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DOING GOOD REGARDLESS

1 PETER 3:17

“For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”

This just sounds backwards, doesn’t it? You shouldn’t suffer for doing what is right. You should only suffer for doing the wrong things. At least that is what we think. But God doesn’t think like we think. Boy, I’m glad that is true, aren’t you?

So, what does this verse mean for believers? At times the Lord will call on us to suffer. Suffering is NOT punishment. Suffering is a gift. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. In the midst of suffering we discover God in a whole new way. Others see Jesus in us and are encouraged in their own faith or perhaps drawn for the first time to give their lives to Christ. We must stand up for what is right, no matter the cost.

APPLICATION

Teaching suffering to our children is no easy thing. We don’t want to see our children suffer. They may not understand why they are suffering for doing the right thing. These are teaching moments. Don’t overlook them just trying to soothe your child. You shouldn’t tell them to suck it up and get back on their feet either. It’s okay to feel hurt. That’s normal. We comfort them through God’s Word.

Suffering is a teaching time for our children. Perhaps you are going through a tough time right now. Maybe the Lord has led you into a suffering season just to model how to handle it for your children. Embrace it and live like Jesus. Your kids will never forget how you suffer for Him.

This is not a subject we want to talk about. We don’t want to suffer, especially when we are doing all the right things. We want to be blessed and be found faithful. You can be blessed through suffering also. Trust me, I know. Everyone’s suffering is different, but it is the same God who sees us through.

I will embrace the suffering You have for me, Lord. I know You know what is best for me. I trust You to teach me through the suffering.

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GOOD CONSCIENCE

1 PETER 3:16

“and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”

What does it mean to “keep a good conscience”? Let’s break this down a bit. Actually, the Greek word translated as “keep” in this verse means to have or possess. The word “conscience” has the idea of the God-given capacity to know right from wrong. So, Peter is saying that no matter what others may say about us, as long as we know what we are doing is right, don’t worry about it. They are the ones who will be shamed.

Have you ever had someone put you down for something you have done? I have. I prayed about and had a perfect peace that what I was doing was God’s will. But because it went against or interfered in what someone else wanted, they ridiculed or at the very least questioned my intentions. All you can do at that point is trust the Lord and go on.

APPLICATION

Children face this all the time from their peers. It gets worse in the middle school and high school years. Whenever your child stands up for what God tells them, they are sure to be made fun of by others. It’s just the day in which we live. Living a life of integrity and purity is almost looked down on by those who choose to live another way.

As parents we hate to see them come home in tears or sullen. Our job is to encourage them with verses like this one today. Remind them that in the end those who have given them a hard time will be shamed. In the meantime, they are to continue to live for Jesus and trust Him to guard their hearts. Is it easy? By no means. But the end result is the key. He will reward the faithful.

How is your conscience? Are you remaining true to Him? Stay faithful, my friend. Allow the Lord to show you the big picture. Ask Him to give you a glimpse into the possibilities before you. He will as you surrender. He doesn’t want to keep secrets from you. He wants you in on His plans. Follow Him.

O God, I will trust You in the difficult circumstances. I will allow You to guard my heart as others attack. I will count it a privilege to suffer for You.

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GETTING MORE THAN YOU ASK FOR

ACTS 3:6

“But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!’”

I love this story in Acts 3. If you read verses 1-10, you will get the full picture of what happens here. A lame beggar is lying outside the Temple asking for money from anyone entering the Temple. He sees Peter and John and asks them for some. All he is expecting is a few coins to perhaps buy some bread or other food for the day. What he gets surprises him.

Peter and John look at him as he hollers at them passing by. Peter, being led of the Spirit, offers him healing instead of money. Notice he heals him in the name of Jesus, not himself. Peter knows where the healing comes from and wanted this beggar and anyone else listening to know also. This beggar got so much more than money. He got his legs for the first time.

APPLICATION

Have you ever given your child more than they asked for? I bet you have. They asked for something simple for Christmas, but you blessed them with the newest game system. Isn’t it just as exciting for you? You can’t wait for them to open up that gift under the tree.

I bet Peter and John were just as excited to see this man jump up and walk as the man was. This is Peter’s first recorded miracle. Let your children think about that for a second. How would they have reacted to the beggar by the Temple? Ignore him? Step around him? Tell him to be quiet? Not Peter. In the boldness of his newly indwelt Spirit, he commands healing.

Do you realize that the same Spirit that indwelt Peter indwells us? We have the same power. Do you believe that? God wants to use you to do great things for Him today. God’s miracle working power is still present in today’s world. The problem is we don’t believe He can do those things today. Let God work through you as He desires.

I want to be used by You to do things that can only be explained as coming from You. I vow to give You all the credit and point others to You.

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TRACING LETTERS

1 PETER 2:21

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,”

Have you ever traced letters? That’s how we used to be taught how to write the alphabet. I remember distinctly tracing the letters until I could write them just as they appeared on the paper. It took hours of practice to get them right, but I kept on until I had it.

The Greek word for “example” is only used right here in the New Testament. The word is hupogrammos, which comes from two Greek words, hupo and grapho. It literally means under writing, to trace. We are to “trace” our lives after Christ’s life. We are to follow His example of suffering. Yippee! Aren’t you excited? But that is the example He left us. He endured the cross for us, and He was innocent, unlike us.

APPLICATION

Have a tracing contest with your children. Find a picture you all can trace and see who can trace it the fastest and not mess up. You see, tracing doesn’t work unless you stay in the lines. Share today’s verse with your children when you’re through and explain that we are “tracing” Jesus. We are to follow His example. And just like tracing a picture, we need to stay within the lines when we are tracing Jesus.

Now, does that mean you won’t ever make a mistake? Of course not. We are human and we fail. I am far from perfect. Sometimes I find myself tracing the wrong picture. I have totally gotten my eyes off of Jesus and am tracing the world or a hobby. Your children will mess up too. When they do, give them a new piece of paper and help them to start “tracing” again.

What are you tracing right now? Are you following the example of suffering left to us by Christ? Too many of us run from the very thought of suffering. But suffering with Jesus can be a sweet experience as He meets us in the valley. He will bring us out, if we will continue to follow His example.

I hate suffering. I’m just being honest, Lord. But I trust you. So, I will follow Your example and embrace the suffering You send my way.

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GRACE IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 2:20

“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.”

No one wants to suffer, right? Who wants to suffer at any time for anything? Peter’s words here, though, should encourage us. Why? Because of one little word toward the end of the verse – “favor.”

Now, that word is a precious word. Do you know what the Greek word is there? It’s charis. This is also translated “grace” throughout the New Testament. So, what Peter is saying is God extends grace to you when you suffer for doing right. God sees what is going on, and He remembers you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He is watching and observing.

APPLICATION

Teaching this life principle to children is difficult. It’s hard on the parents, as well. No one wants to see their children suffer. So, when they do the right thing and suffer for it, we want to defend them. We want to retaliate against those who have harmed our little ones.

But our children must learn this principle too. Facing ridicule from friends for taking a stand for Christ could happen. Being passed over for a part in that play because of their Christian testimony could happen. But God’s grace is sufficient for them. He will see them through those difficult times. He will show them favor.

Have you suffered unjustly? What did you do? I hope you didn’t seek revenge. God allows things to happen in our life for a reason. Perhaps He allowed that unjust suffering so He could extend grace to you. As I said earlier, He is not caught off guard at your suffering. He is very aware. Trust Him to bring you through it.

Father, I don’t want to suffer. Who does? But I will trust You in the midst of it. I will wait on Your grace and favor.

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CARRIED SAFELY AWAY

1 PETER 2:19

“For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”

Today’s verse is the perfect example of why it is so important to dig deep into God’s Word and not take it at face value. What do I mean by that? I don’t mean to not value the Scriptures. I mean that the original language of the passage can often give us so much more understanding.

For example, the phrase “bears up under” may be interpreted to mean to just deal with it or to endure it. But this Greek word means to endure because you are carried safely away from danger. When you suffer unjustly, God is there to carry you away. How precious. He is there with you in the midst of the suffering and is ready to rescue you. That should comfort you.

APPLICATION

Do your children believe you will rescue them if they were facing danger? I bet they do. Ask them. I can just hear them now. Children, at least most of them, believe mom and dad can do anything. They trust you to come to their rescue if the need is there. And I am sure you would do anything you could to do that, right?

But what if they were suffering unjustly? How would you react? The Lord allows us to suffer unjustly in order to build our faith and trust in Him. Be hesitant about rushing in to rescue your child in this situation. You may rob them of a lesson God is trying to teach them. He will tell you when to respond. You have to trust Him.

Are you suffering unjustly right now? Many are. Rest in this verse today. Endure it knowing that you will be carried away to safety by the only one capable of doing that – the Lord Jesus. He has conquered death and the grave. He can surely conquer an unjust suffering you are going through. And when you are safely in His arms, give Him praise.

I will trust You to rescue me. I know You know what is going on in my life. Nothing can touch me that hasn’t gone through Your fingers first.

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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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