Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Following, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

MOVED BY THE SPIRIT

2 PETER 1:21

“for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

The Bible is a remarkable piece of work. Written by at least thirty-five and possibly up to forty different authors over a two century period, it contains one message – the salvation of mankind through God’s Son. The Holy Spirit inspired each and every author to write in their own culture this message of hope.

Yes, all those authors, but really one messenger – God through the Spirit. The Bible is not a history book or a book of literature telling interesting stories. If you try to read the Bible without understanding this, you won’t get past Genesis 1. Who creates the world in six days? God can and He did. That takes faith. Every single word written was in God’s thought long before it was penned.

APPLICATION

Our children must be brought up to understand this truth about Scripture. It’s not just another book. It’s not just for Sundays. We have to show them the importance of the Bible by the way we handle it. Are we reading it regularly? Are we memorizing the words spoken so long ago?

Challenge your child to memorize a verse per week. Start small but don’t stay there. As your child (and you) mature in your Bible memorization, try a chapter of a Pauline letter. Then try a whole book of the Bible. What? That’s not possible. Of course, it is, but it does take time and practice. Ingest God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit, who inspired it in the first place, empower you to remember it.

How are you doing with the Word? Do you really believe it is inspired? If you do, then apply it to your life today. Try this little trick. Before you read, ask the Lord to show you a new nugget of truth. He will. He wants to. He is not trying to hide His truths from you, but you have to willing to receive them. Be willing.

I can’t wait to come to Your Word each day. Your truths propel me throughout my days.

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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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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Exhortation, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Remembering, Scripture

REMEMBRANCE

2 PETER 1:15

“And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.”

If you have followed any of my devotionals, you know I love word studies. I find it interesting when words are only used once in Scripture. We have another “one time” use in today’s verse. The phrase “call…to mind” is a Greek word used only here. It refers to a lasting memory, something worthy to be remembered.

Peter is telling us that we need to remember the things he has been teaching us in this letter. The words he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit weren’t meant just for the recipients of that letter. They were meant for us as well. What have you remembered? What will you remember?

APPLICATION

How do you teach your children to remember anything? By repeating your instructions until they get it, by repetition. Living the Christian life isn’t just about going to church on Sundays. It’s so much more. It’s daily driving home the principles of God’s Word to our family.

Dads, can I call you out? It is your responsibility to disciple your children. I don’t mean you have to have a thirty minute devotion every day. Sometimes the best discipling occurs hands on, doing life. You need to show them how to walk with Christ in your everyday life. They learn from watching you. They will “call to mind” those exhibitions of faith.

Will you remember? How can you forget? God is at work all around you. Will you watch and learn? And during those times when all hope seems to be gone, remember what He has done in the past. Call to mind all His acts of grace and mercy. Remember!

Father God, You have blessed me beyond measure. Keep my mind clear to recall all You have done. I will remember.

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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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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.

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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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Advice, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Conceit, Encouragement, Following, Gifts, Glory, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Praise, Scripture, Service

IN ALL THINGS

1 PETER 4:11

“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The previous verse in 1 Peter 4 states that all believers have been given a special gift. That’s wonderful. But Peter goes on in this verse to emphasize why. Look at the third part of this verse. Peter says, “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” This is why we have our gifts – to give Him glory.

Why does Peter say this? I think it is because some people can begin to get proud of their gift. It happens quickly. Others start praising you for what you are doing. Soon you begin to think your gift is better than other gifts. You begin to see yourself as better than others. After all, God you the best gift. No! That is not how it works. Focus on Him! He is the reason for the gift.

APPLICATION

Children can get boastful pretty quickly, can’t they? As they discover their gift in Christ, make sure they understand why they have been given that gift. It is not to bring attention to themselves. It is not to gain praise from others. It is simply to bring glory to God. He will exalt the humble.

And we parents can be the guilty ones. We can brag on our kids too much. I believe in praising our children. They need that. However, too much praise can give our kids the bighead. There’s a balance needed. Always point them to Jesus. Tell them how pleased their Heavenly Father must be of them for being obedient in their gift.

Are you giving all the glory to God all the time? As He gives you the opportunities to exercise your gift, praise Him. As He uses your gift to bless others, praise Him. Whatever it is He has you to do, praise Him. Let all your praise be directed to Him and not to yourself. Praise be to God “to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

I will praise You, Father. You deserve all the glory and honor! You have gifted me with Your gift to use to glorify You. That is what I will do.

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Advice, Bible, Blessing, Calling, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Gifts, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Salvation, Scripture

GIFTED

1 PETER 4:10

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

As believers we are all gifted. Isn’t that great? If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He has gifted you with “a special gift.” You are special. He thought enough about you to give you something to use to glorify Him. That’s what that gift is for. It’s not for you to squirrel away and not use. It’s for Him.

Do you even know what your gift is? You should. Now, your gift is not necessarily your talent or passion. It may be tied to that. You need to find out what it is He has for you to do for Him. Take a spiritual gift test. There are dozens of them online you can take. And then when you find out what it is, put it to work for Him.

APPLICATION

You know, your saved children have gifts too. These gifts don’t just emerge at adulthood. I have seen lots of kids using their spiritual gifts in service to others. I have seen them enjoying glorifying the Lord with their gifts. Don’t stifle them. Encourage them to use those gifts for Jesus.

Maybe your child has the gift of service. Find ways they can use that at church. Maybe they have an astute understanding of the Word. Get them some more resources to encourage that. Help them grow in those gifts. There is nothing much better than to watch your kids being used by God.

I pray you are using your gift. Don’t tell me you don’t have one. If you are a believer, you’ve got one. The Lord has great plans for you. He wants to use your gifts alongside other people’s gifts to fully advance His kingdom. So, exercise your gift today.

I am thankful for the gift(s) You have given me. I will use them today to glorify You.

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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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THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST

1 PETER 3:19

“in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,”

This verse and the next couple of verses are some controversial verses among believers. My first thought is how sad. Our arguments about Scripture give the unbelieving world a reason to disbelief in the very truth of the Word. That being said…

The Spirit of Christ was present as Noah (mentioned in verse 20) preached to the people of his day. These people who died in the flood are “the spirits now in prison.” God has always desired people to come to Him. The flood victims were no exception. Instead, they laughed and made fun of Noah, ignoring the warnings given through him.

APPLICATION

This same Spirit of Christ speaks through us today. As we disciple our children, we must teach them this truth. The very Spirit of Christ lives in and through us. He is still preaching the Gospel today – as we allow Him. That’s the key. Our children need to be discipled to hear the Spirit when He speaks. Remember the story of Samuel as a child?

And here’s the great part. As we are obedient to allow the Spirit to speak through us, perhaps those who hear will respond and avoid the prison of hell. That’s our reward. Seeing others come to Christ is thrilling, is it not?

Will you allow Jesus to speak through you today? Will you be the one used of the Lord to slam those “prison doors” closed to prevent them from spending eternity there? There are so many people you come into contact with daily who are going to join the other inmates of hell unless someone shares Christ with them.

Place others in my path today who need to hear about Jesus. Use me to lead them to You. I want to see them welcomed into Your arms for eternity.

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