Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Protection, Rescue, Scripture, Surrender

TORMENTED

2 PETER 2:8

“(for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),” 

I have to say that I have never been tormented. The Greek word here actually means to be tortured. Lot’s life (that’s who Peter is referring to here) must have been horrible. He was living in a cesspool of sin with seemingly no escape. His world was collapsing around him.

Have you ever felt that way? Troubles seem to follow you wherever you go? You can’t seem to catch a break? Listen to me, God has a way out for you. Those troubles are meant to drive you closer to Him. I can speak from experience – it’s no fun. But the final destination is worth it! He’s waiting there for you.

APPLICATION

Have you ever taken your children on a long bike ride, maybe a trail ride? I bet at some point they wanted to stop, didn’t they? When the trail got tough, they probably started complaining. What did you do? You probably said something like this. Come on, honey. It’s just a little bit further. Or maybe you said I know you can make it. Just dig a little deeper. You can do it.

God is whispering the same words to you. If He has led you down this path, He intends to see you through it. Perhaps your torments are of your own choosing. Even then, when you turn to the Lord, He will bring you out. You may have some scars, but He will complete the course with you.

The question is do you trust Him. Do you? Do you trust the creator of the universe to rescue you? Why wouldn’t you? If He can create the world in six days, He is powerful enough to pull you through. Surrender to Him today. No matter what you are facing at the moment, surrender it to Him.

Lord, I am thankful You can rescue me from the torments in my life. This world will try to bring me down, but You are there to raise me up.

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Advice, Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, Following, Holiness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Rescue, Suffering, Testimony

SNATCHED AWAY

2 PETER 2:7

“7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” 

Peter continues the example of verse 6 into verse 7 by naming Lot, Abraham’s nephew, who had chosen to live in this area long ago. And now he finds himself surrounded by lewd men, men who had no restraints on their conduct. This conduct went against the laws of God and there was nothing Lot could do about it.

Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? Our world has become tolerant of any and all behaviors, no matter the effect it may have on others. We, who hold to God’s principles, are supposed to smile and just go along with it. If we speak up, we are labeled as intolerant and cruel. But God rescued (snatched away) Lot from this immoral situation. He will rescue you, as well.

APPLICATION

Part of our roles as parents is to snatch away our children from situations which we know are immoral and against God’s principles. As long as your children are with you, you have to do that. We can’t allow our children to wallow with the pigs (I use this analogy loosely) and not get dirty. Evil influences will eventually affect them.

So, how do you do that? Prayerfully. There may be sports teams they can’t play on because of an immoral coach. There may be schools they can’t attend due to the philosophy of the administration or teachers. I know this is a hard decision to make, but you are not making it just for now. This is an eternal decision.

Lot could have stayed right where he was and compromised his beliefs. After all, he was living there, right? He could have fit in. But God heard his cries for deliverance and sent two angels to bring him and his family out. God still delivers today. Cry out to Him for the deliverance of your family. He will answer.

O God, rescue me from the evil which surrounds me. Protect my thoughts and actions as I dwell here. I will shine here as long as You have me here.

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Demons, Devil, Evil, Following, Heaven, Hell, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

FALLEN ANGELS

2 PETER 2:4

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;”

Did you ever wonder where demons come from? Well, here you have it. When Satan rebelled in heaven, he was cast out along with the angels he had convinced to follow him. Their punishment was swift and just. God could not and would not tolerate sin.

Why do you think the devil and his demons hate us? Because they know what they have lost. They know they are doomed forever to those pits of darkness. They know once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are destined for the place they were cast from. So, their intent is to keep as many as possible from making that choice.

APPLICATION

Pretty heavy subject for the kiddos, right? But we shouldn’t shy away from the subject of hell around our kids. We don’t hesitate to talk about heaven, do we? Of course not. Hell is just as real, so they need to know about those who dwell there. Demons are real and are still being used in the spiritual realm in which we live.

The last thing you want, however, is for your children to be looking for a demon around every corner. We have to teach them to live for Jesus and trust Him to fight for them in these battles. They are no match for Jesus. He will defend His children. Evil exists in this world. Make sure your children know no matter how dark the evil, Christ’s light shines brighter.

Are you a demon watcher or a Jesus watcher? The devil wants your attention on the demons. By doing that your eyes are off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus and demons are of no concern to you. When you are walking in the light, the demons are exposed. They can’t stand that. Stay in the light.

I choose to walk in the light, Lord. May Your beams of light drive any evil away from me. Help me walk securely holding Your hand.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Enemies, Greed, Modeling, Parenting, Persecution, Remembering, Scripture

PLASTIC WORDS

2 PETER 2:3

“and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

What in the world do I mean by the title for today’s devotion? Well, the Greek word for “false” is plastos from which we get our word “plastic.” It refers to something that is molded to fit someone’s vain imagination. You see, it’s easy to manipulate words to say whatever you want them to say. And people who are greedy won’t hesitate to do that.

It’s interesting that Peter goes on to say that they are not idle or asleep. In other words, these people don’t waste time. They have an agenda. They want to tear down any semblance of truth they find. Nothing will stand in their way. Oh, wait! God will, but we have to trust Him to do just that.

APPLICATION

That’s the application for today. This verse, in and of itself, is not very encouraging. But we know how this all ends. That’s the message we teach our children. No matter how bad things seem and no matter how many people are against us, God is on our side and will be victorious.

The hard part is trusting that. Life can get overwhelming. Crises come and go. Hardships fall upon us. We may see no way out, but how we respond during those times teaches our children volumes. They will remember our courage. They will remember our prayers. Let our enemies mold their words. We have THE Word.

Are you cowering in fear because of those who want to speak evil against you? Stand up and trust the Lord. Your enemy’s words may sound convincing to the world, but you know the truth. Allow the Lord to defend you. He will. And so what if you suffer innocently. Didn’t He?

Father, I will trust You to defend me against fabricated words intended to do me harm. Your truths will win out. I will hold fast to them.

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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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Deception, Demons, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Fighting, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Safety, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Exhortation, God's Will, Gospel, Mentoring, Parenting

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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Advice, Alone, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Perseverance, Testimony

IN THE FIRE

1 PETER 4:12

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;” 

Have you ever been burned? I can recall a few instances where I touched a hot surface or got caught in some flames. One instance in particular involved starting a charcoal fire for our grill when I was growing up. My dad used to use mineral spirits to start the charcoal. So, I poured a healthy amount on the charcoal, let it soak in a bit and threw a match on it. The flame that shot up burned my eyebrows, eyelashes and the bangs of my hair. Wow!

Many times in our lives the “fiery ordeal” that hits us comes just as quickly. We can’t escape it. We are caught in the trial before we know it. But we must remember that each and every trial that comes our way has passed through the hands of God first. He has allowed it. Peter tells us to not be surprised by it. Rest in Him.

APPLICATION

The next time you surprise your child think about this verse. How startled were they? Did you scare them? Explain to them that life will surprise us sometimes with unexpected events. Things like deaths and illnesses can come out of nowhere. Part of growing up is learning how to accept these interruptions of life. And the best way to deal with them is with the grace of God.

We know that God will never desert His children. He will only lead us into places that He knows we can handle. Just like you, mom or dad, God would never take their hand and cast them into a fiery trial. He will walk with them and lead them through. Your children need to be reminded of that often.

Are you questioning God’s leadership in the trials of your life? I realize you may feel far from Him during those times, but He is near. He is there. Reach out to Him. He will stay right by your side during the hardest times. I know! I’ve been there.

Lord, I will trust You to douse the flames of the trials in my life. You are the only one I can depend on to carry me through.

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Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Elders, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Kindness, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Prejudice, Qualifications, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

LOVE STRANGERS

1 PETER 4:9

“Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”

All we hear today is stranger danger and for good reason. The world is an unsafe environment. Here, however, Peter tells us to love those strangers. The Greek word for hospitable comes from two Greek words, philos, which is brotherly love, and xenos, which is stranger. We are to love strangers.

It is interesting to me that this word is only used two other times where it is listed as a qualification for an elder. But here it is expected of all believers and with a qualifier. We are to do this “without complaint.” That literally means without murmuring or grumbling. Now, that’s hard, right?

APPLICATION

What a lesson for our kids! When they observe us doing this, they can get a glimpse of what real love is all about. Loving strangers because Jesus loves them is the key. Now, we should not be foolish and abandon all common sense. God doesn’t expect us to be foolish. But when opportunities present themselves, we need to be ready to show hospitality to those strangers God has placed in our paths.

How can you safely teach your children this? How about volunteering at the local soup kitchen? Maybe you could prepare sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless. Perhaps you could do a good deed for that neighbor on your street that no one likes or really knows too well. There are all sorts of ways to be hospitable. And remember, no grumbling.

You are probably saying, Well Carl, I don’t have the gift of hospitality. That’s a cop out. We have, through the Holy Spirit, access to all the gifts. Sure, we have primary ones which the Lord has gifted us with, but all the gifts are ours through Him. If He tells you to show a stranger kindness, don’t argue with Him. Just do it. You will be blessed!

I don’t feel comfortable approaching strangers, Lord, but I will do that as You lead. I will trust You to give me the words to say and the actions to take.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Faith, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Persecution, Prayer, Salvation, Testimony

THE END OF ALL THINGS

1 PETER 4:7

“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”

What do you think of when someone says The end is near? That can be kind of scary, don’t you think? Remember Peter is writing to people who are dealing with persecution for their faith. Some had already been killed for that. The end of this life is a pathway to eternity. The end of all things is nothing to be feared for the believer.

But human nature causes us to fear the end of all things. That’s why Peter goes on to say, “be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” Pray, pray, pray! When you are focused on prayer it is hard to be scared. When you are talking to the Father things come into focus.

APPLICATION

Focus your children on prayer. When they learn the power of prayer, they can face anything the world may throw at them. Sure, things can get crazy, but prayer focuses us on things above. Prayer focuses your children on God and not on the world. Model prayer for them. Pray with them.

Peter tells you how to do this. Pray with sound judgment and a sober spirit. In other words, pray with determination. Pray in a manner your children can understand. Make a list of prayer request and follow up with those individuals you are praying for. Pray humbly and expectantly. Reinforce for your kids that the Lord is listening and waiting to respond in His time.

Does this describe you? Are you praying that way? No matter what may come your way, pray. The end of all things is near. Don’t panic. Trust Him to lead you through it. He will. He is watching. He is listening. He is answering. Wait.

Lord, sometimes it is hard to pray. I commit to pray anyway. I will pray believing You have all things under control.

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