Improved 

Isaiah 10:20-21
“And it shall come to pass in that day, That the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.”

Israel was facing the threat of annihilation. Years of wandering from the Word and ways of God had led them to the brink of destruction, as Assyria mounted their troops in preparation for an all out attack upon them. As bleak as things appeared, God gave a wonderful promise regarding how this judgment would impact the people. Those who walked through this discipline would one day return, having learned to no longer depend upon men, but upon the Lord.

The discipline of God is never without purpose. He does not chasten us with outbursts of wrath but with a calculated approach designed to win us back to Himself. Twice we read of the purpose of His chastening:

Proverbs 3:12
“For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.”

Hebrews 12:6
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

When we wander from the Lord and begin to travel down a path that will lead to our own destruction, the love of God will force His hand to reach out and draw us back. Sometimes, this hand has to come in the form of discipline. Sometimes, this hand delivers the consequences of our actions, but always, this hand is designed to win us back to God, while removing the things that once led us away.

If you are in the midst of difficulties caused by turning from His way, and living according to your own way, perhaps it is time to change direction. The first step is to stop. Stop walking down a path that God cannot bless and will bring His correction. The second step is to turn. Turn around and begin to take strides toward what you know to be pleasing to Him.

Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, it is an expression of His love. He is jealous for you, always desiring what is best for you, both for now and for eternity.

Pastor Jim

 

More Or Less 

Job 11:6
“…Know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves.”

Scattered throughout the book of Job are some of the most amazing truths about God and His treatment of man. Here, Zophar reveals something about the way God deals with sin in the life of the believer. We know, because of the great love God has for us, He will chasten us when we misbehave. The chastening is not only punitive, but is designed to bring us out of sin, before it destroys us. We see in the story of the Prodigal, God will allow everything we trust in to fall apart, in order to bring us to our senses, so we might return to Him. That being said, notice what Zophar declares,

“Know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves.”

In His infinite mercy, God does not give us, His children, what we deserve. He holds back His wrath and only gives what will awaken us from our spiritual slumber, and bring us back to Himself. There is however, an inherent danger with mercy. That is, we begin to think His kindness means He approves of our bad behavior. If you are practicing something the Word of God forbids, do not allow yourself to think the patience of God implies His approval of your actions. Remember, His kindness is designed to bring you to repentance. The very fact He does not give what we deserve, is the reason we should let go of sinful behaviors and follow after the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

Parenting

Proverbs 29:15
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom,
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

Proverbs 29:17
“Correct your son, and he will give you rest;
Yes, he will give delight to your soul.”

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/b9a/30989304/files/2014/12/img_1265.jpgBefore becoming the Pastor of Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, I spent eight years teaching in the classroom. The first five years I taught in middle school and the final three in high school. Those years proved to be both a wonderful experience and an excellent training ground for raising my own children. My first year was interesting to say the least. I was 23 years old and newly married. I had little experience dealing with preteens, except for the fact that I had been one. My approach in the classroom could have been called the “whose your buddy” method. I attempted to be the cool teacher, who never gave out detentions, office referrals, or parent contacts. The result was chaos. After a few months, I spoke with an aunt who had been in education for years. When I asked for her secret to order in the classroom, she explained that she did not have disciplinary problems, because she had a standard the students understood and she stuck to. Soon after, I observed another teacher who clearly stated the classroom standards and kept to them. When a student misbehaved, she did not become emotional, losing her cool and raising her voice, she simply pointed out that he was breaking the rules, and disciplined accordingly. Those experiences transformed my ability to instruct the children. Instead of spending all my time, energy, and prayer life, dealing with discipline, I was able to teach.

Solomon points out, this same principle should be applied to the home. We have all seen children misbehaving and parents doing nothing more than warning them to stop. As the child continues, the parent raises the level of his voice, until the parent has completely lost his cool. Soon, he begins to scream at the child, perhaps even grabbing the child forcefully by the arm, to snatch him up and leave without further embarrassment. If we are honest, we have not only seen that parent, but we have been that parent. The secret to successful discipline is having a clear biblical standard for our children. The result will be spending less time agitated and upset, and more time instructing and loving our kids.

Allow me to give a few guidelines. First, our standard is based upon how our Heavenly Father treats us. He is ever merciful and forgiving, and understands we are prone to failure. Never does God condone sin, but He is always ready to lovingly restore us, when we fail. One common failure among parents is, putting standards on children that they themselves could not keep. Second, when we must exercise discipline, this should become a teaching time. Instead of allowing our emotions to take over and reacting in anger or frustration, we want to clearly point out how our child has misbehaved. We must explain what the Bible says about proper behavior, consequences, and forgiveness. This is a critical time to hug and pray with our children. Finally, we must be sure the punishment fits the crime. Are we upset at our child because his behavior was wrong or because it embarrassed us in front of our peers? I have seen parents horrified at their child because they bit another child in Sunday school. While it is wrong to bite other kids, in some cases, the parents were more embarrassed by how that made them look, than at the infraction of their toddler. I have even known parents to stop coming to church because of the embarrassment. Keep in mind, your child’s behavior is not always a representation of your parenting. After all, God’s kids ate the forbidden fruit. Don’t discipline out of embarrassment, but discipline with kindness and affection, for the infraction that has been committed.

Pastor Jim