Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Devil, Direction, Encouragement, Following, Light, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

PAY ATTENTION

2 PETER 1:19

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

Does your mind ever wander when someone is trying to tell you something? I think men have an extra gene that causes that sometimes, lol. Seriously, since my chemotherapy I find myself having to concentrate harder to accomplish some things. I either forget what I’m doing or get distracted by something else. I even go into rooms sometimes and forget why I went in there.

Peter is telling us to pay close attention to the words he has written, to the prophetic word. We have been warned. We have been taught. We have been given the truth through the Word of God to live by. What we do with that is our choice. What we can’t choose is the consequences for disobeying it. The lamp truly is shining in a dark place.

APPLICATION

Kids love flashlights and candles. There is just something about getting in a dark room with all the lights off and lighting a candle or turning on a flashlight. It’s amazing how even the smallest light in a completely dark room can chase away the darkness. Try this with your child. They will love it.

Show them this verse and explain how the light of His Word does the same thing to the darkness in our world. Satan cannot stand up to God’s Word. He has no power over it. When we feel the darkness, we need to strike the match of truth to drive it away.

How are you walking? Are you walking in light or darkness? It really is your choice. But don’t blame God when you stumble in that darkness because you refuse to use the light of His Word to guide you. And the beauty of His light is it never dims. It is always bright.

Shine Your light on me, dear Lord. Light up the path I am traveling today. 

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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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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Godliness, Inspirational, Knowledge, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture

GET INTO IT

2 PETER 1:5

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,” 

There’s a Greek word that is really missing in the English translation of this verse (at least in the NASB). It’s only used right here in the whole New Testament. It’s the Greek word  pareispheró, and it means real personal involvement or energy. The Lord is telling us through Peter that we have to be involved in our spiritual growth. It doesn’t just happen.

Now, I am not inferring we need to be “works” minded. However, we need to be focused on our faith. Peter begins in this verse and continues in verse 6 to list several areas that will help us grow as believers. You need to exhibit moral excellence which only comes through God. Through that you gain knowledge of God, a personal experience of Him. Those two are listed first. Do you have those in your life?

APPLICATION

Your child’s faith in the beginning is normally a reflection of yours. They mimic your spiritual walk. They do what you do. However, they can’t stay there. Usually, around the middle school years, they begin to develop their own spiritual understanding of God. Along with that comes doubts. That’s normal. Our job is to help them work through that and keep pointing them to Christ.

We can’t grow them spiritually. What? Yep, that’s what I said. We can only provide the spiritually rich environment for growth. It’s the same as growing a garden. We can’t make the seed grow, but we can prepare the soil and add in the nutrients needed. We can water the seed when it’s dry. But only the seed can germinate itself. Make sure your children are involved in their own spiritual growth process.

Too many believers want to be spoon fed when it comes to growing spiritually. Often times, the Lord chooses trials and hard times to grow us. We complain and bicker and fail to see these as opportunities to develop moral excellence and knowledge of God. Get involved in your spiritual development. Seek out ways to grow and become more like Him.

Thank You, Lord, for growing me. I want to be more like You each day. Help me see each challenge as an opportunity for growth.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Grace, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting

STAND FIRM

1 PETER 5:12

“Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”

Paul is closing this letter and gives some final kudos to Silvanus, believed to be the one who penned this for Peter. Can you imagine listening to Peter and being his scribe? I am sure Silvanus had no idea the words he was writing, inspired by the Holy Spirit through Peter, would one day be canonized as part of the Holy Scriptures.

But the point Peter makes in this verse is in the last part. He tells us to “stand firm in it.” In what? The true grace of God. The word means to be placed or set. It implies to stand so as to not be moved. Peter is telling us to hold these truths about God’s grace forever. Don’t be swayed. Don’t be led astray.

APPLICATION

Did you ever play “King of the Mountain” when you were growing up? It’s a fun, rough and tumble game. You have to find a hill and gather some friends who are willing to play. One person starts out on top of the hill and the rest of the players try to push him/her off.

Our children need to be reminded that there are people who are going to try to “push them off” the hill of truth. Some will come at them face to face, but others will come at them from behind or out of their peripheral view. They will be sneaky and forceful. However, nothing can move them from God’s truth, if they will stay firmly rooted. That is only done by daily commitment to His Word and following God’s Will for their life.

Are you standing firm today? Can you be moved? I pray you are relying on the truths of God’s grace to guide you and hold you steady. There are way too many distractions out there today to lure us away from following the Lord. Stand firm!

I will stand firm for Jesus. I will trust Your truths, Lord. Hold me fast.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Devil, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture, Suffering

RESIST THE DEVIL

1 PETER 5:9

“But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

What does it mean to resist the devil? We too often blame the devil for the things we do that he had no part in. Our natural self, the evil flesh, takes over and we run with it. Then we blame the evil one. To be honest, the devil has bigger fish to fry. If you are so busy blaming him, he doesn’t have to worry about you too much.

The Greek word for “resist” means to take a complete stand against, to take a 180 degree, contrary position. It means to establish one’s position publicly by holding your ground and refusing to be moved or pushed back. It’s not just saying, “not right now” to the devil. We are enemies with Satan. We can’t give him an inch.

APPLICATION

As your children come to faith, you need to remind them of the battle we are in. I don’t mean you have to scare them with stories of the devil. But I do mean you have to teach the dangers of evil that are all around. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes and very seldom appears in its real form. If it did, most everyone would run.

So how do you teach your children to resist the devil? Peter says to be firm in your faith. Foundation, foundation, foundation! It is the key. What is that foundation? Living out the Word of God. Notice I didn’t say reading or memorizing it. You have to live it. The Word will show you exactly how to resist the devil if you spend time in it and apply its principles to your life. Teach your children that.

Are you resisting the devil? Are you glorifying God with your actions? If we focus on glorifying Him with our words and deeds, we will naturally resist any actions from the devil. The devil doesn’t stand a chance against the Word of God. Just live it out as you encounter others. The Lord will be pleased, and the devil will hate it.

Your Spirit within me is much stronger than any attack of the devil, Lord. Keep my eyes on You and I know I will be able to resist those fleshly lusts.

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A ROARING LION

1 PETER 5:8

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Have you ever seen and heard a roaring lion? I don’t mean one on television. I mean in real life. I saw a lion in Uganda once on a safari, but it wasn’t roaring. It was lying in the shade sleeping. It didn’t seem very scary. In fact, it looked very calm and peaceful. But believe me, I wasn’t about to jump out of that jeep and go over and scratch its belly. I knew what it was capable of.

Peter is warning about the dangers of the devil. We can’t let our guard down. He says to be sober and alert. The devil can lull us into thinking there is no danger and then he attacks. Just like a lion, he stalks his prey. He doesn’t present himself as he really is. He disguises himself and slips in for the kill. Don’t let him devour you or those around you.

APPLICATION

The last thing I want you to do is scare your children about the devil. However, they do need to know he is real and not some imaginary figure. We don’t want him to be talked about in the same company as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They must know the devil has one goal – to take as many souls to hell with him as possible. He knows he has already lost the war, but he wants to cause as many casualties as possible along the way.

How do you protect your child from this? By pouring the Word of God into them from birth. We raise our children to love and honor their God. And when they come to Christ and accept Him as their Savior, they are secure from the grasp of the devil. Then we must continue to disciple and mentor them to walk in the light and avoid those dark recesses where Satan dwells.

Living sober and alert may sound draining, but it’s not. The key is to stay in the Word. The moment we start living for ourselves and we put down the Word, we open ourselves up to attacks. The Word is called the sword for a reason. Use it to protect yourself and others from that nasty roaring lion.

I thank You for giving me the Word to defend against the schemes of the devil. I will watch carefully as I advance the kingdom, knowing he will do all he can to distract and attack.

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ACE BANDAGE

1 PETER 5:5

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

Did you know that the Bible mentions ace bandages? Yep, sure does. Well, kind of. The Greek word for “clothe” here in today’s verse is egkomboomai. Part of that word means a roll, band, girth. It’s used to imply someone is secured by something. An Ace bandage!  Lol. It’s only used here in all of Scripture.

And of all things it says to wrap ourselves in, it says to clothe yourselves in humility. Now, that is something we all need to be covered in. No one has enough humility. We all get our proud moments, don’t we? But if you are wrapped, if you are secure in it, it comes much easier. You have to relax to be wrapped, though. Let Him do the wrapping.

APPLICATION

This will be a fun verse to share with your kids. Get some ace bandages and wrap them up. Have them struggle a little bit and see how easy it is and how it looks when you’re done. Then do it again and have them stay very still. You will be both be amazed at the difference.

Explain to them about humility. It’s putting others before ourselves. It’s not seeing ourselves above others. It’s knowing where we are in relation to Christ. He is above us – always. That’s what we wrap ourselves in.

Are you struggling inside your Ace bandage? How does it look? Rest in Him. Surrender. Let Jesus wrap you in humility. Let His presence be all around you. Doesn’t that feel good? Don’t you feel secure? I bet you will never look at another Ace bandage the same.

Wrap me, Lord. Secure me with Your Spirit of humility. I only want to honor You.

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BE A STAMP

1 PETER 5:3

“nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”

Now what do I mean by “be a stamp”?  I’m not talking about a postage stamp. I am referring to something that has been imprinted by something else. That tool has struck something leaving its mark on it permanently. That’s been done to us by Christ. When we are saved His mark is put on us and nothing can remove it.

Peter wants the elders of the church to be types of Christ. He expects the same from all believer. He doesn’t want us “lording it over” others. We shouldn’t think we are better than anyone just because we are saved. We are forgiven but far from perfect. We have no right to put ourselves above anyone.

APPLICATION

Has your child ever acted as if they were better than others? Most kids deal with this at some point. They either think they are better or someone is trying to put them down. We need to explain to our children that when we come to Christ, all our pretenses and worldly engagements are put aside.

Find a kid’s stamp kit. You know the kind that has symbols or images on the end of a wooden rod. Usually these are used to dip in paint and put on paper. Let your kids have some fun stamping some things. Then explain to them how Christ puts His stamp on them once they saved. And when He does it, the stamp is permanent. The important thing is to let your stamp show. Let others know you are imprinted by Jesus.

Do you hide your stamp? Are you an example of Him to others? Show the world that you belong to Him. Your stamp may show through your love to others. Your stamp may show by your service to someone whom you know can never pay you back. However you need to show it, show it.

I will show my stamp to others, Lord. I want the world to know I belong to You.

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SHEPHERDING

1 PETER 5:2

“shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;”

Peter calls on the elders of the church to shepherd the flock. Do you know what it means to shepherd a flock? Most of us aren’t shepherds. We don’t understand the commitment and hard work it takes to shepherd a herd of sheep or goats. It involves long hours and keen senses. You have to be ready to guard against predators. You have to know when to move the flock to greener pastures.

Of course, Peter isn’t talking about sheep or goats. He’s talking about people. The elders of the church must also have these capabilities. They are instructed to guard, guide and graze the people of God. They must guard them from wrong doctrine and those who would want to harm the church. They need to be able to guide them through turbulent times. And they must feed them the Word of God.

APPLICATION

As a parent, you have the same responsibilities for your little flock. You are to guard, guide and graze them. Most parents are pretty good at guarding their children. We think of safety first. We don’t want them harmed. But we must also be just as diligent about guiding and grazing. Our children need our guidance well past their childhood years. This doesn’t stop when they become teenagers or even young adults.

And the most important thing we can do is feed them the Word. Our children need a constant diet from the Scriptures. And I don’t mean just reading them a nice bedtime story. I mean we need to live it out before them and put the Word to work in our lives so they will know what it means.

Which of those three areas (guarding, guiding, grazing) do you need the most work on? The Lord wants to use you, not only in your family, but also in the lives of those around you. Are you willing to shepherd someone today? Look around. I am sure there is someone who could use you in their lives.

Thank You, Lord, for shepherding me. Help me shepherd others who You have placed in my life.

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EXHORTER

1 PETER 5:1

“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed

When I hear the word “exhort” I think of someone who is really coming on strong towards someone else. The word, to me, just sounds like that. But it’s not. The Greek word for exhort in this verse is parakaleo, which means to make a call from being close-up and personal. It also means to present the facts as in court.

Peter was an elder of the church. He had first-hand, eye-witness evidence of the sufferings of Christ. Remember, he was there when Jesus was tried and crucified. He also witnessed the resurrection. He saw the resurrected Christ. He knew what he was talking about. Do you?

APPLICATION

As our children come to a saving knowledge of Christ, we need to instill in them that they too are an eye-witness to the resurrection of Christ. Now, I don’t mean they saw Jesus come out of the tomb. That would be silly. But when they accept Christ as their Savior, they have spiritually participated in that event. They have been resurrected from spiritual death to spiritual life.

Therefore, they can exhort others in the same way Peter did. They can come alongside others to explain the Gospel to them. They can present the facts about how the Lord has changed their lives. Teach them to do this. Encourage them to share with others.

Are you an exhorter? Or do you shy away from sharing about Jesus? We are all called to exhort others toward the faith. Jesus saves us to glorify the Father. Our goal as Christians should not be to just become better Christians. Our goal should be to share with as many others as we can about the love of Jesus. Will you exhort someone today?

I have never seen myself as an exhorter, Lord. But Your Word calls me towards that. Give me the courage and opportunities to exhort someone today.

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