Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Denial, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Service, Shame, Trust, Witnessing

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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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Denial, Direction, Encouragement, Following, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Safety, Witnessing

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

MATTHEW 26:69-72

“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean.’ 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ 71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ 72 And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’”

My dad always said, “You will be known by the company you keep.” Now, he told me that to steer me away from people who might lead me astray. In the case of Peter, he was recognized as being one of Jesus’ followers (being in His company). While that may seem like a good thing, at this moment, it could have gotten Peter in hot water.

So, what does he do? He denies knowing Jesus. Remember when Jesus warned him he would deny Him? Well, today’s verses are the first two denials. Two different servant-girls accused him, and both times he denied it. He wanted nothing to do with Jesus at the moment. How soon he forgot.

APPLICATION

Your children will have to choose who they hang out with. Some of those choices will be good and some will be bad. Only time will tell. Your role as mom or dad is to point them and guide them towards the right company. You may have to help them choose when their judgment gets a little off.

Peter chose wrong in this situation. He chose to blend into the crowd rather than standing up for his friend. Your children will face similar choices as they grow up. Do they choose popularity or safety over loyalty? These are hard lessons but are necessary ones. Don’t let them slip by.

Do you avoid being recognized as a follower of Christ when it becomes uncomfortable? What exactly makes you uncomfortable? Remember all Jesus has done and is doing for you. You have an obligation to Him. You have given Him your life. You belong to Him. Stay loyal and true.

Lord, give me the courage to stand tall in the face of opposition. I want to be known as Your friend. I want others to see Jesus in me.

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DANG ROOSTER

MATTHEW 26:33-35

“33 But Peter said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.’ 34 Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ 35 Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.’ All the disciples said the same thing too.”

Unfortunately, this is one of the most famous stories about Peter. He had pledged his undying allegiance to Jesus here in these verses only to deny Him three times (just as Jesus said) hours later. We forget that he wasn’t alone. The rest of the disciples (with the exception of John) deserted Him as well. Peter, however, bears the shame since Jesus addressed him directly.

I bet Peter couldn’t eat chicken for a while after this event. He had been so sure of himself. He would never fall away. He would never deny Him. Ask yourself what you would have done. We sit here 2000+ years later and say we wouldn’t do exactly what Peter did. Until you are facing death for your faith, you don’t know how you will respond. Don’t judge Peter too harshly.

APPLICATION

What is the application for us? Loyalty, I think. We need to work on our loyalty to Christ in the smallest of ways. This is what we teach our children. What do I mean by that? I mean, standing up for our beliefs when we are challenged. It means walking away from friends who are telling that “off-color” joke. It means not being ashamed of the gospel when the Holy Spirit prompts us to share.

We may not ever be faced with a life or death choice concerning our faith. We can, however, stand with Jesus every day. We can show our children our pride and joy of being known as a true believer. We can BE Jesus to our neighbors, even those who do not believe. Our children are watching us, just as those around that fire were watching Peter. What will you do?

Today you may be faced with a challenge to your faith. How will you respond? Will you shrink away or stand tall? People will test you. Satan will tempt you. Let your testimony be known among those you encounter today. Let there be no doubt with whom you stand – the King of Ages. He will stand with you.

I will not fall away. I will not deny You. Let my words be true. I do not want to fail You, Lord.

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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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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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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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A KIND GOD

TITUS 3:4

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,”

Have you ever thought much about kindness? Are you kind? Do you show kindness to others? The Greek word used here is the same one used as one of the fruits of the Spirit. One commentator says, “We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good.” The word refers to meeting real needs, in God’s way, in His timing.

God showed His kindness by sending Jesus to us. Now, we can never top that, but we can show His kindness to others. The best way, of course, is by sharing this wonderful gift of salvation with others. That is the ultimate kindness. But we can also show kindness to others by asking the Lord what He would have us do for others. Showing kindness is outside of most of us. We are selfish beings. But the Spirit of God can produce that kindness if we will surrender to Him.

APPLICATION

How do you teach your children to be kind? By being kind yourself. Look around your church or neighborhood for someone to whom you as a family can show kindness. Get your children involved in planning out what you can do to show kindness to that person or family. Make sure your children understand that you are doing this to show them Jesus’ kindness. And, of course, make sure when you carry out this act of kindness that you share the Gospel.

How about helping your children prepare some Ziploc bags of items to hand out to people on the street corners? My city has people all over town who stand on those corners with signs asking for help. Prepare some bags with items they can use like a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, soap, snack food, etc. And don’t forget a good Gospel tract. Pray over each bag, and let your children hand them out.

Kindness is not hard if we let the Spirit lead. But kindness is impossible if we allow our flesh to get in the way. Will you allow the Lord to use you? There is probably no better compliment than to be known as a kind person. Be kind! Do it because of the kindness He has shown to you.

I will be kind today to those around me, beginning with my family. Sometimes they are the hardest to be kind to. Forgive me, Father, for not showing Your kindness to others.

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