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.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Deception, Demons, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Fighting, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Safety, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

A ROARING LION

1 PETER 5:8

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Have you ever seen and heard a roaring lion? I don’t mean one on television. I mean in real life. I saw a lion in Uganda once on a safari, but it wasn’t roaring. It was lying in the shade sleeping. It didn’t seem very scary. In fact, it looked very calm and peaceful. But believe me, I wasn’t about to jump out of that jeep and go over and scratch its belly. I knew what it was capable of.

Peter is warning about the dangers of the devil. We can’t let our guard down. He says to be sober and alert. The devil can lull us into thinking there is no danger and then he attacks. Just like a lion, he stalks his prey. He doesn’t present himself as he really is. He disguises himself and slips in for the kill. Don’t let him devour you or those around you.

APPLICATION

The last thing I want you to do is scare your children about the devil. However, they do need to know he is real and not some imaginary figure. We don’t want him to be talked about in the same company as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They must know the devil has one goal – to take as many souls to hell with him as possible. He knows he has already lost the war, but he wants to cause as many casualties as possible along the way.

How do you protect your child from this? By pouring the Word of God into them from birth. We raise our children to love and honor their God. And when they come to Christ and accept Him as their Savior, they are secure from the grasp of the devil. Then we must continue to disciple and mentor them to walk in the light and avoid those dark recesses where Satan dwells.

Living sober and alert may sound draining, but it’s not. The key is to stay in the Word. The moment we start living for ourselves and we put down the Word, we open ourselves up to attacks. The Word is called the sword for a reason. Use it to protect yourself and others from that nasty roaring lion.

I thank You for giving me the Word to defend against the schemes of the devil. I will watch carefully as I advance the kingdom, knowing he will do all he can to distract and attack.

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Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution

DO NOT BE ASHAMED

1 PETER 4:16

“but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”

I love these words from Peter. Why? Because sometimes when we suffer, we are made to feel ashamed, like we’ve done something wrong. When we suffer for living for Christ, we have nothing to be ashamed of. When we suffer for loving someone who has fallen into sin, we have nothing to be ashamed of. The devil wants us to feel shame. The Lord never does.

Now, let me explain that. The Lord does convict us, as believers, when we fall into sin. He wants us to know we have done wrong and need to repent. But He never shames us. He never wants us to feel unworthy. Guilt from sinful behavior is not the same as shame. Remember that.

APPLICATION

If you can’t see the application for our kids from this verse, you need to stop reading my devotions (just kidding, don’t do that, lol). Seriously, kids are so easily shamed. Their friends can shame them for doing the right thing. Society can shame them for bad behaviors. Shame should have no place in our kids’ lives.

Are you guilty of saying Shame on you when your kids misbehave? Lose that vocabulary. Never shame your kids. By all means, they need to be told when they do wrong, but don’t shame them. And when they are shamed by others for pleasing the Lord, you build them up and support them.

Live for Jesus no matter what others may say about you. When they try to shame you for living right, keep on living right. When they shame you for standing up for God’s principles, keep on standing. Do not feel ashamed of Jesus.

I will not be ashamed. I will be true to You, O Lord. I stand proud of knowing You and living for You.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture

REVILED

1 PETER 4:14

“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

Do you have any idea what “reviled” means? It’s not a word we use often. The Greek word here has the word picture of someone who shows his teeth. Get it? Someone is so upset and mad at you that they bare their teeth like a mad dog. That’s pretty upset. I haven’t seen that many times in my life, but when I did, I got the picture loud and clear.

When you face this because of your love for Christ, Peter says you are blessed. Now, it won’t feel like a blessing. No one wants to be reviled. But we have “the Spirit of glory and of God” resting on us. Wow! That’s why we are blessed.

APPLICATION

Unfortunately, your children are going to be reviled if they stand up for Jesus. In these days, anyone who represents purity and godliness is subject to scorn and ridicule. The lost of today have no respect for the things of God. In days past that wasn’t true. Now our children face outright hostility from other children and even adults for holding to Christian principles.

We must instill in them the rest that Peter speaks of here. They must be aware of the powerful Spirit that lives in them as believers. No amount of reviling can change that. It might not feel good, but the Spirit will see them through. As Peter says, it is the Spirit of God that rest on us. God can handle it.

Have you faced this kind of pressure because of your faith? Give thanks to God. What? That sounds crazy. It may, but we are to rejoice and consider ourselves blessed because of this. The next time someone lashes out at you because of your love for Jesus, smile and thank the Lord. It will probably blow their mind.

Lord, help me in these trying times to trust You. I will rest in You. I will remind myself of the Spirit that lives within me.

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REJOICE IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 4:13

“but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”

What a happy verse! You are probably saying Carl, are you crazy? Let me explain. You have to understand the words used in this verse. For instance, the Greek word for “share” is koinóneó. It’s the word we associate with fellowshipping. That’s usually a happy time.

And the Greek for “rejoicing” comes for the same root word for joy and grace. How happy is that? Finally, the Greek word for “exultation” has the idea of leaping for joy. Now, you can’t tell me that’s not happy. You see, the word that throws us in this verse is “sufferings.” You don’t see that as happy. But Peter is telling us here that we should rejoice in those times.

APPLICATION

The next time your children get overjoyed about something, read them this verse. Ask them if they have ever been happy about suffering. I bet they say no. Ask them if they think it is even possible to be happy (to rejoice) in suffering. This is a really hard concept to understand, especially for children.

Explain to them the key part of this verse is “at the revelation of His glory.” When Christ is fully revealed in all His glory, whether that be while we are still alive or after we have long been in heaven, we will rejoice. Get your kids to act out that word exultation (leaping for joy).  Measure how high they can jump for joy. Make it a game. Then make sure they know that jumping off the ground doesn’t really measure their joy. That’s a heart thing that only God can measure.

Are you jumping for joy? Do you rejoice in your times of suffering? I don’t mean your self-induced sufferings. I mean those sufferings on behalf of Christ. When we suffer for Christ, our hearts should leap for joy knowing we are being counted worthy of His sufferings. Amen?

No one likes to suffer, Lord, me included. But I will suffer for You when I am called upon to do so. I will consider it an honor to suffer in Your name.

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IN THE FIRE

1 PETER 4:12

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;” 

Have you ever been burned? I can recall a few instances where I touched a hot surface or got caught in some flames. One instance in particular involved starting a charcoal fire for our grill when I was growing up. My dad used to use mineral spirits to start the charcoal. So, I poured a healthy amount on the charcoal, let it soak in a bit and threw a match on it. The flame that shot up burned my eyebrows, eyelashes and the bangs of my hair. Wow!

Many times in our lives the “fiery ordeal” that hits us comes just as quickly. We can’t escape it. We are caught in the trial before we know it. But we must remember that each and every trial that comes our way has passed through the hands of God first. He has allowed it. Peter tells us to not be surprised by it. Rest in Him.

APPLICATION

The next time you surprise your child think about this verse. How startled were they? Did you scare them? Explain to them that life will surprise us sometimes with unexpected events. Things like deaths and illnesses can come out of nowhere. Part of growing up is learning how to accept these interruptions of life. And the best way to deal with them is with the grace of God.

We know that God will never desert His children. He will only lead us into places that He knows we can handle. Just like you, mom or dad, God would never take their hand and cast them into a fiery trial. He will walk with them and lead them through. Your children need to be reminded of that often.

Are you questioning God’s leadership in the trials of your life? I realize you may feel far from Him during those times, but He is near. He is there. Reach out to Him. He will stay right by your side during the hardest times. I know! I’ve been there.

Lord, I will trust You to douse the flames of the trials in my life. You are the only one I can depend on to carry me through.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Faith, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Persecution, Prayer, Salvation, Testimony

THE END OF ALL THINGS

1 PETER 4:7

“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”

What do you think of when someone says The end is near? That can be kind of scary, don’t you think? Remember Peter is writing to people who are dealing with persecution for their faith. Some had already been killed for that. The end of this life is a pathway to eternity. The end of all things is nothing to be feared for the believer.

But human nature causes us to fear the end of all things. That’s why Peter goes on to say, “be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” Pray, pray, pray! When you are focused on prayer it is hard to be scared. When you are talking to the Father things come into focus.

APPLICATION

Focus your children on prayer. When they learn the power of prayer, they can face anything the world may throw at them. Sure, things can get crazy, but prayer focuses us on things above. Prayer focuses your children on God and not on the world. Model prayer for them. Pray with them.

Peter tells you how to do this. Pray with sound judgment and a sober spirit. In other words, pray with determination. Pray in a manner your children can understand. Make a list of prayer request and follow up with those individuals you are praying for. Pray humbly and expectantly. Reinforce for your kids that the Lord is listening and waiting to respond in His time.

Does this describe you? Are you praying that way? No matter what may come your way, pray. The end of all things is near. Don’t panic. Trust Him to lead you through it. He will. He is watching. He is listening. He is answering. Wait.

Lord, sometimes it is hard to pray. I commit to pray anyway. I will pray believing You have all things under control.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Death, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Salvation

ARE YOU READY?

1 PETER 4:6

“For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”

This could be a confusing verse if you don’t look at it closely. What is Peter saying here? People who have been persecuted and killed (judged in the flesh) are now alive in the spirit. You see, people may kill your body for standing for Christ, but they cannot kill your spirit.

Why do we fear death and persecution? No one wants to suffer, of course. But our mortal bodies are simply the vessels God has given us to use on this earth to advance His kingdom. When we “give up” these bodies, where do we go? Heaven! So, there is no reason to fear death, no matter how it comes.

APPLICATION

Most parents shy away from talking to their kids about death. We are afraid it will scare them. Don’t do that. Talk about what death means for a Christian. Let them know how precious our eternity is. Death is nothing to fear. Death is simply a portal from this physical life to the next.

This may seem like a morbid subject to discuss with kids. It’s only morbid if we treat it like that. Celebrate life with your kids. Celebrate death of a believer with your kids. As Peter says in today’s verse, “they may live in the spirit.” We live, after death, in the spirit. That is certainly not morbid. It’s encouraging.

Do you fear death? I certainly don’t. I have a terminal disease and have gone through two stem cell transplants. I have “beat” death twice now. But I welcome death when it comes. There is no fear of it. I know where I am going when death comes. Do you? I pray you do. Make sure of that today.

I am thankful for the assurance I have in this life for my future life in heaven. Death is embraced, when it comes, as You welcome me into Your arms.

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ARE YOU STRANGE?

1 PETER 4:4

“In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;

If you do the right thing around some people they are going to think you are strange. Peter says so right here. The Greek word translated as “are surprised” means to think strange. You see, if you don’t hang out with them and do the things they do, they not only think you are strange, but they will also “malign” you.  That means they will speak evil of you.

When I got saved the summer before my senior year in high school, my lifestyle changed. Most of my friends acted exactly as this verse says. They asked what was wrong with me. They wanted to know why I wasn’t hanging out with anymore and doing the things they were doing. That was a tough year. I lost a lot of those friends that year, who interestingly enough now love the Lord.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse to read to your children when they are made fun of for standing up for Jesus. It will never fail. If your kids are living for Jesus, the devil will send people into their lives to try to discourage them. Peer pressure is tough. Our kids can be easily manipulated by a bunch of friends to compromise their convictions.

That’s why their convictions have to be built upon God’s Word and not what mom or dad says. His Word is plain and simple. If we keep them in it and work to disciple them appropriately, we have to leave the rest of it up to God. He is big enough to convict and lead them to make the right choices. All our yelling and screaming does is drive them away. Lean on Him.

So, let me ask you again. Are you strange? I hope so. I hope you stick out like a sore thumb. I hope all those around you notice you are different. I want them to ask you why you are different. And I want you to be ready to respond with the Gospel. Be strange for Jesus.

Father, being strange doesn’t sound too good. I want to be considered normal, but I don’t want to “fit in” with the crowd. Give me the boldness to be strange.

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FALSELY IMPRISONED

ACTS 12:5

“5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.”

Peter seemed to be in and out of prison a lot. The religious leaders did not want him preaching the Gospel. So, they threw him in jail time and time again. Peter was not hindered. God kept using him. He wasn’t afraid of prison bars because he knew he was free in Christ.

Let me ask you a question. If you were threatened with jail if you didn’t stop preaching about Jesus, what would you do? That probably won’t happen in the United States (and I say probably because things seem to be changing quickly). But it is a real threat in many parts of the world. People are praying for those who face this threat, just like people were praying for Peter.

APPLICATION

One thing we need to teach our children is to not fear sharing Jesus. It is hard for many of us to do that. We are afraid the person may get mad at us or that we may hurt their feelings. Help your children develop way to share without being harsh. Living for Jesus daily speaks volumes. Help your children tell others what Jesus has done for them.

But most importantly, help them to understand that if they are faithful to share His good news with others, God will take care of them. Now, that doesn’t mean they will be spared from insults or ridicule. It could even lead to more serious consequences. But we are safe in the arms of Jesus.

Are you willing to face the consequences for obeying Jesus? Or are you more concerned with your reputation? Peter had a mission, and nothing could keep him from it. You and I have that same mission – to spread the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

I am ready, Lord, to suffer for You. I don’t like saying that, but I know You will see me through whatever comes my way. I want to be obedient to share Jesus.

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