“So you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Jeremiah 30:22
As the people of Judah were being sent into exile in Babylon for punishment, many were thinking that God no longer wanted them. The punishment was going to be very severe and God would seemed to have abandoned them altogether. God did not abandon them completely. He stated that after a time He would restore them. He also told them, while this was occurring, that they would be His people and He would be their God.
Going through life can bring some very troubling times. It may often appear as though God has abandoned a person for life, because of the trials that one is going through. Because of choices that were made, there may be times that God will discipline a person to get him back on track. Other times, it will just be the consequences that God allows because of some poor decisions to walk away from Him.
You may have made one of those bad decisions in your life and you may be going through some discipline right now. It can be painful and feel as though God has left you. The devil and this world will try to tell you God has left you. Your mind may be telling you that God has abandoned you and wants nothing to do with you. It is not true. Never forget that God said He would never leave you, nor forsake you.
Even though you may not be an Israelite, you have become one of God’s children when you accepted Jesus and the work He had done for you. God is always right there to be your God and He wants you to be a part of His family, His people. You were grafted into the vine.
God wants to be your God. He wants you to be one of His people. He has great plans for you, if you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to be God. When you allow God to be the master of your life, He will guide every step you take. Everything that occurs will be for your benefit. God will not do anything that will be there to harm you or destroy you.
Are you trusting God to be your God?
Do you know that you are one of God’s people?
I pray today that you will know God as your God; that you will know that you are one of His people; that you will walk the path God has for you; and that you will obey God in every area of your life.
This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Jeremiah 25:11
The Israelites in Judah had chosen to follow false gods, despite many warnings from the prophets. God had chosen to punish them by allowing Babylon to overrun the nation and place them all in captivity. Through the prophets, God told the Israelites to go into captivity and serve the king of Babylon, a gentile king, for a time. This time of service and punishment would only last for a set amount of time. It would end in seventy years, there was the hope of restoration.
Living in sin will always have a price that a person must pay. The ultimate price is death. It starts out with spiritual death and separation from God, and ends with physical and spiritual death for all eternity.
Those who have never chosen to follow Jesus are destined to be punished for eternity. Those who have chosen to follow Jesus have had their sins removed. The punishment is no longer there. However, when believers step back into sin and choose to not follow Jesus for a time, there may be punishments set in place by God.
God is a loving Father who does not allow His children to do wrong without any correction or punishment. He disciplines those He loves.
There may be times when you have chosen a wrong path that was not God’s path for you. You chose to step into sin for a time. God may discipline you in order to get you to focus back on Him. He does not want you to stay in sin and be punished with death for eternity.
The good news is that the discipline is only for a set amount of time. It is not for eternity. The discipline for the Israelites lasted for only seventy years. God set a limit for it when He put it in place. He will also place limits on the discipline in your life.
The consequences of living in sin may be for a short time or a longer time, but when there is repentance, it is not for eternity. Go through the discipline and learn to follow God correctly. Know that it is only for a set time. With the forgiveness found in Jesus, you will still live for eternity. Do not stay in that sin, but know the hope you have in Jesus.
I pray today that you will follow Jesus with all your life; that you will learn all lessons from God; that God will strengthen you in all discipline; and that you will shine for God after any discipline.
A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother. Proverbs 29:15
People often talk about the need to discipline a child in order to have the child grow up correctly. Many parents always love the statement, “spare the rod, spoil the child.” Some will take this to extremes, even to the point of abuse. While others reject all discipline.
Arguments are continually made about how children are no longer disciplined. Their being undisciplined is argued as being the reason schools are now so dangerous.
While it is true that children should be disciplined for doing the wrong thing, there is one other group of people who need to be included in discipline. That is all the believing adults.
Every believer in Jesus claims God as their Father.
As a result of God being their Father, this means that each one is His child.
God in His great love is willing to discipline His children. The purpose of the discipline is to get each one back on the right track and keep them from walking or living in sin.
The dangerous part is that most adults do not feel that they need to be or should ever be disciplined. Adults often feel that they have “made it” and can do what they want, when they want and how they want.
Think about how many teenagers became adults and then spent the next few years partying and running around, just because they could do it. Later they start to settle down and remember the words of their parents and realize how wise they were.
As an adult believer in Jesus, you must also be disciplined at times by your Father. There are times you make bad choices and go down a path God does not want you on. Because of God’s great love for you, He will take the time to discipline you.
Just as a parent disciplines his child to keep him on the right path and bring honor to his mother, so God will do the same with you.
You will gain wisdom when you listen to God’s discipline in your life. His discipline will set you on the path for an abundant, fulfilling life.
Are you willing to accept it?
Or will you fight God, as a rebellious child?
I pray today that you will see God’s discipline in your life; that you will learn from God’s discipline; that God will reveal His great love and mercy to you; and that you will live your life for God.
“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” Job 5:17
One of Jobs friends, Eliphaz, came to Job with some advice when he saw Job under extreme turmoil and trouble. He stated that every person who God corrects is blessed and that a person should not despise God’s discipline.
Eliphaz was looking at what was happening to Job, the loss of family, house and health, as discipline from God. Apparently Job had done something sinful against God and he was now paying for it. Since this was the case, Job should not be upset with what is happening.
While it is true that God does discipline a person in sin, the real truth of the matter here was that Job had not sinned. Eliphaz had the right words, but the wrong timing of saying them. God was not disciplining him in any way. The events that were happening were just a test to prove Job’s faithfulness to God.
It is easy for a person to stand on the outside looking at a situation another person is going through and begin to judge what is really happening. Very often, believers judge it as God is disciplining a person or correcting him. Although God may discipline a person, He is not always doing that.
There are times in a believers life that God will allow bad things to happen in order to build the person stronger or to prove his faithfulness. God was pretty sure that Job would pass the test and shame Satan. God allowed Satan to test Job in order for that test to be passed.
When you see yourself, or someone else going through a bad situation, be careful on how you judge what is happening. The main thing to do is trust that God knows what is happening and is absolute control.
Encourage yourself, or whoever is going through the situation, to seek God’s strength and will in the situation. Draw closer to God in spite of the bad situation.
As you speak the truth of God’s word, make sure that what you are saying pertains to what is really happening. Be very careful not to take God’s word out of context or to be used at the wrong time, as Eliphaz did with Job. Be an encourager.
I pray today that you will see God’s hand in every situation in your life; that you will know what God is saying and doing; and that you will speak God’s correctly in the right place and time.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12:7
When going through a hard time, most people do not like to see that as something for their benefit. There never seems to be a good reason for the hardship. Hardship is painful and very difficult, yet is necessary. God uses hardship to discipline His children.
Then comes the next challenge–accepting discipline as a good thing.
In this world, discipline is often looked at as a negative thing. Too often that is true about discipline being a negative thing.
Most parents discipline their children to some degree or more. The problem many parents have is that their discipline is done out of anger and to punish the child.
God does not discipline to punish, but to turn the hearts of His children back to Him. All punishment is being reserved for when Jesus returns. Those who have accepted and followed Jesus will not be punished, since their sins have been removed. Those who have rejected Jesus will be punished since their sins have not been removed.
God allows hardship into the lives of all believers to correct them and bring them closer to Him and make them into the image of Jesus more and more.
In sports, the athlete disciplines himself to be the best he can be. He goes through the hardship and pain of hard practice daily. He pushes himself to do better and better, so that he can be the best.
God is doing that in your life. He is pushing you to be perfect as Jesus is perfect. When you are going through a hard time, turn your eyes on Jesus. Learn His patience and perseverance. Learn to trust God more. Know that God is right there with you.
Do not look at hardship as punishment for past sins or God hating you. God loves you with an undying love and Jesus has forgiven you.
Allow God to use those hardships as training ground to become more like Jesus.
I pray today that God will strengthen you in all hardships; that you will turn your eyes and life towards God during hard times; that you will trust God knows what He is doing and that He is doing the best for you; and that God will make you more like Jesus everyday.
“Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.” Titus 1:8
As Paul opens his letter to Titus, he gives some instructions for a person who is an over-seer. An over-seer is the pastor or lead elder of the church. He starts with some things that he should not be, then in this verse gives some things he should be. Although he is talking about the over-seer, these very same things can be applied to every believer.
Five things are listed that one should be. The first is being hospitable. This is being open to allowing people to come and see you. You have an open door on your house for visitors. Do you shun people coming over? Or do you welcome them with open arms?
Next is loving what is good. There are many things in this world, and not all of them are good. By good, it means: does it glorify God; or bring you and others closer to God; does it make you more like Jesus? Or do these things pull you away from God?
Next is self-controlled. Are you controlling what you say, think, and do? No one can make you do anything you do not want to do in your heart. Do not allow others to control you.
Then being upright. This is living your life for God. When someone looks at your life what will they see? Is there corruption, deception, and sin? Or is it Jesus? Are you a person of your word?
Next is holy. Are you living as Jesus would? Are you staying away from sin in every form? If God looks at your life what does He see?
Finally is being disciplined. This comes alongside self-control. Do you hold yourself accountable for your actions? Do you keep yourself from falling into sinful ways? Beat your old sinful self down and live for Jesus.
These are a few ways that every believer should be living. This would bring honor to God and lift up the name of Jesus. Not every believer is living like this, which brings dishonor to Jesus and all believers.
How are you living your life today?
I pray today that you will examine your life to see how you live for Jesus; that God will reveal areas that you need to improve on; that you will bring honor to the name of Jesus by how you live; and that God will use you to touch the lives of others.