DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – GOD’S LOVING ENCOURAGEMENT.
My father would not have been particularly interested in a book about fathering, although he did like to read. One day when he was reading in the living room, my brother and I decided we could play basketball without breaking anything. When I took a shot that redesigned the glass table, my mother came in with a stick and said, "So help me, I'll bust you in half." Without lifting his head from his book, my father said, "Why would you want twice as many?" - Bill Cosby.
Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children? "My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you. - Hebrews 12:5. (GNB)
We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the musician's instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not "disciplined"? - A.W. Tozer.
I love to encourage, and I love to be encouraged. Many times I hear people say, “But, you can’t be positive all the time!” Well, it’s not about positive and negative, it’s all about helping someone move on from where they are, and sometimes that will mean a rebuke, as in our text above.
God loves us so much, and as our Heavenly Father, He wants us to move on in our lives, not to become stuck in a rut. A lot of people feel sorry for themselves, and just want to stay at the “pity party” stage. But Father will rebuke us for this, and we must not be discouraged by it, in fact if we look at it in the Spirit, it’s the best thing for us, and if anyone knows best, it’s our heavenly Father…
My child, when the LORD corrects you, pay close attention and take it as a warning. The LORD corrects those he loves, as parents correct a child of whom they are proud. - Prov 3:11-12.
Father, doesn’t want to rebuke us, the same as we don’t want to rebuke our children, but if we are not disciplined enough to read His word, and apply the principles of it to our life, then He will discipline us in order for us to take the best advice, which is extremely encouraging, when everything falls into place! Hallelujah! What a mighty God we serve!
John Wesley and a preacher-friend of plain habits were once invited to dinner where the host's daughter, noted for her beauty, had been profoundly impressed by Wesley's preaching. during a pause in the meal, Wesley's friend took the young woman's hand and called attention to the sparkling rings she wore. "What do you think of this, sir, for a Methodist hand?"
The girl turned crimson. Wesley likewise was embarrassed, for his aversion to jewelry was only too well known. But with a benevolent smile, he simply said, "The hand is very beautiful."
Wesley's remark both cooled the too-hot water poured by his friend, and made the foot-washing gentle. The young woman appeared at the evening service without her jewels, and became a strong Christian. - Source Unknown.
When I was a young boy, I always acted as if I hated discipline; it was part of a game I used to play. Now that I am older, I am so thankful that my earthly Father loved me enough, (my Mother died when I was two years old) to discipline me strongly, to guide me lovingly, and encourage me repeatedly.
This "discipline and training of God" when accepted, and acted upon, will give us so many wonderful blessings. Now if we can just learn to recognise, and appreciate the Lord's discipline in our lives, our walk with Christ will be so much fuller! The lack of love is not hate, but indifference, and the opposite of concern, is an unwillingness to discipline.
Criticism is always difficult to accept, but if we receive it with humility and a desire to improve our character it can be very helpful. Only a fool does not profit when he is rebuked for his mistakes. Several years ago I read a helpful article on this subject. It stated that when we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn from it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit.
The article then offered these four suggestions: (1) Commit the matter instantly to God, asking Him to remove all resentment or counter-criticism on your part and teach you the needed lessons. (2) Remember that we are all great sinners and that the one who has criticized us does not begin to know the worst about us. (3) If you have made a mistake or committed a sin, humbly and frankly confess it to God and to anyone you may have injured. (4) Be willing to learn afresh that you are not infallible and that you need God's grace and wisdom every moment of the day to keep on the straight path.
When we are criticized, let's accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. He who profits from rebuke is wise. - Source Unknown.
Thank God that He loves us, and knows us enough to be involved in our lives, and to discipline us in the direction of heaven. Praise His wonderful Name!
Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to recognise your discipline and correction in my life. I want to live for you with an undivided heart, pleasing you in word, thought, and deed. I confess, however, that sometimes my heart is rebellious or my resolve is weak. I thank you for your encouragement, and for helping me recognise my loss of spiritual direction, through your loving discipline. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.