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Discipline, Knowledge, & Correction

Proverbs 12:1
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.

Discipline is one of those words that we don’t want to hear about too often.  It brings up all kinds bad memories.  But, like it or not, we all need discipline.  In this verse, Solomon tells us that discipline and knowledge go hand in hand.  Unfortunately it is something that this society seems to know very little about.

There is an attitude that says that I deserve to have what I want right now – no matter what.  In many cases people will have their own way no matter what it does to their future.  So often we are more than willing to place our future earnings, our relationships, and our health all on the altar of instant, momentary pleasure.  Only discipline can keep our destiny safe.

The fact is that knowledge, without discipline, is almost worthless.  Discipline is the ability to restrain my actions now and do what I need to do, so that I can have a greater enjoyment in the future.  This goes against the “feel good now” attitude of our generation.  Too often we are willing to sell our future for gratification in the present.  That’s what Solomon is speaking to here.

Correction is when you are willing to listen to critical advice from someone who has been there.  The word translated stupid in this version, simply means that they are destroying themselves.  If you are not willing to take correction, and show the discipline it takes to change your direction, then you will slowly lose your future benefits.

How many times do we look back and say, “I wish I’d have done that differently.”  The time is now to heed the voice of godly correction and allow discipline to shape your future.  Don’t lose out on the destiny that God wants you to have.  Don’t trade your future blessings for the instant gratification.  Let discipline, knowledge, and correction bring you to a life worth living in Christ.

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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Deadly Peril

2 Corinthians 1:8-10
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

It is my hope and prayer that you are never in a life-threatening situation.  I know, however, that weather, accidents, and natural disasters can come when least expected.  It seems like everyday there is something going on in the United States that could have tragic results.  If and when that occurs, you will be faced with a choice – do you despair and give up or do you continue to put your hope in God?

I have been in that kind of situation.  I know what it feels like to be trapped by an unforeseen incident with no way out and no help in sight.  It is truly in those times of need that God proves Himself faithful.  I can say, without hesitation, that God has never abandoned me to my problems.

The key to making it safely through a future problem is to make the choice now, that whatever happens, you will not abandon your trust in God.  You will find that He is always there with you to help you in your time of need.  In your prayer time today, reaffirm your trust in the Lord to take you through the hard times.  Place your life fully in His hands.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Bears

1 Peter 5:8
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I have learned many valuable spiritual lessons as I have been hiking.  One of those lessons has to do with bears.

I praise God that I live on the East Coast.  When I hike, I don’t have to contend with grizzly, Kodiak, or polar bears.  Only cute, little (comparatively), vegetarian, black bears.  Well, as many people are aware of, even black bears can be nuisances.  Usually it’s the fault of a human.  When we leave our food and trash out, we encourage them to hang around.  They will then prowl around looking for something to devour.  Hmm…sounds familiar.

A lot of the time we encourage the enemy to attack us.  We do it by trying to live in both kingdoms.  We try to get God’s blessing using the world’s methods.  Or we try to use God’s power to satisfy our lust for material gain.  These things signal the enemy to hang around hoping for a free handout.

It is time for us to “clean up our camp.”  Seek God today.  Is there anything that needs to be put back in order in your life?  Christ will give you the wisdom, strength, and courage you need to overcome in this area.  Turn it over to Him.  Don’t give the enemy a free handout.  Use this time to take back any foothold that you have given him in your life.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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The Good Shepherd

Revelation 7:17
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

This is one of the most interesting Scriptures.  The Lamb who is also a Shepherd.  What a great illustration of the Christ who took on our weaknesses.  He is worthy to lead us, since He has walked where we live.

Christ is our perfect Shepherd.  He knows the paths of our lives.  He understands the best route to take.  He knows when our soul needs rest, refreshment, and nourishment.  We must learn to trust Him daily for our every need.  We must trust His plan for our lives if we want fulfillment.

I want my life to count for something.  Only under the guidance of the “Good Shepherd” will that come to pass.

If I follow the Lord’s plan for my life, then He will lead me to the right places along the way.  Yes, sometimes the road will be difficult.  But He also knows the rest stops as well.  He will bring us to places of refreshment and restoration that we need if we are to make it to the end.

I must learn to trust in His plan for my life.  He knows the way a lot better than I do.  Once I can acknowledge that, life gets so much more fulfilling.

Whether you have in the past or not – place your life at Jesus’ feet today.  Let Him work it out to His glory.  Put your expectation in Him to bring you to your destiny.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Life from the Grave

John 5:28-29
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

Yesterday’s post talked about Christ as the Giver of spiritual life.  But, right along those lines, Christ is also the Giver of resurrection life.  In this verse He is giving us insight into His Second Coming.  Actually this is the first time Scripture records Him speaking about His return.

Many people who teach about the end-times don’t even bother dealing with this passage.  If you think that way, then you’ve missed the whole point.  Because this is the first recorded incident in Jesus’ ministry where He mentions the end-times, that makes it important.  No, He doesn’t say a lot about it, but what He does say is at the very core of our belief in the Second Coming.

Jesus explains that there is a day coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and will come out – those who have done good will rise to live; those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.  Unfortunately, we usually miss this key.  It is the foundation stone for everything else that you will learn about the Second Coming of Christ.  Everything else that Jesus teaches builds on this.

The cross is our starting point.  We come along about 2000 years later.  What Jesus is talking about in this passage hasn’t happened yet.  The dead are going to rise and there is going to be a time of judgment with the result being either eternal life or eternal condemnation.

We don’t know when it’s coming, but there will be a resurrection day.  As far as the disciples were concerned, it wasn’t new to them.  Jesus didn’t start with some new doctrine that they had never heard before.  You find teaching on the resurrection in the Old Testament.  Job testifies, in chapter 19 of his book, that he knew about the day of resurrection.

Even in the Old Testament, believers understood that God was not going to leave His people in the grave.  The Pharisees themselves, as a group, believed and taught that one day God would bring about the resurrection of the dead.

The only thing that was new in His teaching was the fact that it will be the voice of Christ that causes the dead to rise.  I’m sure that the Pharisees had some choice thoughts on that subject.  We, however, are given a foundation upon which to build the rest of the teaching on the return of Christ.

It is the Lord Himself who is our resurrection.  It is His voice who will call us from our graves to a place of victory.  This is a day we can all look forward to as believers.  Knowing this, we can live our lives in the hope that only springs from victory over death.  We don’t have to worry about the future.  We are safe in the arms of the Lord.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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The Perfect Shield

Psalm 18:30
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

Many people talk about the shield of faith.  Unfortunately there are few who actually pick it up and use it.  It requires more than just a mental assent to the Word of God.  It requires a walk with the God of the Word.

We must first realize that His Word is flawless.  There is no trickery or deceit in Him.  He says what He means and means what He says.  I must hold God’s Word above the word of any other.

But it doesn’t stop there, even though most Christians think that is enough to lay hold of the shield.  There’s more.

If His Word is flawless, and if I believe that Word, then I will walk the way that Word teaches without hesitation.  I will believe that God’s way is perfect and live accordingly.  It is simple logic.  If I don’t do what the book says, then I don’t trust the book completely.

It is the first half of this verse that is the foundation for the second half.  If I believe God’s Word and walk in His way then am I protected by His shield.

Spend some time with the God of the Word today.  Prayerfully meditate upon what He says.  Let the mind of the Lord renew your mind.  Let His desire change the way you live your life.  Then you can expect His shield to protect your path.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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My Testimony – A Godly Heritage

2 Timothy 1:5
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Sometimes it’s good to look back over your life to see where God has brought you from.  I love to hear a testimony of a changed life.  I have known drug addicts, gang members and people from the “underworld” who have given their lives to Christ and were changed by His power.  I have met people who have been bound by addictions, hurt by abuse and oppressed under the weight of depression all set free by the blood of Jesus.

It is an encouragement to see the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit at work in the world.  I, for one was insulated from most of these issues.  I tend to relate more with Timothy.  My grandparents were saved soon after they came over to America from Italy.  My parents were raised in church, and followed Christ throughout their lives.  When I came along, I had no choice – church was where our family went, whenever the doors were open.

Then, one day, at a children’s camp (Camp Woodhaven in West Boylston, MA) I personally received the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.  I have tried to follow His leading ever since.

Sometimes I used to feel that I missed out on something, when I would hear the testimonies of how God saved people from an evil life.  But when I grew older I realized the blessing of being born into a Christian home.  God kept me from some of the things that could have destroyed me.  I have a testimony of the Lord’s power to keep and protect a life from the darkness of the world.

So, whether you came to Christ from a life of great sin, or you were raised in church, be grateful to the Lord for His presence in your life.  The fact is, we all need a Savior.  No one is too far away from His love.  Equally, no one is good enough to deserve His love.  We all need the power of the cross to set us free.  Praise God for His grace that He freely gives to all who seek Him.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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