Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Protection, Rescue, Scripture, Surrender

TORMENTED

2 PETER 2:8

“(for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),” 

I have to say that I have never been tormented. The Greek word here actually means to be tortured. Lot’s life (that’s who Peter is referring to here) must have been horrible. He was living in a cesspool of sin with seemingly no escape. His world was collapsing around him.

Have you ever felt that way? Troubles seem to follow you wherever you go? You can’t seem to catch a break? Listen to me, God has a way out for you. Those troubles are meant to drive you closer to Him. I can speak from experience – it’s no fun. But the final destination is worth it! He’s waiting there for you.

APPLICATION

Have you ever taken your children on a long bike ride, maybe a trail ride? I bet at some point they wanted to stop, didn’t they? When the trail got tough, they probably started complaining. What did you do? You probably said something like this. Come on, honey. It’s just a little bit further. Or maybe you said I know you can make it. Just dig a little deeper. You can do it.

God is whispering the same words to you. If He has led you down this path, He intends to see you through it. Perhaps your torments are of your own choosing. Even then, when you turn to the Lord, He will bring you out. You may have some scars, but He will complete the course with you.

The question is do you trust Him. Do you? Do you trust the creator of the universe to rescue you? Why wouldn’t you? If He can create the world in six days, He is powerful enough to pull you through. Surrender to Him today. No matter what you are facing at the moment, surrender it to Him.

Lord, I am thankful You can rescue me from the torments in my life. This world will try to bring me down, but You are there to raise me up.

Standard
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.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Foundation, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Safety, Scripture, Surrender

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.

Standard
Advice, Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Encouragement, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture, Surrender

LET HIM HAVE IT

1 PETER 5:7

“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

This verse is quoted a lot. People need to know this profound truth from God’s Word. But let’s make sure they understand it. Did you know the Greek word translated “casting” is only used one other time? It is when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt. The people cast their coats on the road for Him to ride upon.

Now think about that image and apply it to this verse. If we could cast all our anxieties at the feet of Jesus, He would just walk all over them and reduce them to dust. He would crush them. Why? Because He cares for us. He doesn’t want us anxious. He wants us to rest in Him.

APPLICATION

I am sure your child has been anxious before. Maybe a thunderstorm has made them anxious. Perhaps something else scared them. It could be that big test that is coming up. We need to spend time teaching our children to cast those on Jesus. Make it visual for them.

Have them write down on pieces of paper all the things that make them anxious. Then write “Jesus” on the side of a box. Have them crumple up those pieces of paper and throw them into the box. The next time they get anxious, have them do it again.

Have you cast your anxieties on Jesus? If you are like most people, you probably are carrying them around. Put that stuff down. You can’t handle that load, but Jesus can. He can shoulder everything you’ve got. You just have to trust Him. If you can trust Him with your eternity, can’t you trust Him with your anxieties?

I will let You have them all, Lord. When I am feeling anxious, I will turn to you. Thank You!

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Godliness, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Suffering, Surrender

TRUST YOUR CREATOR

1 PETER 4:19

“Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

This verse is one I have memorized as part of a men’s study called Every Man A Warrior. Dads, you should check it out, if you haven’t. Memorization of Scripture isn’t just about the memorizing part. It’s about putting into practice the verses you have memorized.

Take this verse for instance. The Greek word for “shall entrust” means to set close beside, to commit to in a very up-close-and-personal way. Wow! Can you do that? Can you commit to a very close relationship? It’s in those times of suffering that you have to draw close.

APPLICATION

Your kids need to draw close. They need to know the Lord is near, especially when times are difficult. Look back at the verse. Peter goes on to say, “in doing what is right.” No matter what is going on, we must continue to do the right thing. That is a great lesson for your children. Choosing to do what is right is difficult sometimes. But it is always God’s choice.

So how do you teach your children to draw near to God and do the right thing? Yep, you guessed it. You have to model it for them. They need to see you trusting the Lord in difficult times. They need to watch you choosing to do the right thing when retaliation or vengeance would be your choice.

So, I will ask you again. Can you commit to a close relationship with Jesus? Will you trust Him to see you through those times? Better yet, will you choose to do the right thing? Tough questions with an easy answer. Just say “yes.” Say yes to Jesus, and He will see you through your most challenging days.

I will draw close to You and do the right thing. I will trust You, Lord, when I face times of trouble, knowing You are there.

Standard
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.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Passion, Scripture, Surrender

MAXIMUM POTENTIAL

1 PETER 4:8

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

Love, love, love! If we would all just love more, the world would be a better place. You have probably heard that at least once in your life. And Peter agrees, but there are a couple of qualifiers. One is it has to be God’s love. Both times in this verse the word agape is used. That’s God’s kind of love. We can’t produce that. It has to come through Him.

Secondly, Peter says to be “fervent in your love for one another.” The Greek word for “fervent” means to its maximumpotential, without slack because it is fully extended to its necessary outcome. That word is only used right here in this verse. Can you love to your maximum potential?

APPLICATION

The only way for your kids to learn to love fervently is for you to model that for them. Don’t you get tired of hearing that? But so much of parenting is role modeling. Remember, Peter isn’t telling us to fervently love our families. That is easy (well, it’s easy most of the time, lol). He is telling us to fervently love all our Christian brothers and sisters.

Now that’s a challenge. Your children will watch how you love them. They will listen how you talk about them. They will see if you are loving to your maximum potential. When they see us loving the unlovable with the love of God, then they will begin to understand this verse.

Who is causing you to struggle with this right now? Love them more. That doesn’t mean you have to condone what they do. It doesn’t mean you have to trust them. But it does mean to allow the Lord to love them through you. Be obedient to what the Lord has called you to do.

Lord, I will attempt to love fervently. I know it won’t be easy, but I will do it because You expect it and because You can empower me to do it.

Standard
Advice, Baptism, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Surrender, Testimony

BAPTISM SAVES?

1 PETER 3:21

“Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

Here lies a verse that is argued by many a scholar. Let me say I am not trying to start an argument or persuade others to my view of Scripture. I am merely using this verse to encourage others. Baptism is a symbol of our regeneration in Christ. The phrase “an appeal to God for a good conscience” implies a work that is already done. Baptism is an outward expression of an inner work.

Let me give you my example. I was baptized at eight years old. But I never really gave my heart to Jesus. I believed in Him, but I didn’t surrender to Him until age 16. I was baptized again as a believer. The first baptism meant nothing. I just got wet. But as a believer, I knew I needed to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.

APPLICATION

When should your child get baptized? I am asked this a lot. My simple answer is when they understand the basic Gospel message and have asked Jesus into their life. Jesus referred to a child’s faith over and over in Scripture. We adults complicate it. We want to “make sure” they understand everything. Let me ask you, mom and dad, do you understand everything about salvation?

I’ve been a believer since July 1977, and I am still learning. I have been in ministry over 40 years, and I am still learning. Trust your children when they tell you they have asked Jesus to be their Savior. Sure, talk to them about it. And then encourage them to be baptized.

Maybe you have put off this decision for years. Don’t wait any longer. Call your church and find out when the next baptism is and get it done. Be obedient. You will still get to heaven without baptism, but you will have missed a blessing.

Father, I want to be obedient to You in all I do. I am thankful I can follow Your Son’s example in baptism.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Direction, Following, God's Will, Parenting, Surrender

GOD’S WAY

ACTS 11:17

“‘Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?’”

Peter ends his description of what happened when he visited Cornelius by making this statement. I love it. He just did what God asked him to do, and God has His way. Wouldn’t you like for God to have His way with you? He can and He will – if you will surrender. Peter just had to get out of the way and allow the Lord to use him.

When Peter made this last statement, those who were questioning him shut their mouths and glorified God. Man, wouldn’t that be great? When we yield to the Master, others can just look on and glorify God. They will see it is not us. It’s all Him.

APPLICATION

Nothing can make a mom or dad happier than to know God was having His way with their child. But you and I know that doesn’t just happen. Kids learn to let God have His way one tiny surrender at a time. They need to learn to let Him has His way in how they treat their siblings. And how about how they obey you?

You see, the problem with letting God have His way with our kids is we have to let our plans for them go. That’s right. His way may match up with your plans, but then again, it may not. Are you willing to let your kids go God’s way despite your plans for them? That’s a hard question. But in the end, He will be glorified.

It is very rare that God’s way and man’s way coexist. Our flesh gets in the way. We want to be glorified. Oh, we may never say that, but that is what our flesh desires. We want people to notice us. We want people to exalt us. Let Him have His way. You won’t be sorry.

I will surrender to Your way, O God. Your way is far better than mine. I know that. Show me how.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Evangelism, Forgiveness, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Mentoring, Parenting, Repentance, Surrender, Witnessing

THEY’RE SAVED?!

ACTS 10:44-45

“44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”

Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen in years and learned they are a believer now? You knew them in their B.C. (Before Christ) days and are shocked they are saved. I mean, you’re glad and excited, but still you’re shocked. That’s kind of what happened here. The circumcised believers with Peter were shocked that God had saved these Gentiles.

What a great verse to show God desires that everyone be saved. He loved these Gentiles. He had sent a message to Cornelius to have Peter come and share the Gospel with them. They heard and believed. Don’t ever think someone is unreachable. It’s not you who draws them to Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit working through you.

APPLICATION

Teach your children to share the Gospel. I never cease to be amazed at the boldness of children in sharing their faith. They don’t have the fears of rejection we adults have built up over time. Children just want to talk about Jesus. We could learn a lot from them.

So, help them prepare their Gospel message. Help them share what God has done for them. Help them share what God has done for their family. Help them make a list of friends they want to share their faith with. And most importantly, pray with them. Seek the Lord’s guidance, because He is the one who will direct them to the people to share.

Do you have a list of names of people you want to share Christ with? Have you prayed for those people today? If God has placed them on your heart, it’s for a reason. Seek those individuals out today. Ask the Lord to give you the words and the opportunity to share. He will!

Father, thank You for drawing me to You so many years ago. Put people in my path today to whom I can share Your message.

Standard