Discipline is Discipling

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves as a father the son he delights in. – (Proverbs 3:11-12, NIV)

My son, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be angry when He corrects you.  The Lord corrects the one He loves, just as a father corrects a child he cares about. – (Proverbs 3:11-12, ERV)

The word discipline has always held a strange duality in my world.  On one hand, it held this connotation of being in trouble, and that is a very negative association for a people-pleaser; yet on the other hand, as an athlete, discipline  has simply meant adhering to the training and teaching prescribed by coaches who knew far more about my sports than I did.  In athletics, I never had a problem with a coach correcting me, as I knew it was for my benefit as an athlete, and would make me stronger, faster, or more efficient (depending on which sport they were coaching).

As I unpack the word this morning, discipline in this portion of Proverbs has the same connotation as my second example.  Discipline here, actually means to teach and to train.  God wants to teach us and train us in His ways, and He loves us enough to correct and redirect us when we go astray from the path on which He has placed us.  His Holy Spirit will whisper to our heart when we have said or done something that we ought not have done.  That unsettling feeling of regret or remorse is actually our invitation to repentance.  The Lord is so kind and gentle.  He patiently and lovingly waits for us to turn our eyes back to Him, and set our sights on that which matters most – who He is, and who He is calling us to become.  May we embrace the Lord’s discipline as His sons and daughters, understanding that it is because He delights in us, that He disciples us in love.

The Lord loves to teach,

and train those He loves;Compassion in Confrontations

He shows us the way,

to change, overcome.

Just as a parent,

shows a child the way;

to live life upright,

for all of their days.

Embrace the correction,

for He teaches those;

beloved children,

whom He calls His own.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your discipline is part of discipling, and You are teaching and training us in the ways in which we are meant to go.  Thank You that love alone is Your motivation.  Forgive us for rejecting correction, or for being slow to respond.  Help us to quickly recognize Your voice, correction and direction in our lives, so that we can walk ever closer with You.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may embrace all of Your discipling, even when it involves rebuke or redirecting from where we thought we were meant to go.  Lead us to love others with the same generosity that You pour out upon us.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we embrace the teaching and training that You extend to each of us, individually.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Jesus is…

My pastor began a series yesterday, titled, Jesus is… The intent of the next several weeks is to unpack through scripture, just who Jesus is, and what that means to us, individually. First and foremost, Jesus is God. Again and again, scripture affirms how He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 1:8) Jesus is the image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15) Jesus is the exact representation of God. (Hebrews 1:3) Christ is the chief cornerstone in whom all join together to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:20-21) Scriptures throughout the Bible point to the truth that Jesus is God. The more we understand and learn about who Jesus is, the clearer picture we will have of God. The character of Jesus is the character of God.

 

Many people have a misguided image of God. They perhaps have heard just a part of the story and see God as an angry God. Would an angry God send His Son to restore relationship with people for all time? Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, showed us the heart of the living God. Not only is God loving, but He is a God of compassion too.

 

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man, “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. – (Mark 1:40-42)

 

Jesus cared more about a man in his moment of need, than He did about societies social graces. It was unacceptable to touch one considered unclean, yet Jesus touched he who was thought to be untouchable, and healed more than just a physical ailment. Suffering and separation from society ceased, with one tender touch from Jesus. May we hold fast to the truth that our God is compassionate and caring, and that He is willing to touch us, even when we feel that we are untouchable.

 

Invisible God,The Power of His Name

elusive, unseen;

yet so crystal clear,

through Jesus, is seen.

Compassionate Lord,

Who comes close to touch;

to cure what’s ailing,

because He loves much.

Alpha, Omega,

beginning and end;

all the in between,

our Savior and friend.

He’s hope in the hard,

and peace in the storm;

joy in the morning,

and Light all day long.

May we ever seek,

to understand more;

the nature of God,

through Christ’s open door.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are in a tangible way. Jesus, thank You that You made clear that You are the living God. Thank You that the better we come to know You, the more clearly we understand who God is. Forgive us for having misguided opinions or orientations toward You, and help us to set our sights solely on the pursuit of who You are, so that You may instruct us in all things. Teach us to trust You completely, and to listen well to all that You have to say. Lead us to love others as You love – with compassion that is not afraid to reach out and touch, even the seemingly untouchable. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we grow in our understanding of Christ. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Intended for Good

Joseph’s story is one of great faithfulness and forgiveness. Despite Joseph having been sold into slavery by his brothers, he chose to trust God, and remained faithful in each situation he found himself in. It was evident each time injustice or false accusations befell him, that Joseph did not get angry, bitter, nor hold a grudge. Each time, he opted to forgive and focus on what God was asking of him in his present circumstance, no matter how dismal it appeared. Ultimately, Joseph’s faithfulness resulted in his rise to second only to the Pharaoh, and what God had taught him through his trials,ended up preserving not only he and his extended family, but an entire nation.

 

After Joseph had reestablished relationship with his brothers and his father, his brothers became fearful once Jacob, their father died. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly. – (Genesis 50:19-21)

 

Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers who had sold him into slavery, but he reassured and spoke to them with kindness. Joseph modeled the very same sort of grace and forgiveness that God affords us, though we deserve it not. May we receive what Christ freely gives, and go forth and offer the very same grace to all those who surround us.

 

Despite harm’s intent,MSH29

God used it for good;

by trusting the Lord,

his heart understood.

Though likely unknown,

the number of tests;

his faith still remained,

in He who grants rest.

For Joseph, he knew,

the Lord’s faithfulness;

through times of trials,

and seasons of rest.

His faith remained strong,

no matter what came;

for He knew that God,

would triumph and reign.

May each one of us,

have faith as he had;

no matter what comes,

trust our Holy Dad.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of unwavering faithfulness presented through Joseph, despite the many trials that he endured. Thank You that it is obvious to see Your faithfulness as he was faithful. Thank You too for such a remarkable story of forgiveness and redemption. Forgive us for our unforgiveness or our lack of faithfulness when things get difficult. Teach us to trust You more, even in the most dire of circumstances. Lead us to love others as Joseph loved his brothers – with kindness and graciousness, no matter what has been done unto us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord, as they come to understand who You are, and how You love and forgive by Your glorious grace. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to love and forgive as You love and forgive each of us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

When Anger Arises

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. – (Ephesians 4:26-27)

 

Anger can be a tricky topic. Just as any other emotion, there are times when anger is an appropriate response to a given situation. That being said, it is always a matter of how we handle our anger that determines whether or not we are responding in righteousness, or running on the road to ruin. Bottling builds bitterness, and outburts wreak havoc, yet Paul says to deal with anger immediately. Ideally, our objective ought to be to approach the offender in love, with the intent of reconciliation, not retaliation. If a resolution is not readily available, we can, at the very least, submit the situation to our Savior in prayer. As we speak out the words of anger, hurt and frustration openly and honestly before Him, there comes a softening, and He equips us with the capacity to pray for the very person or people that inspired the onset of anger. Through prayer and seeking to set things right, the devil has no hold on the destruction that was originally intended. When anger rises, may we seek to set things right.

 

When fury rises,When Anger Arises

don’t fold and give in;

let not the sun set,

in anger, don’t sin.

Give not the devil,

a foothold to take;

seek to reconcile,

and hatred shall break.

Pray for the people,

who wrong or do harm;

go and confront them,

grace through outstretched arms.

Seek to extend peace,

where chaos has reigned;

love as Jesus loved,

let truth be proclaimed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that anger is not all bad, provided we do not sin when it rises up within us. Thank You that Jesus modeled what righteous anger looked like, when merchants were preventing people from worshiping You and You cleared the temple courts so that they could again enter the space to focus their attention toward You. Forgive us for the times that we have sinned in our anger – for thoughtlessly venting, for bottling it up and becoming bitter – and help us to seek You first so that we act according to Your will, when anger arises. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might respond in righteousness, regardless of the situation or circumstance. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come to know the saving grace that is available in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we act appropriately when anger arises. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

 

An Appropriate Answer to Anger

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. – (Proverbs 29:11)

 

Considering the multitude of injustices taking place in the world around us, it is easy to become angered at the outrage. However, when we are in Christ, we are called to handle ourselves in such a way, that the world sees a difference – even when we are angry. This does not mean we are to sweep offenses that need attention under the rug, but rather we are to approach them in the opposite spirit, with the intent to bring healing and wholeness to the offender as God provides opportunity.

 

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. – (Ephesians 4:26-27)

 

“The Bible doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t feel angry, but it points out that it is important to handle our anger properly. If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. If we nurse our anger, we will give Satan an opportunity to divide us. Are you angry right now? What can you do to resolve your differences? Don’t let the day end before you begin to work on mending your relationship.” – (NIV footnotes)

 

There are times when reconciliation is neither possible, nor wise. In such cases, all that we can do is continually give our anger to God, and trust Him bring about His justice. Despite what we see in the here and now, all will have to one day answer for what we have or have not done. May His wisdom grant us control, so that we may properly deal with anger.

 

Be not a fool,An Appropriate Answer to Anger

that rages in sin;

choose His control,

Christ’s peace from within.

Allow it not,

to fester and grow;

go deal quickly,

don’t grant a foothold.

God’s great wisdom,

will show us the way;

to make amends,

and forgive each day.

Vengeance is not,

for us to decide;

pray for a change,

His justice preside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace, yet You show us time and time again throughout Your word, that vengeance is Yours. Thank You too, for helping us to understand that anger in and of itself is not a bad thing, but rather it is what we do with our anger that determines whether or not we are responding in righteousness. Thank You that if we choose to listen to You and follow what You ask, we need not sin in our anger. Forgive us for our outbursts and for the times that we have stayed silent and harbored anger in our hearts. Teach us to trust You enough to act according to Your good and perfect will for us – even as anger arises. Thank You that anger is a call to action. May we answer the call and act accordingly. Let us love when those who have offended expect spite, and may they come to know that You are the reason for our love. Let the lost find You. Be glorified God, even as we act on what has angered us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

 

 

 

His Love, Not Mine

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  LOVE NEVER FAILS…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Whenever I think that I am somehow becoming more patient and kind, something happens to show me just how far I have to go.  I say this not as a discouragement, but rather an encouragement; for we all are a work in progress.

As a mother, patience with kids is a fairly natural and routine part of my world.  The same holds true in my role as a teacher.  However, when lines are crossed, and students intentionally attempt to inflict harm upon other children, I no longer feel patient, nor kind.  When the attempt is made on my own child, a fierce sense of protection rises up, and mama bear’s claws come out.  Though I did not physically lash out, nor verbally go after said child, the initial thoughts in my heart toward him were neither patient nor kind.

Once I had the time to slow my body and mind long enough to listen, I recognized that God loves that child, just as I love my own.  The truth of the matter is that hurt people, hurt people, and the boy obviously needs more support than he is being provided presently.  Additionally, God protected my son from what could have been, and created opportunity to speak truthHis love never fails.  Every morning before my children wake, I pray for their protection.  Once again, He has shown me how He always protects, for His love never fails.

Lord make my heart,His Love Not Mine

patient and kind;

let my eyes see,

through Yours, not mine.

In You, is truth,

what we can trust;

loving kindness,

from birth to dust.

Teach me Your ways,

so my life shows;

unfailing love,

that each day grows.

Your love alone,

endures always;

it never fails,

all of our days.

May we hold hope,

in You alone;

trust in Your grace,

know that we’re known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an unconditional, everlasting, unchanging love.  Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You keep no record of our wrongs when we confess and ask for forgiveness.  Thank You that You are our protection and our hope, and that You give us the strength to trust You so that we may persevere.  Forgive us for our tempers, our pride, our lack of patience and kindness, and for our keeping record of wrongs.  We desperately need You to walk out our lives as we are called to do.  Teach us how to extend grace to the hurting who hurt us and our loved ones, and help heal the wounds that have hurt them so deeply.  May hearts be changed and lives restored, as we love like You love us.  Let the lost, the lonely, and the hurting, find comfort and restoration in You.  Be glorified, our great and loving Lord.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy.

– Hebrews 4:16