Advice, Child Bearing, Child Raising, Commands, Conceit, Fear, God's Will, Honor, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Scripture, Submission, Surrender, Testimony

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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony

DO RIGHT

1 PETER 2:15

“For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

People are always wanting to know God’s will. Well, right here Peter tells you part of it. He says it is “by doing right.” That Greek word is only used 10 times in the New Testament, 4 of them in 1 Peter (2:15, 20; 3:6, 17). Peter must have had some experience in “doing right.” Or maybe he learned by doing the opposite.

But I really like what doing right does. It silences the ignorance of foolish men. Isn’t that great? By doing right you totally keep foolish people quiet. They can’t speak evil against you. They can’t point fingers at you in accusation. Why? Because you are doing what is right according to God’s will. That’s awesome!

APPLICATION

What a great verse for kids. If we can teach them to do what is right according to God’s will, they don’t have to worry about what people say about them. They are innocent in God’s eyes, and that’s all that matters.

Doing what is right isn’t always easy, is it? Sometimes we just want to lash out at someone who has been on our case. But we have to remember that we are representing the Lord in all our actions and words. His desire is for us to do His will, even if it requires us to suffer. Suffering for doing what is right may not feel good, but it pleases the Lord.

Are you doing the right thing? Are you making your decisions according to what pleases the Lord? I challenge you to today to do that and watch the critics get silenced. The Lord is our defense. If you can trust Him with your eternity, don’t you think you can trust Him with your today? Do the right thing!

I do want to do what is right, Lord. Help me to choose that each day and not fall into the traps my enemies have for me. I will choose right today.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

I BOW

1 PETER 2:13

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,” 

Who likes to submit? Really, no one, if they are honest. We all want our own way. But that’s not the Lord’s way. Just look at today’s verse. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake.” The word submit is used a lot in the New Testament, so it must be important. The word means “under God’s arrangement, according to the Lord’s plan.”

So, when you submit, it’s not to someone. It’s to the Lord. Any authority over you has been placed there by God. He establishes kings and kingdoms. If He has placed it, we should submit to it. To not submit is disobedience to God. Now, that submission should not involved illegalities or immoralities. Other than that, submit.

APPLICATION

Your children’s priority in submission is to you, their parents. This verse applies to them too, even though they are just children. Keep in mind, when they disobey you, they are disobeying God. That should be your focus. That means you must parent according to God’s principles.

So, what happens when we don’t submit. Most importantly, we disappoint the Lord. We are His representatives to the world. When we “rebel” against the authorities, we are not displaying a Christlike spirit. God expects us to submit. Otherwise, we would not have today’s verse in the Bible.

Are you someone who is always complaining about those you answer to? You need to take a minute and reflect on today’s verse. Who are you really complaining about? God! If He’s placed these people over you, it’s for a reason. Obey Him and you will almost all the time obey them.

Father, I submit to You today. Help me understand more fully the reasons why You have placed the authorities in my life. I want to honor You.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Denial, Encouragement, Envy, Evil, Hypocrisy, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Prejudice, Reputation, Slander

TAKE OUT THE TRASH

1 PETER 2:1

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,”

Some things just stink. And whether we are born again or lost, stinky things seem to want to hang around us. That’s why Peter tells us to figuratively take out the trash. He lists five things that have no place in a believer’s life. Are they in yours?

Malice is just plain badness – enough said. Deceit is wrong every time – misleading others. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you’re not – never good. Envy is holding a grudge which is the opposite of forgiveness. And finally, slander which is speaking evil of someone.

APPLICATION

Now, your kids are going to have to deal with all these things. Sometimes it may be them displaying these traits. If that’s the case, you need to deal with it quickly. Whether they are directing these to strangers, friends or family, these behaviors must be corrected.

They be the recipient of these traits. They never feel good. When you are attacked it hurts. These are the times when you must come alongside your child to encourage them and if need be, protect them. Teach your children to insulate themselves with the truth of the Gospel. Jesus is their true defender.

How are you doing with the trash? Have you put it all aside? Or are you hanging on to some of them? Our flesh loves to keep some “weapons” around, doesn’t it? Lay it all down. Put it all aside. Take out the trash. Don’t let the stinky things foul up your walk with Jesus.

Help me, Lord, to rid myself of those things that don’t smell like You. I want to reflect You in all my words and deeds. That’s not easy sometimes, but with You all things are possible.

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DIRTY HANDS

MATTHEW 15:15-20

“15 Peter said to Him, ‘Explain the parable to us.’ 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17’ Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.’”

I am sure, as a fisherman, Peter ate lots of meals with dirty hands. When you are out on a boat it’s hard to use soap to clean up to eat. So, when Jesus answered the Pharisees this way about their concern they hadn’t washed their hands before eating the grain, he probably smirked a little. Still, he wanted to make sure he understood what Jesus was saying.

Why are some people so concerned about how they look on the outside, but their thoughts and words are filthy? If we had a machine in church on Sundays that could read the minds of the people as they came in the doors, we would probably be appalled. Jesus plainly tells us here that it is our inner thoughts and our words that defile us. Yes, washing our hands are important. But our inner cleanliness is so much more important.

APPLICATION

I bet when your children were little you washed their hands a lot, didn’t you? As they get older you teach them to wash their own hands and ask them before dinner, “Did you wash your hands?” What a perfect verse to discuss their spiritual cleanliness. Why not ask them at dinner, “Did you speak harshly to your sister today?” Instead of asking them, “Did you use soap to wash your hands?” ask them if they thought about the words they used today when they got upset at the video game.

It is so important to teach our children to guard their tongues. I have often said that words are like toothpaste. Once they are out you can’t stuff them back in the tube. Teach them to choose their words carefully. And if they do slip up, teach them how to make it right. Apologize. Ask for forgiveness. That’s another skill missing today.

Are you more concerned about how you appear to others than what’s in your heart? If you will flip that around, you won’t have to worry so much about how you appear. Your inwards thoughts will be reflected on the outside. Pause and think before speaking, even if what you are going to say may sound “spiritual.” Sometimes that is just not the right thing to say at the time.

I am thankful Your Spirit can guard my tongue. Help me surrender to You before each word is spoken. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O 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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Family, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Reputation, Testimony

REPUTATION

TITUS 1:12

“One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’”

What a reputation! And this was said by one of their own. How would you like to be known as a liar? I’ve known people who would lie about the dumbest stuff. I didn’t know what to believe. I prefer to tell the truth. It’s much easier to keep straight.

And then he says they are evil beasts and lazy gluttons. The Greek word for “evil beasts” means brute. It’s someone who is always aggressive and mean towards others. “Lazy gluttons” means just want you think. All they think about is satisfying their own belly, their own desires, but they don’t want to do anything about it. What a terrible reputation.

APPLICATION

My dad always told me that our reputation was important. The Willis name was known as an honorable name. My dad’s name meant something in our hometown. So, he pressed my brother and I, especially, to keep that same reputation. Well, family names are important, but keeping the name of Jesus above reproach is even more important.

You need to teach your children when they come to Christ, that they now represent Jesus wherever they go. What they do and say reflects on Him. As a Christian we have a higher calling. We are not perfect, but we need to live in such a way that others are drawn to Christ and not repelled by our lifestyle. Of course, you have to model this for your children. They will learn best by observing.

Are you living that way? If someone were to describe you, especially a non-believer, what would they say? Are you more like a Cretan or a Christian? I pray today you take a moment to look at your outward display of your faith. Make sure everyone you come into contact with knows where your allegiance is – with Christ. May He be glorified in all you do this day.

I am not perfect, Lord, but You are. Help me submit my will and actions to Your divine plan for my life today. I want others to see only You when they see me.

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