Advice, Baptism, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Surrender, Testimony

BAPTISM SAVES?

1 PETER 3:21

“Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

Here lies a verse that is argued by many a scholar. Let me say I am not trying to start an argument or persuade others to my view of Scripture. I am merely using this verse to encourage others. Baptism is a symbol of our regeneration in Christ. The phrase “an appeal to God for a good conscience” implies a work that is already done. Baptism is an outward expression of an inner work.

Let me give you my example. I was baptized at eight years old. But I never really gave my heart to Jesus. I believed in Him, but I didn’t surrender to Him until age 16. I was baptized again as a believer. The first baptism meant nothing. I just got wet. But as a believer, I knew I needed to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.

APPLICATION

When should your child get baptized? I am asked this a lot. My simple answer is when they understand the basic Gospel message and have asked Jesus into their life. Jesus referred to a child’s faith over and over in Scripture. We adults complicate it. We want to “make sure” they understand everything. Let me ask you, mom and dad, do you understand everything about salvation?

I’ve been a believer since July 1977, and I am still learning. I have been in ministry over 40 years, and I am still learning. Trust your children when they tell you they have asked Jesus to be their Savior. Sure, talk to them about it. And then encourage them to be baptized.

Maybe you have put off this decision for years. Don’t wait any longer. Call your church and find out when the next baptism is and get it done. Be obedient. You will still get to heaven without baptism, but you will have missed a blessing.

Father, I want to be obedient to You in all I do. I am thankful I can follow Your Son’s example in baptism.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Following, God's Will, Parenting, Surrender

GOD’S WAY

ACTS 11:17

“‘Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?’”

Peter ends his description of what happened when he visited Cornelius by making this statement. I love it. He just did what God asked him to do, and God has His way. Wouldn’t you like for God to have His way with you? He can and He will – if you will surrender. Peter just had to get out of the way and allow the Lord to use him.

When Peter made this last statement, those who were questioning him shut their mouths and glorified God. Man, wouldn’t that be great? When we yield to the Master, others can just look on and glorify God. They will see it is not us. It’s all Him.

APPLICATION

Nothing can make a mom or dad happier than to know God was having His way with their child. But you and I know that doesn’t just happen. Kids learn to let God have His way one tiny surrender at a time. They need to learn to let Him has His way in how they treat their siblings. And how about how they obey you?

You see, the problem with letting God have His way with our kids is we have to let our plans for them go. That’s right. His way may match up with your plans, but then again, it may not. Are you willing to let your kids go God’s way despite your plans for them? That’s a hard question. But in the end, He will be glorified.

It is very rare that God’s way and man’s way coexist. Our flesh gets in the way. We want to be glorified. Oh, we may never say that, but that is what our flesh desires. We want people to notice us. We want people to exalt us. Let Him have His way. You won’t be sorry.

I will surrender to Your way, O God. Your way is far better than mine. I know that. Show me how.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Forgiveness, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Repentance, Surrender, Witnessing

THEY’RE SAVED?!

ACTS 10:44-45

“44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”

Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen in years and learned they are a believer now? You knew them in their B.C. (Before Christ) days and are shocked they are saved. I mean, you’re glad and excited, but still you’re shocked. That’s kind of what happened here. The circumcised believers with Peter were shocked that God had saved these Gentiles.

What a great verse to show God desires that everyone be saved. He loved these Gentiles. He had sent a message to Cornelius to have Peter come and share the Gospel with them. They heard and believed. Don’t ever think someone is unreachable. It’s not you who draws them to Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit working through you.

APPLICATION

Teach your children to share the Gospel. I never cease to be amazed at the boldness of children in sharing their faith. They don’t have the fears of rejection we adults have built up over time. Children just want to talk about Jesus. We could learn a lot from them.

So, help them prepare their Gospel message. Help them share what God has done for them. Help them share what God has done for their family. Help them make a list of friends they want to share their faith with. And most importantly, pray with them. Seek the Lord’s guidance, because He is the one who will direct them to the people to share.

Do you have a list of names of people you want to share Christ with? Have you prayed for those people today? If God has placed them on your heart, it’s for a reason. Seek those individuals out today. Ask the Lord to give you the words and the opportunity to share. He will!

Father, thank You for drawing me to You so many years ago. Put people in my path today to whom I can share Your message.

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RIGHTEOUS PRAYERS

1 PETER 3:12

“’FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.’”

There has never been a more misunderstood truth. So many people believe that whomever prays to God will have their prayers answered. That simply isn’t true. Now, hear me out. God will always respond to the prayer of anyone who is repenting and coming to surrender to Him. But if that same lost person is begging God for relief without surrendering to Him…well…today’s verse answers that question.

God longs to answer our prayers. He wants to work in our lives. But we must come to Him with repentant hearts. We must acknowledge our need for a Savior. He is not going to look on our sin and just look past them. He demands and deserves our allegiance in order for Him to work as He desires in our lives. This may sound harsh, but it is meant to drive us all to our knees.

APPLICATION

Teaching our kids this truth is so important. We want them to understand how to pray. I use the acrostic A-C-T-S to pray. A stands for Adoration. I praise Him for who He is and acknowledge His supremacy in my life. C stands for confession. I confess my sins each time I pray. I long to be sinless, but I haven’t arrived yet. T stands for thanksgiving. I thank Him for His blessings in my life. And S stands for supplication. Here is where I come to him on behalf of loved ones and myself, asking for His will to be done.

If our children will learn to pray this way, they will not go wrong. Our children need to understand that our righteousness depends on the blood of Christ, which we claim every time we confess our sins to Him. We, the righteous in Christ, have an open portal to the very throne of God.

Are you praying as a righteous child of God? Or do you pray because you are doing good deeds? Righteousness is not yours to earn. It is given freely through Christ to those who call Him Savior. And because we are righteous, we desire to live righteously. God is waiting to answer your prayers. Pray in righteousness.

I know the only thing good about me is You, Lord. It is Your righteousness that gives me the freedom to call on You daily for my needs and the needs of others.

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ARISE

ACTS 9:40

“But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.” 

Acts 9:36-43 tells the story of Peter raising Tabitha (Dorcas in the Greek language) from the dead. What a wonderful story. Isn’t it? There were many friends of Tabitha there when this happened, so the word spread quickly throughout Joppa. What do you think happened?

Verse 42 tells us. “It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” This is the reason the Lord worked through Peter to raise Tabitha. It really wasn’t about her. It was about all those who would be led to the Lord. Bringing the spiritually dead to life is much more important than bringing the physically dead to life.

APPLICATIONS

Did you know your children are dead before they come to Christ? They are spiritually dead waiting to arise. As parents we pray for our children’s salvation and rejoice greatly when they surrender to the call of our Lord. You may be parents of unsaved children. Don’t stop praying. God is still raising dead people.

Once your children are saved and walking with the Lord, your job is to keep them “alive.” What do I mean by that? Walking in newness requires daily dying to self. Wnhe you die to self, you have to get up and walk with Christ through His life. You die and then arise. You surrender to Jesus daily and allow Him to direct your steps. Your children need to know this truth.

Are you dead or alive? Are you the dead Tabitha or the alive Tabitha? Your risen life in Christ can be used, like Tabitha’s, to draw many others to Jesus. Wouldn’t that be awesome? By your daily surrender to Him, others can see Jesus in you. Arise!

I want to walk in newness of life with You today. I lay my life before You to use however You desire. I want to draw others to You through my surrendered life. 

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BLESSING OTHERS

1 PETER 3:9

“not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”

Peter completes the thought he began in verse 8 here in verse 9. And what a wonderful way to do that. We should not return evil for evil or insult for insult. That’s a never-ending cycle. Payback is not the answer. Peter tells us how to respond. We should bless others when they insult us.

How in the world do we do that? I mean, come one. Is that even possible? Not by yourself. This is only possible through Jesus. If we see and treat others as Jesus would, we would indeed bless rather than curse. Do you want to inherit a blessing? Then be a blessing.

APPLICATION

Oh boy! Our children need to learn this lesson. Our first response when insulted is to insult right back. Our children’s flesh is strong. We can’t expect them to conquer this temptation on their own. Until they come to a saving knowledge of Christ, we have to be the one to correct this behavior. We point them to Jesus each time we do that.

And once they come to Christ, the Spirit who indwells them directs them to follow Christ. Our job is one of discipling and modeling that behavior. That’s right! We must live out the behavior we want to see in our children. They will imitate us. Let’s help them imitate the right actions.

Do you lash out at those who insult you? Do you want a blessing? Then be a blessing. I know it’s hard. Actually, it’s impossible without yielding to Christ. Remember, Christ is the one blessing others through you. Let Him!

I want to bless rather than curse others. Help me hold my tongue when insulted. I trust You to speak blessings through me.

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MAKE YOUR BED

ACTS 9:32-35

“32 Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up. 35 And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.”

When I read this passage my eye was drawn to that phrase, “make your bed.” I literally laughed out loud. Here’s a guy who has been in his bed for eight years, and the first thing he’s told to do when he gets healed and stands up is to make his bed. Wow! I know a lot of folks who are completely healthy and never make their bed, lol.

I wonder why Peter told him that. Do you think it was a symbolic move? That bed hadn’t been made in eight years. Aeneas lived in it. Making that bed symbolized a finish to the bedridden state. He no longer was confined to that bed. I bet Aeneas did not mind at all making that bed. In fact, I bet he enjoyed standing and seeing it made. He was out of it!

APPLICATION

When our kids come to Christ, they need to be taught that their former life is DONE. They have a new life in Christ. They are no longer paralyzed by sin. They are no longer bedridden by guilt and shame. They are free to walk and stand with Jesus. They can make that bed. Well, don’t tell them that, lol.

Seriously, making our bed sends a signal to the brain. We are no longer sleeping or slumbering. We are awake and about our Father’s business. Teach your kids to make their beds but tell them why they are doing it. It’s not just about making their room look neat. There’s a purpose behind it. It ends one thing and begins another.

Are you a bed maker? I like my bed made each day. Do I do that? Well…to be honest, there are days when my wife and I just pull up the sheet and go about our day. But when the bed is made it looks so nice. I want to begin each day afresh, ready to serve my Master. How about you? Then get up and make your bed.

I am ready to serve You, Lord. I want a fresh start today. I don’t want yesterday’s troubles to follow me into the new day.

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