“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
Last year we moved my mom into an assisted living center to better care for her physical needs. When we did this, we decided it was time to sell her house. Once that decision was made, we then began to get it ready to sell by going through all her things. As we did this, I began to find old mementos and even many old documents and had to decide what needed to be saved or thrown away.
I ran across a bill of sale from her house in the mid-seventies in which she and my dad paid a whopping $32,000 for their 1800 square foot all brick home. I had to look twice to make sure I was looking at it right. At the time, I am sure it was a lot of money. Either way, the money invested in this house brought so many great memories to her and my dad and so many others.
As I look back on the great times we spent as a family in that house, I think I will always remember the cost that they paid. I am so grateful for the costs that my parents incurred to provide a home in which I could be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
A couple of days later I was reading 1 Peter 1:18-19 and it reminded me so powerfully of the greatest cost that has ever been incurred in human history was spent on you and me. First, these verses hit me so powerfully with the reminder of how God “saved me from an empty life.” I will never get over all that God has saved me from and to in my life. He has blessed me beyond anything I could have ever imagined. He has rescued me from emptiness.
More than that, these verses reminded me so vividly of the cost He paid to rescue me. I think sometimes we all need the reminder that “it was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” that rescued us and gave us the opportunity to “have life and have it more abundantly.”
I want to live my life in such a way as to honor the one who paid such a price for me. What about you? There are so many times in my life that I can get down and begin to feel sorry for myself and forget all that God has done for me.
I pray that I will always remember the cost Jesus paid on my behalf. Also, I want to continually show my gratitude and love to Him with a life well lived for His glory. My desire is that these verses will encourage you in your walk today!
Most loving parents desire to help their children succeed in life. The real question is how do we go about that in a way that will truly give them what they need for this life. How are we preparing our children for the real world and hopefully to have success?
We must choose a path that will prepare our children for the road that lies ahead. I love the adage that states: “We must prepare our children for the road and not the road for our children.” I want to give you two counter-cultural ways to get your children on the right path for Godly success.
First, we must prepare our children for success by teaching them to chase God not worldly success. Genesis 39:2 states, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.” Why was the Lord with Joseph in a way that allowed him to “succeed in everything he did?” Because Joseph had chased after God his entire life and had made his relationship with God the top priority of his life. Too many people are chasing worldly success for their kids in sports, education, arts, and more only to realize that the world’s definition of success will never satisfy. Teaching our kids to honor God, obey Him, love Him, and follow hard after Him all their lives is the right path for our kids to achieve God’s version of success in this life.
Secondly, we must prepare our children for success by allowing them to fail. In other words, we cannot solve every problem and pick every personality and situation that we believe is best for our children and expect our children to be ready to face the difficulties that this life will bring. Do not miss this point. It is not good for our children spiritually or emotionally for us to prepare the road for our children in this manner.
How do I know it is not good for my children for me as a parent to solve all of life’s issues for them? From an emotional standpoint, a recent study by Pew Research demonstrates that children raised this way struggle as adults with decision making and many anxiety issues.
From a spiritual standpoint, James 1:2-3 tells us: "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
This passage reminds us that one of the most important things we can do for our children is to allow them to fail. By allowing our children to fail, we will give them the endurance and strength needed for success in this life. In other words, they will be able to stand on their own and face the challenges that this world will bring them.
Which road do you find yourself on as a parent? Have you been busy trying to prepare the road for them or have you been preparing them? We had better prepare them because one day we will not be around when trouble comes and they do not know what to do.
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.” Ephesians 1:18
Life comes with a lot of disappointments. There are times when we all feel like there is not much we can count on. If not careful, these disappointing times can lead us to become quite discouraged.
Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18 that our hearts would be “flooded with light so that we can understand the confident hope He has given.” I believe that sometimes to combat discouragement we need to revisit and remember all that great hope that the Lord has given us for this life. We need to be reminded that we “are His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.”
I want to share with you some promises that I pray will flood your heart with hope.
Our hearts can be flooded with light knowing that Jesus is bigger than any issue we will face: During the battle, be reminded that peace is available through trusting Him. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Our hearts can be flooded with light knowing who we belong to and the power that He gives us in the presence of His Spirit: Be reminded that we are not a defeated people as Christians. He who lives in us is so much greater than any threat there is in this world. “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Our hearts can be flooded with light knowing that God will finish what He starts in our life: God has a plan for each of our lives and He stands ready to do great things in our lives beyond what we can imagine. I pray that we will give Him control and trust Him to finish what He started. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
Our hearts can be flooded with light knowing that Jesus is busy preparing an eternal home for us: The struggles of this life are temporary. Be encouraged today that God is busy preparing for us to spend eternity with Him. That is truly the “rich and glorious inheritance” described in Ephesians 1:18. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:1-3
I pray that these great promises will flood you with light and give you incredible hope for the journey!
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
We live in culture that is so divided. A culture in which there is way too much hate and anger. What should God’s people be about during times like these? As followers of Jesus Christ, the Bible instructs us to be “salt and light”. How do we do that? I want to share with you some ways in which I believe Christians can positively impact this culture.
First, we need to recognize that God has chosen us to “show others the goodness of God”. 1 Peter 2:9 reminds us that as Christians we are a “chosen people.” God has saved us and is now giving us an opportunity to be light in this dark culture and time. We need to be about the business of loving others and visibly living out the idea of showing others the goodness of God through grace, which is the free and unmerited favor of God that saved us. May we begin to shower grace on all that we meet.
We must also recognize what we need to put aside so we can make a difference. 1 Peter 2:1 says, “So, get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.” As believers, God has called us to live differently. Our lives should not be characterized by things that would damage our testimony to the world around us. Instead, our lives should reflect the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.)
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commanded us to share the good news of the Gospel when He declared: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” When I think of all that God has done for me when He called me out of the darkness into His wonderful light, I cannot help but be energized to tell others of His saving grace. The sad news is that research tells us that about 96% of all Christians never share their faith. In these difficult days that we live in, we need more than ever for Christians to begin to share their faith.
Christians can and should make a difference for the Kingdom during these difficult times in culture. We are a blessed today to be called of God and set apart as a “royal priesthood.” My prayer is that each of us would heed that call and show others the goodness of God, put aside all evil behavior, and begin to share our faith with a world that desperately needs it.
“In your strength, I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.”2 Samuel 22:30
I have often been asked by parents what are some of the most important things that you can teach your children in this life. First, I always tried to teach my children to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind as Scripture says. I also wanted to teach them that following God is a daily process that requires spending time in His Word and in prayer. Indeed, I wanted to teach them to run hard after God.
Beyond that, I knew that my wife and I had the responsibility to teach our children to one day be independent of us and dependent on God. For them to learn to stand on their own feet, I knew it would be necessary to teach them where to find the right source of strength for living in this world.
We wanted to teach them first that God is with them no matter what they face. Matthew 28:20 tells us: “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Next, we felt it important that our children learn that tapping into God’s strength is imperative for living this life. The biggest mistake that most Christians, including myself, make in this life is trying to do everything in our own strength. An even bigger mistake we make as parents is continuing to do everything for our children and solving all their problems as they get older.
Trying to solve all of life’s issues ourselves in our strength clearly does not work and only works to discourage us in the long run. We must teach and live the truth of Philippians 4:13 to our children- “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Finally, as we learn to tap into God’s strength and teach that principle to our children we will soon see just how powerful our God really is. 2 Samuel 22:30 above tells us that with God anything is possible. I love how it declares that “with my God, I can scale any wall.”
What greater truth could we teach our kids than this? I believe that it is the heart of every parent to see our kids accomplish great things and find true fulfillment for their lives. I do not know about you but I have always wanted my kids to be able to scale any wall or obstacle this life puts in their way.
May God grant us as parents the wisdom to teach our kids to tap into God’s strength for this life. Not only that, but also give us the strength to let them use God’s strength and not ours as they get older so that they will learn to be independent of us and dependent on our great God!