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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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Friends, Gossip, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Reputation, Testimony, Witnessing

ARE YOU STRANGE?

1 PETER 4:4

“In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;

If you do the right thing around some people they are going to think you are strange. Peter says so right here. The Greek word translated as “are surprised” means to think strange. You see, if you don’t hang out with them and do the things they do, they not only think you are strange, but they will also “malign” you.  That means they will speak evil of you.

When I got saved the summer before my senior year in high school, my lifestyle changed. Most of my friends acted exactly as this verse says. They asked what was wrong with me. They wanted to know why I wasn’t hanging out with anymore and doing the things they were doing. That was a tough year. I lost a lot of those friends that year, who interestingly enough now love the Lord.

APPLICATION

This is a great verse to read to your children when they are made fun of for standing up for Jesus. It will never fail. If your kids are living for Jesus, the devil will send people into their lives to try to discourage them. Peer pressure is tough. Our kids can be easily manipulated by a bunch of friends to compromise their convictions.

That’s why their convictions have to be built upon God’s Word and not what mom or dad says. His Word is plain and simple. If we keep them in it and work to disciple them appropriately, we have to leave the rest of it up to God. He is big enough to convict and lead them to make the right choices. All our yelling and screaming does is drive them away. Lean on Him.

So, let me ask you again. Are you strange? I hope so. I hope you stick out like a sore thumb. I hope all those around you notice you are different. I want them to ask you why you are different. And I want you to be ready to respond with the Gospel. Be strange for Jesus.

Father, being strange doesn’t sound too good. I want to be considered normal, but I don’t want to “fit in” with the crowd. Give me the boldness to be strange.

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Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Prayer, Reputation, Safety, Suffering, Testimony, Witnessing

FALSELY IMPRISONED

ACTS 12:5

“5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.”

Peter seemed to be in and out of prison a lot. The religious leaders did not want him preaching the Gospel. So, they threw him in jail time and time again. Peter was not hindered. God kept using him. He wasn’t afraid of prison bars because he knew he was free in Christ.

Let me ask you a question. If you were threatened with jail if you didn’t stop preaching about Jesus, what would you do? That probably won’t happen in the United States (and I say probably because things seem to be changing quickly). But it is a real threat in many parts of the world. People are praying for those who face this threat, just like people were praying for Peter.

APPLICATION

One thing we need to teach our children is to not fear sharing Jesus. It is hard for many of us to do that. We are afraid the person may get mad at us or that we may hurt their feelings. Help your children develop way to share without being harsh. Living for Jesus daily speaks volumes. Help your children tell others what Jesus has done for them.

But most importantly, help them to understand that if they are faithful to share His good news with others, God will take care of them. Now, that doesn’t mean they will be spared from insults or ridicule. It could even lead to more serious consequences. But we are safe in the arms of Jesus.

Are you willing to face the consequences for obeying Jesus? Or are you more concerned with your reputation? Peter had a mission, and nothing could keep him from it. You and I have that same mission – to spread the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

I am ready, Lord, to suffer for You. I don’t like saying that, but I know You will see me through whatever comes my way. I want to be obedient to share Jesus.

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Advice, Alone, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Courage, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Godliness, Inspirational, Life, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Perseverance, Reputation, Scripture, Suffering, Testimony

GOOD CONSCIENCE

1 PETER 3:16

“and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”

What does it mean to “keep a good conscience”? Let’s break this down a bit. Actually, the Greek word translated as “keep” in this verse means to have or possess. The word “conscience” has the idea of the God-given capacity to know right from wrong. So, Peter is saying that no matter what others may say about us, as long as we know what we are doing is right, don’t worry about it. They are the ones who will be shamed.

Have you ever had someone put you down for something you have done? I have. I prayed about and had a perfect peace that what I was doing was God’s will. But because it went against or interfered in what someone else wanted, they ridiculed or at the very least questioned my intentions. All you can do at that point is trust the Lord and go on.

APPLICATION

Children face this all the time from their peers. It gets worse in the middle school and high school years. Whenever your child stands up for what God tells them, they are sure to be made fun of by others. It’s just the day in which we live. Living a life of integrity and purity is almost looked down on by those who choose to live another way.

As parents we hate to see them come home in tears or sullen. Our job is to encourage them with verses like this one today. Remind them that in the end those who have given them a hard time will be shamed. In the meantime, they are to continue to live for Jesus and trust Him to guard their hearts. Is it easy? By no means. But the end result is the key. He will reward the faithful.

How is your conscience? Are you remaining true to Him? Stay faithful, my friend. Allow the Lord to show you the big picture. Ask Him to give you a glimpse into the possibilities before you. He will as you surrender. He doesn’t want to keep secrets from you. He wants you in on His plans. Follow Him.

O God, I will trust You in the difficult circumstances. I will allow You to guard my heart as others attack. I will count it a privilege to suffer for You.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Direction, Encouragement, Faith, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Rejection, Reputation, Testimony, Witnessing

JUDGE IF YOU HAVE TO

Acts 4:19

“But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;”

Obeying God can have consequences. Peter and John faced this dilemma when the Jewish authorities ordered them to stop preaching about Jesus. People were coming to Christ due to the miracles they were performing and their message about repentance. The Jewish leaders didn’t want that.

But Peter and John knew they had to answer to a higher authority. They weren’t trying to be ugly or hard to get along with. They just knew the Lord had told them to preach the Gospel, so they had to. They were willing to accept the consequences that could have come from the authorities.

APPLICATION

Years ago, I served as Chaplain at a Children’s Home. Occasionally, former residents of the home would want the Chaplain to marry them in the Chapel on campus. When I could, I was honored to do so. On one occasion, however, I was asked to marry two former residents who both had multiple former marriages. I couldn’t do that and remain true to my calling. I was questioned by the Superintendent why I refused. Fortunately, he understood and supported my decision. But I was prepared to leave my job if necessary.

Your children may face a decision between standing up for Christ and their beliefs or giving in to pressures from others. You have to prepare them now for those times. They have to know why they believe what they believe. They need to know that God will be with them to support them. Share with them how you have handled similar situations.

Are you willing to stand up for Christ? There may be a day when you are faced with that decision. Are you ready? He is. He will stand beside you. Then you can say as Peter said, “you be the judge.”

I am ready to follow You, Lord, wherever You lead me. If that means I am judged by others, so be it. I will be proud to be named as Your follower.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Following, Holiness, Husbands, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Testimony, Witnessing

WITH THEIR OWN EYES

1 PETER 3:2

“as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” 

It’s one thing to hear about someone’s reputation. It’s another to see it with your own eyes. Peter is telling the wives that their husbands will be won to Christ by what they see in them. The way they behave towards their husbands could be the difference between heaven and hell for their husbands.

I have known people who act one way at home and a whole different way at church. Our behavior as believers is a twenty-four hour, seven days a week responsibility. We don’t get to take off days and live like we want to. Too many people are being influenced, especially family.

APPLICATION

Have you ever had your child’s Sunday School teacher tell you what a joy it is to have your child in their class? I am sure you are glad to hear that. But what if you heard that after a morning of screaming and yelling to get them dressed and out the door for church. I am sure you might think how nice it would be to see that kind of behavior at home.

Teaching our children to live consistent lives for Christ is hard. It’s hard for us to do that. Maybe that’s the problem with our children. They see us live one way at home and another at church. We have to model what we expect from them. Our lives are being observed by little ones every day. We can’t afford to “take a day off.”

How about you? Are you consistent in your walk? Don’t let your inconsistency influence someone to walk away from Jesus. You may not even be aware that someone is watching you to see if they want to respond to His call. You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.

I want to reflect Your life through my actions and behavior. Help me walk with You daily to influence those around me to follow You.

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Advice, Child Bearing, Child Raising, Commands, Conceit, Fear, God's Will, Honor, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Scripture, Submission, Surrender, Testimony

NOT AN OPTION

1 PETER 2:17

“Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

Peter gives us four commands in this short verse. And he pretty much covers everyone in these commands. Honor all people means to place value on someone according to how precious you consider them. He says to do the same toward the king. That’s convicting, isn’t it? How precious do you consider everyone? How precious do you hold your “king”, which for us would be our President or leaders? Hmmm!

Then Peter says to love the brotherhood which refers to all believers. Be honest, aren’t there some believers you don’t like? Peter doesn’t leave room for that. He uses the Greek word for love agapao which means always doing what the Lord prefers. Ouch! And finally, he says to fear God. Now, he doesn’t mean to be scared of God, but rather to be in awe of, to show reverence toward.

APPLICATION

Teaching our children to honor, love and fear is no small task. Some of these they won’t get until they are older, but we must start when they are young. But all these are best taught by example. We have to model these behaviors. Therein lies the rub, eh? Children learn the easiest by observing us, we have to love, honor and fear.

Ask your children what they think it means to love, honor and fear. You just might learn something. Often their answers are convicting to we adults. They speak with such innocence (at least most of the time) that it drives the point home. You know Jesus often used children to illustrate faith. Don’t you think if He used them, we could learn something from them?

How are you loving, honoring and fearing? Well Carl, I’m doing pretty good with the fearing thing, but that loving thing is tough. I know it is, but all four of these are in the imperative which means they are commands, not suggestions. If you are aren’t doing so good on one or more of these, you need to ask the Lord to show you how. He will you know.

Honor, love and fear need to be more a part of my daily behaviors. I need to spend more time loving and less time judging. I need to depend on You for my ability to do these.

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DO RIGHT

1 PETER 2:15

“For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

People are always wanting to know God’s will. Well, right here Peter tells you part of it. He says it is “by doing right.” That Greek word is only used 10 times in the New Testament, 4 of them in 1 Peter (2:15, 20; 3:6, 17). Peter must have had some experience in “doing right.” Or maybe he learned by doing the opposite.

But I really like what doing right does. It silences the ignorance of foolish men. Isn’t that great? By doing right you totally keep foolish people quiet. They can’t speak evil against you. They can’t point fingers at you in accusation. Why? Because you are doing what is right according to God’s will. That’s awesome!

APPLICATION

What a great verse for kids. If we can teach them to do what is right according to God’s will, they don’t have to worry about what people say about them. They are innocent in God’s eyes, and that’s all that matters.

Doing what is right isn’t always easy, is it? Sometimes we just want to lash out at someone who has been on our case. But we have to remember that we are representing the Lord in all our actions and words. His desire is for us to do His will, even if it requires us to suffer. Suffering for doing what is right may not feel good, but it pleases the Lord.

Are you doing the right thing? Are you making your decisions according to what pleases the Lord? I challenge you to today to do that and watch the critics get silenced. The Lord is our defense. If you can trust Him with your eternity, don’t you think you can trust Him with your today? Do the right thing!

I do want to do what is right, Lord. Help me to choose that each day and not fall into the traps my enemies have for me. I will choose right today.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christianity, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Reputation, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

I BOW

1 PETER 2:13

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,” 

Who likes to submit? Really, no one, if they are honest. We all want our own way. But that’s not the Lord’s way. Just look at today’s verse. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake.” The word submit is used a lot in the New Testament, so it must be important. The word means “under God’s arrangement, according to the Lord’s plan.”

So, when you submit, it’s not to someone. It’s to the Lord. Any authority over you has been placed there by God. He establishes kings and kingdoms. If He has placed it, we should submit to it. To not submit is disobedience to God. Now, that submission should not involved illegalities or immoralities. Other than that, submit.

APPLICATION

Your children’s priority in submission is to you, their parents. This verse applies to them too, even though they are just children. Keep in mind, when they disobey you, they are disobeying God. That should be your focus. That means you must parent according to God’s principles.

So, what happens when we don’t submit. Most importantly, we disappoint the Lord. We are His representatives to the world. When we “rebel” against the authorities, we are not displaying a Christlike spirit. God expects us to submit. Otherwise, we would not have today’s verse in the Bible.

Are you someone who is always complaining about those you answer to? You need to take a minute and reflect on today’s verse. Who are you really complaining about? God! If He’s placed these people over you, it’s for a reason. Obey Him and you will almost all the time obey them.

Father, I submit to You today. Help me understand more fully the reasons why You have placed the authorities in my life. I want to honor You.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deception, Denial, Encouragement, Envy, Evil, Hypocrisy, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Prejudice, Reputation, Slander

TAKE OUT THE TRASH

1 PETER 2:1

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,”

Some things just stink. And whether we are born again or lost, stinky things seem to want to hang around us. That’s why Peter tells us to figuratively take out the trash. He lists five things that have no place in a believer’s life. Are they in yours?

Malice is just plain badness – enough said. Deceit is wrong every time – misleading others. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you’re not – never good. Envy is holding a grudge which is the opposite of forgiveness. And finally, slander which is speaking evil of someone.

APPLICATION

Now, your kids are going to have to deal with all these things. Sometimes it may be them displaying these traits. If that’s the case, you need to deal with it quickly. Whether they are directing these to strangers, friends or family, these behaviors must be corrected.

They be the recipient of these traits. They never feel good. When you are attacked it hurts. These are the times when you must come alongside your child to encourage them and if need be, protect them. Teach your children to insulate themselves with the truth of the Gospel. Jesus is their true defender.

How are you doing with the trash? Have you put it all aside? Or are you hanging on to some of them? Our flesh loves to keep some “weapons” around, doesn’t it? Lay it all down. Put it all aside. Take out the trash. Don’t let the stinky things foul up your walk with Jesus.

Help me, Lord, to rid myself of those things that don’t smell like You. I want to reflect You in all my words and deeds. That’s not easy sometimes, but with You all things are possible.

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