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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Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Devil, Direction, Encouragement, Following, Light, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture

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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RESIST THE DEVIL

1 PETER 5:9

“But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

What does it mean to resist the devil? We too often blame the devil for the things we do that he had no part in. Our natural self, the evil flesh, takes over and we run with it. Then we blame the evil one. To be honest, the devil has bigger fish to fry. If you are so busy blaming him, he doesn’t have to worry about you too much.

The Greek word for “resist” means to take a complete stand against, to take a 180 degree, contrary position. It means to establish one’s position publicly by holding your ground and refusing to be moved or pushed back. It’s not just saying, “not right now” to the devil. We are enemies with Satan. We can’t give him an inch.

APPLICATION

As your children come to faith, you need to remind them of the battle we are in. I don’t mean you have to scare them with stories of the devil. But I do mean you have to teach the dangers of evil that are all around. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes and very seldom appears in its real form. If it did, most everyone would run.

So how do you teach your children to resist the devil? Peter says to be firm in your faith. Foundation, foundation, foundation! It is the key. What is that foundation? Living out the Word of God. Notice I didn’t say reading or memorizing it. You have to live it. The Word will show you exactly how to resist the devil if you spend time in it and apply its principles to your life. Teach your children that.

Are you resisting the devil? Are you glorifying God with your actions? If we focus on glorifying Him with our words and deeds, we will naturally resist any actions from the devil. The devil doesn’t stand a chance against the Word of God. Just live it out as you encounter others. The Lord will be pleased, and the devil will hate it.

Your Spirit within me is much stronger than any attack of the devil, Lord. Keep my eyes on You and I know I will be able to resist those fleshly lusts.

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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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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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LIVING FOR WHAT

1 PETER 4:2

“so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”

We have a choice to make. Do we live to please ourselves or God? Peter states that here in today’s verse. This thought is a continuation of the previous verse which ends with “has ceased from sin.” It is impossible to please God and sin at the same time. You just can’t do it.

So, if you want to “live the rest of the time” doing the will of God, you will abandon “the lusts of men.” The Greek word for “lusts” really means passionate desire. The word can be used in a negative or positive way, depending on the context. Here it is used negatively. But don’t you think we need a passionate desire for God?

APPLICATION

What are your child’s passions? Soccer, Legos, American girl? We need to strive to give our children that passion for Jesus. I don’t mean they have to quote the Bible constantly or preach on a street corner. I mean they desire passionately to please their Heavenly Father.

The only way to do that is to immerse them in His Word and pray over them. They will choose their own way. We can’t stop that. But as we intercede for them in these ways, God is watching. He will draw them to Himself powerfully. I truly believe that. He will honor our efforts to raise our children loving Him.

Are you passionate about anything? Are you passionate about the right things? Our passions can vary. However, our priorities shouldn’t. Make knowing Jesus your top priority and your passions will follow. Get passionate for Jesus.

I love You, Lord. Make me more passionate for You. Put in me the desire to seek You first.

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