Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Destruction, Direction, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

DON’T RIDE A DONKEY

2 PETER 2:15

“forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;”

We all know the story of Balaam, don’t we? He was the prophet of God that Balak asked to come curse the Israelites. Remember his donkey? He spoke to Balaam. Now, I don’t know about you, but if a donkey started talking to me, I might change my direction. Not Balaam. He kept on riding that donkey straight into disobedience.

How many times have you rode your donkey into disobedience? The Greek word for “gone astray” means to get off the correct path. It is so easy, isn’t it? We compromise on a business deal or we fib a little on our taxes. Before you know it, you are way off course. Don’t you wish God would make your donkey talk?

APPLICATION

Keeping our children on the right course can be challenging. It’s hard enough when they are small, but when they become teenagers it can seem impossible. They are exposed to so many influences. Friends, media and the digital world are all clamoring for their attention. Getting off the right path can happen in a blink of an eye.

You cannot be there all the time, so you have to entrust them to Jesus. You do have the responsibility to ground them in the Word and teach them which path to follow. However, there comes a time when you have to let their hand go. Wow! That’s hard. But you must do it. There is no growth without challenges. God loves them much more than you do. Entrust them to His capable hands.

Are you riding and beating your donkey, heading in the wrong direction? Stop it! Get off that critter and turn back to Jesus. Let Him get you back on the straight and narrow. He knows exactly where you are and how to reroute you. His GPS is never wrong.

Forgive me Father for getting off course. Forgive me for straying. I need You to lead me back to Your path of righteousness.

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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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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, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture

COME ON IN

2 PETER 1:11

“for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”

This verse is tied to the previous verse. Without reading it, you are left wondering what “this way” is. Look back at verse 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;”

“This way” is living the life outlined in verse 10. You have to practice (live) according to God’s principles. That, of course, begins by accepting Christ as your Savior and is continued by surrendering to His Will daily. When Peter says it “will be abundantly supplied to you,” he means you will be lavishly supplied to achieve a grand objective. Living for Jesus here makes our entrance into heaven even more elaborate.

APPLICATION

Let me give you an example. Use this with your family. The next time you plan a family trip I want you to have a family meeting. I want you decide on one of two options for packing. One – everyone goes to their room and haphazardly grabs anything they want and throws it into a suitcase without any consideration of your destination. Two – you make a list of the things you are going to need where you are going and then help each person pack accordingly.

Which of those two scenarios is going to turn out for the best? Of course, number two is. Why? You followed the instructions based on the information about where you are going. Hmmm. Does that fit with today’s verse? We have been given the instructions in His Word. This all prepares us for heaven. Why wouldn’t we follow it closely?

How are you packing for the trip? Are you packing your moral excellence and self-control? How about your brotherly kindness and perseverance? These are all necessary to prepare us for the journey. Now, here me carefully. Once you ask Christ to come into your life and you have accepted Him as your Savior, your ticket is punched. You are going to heaven. But living according to His principles makes the journey to heaven so much more enjoyable.

I am so thankful I have Your Word to guide my every step. I know, Lord, that You are there to make sure I follow Your principles for a full and glorious life here and one beyond.

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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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Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Hugs, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

ALL WE NEED IS LOVE

2 PETER 1:7

“and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”

I have a problem with short term memory due to my chemotherapy treatments I have received over the years. I have to make lists on paper or on my phone to remember things that in the past I could remember with no problem. If I don’t do that, I will forget to buy things or do things I should. I have to make the list and make sure it’s complete.

In today’s verse Peter finishes the list of qualities he started back in verse 5. And he finishes with love – two kinds to be exact. He says your godliness should lead to “brotherly kindness.” This is really love for the brethren. We should love our fellow believers. That love is possible only because of the last love he mentions – agape. That’s God love. It’s divine love. Let me encourage you to read that list in verses 5 through 7 backwards. If you start with God’s love, the others flow much easier.

APPLICATION

Our children need love. They need love expressed to them through hugs and kisses. They need love shown through discipline also. We also need to teach them how to love. What? Do you mean children aren’t born with that ability? Nope. The Bible teaches we are all born sinners. We are born selfish and greedy. But we can nourish our children to become loving adults.

How? By modeling Christ’s love to them and others. Our children watch us so closely. Unfortunately, our mistakes and mess ups teach them, too. We have to pray daily for the Lord to guide us as we are influencing our children. Show them how to love that disgruntled person in the check-out line. Show them how to love that relative who is always complaining. And most importantly, show them how to love Jesus.

Whom do you need to love today? Who is the most unloveable person in your life right now? Jesus loves them and died for them. We have to stop and see them through His eyes. Is that easy? No. I struggle with this. But this verse convicts me to love them with a love that I only possess through Jesus. Will you join me?

Your love is inexpressible. Help me show it to others. Point out my own selfishness and greed which prevents me from loving others like You.

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WHAT A GIFT!

2 PETER 1:3

“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Can you think of the greatest gift you ever got? Probably, as a child, it was my first gun. Now, before you judge me, it was a BB gun. I loved that gun. I spent hours outside in my backyard and in the woods behind my house with that gun. I think that may have led to my love for the outdoors and hunting I have today.

The Greek word used here for the phrase “has granted” is only used three times in the New Testament. It is used here and the next verse (2 Peter 1:4) and also in Mark 15:45 when the centurion gave Joseph the body of Jesus. The word means to be given as a gift. Peter is telling us that God has gifted us everything we need for life and godliness. Isn’t that amazing?

APPLICATION

What is the last gift you have your child? Was it expensive? I bet you gave them some instructions about how to use it properly, if it was. We don’t want to give our children expensive things and then watch them destroy them, do we? Of course, not. We have an investment in it.

The same is true with the gifts God gives us. He has made an investment in us through the death of His Son. He wants to make sure we appreciate these gifts and use them correctly. That’s why He gave us His Word. In it are all the guidelines we need to use these gifts. Read His Word to your children. Let them see there really is a user’s manual for life.

Are you using God’s gifts in the way He intended? Do you believe He has given you everything pertaining to life and godliness? What a promise. So, why do we complain about life? God has the answers. Will you listen to Him today?

Thank you, God, for giving me Your gifts. I don’t deserve them and will surely abuse them. But please forgive me and teach me to use them according to Your Will.

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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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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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TRUST YOUR CREATOR

1 PETER 4:19

“Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

This verse is one I have memorized as part of a men’s study called Every Man A Warrior. Dads, you should check it out, if you haven’t. Memorization of Scripture isn’t just about the memorizing part. It’s about putting into practice the verses you have memorized.

Take this verse for instance. The Greek word for “shall entrust” means to set close beside, to commit to in a very up-close-and-personal way. Wow! Can you do that? Can you commit to a very close relationship? It’s in those times of suffering that you have to draw close.

APPLICATION

Your kids need to draw close. They need to know the Lord is near, especially when times are difficult. Look back at the verse. Peter goes on to say, “in doing what is right.” No matter what is going on, we must continue to do the right thing. That is a great lesson for your children. Choosing to do what is right is difficult sometimes. But it is always God’s choice.

So how do you teach your children to draw near to God and do the right thing? Yep, you guessed it. You have to model it for them. They need to see you trusting the Lord in difficult times. They need to watch you choosing to do the right thing when retaliation or vengeance would be your choice.

So, I will ask you again. Can you commit to a close relationship with Jesus? Will you trust Him to see you through those times? Better yet, will you choose to do the right thing? Tough questions with an easy answer. Just say “yes.” Say yes to Jesus, and He will see you through your most challenging days.

I will draw close to You and do the right thing. I will trust You, Lord, when I face times of trouble, knowing You are there.

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