“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15
Research tells us that teenagers spend up to 9 hours a day on some type of media. Could this be shaping how they think and interact with the world? With all that I see that is going on in our culture, I am convinced that this culture is battling for the hearts and minds of our children.
The information that our children interact with via media whether it be television, the internet, music, or more greatly impacts how our children view the world. Indeed, our culture is running hard to get its ideas and philosophies communicated to our families.
What should we be doing to counteract the effects of culture on our families? How should we prepare our children to stand strong in their faith? I love the challenge of Jeremiah 12:5. That verse says: “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?" Jeremiah 12:5
Jeremiah is presenting us with the idea that we must be begin to prepare ourselves to run hard and compete against those forces that would wear us down. We want them to know what to do when they are “in the thickets” as Jeremiah says. So, we must begin to prepare our children to be able to run against this culture and have at their disposal the tools needed to defend their faith and worldview. How we can do this? I believe the one thing we must do to prepare them for the future is to: equip them with the truth.
1 Peter 3:15 says above that we are to “always be ready to give an answer to every man of the hope that is in you.” As Christian parents, our first responsibility is to teach our children the things of God every hour that they are awake. We should make sure that our children are grounded in God’s truth through rigorous training. That is why at Metrolina we go to great lengths to integrate God’s truth into every subject matter. We believe it is also important to put our students in front of some this country’s top apologists and worldview experts so that they can be trained in how to engage this culture.
Not only are we to teach them the things of God but we should also live out a strong faith right in front of them. Research tells us that parents are still the single most important influence on a child’s life and direction. Unfortunately, research tells us that one of the top reasons students walk away from the faith is that they never saw faith have a real impact on their parents lives.
At MCA, we passionately want to prepare our students to impact this world for Christ and prepare them to stand strong in this culture. Are we busy making necessary preparations for our children to be strong warriors of faith? Are we equipping them with truth? Are we living out a real faith in front of our children? My prayer is that we would all heed the call to make the necessary preparations for our children’s future!
“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.