Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Death, Encouragement, Evangelism, Following, Inspirational, Life, Mentoring, Parenting, Resurrection, Scripture, Surrender, Testimony, Witnessing

ARISE

ACTS 9:40

“But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.” 

Acts 9:36-43 tells the story of Peter raising Tabitha (Dorcas in the Greek language) from the dead. What a wonderful story. Isn’t it? There were many friends of Tabitha there when this happened, so the word spread quickly throughout Joppa. What do you think happened?

Verse 42 tells us. “It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” This is the reason the Lord worked through Peter to raise Tabitha. It really wasn’t about her. It was about all those who would be led to the Lord. Bringing the spiritually dead to life is much more important than bringing the physically dead to life.

APPLICATIONS

Did you know your children are dead before they come to Christ? They are spiritually dead waiting to arise. As parents we pray for our children’s salvation and rejoice greatly when they surrender to the call of our Lord. You may be parents of unsaved children. Don’t stop praying. God is still raising dead people.

Once your children are saved and walking with the Lord, your job is to keep them “alive.” What do I mean by that? Walking in newness requires daily dying to self. Wnhe you die to self, you have to get up and walk with Christ through His life. You die and then arise. You surrender to Jesus daily and allow Him to direct your steps. Your children need to know this truth.

Are you dead or alive? Are you the dead Tabitha or the alive Tabitha? Your risen life in Christ can be used, like Tabitha’s, to draw many others to Jesus. Wouldn’t that be awesome? By your daily surrender to Him, others can see Jesus in you. Arise!

I want to walk in newness of life with You today. I lay my life before You to use however You desire. I want to draw others to You through my surrendered life. 

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UNDESERVED GIFTS

1 PETER 2:22

“WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;”

Yesterday was Easter. What a perfect verse we have today to remind us of Christ’s innocence. He didn’t deserve to die. He had done no wrong. But He took on Himself my sin and your sin in order to give to us something we did not deserve – His righteousness. Wow! What a gift!

Have you ever gotten a gift you didn’t deserve? I have had friends bless me with gifts. During my recent illness I had several friends who blessed us financially. They wanted to help ease the burden of traveling back and forth to the hospital and the month and a half stay away from home. We didn’t deserve this, but they gave anyway. Jesus gave His all when we didn’t deserve it.

APPLICATION

Surprise your children with a gift. They may have been terrible yesterday and disobeyed you all day long. Perfect! Give them a gift they are not expecting. When they ask you why you are giving them such a gift, explain to them the gift that Jesus gave you when you didn’t deserve it. Let them know that Jesus loves us that much. He doesn’t wait for us to get better to save us. He saves us just like we are.

Ask your children if they know what innocent means. You may have to explain that to them. Tell them that Jesus had never done anything wrong, even when He was a little boy. Every action He took reflected His Father in heaven. And despite His innocence, He took on the guilt of the world. Why? To give us this undeserved gift of salvation.

Have you thanked the Lord today for your undeserved gift of salvation? Do that right now. I’ll wait…. Now, don’t you feel better? It’s always good to thank someone for the gifts we have been given, especially those undeserved gifts. Do that daily, as He continues to bless you.

Dear Lord, I thank You for blessing me. I only deserve hell, but You have chosen me to be Your child and have given me a gift which I could never repay. I love You, Lord.

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WHERE DID HE GO?

JOHN 20:6-7

“6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.” 

Don’t you know Peter’s first thought was Where did He go? I am sure he didn’t remember right away that Jesus had told them He would rise from the dead. Jesus had told them but not in so many words. All Peter knew was Jesus had died and now He was not in that tomb. He had been told by Mary that He was alive, but he needed to see Him for himself.

And what about the linens? There were two piles – one where the body was and another with the wrappings from the head. It was as if Jesus had unwrapped Himself. Was that possible? Or did the angels he heard had been here done that. This was just too much to take in. Where was Jesus?

APPLICATION

Sometimes we see things that we just can’t believe. I have a friend who is a Christian illusionist. He can do things that make you scratch your head. I have often said when I watch him perform that there is no way he just did that. Of course, all his illusions are tricks. He will tell you that himself.

Jesus had not just performed a parlor trick. He had really risen from the dead. Ask your children if they have ever met anyone who has done that. Of course, they will think you’re crazy for even asking that. But then remind them, when you meet Jesus and ask Him into your heart, you just met someone who has done that. No one else has defeated death themselves. Jesus simply threw off the grave clothes and walked out of a sealed tomb.

Do you believe everything you see? You shouldn’t. But you should believe this. Jesus is alive. He is seated right now beside His Father, as much alive as when He walked the earth. His position in heaven does not diminish His life in the least. And He wants you to live each day with that knowledge. Live knowing He’s alive.

Knowing You are alive gives me hope for tomorrow. You are always watching over me and walking beside me. I may not can see You now, but I know You are there.

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FOOT RACE

LUKE 24:12

“But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.”

I think it’s funny that here in Luke it says, “But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. In John 20, we read that John went with him and outran him. Lol. No one wants to admit they got beat in a foot race.

But this story isn’t about who won the foot race. It’s about the destination of the foot race. Where were they running? Why were they running? They had just been told that Jesus’ tomb was empty. They couldn’t wait to check it out themselves.

APPLICATION

Okay, it’s foot race time. Gather your children and go outside for the race. Set the finish line out of their sight and explain that there will be a surprise when they get there. Watch how fast they line up to race. Surprises are exciting. Surprises get us every time.

When they all get there give them a special treat. If you can find them, get them one of those Resurrection Eggs. Kids love them. Read them this story and ask them how they think Peter felt when he got to the tomb and found it empty. Surprised? Shocked? Excited? Sad?

How would you have felt if you had been Peter? Your last experience with Jesus was shame. Now you have just been told He’s alive and wants to see you. How would you have been feeling? Embarrassed or excited? It’s no different today. He wants to see you. Even when you mess up, He forgives you and longs to be with you.

Lord, I long to be in Your presence. I look forward to Your embrace. Forgive me for all those times I have fallen short of Your calling.

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DIE TO LIVE

2 TIMOTHY 2:11 

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 

Huh? How is that possible? If you die, you die. Right? And if you live, you live. But Paul says, “For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him.” Logically, that makes no sense at all. But there we go. It’s not about logic. It’s about faith. 

At the cross, the moment Christ died, He died a death for all who would believe in Him. His death was for everyone. Our sins were nailed to that old rugged cross right along with Him. And then, when He walked out of that tomb, we also walked out with Him as resurrected creatures.  

APPLICATION 

Let me explain this concretely so your kids can understand. My brother-in-law described this as being “biscuits for Jesus.” Get all the ingredients to make biscuits (flour, buttermilk, butter, salt, oil, etc) and mix them all together. They are “with” each other but are still able to be separated. But once you cook those biscuits, something happens. Those ingredients are now “with” each other in a whole new way which can’t be separated. 

Both of the verbs in today’s verse have that second “with” attached. It’s a little Greek pronoun “syn.” That’s us in Christ. We die with Him, and we live with Him. We cannot be separated. We are bound together with Him for eternity. That’s death to life.  

Are you bound with Christ? Do you know that nothing can separate you from the presence of Christ in your life, if you are a believer. You may feel distant at times, but His life courses through your veins as a Christian. You are just choosing not to walk in victory. Choose life today! 

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank You, Lord, for making me whole. Thank You, Lord, for giving to me, life more abundant. 

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BE AN EXAMPLE

2 TIMOTHY 1:13 

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 

Paul’s charge to Timothy in today’s verse still rings true for us today. We are to “retain the standard.” That literally means to keep the example. Better yet, we are to be the example. This is a command, not a suggestion. Timothy had to be the one in Ephesus to do so. He was the example of Christ in a pagan city. 

So are we! Our testimony is the starting point for each of us. However, we are asked of the Lord to represent Him from that point on. That can only be done through faith and love in Christ Jesus. He lives in and through us to point the way for a lost world.  

APPLICATION 

Preacher’s kids get a bum rap. People think they should be better than the other kids. That’s not fair to them. If you are in the ministry, don’t put that on your kids. However, we should hold our children to a higher standard once they accept Christ. Why? Because now they represent the king of kings. They bear His name. 

It’s hard to get some children to understand just how important their walk with Christ is for others. They may feel judged or pressured to conform or perform. No! We don’t want that. We want them to simply let Jesus live through them. All we want is for them to yield to Him. He will take care of them. Just be Jesus. 

So, what are you doing with this command? Are you retaining the standard? Are you a worthy example of what Christ can and will do with a surrendered life? If you are struggling putting something down, Jesus is talking with you. Put it in His hands. Don’t let anything come between you and following the Lord. He is faithful to see you through the hardest things life has to “offer.” 

Help me trust You completely, Lord, and allow you to hold me up as an example. Let anything in my life that is seen by others simply point them back to you. 

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FIRST MOLD

1 TIMOTHY 2:13

“For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.”

The Bible teaches in Genesis that creation was completed after man and woman were made. All the other creations were spoken into existence. But not man. God molded him from the dust of the earth with His very own hands. That’s what the Greek word for “created” means. Then He breathed His breath, the ancient breath of the ages, into him. 

That first molded man was used to create woman. We are taught that God put Adam to sleep (the first anesthesiology case) and removed a rib to fashion woman. Adam was molded first, and then Eve. Some may say that makes Adam more important. I disagree. God’s creation wasn’t complete until woman was formed. After that, God rested. 

APPLICATION

This story has been told to children since…well…creation, lol. Most children who have had any exposure to church know this story. So, why is it important to tell it again? To make sure they understand this is fact, not fiction. This is NOT a Bible fable. Adam and Eve actually lived on this earth. Adam was literally formed from dust. Eve was fashioned from a rib. That’s exactly how it happened.

Your little Gertrude or Elrod are going to be bombarded with science and evolution. They will even be told to believe in creation is dumb. They need to have the knowledge to push these comments back. If our children can’t believe in Genesis 1-3, why should they believe the rest? This is fundamental to their faith in God and His Word.

How about you? Do you write off this story because you can’t understand it? Do you write off the resurrection because you can’t understand that? Our deepest held beliefs are built upon this creation. It all begins there. Trust God’s Word – every single word of it. He is still breathing that breath of life into us today, and it comes through His Word.

Breathe on me! Breathe on me! Holy Spirit, breathe on me! Take now my heart, cleanse every part. Holy Spirit, breathe on me! 

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GOD’S DESIRE

1 TIMOTHY 2:4

“who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

Our holy and righteous God desires everyone to be saved. He is ready to act, to deliver them. But…God want force salvation on anyone. This verse reads “desires” for a reason. God wishes for their salvation. It is, in fact, His will that all men be saved. We have to decide to receive it.

And this verse goes on to say, “come to the knowledge of the truth.” You see, that is what convinces us. The truth of God’s Word convinces us that salvation is real and is for us. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. So, perhaps the Lord wants to use you to share His good news with someone He is desiring to be saved (which is everyone).

APPLICATION

I pray you are teaching your little Susie and little Johnny to share the good news. Once they come to Christ and discover this truth for themselves, we need to prepare them to share it. Teach them the ABC’s of faith sharing. “A” is for Admit. Everyone must admit they are a sinner in need of a Savior. “B” is for Believe. They have to believe that Jesus was God’s Son who was sent to earth to die for those sins and satisfy God’s judgment. He was crucified, buried and rose again. “C” is for confess. Each person has to confess that belief with their own mouths and ask the Lord to save them and come into their lives.

I promise your kids, even the youngest, can remember those three things. I never cease to be amazed at how quickly children can memorize things. So, I am confident your children can learn to share the good news with their friends and family.

Do you know the knowledge of the truth? Have you acknowledged Jesus as your Savior and Lord? That’s exactly what God wants and wills for you. But don’t keep that to yourself. Shout it from the highest mountain top. Whisper it to your grandchildren or children. Tell total strangers about it. Just tell it.

I am the possessor of the greatest story ever told. Help me to share that with others all around me. Let me tell it with joy and excitement so they will see just what You have done for me.

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THE PURPOSE OF EASTER

2 THESSALONIANS 2:10

“and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” 

Resurrection Sunday! Easter! Shouldn’t we celebrate the resurrection of Christ every day? I think so. His death atoned for all our sins, but His resurrection gave us victory over the grave and death. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Today’s verse fits nicely with the Easter message. Satan is constantly trying to deceive mankind. His wicked ways will lead us straight down the road to destruction. We will perish without receiving the love of God, the love of truth. We must receive it to be saved. That word “receive” is written in the middle voice, which means it is our decision to receive. No one can make us.

APPLICATION

Okay – here are some clear commands to follow to lead your children to Christ. 1) Satan will try to deceive them. 2) His ways are wicked. 3) His ways lead to destruction. 4) They must receive Jesus on their own. 5) God will save them if they do.

It’s really that simple. Any child can understand the simple truth of the Gospel. Don’t complicate it. Teach them to share this with their friend. You don’t have to have 100 verses memorized to be saved (not that memorization isn’t important). Your little Susie must come to the realization that her sins are wickedness and are only pleasing Satan. Then she must confess them, receive the love of the truth (Jesus) and God will save her.

Who can you share that with today? You see, you have people all around you who are dying spiritually right now. They will certainly perish without receiving the Lord. You are essentially watching them rot and decay before your eyes in their wickedness. Stop the decay! Share today’s truth with them and lead them to receive a resurrected life in Christ. Amen?

Lord, today give me someone I can share truth with. Let me be the one to introduce them to a way of escape. I will give You all the glory!

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BAD BREATH

2 THESSALONIANS 2:8

“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;” 

Excuse my thought process, lol. But I just could not resist when I read this verse. I am NOT insinuating that the Lord will have bad breath. But, unlike His first appearance on earth, He will be one “bad” dude when He returns. He won’t come as baby. He will come as Ruler and Judge. And this lawless one will pay the price simply by the breath of His mouth.

Now, that word “breath” is the Greek word pneuma, which can also be translated as spirit. In fact, it is the same word used in the title of “Holy Spirit.” I don’t think that is a coincidence, do you? The very breath of God, the very Spirit of God will slay the lawless one. No weapon is needed.

APPLICATION

Here is the great part of that verse. That same “breath” of the Lord is living in us as believers. We have that power coursing through us every day, if we just tap into it. Now, we aren’t going to slay someone with our breath (unless we have been eating a lot of garlic). But the Lord stands ready to defeat any enemy we face. All we have to do is mention His name, and the enemy flees.

We need to teach our children the importance on relying on the Lord to fight their battles. Surrender to Him first, allow Him to work in their lives, and He will stand ready to defend us. He will protect His children, just you do all you can to protect them as their earthly parent. The difference is you can’t be with them all the time. He can and will.

Are you in need of the “breath” of God today? Are you facing unknown forces that are trying to tear you down and destroy you? Allow Him to reign in and through you. Then step back and watch Him work. He is ready. Are you?

Your breath is sweet to me but harsh to the unbeliever. Help me share your breath with others. I want them to also experience its sweetness. 

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