Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Encouragement, Foundation, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

SHHH, IT’S A SECRET

2 PETER 2:1

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” 

We are wary of false teachers. Any of us who study God’s Word know they are out there, and we stand united against them. Most of them are easy to spot. They say things that go contrary to His teachings. But sometimes there are teachers that are just plain sneaky. Peter warns against them in this verse.

The Greek word for “secretly” is only used right here in 2 Peter 2:1. It means to bring in aside, to enter by stealth. In other words, they are slick. They slide in beside you and whisper these things so smoothly you believe they are true. They sound so good and reasonable. Don’t fall for it.

APPLICATION

Kids love secrets, don’t they? There is nothing wrong with secrets as long as they don’t hurt anyone. But we need to warn our children against those who want them to keep secrets that could harm someone else. Also, if anyone wants them to keep a secret that goes against God’s Word, that’s a huge red flag. The devil is deceptive. He sneaks in through ugly secrets.

Make a pact with your children to not keep secrets from each other. This is so important as they get older. Teens typically don’t discuss much of their lives with their parents. Listen to me – the devil, the ultimate false teacher, loves that. He loves to drive a wedge between parent and child. Don’t let him do it.

Are you grounded enough in God’s Word to recognize these false teachers? Their lies can be so convincing if you aren’t careful. Remember Scripture always agrees with Scripture. It won’t contradict itself. Check out any teacher by His Word. That is the ultimate judge.

Keep me alert, Lord, to those who want to deceive me. Help me protect others from those who want to tear them down.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Following, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

MOVED BY THE SPIRIT

2 PETER 1:21

“for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

The Bible is a remarkable piece of work. Written by at least thirty-five and possibly up to forty different authors over a two century period, it contains one message – the salvation of mankind through God’s Son. The Holy Spirit inspired each and every author to write in their own culture this message of hope.

Yes, all those authors, but really one messenger – God through the Spirit. The Bible is not a history book or a book of literature telling interesting stories. If you try to read the Bible without understanding this, you won’t get past Genesis 1. Who creates the world in six days? God can and He did. That takes faith. Every single word written was in God’s thought long before it was penned.

APPLICATION

Our children must be brought up to understand this truth about Scripture. It’s not just another book. It’s not just for Sundays. We have to show them the importance of the Bible by the way we handle it. Are we reading it regularly? Are we memorizing the words spoken so long ago?

Challenge your child to memorize a verse per week. Start small but don’t stay there. As your child (and you) mature in your Bible memorization, try a chapter of a Pauline letter. Then try a whole book of the Bible. What? That’s not possible. Of course, it is, but it does take time and practice. Ingest God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit, who inspired it in the first place, empower you to remember it.

How are you doing with the Word? Do you really believe it is inspired? If you do, then apply it to your life today. Try this little trick. Before you read, ask the Lord to show you a new nugget of truth. He will. He wants to. He is not trying to hide His truths from you, but you have to willing to receive them. Be willing.

I can’t wait to come to Your Word each day. Your truths propel me throughout my days.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Following, Holy Spirit, Knowledge, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

NO INTERPRETATION NEEDED

2 PETER 1:20

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,” 

No truer statement has ever been made. It is not up to us to determine what prophecy or Scripture means. It must speak for itself. We can force it into our own little box and make it say what we want it to say. A friend of mine has said, “Scripture is like a prisoner of war. Torture it enough and it will say anything you want it to say.”

The Greek word for “interpretation” is only used here. It means to get to the bottom of things. I love digging out Scripture. I love finding out the meanings of the original Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic words. But it is not up to me to interpret the Scriptures according to my own thinking. I have to trust the Holy Spirit to reveal to me how to apply it to my life.

APPLICATION

Have you ever spent time with your child studying vocabulary words? I am sure you have. Every once in a while, a new word pops up that they have never seen. It takes a while for them to learn how to spell it and learn its definition. That definition isn’t dependent on your child’s understanding of the word. The definition is the definition. Period.

However, someone else may read the same word and understand it differently. The read the same definition but their mind processes it differently. The Holy Spirit does that for us with Scripture. Five people can read the same verse, and the Spirit will show them five different truths. There is only one interpretation, but there are various applications.

How are you reading His Word? Do you approach it with an open or closed mind? Let me encourage you to allow the Spirit to speak through the pages today. Expect something new. Expect the voice of God to boom through the words as you read.

Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that each day I can experience a brand new truth.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Foundation, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

WELL-PLEASED

2 PETER 1:17

“For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’”

Peter heard these words spoken by God Himself at the time of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-8). At the time he heard that he fell on his face trembling. We would probably do the same if a voice from heaven speak to us. And Peter believed the voice. He listened to Jesus and followed Him.

Let me ask you a question. Is He well-pleased with you? Well, sure He is, Carl. I go to church, give my tithe and try to be nice to everyone. Is that what Jesus did as the Son of Man? No! Jesus surrendered His life as a sacrifice for all mankind. Now, we can’t save mankind, but we can live a sacrificial life for others.

APPLICATION

Have you told your children lately how pleased you are with them? They really need to hear that. Give them opportunities to do things well. Don’t set the bar so high that they can’t possibly succeed. Children need small wins first. Things like teaching them to pick up their toys and bragging on them when it’s done are important.

And they are going to need spiritual wins. That, of course, starts with a firm foundation which you have laid with Scripture and prayer. When they pray for something and see that prayer answered, tell them how pleased you are that they trusted the Lord with that. When you observe them putting their faith into action by taking part in that mission outreach, make sure you tell them how pleased you are. They need to hear you say that again and again.

So, let me ask you again. Is He well-pleased with you? What have you done in the name of Christ to merit that? I am NOT saying we have to DO things to earn His love. He loves us unconditionally. We do things because of His love. And in return we can hear Him say This is my child with whom I am well-pleased. How sweet is that?

I want to please You, Lord. I want to hear those words from You. Forgive me for not being more obedient when You clearly give me opportunities.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commands, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, God's Will, Inspirational, Joy, Modeling

STIR ME UP, LORD

2 PETER 1:13

“I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,”

Have you ever been stirred up about something? I have seen large crowds stirred up over a bad call by a referee on the ballfield. I have been stirred up over bad news that I received about something. I did a little digging on this Greek word for “stir up.” I found a couple of interesting things.

This word is only used 6 times in the New Testament. Four of those times refer to Jesus or His actions. Check them out at Mark 4:39, Luke 8:24 (twice) and John 6:18. In three of these Jesus is stirred and in one He stirs the water (I believe He did that to teach the disciples). The other two times the word in used is here in 2 Peter (1:13 and 3:1).

Listen to me. Jesus is involved in all this stirring. He stirs us up for a purpose. The Holy Spirit inspired Peter to pen these words stating that through the Spirit he would stir them up to godly living. Don’t we all need that?

APPLICATION

I don’t know why, but I have this image in my head of children riding one of those little teacup rides at the carnival. You know the ride. You sit in a curved seat enclosure and the seat spins around on a circular track while the whole ride spins around. That’s what I call getting stirred up.

Now, God doesn’t want to make us sick, like that carnival ride. But He does want us to get out our complacency and get enthused about living for Him. We need someone to stir us up. We need someone to shake us up sometimes.

Are you finding yourself in need of being stirred up? Ask the Holy Spirit to send someone into your life to do that. It may be your spouse. It may be a friend from church. Whomever it is, listen to them. Let the Spirit speak through them to get you stirred up for Jesus.

Lord, thanks for stirring me up. Thanks for “unsettling” me at times to move me on to serving You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Exhortation, Following, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting

A BUG IN YOUR EAR

2 PETER 1:12

“Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 

Have you ever heard the expression “Let me put a bug in your ear”? Usually that means “I’ve got something to tell you” or “You really need to hear this.” It doesn’t mean I’ve got an ear wiggler, and I am about to put it in your ear. Lol

Peter is telling the readers that he stood ready to “put a bug in their ear” or remind them of the things he has just told them about. We need people in our lives to hold us accountable. We need people to call us out when we aren’t living right. We don’t like it, and we just might get mad. But we still need it.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they like be reminded to do their chores. I can bet you I know what they will say. No way! If you are brave, try this experiment. Tell your children that for the next week you are not going to mention their chores once. I bet they will sing hallelujah. But let them know you will still be watching to see if they get their chores done.

At the end of the week reward them based on the completion of their chores. They won’t know what this reward is and will be surprised when you bring it up. They may even get mad that you didn’t mention the reward. God is watching how closely we follow His instructions. We are still in the family, but we may not receive all the rewards we could have received if we had lived according to His Word. We’ve missed out.

We don’t do things to get things from God. That’s not what I am saying. Any rewards we receive are laid at the feet of Jesus anyway, right? The very act of living righteously and following Him is a blessing. Heaven is a bonus. Experiencing the joy of Jesus here is worth it all. At least, that’s how I feel. I am glad I am going to heaven, but there is so much joy here also.

I can’t wait to lay all my rewards at Your feet, Lord. I deserve nothing. But I am thankful I can experience Your joy while I am here in this world.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture

COME ON IN

2 PETER 1:11

“for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”

This verse is tied to the previous verse. Without reading it, you are left wondering what “this way” is. Look back at verse 10. “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;”

“This way” is living the life outlined in verse 10. You have to practice (live) according to God’s principles. That, of course, begins by accepting Christ as your Savior and is continued by surrendering to His Will daily. When Peter says it “will be abundantly supplied to you,” he means you will be lavishly supplied to achieve a grand objective. Living for Jesus here makes our entrance into heaven even more elaborate.

APPLICATION

Let me give you an example. Use this with your family. The next time you plan a family trip I want you to have a family meeting. I want you decide on one of two options for packing. One – everyone goes to their room and haphazardly grabs anything they want and throws it into a suitcase without any consideration of your destination. Two – you make a list of the things you are going to need where you are going and then help each person pack accordingly.

Which of those two scenarios is going to turn out for the best? Of course, number two is. Why? You followed the instructions based on the information about where you are going. Hmmm. Does that fit with today’s verse? We have been given the instructions in His Word. This all prepares us for heaven. Why wouldn’t we follow it closely?

How are you packing for the trip? Are you packing your moral excellence and self-control? How about your brotherly kindness and perseverance? These are all necessary to prepare us for the journey. Now, here me carefully. Once you ask Christ to come into your life and you have accepted Him as your Savior, your ticket is punched. You are going to heaven. But living according to His principles makes the journey to heaven so much more enjoyable.

I am so thankful I have Your Word to guide my every step. I know, Lord, that You are there to make sure I follow Your principles for a full and glorious life here and one beyond.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Foundation, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Safety, Scripture, Surrender

SURE-FOOTED

2 PETER 1:10

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;”

I have never worked with donkeys, but I am told they are much more sure-footed than horses. Maybe because they are shorter and lower to the ground. Whatever the reason, they are less likely to stumble in rough terrain. God gave them that ability. Hmmm.

Peter tells us in today’s verse that if we do what God tells us to do, we will NEVER stumble. Did you get that? As long as we are practicing God’s principles and living according to His Word, we won’t stumble. How is that possible? Because He blazes the trail for us. He leads us along the right path even when the terrain is dangerous and wild.

APPLICATION

Why don’t you take your child on a hike this week? Choose the path carefully, but then mix it up with a few challenges. These will require you holding their hand or perhaps even carrying them. Talk to them carefully during these hard spots. Don’t worry, baby, I’ve got you. Don’t be scared, daddy’s got you.

You can see the application here, can’t you? When you get through with the hike, talk about this verse. Explain to them that in the same way you protected them on your hike, God will protect them on their journey with Him. They just have to trust Him to hold their hands and even carry them during the hard times.

Are you walking shakily on rough terrain right now? Trust Him. Call out to Him. He’s waiting to carry you, if you will let Him. When you walk through the valleys He’s there. When you walk along the mountain tops, He’s there. Just look!

O Lord, I praise You for Your strong arms and hands. I trust You to carry me.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Encouragement, Gifts, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Self-control

BLIND MAN

2 PETER 1:9

“For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.” 

Have you ever known a blind person? I have known a few and most of them have developed incredible skills to overcome their blindness. In fact, some of them count their blindness as a gift. Now, I can’t understand that. But they have become accustomed to not being able to see.

Peter warns us here that if we are not developing these God-given qualities in verses 5-7, we are spiritually blind. We are short-sighted. We can’t see down the road. And the sad thing is many people don’t even know it. They have focused so long on their sins and troubles that they can’t see what God has for them.

APPLICATION

Do you have some binoculars lying around? Perhaps your children have used a pair before. Get your kids outside in an open field or park with a pair. Set up a few objects (balls, frisbees, balloons) some distance away. Then ask your children if they can see the objects well with just their eyes.

Then bring out the binoculars. Help them focus them so they can see those faraway objects. Explain this verse is kind of talking about that in a spiritual way. When we gain self-control and perseverance and the other qualities mentioned in verses 5-7, we are better able to see the path the Lord has for us. It is the Lord who gives us the ability to see, just like those binoculars gave them the ability to see further.

Are you blind and short-sighted? Do you focus only on your immediate surroundings and problems? Let Jesus open your eyes to the journey He has for you. Read verses 5-7 again and see which qualities you need to work on to give your eyes the ability to see.

I once was blind, but now I see. Thanks for opening my eyes and increasing my sight.

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Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Hugs, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

ALL WE NEED IS LOVE

2 PETER 1:7

“and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”

I have a problem with short term memory due to my chemotherapy treatments I have received over the years. I have to make lists on paper or on my phone to remember things that in the past I could remember with no problem. If I don’t do that, I will forget to buy things or do things I should. I have to make the list and make sure it’s complete.

In today’s verse Peter finishes the list of qualities he started back in verse 5. And he finishes with love – two kinds to be exact. He says your godliness should lead to “brotherly kindness.” This is really love for the brethren. We should love our fellow believers. That love is possible only because of the last love he mentions – agape. That’s God love. It’s divine love. Let me encourage you to read that list in verses 5 through 7 backwards. If you start with God’s love, the others flow much easier.

APPLICATION

Our children need love. They need love expressed to them through hugs and kisses. They need love shown through discipline also. We also need to teach them how to love. What? Do you mean children aren’t born with that ability? Nope. The Bible teaches we are all born sinners. We are born selfish and greedy. But we can nourish our children to become loving adults.

How? By modeling Christ’s love to them and others. Our children watch us so closely. Unfortunately, our mistakes and mess ups teach them, too. We have to pray daily for the Lord to guide us as we are influencing our children. Show them how to love that disgruntled person in the check-out line. Show them how to love that relative who is always complaining. And most importantly, show them how to love Jesus.

Whom do you need to love today? Who is the most unloveable person in your life right now? Jesus loves them and died for them. We have to stop and see them through His eyes. Is that easy? No. I struggle with this. But this verse convicts me to love them with a love that I only possess through Jesus. Will you join me?

Your love is inexpressible. Help me show it to others. Point out my own selfishness and greed which prevents me from loving others like You.

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