Bible, Blessing, Completeness, Contentment, Encouragement, Gifts, God's Will, Inspirational

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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gifts, Perseverance, Self-control

GOD POWERED

2 PETER 1:6

“and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,”

It’s easy to see God in the last word of this verse – godliness. That’s a no-brainer. But did you know that the other attributes of a believer mentioned here by Peter also involve God in their very definitions. I am referring to “self-control” and “perseverance.”

“Self-control” is basically dominion within which proceeds out from within yourself, but not by yourself. For the believer, self-control can only be accomplished by the power of the Lord. And “perseverance” means steadfastness, especially as God enables the believer to “remain under” the challenges He gives in life. You see, you can’t gain these traits without God.

APPLICATION

How many times have you wished your child had more self-control? It doesn’t come easy. Do you know why? Because you aren’t born with it and you can’t manufacture it. As I said above, it only comes through the power of God. As your child grows in faith and learns complete surrender, that self-control will come.

And teaching our children about perseverance is difficult. Perseverance is birthed out of hard times, challenging times. Your children earn starting positions on sports teams through perseverance. They have to apply themselves and work hard. Spiritual perseverance is built under pressure. We learn to trust the Lord and allow Him to raise us up under that pressure. It’s more caught than taught.

How are you doing with these two traits which lead to godliness? If you are like most believers, you struggle with these. You especially struggle if you are attempting to do them on your own. Just remember that God is the one who grows us. We just have to be willing to grow. Surrender to Him today and allow Him to nourish you and cultivate you.

Father, You are the one I depend on to grow my faith. It cannot do this on my own. I praise You for the opportunities You give me to grow.

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Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution

DO NOT BE ASHAMED

1 PETER 4:16

“but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”

I love these words from Peter. Why? Because sometimes when we suffer, we are made to feel ashamed, like we’ve done something wrong. When we suffer for living for Christ, we have nothing to be ashamed of. When we suffer for loving someone who has fallen into sin, we have nothing to be ashamed of. The devil wants us to feel shame. The Lord never does.

Now, let me explain that. The Lord does convict us, as believers, when we fall into sin. He wants us to know we have done wrong and need to repent. But He never shames us. He never wants us to feel unworthy. Guilt from sinful behavior is not the same as shame. Remember that.

APPLICATION

If you can’t see the application for our kids from this verse, you need to stop reading my devotions (just kidding, don’t do that, lol). Seriously, kids are so easily shamed. Their friends can shame them for doing the right thing. Society can shame them for bad behaviors. Shame should have no place in our kids’ lives.

Are you guilty of saying Shame on you when your kids misbehave? Lose that vocabulary. Never shame your kids. By all means, they need to be told when they do wrong, but don’t shame them. And when they are shamed by others for pleasing the Lord, you build them up and support them.

Live for Jesus no matter what others may say about you. When they try to shame you for living right, keep on living right. When they shame you for standing up for God’s principles, keep on standing. Do not feel ashamed of Jesus.

I will not be ashamed. I will be true to You, O Lord. I stand proud of knowing You and living for You.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture

REVILED

1 PETER 4:14

“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

Do you have any idea what “reviled” means? It’s not a word we use often. The Greek word here has the word picture of someone who shows his teeth. Get it? Someone is so upset and mad at you that they bare their teeth like a mad dog. That’s pretty upset. I haven’t seen that many times in my life, but when I did, I got the picture loud and clear.

When you face this because of your love for Christ, Peter says you are blessed. Now, it won’t feel like a blessing. No one wants to be reviled. But we have “the Spirit of glory and of God” resting on us. Wow! That’s why we are blessed.

APPLICATION

Unfortunately, your children are going to be reviled if they stand up for Jesus. In these days, anyone who represents purity and godliness is subject to scorn and ridicule. The lost of today have no respect for the things of God. In days past that wasn’t true. Now our children face outright hostility from other children and even adults for holding to Christian principles.

We must instill in them the rest that Peter speaks of here. They must be aware of the powerful Spirit that lives in them as believers. No amount of reviling can change that. It might not feel good, but the Spirit will see them through. As Peter says, it is the Spirit of God that rest on us. God can handle it.

Have you faced this kind of pressure because of your faith? Give thanks to God. What? That sounds crazy. It may, but we are to rejoice and consider ourselves blessed because of this. The next time someone lashes out at you because of your love for Jesus, smile and thank the Lord. It will probably blow their mind.

Lord, help me in these trying times to trust You. I will rest in You. I will remind myself of the Spirit that lives within me.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Death, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Salvation

ARE YOU READY?

1 PETER 4:6

“For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”

This could be a confusing verse if you don’t look at it closely. What is Peter saying here? People who have been persecuted and killed (judged in the flesh) are now alive in the spirit. You see, people may kill your body for standing for Christ, but they cannot kill your spirit.

Why do we fear death and persecution? No one wants to suffer, of course. But our mortal bodies are simply the vessels God has given us to use on this earth to advance His kingdom. When we “give up” these bodies, where do we go? Heaven! So, there is no reason to fear death, no matter how it comes.

APPLICATION

Most parents shy away from talking to their kids about death. We are afraid it will scare them. Don’t do that. Talk about what death means for a Christian. Let them know how precious our eternity is. Death is nothing to fear. Death is simply a portal from this physical life to the next.

This may seem like a morbid subject to discuss with kids. It’s only morbid if we treat it like that. Celebrate life with your kids. Celebrate death of a believer with your kids. As Peter says in today’s verse, “they may live in the spirit.” We live, after death, in the spirit. That is certainly not morbid. It’s encouraging.

Do you fear death? I certainly don’t. I have a terminal disease and have gone through two stem cell transplants. I have “beat” death twice now. But I welcome death when it comes. There is no fear of it. I know where I am going when death comes. Do you? I pray you do. Make sure of that today.

I am thankful for the assurance I have in this life for my future life in heaven. Death is embraced, when it comes, as You welcome me into Your arms.

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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.

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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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Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Devil, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Joy, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Thanksgiving

AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD

1 PETER 3:22

“who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”

Do you realize how comforting it is to know Jesus, our Savior, is sitting at the right of the Father right now? Do you know what that means? Adam Clarke says this is “the place of the highest dignity, honor and influence.” He has the Father’s ear. God the Father is listening to God the Son.

And what is that conversation like? Jesus is appealing to the Father on our behalf. Every time the devil accuses us (believers) of something, Jesus speaks up and says, “That is paid for, Father. My blood took care of that.” He is our Advocate. He is constantly defending us.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they have ever spoken up for someone in their defense. You know, perhaps a friend is falsely accused at school of something and the teacher starts to come down hard on that person. Would your child speak up to defend them? How about if THEY were falsely accused of something and facing serious consequences. Wouldn’t they want someone to speak up for them?

Well, someone already has. Jesus has paid the price for all our sins. Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, there is NOTHING the devil can accuse us of. We are forgiven. We are free. We are secure in Jesus. That is worth sharing with everyone.

Are you celebrating your security in Jesus today? Take a minute and thank Him for interceding on your behalf today. Thank Him for speaking up against the devil when he mentions your name. Thank Him for setting you free from the guilt and punishment of your sins.

O Father, Your Son is whispering my name to You today. I know He is. I am so thankful He and You both know my name.

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Courage, Encouragement, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Rescue, Scripture, Soldiers, Trust

FREE

ACTS 12:7

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.

You really need to read Acts 12:1-19 to get the full story of Peter’s imprisonment and release. It’s a fascinating story of God’s miraculous power. This verse, in the midst of that story, is great. Peter is sleeping between two soldiers when an angel appears, wakes him up and his chains fall off.

Can you imagine Peter’s surprise? But notice too that Peter was sleeping. He was at rest in prison. He was not up all night wringing his hands. He was trusting his Savior with his outcome. Whether he was released, kept in jail or killed, he was at peace. We could take a lesson from Peter here. Even when in chains, trust.

APPLICATION

This story would be a fun one to act out. Get your family together and assign the parts (Peter, angel, guards, Rhoda). Kids learn a lot from role playing. Act it out two or three times, changing roles each time. You have to video this too. Make sure to get the reaction of “Peter” each time he is awakened by the angel.

Ask your kids what they would do if an angel woke them up in the middle of the night. Ask them if they would follow the angel’s instructions or hide under the sheets. Our children need to understand that God still performs miracles. He may never send an angel to them, but He is still working in their lives every day. They just have to keep their eyes open.

What would you do with an angelic message? More importantly, what will you do with the message of God’s Word? He is speaking to you, if you will listen. The Scriptures are God’s way of talking to you today. But you have to read it to receive the message. Take time each day to read it.

Thank You, Lord, that I am free wherever I am because of Jesus in my life. The chains of sin have fallen off of me.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Contentment, Encouragement, Following, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer

WHEN THE SPIRIT SPEAKS

ACTS 10:19-20

“19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.’”

Look at the verse. What was Peter doing when the Spirit spoke to him? He was reflecting on the vision. As he prayed on the rooftop, God gave him a vision. It was in the midst of his prayers that the Spirit spoke. Don’t miss that point. He wasn’t doing his laundry or preparing lunch. He was praying.

So many people complain about not hearing from God. They claim He doesn’t speak to them. It has been my experience that God speaks to those who listen. Our prayers are often so full of requests or demands that we don’t hear God trying to speak to us. We must be quiet at times during our prayers to hear the Spirit speak.

APPLICATION

As we teach our children to pray, don’t forget to teach them to be quiet and listen. Have you ever been in a service when the Pastor asked the congregation to engage in silent prayer? The silence can be deafening. And for many it is uncomfortable, because they haven’t made silence a part of their prayer life.

When you pray with your children, teach them to listen. After they have prayed through their list, teach them to just get quiet and listen in their spirit for the Spirit to speak. This isn’t some mystical exercise. The Spirit will speak to them in His own way. And when He does, teach them to write that down and then obey. You can always tell it’s the Spirit because He will always point you to the Father.

Are you listening? Are you willing to do what He asks? The Father wants to talk to you, but He won’t yell and scream over all your distractions. Find a place and get quiet. Just say, “Father, I’m listening. Speak to your child.” It may not be today, but He will speak. Listen.

I am listening Father to hear Your voice. Speak to me through Your Spirit for I am ready to obey.

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