Advice, Bible, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Encouragement, Eternity, Evangelism, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender

A HARD SALVATION

1 PETER 4:18

“AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?” 

Peter seems to quote from Proverbs 11:31 here. He expands on this verse to give us its full meaning, though. It is no easy thing for a righteous person to be saved. Their selfish ambitions, pride, fleshly desires and overall desire for sin are in the way. Only the Holy Spirit can draw them to a point of repentance and confession leading to salvation.

However, the godless man will not turn. They see no desire for change. The Greek for “what will become” is actually better translated “where will they appear.” The godless sinner will not disappear at death. They will appear again at the judgment. There is no escape.

APPLICATION

This is kind of a harsh verse, huh? But it is the truth. Our children need to be nurtured and taught to listen carefully for the call of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He calls us all at different times. Some children hear His call at an early age. Others don’t hear it until they are older. But their ears need to be tuned to Him.

How is that made possible? By filling their hearts and minds with the Word of God. The Spirit speaks through the Word. Did you know that most people come to Christ before the age of fourteen? These are crucial years. These are years where you have the privilege to speak Jesus into their lives every day. Then let the Spirit do His job.

When did you hear His voice? I heard it at sixteen, clear as day. He spoke to me as I was singing a solo in my youth choir practice the day before we left for a choir tour. He told me plain as day that I was lost and need a Savior. I yielded right then to His call and have never looked back since. Praise be to God.

Thank You, Lord, for not ceasing to call me. I thank You that You are still calling people today. Use me as Your mouthpiece.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Direction, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, Gospel, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture

GIVING AN ACCOUNT

1 PETER 4:5

“but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

I saw a poster carried by someone who was marching in a protest that read, “Going to Hell and Proud.” How sad. This person either was mocking the reality of hell or believed in hell and didn’t care. They knew their lifestyle was contrary to God’s Word. They had just chosen to live that way anyway. This individual had no idea what was awaiting then eternally.

Peter is giving us fair warning here. We will give account for our past deeds. Our Heavenly Father will judge everyone one day. We believers have had our sins forgiven because of the payment made by Jesus Christ. There was still a payment made. That’s basically what “give account” means. We just didn’t make it. All others will be making their own payment, which will come up lacking.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever saved up money for something only to come up short? They had scrimped and saved for this special item they wanted. What did you do? Most parents would make up the difference. They would “give account” for the payment their child couldn’t make. What a great opportunity to teach your child God’s Word.

They cannot pay the price to cover their sins. There is nothing they can do. They can’t be good enough. They can’t obey enough. The price to cover their sins is too high. But thanks be to God, Jesus’ death was sufficient to cover it all. Your child needs to know and understand that.

Are you still trying to “give account” for your sins? Do you think if you do just one more thing for God that He will forgive you? God does not forgive us because of anything we have done. He forgives us because of what Christ has done. Will you rest in this promise today? Rest in the fact that Jesus has “given account” for your sins. If you have accepted Him as your Savior, payment has been made. Hallelujah!

I am thankful the price has been paid. I am thankful I do not have to give account for my sins. Praise You, Lord.

Standard
Advice, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evil, Forgiveness, Holiness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Redemption, Salvation

THAT WAS ME?

1 PETER 4:3

“For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.”

So many of us lived lives described here by Peter. Now, you may not have done all these things, but a life without Jesus is a life wasted. A life without Jesus is filled with all sorts of sinful behaviors. You don’t have to be a drunken mess to be considered lost. Just living without Jesus qualifies you for that.

The good news is that can all be in the past. Peter says that. He says “for the time already past is sufficient.” We tend to hold on to the guilt of our previous sinful lives. We use it as an excuse. Our sins are forgiven. They don’t shape our future. We are secure in Christ.

APPLICATION

Your children need to learn this truth, and you are the key to that. How many times have you “reminded” your children of past behaviors? When our children mess up (and they will) and we deal with, let it go. Too many parents continue to pound on their child by constantly bringing up those past failures.

We, as parents, should be a mirror image of God’s forgiveness of us. How many times has God forgiven you? Don’t answer that, lol. But more importantly, how many times has God thrown your past in your face? Let me answer for you. Zero! That’s the image our children need of us and God.

Have you let your past go? Have you forgiven the past sins of a loved one? Remember all the Lord has done for you and reflect that on others. God will be pleased as you do as He does. Is this easy? Of course, not. God will give you the wisdom and discernment to do as He requires.

Father, it is not easy to forgive myself or others. Remind me daily of Your grace and mercy. I love You, Lord.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Family, Following, God's Will, Harmony, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Prejudice, Scripture, Separation, Witnessing

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.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Confession, Direction, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony, Thanksgiving

RIGHTEOUS PRAYERS

1 PETER 3:12

“’FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.’”

There has never been a more misunderstood truth. So many people believe that whomever prays to God will have their prayers answered. That simply isn’t true. Now, hear me out. God will always respond to the prayer of anyone who is repenting and coming to surrender to Him. But if that same lost person is begging God for relief without surrendering to Him…well…today’s verse answers that question.

God longs to answer our prayers. He wants to work in our lives. But we must come to Him with repentant hearts. We must acknowledge our need for a Savior. He is not going to look on our sin and just look past them. He demands and deserves our allegiance in order for Him to work as He desires in our lives. This may sound harsh, but it is meant to drive us all to our knees.

APPLICATION

Teaching our kids this truth is so important. We want them to understand how to pray. I use the acrostic A-C-T-S to pray. A stands for Adoration. I praise Him for who He is and acknowledge His supremacy in my life. C stands for confession. I confess my sins each time I pray. I long to be sinless, but I haven’t arrived yet. T stands for thanksgiving. I thank Him for His blessings in my life. And S stands for supplication. Here is where I come to him on behalf of loved ones and myself, asking for His will to be done.

If our children will learn to pray this way, they will not go wrong. Our children need to understand that our righteousness depends on the blood of Christ, which we claim every time we confess our sins to Him. We, the righteous in Christ, have an open portal to the very throne of God.

Are you praying as a righteous child of God? Or do you pray because you are doing good deeds? Righteousness is not yours to earn. It is given freely through Christ to those who call Him Savior. And because we are righteous, we desire to live righteously. God is waiting to answer your prayers. Pray in righteousness.

I know the only thing good about me is You, Lord. It is Your righteousness that gives me the freedom to call on You daily for my needs and the needs of others.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Wisdom

YOU CAN’T BUY GOD

ACTS 8:20-21

“20 But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.’”

You are probably asking yourself what this verse has to do with you. Peter was addressing Simon the magician who asked Peter for the power to lay hands on people and give them the Holy Spirit. His motive was not pure. He probably thought he could make some money on this new movement that was sweeping the region.

Well, let me ask you this question. How many times have you tried to bargain with God about something? You promise to do something for God if He will do something for you. You are basically trying to do just what Simon did – buy God. But God isn’t for sale. He only works in and for those who are committed to Him.

APPLICATION

Bargaining with God is something children are prone to do. When they have done something wrong and you (the parent) haven’t found out yet, they will say almost anything to God to stay out of trouble. We need to teach them to pray honestly and truthfully to their Heavenly Father. He knows the motives of their hearts. They need to know that.

Teach them to confess their sins daily. Teach them to open up to God and trust Him with the outcome. God blesses a humble heart. In fact, He says He will exalt the humble. Our children need to understand that at an early age. Prayer is a conversation with God, not a bargaining time.

So, how do you bargain with the Lord? Come on, we all have done it at one time or another. Let me encourage you to be honest and forthright with Him. He knows all anyway. There is nothing you can say or do that He is not aware of. God wants to use you. Just let Him use you how He wants to.

Father, I want to be used by You. Direct me in the ways You have planned for me. Forgive me for “begging” You at times.

Standard
Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Repentance

HALF TRUTHS

ACTS 5:3

“But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?’”

This story in Acts is kind of shocking. To see the whole story read Acts 5:1-11. A husband and wife lied to Peter and died. Boy, aren’t you glad that doesn’t happen today? The early church was just beginning and had no room for deceit. Ananias and then his wife, Sapphira, lied and received the ultimate punishment.

I don’t believe God is going to zap us every time we sin, but there are consequences. We may not see those consequences right away, but rest assured we will see them. Truth is critical in any relationship. That is especially true with the Lord. He knows the truth any way. We can’t hide it from Him. So, why do we try?

APPLICATION

When my children were little they had to be disciplined from time to time. I was typically more lenient if they told me the truth. Nothing would get them in trouble faster than lying to me and their mother. Honesty is a trait we much teach our children. How do we teach that? By rewarding it.

Now, I don’t mean to ignore behavior if they are honest. But I do mean to praise them for their honesty. Your children have to know that honesty is rewarded. We are trying to build children with integrity. Remember, we are not raising children. We are raising child raisers.

Are you honest with others? Are you honest with the Lord? If not, repent today. You don’t have to fear being struck dead for your untruthfulness, but dishonesty will kill your reputation. Remember, you are representing our Savior.

Lord, I will allow You to speak truth through me. You are truth. I know if I surrender to Your will each day, truth will reign in my life.

Standard
Advice, Alone, Bible, Caregiver, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Confession, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Gentleness, Inspirational, Love, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Safety, Separation

WALKING AWAY

1 PETER 2:25

“For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

Sheep get lost by walking away. They don’t run away. They simply stop watching their shepherd and wander away. Before they know it, the shepherd is nowhere in sight. Unless the shepherd comes and finds them, they will most likely stay lost.

We are the same way. We can become hopelessly lost unless we turn our eyes on the Shepherd. Only He can save us from a life spent in the wilderness, away from the watchful gaze of the “Guardian of your souls,” as Peter describe Him. He knows where the green pastures are and will lead us to them.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever gotten lost? They didn’t mean to, but they wandered away from you in a shopping mall or amusement park. Their eyes were fixed on something that intrigued them. Instead of watching you or holding your hand, they were pulled away by their own interests.

We need to remind our children that Satan has a way of luring us away from what we know to be safe and sound. Before we come to Christ, Satan doesn’t usually bother us much. He has us where he wants us. But once we come to Christ, he tries to entice us away from following Him. He can’t unsave us, but he can sure can distract us and make us feel unusable.

Have you strayed away from the safe and gentle embrace of the Shepherd? He desires for you to return to Him. He won’t force you, though. Your return is up to you. If that’s you, repent today and watch how quickly He picks you up. He longs for your embrace as well.

Father, forgive me for wandering. Fix my eyes on You so I can stay near to Your side. I want to spend my days close to You.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith, Forgiveness, Freedom, Grace, Inspirational, Life, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Rescue, Righteousness, Salvation, Scripture

NOT BEING

1 PETER 2:24

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

There is an interesting word in this verse. The phrase “we might die” is the Greek word apoginomai. It literally can be translated “from being.” Ginomai means to become, to begin.

This word apoginomai is only used right here in this verse. So, what is Peter trying to tell us about sin?

Christ’s death on the cross and the stripes and wounds He bore rescued us from the penalty of sin. We don’t have to be sinful anymore. We have been moved away from death and into life. We are to live righteously because of His sacrifice on the cross. Hallelujah!

APPLICATION

Children can come up with all sort of excuses for doing wrong. It’s their sibling’s fault. They just couldn’t help themselves. They didn’t know that was wrong. And the truth is, before Christ comes into their life, they don’t know any better. They are sinful creatures.

But if your children have accepted Christ as their Savior, there is no excuse for sin. We must point them towards living righteously. Read them this verse. Show them what Christ has done for us. He bore our sins. He took our punishment upon Himself. Ask your children if anyone has ever taken their punishment for them. Ask them how that would make them feel.

Do you realize, I mean really realize, what Christ has done for you? He has freed you to live righteously. The pain and suffering of sin has been paid for. You are debt free. How would you live if you were debt free financially? You are debt free spiritually, not because of anything you have done, but because of what Christ has done for you. Live like it today.

I am free to live righteously today. I praise You, Lord, for paying the price for my freedom. I will live today to honor You.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Surrender, Witnessing

REPENT

Acts 2:37-38

“37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ 38Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

I have always believed that at the end of every sermon, you must give the people an opportunity to respond and make a decision for Christ. Why else preach the Gospel? So many people don’t know how to respond. They don’t understand what the next step is. But I have never had a congregation ask me what to do. Peter had the door slung wide open.

And what did Peter do? He didn’t tell them to be good and try hard to please God. He didn’t say to give more to the church. He didn’t say work hard so God will forgive you. No! He said, “Repent!” Simple enough, right? The baptism follows the repentance. It isn’t necessary for the forgiveness. And when you repent, the Holy Spirit is sent your way.

APPLICATION

This is such an important lesson for our children. They need to know that there is nothing they can do to earn forgiveness. The only action required is repentance, to turn from going in one direction and begin to go in another direction. To turn from doing wrong to follow Jesus. Nothing else is required. Repent.

Have your children repented of their sins? Remember, they are going to understand this at their level. They are not going to comprehend all the truths of Scripture yet. I bet you don’t understand them all either, do you? Children repent to the best of their ability, with the limitations of their intellect. The Spirit will do the rest.

Have you repented? Are you a child of the King? If you have repented, then His Spirit lives within you. He is promised to you. You need to follow that up with baptism as a sign of obedience, but your confession of sin in the act of repentance is all that is required. Do you believe that? Then live like it.

I am so thankful You drew me to repentance. I still remember the day You spoke my name and called me to Yourself. Thank You for forgiving me and sending Your Spirit to live within me.

Standard