It is really hard to see discipline as an act of love. Harder for a child and I remember those days, but as an adult I could really relate. As a grandparent, I cringe when my grandchildren get discplined – I love them, but somehow not as much as their parents do. The word “discipline” has to be couched these days as more and more of our culture and the best psychology theories out there seem to take a negative view of it as face value.
There is a bit more freedom using the word when we talk in context about God, and our definition is more in line with consecration as opposed to condemnation. Remember His command for us to be holy.
I need to read Hebrews 12:5-11 very carefully.
No matter what happens I am a child of God. He has a covenant with me and part of that covenant means that He corrects me when I go off on my own. He will not let me fall away. If I persevere in my walk with Him it is not because of my strength to be faithful, but rather because of God’s strength to hold me in His hand.
Here is the thought that just sticks out – “the Lord discplines the one He loves.” It is possible to read this as – if I am not disciplined then I am not a child of God.
That is keeping it real, but let’s agree to consider these points that seem to make sense out of the outcomes of discipline:
- I will stay on the straight and narrow path and I can because I am strengthened by grace.
- I will see the fruit of peace and see that in my relationship with others.
- I will look forward to seeing His holiness and my strength in putting off apostasy.
- I will choose to walk in the way that is right, pleasing to God and I will accept discipline and be trained by it in order to be a man after God’s own heart.
Father, these words are rather easy to write, they flow from my heart. However, it is a different story when it comes to living them. I write them as an offering to You so that by saying them out loud You know that I want to be accountable to them. I know I am inviting You to discipline me and I know I can trust You to do so in love. I know You know that is difficult for me, especially because of my relationship with my earthly father. But if I know anything, I know You love me. That matters most. Thank You.
I cannot pass the call for intentional regular focused rest. I know I need rest from my ordinary work and some of that time I need to be crying out to God.
On the first day of the seventh month you are to gather for worship, and no work is to be done. On that day trumpets are to be blown. – Numbers 29:1 GNT
It is so easy to reject this call to rest, almost as easy for those who do not know Jesus to continue to reject Him. They simply cannot let go of making money. The only way they can lose “this god” (money) is to understand that Jesus is all they need for He is with them always, even when money fades. When I experience the right hand of God grabbing a hold of mine and hear His promise to never leave me, I really have no desire for the things of this world. I keep my eyes on Jesus. He alone is worthy.
Yet I always stay close to you, and you hold me by the hand. My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need. – Psalm 73:23,26 GNT
If I chose otherwise, I am on the slippery slope to destruction. It is only when I trust in Christ for my salvation that I receive God’s never failing goodness and grace. As I draw closer to Him I have so many testimonies to share of what God has done in my life. I know my times are in His hands and my future in eternity is secured for me in heaven.
When someone speaks about God’s judgement, some are awaken and some mock.
Someone calls to me from Edom, “Sentry, how soon will the night be over? Tell me how soon it will end.” – Isaiah 21:11 GNT
What I see is a door of hope being offered and it is my invitation to pray for mercy.
Father, I thank You for Your Word – it is truth. Keep me under the shadow of Your wing and guide me. I thank You for Jesus, for saving me. Keep me alert to anything that may draw me away from You – give me discernment. It was Your purpose to redeem me, adopt me and keep me from destruction. Help me share this gospel of grace and truth to others who will listen. Thank you for the stories of Noah that encourage me from not thinking too much about myself and keeps me humble enough to trust You completely. Even Lot was grieved for his generation – may my prayers be as his were. May I grieve for the lost. I want you to teach me how to walk this path of righteousness. Thank You for Your promise to rescue me from temptations and the trials that come my way. Protect my heart and my mind from worldly deception. Amen
“In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 NLT
I typed the word Resilience on my notes app. It’s the name of a paint that I didn’t want to forget. I see it whenever I look over my grocery list. But, God has a sense of humor, because it started taking on a deeper meaning. When I look at it now, it was a word from God spoken into my soul. “The ability to recover from or adjust easily to change” (Webster’s). Patient Endurance. I think he had me write it down, because he knew I would need to remember it in this season of life. At times, when I am worn out and feel like giving up, to keep moving forward. Just like in 2nd Peter, I need to continue to strengthen my faith. Ask for God’s help, instead of trying to do it on my own
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for Living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who has called us to himself by means of is marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-5 NLT
Sometimes I can get so caught up in my own needs, that I’m not reaching out to others with God’s love. He has been telling me that he will take care of me. That I have his favor. Am I trusting him enough to reach out to others? “It’s more fun this way-dreaming of how you can bless others, than how you can win” (Jennie Allen). I pray for a heart of generosity.
“May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitfuil. Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. May they fear you as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever! May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth. May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity unitl the moon is no more.” Psalms 72:3-7 NLT
Dear Father, thank you that you speak to me in all kinds of ways. Help me to be listening. Thank you for giving me strength when I am weary. Thank you that you refresh my soul through your word. Amen.
I found this prayer filled with expectation and promise – how much of the character of God is revealed here – I marvel at His leading and guiding and blessing.
So now, Lord, I pray, show us your power and do what you promised when you said, ‘I, the Lord, am not easily angered, and I show great love and faithfulness and forgive sin and rebellion. Yet I will not fail to punish children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their parents.’ And now, Lord, according to the greatness of your unchanging love, forgive, I pray, the sin of these people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.” But because my servant Caleb has a different attitude and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land which he explored, and his descendants will possess the land. – Numbers 14:17-19, 24 GNT
I am invited to pray, to engage God, to ask Him to be part of my life and all that is in it.
Call to me when trouble comes;
I will save you,
and you will praise me. – Psalm 50:15 GNT
I pray that I might acknowledge my absolute dependence on God for it matters to Him.
No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him. – Hebrews 11:6 GNT
Why do I pray? My faith says, “God wants to talk with me.” I will continue in prayer because of my faith. What do I believe when I approach God in prayer? I hope it shows Him how much I trust Him.
Father, I am amazed at just how personal You want to be in my life. You want to show Your power and You want to fulfill Your promises. You want me to enjoy and look forward to the blessings You have in store for me. You desire that I come to You with my sin for You want to reveal Your willingness to forgive. Lord, when it comes to sin, I find myself in trouble everyday and yet, it gives me cause to come to You and be faithful in meeting with You. Thank you for saving me, thank you for allowing me the opportunity of praising You. I know that without the help of the Holy Spirit I could not have the faith I need to walk this walk with You. I can feel His presence inviting me to seek You and follow You. I am so glad You will never leave me. Amen.
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let us go up at once and take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them, they are stronger than we are !” Numbers 13:30-31 NLT
Caleb was standing up for what he believed. His trust was rooted in God alone. This is convicting for me…when I think about times that I’ve let comparison and self-doubt rob me of my purpose. And cloud my vision. Just like the Israelites, I’ve made decisions based on my limited perspective. And not on the promises of God’s word.
“Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches…But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave. So don’t be dimayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success.” Psalms 49:5, 15-18 NLT
Am I investing in eternity?
“Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures. Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots. Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands. So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low-do not forgive them. Idols will completely disappear. On that day of judgement they will abandon the gold and silver idols they made for themselves to worship.” Isaiah 2:7-20 NLT
Anything I put before God is an idol. What am I letting control me? What am I relying on, instead of God?
“Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terribble suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just in a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith.” Hebrews 10:32-38 NLT
In my bible study group we were grappling with the question, “Why do we have to suffer?” Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to go through hard trials. Even though, I know that God will use them to increase my faith…to bring me closer to Him…to strengthen my prayer life…to help someone else. In the middle of my pain, I can get frustrated and weary. When I start to lose hope, I have to remember God’s promises. And I am thankful for others who can lead me back to Him.
Dear Father, Thank you for loving me despite my fear, doubts and questions. For always meeting me where I am. For being a Good Father. Help me to surrender my idols to you. Thank you for suffering for me on the cross, so that I can have the hope of heaven. I love you. Amen.