Do Not Misunderstand God’s Discipline

Good morning, Lovelies!
I trust your week is going well and you’re enjoying the month of June.
Life has been rather busy as of late and I apologize for not writing a post two weeks ago.
Time got away from me and it just slipped my mind.

Proverbs 3 is the Scripture for this month and as I read the entire chapter
I was greatly enriched by the words.
This chapter is so full of wisdom that it can easily be read over and over
and each time something can be learned from it.

I was drawn to verses 11 - 12 which say,

My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD;
neither be weary of his correction:

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth;
even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

We need to appreciate the Lord and not misunderstand His discipline.

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I looked up Proverbs 3:11 - 12 in the Bible Knowledge Commentary and here is what it said. . .

The God who can be trusted to smooth out obstacles and bring one to his appointed goal (vv. 5-6)
and to supply one’s material needs (vv. 9-10)
demonstrates His love by discipline. 

The warning to the son is two-fold: do not despise (“reject or take lightly”)
the Lord’s discipline and do not resent (“loathe or abhor”) His rebuke. “

And ye have forgotten the exhortation
which speaketh unto you as unto children,
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, 

nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth,
every son whom he receiveth.
~ Hebrews 12:5 - 6 ~

Physical punishment and verbal correction are hard to accept
but they demonstrate God’s loving concern.
The same is true of a parent’s discipline of his children.
Loathing such discipline - thinking that God disciplines because He enjoys causing pain -
over-looks the benefits that come from such correction.

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth:
therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.

~ Job 5:17 ~

I do not write these words to “bash” anyone on the head,
but to remind us that God loves us and desires the very best for His children.
And sometimes the very best might come with chastening. . .but He does it in and through His love.

Have a beautiful week, dear friends!

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Our Quest for Simplicity

 

2Simplicity. When first reading that word, I had to laugh at the irony of how complicated a concept it is. Is simplicity converting to minimalism? Is it a quiet heart? Is it the childhood world of little-to-no responsibility? Is it contentment? It all depends on the context, but it could be all of this (and more!).

The idea of a simple life sometimes sounds like a fable straight from the walking paths of Eden, especially when we are knee-deep in the trenches of life post-Fall. Our responsibilities make demands, our families need ministering to, our paychecks need worked for, our yards need mowing, our houses need cleaned, our stomachs need fed, our students need taught, our friendships need cultivating, and it goes on and on. So much of life’s complexities are rooted in the most basic of our human needs! Our jobs provide homes, food, clothes, etc. Social media and social functions are our attempts to satisfy our need for community. The endless forms of entertainment fulfill our bottomless pit of hunger to be…well, entertained! And even as we heap upon ourselves more scattered busyness, each of us yearn for simplicity. For rest.

When contemplating the answer to our quest for simplicity, my heart turned to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6…

“…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8

“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:31-33

In an Old Testament world, Jesus has redeemed us into New Testament people. He has changed Adam’s curse of complicated, tiresome work and given us the simplicity of one command: Just seek the kingdom and the righteousness of God. Seek Him first, and all our needs—provisional, communal, and even our pleasure—will be provided for. If we rest in the work Jesus has done in our place, all the things we strive after will be satisfied in Himself.

“Christ has lifted the curse of work. He has replaced anxious toil with trust in God’s promise to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19) and has thus awakened in us a different passion in our work. We turn with joy to the call of Jesus: Seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness…” -John Piper

I’m relieved and thankful that simplifying my life isn’t found in “100 Easy Steps”. Jesus is my simplicity. Seeking Him will cause all the complicated things to either fall into their proper place, or fall away completely (thus indicating their necessity at all). I’m in awe of a profoundly simple truth: that the more we “strive” after Him, the more we will find that His easy yoke and light burden is the means for our rest in Him (Matt. 11:29).

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I Dream of Simple Things

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Simplicity.

What picture pops in your mind when you hear that word?

Slowing down, catching up with those you love most, taking time to breathe, read, watch nature and have time to think. While these are simple joys, I think the better definition of the above would be relaxation.

Simplicity is not a circumstance, but a heart-stance. Too often we can be swept up in drama, drama, drama in our lives in the form of work or familial busyness, stress, and all the voices clamoring for our attention. The voices with the faces of yes, those we love most, but more often than not, much of social media and keeping up with so many people and everyone’s activities can take a toll and complicate our daily lives.

How often do we unwittingly complicate our daily lives by focusing more on the things happening all around us-yes, even the great things-but not the Author of our lives? Let go and let God is a popular catchphrase and it’s easy to think that it’s a one-time deal. We have got to continually let go and let God be God and leave it at that. He is the giver of all good things, and the bearer of our daily burdens if we but pause and be still before Him.

I believe it is crucial that we share everything, all our little and big messes, with the Lord, but then step back and leave the working out of our worries and drama and stress to the One who is sovereign over all. I’ll be real here with ya’ll; some days, it’s hard for me to let go and let God. It’s difficult for me, at times, to be fully transparent in communication with the One who knows my heart better than even I do. This is my very human pride muddling everything up, but I’m thru beating myself up over it. I am a work in progress sinner saved by the grace of God thru Christ Jesus. I admit, I sometimes miss when life was simpler like when I was younger, but when are we to ever depend upon our ever-changing circumstances for our happiness?

The Lord is so good to grant me moments of simple peace when I need it most and least expect it. I watched a sunset last night and just breathed. The moments are gifts to be cherished. But more than that, I am to cling to my Lord who works all things out together for good, and takes all my complications and stress and simplifies them with His perfect plan.

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Be Ready!

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
- Romans 13:14

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Ye are all the children of light, and the children of day:
we are not of the night, nor of the darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others;
but let us watch and be sober.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 6

The word sober in verse 6 means living with our eyes opened.
The Lord’s return is coming someday, my friends, are we ready?

But let us, who are of the day, be sober,
putting on the breastplate of faith and love;
and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation
by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep,
we should live together with him.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:8 - 10

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We do not want to be found dressed in dirty garments when the Lord Jesus returns.
As a follower of Jesus, we are privileged to wear the armor of light,
not the deeds of darkness.
We have absolutely NO reason to get involved in the pleasures of the world.

And now, little children, abide in him;
that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence,
and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God:
therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is.
- 1 John 2:28, 3:1 - 2

free-wallpaper-6Grow

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
- Romans 13:14

To put on the Lord Jesus Christ means to become more and more like Him,
to receive by faith all that He is for our daily living.
What are we eating? We grow on what we eat
so that is why God warns us not to make provisions for the flesh.

If we feed the flesh, we will fail,
but if we feed the inner man the nourishing things of the Spirit,
we will succeed.
- Wiersbe Commentary

Blessings to each one of you!

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If God so loved us…

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mom4This past Sunday was the second Mother’s Day I have spent without my Mom. She suddenly passed away over a year ago. I miss her patient, listening ear and her gracious advice. I miss her getting to love her granddaughters as she loved me. I miss her friendship; the kind full of trust and safety to speak all things knowing they fall on ears that love you unconditionally. You can even confess difficult things, like humiliating sin, and you not only find Christ-centered correction but also Christ’s love.

I didn’t realize how weighty of a space my Mom took up in my life and heart until she was gone. But another thing I did not fully realize was that my mother’s love (and all the things that she did in outpour of it) was not just a biologically maternal thing. Yes, she loved me because she was my Mom. But she was alive in Christ, and it was my Savior’s love that poured from her. And it would be an understatement to share my joy and relief when I began to recognize the same love coming from people who weren’t even my blood family. This love came from the Church.

These precious people truly love me. My hurts, my wounds, my sins, my struggles, my fears…they all matter to them. In their arms, I find a safe place where there will be truth and affection from people who actively cultivate my growth in Christ, building me up in love (Ephesians 4:15-16). In their arms, my daughters have found grandparents who love them dearly, and who value even their growth in Jesus as much as I do.

In the New Testament, I weep when I read the Scriptures that command the Church to imitate Jesus in their love for one another.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…” (Ephesians 4:32, 5:1)

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God send his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him…beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9-11)

And from our Messiah’s very words,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. But this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

I weep when I read these, because this is the beauty of the Body. They are people who know the love of God demonstrated in Christ, and in turn, love me so much. To these people, I’m indebted, and I’m eternally grateful to God that I get to be a part of them. And when I say “the church”, I don’t mean a particular place of worship I attend. I mean the people that I attend with. I mean my dear friends who live in other towns, and other states. I mean members of the Body, wherever they are, who know Jesus and who love me like He does.

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Sharing from a Silver Platter

photo (8)Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the things the Lord has graciously done in my life that have been detrimental to my faith. I was born to Christian parents who did their best to raise me in the fear of the Lord. Since infancy I’ve been surrounded by the Body of Christ; people who love me and value the deepening of my faith as much as I do. And at a very young age, I began developing a thirst for Christ that sent me searching for a God who continues to let me find Him (Deut. 4:49, ESV).

All of these, I realize, are gifts from a divine Father. We do not have to look far into the world to see that not everyone is born into a Christian family. Not everyone is surrounded by the Body of Christ—by people who are able, or willing, to invest in them spiritually. Not everyone has the Holy Spirit, giving them an instinctive desire to know Jesus and obey, thus making elementary truths easy to understand.

In the slain and risen Lamb, we have been given EVERYTHING we will ever need for living a life pleasing to God, and ultimately, eternal life. What I’m saying is that there are many of us, like myself, who have “seemingly” been handed the things of the Kingdom on a silver platter. There are certainly people who come from ungodly lifestyles, non-Christian families and no church family who come to know Christ! This is the beautiful work of the Spirit.

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But when I read Peter’s reminder to be diligent (2 Peter 1:15, 1:10) with our faith and the gift of being called—I have an urgency not to squander what I’ve been given in Jesus, because it’s seemed so easy for me. Our world is full of people who don’t have the silver platter; we need to be a Church that is filling the world with people who are “neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:8b, NASB).

Sisters, let’s not squander or waste the riches made available to us in Jesus by being complacent and fruitless. Let’s grow in the knowledge of God, diligently working out our salvation (making our salvation evident) so that He “who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13, ESV) will make us fruitful by His Spirit in us. We have been given the silver platter of riches in Christ and it is a well that will never run dry. The world desperately needs us to share it.

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God’s Refining Fire

205a9fb5dd68ad97605c385db873ff87Proverbs

O Lord, we pray “Thy will be done” or “Master, here am I.”
We pray You’d do a mighty work that to the flesh we’d die.
And when the answer comes to us in form of trial and test,
We fail to see Your loving hand, refining fire is best.

That I may stand when You appear, abide till Your return.
O place the fire perfectly that all the dross be burned.
Whether furnace of affliction, Lord, or unfulfilled desire,.
Bring forth a vessel pure and tried by Your refining fire.

Chorus
God’s refining fire, God’s refining fire.
May it purge me now and make of me what You require.
O Lord, feed the fire, Your refining fire.
Now as gold and silver must be tried, Lord, may my heart be purified.
Lord, send Your great refining fire.
~ Mac Lynch ~

205a9fb5dd68ad97605c385db873ff87Peter

Trials meet needs. . . 

Trials can discipline us when we have disobeyed God’s will
and at other times , trials prepare us for spiritual growth.
We may not always know the need being met, but we can trust God to know what is best.

Trials are varied. . .

No matter what “color” our day may be - a “blue” Monday or a “gray” Tuesday -
God has grace sufficient to meet the need.
We must not think that because we have overcome one kind of trial
that we will automatically “win them all.”
Trials are varied, and God matches the trial to our strengths and needs.

Trials are not easy. . .

Peter did not suggest that we take a careless attitude toward trials,
because this would be deceitful.
Trials produce what he called “heaviness.”
The word means “to experience grief or pain.”
There will be difficult trials in life, something we must accept as a believer.

Trials are controlled by God. . .

They do not last forever; they are “for a season.”
When God permits His children to go through the furnace,
He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat.
When we submit to Him, He does not allow us to suffer one minute too long.

Our trying experiences today are preparing us for glory tomorrow.

Just as the assayer tests the gold to see if it is pure gold or counterfeit,
so the trials of life test our faith to prove its sincerity.

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The patriarch Job went through many painful trials, all of them with God’s approval;
and yet he understood somewhat of this truth about the refiner’s fire.
~ Wiersbe Commentary ~

But he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold.
Job 23:10

We are born for glory, kept for glory, and being prepared for glory.

May we come forth as gold, dear friends!

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It Is Well With My Soul

This heart-stirring hymn has been my ultimate favorite song throughout the years.
The story behind these words is incredibly saddening,
but also very empowering to read of the strength of the Spafford family.

This hymn was written after many traumatic events in Spafford’s life.
The first was the death of his son at the age of four by scarlet fever.
Shortly after that the Great Chicago Fire took place and ruined him financially-
he had been a very successful lawyer.

Then in 1873 Horatio Spafford planned on traveling to Europe
with his family aboard the SS’Ville du Havre’,
but sent his family ahead since he was delayed by business.

While crossing the Atlantic, the ship that his family was on sank rapidly
after a collision with a sea vessel called the ‘Loch Earn’.
All four of Spafford’s daughters perished while his wife, Anna,
was saved by a plank which floated beneath her unconscious  body and propped her up.
She sent Horatio the now famous telegram, “Saved alone. . .”

Shortly afterwards, Spafford boarded the next ship out of New York to meet his grieving wife.
During his voyage, the captain of the ship had called him to the bridge.
A careful reckoning has been made,” he said,
“and I believe we are now passing the place where the de Havre was wrecked.
The water is three miles deep.”
Horatio Spafford then returned to his cabin and was inspired to write the lyrics of his great hymn.

It would be extremely difficult to predict how we would react under circumstances
similar to those experienced by Horatio and his wife,
but we do know that the God who sustained them would be with us
and keep us in the palm of His hand.
The trials Horatio and Anna endured only made them stronger in their faith
and their character steady.

No matter what difficulties overtake us may we be able to say with Horatio Spafford. . .

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IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll -
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Tho Satan should buffet. tho trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin - O the bliss of this glorious tho’t -
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll:
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so” - it is well with my soul.

Chorus
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul),
IT IS WELL, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.

Horatio G. Spafford
1828 - 1888

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A special thanks for the kind birthday wishes - you ladies blessed my heart
and made my birthday even more special :)

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Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)
 
 
 
 
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Happy Birthday, Stephanie!

Birthdays are a delight and today we at Meditations of His Love have the wonderful opportunity of wishing one of our authors a very happy birthday!

Stephanie

Stephanie’s birthday is today! I’ve been blessed by Stephanie’s kind, caring spirit and her love for the Lord. Her wisdom in the things of the Lord are reflected in her writing and it’s been so good to have her on the team.

Happy Birthday, dear Stephanie, from us at Meditations of His Love!

We pray you have a delightful and blessed day.
 
 
 
 
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