Tag Archives: discipline

1 Kings 13; Philippians 4; Ezekiel 43; Psalms 95,96

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and mind as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 NLT

This passage has become all too familiar to me. I have recalled it to my weary mind time and time again. But sometimes I forget how powerful it can be in my life. When my nine year old son was scared, I told him to say the name of Jesus and his fearful thoughts would flee. In her book “Battlefield of the Mind for Kids” Joyce Meyer paints such a vivid picture of Jesus guarding the mind. “Dear Jesus, please protect my thoughts and mind. Please stand between me and any lies that might come into my head.” In order to train my thoughts I need to stay disciplined in his word. The Psalms have a way of directing my heart back to him…

He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest of mountains.” Psalms 95:4 NLT

I am reminded of his majesty

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.” Psalms 95:6 NLT

I am reminded of his constant provision.

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” Psalms 96:1-3 NLT

I praise him for all he has done!

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NLT

Thank you Father for your love for me. That you delight in me and care about the smallest details of my life. Help me to be grounded by your word everyday. Forgive me when I grumble, I want to have a grateful heart. Give me a mind that is filled with your desires. Thank you for all you have done for me. Amen.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

One of the things I love most about fall is the smell of a wood smoke coming from the fireplace. The warm colors from changing tree leaves, a crisp air and a long-sleeve shirt, a hot mug of something sweet and soothing, these are things that make me feel wrapped and grounded.

This fall, I’ve had to institute some strict personal boundaries for time. This calendar year has taught me many things, and one is that things come at a price. What was the cost I’ve been paying? Cost to my core responsibilities, cost to time with my husband, cost to my health, cost to a sense of presence with my family … and oddly, while some activities were service for the Lord, my relationship with God seemed lost in the noise of all the busy.

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. (2 Samuel 24:24, NLT)

My relationship with God was slowly shifting from intention to convenience. The mindfulness of his presence was being muted and obscured by the din of busyness and obligation and overwhelm. I lost grasp of Peace and the One who grounds me–even while I was trying to serve him.

In a season where everything jockeys for first place (isn’t that every day?) … when I evaluate and reevaluate how I spend my time, talent, treasure … when I see a plate that’s heaping and heavy … oh, what is the cost?

“That girl with the cape is cheating somewhere.” (p 147, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst, Thomas Nelson Books)

It is a discipline. Learning and discerning when to say no and when to say yes.

I welcome the cooler temps creeping into the forecast, the wood stacked along the driveway anticipating a season’s first burn, the pumpkin spice everything–but nothing will ground me more than intentional time with the One who knows and loves me best.

Lord, thank you for reminding me of first things, for redirecting my heart towards you. Please help me to order things in my life. Help me to be a better steward of the time, talent, and treasure you’ve give me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 29; John 8; Proverbs 5; Galatians 4

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

John 8:1-11 (NLT)

The compassion and forgiveness that Jesus displays here always surprises me, but it shouldn’t.  That is his character: one of unconditional love and forgiveness.  I wonder how often I am quick to assume that Jesus would shun me or punish me for the way I behave when in reality his reaction would be one of grace and forgiveness.  Jesus, help me to fully dwell in and understand your character.  Forgive me for being quick to superimpose my misconceptions about you in my life.

In the end you will groan in anguish
    when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
    Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
    and now I must face public disgrace.”

Proverbs 5:11-14 (NLT)

There are often mornings I wake up for work, too tired to do anything but drag myself out of bed 15 minutes before I have to go and get myself ready.  On those days, I get to work on time, but I miss out on the valuable time I can have with the Lord if I get out of bed even 30 minutes early.  God wants to meet with me on those first quiet and precious hours of my morning and if I miss them, I am less aware of God’s presence throughout my day.  Waking up early takes discipline, but, oh, it is so worth it in the long run.  Lord, teach me discipline so that I might grow in you and feel your presence in a deeper way in my daily life.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Galations 4:4-7 (NLT)

I. LOVE. THIS. PASSAGE.  There is so much freedom and joy in it!  God sent his son to face the pain and the anguish of death and that bears much deep sorrow, but there is incredible hope in it also!  God did this for a reason; he did so to adopt me as his own child.  I am part of God’s family and because of that I never again have to worry about being captured and controlled by sin.  I am an heir to the throne of THE king and that is something to sing and dance about (cue dance party music)!  Lord, thank you so much that you have not only saved me from sin but you have adopted me as your own child.  Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your treasured family.  Teach me to truly know and believe that I am yours everyday forever, especially in the deepest depths of my darkest day.

 

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1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1-2; Psalm 43; Romans 9

I was at a curriculum fair in April. I looked at a seller’s books–the seller also being the author of a set of history books. (I’m using a different product next year, but I love books, so I stopped to look.)

She told me how her history book is just like the one I’m using, but it has even more information. I opened the pages and saw even more color coded facts, a rainbow of information spanning one page to the next, page after page, this tome. I closed the book, overwhelmed by all the facts seemingly strung along–the information weightier than the book itself, all this knowledge. And how to make order of it? Was there a system behind the colors? There were so many other vendors, I walked on.

I recently read a graphic novel memoir–the layout of the book and its weight denied the rich story contained inside. Through pictures and dialogue, I was hooked into a story that was heartbreaking, haunting and vivid.

There’s an audience for just the facts, and an audience that craves connection.

These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
    to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
    to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
    knowledge and discernment to the young.

Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
    Let those with understanding receive guidance
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:1-7, NLT

How often have I read through Proverbs like a long list? Just the facts? Not connecting? These opening verses gave me real pause.

These proverbs read like an invitation to connection, just stepping into the next words of verse eight, “My child …”

Lord, I want to clear my mind of all the clutter and lists and information–I want to be still at your feet and hear your voice. Help me to drink in the sweetness of your word, savor it and be nourished and refreshed by it.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 23, 24; 2 Corinthians 5

Apply your heart to instruction

and your ear to words of knowledge.

Do not withhold discipline from a child;

if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.

If you strike him with the rod,

you will save his soul from Sheol.

My son, if your heart is wise,

my heart too will be glad. Proverbs 23:12-15

A couple of months ago, I experienced a number of people evaluating my parenting style, while visiting at their respective houses. In each case, they mentioned the adage, “spare the rod, spoil the child.” Though this saying isn’t a direct quote from the Bible, it is taken from a few verses of Proverbs, the above being one of them.

I always wondered about this subject, especially since becoming the parent to two very head-strong girls, as the concept of God ‘striking’ me into submission for the sake of discipline has never been what I had personally experienced in my relationship with Him. In fact, in my own childhood, I can say that when I was spanked in the name of discipline, what I learned was how to evade the punishment, rather than to avoid the misdeed.

Discipline is important to success in life. When I used to hear the word, the connotation that I associated with it was always related to punishment and spanking. But when I looked more deeply into the meaning, punishment is only a small part of it; more often the word ‘discipline’ means to correct or train through an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves knowledge, skill, self-control, etc.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5

For me, discipline is about training or correction that brings about reconciliation and an environment for learning, more than punishments that produce fear. When God disciplines me, He doesn’t spank me, He shows me His heart. When I see the part of His heart that is hurting because of my less-than-stellar choice, I better understand the effects of my choice and with wisdom and guidance through His love, I am able to make the necessary changes in my life decisions; I am able to repent and be forgiven. There may still be consequences that I have to experience in the natural, but the process helps me to learn and brings us back together in connection.

By wisdom a house is built,

and by understanding it is established;

by knowledge the rooms are filled

with all precious and pleasant riches.

A wise man is full of strength,

and a man of knowledge enhances his might,

for by wise guidance you can wage your war,

and in abundance of counselors there is victory. Proverbs 24:3-6

I believe that my children were given to me to steward, to teach, to discipline, to nurture, and to love; it is my job as a parent to best represent God while raising them, so that they can understand a small piece of who He is and manifest that in their lives as they continue into adulthood. Just as I need wisdom, understanding, and knowledge – discipline – to be victorious, my children need it all too.

I have to decide in each moment of parenting: Will I show them self-control or a lack of restraint? Will I show them God’s truth or my frustration? Will I show them love or give them something to fear? Will I build them up or tear them down?

Parenting is hard, and I know that along the way, I am going to get it ‘wrong.’ There will be times that I am too lax in the eyes of others; there will be times when I am too overwhelmed to catch every bad choice that my children make. There will be times that I lose my temper and show my children my exasperation; there will be times that I react aggressively and scare them into obedience.

That being said, my ultimate goal is to show them a heart of love, to maintain connection, to experience right relationship, and demonstrate how to make good choices in life that protect those things, the way that God shows the same to me.

Yesappa, help me understand Your heart better as I walk through this journey of parenting. Shape my heart to be more like Yours. Show me how to keep my love on in every situation with my children, not only in the joyful times, but most importantly, in the moments that call for discipline. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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2 Kings 10, 11; 2 Timothy 1; Hosea 2; Psalms 119:97-120

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. (ASV)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (AMP)

For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of strength and of love and of temperance. (JUB)

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. (MSG)

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. (NCV)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (NIV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT)

For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind. (NLV)

God didn’t give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment. (NOG)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. (TLB)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. (VOICE)

2 Timothy 1:7

Since I have been walking with the Lord, this is one of my go-to verses. When I am struggling in the battlefield of my mind – when I am full of anxiety and fear, filled with bitterness and resentment, feeling insignificant, overwhelmed, and out of control – it helps me remember that I have not been abandoned to my own devices. It reminds me that I am not alone, even when it sometimes feels like it, because He is in me and I am in Him (John 15:5). It reminds me that God has equipped me with the tools that I need to overcome every struggle. And, it prompts me to look to the Lord for the strength I need to triumph over the tactics of the enemy to control and manipulate my thinking and disrupt my journey.

God has given me so many gifts, not because I did anything in my life to deserve them, but because He is my Father and He loves me. The most important gift He gave me was grace given through the sacrificial payment for my sins by Jesus on the cross. At the moment I believed, in Christ’s death and resurrection, I was made new and filled by God’s Spirit. His Spirit became alive in me, and transformed my essence from one of fear and desperation to one of strength.

The original Greek1 offers deeper insight into this spiritual transformation. God gives me the inner quality and character of ability (dunameos), of love (agapes) and of sanity (sophronismou).

God is capable. He is effective, productive, powerful and mighty. Because He has empowered me and given me boldness; even in my weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

God is love (1 John 4:7-9). His love enables me to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind and makes it possible for me to love others generously (Matthew 22:37-39; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

God is the epitome of self-control, discipline and balance. He gives me the ability to exercise good judgment, to govern myself, to manage my emotions and not allow them to enslave me. He gives me awareness in times of danger, wisdom, forethought, and common sense. He helps me use my resources well and helps me keep my priorities in godly order.

John MacArthur says:

…all believers possess these marvelous, God-given endowments: power, to be effective in His service; love, to have the right attitude toward Him and others; and discipline, to focus and apply every part of our lives according to His will. When those endowments are all present, marvelous results occur.”2

Just as I am assured that these good gifts come from the Lord, I am certain that when I experience a spirit of dread (deilias), it is an offering from my enemy designed to trick me into taking my focus off of God. At times, because I am human, I will still experience fear and anxiety; a lack of courage will creep into my psyche or my self-confidence will wane. But, putting my focus back on God, on His goodness and grace, will help me to quickly move from a self-destructive state to a position of strength and poise. His love removes the fear, injects peace, and quiets my heart (1 John 4:18-19).

Yesappa, Thank You for Your life-giving Spirit. Thank You for being with me always. Thank You for giving me wisdom, understanding, and direction. Thank You for building strength and instilling in me the knowledge and reverence of God. Thank You for casting away my fear and replacing it with power, love, and discipline. You are my hiding place and my shield. I love Your teachings, Your Word. Help me to meditate on them throughout each day, allowing them to become a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Through You, and by You I live; only because of You, I am saved. In Jesus’ name. Amen.3

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

1Greek Word Study and Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:7

2MacArthur, J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press.

3Isaiah 2:11; Psalm 119:97-120

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Deuteronomy 10; Psalm 94; Isaiah 38; Revelation 8

I read of being chosen and loved. Deuteronomy 10. And I know I am loved. (But getting to this point were some pretty unlovely years. I think that was so God would let me know HE loves me.)

I read of his justice. Psalm 94. And I know he is just. (And getting to this point? Repetitious wounding and lives that went on happily-ever-after. In the hindsight of years, God shows me the truth.)

I read of details revealed so the message is clear–it’s from God. Isaiah 38:4-8. (This week I stepped into specific prayer with wild detail, and he met me there.)

And of anguish that passes through his hands, perhaps to spare of something worse.

15 But what could I say?
    For he himself sent this sickness.
Now I will walk humbly throughout my years
    because of this anguish I have felt.
16 Lord, your discipline is good,
    for it leads to life and health.
You restore my health
    and allow me to live!
17 Yes, this anguish was good for me,
    for you have rescued me from death
    and forgiven all my sins. Isaiah 38:15-17 NLT

Father, thank you for unmistakable signs this week. From prayers answered in unexpected detail, a message in my inbox, and a study that had me look back at the year and see your powerful hand in my life, to these very chapters today that remind me: I am loved by you; you are just–nothing escapes you; and that you are not wasteful–you put every moment to good use.

17 For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. 18 He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. 19 So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. 20 You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. 21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. Deuteronomy 10:17-21 NLT.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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