“I myself said, ” ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 3:19-20
God was expressing great sorrow over the nation of Israel. He had brought them up as His children and given them all that they needed. He expected them to love Him back and call Him ‘Father.’ Yet, they did not do that. They gave themselves over to other gods and were like an unfaithful wife.
At this point, many Christians, are very quick to point out the sin of their nation. They like to point out the great sins that are being accepted and done across the land. Sins of drugs, adultery, fornication, theft, violence, pornography, homosexuality and many others are brought up. People rise in anger against these sins.
Yet, many of these same Christians are living in sin themselves. Common, ‘small’ sins are gossip, lying, cheating, and hatred. Some will say they are giving the information, just to pray for the person. Others state God’s word in anger against the person of the world living in sin, with no love being shown at all.
When a person is living and acting like this, one must ask if he is really being faithful to God?
As you see horrible, sinful things occurring in the world or in your community, what are your thoughts?
Do you have thoughts like many in the world and the church–justice needs to be served, judgment, and hatred against someone?
Or does your heart-break for those involved?
When Jesus came to the earth, His heart was broken for those who were dying in their sins. His harshest judgment was for those who claimed to be believers in God, yet did not live for God.
God wants to give the best to you. He wants to be the best Father that you could ever possibly have. He does not want to punish you or be upset with you and your actions.
How are you treating God today?
With love as a son or daughter?
Or hatred as an unfaithful wife?
I pray today that you will see God as your loving Father; that you will know God’s faithfulness and goodness to you; that you will be faithful to God; that you will show love to all around you; and that you will not live in any sinful way.
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.
“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.
“The son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Luke 15:21
Jesus was telling the parable about a son who went against his father’s desires and started living a wild life. He chose to move away from home and just party. After everything came crashing down on him and failed, he decided to go back to his father.
His words to his father were ones of great humility and remorse. He knew he messed up badly and was now unworthy of any type of love from his father.
People often state that they are sorry for something wrong they did once they are caught. Very few people come up and admit doing wrong before being caught. This goes for both believers and non-believers. Most people hope to never get caught for the wrong that they did.
Once they get caught and repent of the wrong, it is usually more of a being sorry at being caught, not for what was done wrong.
The boy in the story realized he messed up so bad that his father would have the right to disown him entirely. Yet, the father showed great love to him and accepted him back.
As a believer that is human, every person makes mistakes and sins against God at times. Every time you sin, you must look at that sin as so great that God has the right to disown you and punish you. Do not think of the sin as some little thing, it carries the punishment of a death sentence.
Repent of the sin with the mind that God hates that sin. Know that you do not deserve anything from God. This is true remorse for the sin.
Just like the father in the story, God will open His arms and accept you back with great love. God wants to forgive you. God wants to love you and have a relationship with you.
I pray today that you will turn to God and away from sin; that you will repent of every sin; that you will know the love and forgiveness God has for you; and that you will give your life to serve God.
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is just about to be betrayed and then crucified and He knows this.
Think about this for a minute. Put yourself in the place where Jesus was. He has absolute power. He created the planets and stars and everything else by His word. He has done absolutely nothing wrong to anyone or God the Father.
Yet, now, He is about to be crucified on a cross. Not only is He going to get crucified, His Father, whom He has been with for all eternity, is going to turn His back on Him. There will be a moment of separation.
He does what any person would do, ask God the Father if there is another way to do this.
God does not have any problem with the asking of this request. The Father does not change the answer. Jesus must still be crucified.
Where Jesus does the right thing is in finishing that request with stating that He wants the Father’s desire to be done. Even though Jesus has all power and authority, He sets that aside to do the Father’s desire.
What is God asking you to do today? Are you willing to do it?
Very often people hear God tell them clearly to do something, but then decide not to do it. They question God and decide their own way is better.
The Father may not be asking you to physically be killed, but He is asking you to lay yourself aside and do something for Him. Whatever that thing is, it is for your good, for the good of others, and for the good of the kingdom of heaven.
Just as Jesus stated that He wanted the Father’s will to be done, so you must also want the Father’s will to be done. Set your short-term desires aside and follow God fully. It will be worth it in the end.
I pray today that God will reveal His plans for you; that you will do God’s will; that God will strengthen you by His Holy Spirit to do His will; that you will not turn away from God’s desire for your life; and that God will make you more like Jesus and build His kingdom through you.