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, Battles, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Enemies, Evangelism, Following, Friends, Holiness, Inspirational, Judgment, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Punishment, Reputation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

BAD COMPANY

2 PETER 2:13

“suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you,”

Some people are just not good to be around. Their intentions are wrong, and they seek to bring you down with them. Peter is warning us today about these people. They are going to suffer wrong. What does that mean? It means they are going to be given the same kind of justice they have given others. They will receive their judgment. They seek only their own pleasure. No one else matters.

Peter even calls them stains and blemishes. Not a very good reputation, huh? They love to deceive others even while they are pretending to fellowship with you. It is interesting that the word “carouse” is only used twice in the New Testament (here and Jude 12) and both times in a negative way.

APPLICATION

I believe Peter is telling us to not fellowship with these types of people. We still have the obligation to witness to them and love them in Jesus’ name. But that does not mean we are to be best buds with them. The old saying goes, “If you lie with dogs, you’re going to get fleas.” That’s true. If you hang out with these types of people they are going to influence you.

That’s why we guard our children from ungodly influences. We don’t let them spend the night with other boys and girls who parents live ungodly lives. That’s why we teach our children to only date fellow believers who share the same world view. That’s why we want to know who our children are hanging out with at school or on weekends. We want, to the best of our ability, to keep them from being “stained” or “blemished.”

Are you keeping yourself from being “stained” or “blemished”? It’s really not that hard, if you are following Jesus. Jesus just may send you to these types of people to share the Gospel. But He does not want you sharing their lifestyle. If you look no different than them, why would they want to hear anything about Jesus. Be different. Live holy.

Lord, protect me from the stains and blemishes of this world. Help me reach those who think and act like this, without putting myself at risk of evil influences.

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Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Destruction, Encouragement, Enemies, Faithfulness, Fighting, Judgment, Modeling, Obedience, Opponents, Parenting, Scripture, Victors

DESTROYED

2 PETER 2:12

“But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,”

When I was a boy, I used to build models. You know, model cars, trucks, boats, etc. I especially like the boats. Do you know why? Because I would build them and then destroy them. Yep, that sounds kind of dumb now, but we thought it was fun. Me and my neighbor buddy would go down to the local pond with our models, some duct tape or glue and firecrackers or M-80’s. We would light the fuses, push those models out in the lake and watch them explode. It was awesome.

My point? These “unreasoning animals” referred to by Peter are intentionally destroying themselves and others by their behaviors and teachings. They are not accidentally doing this. It is done with malice and evil. They do not understand what they are up against and will eventually be held accountable by a holy God.

APPLICATION

How do we protect our children and others from these evil influences? There is really only one way. I have said it hundreds of time and will continue to say it. We have to ground them in the Word of God. Nothing else will thwart the challenges of those who seek to destroy us. It is sharper than any two-edged sword.

Daily devotions, prayer time and application of truths learned are key. Make sure you are not just reading a passage (even though that’s good) and going about your day. Reading the Bible without applying the Bible doesn’t prepare you for these people. Make the Bible real to you. See how it affects your life each day. He gave it to us for a reason.

Are you prepared today to face whatever the Lord allows in your life? If an enemy of the cross comes across your path today, how will you respond? Spend time in prayer now to get ready for the battles that lie ahead. They are on the way. But with the Lord on your side, the outcome is sure. We are victorious.

Father, for those who battle against truth I pray. I pray they will see the error of their ways before it is too late. Help me today to face the challenges You allow with integrity and boldness.

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Advice, Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Evangelism, Exhortation, Gospel, Inspirational, Judgment, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Witnessing

NOT OUR JOB

2 PETER 2:11

“whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.”

Why do we think we have the right to judge others? That’s God’s job. Peter states so here. Even the angels don’t point their fingers (or wings, lol) at the wicked in judgment. They know God is holy and just. They know He will judge all mankind at some point. It is not their concern.

Why can’t we learn from the angels? We judge others because it makes us feel better. It puts us above them, or so we think. Judging others is not our responsibility. That does not mean we shouldn’t confront a brother or sister about sin. That’s love. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t share the Gospel with the lost. That’s not judging. That’s love.

APPLICATION

Children can be very judgmental. It starts early. When your child comes home putting down another child for the way they look or act. It starts by your child thinking they are better than the boy down the street. You have to stop that thinking quickly.

How do you do that? Every time a judgmental attitude is exhibited, stop and lead your child in prayer for that other child. Explain to them how Jesus loves them just as much as He loves your child. Talk about ways your child could be more like Jesus to them. It’s really hard to judge someone you are praying for, isn’t it?

Are you guilty of judging others? Do you see yourself better than the world around you? Listen, dear brother and sister, the only thing that makes you any better is Jesus. Therefore, only He has the right to judge anyone. Let Him handle that. You need to focus on loving, not judging. And watch what happens. It may just surprise you.

Forgive me, Father, for my judgmental attitude. Show me how to love others like You do. Use me as Your vessel.

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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, 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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PAY ATTENTION

2 PETER 1:19

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

Does your mind ever wander when someone is trying to tell you something? I think men have an extra gene that causes that sometimes, lol. Seriously, since my chemotherapy I find myself having to concentrate harder to accomplish some things. I either forget what I’m doing or get distracted by something else. I even go into rooms sometimes and forget why I went in there.

Peter is telling us to pay close attention to the words he has written, to the prophetic word. We have been warned. We have been taught. We have been given the truth through the Word of God to live by. What we do with that is our choice. What we can’t choose is the consequences for disobeying it. The lamp truly is shining in a dark place.

APPLICATION

Kids love flashlights and candles. There is just something about getting in a dark room with all the lights off and lighting a candle or turning on a flashlight. It’s amazing how even the smallest light in a completely dark room can chase away the darkness. Try this with your child. They will love it.

Show them this verse and explain how the light of His Word does the same thing to the darkness in our world. Satan cannot stand up to God’s Word. He has no power over it. When we feel the darkness, we need to strike the match of truth to drive it away.

How are you walking? Are you walking in light or darkness? It really is your choice. But don’t blame God when you stumble in that darkness because you refuse to use the light of His Word to guide you. And the beauty of His light is it never dims. It is always bright.

Shine Your light on me, dear Lord. Light up the path I am traveling today. 

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Foundation, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

WELL-PLEASED

2 PETER 1:17

“For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’”

Peter heard these words spoken by God Himself at the time of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-8). At the time he heard that he fell on his face trembling. We would probably do the same if a voice from heaven speak to us. And Peter believed the voice. He listened to Jesus and followed Him.

Let me ask you a question. Is He well-pleased with you? Well, sure He is, Carl. I go to church, give my tithe and try to be nice to everyone. Is that what Jesus did as the Son of Man? No! Jesus surrendered His life as a sacrifice for all mankind. Now, we can’t save mankind, but we can live a sacrificial life for others.

APPLICATION

Have you told your children lately how pleased you are with them? They really need to hear that. Give them opportunities to do things well. Don’t set the bar so high that they can’t possibly succeed. Children need small wins first. Things like teaching them to pick up their toys and bragging on them when it’s done are important.

And they are going to need spiritual wins. That, of course, starts with a firm foundation which you have laid with Scripture and prayer. When they pray for something and see that prayer answered, tell them how pleased you are that they trusted the Lord with that. When you observe them putting their faith into action by taking part in that mission outreach, make sure you tell them how pleased you are. They need to hear you say that again and again.

So, let me ask you again. Is He well-pleased with you? What have you done in the name of Christ to merit that? I am NOT saying we have to DO things to earn His love. He loves us unconditionally. We do things because of His love. And in return we can hear Him say This is my child with whom I am well-pleased. How sweet is that?

I want to please You, Lord. I want to hear those words from You. Forgive me for not being more obedient when You clearly give me opportunities.

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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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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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