The Joy of God’s Discipline

The word discipline has a negative connotation to it similar to. It implies that someone did something wrong and corrective action must be applied. It is almost sounds like punishment. There is significant difference between the two.  Discipline is a tool of God’s love for His Children.

Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

Yesterday, I talked about how God is a jealous God after your heart.  You can be sure God will remove those obstacles that keep God from going after your heart.

Here is a practical example from my life.  Sometimes I can have the tendency to be on the internet too much.  I can remember a few weeks ago, the internet went out for a few days and I took a different approach to the situation.  This time I viewed it as coming FROM God.  He wanted me to spend more time with Him. It wasn’t a punishment where I felt the wrath of God for doing something wrong.

Rather, I viewed it as a sign of God’s discipline and love. It was a perspective changed. God loved me so much that He needed to provide a wake up call.

Hebrews 12:11 goes as far as saying, “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,”

So the lesson in God’s discipline is that it is a sign of God’s love for us.  We should take great joy when we are being disciplined by Holy God because it is shaping us into the Godly men and women that we were destined to be.

A Jealous God After Your Heart

God is a jealous God that wants a personal intimate relationship with you. He will do whatever it takes to make sure He is number one in your life. If something stands between you and God, you can be sure He will take it away! Mark it down! (He will also give it back, more on that later).

Probably the best example in my life was my running ability. I always had (still do) have a dream to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In order to qualify, I will need to break 3:05 for 26.2 miles. Now I have ran 5 marathons in my life and have got closer to that mark each time.

I’ve gone from 3:42 to 3:21 to 3:11 to 3:09 to 3:07. I was so close! And then my depression hit. I went from running 7 minute miles with ease to barely being able to run a few miles.

As the fog from the depression is lifting I can how running became an idol for me. If I achieved running a 3:05 marathon, then I would have done something “successful”. Whatever that means.  The truth is replaced the spot for God in my heart for running. I still would not of been a joyful had a qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Now I do believe God wants me to qualify for the Boston Marathon at some point, but He doesn’t want me thinking I have done it on my own strength. He wants me to recognize that my strength comes from him alone. Most importantly, I will have a right relationship with God.

Prayer: Thank you God for being so jealous for us.  Thank you for removing what ever prevents us from having a relationship with you. You loved us so much that You sent Your only Son Jesus to die at Calvary for our sins.  We are so grateful that you keep pursuing us even when we disobey and try to accomplish on our own strength. Have us recognize that You are the Vine and we are merely the branches. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

The Consequences of Holding Onto Negative Emotions

Do you ever worry about if your brakes are going to go out on your car? Maybe your tires? Maybe your computer might crash on you? If you are like me, it may just be that you have a fear of death.

For me, I can remember exactly where I was when I found about death when I was three years old. I was petrified of it and had been until last week that is. You see on a rational level I didn’t fear death, but there was a piece of me that was wounded boy that lived inside of me. I had not emotionally been free from the fear of death.

Holding onto negative emotions is toxic. It blocks the positive emotions like love and joy. These negative memories are stored in every cell of our bodies and by releasing them we can become unstuck.

Do you have a memory that you may be over rationally, but not emotionally? Might I suggest that it may be severely limiting your life today. It doesn’t matter if it happened 50 years ago. If you aren’t over something emotionally, it will hinder your life and God’s purpose for your life.

You are worthy of living a life worth living. Don’t let something that happened years ago affect you still today. Ask God to reveal those areas in your life. I can promise you one thing. He will be happy to do so.

Be Selfish for Yourself

The word selfish has a negative connotation to it. It could describe a person that is self-centered and is only worried about themselves.

This is not what I am going to talk to you about today. I’m going to talk to you about being selfish for yourself so that you can be of service to others. You see it was in the hospital last year when I heard that phrase and decided to run with it.

To me it meant how could I truly help someone while something wasn’t right with me.

Matthew 7: 3,5 state, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite! First pull the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye?

I love the strong language that Jesus uses. First he states that your brother only has a speck in their eye, while you have a plank (imagine a 2 by 4!) in your eye! I believe Jesus uses such strong language because often we go through life not aware that there is a plank in our eyes. I know this was the case for me.

I had such a judgmental mind of who I believed could “help” me get better. My early thinking was that the person must have a PhD and must be a Christian. What a plank I had in my eye! As my judgments started to melt away, I noticed how much I had limited myself.

I can remember my last therapist in Atlanta was a Buddhist and how there was no way I could work with her.  It’s like a heard God say, “Trust me Marc. This is the perfect person for you right now” Boy was God ever right! You see it was this person that taught me how to love myself for the first time. Because of that experience, I have been so much more open to help. I’m so thankful that plank is out of my eye now!