Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Inspirational, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Service, Surrender

QUITE A CATCH

JOHN 21:11

“Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.”

From catching nothing the night before to an overwhelming catch! One hundred fifty three, not fifty two or fifty four! This catch was so big with large fish that the disciples counted the fish. John records the number of fish. Why? Because this was an unusually large catch. This miraculous catch of fish convinced them all that it was indeed the Master on the shore.

And Jesus tells them in verse ten to bring some of the fish to Him so they can eat, even though He already had some fish on the fire. Why? Matthew Henry’s commentary says He wanted them to eat some of their labor. He wanted them to taste of the miracle that He had just performed. Aren’t we all supposed to bring to the Master anything He has done through us? Peter ran to do that.

APPLICATION

How many fish can your children catch? When we have our Family Fishing Rodeos at our church, some of the children are especially good at catching fish. Some catch stringers full of nice fish to take home and eat. Catching fish is always fun.

Ask your children what they have done if Jesus had helped them “land the big one.” Would they bring the fish to Him or run off to show their friends? This lesson isn’t about the fish. It’s about bringing to Jesus whatever He chooses to do through us. He deserves all the praise, not us. Anything we do on our own is temporal. Everything He does through us is eternal.

What has the Lord done through you lately? Did you give Him praise for using you? I have known some people who love getting attention for things they do in the church. They love the praise others pour on them. Don’t be like that. If you are being used right now by the Lord, make sure everyone knows who it is who deserves the praise.

I thank You for using me, Father. Let all the praise be given to You. I am only the net You use to gather the fish.

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YOU ARE A PROCLAIMER

1 PETER 2:9

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may;” proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Many have memorized this verse. Most of us remember the first part but forget the second. Let’s take a look at that. Peter tells us we are chosen for a purpose. We are chosen to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

We tend to get stuck on the first part of the verse which makes us so special. But since we are chosen, since we are a royal priesthood and holy nation and since we are God’s own possession, He expects us to tell others. We are proclaimers of the good news of Christ.

APPLICATION

How hard would it be for your children if you asked them to keep a secret about something incredible? Suppose you have planned a fabulous vacation and you told your kids all about it but swore them to secrecy. Their little tongues would be chewed raw biting their tongues to keep from telling someone.

We should have the same excitement about what Christ has done for us. We should be busting at the seams wanting to tell everyone. But we relish in the chosen part without looking at the responsibility part. He saved us to use us to spread the good news.

Have you told someone lately how incredible Jesus is to you? Have you told them what He has done for you? Don’t miss an opportunity. Don’t simply rely on your position in Christ. Now, I don’t mean you HAVE to do anything to guarantee your salvation. What I mean is you should have a burden to share every chance you get.

Thank You for choosing me and claiming me as Your own possession. I belong to You. Help me spread the Word.

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NO NEED TO BATHE

JOHN 13:5-11

“5 Then He poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, ‘Lord, do You wash my feet?’ 7 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.’ 8 Peter said to Him, ‘Never shall You wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’ 9 Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’ 10 Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’ 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’”

Back in Jesus’ days on earth walking was the primary means of travel. If you were lucky, you may have a donkey to ride. But the roads were still pretty much dirt roads and were well…dirty. It was customary for someone to provide you water to wash your feet or have a servant to wash them for you. This was considered the lowliest job in the home.

Remember, back then they didn’t sit around a table in chairs. They reclined on the floor with their feet to the side or in front of them. No one wanted to eat with nasty feet in their face. So, when Jesus began to wash their feet, the act itself wasn’t unusual. But the thought of their master performing the act was more than Peter could handle.

APPLICATION

I bet your children would enjoy a foot washing. Act out the story we read today. Ask them how it feels to have your feet washed by someone else. Have each family member take turns washing feet. Ask them how it felt to wash someone’s feet. This is not a common practice today, so they may not get to experience elsewhere.

Explain to them what Jesus was teaching – humility and servanthood. Even He, the Son of God, came to serve. We should never think we are too good for service. God may give you the blessing of service at your church or at a mission. Never place yourself above the person God has asked you to serve.

When is the last time you humbled yourself in service? Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity today. When is the last time you have been the recipient of service? Don’t shun it. God wants to bless you and use someone else in the process. Let them bless you.

Lord, thank You for this example of humility and service to others. Give me opportunities to serve others and humble myself.

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PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE

MARK 16:7

“’But go, tell His disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.”’” 

Oh boy, do I remember those days. I was quite the class clown and got sent to see the principal on numerous occasions. I wasn’t mean. I just loved making people laugh. Let’s just say the principal knew me well. His paddle did too.

I don’t know what the disciples were thinking when they heard these words from the women. But I bet Peter was thinking Oh no! What will I say? I just denied Him three times just as He said. Will He tell the others? Peter probably felt embarrassed and a little scared.

APPLICATION

Your child will probably do something that cause them to feel like I did. They, hopefully, won’t deny Jesus like Peter. But being ashamed is hard. When you have to deal with them, use this passage. Ask them how they think Peter felt. Ask them what they think happened when Jesus finally saw Peter.

Skip ahead and read that passage in John 21. Your children need to see how Jesus restored Peter to his leadership role. If hadn’t done that, Peter may have spent the rest of his life in deep grief and sorry. Jesus restored him because had just spent three years preparing him to accomplish his mission to a lost world.

What has Jesus been preparing you for? Will you let him use you? You may have unconfessed sins that are holding you back from being fully utilized by Him. Confess them today. Let Jesus use you to accomplish His mission. He still uses us. Let Him have you.

Take my life and use it, Lord. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me now so there is nothing in me that could thwart Your mission.

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THE FIRST

MATTHEW 10:2-4

“2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.”

Of all the apostles, Simon, “who is called Peter,” is listed first. You could suppose that was because he was the very first one called by Jesus. But I think it was more than that. He was the only one whom Jesus changed his name. He was making a point. Simon would now be called Peter. He called him a rock, specifically a pebble that could be thrown.

Some scholars argue this referred to his future role as leader of the church. Jesus appointed Peter to be resolute and firm, compared to his original rashness and hot-headedness. Whatever the reason, Peter is the first of the disciples. Jesus chose him first. Jesus changed his name. Jesus used him fully. Jesus saw in Peter what he couldn’t see himself.

APPLICATION

Children often pick teams when they play games. I remember being chosen for teams during recess play times. No one wants to be chosen last. If you were picked first, it usually implied the one picking saw you as a good player and one who could help win the game. You had skills or at least the ability to make the team stronger.

Your child will probably face that situation and may come home dejected from being the last one chosen. Take them to this verse. “But Carl, won’t that make them feel worse?” Just wait! Listen, Jesus chooses ALL of us. We ALL have something to provide the team. Jesus sees in us what we can’t see ourselves. He sees what He will do to make us whole and complete. We just have to say “yes” and allow Him to use us.

Will you say “yes” today? Will you allow Jesus to make you part of His team of ministers spreading the gospel to a lost world? Peter was a fisherman. He was uneducated. He was brash and crude. But Jesus transformed him into the leader of the early church which shook the world. Jesus did in and through Peter what Peter could have never done on his own.

Father, take me and use me however You choose. Knock off my rough edges. Make me into an instrument of Your choosing.

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ARE YOU HIS?

1 Peter 1:1

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen”

Peter begins this letter by identifying himself. He was an apostle! Now, he’s not bragging. He may have done that at an earlier time in his life, but not now. He was merely letting the recipients of this letter know he was writing with authority, authority that only came from Christ. These would not be his words. They were Christ’s.

He is writing to believers who were “aliens” in these provinces of Asia. This wasn’t their home. They didn’t belong there. How they got there isn’t the issue. They were there now, but the Lord had not forgotten them. They were in His family no matter where they dwelled. We can take a lesson from that, can’t we?

APPLICATION

This may seem a strange verse to try to make an application for our lives. But I believe every word of Scripture has that capability. First, we must be careful to ensure the words that come from us are words the Lord Himself would use. We dare not speak for God when He hasn’t spoken to us. We have the advantage of having the Old and New Testament to draw from. We can trust it.

Secondly, our home is wherever God places us. Some people resist allowing God to move them for fear of losing “their home.” We are secure in Christ wherever we are. Some places are more comfortable than other, for sure. But God doesn’t call us to comfort. He calls us to service. He may even drive us to places through persecution in order to spread His word. Are you willing to go?

These are lessons worth teaching our children. Speak only God’s truth. Speak only words that are pleasing to Him. Let no untrue word proceed from your mouth, little one. And wherever God leads you, follow. Trust Him to make your home where He wants it. He will never take you anywhere that He will not be there. We are in His family, so home is wherever He is.

Father, thank You for this reminder that I am Your messenger and that You are my home. I forget that sometimes. Forgive me.

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DO THE RIGHT DEEDS

TITUS 3:14

“Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.”

There are some qualifying words in this verse. If you read and stopped at “good deeds,” you might be led to believe that any good deed goes. But Paul goes on to say, “to meet pressing needs.” In other words, necessary needs, needs that are indispensable. Otherwise, you can busy yourself with deeds that really serve no purpose.

And then Paul finishes the verse with “so that they will not be unfruitful.” Romans 14:23 tells us all that all decisions not born of faith are sin. So, it is important that we make sure that all good deeds, no matter how good they may seem, are truly born of faith. Doing good deeds just because they are good doesn’t make them right in God’s eyes.

APPLICATION

Ask your children to make a list of good deeds. Tell them they can write down anything. After they are done, have them try to tell you how God’s Word backs up that good deed. Give them some time to think about that. Then take the list and see if you can help them. You will probably have some that just don’t match up to Scripture.

Now you can explain to them how this verse applies to their list. Some things that appear good are not given or implied in Scripture. We, as believers, need to focus our good deeds on things that draw people to Christ and share the Gospel. There are a lot of good intentioned people out there who have their own causes. They appear good, but are they fruitful?

What causes do you support? Are you sure your money and time are going to God’s good deeds? Let me encourage you this year to examine where you spend your energy. You want the good deeds you do to reflect on Jesus and not you. You want others to know that the only reason you are doing this is to share His love for them.

Father, help me focus all my good deeds on bringing glory to You. I desire to see others drawn to Your goodness, not mine. Point me to those opportunities daily.

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