Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony

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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INEXPRESSIBLE JOY

1 PETER 1:8

“and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,”

How do you put into words something that is inexpressible? Peter didn’t know either. In fact, the Greek word used here for “inexpressible” is only used here in this verse. You just don’t have words to describe it. Nothing comes close.

But Peter isn’t referring to a beautiful scene or image. He is referring to the joy we have from loving and believing in Christ. Hold on, now. If that is expressible, how can we ever tell others about it? By living it! If we truly have that inexpressible joy in our lives, others will know. Words are necessary. It will show in our faces.

APPLICATION

Have you ever watched your child try to hide something exciting from someone? Their face gives it away. They just can’t help it. They want to tell so bad. The next time you buy a gift for their mom or dad, get them in on the purchase. Let them help pick it out. They will be so excited and bursting with joy. That look on their face is truly inexpressible.

Don’t you want your children to have that same inexpressible joy in loving and knowing Christ? Of course, you do. But you can’t manufacture that. There is nothing you can do to give that to them. That only comes as they surrender to Jesus. And then watch! You will see the joy explode on their face. They will beam with joy.

Do you remember the joy of your surrender to Christ? I sure do. I recall the fresh feeling I had in my heart. I recall the vividness of colors around me. Words could not fully express what I was I feeling inside. My life had to show others the joy I was experiencing. Will you do that today? Will you allow the inexpressible joy of loving and knowing Christ to spill over on whomever you encounter?

O Lord, I am full today. I am full of this inexpressible joy! Help me show others through my actions what I have experienced in You.

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WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?

MATTHEW 16:16-19

“16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ 17 And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.’” 

Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi could be seen as a pivotal point in the life of Peter. Here he is, a fisherman. But he is realizing this man he is following is more than just a rabbi. He makes this declaration and Jesus commends him. He, in a sense, empowers him right there to lead the church that is to come.

Do you understand that the moment you declare Jesus as Christ, He empowers you to lead also? Once you are His child, He comes to live in you through the Holy Spirit and wants to use you to expand His kingdom on earth. Jesus could save everyone immediately, but He still chooses us to do His work. Just like Peter, we have to answer that question, “Who do you say that I am?”

APPLICATION

Kids love knock knock jokes, don’t they? They can come up with some silly ones. We laugh and go along with them. Jesus doesn’t use these, however, to reveal Himself. He doesn’t play games with identifying Himself. He wants to disclose Himself fully to each of us. I believe He wants to do that as early as possible in a child’s life. He doesn’t expect them to fully understand everything about Him before accepting Him as Lord.

Many parents want to make sure their child is totally clear and knowledgeable before making their decision public and getting baptized. Do you think Peter fully understood Jesus when he made that confession? Hardly. He still had much to learn. Yet Christ confirmed his belief at the level it was then.

Who do you say Jesus is? Do you fully understand who He is? No one does. We won’t know Him fully until eternity, but we have the opportunity to learn more each day we surrender. As we do that, Jesus shows us more. Oh, the joy of learning more.

Praise You, Lord, for revealing Yourself to me. Help me grasp who You are. And then let me share with others.

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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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GOD KNOWS AND DOES

I PETER 1:2

“according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”

We are chosen! God desires that all men be saved and knows who will and who won’t respond to His call. When He calls, and we respond, we are made holy by the “work of the Spirit.” That “sanctifying” work means to make us holy. We don’t make ourselves holy. There is nothing in us or that we can do to do that. That’s God’s job through the Spirit. And when that happens, we are chosen.

I love that Peter adds “May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” In the Greek “May…be…in the fullest measure” could be translated “may be multiplied.” I actually like that better. In other words, to maximum capacity. Now, tell me, who doesn’t want that as a chosen child of God?

APPLICATION

It’s a given that children always want more of a good thing. Think of something they really like. It could be their favorite snack or candy. It could be the amount of time they get to watch tv or play video games. But kids can get too much of a good thing, can’t they? Too much ice cream can make them sick. Too much tv can dull their brains, lol.

But can you get too much grace and peace? I don’t think so. How can you teach your kids this? By teaching them to live holy lives surrendered to Christ. Only through obedient living will the Lord multiply that in us. He wants to extend grace and peace, but our actions limit it. And the best way for our children to see that is how we live our lives. They will observe (and it’s important we point it out) when God’s grace and peace are working in us. Those are moments that will stick with them.

Do you want that in your life? Do you want God to multiply His grace and peace? I sure do. I need it every day, whether it’s a good or bad day. Do you know why? Because when it is multiplied in me, I can give it to others. I, probably just like you, run across people every day who need grace and peace in their lives. When I have been increased in that area through my obedience, it naturally pours out on them. We are agents of His grace and peace.

Father, I thank You for Your grace and peace. I praise You for choosing me as I responded to the drawing of Your Spirit Who made me holy. I am Yours to use.

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WILL YOU FOLLOW?

MATTHEW 4:18-20 (MARK 1:16-18)

“18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” 

I want to intersperse this study of 1-2 Peter with the life of Peter (Simon) from the New Testament. What better place to begin than at his calling by Jesus in Matthew (also found in Mark). Look at the simplicity. Jesus is walking by the water and saw Simon and Andrew. What drew Him to them? He picked them out of probably lots of fishermen.

Don’t forget He was God. He knew they would respond to His calling, but He still asked. He still called them. He didn’t expect them to just drop what they were doing and fall in behind Him without first speaking to them. He spoke to them, just like He does us. He still speaks!

APPLICATION

Do you children come to you if you don’t call them? Try it! Sit in your Lazyboy and wait for them to just come to you. Of course, they won’t come. You have to call them by name. Now call them. And when they come, ask them why they came. “Because you called me Daddy!”

Bring them close and tell them the story here in Matthew when Jesus called Peter to be His disciple. Tell them Jesus calls them the same way. He calls them by name. Perhaps your child has already heard that call and responded. Celebrate that with them and talk about it. If they haven’t, tell them He’s calling. They have to listen closely. He doesn’t mince words. He wants them to follow.

Do you hear His voice today? You see, Jesus doesn’t just call you once and stop talking. Oh no! He is constantly calling us to follow. He wants us close. He wants us to walk with Him and listen to His words. He desires to be with us, and He knows if He doesn’t keeping calling, our flesh will slip back in. Are you listening?

I hear Your voice, O Lord. Tell me what You would have me do. I am willing to follow.

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POURED OUT

TITUS 3:6

“whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”

Notice the first word of this verse – “whom.” Whom? Someone is poured out? That’s right. You have to look back at the last two words of verse 5 to understand this. It’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is “poured out upon us richly.” And look at how this done. “through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Only He can do that. That’s why He came. That’s why He ascended back to heaven.

At salvation Jesus infuses us, pours out on us the Holy Spirit. He fills every pore. He indwells us. How? Richly! Abundantly! Jesus doesn’t give us part of the Spirit. He doesn’t measure out a portion of the Spirit based on our potential. No! He sends THE Holy Spirit, all of Him, to fill us. He fills each of us simultaneously. That blows my mind.

APPLICATION

It’s important to remember that the same Holy Spirit that fills you as a believer is the same Holy Spirit that fills your child. You are connected by something far more powerful than shared DNA. The third person of the Trinity indwells both of you. How do you teach your children this? Well, I’ve got a simple object lesson that falls far short, but it gives a visual.

Get a large plastic tub. Fill it with water. Then get several glasses or jars, one for every family member. Label the tub “Holy Spirit.” Submerge each glass into the tub until all of them are under water. Ask your child which one is the fullest. Of course, they are all full. Explain to your child that’s how it is with the Holy Spirit is us. We are all filled without affecting the fullness of the other. And our filling does not diminish the ability of the Holy Spirit to fill others. The Holy Spirit is still whole. He just makes us part of His wholeness. Amazing.

Now, you can tear this analogy apart, I’m sure. Don’t analyze it. Just look at it as a simple object lesson to represent a Biblical truth. The Spirit has been poured out on every believer. And not just a small drop. No, richly! Abundantly. We are filled! Will you surrender to that fullness today?

O God of the Universe, thank You for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I have no reason to not do as You ask because You are in me. Help me pour out Your Spirit on others.

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