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GOOD SEED, BAD SEED

1 PETER 1:23

“for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

When I was growing up, I worked for a few years at a Feed-N-Seed store. We sold all kinds of seed to the local farmers and to small garden folks. The important thing was to sell them good seed. There is nothing much worse than to spend money on seed, plant them and nothing happens. We had to make sure the seed was imperishable.

Peter is telling us here that we have been born again with seed that is imperishable. And what is that seed? He tells us. It is the living and enduring word of God. God’s Word will never perish. He will always produce fruit.

APPLICATION

How about teaching this verse to your kids in their own little garden? Make it fun. Get some various seeds from your local nursery. Get some pots and fill them with potting soil. Now, plant those seed, but save one. In that pot plant a jellybean. Explain that you have to wait a while for the seed to sprout.

Boy, when you see that first sprout your kids are going to be so excited. But wait! Is the jellybean pot sprouting? Of course not. Jellybeans don’t sprout. Explain to your children the difference. You have to have the right seed. Only the Lord has the right seed that can make us imperishable. We are destined for heaven.

Have you stopped to thank the Lord today for your salvation which you received through that imperishable word? He planned it all for you. He cared enough about your salvation that He made a perfect way.

Thank You, Lord, for the imperishable Word. Thank You that it is the source of my growth and knowledge.

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FERVENT LOVE

1 PETER 1:22

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,”

Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurt? The Greek word for fervent comes across like that. It’s only used twice in the New Testament. The other time is in Acts 12:5 when Peter was in jail and the church was fervently praying for his release.

Peter had experienced that kind of love and now he is telling us to love each other that way.

Now, I realize there are some people who are hard to love. I bet you can name a few. But that doesn’t excuse us from loving them. Do you know why? Because we aren’t doing this from our own love. No!!! This is the fervent love of Christ. We are just the vessel He uses to express His love.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they think fervent means. Once they are done explain the word to them. Now, ask them to show you how they would express fervent love. Depending on the kid, this could be interesting. Most kids, however, don’t have a problem loving. We adults tend to shy away from fervent love.

I love standing at the door to the church I serve on Sunday mornings. Some of the kids will begin running down the sidewalk leading into the church the moment they see me. I’ve been out for several weeks with serious medical issue. I will probably get mowed down on my first Sunday back. I can’t wait. lol

Fervent love is proceeded by “purified your souls.” That’s important. Fervent love comes out of a pure heart. There is nothing hidden in that fervent love. It comes straight from above. Fervent love is an encouraging love. Go out today and fervently love someone. I’ll bet they will be surprised.

I fervently love You, Lord. Help me love others with as much passion. Love through me today.

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PRIVATE TIME

MARK 13:3

“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,”

Can you imagine having a private, sit down meeting with Jesus? These two sets of brothers probably did this often. They had been the first 4 disciples chosen by Jesus. He often took three of the four out with Him. So, sitting with Jesus wasn’t an unusual thing for them.

Jesus had just told them the temple would be destroyed. They wanted to know when. Jesus gives them lots of warnings but doesn’t give the exact time. Those warnings still hold true today. Jesus is returning one day. He told us that. We can bank on that.

APPLICATION

Private time with Jesus is available to each of us. Teach your children that. They can take His word, find a quiet place and read and pray. Jesus loves meeting us there. Children need to develop that habit of quiet time. This is one thing they can carry all through their life.

You may have to do it with them to begin with. Quiet times have to be developed. The Word is a big part of that. Jesus speaks to us through His word. It is amazing how many times the verse(s) I read are exactly what I need that day. And then our prayer time allows us to talk to the Lord and share our desires and needs.

Do you have your quiet times daily? If you don’t, you are missing out. We may not can physically sit down with Jesus, but we sure can talk to Him. He will be there, waiting to talk. He will not be too busy. He won’t get distracted while you are talking. Just go to Him and enjoy it.

I am thankful that You are all ears anytime I come to You. Help me be more disciplined. I look forward to our next conversation.

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BEFORE

1 PETER 1:20

“For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you”

I remember playing football on Friday nights in South Georgia. I loved that. But the game could not have taken place without all the preparation before the game. We spent hours Monday through Thursday practicing, running plays, getting in shape and fixing our mistakes. All that “before” work prepared us for Friday night.

Jesus “was foreknown before.” He, in fact, has always existed. His knowledge of the world, which He created, is unsurpassed. Don’t you trust people who know what’s going on? Of course, you do. There is no one who knows what’s going on more than Jesus. He came to reveal Himself so we would trust Him.

APPLICATION

Can you ride a bike? How did you learn? Someone who knew how taught you. Foreknowledge in that case was greatly beneficial to you. Without that knowledge you would have been in trouble trying to learn how to ride that bike. You will pass that knowledge on to your child when they want to ride. You have been there and done that.

In the same way, Jesus has been there and done that. Name it, and He knows it. This is one principle your children need to learn to rely on. There is nothing they can’t take to Jesus. He is waiting to answer. He will always give them the right answer. When they are facing those difficult decisions, they need to go to Him first. They may come to you too. Make sure you go to Him. Don’t base your response on your knowledge. Make sure it comes from Him.

What do you want to know today? Are you facing a tough decision today? Let the one who has always existed and has all knowledge be your source for advice. Jesus loves to come to His children and tell them how to handle things. But He won’t barge in without being asked. Ask Him. Trust Him.

Lord, I know You are the only reliable source of knowledge. Show me how to hear You clearly through Your Word and prayer. I want to trust You.

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TREE KILLING FAITH

MARK 11:21

“Being reminded, Peter said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.’” 

Do you remember this story? Jesus had walked by this fig tree earlier and, when He found it had no figs, cursed it. Now, as they walk by it on the return trip, Peter notices it has withered. He is amazed, but Jesus tells him (and us) that he has the same power through our prayers. We can even move mountains. He goes on to say, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”

Real faith can do anything. We can even kill trees, not that I would want to. I don’t even want to move a mountain. The key to praying and believing, though, is to pray with a pure heart. Jesus told His disciples they must pray with a forgiving heart. You can’t pray while holding a grudge or resentment towards someone. Confess that and the floodgates of heaven are opened to you.

APPLICATION

As you teach your children to pray, make sure you teach this principle. They need to be all confessed up. They need to forgive their brother or sister. They need to forgive that friend who has hurt their feelings. Teach them that unforgiveness drives a wedge, not only between them and the person, but also between them and God. Christ won’t allow our unforgiving spirit to continue.

When our children learn this lesson early in life, it will free them for powerful prayer lives. We adults wonder sometimes why God isn’t listening. We need to examine our forgiving attitudes. It is easy to hold resentments. Sometimes we even forget we are doing that until we see that person again.

Are you depriving yourself of tree killing faith? Are you refusing to forgive someone who has hurt you? Let it go. Let Christ in you give you the desire and ability to forgive them, no matter how deep the hurt. Only Christ can. You can’t. Our flesh demands justice. Christ has already paid the price. Forgive.

I will forgive as You forgive, Lord. It is not easy, practically impossible. But in You all things are possible.

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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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IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOD…

1 PETER 1:16

“because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’”

Leviticus 11:45 says, “45 ‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” Peter is quoting the Old Testament in today’s verse. Whom do you think he had in mind? He had spent over three years with the holiest man alive, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. He had experienced holy as we never will this side of eternity.

Being holy isn’t just about getting saved and attending church. Being holy means we lay aside all that was before and take up all that God is. We live in His righteousness. We love our enemies. We put others before ourselves. We dwell in His presence daily. We “put on” God each day as we encounter others. Holiness has nothing to do with our abilities. It has everything to do with surrender.

APPLICATION

Have your children define “holy”. I love to hear children give definitions of spiritual things. Most of the time they are right on with simple, undefiled definitions. They don’t over think it. They just share what comes out first, unfiltered. Make a list of their definitions.

Now go to this verse and also look at the passage in Leviticus. Ask them what they think Peter was saying and more especially what God was saying. Explain to them the biblical definition too. They need to know that but put it in layman’s terms. Don’t spiritualize it. We tend to do that too much, don’t we? Remember, holiness is not about us. It’s all about Him.

How are you doing living holy? Are you trying too hard? Surrender. Let God’s holiness pour out of you through the power of the Holy Spirit. After all, His name is HOLY Spirit. I think He knows a little bit about being holy. If you will let Him have complete control, holiness will ooze out of you.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty! I want to live holy and dwell in Your Holiness. Thank You for filling with Your Holy Spirit.

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