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ACTS 12:7

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.

You really need to read Acts 12:1-19 to get the full story of Peter’s imprisonment and release. It’s a fascinating story of God’s miraculous power. This verse, in the midst of that story, is great. Peter is sleeping between two soldiers when an angel appears, wakes him up and his chains fall off.

Can you imagine Peter’s surprise? But notice too that Peter was sleeping. He was at rest in prison. He was not up all night wringing his hands. He was trusting his Savior with his outcome. Whether he was released, kept in jail or killed, he was at peace. We could take a lesson from Peter here. Even when in chains, trust.

APPLICATION

This story would be a fun one to act out. Get your family together and assign the parts (Peter, angel, guards, Rhoda). Kids learn a lot from role playing. Act it out two or three times, changing roles each time. You have to video this too. Make sure to get the reaction of “Peter” each time he is awakened by the angel.

Ask your kids what they would do if an angel woke them up in the middle of the night. Ask them if they would follow the angel’s instructions or hide under the sheets. Our children need to understand that God still performs miracles. He may never send an angel to them, but He is still working in their lives every day. They just have to keep their eyes open.

What would you do with an angelic message? More importantly, what will you do with the message of God’s Word? He is speaking to you, if you will listen. The Scriptures are God’s way of talking to you today. But you have to read it to receive the message. Take time each day to read it.

Thank You, Lord, that I am free wherever I am because of Jesus in my life. The chains of sin have fallen off of me.

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Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Righteousness, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

BLESSED IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 3:14

“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,” 

You are probably thinking right now, Carl, you are crazy! Blessed in suffering? Really? Well, that’s what the verse says. Don’t get mad at me, lol. It’s interesting that you don’t hear that preached much. Why? Because people don’t want to suffer. I don’t. No one welcomes suffering. It’s just not in our nature.

But let me tell you, as one who has gone through some suffering, when you are in the midst of it, you feel the blessing. I don’t want to give the impression that I enjoyed it. Not for a minute. But the blessing you feel can only come from one source – Jesus Christ. He seems to come closer when you are suffering. When you are chosen to suffer for righteousness, you will feel the blessings.

APPLICATION

Okay, let’s be real. How do you teach your children about suffering? We sure don’t want to see them suffer, even if it is for righteousness. The best way to show them this is by our faithfulness in suffering when it is brought upon us. Or when you see fellow believers suffering, make sure you talk to your kids about it. They can learn a lot by you doing that.

As we watch others suffer righteously, we are encouraged in our own faith. As we see the Lord working in the lives of other believers, we see just how He can work. God seldom works in the same way time and time again. He “customizes” His approach to the individual. Show your children that. He will customize their blessings as well.

Are you suffering right now? Give God the glory for allowing you the privilege to suffer for Him. That may sound strange to you, but I promise He is with you. Allow Him to use you in the lives of others. That’s part of the blessing you will receive. Be that blessing.

I will praise You for the suffering You allow in my life. I am not grateful for the suffering itself, but for the results of it in my life and the lives of others.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Freedom, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture, Traditions

CLEAN OR UNCLEAN

ACTS 10:15

“Again a voice came to him a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’”

Acts 10:10-16 tells the story of Peter’s vision of the sheet lowered from heaven with all kinds of animals. He is told to kill and eat, but many of the animals were unclean according to the Mosaic Law. What was Peter to do? He replied he had never eaten anything unclean. I love God’s response in verse 15. God says He has made them clean, so eat.

The New Covenant had come through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Peter was just learning that. He knew things were different, but he didn’t realize how different. He was still learning. God used this vision to open Peter’s eyes to a new theology, one which included Gentiles as well as Jews. His journey was about to begin.

APPLICATION

I bet your children think some foods are unclean, lol. Foods like brussels sprouts or broccoli turn some children’s noses up. They had rather have ice cream and cookies, right? The next time this happens at dinner time, read them this story about Peter’s vision. Explain to them that Peter had a wrong idea about these foods.

Now, of course, the lesson here is not about the food. The lesson here is about sharing the Good News with everyone. It’s not just for our friends. It’s for the homeless person on the street corner. It’s for the prisoner serving a life sentence for murder. It’s for everyone! Period! Our job is to spread what God has declared as good to the world.

Are you faithful to share the Gospel with those around you? Maybe you aren’t living in such a way that your testimony is believable. You have a responsibility to be God’s missionary to those you come into contact with daily. He wants to use you to reach them for Christ. Will you do that? Will you share what He’s done in and through you to someone today?

Lord, what you have declared clean I will no longer call unholy. I want to be used by you to take the Gospel to those who are shunned by the world. Give me opportunities to do that today.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Foundation, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Rejection, Testimony, Thanksgiving

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

1 PETER 2:7

“This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,’

You’ve heard the expression that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Well, in today’s verse the phrase “precious value” means what has value in the eyes of the beholder; the value (weight, honor) willingly assigned to something. Peter is telling us that we believers put great value on Jesus being our foundation and cornerstone.

Contrast that with the second phrase directed at non-believers. They may reject Jesus, but He is the very corner stone, the stone upon which the whole building is built upon. They don’t have to believe it, but it’s true. Only time will reveal this to them, either in this world or when they face judgment.

APPLICATION

What do your children hold most precious? Ask them to go to their room and return with their most precious possession. Unless they bring back their Bible, not a single item will last. Explain to them that all physical things are going to perish, pass away. Nothing will last.

That may upset them but reassure them that have (if they are a believer) and can have (if they aren’t) something that will never cease. They have the cornerstone, the sure thing, the never-ending Messiah. Jesus is with them, and they can rest assured He will never leave them.

Are you sure of your salvation? I mean, are you really sure? Which side of today’s verse do you fall on – believing or disbelieving? Make sure of that today. Jesus is here for you. Is He precious in your sight? I sure hope so, because you are in His.

You are precious in my sight. You are beautiful to me. Thank You for being my sure foundation.

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JUST A TOUCH

LUKE 8:45

“And Jesus said, ‘Who is it that touched me?’ And when all denied, Peter said, and they that were with him, ‘Master, the multitudes press thee and crush thee.’”

Have you ever been in a huge crowd where you are being pressed from all sides? I always keep my hands on my wallet and keys because I am afraid of getting robbed. Lol. Here Jesus and the disciples are going through a crowd and someone touches Him. Jesus wants to know who touched Him and Peter says Are you kidding me?

The point wasn’t being touched. The point was someone touched Him intentionally to be healed. Jesus wanted that person to acknowledge their touch. Don’t you think He knew who touched Him? Of course, He did. Her faith was on display for all.

APPLICATION

Have you ever played tag with your children? I bet you have. Well, this “tag” is nothing like that game. In the game you are trying to touch someone to get rid of something. This woman was touching Jesus to receive something.

The next time you play tag give everyone several good things everyone else wants. Make little tags to pin to their clothes. The only rule is each time they get tagged, they have to give up one of their tags. Now at the end, you can decide who the winner is. Is it the one who gives all his good things to others or is the one who gains the most tags? It really depends on your perspective.

Think about it for a second. Did Jesus ever pursue getting things from others or was He constantly giving away? We have the same ability through the Holy Spirit if we will just stop being so selfish. Share your blessings. Give to others. Let others “touch” you. You will be blessed in the end.

I am so thankful You fill me with blessings I can share. I know they are given for that purpose. Put others in my path today, Lord, whom You would have me bless.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Encouragement, Faith, Glory, God's Will, Inspirational, Promises, Salvation

YOU’RE G0ING TO GET WHAT’S COMING TO YOU

1 PETER 1:9

“obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

When we hear “you’re going to get what’s coming to you,” we usually think that’s bad. If you’ve done something bad, that may be true. But that’s not the case in today’s verse. Peter is telling us we are going to reap the outcome of our faith at some point. And that is the salvation of our souls. Now that’s something to look forward to.

The Greek word for “outcome” is telos. We get our word “telescope” from it. In fact, this word can be illustrated with the old pirate’s telescope, unfolding one stage at a time to function at full-strength. Your faith will unfold fully one day to your full-blown salvation. Your faith grows up until the day you receive your salvation reward.

APPLICATION

Why not make a pirate’s telescope with your kids to explain this verse? Get some cardboard tubes and make one. Make sure it will slide out in at least three sections. Help them draw on each tube and label them Faith 1, Faith 2 and Faith 3. After the tubes are put together, slide them all out and write SALVATION across all three tubes.

Now, collapse the tubes and open them one at a time. Explain how our faith grows as we grow in Christ. Show them the tubes labeled Faith 1 and Faith 2. But also show them the letters that are showing for the word “salvation.” The word is growing. Open the third tube with Faith 3 and now showing the full word “salvation.” Our salvation is “full” when it reaches completion in glory.

Is that too elementary for you? Maybe. But our salvation is really not that complicated. God promises us an outcome of our faith. It’s the salvation of our souls. Believe it. If you are His child, you will get what’s coming to you. And that’s a good thing.

Lord Jesus, I am thankful for the promise of my salvation. Your promises are true! I look forward to the fulfillment of them all one day in glory!

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Hope, Inspirational, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Thanksgiving

JUMP FOR JOY

1 PETER 1:6

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,”

The Greek word here for “rejoice” literally means to get so excited that you jump up and down. I can just picture a little child on Christmas morning or when they see someone they really love. You just can’t contain the excitement. Your body explodes with emotion and nothing can keep you down. That’s what it means when Peter says “greatly rejoice.”

But…he reminds us that before we experience that joy regarding our salvation, we may have to first experience trials. “Great, Peter! Throw cold water on us.” He is just reminding us that this life has hardships. In fact, the Greek word for “have been distressed” means to experience deep, emotional pain or sadness, severe sorrow or grief. This word has even used of the pain of childbirth.  

APPLICATION

Now, it’s easy to watch our children rejoice. We love to see kids get excited. I can think back to many occasions when my own children or grandchildren got excited about something. The smiles burst forth, and the laughter erupts. Those are the fun times. Those are when we take the pictures or videos.

But how do we teach our children to bear the hardships. We don’t video those times, do we? We had rather forget them. So, why does Peter tell us this? It’s part of the journey. Pain prepares the ground for rejoicing. If we never had trials, we could not appreciate fully the highs of rejoicing. When your child has that next low moment, remind them of a joyous time. Remind them there is always reason to rejoice, knowing our future rests in Him.

Are you stuck right now in a perpetual season of trials? Rejoice anyway! Your hope is NOT in getting out of that trial. Your hope is based on the assurance of your eternal salvation. You will “greatly rejoice” in Glory one day. You can greatly rejoice now. Don’t let anything or anyone rob you of the joy you have in Christ.

O Heavenly Father, I will greatly rejoice in my salvation, even in the midst of extreme trials. I know my future is secure. You are faithful and trustworthy to see me through anything.

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