Thursday, August 09, 2007

Embracing discipline

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Jeremiah 46, 47, 48, 49

Jeremiah 46:28 (NIV)

28 “Do not fear, O Jacob my servant, for I am with you,” declares the Lord. “Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”

Psalm 51:10 (KJV)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and restore a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)

11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, 12 because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Good morning!

God is keeping His Word with the children He loves. We look at the Israelites and wonder why they are being so self-righteous and unruly. Why aren’t they listening to the prophet Jeremiah? They were warned repeatedly to turn around and repent, and if they didn’t, Babylon, the evil one, would attack. Have you ever been under attack? Have you ever asked God, “Why me?”

It begins at birth. Helpless infants scream for attention. “Feed me, change me, hold me,” they cry in shrill tones, especially in the middle of the night. Constantly yearning to be nurtured, an infant lets his parents know when their world is not right. As they begin to grow and fend for themselves, toddlers are often rebuked for taking things that do not belong to them. They are curious creatures, our wee ones. As they begin to explore the world around them, parameters are set for their own safety. They do not understand why they cannot touch the hot stove or suck on the doggie’s nose, or play with Mommy’s glass decorations on the coffee table. They hear the constant, “No,” in firm but loving tones. They may not understand why, and yet, they do understand the message. Do toddlers ever ignore their parents’ instruction? Of course they do. And, unfortunately, this behavior often does not change with time.

Have you ever seen a teenager obey parental instruction? Did you do everything exactly the way your parents told you to? I wish I had! I confess I was far from perfect. They had their hands full with me, and were probably very relieved when I got married at the ripe old of age of eighteen. While I do not advocate for young marriages today, I have to say my parents missed out on a lot of young adult rearing. I got married and moved away and it let them off the parental hook. I think they got off lucky, don’t you? Actually, I’m certain there was not a day they didn’t worry about me, or offer prayers on my behalf and for my family. As a parent of adult children, I think it much harder today not to worry about them now. There is not a day that goes by when I’m not praying for Rachel, Benjamin and David and their families.

Scripture teaches us that God rebukes the children He loves. We learn best from our mistakes, as painful as they may be. It is a repetitive process. God gives us direction, not to make us miserable, but to free us for joyful and happy living. If we could just learn to follow His instruction without question, our daily walk might be a whole lot sweeter. I don’t know about all of you, but I would be less than honest if I didn’t confess that every adversity I have faced was placed there for a distinct purpose. I may not always understand why, and yet, I can see how those experiences help mold my heart into something pure and holy.

Years ago, I was a spiritually rebellious baby. Angry and bent totally out of shape, God had to take a sledge hammer to my heart. I believe even through times of open rebellion, He never gives up on His precious ones. God never gave up on Israel. He promises that even while they are scattered and taken into captivity, He will not completely destroy them. This gives me great hope today. I know that even in a tough situation, God will never let me go. He will not let you go either, not without a fight for your soul. He loves you with a passion and sometimes, He works a little harder to get our undivided attention.

Does he have your undivided attention today? We can embrace His discipline with joy, knowing that He is recreating our hearts for kingdom work. If you are feeling attacked today, take a moment to thank God for loving you enough not to let you go. He gets our attention through discipline. No matter what we may face, we have His assurance that He is creating a clean heart and restoring a right spirit within you and me today. It is great to be a King’s kid!

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: a glad heart in every circumstance. If God is disciplining you today, be thankful He cares enough to never let you go. Like a parent who loves his child, God wants nothing more than to bring you back into relationship with Him.


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