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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Flower basket prepared by Brooksyne
A colorful flower basket arranged by Brooksyne.

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"Misunderstanding Discipline"

"Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:9-11).  "God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20).

Our barn 6/8/11
We have a small utility barn constructed by a previous owner. It's one of the most unique features of our property and we often get favorable comments regarding its design. It's one of the best ways to identify our home! Constructed of salvaged boards from an old barn, it is rather rough but is quite functional. I have a workshop on the lower level and storage in a large "loft" area upstairs.

Barn bird 6/7/11Periodically birds manage to get in through openings in the eaves.  After a few circles of flying over their new locale they head back to their home nest but many become directionally challenged, much like people who can't remember if they arrived at a location coming from the east or the west.  Without landmarks they're likely to go the wrong direction when heading back to their original destination. Yesterday a mourning dove flew in the barn and, for several hours, tried to exit through the closed window. I went upstairs and opened the window so the dove could fly out but it continued to try going through the glass.

Finally I took a long stick and intentionally scared the bird in order to get it down to the open area and finally it flew out, free at last. I considered the terror I likely added to the bird's day when I took the stick to guide it out. I knew my intention but the bird didn't!

The Bible characterizes God as a loving Father who disciplines His children.  As the discipline is being administered we may not understand and might even confuse discipline with an attempt to harm.
In fact I'm quite sure the bird misunderstood my intentions and saw my long stick as a weapon to harm rather than a tool to help.

The daily Scripture portion is so instructive.  We should memorize it and hide it deep within our hearts. But let us consider just this phrase, "God disciplines us for our good." 

Our heavenly Father's discipline is extremely difficult to accept in the midst of a trial.  We may very well pray and plead with God for another way and prayers like these are often answered as we desire. But we also experience situations where such is not the case. In the process of discipline it may seem that our prayers are unanswered. We may begin to entertain negative thoughts such as, "Does God really care?"

We tend to misunderstand God's discipline.  We so often don't know the whys and wherefores!  At the time the discipline may be painful and frightening,
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful."

Some of you are presently going through a time of discipline.  You're wondering what God is doing, why He's doing it and how long it will take.  You may not see a way out of the circumstances that encircle you.

Through the work of the Holy Spirit, may you come to realize that this may very well be part of the disciplining process of our loving heavenly Father. You may not be able to see the benefits at the present time, but Jesus does, since He sees the past, present and future.  He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  He is in all and through all and He will see you through this tumultuous chapter of your life's journey.  He has much blessing in store for those who remain faithful and trusting in the midst of the discipline so that at a future date,
"it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Loving Father, when our earthly fathers discipline us, it is intended for immediate correction and future application.  At the time it is painful and a humiliation of sorts.  And with You, Father, Your discipline is not pleasant at the time but painful.  We stand upon Your promise that later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those of us who are trained by it.  It transforms our thinking, shapes our values, and adapts our behavior so that we become more and more like Christ who teaches us to forsake this world and embrace the eternal kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy through the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Set Me Free"  Video  Gaither Homecoming series  Maybe this is what the bird sang as he flew out our barn window yesterday!

"Farther Along"  Video  The Grascals  Now this is really country bluegrass with a great bagpipe intro!

"Farther Along"  Video  Gaither Homecoming series

Farther along we'll know all about it.
Farther along we'll understand why.
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine,
We'll understand it all by and by.

Tempted and tried we're oft made to wonder,
Why it should be thus all the day long.
While there are others living about us,
Never molested though in the wrong.

When death has come and taken our loved ones,
It leaves our home so lonely and drear.
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.

Faithful till death said our loving Master,
A few more days to labor and wait.
Toils of the road will then seem as nothing,
As we sweep through the beautiful gate.

When we see Jesus coming in glory,
When He comes from His home in the sky.
Then we shall meet Him in that bright mansion,
We'll understand it all by and by.

"All Your Promises Are True"
 Video  Shannon Wexelburg

"He's Always Been Faithful To Me"  Video
 Sara Groves  This song has such an interesting beginning and great lyrics

"He Giveth More Grace"  Video  Maranatha Singers

Stephen's Note: One of the most helpful books I have ever read on trusting God in times of His discipline is a book simply titled "Trusting God" by Jerry Bridges. 

Trusting GodTrusting God  By Jerry Bridges / NAV Press
Does trusting God come easily to you---until adversity strikes? Amid troubles and tribulation, do you sometimes doubt whether he really cares? Exploring three essential truths about God---his complete sovereignty, his infinite wisdom, and his perfect love---Bridges shows you how to rely on God implicitly in every circumstance. 240 pages, softcover from NavPress.  
You can read an excerpt of the book online.  Ordering information

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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