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BROUGHT ALONG TO HEAR

2 PETER 1:18

“and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

Peter had the privilege, along with James and John, to see Jesus transfigured on the mountain and to hear God’s voice from heaven. Can you imagine being there? It must have been quite the scene. They were overwhelmed. They saw Jesus in all His glory for a moment.

But I want you to see something in this verse. The phrase “when we were with Him” could be translated “when we were brought along with Him.” Do you see the difference? Jesus intentionally brought Peter, James and John along so they could witness this and hear from God directly. It was no mistake. Jesus wasn’t surprised by this. He knew what was going to happen.

APPLICATION

Have you ever brought your children along with you to see something so they would not forget it? I remember I used to take my son with me to watch the deer crossing the road to feed. It was a special time for us. One night we got to see an albino doe and her piebald fawn. You had to be there to appreciate it. Words wouldn’t describe it.

You need to invite your children to experience holy moments. Spending time in prayer with your children is one such moment. It’s a chance for them to hear you talk to the Father. Who knows, maybe the Father will choose that moment to talk to them. Wouldn’t that be fabulous? But they have to be there.

Have you missed hearing God’s voice because you weren’t “in the moment”? God is always ready to speak. Our problem is we aren’t always ready or willing to listen. Hearing God’s voice can change your life. Are you ready to listen?

Speak Lord! I want to hear Your voice.

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GETTING YOURS

2 PETER 1:8

“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Oh, what a verse! I say that a lot, but it is so true. And sometimes the best hidden gems are things you have to dig out. They just don’t pop out at you in the English translations. This verse has one of those gems, actually two,

Peter says, “For if these qualities are yours.” In the Greek, “if” and “qualities” are not there. They are more implied, but could read “For these are yours.” Peter is referring to all those things mentioned in the previous verses. But the real gem is in the word “yours.” Peter is implying a possession of something. He uses two Greek words to show this, and the second one, huparchó, means to already have possession of something that already exists. It’s already under someone else’s discretion.

Don’t miss this! All those qualities you have now as a believer already existed and were under the discretion of God. He gives them to you as you seek Him. They are gifts to you. Isn’t that incredible?

APPLICATION

I am sure you love giving your children gifts. I know I always loved doing that. Have you ever given them something that was yours? I had a very nice knife once that was given to me by my dad. When my son was old enough, I had it cleaned up and sharpened to give to him. I even had the sheath repaired and restitched.

The point is that knife existed and belonged to me before I gave it to my son. It pre-existed him. But when I gave it to him, it was his. It still had my dna on it. It had history with me. That was passed on to him with my blessing. He got it when he was ready, not before.

Do you get what I’m trying to say? God can’t wait to give you these qualities, but He won’t until you are ready. You have to seek Him. You have to surrender. Then these qualities flow. Don’t you want to be more like Him? He wants you to.

Oh Father, bless me today. By Your love I will love others and strive to be more and more like You.

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FOUR WAYS

1 PETER 5:10

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

We are going to have periods of suffering. Peter says, “for a little while.” Believe me, when you are going through that time of suffering, it doesn’t feel like a little while. But look what awaits you. Peter mentions four things the God of grace will do in you.

He will perfect you, which means to make you exactly fit so you will be in good working order. He will confirm you which means He will set fast or givesupport to secure or firmly establish. He will also strengthen you. This Greek word is only used right here and means to make strong in order to be able to move in a way that achieves something in the most effective way. And finally, He will establish you or ground and settle you as a foundation.

APPLICATION

When your children are struggling, remind them what God is up to. He hasn’t forgotten them. He is still with them, even though they can’t feel Him. He is about to do those four great things, if they will just wait and watch.

Who doesn’t want to be perfected? I want to fit wherever God puts me. Ask your children that. Ask them if they want to fit exactly where God puts them. I especially like that word “strengthen.” Ask your children if they want the strength to move in the most effective way. It’s kind of like learning those basic skills of a sport so they can move in the best way during a game. God will prepare them for future struggles.

Are you willing to go through the suffering to receive these gifts? When God says He will do something, He will do it. Just remember, He is making you more like Him through every period of suffering. In the depths of suffering, look heavenward and tell the Lord you are waiting for these gifts. He will bring them.

Thank You Lord, for the promises of perfection, confirmation, strength and establishing. I look to You for these gifts as I suffer for You.

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RIGHT ON TIME, JUST IN TIME

1 PETER 5:6

“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time”

My brother-in-law used to end every church service by starting a saying in which the congregation would take part. It would go like this:

Pastor: “God is good.”

Congregation: “All the time”

Pastor: “Right on time”

Congregation: “Just in time”

Pastor: Why?

All: Because that’s His nature. Whooo!

It may have just been a great way to end the service, but it holds such truth. Look at today’s verse. Peter ends it by saying “at the proper time.” That’s exactly what my brother-in-law knew and was teaching the church. God’s timing is always perfect. He is never late. He is also never early. He knows the exact time to exalt you.

APPLICATION

Do your children have a problem waiting? Are they impatient? Most children are. Have you ever made them wait for something just to teach them to wait? It’s not a bad idea. Waiting teaches us a lot. I have often said that life if full of red lights with just a few blinking green lights. We have to learn to wait.

How do you teach children to wait? Teach them by your actions. When you are waiting at a red light, instead of complaining and drumming your fingers on the steering wheel nervously, sing along with the radio or play a game with your kids in the car. “I Spy” is a great one to play. Make waiting fun.

As you wait on God, allow Him to teach you. He allows us to wait for a reason. It’s always a teaching moment. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t figured this waiting thing out either. I don’t like it. But I have learned when I listen closely in those waiting times God is whispering my name. He is lifting me up. He is exalting me.

God My Father, I will wait on You. Even when I am faced with seemingly impossible timetables, I will wait. You are faithful and always on time.

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CROWNED

I PETER 5:4

“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

Did you know the Bible mentions five crowns believers may receive from the Lord? Here is a link that shows all five.

https://images.app.goo.gl/uHNGkAp8QQz2j6Ny5. They are the crown of life (Revelation 2:20), the crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19), the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25) and the crown of glory (here in 1 Peter 5:4).

This last one, which we see in today’s verse, is given to those who feed the flock. Peter is writing to the elders, encouraging them feed the flock. This is a special task recognized by the Lord and deserving of a special crown. Not everyone who goes to heaven will receive that crown, and that’s okay because we will all lay any crowns we receive at His feet anyway. Right?

APPLICATION

Now you may wonder how in the world this verse applies to our kids. We should teach our children about these five crowns. Who knows, perhaps your child will be one who feeds the flock. Your child may be used by God to teach the Word to others. Your child may be a soul winner, thus earning the crown of rejoicing.

The point is this – God sees what we are doing down here. We aren’t overlooked. He knows exactly what we are doing and why. He is so pleased when we are obedient out of love for Him. He wants to bless us and reward us. That’s the message to our kids. Please the Lord.

Perhaps the Lord has chosen you to receive the crown of life for suffering for His sake. What an honor. Not everyone is chosen for that. Are you concerned with pleasing Him? I sure hope so. I pray your motivation isn’t just to receive something from Him. Our motivation, your motivation should always be out of love for what He has done for you.

Father, I am grateful for my salvation. I know one day I will receive crowns, but they all belong to You. You alone are deserving of praise.

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IN ALL THINGS

1 PETER 4:11

“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The previous verse in 1 Peter 4 states that all believers have been given a special gift. That’s wonderful. But Peter goes on in this verse to emphasize why. Look at the third part of this verse. Peter says, “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” This is why we have our gifts – to give Him glory.

Why does Peter say this? I think it is because some people can begin to get proud of their gift. It happens quickly. Others start praising you for what you are doing. Soon you begin to think your gift is better than other gifts. You begin to see yourself as better than others. After all, God you the best gift. No! That is not how it works. Focus on Him! He is the reason for the gift.

APPLICATION

Children can get boastful pretty quickly, can’t they? As they discover their gift in Christ, make sure they understand why they have been given that gift. It is not to bring attention to themselves. It is not to gain praise from others. It is simply to bring glory to God. He will exalt the humble.

And we parents can be the guilty ones. We can brag on our kids too much. I believe in praising our children. They need that. However, too much praise can give our kids the bighead. There’s a balance needed. Always point them to Jesus. Tell them how pleased their Heavenly Father must be of them for being obedient in their gift.

Are you giving all the glory to God all the time? As He gives you the opportunities to exercise your gift, praise Him. As He uses your gift to bless others, praise Him. Whatever it is He has you to do, praise Him. Let all your praise be directed to Him and not to yourself. Praise be to God “to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

I will praise You, Father. You deserve all the glory and honor! You have gifted me with Your gift to use to glorify You. That is what I will do.

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GIFTED

1 PETER 4:10

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

As believers we are all gifted. Isn’t that great? If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He has gifted you with “a special gift.” You are special. He thought enough about you to give you something to use to glorify Him. That’s what that gift is for. It’s not for you to squirrel away and not use. It’s for Him.

Do you even know what your gift is? You should. Now, your gift is not necessarily your talent or passion. It may be tied to that. You need to find out what it is He has for you to do for Him. Take a spiritual gift test. There are dozens of them online you can take. And then when you find out what it is, put it to work for Him.

APPLICATION

You know, your saved children have gifts too. These gifts don’t just emerge at adulthood. I have seen lots of kids using their spiritual gifts in service to others. I have seen them enjoying glorifying the Lord with their gifts. Don’t stifle them. Encourage them to use those gifts for Jesus.

Maybe your child has the gift of service. Find ways they can use that at church. Maybe they have an astute understanding of the Word. Get them some more resources to encourage that. Help them grow in those gifts. There is nothing much better than to watch your kids being used by God.

I pray you are using your gift. Don’t tell me you don’t have one. If you are a believer, you’ve got one. The Lord has great plans for you. He wants to use your gifts alongside other people’s gifts to fully advance His kingdom. So, exercise your gift today.

I am thankful for the gift(s) You have given me. I will use them today to glorify You.

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RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP

GALATIANS 2:9

“and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” 

I have had the privilege to travel to several countries throughout the world. Did you know that there are multiple ways to greet someone? For instance, in Liberia when men shake hands, they will change grip two to three times and then slide their hands apart ending with a snap with their middle fingers. In other African countries close male friends will walk holding hands.

The right hand of fellowship given to Paul and Barnabas by James, Cephas (otherwise known as Peter) and John was significant. It symbolized friendship, companionship and acknowledgement of their mission. It basically said to the early church, We can trust these men and we endorse their mission to the Gentiles. That was huge.

APPLICATION

My dad taught me to shake hands appropriately. He always said to look the other fellow in the eye, get a firm grip and shake his hand no more than twice. He stressed the eye contact. We need to do the same for our kids. This applies to boys and girls. But it’s not just about “a firm handshake.”

A handshake is still a symbol of welcoming. It says to the other person that you choose to connect. It can speak volumes to someone who needs a simple touch. Teach your children to not be afraid to reach out to others. And don’t forget the eye contact. They say the eyes are the windows of the soul.

Who have you welcomed lately with a handshake? We greet others in the name of Christ to influence them spiritually. We make friends with others to win them to Jesus. He did the same. He welcomed others in the name of His Father to give them salvation. Shouldn’t we do the same. Extend the right hand of fellowship with someone today.

Father, I know physical touch is so important. Help me touch others in the name of Jesus, welcoming them to meet You through me.

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BLESSED IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 3:14

“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,” 

You are probably thinking right now, Carl, you are crazy! Blessed in suffering? Really? Well, that’s what the verse says. Don’t get mad at me, lol. It’s interesting that you don’t hear that preached much. Why? Because people don’t want to suffer. I don’t. No one welcomes suffering. It’s just not in our nature.

But let me tell you, as one who has gone through some suffering, when you are in the midst of it, you feel the blessing. I don’t want to give the impression that I enjoyed it. Not for a minute. But the blessing you feel can only come from one source – Jesus Christ. He seems to come closer when you are suffering. When you are chosen to suffer for righteousness, you will feel the blessings.

APPLICATION

Okay, let’s be real. How do you teach your children about suffering? We sure don’t want to see them suffer, even if it is for righteousness. The best way to show them this is by our faithfulness in suffering when it is brought upon us. Or when you see fellow believers suffering, make sure you talk to your kids about it. They can learn a lot by you doing that.

As we watch others suffer righteously, we are encouraged in our own faith. As we see the Lord working in the lives of other believers, we see just how He can work. God seldom works in the same way time and time again. He “customizes” His approach to the individual. Show your children that. He will customize their blessings as well.

Are you suffering right now? Give God the glory for allowing you the privilege to suffer for Him. That may sound strange to you, but I promise He is with you. Allow Him to use you in the lives of others. That’s part of the blessing you will receive. Be that blessing.

I will praise You for the suffering You allow in my life. I am not grateful for the suffering itself, but for the results of it in my life and the lives of others.

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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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