Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren

Monday, February 20, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: Feb. 20, 2012                            
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

                                                Hebrews 12:5-6
"And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said. “My child don’t make light of the LORD’S discipline and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” (NLT)

When I was a kid and my parents disciplined me, I certainly didn’t see it as and act of love. No, I saw it as two mean people who wanted to ruin my life!  What was the big deal I often thought? Surely, they were making more out of it then were necessary. Now, as an adult and a parent myself, I realize that love was exactly their intention. I certainly would not have admitted this back then, but they were attempting to follow God’s protocol. What seemed harsh to me was actually an act of love.

I was thinking about the word “discipline” and how most of us tend to associate that word with the act of punishment. When my parents were angry with me for doing something wrong, they usually took something from me that I loved. Although this usually got my attention, it often left me angry too. Eventually, many years later I would come around to the understanding that discipline is actually a method of correction. More importantly it is an act of love.

According to the website, “God’s love, as described in the Bible, is clearly unconditional in that His love is expressed toward the objects of His love (i.e., His people) despite their disposition toward Him. In other words, God loves because it His nature to love (1 John 4:8), and that love moves Him toward benevolent action. The unconditional nature of God’s love is most clearly seen in the gospel. The gospel message is basically a story of divine rescue. As God considers the plight of His rebellious people, He determines to save them from their sin, and this determination is based on His love (Ephesians 1:4-5).”

Let’s look at this topic of discipline as it aligns to our relationship with God and His love for His people. Scripture tells us that when God disciplines His children, He is acting out of love. I have to wonder, is that how we see it? When we sin, when we willfully choose to be disobedient to God’s Word, do we really get that the consequences at hand are a result of God’s unconditional love towards us? Do we comprehend that He is working to correct something in us, or do we question why we have to endure the consequence? Have you ever considered that when God is correcting it is for the purpose of bringing us back into the center of His will? If you are a believer, God is your Heavenly Father (John 8) and He’s not going to let you continue to play with fire. He’s going to discipline/correct you to get your attention. If He didn’t, what kind of father would He be?  

Correction is a deep act of love on the part of a parent. According to Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries, “You aren't demonstrating love if you fail to apply discipline (Prov. 13:24); in fact, you are setting kids up to reap disastrous, painful results from their uncorrected behavior and destructive choices (19:18). A good parent disciplines disobedient sons and daughters to 1) protect them from further rebellion that could hurt themselves and others, and 2) restore them to health and wholeness.
Some parents, however, discipline out of anger, not love. They may think it wise to make children fearful of punishment, but that's not God's motive (1 John 4:18). Because He is a loving Father, His desire is to give us what we need to live fully.

God's unconditional love and His discipline are not contradictory; they go hand in hand. No matter how we fail to measure up, our Father is always working to lead us back onto a life-giving path. When we respond to His correction, He ultimately works out painful circumstances for our good.”

Friends, Dr. Stanley is speaking truth. I know it because I have experienced the blessing of correction. Yes, I said blessing!  My only regret is not learning the lessons much earlier in life, because I know that I could have spared myself some pain.To know you are loved by the King is amazing!  It makes me want to shout to everyone, just repent! Get it over! Ask Jesus into your life and ask Him to change you from the inside out. Ask Him to help you become obedient to His commands. Determine to align yourself to what God directs and begin experiencing His blessings.  

I imagine that was what my parents were trying to get across to me oh so many years ago. So today I say whatever you have in your life that does not match to God’s Word, lay it down! If you need to forgive someone, forgive them. If you’re stealing, stop stealing. If you’re lying, tell the truth. If you’re having an affair or you’re in a homosexual relationship, end it. If you’re bitter, angry or resentful, pour out that poison. If you are dependent on drugs/alcohol/sex, get professional help. If you’re living together outside of marriage, move out or get married. 

Get free from the junk in your life! Get free from the things that can hold you back from receiving God’s best. Whatever it might be, learn what God has to say about it, and determine to live it out. Start with a Bible Concordance. Seek out a good Bible based church and make God first in your life. I think I can say with confidence that choosing God’s way will not end in regret. His mercy is new each day and I encourage you to consider tapping into it sooner than later. 

The Bible closes with these words in Revelation 22:14-15. I personally take this as a warning. “Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. Outside the city are the dogs – the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.” It doesn't get any clearer than that. Let's not overlook the eternal value to obedience. Be blessed.

In Christ by grace,

Loved by the King
I am forgiven by Chris Tomlin

1 comment:

Gfam said...

Amen and amen!! I often remind myself that when my children get older, they will appreciate the loving discipline that at the moment seems so unfair. That is the part of this devotional that really hit home with me. The Lord does what He does because He loves us and one day we will understand and appreciate that holy discipline.