Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Godliness, Inspirational, Judgment, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Submission, Surrender, Testimony, Witnessing

DON’T BE AN EXAMPLE

2 PETER 2:6

“and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;” 

Peter gives us another example in this list of examples in verses 4-10, and this time it’s a bad one. By that I mean, we don’t want to follow the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you don’t remember that story, you can read about it in Genesis 18 and 19. They were ungodly cities deserving of destruction.

You know, the scary part is there wasn’t much going on in those cities that isn’t going on in our world today. Why is God sparing our cities? Judgment could fall at anytime, and what are we doing about it? What kind of example are we being for the world? Can the world distinguish us apart from the unbelievers?

APPLICATION

Many, if not most, of us with children will tell the older sibling to be an example to their younger sibling. That’s really kind of unfair and burdensome for a child. We need to simply point them to Jesus. If they follow Him, they will be a good example for their sibling. Better yet, if we are living for Jesus, they will follow us.

Being an example is hard sometimes, especially if we are trying to accomplish it on our own. I know I am a poor example of Christ if I try to love people on my own. I won’t last one hour in a crowd without losing it. But when I surrender to Christ, He can live in and through me, showing my children and others how to live.

What kind of example are you? Are you an example of Christ or an example of Sodom and Gomorrah? Pointing others to Jesus is our goal. We simply want others to see Jesus in us so we can share with them all He has done in our lives. It really is that simple. Will you be His example today?

Use me, Lord, to exemplify You today. Hide me and show Yourself.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Following, Holy Spirit, Knowledge, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

NO INTERPRETATION NEEDED

2 PETER 1:20

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,” 

No truer statement has ever been made. It is not up to us to determine what prophecy or Scripture means. It must speak for itself. We can force it into our own little box and make it say what we want it to say. A friend of mine has said, “Scripture is like a prisoner of war. Torture it enough and it will say anything you want it to say.”

The Greek word for “interpretation” is only used here. It means to get to the bottom of things. I love digging out Scripture. I love finding out the meanings of the original Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic words. But it is not up to me to interpret the Scriptures according to my own thinking. I have to trust the Holy Spirit to reveal to me how to apply it to my life.

APPLICATION

Have you ever spent time with your child studying vocabulary words? I am sure you have. Every once in a while, a new word pops up that they have never seen. It takes a while for them to learn how to spell it and learn its definition. That definition isn’t dependent on your child’s understanding of the word. The definition is the definition. Period.

However, someone else may read the same word and understand it differently. The read the same definition but their mind processes it differently. The Holy Spirit does that for us with Scripture. Five people can read the same verse, and the Spirit will show them five different truths. There is only one interpretation, but there are various applications.

How are you reading His Word? Do you approach it with an open or closed mind? Let me encourage you to allow the Spirit to speak through the pages today. Expect something new. Expect the voice of God to boom through the words as you read.

Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that each day I can experience a brand new truth.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Exhortation, Following, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting

A BUG IN YOUR EAR

2 PETER 1:12

“Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 

Have you ever heard the expression “Let me put a bug in your ear”? Usually that means “I’ve got something to tell you” or “You really need to hear this.” It doesn’t mean I’ve got an ear wiggler, and I am about to put it in your ear. Lol

Peter is telling the readers that he stood ready to “put a bug in their ear” or remind them of the things he has just told them about. We need people in our lives to hold us accountable. We need people to call us out when we aren’t living right. We don’t like it, and we just might get mad. But we still need it.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they like be reminded to do their chores. I can bet you I know what they will say. No way! If you are brave, try this experiment. Tell your children that for the next week you are not going to mention their chores once. I bet they will sing hallelujah. But let them know you will still be watching to see if they get their chores done.

At the end of the week reward them based on the completion of their chores. They won’t know what this reward is and will be surprised when you bring it up. They may even get mad that you didn’t mention the reward. God is watching how closely we follow His instructions. We are still in the family, but we may not receive all the rewards we could have received if we had lived according to His Word. We’ve missed out.

We don’t do things to get things from God. That’s not what I am saying. Any rewards we receive are laid at the feet of Jesus anyway, right? The very act of living righteously and following Him is a blessing. Heaven is a bonus. Experiencing the joy of Jesus here is worth it all. At least, that’s how I feel. I am glad I am going to heaven, but there is so much joy here also.

I can’t wait to lay all my rewards at Your feet, Lord. I deserve nothing. But I am thankful I can experience Your joy while I am here in this world.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Foundation, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Safety, Scripture, Surrender

SURE-FOOTED

2 PETER 1:10

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;”

I have never worked with donkeys, but I am told they are much more sure-footed than horses. Maybe because they are shorter and lower to the ground. Whatever the reason, they are less likely to stumble in rough terrain. God gave them that ability. Hmmm.

Peter tells us in today’s verse that if we do what God tells us to do, we will NEVER stumble. Did you get that? As long as we are practicing God’s principles and living according to His Word, we won’t stumble. How is that possible? Because He blazes the trail for us. He leads us along the right path even when the terrain is dangerous and wild.

APPLICATION

Why don’t you take your child on a hike this week? Choose the path carefully, but then mix it up with a few challenges. These will require you holding their hand or perhaps even carrying them. Talk to them carefully during these hard spots. Don’t worry, baby, I’ve got you. Don’t be scared, daddy’s got you.

You can see the application here, can’t you? When you get through with the hike, talk about this verse. Explain to them that in the same way you protected them on your hike, God will protect them on their journey with Him. They just have to trust Him to hold their hands and even carry them during the hard times.

Are you walking shakily on rough terrain right now? Trust Him. Call out to Him. He’s waiting to carry you, if you will let Him. When you walk through the valleys He’s there. When you walk along the mountain tops, He’s there. Just look!

O Lord, I praise You for Your strong arms and hands. I trust You to carry me.

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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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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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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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Elders, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Shepherd, Teaching

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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