Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Passion, Scripture, Surrender

MAXIMUM POTENTIAL

1 PETER 4:8

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

Love, love, love! If we would all just love more, the world would be a better place. You have probably heard that at least once in your life. And Peter agrees, but there are a couple of qualifiers. One is it has to be God’s love. Both times in this verse the word agape is used. That’s God’s kind of love. We can’t produce that. It has to come through Him.

Secondly, Peter says to be “fervent in your love for one another.” The Greek word for “fervent” means to its maximumpotential, without slack because it is fully extended to its necessary outcome. That word is only used right here in this verse. Can you love to your maximum potential?

APPLICATION

The only way for your kids to learn to love fervently is for you to model that for them. Don’t you get tired of hearing that? But so much of parenting is role modeling. Remember, Peter isn’t telling us to fervently love our families. That is easy (well, it’s easy most of the time, lol). He is telling us to fervently love all our Christian brothers and sisters.

Now that’s a challenge. Your children will watch how you love them. They will listen how you talk about them. They will see if you are loving to your maximum potential. When they see us loving the unlovable with the love of God, then they will begin to understand this verse.

Who is causing you to struggle with this right now? Love them more. That doesn’t mean you have to condone what they do. It doesn’t mean you have to trust them. But it does mean to allow the Lord to love them through you. Be obedient to what the Lord has called you to do.

Lord, I will attempt to love fervently. I know it won’t be easy, but I will do it because You expect it and because You can empower me to do it.

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Advice, Affection, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Passion

LIVING FOR WHAT

1 PETER 4:2

“so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”

We have a choice to make. Do we live to please ourselves or God? Peter states that here in today’s verse. This thought is a continuation of the previous verse which ends with “has ceased from sin.” It is impossible to please God and sin at the same time. You just can’t do it.

So, if you want to “live the rest of the time” doing the will of God, you will abandon “the lusts of men.” The Greek word for “lusts” really means passionate desire. The word can be used in a negative or positive way, depending on the context. Here it is used negatively. But don’t you think we need a passionate desire for God?

APPLICATION

What are your child’s passions? Soccer, Legos, American girl? We need to strive to give our children that passion for Jesus. I don’t mean they have to quote the Bible constantly or preach on a street corner. I mean they desire passionately to please their Heavenly Father.

The only way to do that is to immerse them in His Word and pray over them. They will choose their own way. We can’t stop that. But as we intercede for them in these ways, God is watching. He will draw them to Himself powerfully. I truly believe that. He will honor our efforts to raise our children loving Him.

Are you passionate about anything? Are you passionate about the right things? Our passions can vary. However, our priorities shouldn’t. Make knowing Jesus your top priority and your passions will follow. Get passionate for Jesus.

I love You, Lord. Make me more passionate for You. Put in me the desire to seek You first.

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UNPARTIAL

ACTS 10:34

“Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,’”

These words of Peter should be music to our ears. God does not show favorites. The phrase “show partiality” is one Greek word that is only used right here in this verse. It means to be a respecter of persons. Think about it. What if God only picked a few people to save because of their skin color or eye color. Unfortunately, that is what we do.

If we are to live like Christ, we must also show no partiality. They say the most segregated time of the week is Sunday mornings. Whites go to their churches. Blacks go to theirs. Hispanics go to theirs and so on. Why? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all worship together? Wouldn’t it be great if we were “color blind” on Sundays?

APPLICATION

Our children must be taught the no partiality thing early in life. In fact, we must teach them that God loves everyone – period. The world will begin to bombard them with prejudices early in life. This not only applies to skin color. It applies to any prejudice you can think of. The kid others make fun of is loved by God, so our children should too.

Let me encourage you, mom and dad, to nip this in the bud (to borrow a Barney Fife phrase). Don’t let prejudice remain in your household. God wants to use us, just like He used Peter, to reach people groups we might not normally be drawn to. You will be amazed at the response, if you will simply be obedient.

Do you battle showing partiality? Most of us do. It’s normal. It’s human. But we are called to live above that. I bet you could think of a dozen reasons God shouldn’t love you, but He does. He takes you just as you are and transforms you into something beautiful. Don’t you want to be a part of that in someone else’s life?

Father, show me my prejudices. I want to confess those to You as sin. And put those people in my life You want me to have relationships with, regardless of who they are.

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PRECIOUS IN GOD’S EYES

1 PETER 3:4

“but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

Have you ever wondered what God sees in us? He has created us in His image after all. Does He see Himself? Only if we are reflecting Him. Peter tells us that a gentle and quiet spirit is the key. But what does that mean?

The word “gentle” means exercising God’s strength under His control. And the word “quiet” means a divinely inspired inner calmness. Did you catch what’s included in both of those definitions? God! It’s His strength and His calmness. When we exhibit that gentle and quiet spirit, God can indeed see Himself in us.

APPLICATION

The only way to teach our children the importance of a gentle and quiet spirit is to exhibit it ourselves. If we are always yelling and screaming, they won’t see it. If we are pushy and demanding of others, they won’t see it. We have to die to ourselves and allow the Spirit of God live in and through us in order to show that kind of spirit.

As our children see us living that way, they will learn to surrender their little, selfish selves to the Master. They can experience the joy of a gentle and quiet spirit. They can be seen as precious in the sight of God. God loves them and wants them to live for Him. We must model it so they can learn.

Are you precious in His sight? You see what’s required. Are you willing to surrender to His will for your life? His divine strength and inner calmness is waiting for you. I don’t know about you, but I want to be seen as precious in His sight.

I know You are watching me and love me dearly. I desire Your gentle and quiet Spirit to live in and through me daily.

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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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DO YOU LOVE ME?

JOHN 21:15-17

“15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ 16 He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ 17 He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’”

Do you get the feeling from this passage that Jesus is trying to get a point across to Peter? Most scholars agree that is was no coincidence that Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times just days earlier. I believe these three questions were on purpose.

But what you can’t see from the English is that Jesus uses a different word for love in the first two questions than Peter. He uses the Greek word agapao which is God’s kind of love. Peter replies with phileo which is a friendship kind of love. It was as if Jesus was asking him how deep was his love for Him – love like God loves or just as a friend.

APPLICATION

Ask your children how much they love you. They may stretch out their little arms and say This much! Don’t you just love that? My daughter, Casey, and I have this little thing we do when she tells me she loves me. I always reply I love you more. In fact, she gave me a key chain that says that on it. She knows I love her.

The question for us to really ask our kids is if they love Jesus. And I don’t mean just as a friend. Have they accepted Him as Lord and Savior and do they love Him with that agape love, a love that can only come from God? You see, His love accepts us just as we are and is totally unconditional. That’s real love!

How about you? How do you love Jesus? He has to be more than a friend. Friends come and go. Jesus is eternal. He deserves a deeper, richer love. If Jesus appeared to you today, as He did to Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and asked you Do you love Me, what would you say? I pray you would say I agapao You. Love Him today.

Father, I do love You. You have done so much for me for which I could never repay You. You are worthy of all praise, glory and love.

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IN THE FAMILY

1 PETER 2:10

“for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”

This verse in 1 Peter seems to be a reference to three verses in Hosea (1:9, 10; 2:23). Even though Hosea was writing to a Jewish audience and Peter to a Gentile one, the thought behind the verses seem to be related. Peter is telling the Gentiles that although they were once outside of the family of God and His mercy, they are now fully in the family and a recipient of His mercy.

If you have ever been on the outside looking in, you know how great the feeling is when you are finally allowed access. I remember one time waiting in line at our local movie theater. The doors were locked, and no one was allowed entry until it was time. The wait was agonizing for a little boy. But when the doors opened, I felt ten feet tall walking in with my popcorn and coke.

APPLICATION

Try this little exercise with your kids. Prepare some special snacks and treats and put them on the table. Tell your children they can only enjoy these treats if they can answer some questions you have for them. After the groans subside, ask them some easy questions that any child could answer.

Receiving the benefits of salvation depends on accepting Christ as Savior. Anyone can do that. But only those who do can be called His people and receive His mercy. The benefits are tied to the relationship. There is no other way to receive them.

Are you a part of His people? Have you received His mercy? If you have, you know the joy of being in the family of God. Won’t you tell someone else today? Share the joy. Don’t keep it to yourself.

I am thankful that I am part of Your people and that I have received Your mercy. I am not worthy, but You have considered me worthy. I praise You.

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HEY BROTHER

JOHN 1:40-42

“40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).”

Matthew, Mark and Luke do not record this calling of Andrew and Simon (Peter). The other three Gospels record the calling around the Sea of Galilee and their fishing boat. There’s no mention of either in John. That’s what is so beautiful about God’s Word. When you take it as a whole book, it gives a much fuller picture of the story.

So, here’s Andrew, Peter’s little brother, bringing his big brother to Jesus. And he does that with this message – “We have found the Messiah.” I want you to ask yourself this question. Who have I brought to the Messiah? Anyone? Your family? Friends? Strangers?

APPLICATION

Ask your children what great news they would bring to their siblings, if they have them. If they don’t, ask them what they would say to friends or other family. What is the best news they could possibly tell them? They may give you an answer like “Look at this great game I just got.” Maybe it would be “Did you hear where we’re going on vacation?”

Andrew was excited to share about the Messiah. If your children are believers, they should have that same excitement for their own siblings or family members. They should want to tell everyone. One way I can always tell a child has really understood their salvation is they can’t wait to tell someone.

Are you excited about telling someone? Who have you not told? Do it today? What’s the worse they can do? Get mad? Better that than dying and going to hell. Andrew risked Peter blowing him off, but he couldn’t contain himself. Will you risk it today?

I will share with someone today? Lord, open the door for me. And when You do, give me the words to speak.

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FOOT RACE

LUKE 24:12

“But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.”

I think it’s funny that here in Luke it says, “But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. In John 20, we read that John went with him and outran him. Lol. No one wants to admit they got beat in a foot race.

But this story isn’t about who won the foot race. It’s about the destination of the foot race. Where were they running? Why were they running? They had just been told that Jesus’ tomb was empty. They couldn’t wait to check it out themselves.

APPLICATION

Okay, it’s foot race time. Gather your children and go outside for the race. Set the finish line out of their sight and explain that there will be a surprise when they get there. Watch how fast they line up to race. Surprises are exciting. Surprises get us every time.

When they all get there give them a special treat. If you can find them, get them one of those Resurrection Eggs. Kids love them. Read them this story and ask them how they think Peter felt when he got to the tomb and found it empty. Surprised? Shocked? Excited? Sad?

How would you have felt if you had been Peter? Your last experience with Jesus was shame. Now you have just been told He’s alive and wants to see you. How would you have been feeling? Embarrassed or excited? It’s no different today. He wants to see you. Even when you mess up, He forgives you and longs to be with you.

Lord, I long to be in Your presence. I look forward to Your embrace. Forgive me for all those times I have fallen short of Your calling.

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THAT LOOK

LUKE 22:61-62

“61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ‘Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.’ 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.”

My dad had “that look.” Words were not necessary. I knew I was in trouble when I got that look. Peter got “the look” from Jesus, but it wasn’t a look of coming discipline. It was more of “I told you so.” He had told Peter he would deny him, and so it happened.

It’s interesting that only Luke records this “look.” Who told Luke about this? I have to believe it was Peter himself. I bet he never forgot that look, although Jesus forgave him and restored him to leadership. That look pierced his soul.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if you have “that look.” I bet they say you do. You may not even be aware of the look, but we parents tend to develop it. It can come in real handy when you need to correct your child when they are across a room. They understand the look sometimes much better than words.

But don’t forget to restore them. Jesus didn’t leave Peter hanging with that look. He came to him after His resurrection and let Peter know He had faith in him. Our children need to know our love isn’t diminished due our disappointment in their behaviors. Our love is unconditional.

Have you received “that look” from Jesus? Jesus loves us enough to correct us, but His love is lessened. When you get “that look” immediately confess whatever it is you need to confess. Let His look do its work.

When You look at me, Jesus, I know it is with love. Help me to confess quickly and often. The last thing I want to do is disappoint You.

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