some tips to handle these opponents:

  1. Know the truth about you – Teach your kids who they are in Christ. No words from others can change that.
  2. Know that your opponents are actually Christ’s opponent – He will fight for you. If you stand for Christ, He promises to defend you.
  3. Know those opponents need Jesus – Just like you before Christ, they are operating out of the flesh and need a Savior.
  4. Know that truth will prevail – Trust that “the truth will make you free.

There you have it. A few tips for dealing with those contrary folks. It won’t be easy, but they can keep you focused. Perhaps you have a tendency to be contrary. If that is you, listen to the truth of His Word. Let it transform your thinking. There is no victory in opposing Christ. You just can’t win. Submit to Him today and experience of true freedom and rest.

Guard my tongue, O Lord, and let me speak only sound words. Allow the truth spoken through me draw all opponents to You. Protect me as You have promised.

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Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Evil, Fighting, Gossip, Lies, Ministry, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Perseverance, Revenge, Scripture, Service, Suffering, Trust, Witnessing

THE LORD WILL REPAY

2 TIMOTHY 4:14

“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.”

It’s pretty obvious that Alexander didn’t care for Paul. We aren’t exactly sure who he was, but there are a few speculations. He may have been one of the metal workers thrust forth by the Jews to denounce Paul in Ephesus. Demetrius had begun this protest, but a man named Alexander was trying speak about how Paul’s mission work was hurting the sale of idols of the great temple of Artemis, which was their livelihood.

This name appears later in Acts at Paul’s trial. This time he is there publicly to speak against Paul. Animosity, hatred, pure evil. Paul knew it, but what did he tell Timothy? Turn the other cheek. Do not engage this man. God will handle him. As powerful and as loud as Alexander may appear, God is bigger and louder (if necessary).

APPLICATION

Do you think your children are going to face an Alexander? You had better believe it. If your children are attempting to live for Jesus, there will be people who will feel threatened. You may not know why they feel threatened, but they will. It may go to their own insecurities. It could be from their wrecked childhood. But for some reason, they have it out for your son or daughter. So, what do you tell them to do? The exact same thing Paul told Timothy – let God have it.

Do you now what all “Alexanders” need? Jesus! They need His forgiveness. They need His love. They need His mercy. And all of that comes through us. God still uses His people to deliver the gospel. Teach your children to be that deliverer of hope to “Alexanders.” And when they rise up in hatred, love them more.

Who do you need to approach in love today whom has set out to tear you down? We all have someone who just doesn’t like us. We may not know why, but God does. Ask Him. You may share a past with that person that could bring them to Christ. But whatever you do, don’t retaliate. That’s the Lord’s job, and He can handle it much better than you.

Father, I lay down my plans to get even right now. It is hard not to want to get back at those who have harmed me. But at Your command, I will obey.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Peace, Persecution, Suffering

NOT VERY COMFORTING

2 TIMOTHY 3:12

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Paul has just told Timothy to follow him in persecutions and sufferings in the previous verse. Now, he tells him why. Because all who desire to live for Christ will be persecuted. Doesn’t that just make you want to shout “Hallelujah!”?  lol. Not really, to be honest. Who wants to be persecuted? That doesn’t sound fun. And Paul knew what he was talking about. The religious leaders had hounded him and years, solely because of his allegiance to and teachings of Christ.

Is that the kind of life you desire? Do you inwardly desire so strongly to live for Christ that you are willing to endure whatever hardship or persecution that may come your way? At what point would you say, “That’s enough! I can’t go any further.” Think about it. There may be a day coming, like in many parts of our world, where if you are a faithful follower of Christ, it could cost you everything.

APPLICATION

I don’t know a better way to teach our children this than to share true stories of believers who are suffering right now in our world. Most of us cannot imagine being persecuted for our faith. So, find a story to share with your kids. Talk about how that person must feel. Talk about how their children must have felt. Then ask your children how they would feel if that had been your family. It’s okay to say it would be scary. Emotions and fears are real.

But don’t leave it there. Take them to the verse today. God promises to be with us. Ask your children what they believe the Lord teaches us through persecution. It is so important they get this. They need to understand that, if God allows it in your life, it is always to make us better, not bitter. Persecution builds faith and helps spread the Word. We are just a vessel.

Are you a willing vessel to be persecuted for the cause of Christ if needed? Or are you good with just doing your “Sunday” thing and going through the motions? May I encourage you today to go all in. He needs your total devotion, your total desires, in order to accomplish in you what He wants. Trust Him to be with you should persecution come.

Though the world slay me, I will serve You. I will not fear the reprisal of men for loving my heavenly Father and following my Lord.

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