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DID YOU SEE THAT?

2 PETER 1:16

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 

You have probably heard the expression, “Believe nothing you hear and half of what you see.” That is true most of the time. Heresay is just that. People like to talk and things get exaggerated or made up along the way. Peter knew that. That’s why is makes his point clear.

I found it interesting that the Greek word for “eyewitnesses” only appears right here. Remember, Peter was an eyewitness of Jesus. He spent three years with Him. Many scholars believe Peter was referring to Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain when he mentions His majesty. That would certainly leave a lasting impact on your life.

APPLICATION

Children need some lasting impressions during their childhood. They need to be eyewitnesses to faith being lived out. We adults tend to shield our children from the difficulties of life. There may be times when that is necessary. But we can also use those experiences to teach invaluable lessons to our children.

When you face your next trial (don’t worry, it’s coming) involve your children as much as you can. Let them know what is going on and engage them in prayer. And when the Lord answers that prayer (and He will) make sure they know it. Celebrate it. Make that a part of your family tradition.

Are you an eyewitness of His majesty? Of course, you are. The moment you encountered Christ and gave Him your heart, you became an eyewitness. And what do eyewitnesses do? They give testimony to what they have seen. Do that today.

I can see You, Lord. You have allowed me to be an eyewitness of Your grace and mercy. I praise You for the privilege.

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CROWNED

I PETER 5:4

“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

Did you know the Bible mentions five crowns believers may receive from the Lord? Here is a link that shows all five.

https://images.app.goo.gl/uHNGkAp8QQz2j6Ny5. They are the crown of life (Revelation 2:20), the crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19), the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25) and the crown of glory (here in 1 Peter 5:4).

This last one, which we see in today’s verse, is given to those who feed the flock. Peter is writing to the elders, encouraging them feed the flock. This is a special task recognized by the Lord and deserving of a special crown. Not everyone who goes to heaven will receive that crown, and that’s okay because we will all lay any crowns we receive at His feet anyway. Right?

APPLICATION

Now you may wonder how in the world this verse applies to our kids. We should teach our children about these five crowns. Who knows, perhaps your child will be one who feeds the flock. Your child may be used by God to teach the Word to others. Your child may be a soul winner, thus earning the crown of rejoicing.

The point is this – God sees what we are doing down here. We aren’t overlooked. He knows exactly what we are doing and why. He is so pleased when we are obedient out of love for Him. He wants to bless us and reward us. That’s the message to our kids. Please the Lord.

Perhaps the Lord has chosen you to receive the crown of life for suffering for His sake. What an honor. Not everyone is chosen for that. Are you concerned with pleasing Him? I sure hope so. I pray your motivation isn’t just to receive something from Him. Our motivation, your motivation should always be out of love for what He has done for you.

Father, I am grateful for my salvation. I know one day I will receive crowns, but they all belong to You. You alone are deserving of praise.

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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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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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GOD’S CHOICE

ACTS 15:7

After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

I am so grateful that the Lord chose me. Peter stands at the famous Council at Jerusalem to defend Paul and Barnabas’ mission to the Gentiles. Some were arguing that the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be true believers. Peter recalled his own defense of preaching to the Gentiles and their receiving the Gospel. I am thankful for his defense.

Just think. If the Council had agreed with the other side, we may be under so much law again. But we are free in Christ. We don’t need to add anything to the Gospel to be accepted by the Lord. Our salvation rests in the fact that we Admit we are sinners, Believe Jesus died for us and Confess our belief to God. A-B-C. It’s as simple as that.

APPLICATION

Don’t add to your children’s belief requirements. I have written about this too many times. Some parents want to be so sure about their child’s decision to follow Christ that they put off celebrating it. Just like the Gentiles who had no knowledge of God, our children come into this world clueless about the Father. It’s our teaching and training that gives them the knowledge. God, in His perfect time, draws them to Himself.

And when they admit, believe and confess, we should shout it from the highest roof top. We should begin right then the process of disciplemaking that will lead them to be a disciplemaker. Matthew 28:18-20 applies, not only to world missions, but also to our own family.

Aren’t you thankful God’s choice was to offer the Gospel to the Gentiles? I sure am. Are you doing your part to spread the Word? There are so many around us who need to hear it. Find someone today and tell them the good news.

I am so thankful for Your choice to share Jesus with me. I will do my part today to share Him with others.

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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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THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST

1 PETER 3:19

“in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,”

This verse and the next couple of verses are some controversial verses among believers. My first thought is how sad. Our arguments about Scripture give the unbelieving world a reason to disbelief in the very truth of the Word. That being said…

The Spirit of Christ was present as Noah (mentioned in verse 20) preached to the people of his day. These people who died in the flood are “the spirits now in prison.” God has always desired people to come to Him. The flood victims were no exception. Instead, they laughed and made fun of Noah, ignoring the warnings given through him.

APPLICATION

This same Spirit of Christ speaks through us today. As we disciple our children, we must teach them this truth. The very Spirit of Christ lives in and through us. He is still preaching the Gospel today – as we allow Him. That’s the key. Our children need to be discipled to hear the Spirit when He speaks. Remember the story of Samuel as a child?

And here’s the great part. As we are obedient to allow the Spirit to speak through us, perhaps those who hear will respond and avoid the prison of hell. That’s our reward. Seeing others come to Christ is thrilling, is it not?

Will you allow Jesus to speak through you today? Will you be the one used of the Lord to slam those “prison doors” closed to prevent them from spending eternity there? There are so many people you come into contact with daily who are going to join the other inmates of hell unless someone shares Christ with them.

Place others in my path today who need to hear about Jesus. Use me to lead them to You. I want to see them welcomed into Your arms for eternity.

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IN A NUTSHELL

1 PETER 3:18

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”

This verse IS the Gospel in a nutshell. This verse says it all. Jesus died for all to forgive us of our sins and rose again to give us eternal life. I have heard it said we should have our testimony down to an elevator conversation. Do you know what that means? We should be able to share our faith in about as much time as it takes to ride on an elevator with someone.

That takes practice. You have to cover all the bases. You need to tell where you came from and what God has brought you to. Do you have a story to tell? Well, of course you do. If you are a believer, God has done a miracle in your life. He has rescued you from a sure damnation to a glorious salvation. That’s worth talking about.

APPLICATION

Our children can be taught to do this also, once they come to Christ. Help them write out their salvation. Then start whittling it down to a 12-15 second conversation. What? Yep! That’s about how much time you would have on an elevator. That may be the amount of time they would have with a friend at school between classes.

Help them practice sharing it so it’s second nature. It doesn’t need to be preachy. It needs to be practical and personal. Then help them develop a list of friends to whom they want to share their story. Be prepared to celebrate when their friends come to Christ.

Are you seeking out others with whom to share? Are you ready to share your story? Write it out and practice it, if necessary. But whatever you do, do it. Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. Make it a priority. Pray for those friends you know need Christ and prepare to share with them the life-changing story of your life.

Point me in the right direction today to share with someone the love of Jesus. Give me the words to share to get it across clearly and concisely.

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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.

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DOING GOOD REGARDLESS

1 PETER 3:17

“For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”

This just sounds backwards, doesn’t it? You shouldn’t suffer for doing what is right. You should only suffer for doing the wrong things. At least that is what we think. But God doesn’t think like we think. Boy, I’m glad that is true, aren’t you?

So, what does this verse mean for believers? At times the Lord will call on us to suffer. Suffering is NOT punishment. Suffering is a gift. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. In the midst of suffering we discover God in a whole new way. Others see Jesus in us and are encouraged in their own faith or perhaps drawn for the first time to give their lives to Christ. We must stand up for what is right, no matter the cost.

APPLICATION

Teaching suffering to our children is no easy thing. We don’t want to see our children suffer. They may not understand why they are suffering for doing the right thing. These are teaching moments. Don’t overlook them just trying to soothe your child. You shouldn’t tell them to suck it up and get back on their feet either. It’s okay to feel hurt. That’s normal. We comfort them through God’s Word.

Suffering is a teaching time for our children. Perhaps you are going through a tough time right now. Maybe the Lord has led you into a suffering season just to model how to handle it for your children. Embrace it and live like Jesus. Your kids will never forget how you suffer for Him.

This is not a subject we want to talk about. We don’t want to suffer, especially when we are doing all the right things. We want to be blessed and be found faithful. You can be blessed through suffering also. Trust me, I know. Everyone’s suffering is different, but it is the same God who sees us through.

I will embrace the suffering You have for me, Lord. I know You know what is best for me. I trust You to teach me through the suffering.

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