Delighting in the LORD’s Discipline

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What comes to mind when you think of a father’s discipline? Is it a rough and tough dad picking-you-up-by-the-pants and spanking you angrily out-of-control, or is it a strong, but caring father who firmly corrects you because he loves and delights in you? The later is of course the picture painted about the discipline our Heavenly Father gives in Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:11-12
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

The Hebrew word for despise is ma’ac (phonetically maw-as’) and it means to abhor, cast away off, disdain, become loathsome, refuse. What are we not to make light of and refuse? God’s love through His discipline. The Hebrew word for weary is quts (phonetically koots) which means to feel a loathing, abhorrence, or sickening dread. What are we not to sickening dread? God’s love through His reproof.

Let’s turn our attention to the word delight. It’s the Hebrew word ratsah (phonetically raw-tsaw’) which means to be pleased with or accept favorably. Should we loathe and hate to be under the loving care and discipline of a Father who is pleased with us and accepts us so favorably?

Think about these two points:  

  1. Our Heavenly Father disciplines us because He loves and delights in us, but if we despise His correction, we are despising His love.
  2. Our Heavenly Father disciplines us for His glory and our good, but when we’re in dread of, or distressed by, His correction, we are in fact denying His goodness and throwing shade on His glory.

Even the best earthly father will fail in many ways and ruin the perfect picture of love and discipline painted in this verse. The writer of the Book of Hebrews quotes it again to remind us not to forget it and never grow weary of our Heavenly Father’s discipline and care.

Hebrews 12:5-11 
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 

Don’t you love that He disciplines us for our good so that we may share in His holiness? Sinners! You and me? Holy?

Yes, His discipline may seem painful for a time, but it will one day produce peaceful fruit and holiness! And fruit takes the mind all the way back to the garden, to that seemingly delightful, yet sinful fruit that Adam and Eve partook of. But God, in Genesis 3:15, promised an Offspring, and then took His children by the hand in order to lead them all the way back to peace with Him. This peaceful fruit was made possible by and through the sacrifice of the promised Offspring – His One Loved Son!

We have a Good, Good Father indeed! Delight in Him…

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Missing You

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Sitting on the front porch as it starts to rain
Listening to the water dripping down everything
Staring at the empty seat right beside me
Knowing you’d be here if you weren’t off chasing your dreams

And I’m missing you
Missing you
Like the time we spent together discussing our days
Watching sunsets, thunderstorms, and fireworks displays
And I’m missing you
Missing you
I guess I always knew there’d come a day like this
A front porch hug and a goodbye kiss
As my baby girl leaves to take on the world
And now I’m missing you
Missing you

I used to sit out here and watch you ride your bike
At sixteen, I’d bring out the keys you couldn’t find
Yeah, this front porch is more than a place to sit
It’s filled with memories that I’ll never forget

I know you’re away at college today
You’re all grown up and over eighteen
So kid, go ahead and spread your wings
But remember, there’s a seat on this front porch swing

Trusting God at 40,000 Feet

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It’s Labor Day afternoon, I’m on a return flight with my wife by my side; I have the window seat with a glorious view of puffy, cotton ball clouds dotting the horizon – as far as I can see. A young girl with blonde braided hair and a pink shirt, age 11, sits by my wife in the aisle seat. She has an iPhone and earbuds in. She’s flying alone, but not for the first time. Her pink shirt reminds me of my own sixteen year old daughter who we left this morning at a full-time ballet school in the northeast. It was a sad, but sweet goodbye, as my emotions hit turbulence with the fasten seat belt sign on.

It’s time to remember a familiar truth – A truth all Christians struggle to live out in practice. It’s time to trust the Lord with all my heart and to not lean on my own understanding. A time to acknowledge my dependence on Him with what I can and can’t see. It’s time to turn away from evil thoughts, the fear of man, and what could go wrong. This is not only truth fit for this situation, it’s also truth to live by throughout life.

With this fresh reminder, I confess my need to leave my teenage daughter in His care and pray for her two roommates whom we met for the first time. One from Japan, eighteen, shy, barely speaks English, who cried when hugged and told she would be helped with the transition by her new friends. The other roommate, seventeen, from New Orleans, has a Mormon background, and is sweet, polite, and bubbly. I still see the image of the three of them hugging as my wife and I left for the airport to head back to Georgia.

The girl on the plane interrupts my thoughts. She wants a picture of the clouds. I try to lean back so she can take a good shot from the aisle seat, her blue eyes smiling as she chews a piece of gum. She’s going to visit her mom who recently moved to South Carolina.

In the light of Proverbs 3:5-7, I know I can trust an All-Wise, Good and Sovereign God, while praying for three ballerinas and a girl from a broken home as I travel back to a house where my sixteen year old leaves behind a pink – missing her – room.

Behind the lines

I wrote the above for Fighter Verses – an extension of the Ministry of Children Desiring God. They asked me to write a post for them on Proverbs 3:5-7 many weeks before and it all came together in God’s Providence on a Labor Day plane ride.

  1. What circumstances are you in that you need to surrender and trust Him with?
  2. Are you depending on Him, or are you determined to make it in your own wisdom?
  3. Who has the Lord directed your way recently that you can love, serve, and point to Him?

 

 

Missing Notes

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Missing notes of music,
Rawly played over and over again,
Where elusive sounds turn therapeutic,
And never seem to end.

Concerts before dinner,
Instruments come alive as they are fed,
The beginner’s appetite grows bigger,
For encores before bed.

Living goes on in song,
Jazzy rhythms, soothing ballads when sad,
But all along the missing notes make strong,
The hearts of mom and dad.

Soaring music resounds,
Precisely played, missing the missing notes,
It surrounds, filling house and walls with sound,
And the love it promotes.

Hallways have grown quieter,
But the house still hums mysteriously,
Idle instruments, in dusty silence,
Hold notes in memory.

Behind the lines

I take great joy in listening to my children learn and practice their instruments. This was written about their learning process with the thought that one day the missing notes will be missed.

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