Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, Faith, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Reputation, Testimony, Witnessing

JUDGE IF YOU HAVE TO

Acts 4:19

“But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;”

Obeying God can have consequences. Peter and John faced this dilemma when the Jewish authorities ordered them to stop preaching about Jesus. People were coming to Christ due to the miracles they were performing and their message about repentance. The Jewish leaders didn’t want that.

But Peter and John knew they had to answer to a higher authority. They weren’t trying to be ugly or hard to get along with. They just knew the Lord had told them to preach the Gospel, so they had to. They were willing to accept the consequences that could have come from the authorities.

APPLICATION

Years ago, I served as Chaplain at a Children’s Home. Occasionally, former residents of the home would want the Chaplain to marry them in the Chapel on campus. When I could, I was honored to do so. On one occasion, however, I was asked to marry two former residents who both had multiple former marriages. I couldn’t do that and remain true to my calling. I was questioned by the Superintendent why I refused. Fortunately, he understood and supported my decision. But I was prepared to leave my job if necessary.

Your children may face a decision between standing up for Christ and their beliefs or giving in to pressures from others. You have to prepare them now for those times. They have to know why they believe what they believe. They need to know that God will be with them to support them. Share with them how you have handled similar situations.

Are you willing to stand up for Christ? There may be a day when you are faced with that decision. Are you ready? He is. He will stand beside you. Then you can say as Peter said, “you be the judge.”

I am ready to follow You, Lord, wherever You lead me. If that means I am judged by others, so be it. I will be proud to be named as Your follower.

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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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Denial, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Repentance, Scripture, Shame

FAILURE

MATTHEW 26:74-75

“74 Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’ And immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”

Epic fail! Peter realized immediately when he heard that rooster crow that he had failed his Master. He probably wanted to throw up. Can you imagine the thoughts that ran through his mind? This wasn’t a minor fail. He had denied Jesus threw times, just as Jesus predicted.

How many times have you failed our Lord? You’ve been told to do something, but you don’t. You know He placed someone on your heart to call or go see and you don’t. He places someone in your path to witness to and you walk away without doing it. Fail!

APPLICATION

Children are going to have failures. That’s part of learning and growing. I believe they can learn more from failures than successes if we help them. If we don’t, those failures can crush them. Losing can build character. Failing can do the same. You need to ask them what went wrong. How could have they prevented the failure?

They are also going to fail God. Tell them an experience you’ve had. They need to know you can relate. And then tell them how the Lord forgave you and showed mercy. They need to hear that. Read them this passage in Matthew and then skip ahead and read how Jesus forgave him after He resurrected.

Are you still living in failure? Take it to Jesus. He can forgive. Don’t put that confession off. It won’t go away. We have the God of the universe waiting for us to talk to Him. He wants to forgive. He wants to talk to us. Don’t make Him wait. Right now, bend your knee and ask for forgiveness for that failure. He’s ready to forgive.

I ask You to forgive me today for the many times I have failed You, Lord. Cleanse me and make me right in Your eyes. Show me how to be more obedient today.

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THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

MATTHEW 26:69-72

“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean.’ 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ 71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ 72 And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’”

My dad always said, “You will be known by the company you keep.” Now, he told me that to steer me away from people who might lead me astray. In the case of Peter, he was recognized as being one of Jesus’ followers (being in His company). While that may seem like a good thing, at this moment, it could have gotten Peter in hot water.

So, what does he do? He denies knowing Jesus. Remember when Jesus warned him he would deny Him? Well, today’s verses are the first two denials. Two different servant-girls accused him, and both times he denied it. He wanted nothing to do with Jesus at the moment. How soon he forgot.

APPLICATION

Your children will have to choose who they hang out with. Some of those choices will be good and some will be bad. Only time will tell. Your role as mom or dad is to point them and guide them towards the right company. You may have to help them choose when their judgment gets a little off.

Peter chose wrong in this situation. He chose to blend into the crowd rather than standing up for his friend. Your children will face similar choices as they grow up. Do they choose popularity or safety over loyalty? These are hard lessons but are necessary ones. Don’t let them slip by.

Do you avoid being recognized as a follower of Christ when it becomes uncomfortable? What exactly makes you uncomfortable? Remember all Jesus has done and is doing for you. You have an obligation to Him. You have given Him your life. You belong to Him. Stay loyal and true.

Lord, give me the courage to stand tall in the face of opposition. I want to be known as Your friend. I want others to see Jesus in me.

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DON’T BE IGNORED

TITUS 2:15

“These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

We have a difficult word in today’s verse. The Greek word translated “disregard” is only used in this verse. It has more to do with us than others. Paul is telling Titus to be forceful, to stand up for himself. Now, that had nothing to do with who Titus was. It was about Who he represented and what he was saying. He said to “speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.”

People are going to despise us. People are going to try to ignore us or push us aside. There are times when we must stand up and be heard. I don’t mean in an ugly way. But we must speak truth and be heard. We, in fact, have an obligation to do that. When we have been entrusted with the only truth, and we hear it being twisted to lead others astray, we have to speak. Is that comfortable? Not to most of us, but it must be done.

APPLICATION

Teaching our children to stand up for themselves and the Lord is a worthy goal. We don’t want our children to be pushovers. But we also don’t want them to be arrogant and snobby. There’s a fine line which is successfully walked only when Christ reigns in their life. It is important that we live this out for them in the way we deal with others in their presence. We can all be Jesus to others wherever we are. It just requires us to submit and let Jesus do the talking.

Have you ever had your faith “attacked” by someone in front of your children? How did you respond? This is not a time to get into a theological debate. This is the time to simply speak the truth, but speak you must. To not reply can send the message to your child that it is not worth responding. They need to know that you will defend the Gospel and that you believe what it says. Our actions speak volumes.

Are you able to speak out? Are you willing to stand for truth? Will you “speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.” Paul’s command to Titus applies to us today, therefore, the last part of the verse does as well. “Let no one disregard you.” You represent the King of kings and Lord of lords. You have His authority. Act like it.

Father, I carry Your seal stamped on my heart. You have given me Your authority to yield. Help me stand for truth!

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WRONG VIEW

1 TIMOTHY 4:1

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” 

I struggled with what to name this blog. It’s obvious what Paul is warning Timothy about. Some people, even believers, will listen to the wrong teachings. Perhaps unknowingly they will be led astray by deceitful spirits and demons. I mean, come on, who in the right mind would intentionally follow demons? Not many people.

So, I titled this “Wrong View” because I believe the problem is they started looking at the wrong thing. When our eyes remain on Jesus and His Word, there is less danger of this happening. If we are absorbing the truth of the Gospel daily, we can recognize deception when it comes creeping at our door. 

APPLICATION

How do we keep our children from falling away? All we can do is bathe them in God’s Word daily and pray. The ultimate decision is theirs. They must choose who they are going to follow. But God is faithful. I truly believe if we train our children in God’s Word, it will not be in vain. The seeds of the Gospel will be planted. We must trust the Lord to send others into their lives to water and harvest.

What do we do when our children “fall away”? Many God-fearing, Christian parents have faced this dilemma. First of all, if you have done your duty as a parent and taught them the truths of God’s Word, then don’t blame yourself. Secondly, pray daily for your prodigal child. Third, trust the Lord to bring them home. You can’t force it or demand it. 

The big question then is are you fulfilling your God-given responsibilities to raise your children in His Word? Are you? If you aren’t, start today. It’s not too late. Make the change personal. It has to begin with you. No one else can parent your children like you. 

Father, forgive me for not being a more insistent parent to speak Your truths into my children. Help me to plant one seed every day, no matter how they receive it. You have given me my children to give them back to You.

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SEPARATION

2 THESSALONIANS 1:9

“These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”

What could be worse than eternal separation from God? No forgiveness, no redemption and, as it says here, eternal destruction. Now, you have to understand something about that word “destruction.” It does not mean that you will cease to be. It really means total ruin without extinction. Who wants that?

When I moved back to Chattanooga in 2007, I moved ahead of my family due to my daughter’s last year in high school. We didn’t want to pull her out that situation. So, we commuted back and forth to Lakeland, FL for eleven and a half months. We made it work but being separated for that amount of time on a daily basis was horrible. I can’t imagine an eternal separation.

APPLICATION

The next time you have to be away from your children draw out a countdown for them to mark off. For each day you are away they can put an “X” on that day when it is complete. This way they can see the days getting closer when you return to them. When you get home ask them how it felt to be apart for that time. Hopefully, they will tell you how much they missed you.

The Father feels the same way. He wants us home. He can’t wait until we are in His presence. He can’t make us come home, but He will do everything in His power to lead us that way. But, because He is a holy God, He can’t allow us to enter into His presence if we haven’t surrendered to His Son. We, in fact, force our own eternal destruction and separation by choosing to ignore His commands to repent.

Are you surrendered to Him? Are you headed home? I pray you are. If you aren’t, would you make that right today? If you aren’t sure, make it sure today. There is no greater peace than knowing your eternal destiny. And as you make sure of that, spread the news to others. Help them make sure too.

I know where I am headed one day, Lord. I look forward to seeing Your face. Help me spread the good news to as many as possible along the way.

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