Godly Discipline…

Hebrews 12:11-13a “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet…”

Godly Discipline

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.

THINK ABOUT THIS
For two years, scientists sequestered themselves in an artificial environment called Biosphere 2. Inside their self-sustaining community, the Biospherians created a number of mini-environments, including a desert, rain forest, even an ocean. Nearly every weather condition could be simulated except one, wind.

Over time, the effects of their windless environment became apparent. A number of acacia trees bent over and even snapped. Without the stress of wind to strengthen the wood, the trunks grew weak and could not hold up their own weight. Though our culture shuns hardship, we would do well to remember that God uses it for our good that we may share in his holiness”.

Jay Akkerman

James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers’ temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. “

Proverbs 13:24 “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

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The Road to Success…

Hebrews 12:2a “Looking unto Jesus…”

The Road to Success

The road to success is not Straight.
There is a curve called Failure.

A loop called Confusion,
Speed bumps called Friends,

Red lights called Enemies,
Caution lights called Family,

You will have flats along the way,

But, if you have a spare called Determination,
An engine called Perseverance,
Insurance called Faith,
A driver called Jesus,
You will make it to a place called Success!

In spite of our unworthiness

Romans 3:10 “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the Author and finisher of our faith who for the
joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set
down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Ecc 12:13, 14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

Adversity, a Tool for Spiritual Growth

Romans 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation develops patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Adversity, a Tool for Spiritual Growth

Can adversity in my life come from God? How should I view that adversity? Or is adversity in my life simply a result of fleshly or spiritual issues that I have and if I were spiritually stronger these things would never happen to me? These questions are asked by Christians of all maturity levels.

Some church organizations focus on the “Health, Wealth and Prosperity” theme and that adversity has no place in the life of a Christian. Is that true? Those churches teach that God would have you to be healthy and wealthy with never a hint of adversity in your life. That teaching is attractive to our fleshly emotions. If you are experiencing adversity their answer is that it is because you are weak in faith. They say if you just come to their church, support the programs, join in with the emotional message that God lift you up physically and materially. Many get deceived by this because it offers what the flesh wants. And the flesh always wants only what is best for it.

II Tim 4:3,4 “For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables.”

So, how does God view adversity and our spiritual development? Our answer as with all questions in life is right there in the Book. There are many examples in scripture that help us understand how God views this topic and the depth of His love for us. Our obvious best example is our Savior Jesus. He came to display unconditional love while doing the will of the Father. We will never have to experience the depth of pain that Jesus experienced for us. If we are looking for our own will to be done it is easy to fall into the Health, Wealth and Prosperity trap.

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

We could also look at the lives of Noah, Jonah, Moses, Job, David, Joseph, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Rehab, Ruth, Daniel, Paul, Peter, Mary and on and on. What we see are individuals that were molded by the circumstances that God sent into their lives. Those circumstances were simply not a result of their weak faith and fortunately they never viewed them like that. God loved them as He loves us and wanted the best for their lives. The question was what was best for their lives to bring glory of God and not to provide comfort for self. Each of those mentioned above experienced adversity and out of it came growth and more importantly God was pleased and glorified. That growth occurred only after they got to the place in their lives where they said, your will be done and not mine. None were blessed or avoided adversity simply because of strong faith. Their spiritual maturity grew as they presented themselves to God as living sacrifices to perform His will through their lives.

James 1:2, 3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Rom 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

For me when I accept adversity as being from God the benefits are spiritual growth. When I reject trials as being from God the result is frustration, heartache and even tears. I have memorized II Cor 12:9 to help me in those times of adversity. It reminds me that God is in control and wants to lift up His name by His work in my life. WOW, you cannot have anything more than that if you are looking for purpose in your life.

In II Corinthians 12 Paul first viewed his “thorn” as a limiting handicap. After requesting that God remove it multiple times he received the answer. It was no. By the way, no and wait are answers to prayer. He evaluated the answer and came up with the spiritually correct answer. God had a purpose for the thorn and he was much better off accepting it than ignoring or complaining about it. After coming to the true perspective, he regarded it as a heavenly advantage. Pains and problems come into our lives and if viewed properly are tools reminding us of God’s all-sufficient grace.

Whatever your “thorn” today, remembers—His grace IS sufficient and it is available right now!!!!!!!

II Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

A Change of Perspective…

Philip. 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

A Change of Perspective

1. The best way to get even is to forget…
2. Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death…
3. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts…
4. Some folks wear their halos much too tight…
5. Some marriages are made in heaven, but they ALL have to be maintained on earth…
6. Unless you can create the WHOLE universe in 5 days, then perhaps giving “advice” to God isn’t such a good idea!
7. Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up…
8. Standing in the middle of the road is dangerous. You will get knocked down by the traffic from both ways.
9. Words are windows to the heart.
10. A skeptic is a person who when he sees the handwriting on the wall claims it’s a forgery.
11. It isn’t difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill just add a little dirt.
12. A successful marriage isn’t finding the right person- It’s BEING the right person.
13. The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground.
14. Too many people offer God prayers, with claw marks all over them.
15. The tongue must be heavy indeed, because so few people can hold it.
16. To forgive is to set the prisoner free, and then discover the prisoner was you.
17. You have to wonder about humans, they think God is dead and Elvis is alive!
18. It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.
19. You’ll notice that a turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.                                                                                                                                                     20. And last but not least-God gave the angels wings, and He gave humans CHOCOLATE.

Romans 12:1-2 ” I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

The Blessing in “No”…

Isa 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.”

 THE BLESSING IN “NO”

I asked God to take away my pride.
God said “No”.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said “No”.
Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said “No”.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn’t granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said “No”.
I give you blessings, happiness and contentment are up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said “No”.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said “No”.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said “No”.
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said… Ahhhh, finally you have the idea!

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What if,
GOD couldn’t take the time to bless us today because we couldn’t take the
time to thank HIM yesterday?

What if,
GOD decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we didn’t follow HIM today?

What if,
We never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when GOD sent the rain?

What if,
GOD didn’t walk with us today because we failed to recognize it as His day?

What if,
GOD took away His message because we failed to listen to the messenger?

What if,
GOD didn’t send His only begotten Son because He wanted us to be
prepared to pay the price for sin?

What if,
The door of the church was closed because we did not open the door of our heart?

What if,
GOD stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others?

What if,
GOD would not hear us today because we would not listen to Him yesterday?

What if,
GOD answered our prayers the way we answer His call to service?

What if,
GOD met our needs the way we give Him our lives???

What if, we fail to understand the meaning of this message?
Philip. 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”