Following the death of computer pioneer Steve Jobs in 2011, more than one million people from around the world posted tributes to him online. The common theme was how Jobs had changed their lives. They said they lived differently because of his creative innovations, and they wanted to express their appreciation and their sorrow. The screen of one tablet computer said in large letters: iSad.
Gratitude fuels expression, which is exactly what Psalm 107 describes: “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (v.2). The theme of this psalm is people in great trouble who were delivered by the Lord. Some were homeless and in need (vv.4-5); some had rebelled against God’s Word (vv.10-11); others were at their wits’ end when they cried out to God (vv.26-27). All were rescued by God. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (vv.8,15,21,31).
When we consider the greatness of God’s love, His grace in sending Jesus Christ to die for us and rise again, and what He has delivered us from, we cannot keep from praising Him and wanting to tell others how He changed our lives!
have done for me. You have changed the focus
and purpose of my life because You sent Your Son.
|May 2, 2014From: Crosswalk.com
Losing This Battle is Not an Option
“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)
By the time our daughter Heather turned 2, all my prideful pre-parenting thoughts had come back to me. How many times had I unfairly judged another mama and promised myself my kids would never act like that?
You know that behavior: flailing around in their mother’s arms, pitching a fit on the grocery store floor or throwing a tantrum in line at the movies. However, my daughter’s strong will was unrelenting. She tried my patience constantly … and often acted like that.
I’ll never forget one particularly difficult night. It had been a long grueling day of battles, and it was bedtime. (Praise God for bedtime.) Heather had hurt her baby sister, so I told her to apologize. She refused.
Everything in me wanted to just put Heather to bed, but I knew I couldn’t let this go. So in a stern voice, I told her, “Go to your room and I’ll meet you there.” Thankfully, she obeyed and walked to her bedroom.
I thought a battle had been avoided … until she looked back at me with that iron will glaring. She stood there with one foot in the room and one foot in the hall.
“Get in your room, Heather.” My tone meant business, but she wouldn’t budge. I thought to myself, I’m just too stinking tired for this.
At that point, I remembered Proverbs 3:11-12, a verse I memorized before Heather was born: “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.”
As I weighed my choices, the Lord spoke to me through that verse. And I knew He was saying: Losing this battle is not an option. I took a deep breath and decided no matter how long it took, I would not allow Heather’s disobedient will to triumph over my exhaustion. I loved her too much.
She finally sat down, half in the room, half out. And I joined her in the hall. We stayed there for hours that night. I wasn’t mad, just determined. My daughter would know after this night that her mama means what she says. There was no TV. No toys. Not even a scrap of paper to draw on.
While she sat, I folded laundry, paid a few bills and made my grocery list — in between asking if she wanted to apologize. Her eyes were getting heavy, and I knew she wanted to win the battle, but I remained firm.
Finally, three hours after her bedtime she apologized to her sister and to me. I kissed her goodnight as I tucked her in bed; she hugged me and smiled like I was the greatest mom in the world. All was good in our home, at least for that night.
That wasn’t our last battle. But over time they became fewer and fewer as I consistently disciplined my children, just like the Lord disciplines those He loves. Why? Because He longs for us to be wise, to avoid making harmful mistakes and to grow in His grace. That’s what I want for my five daughters.
I spent a lot of time in prayer and sitting in doorways as my girls grew up. Each one was different from the other, each requiring a different form of discipline. They’re grown up now, and I’m delighted to say that Heather and her sisters love the Lord and walk in His ways.
I love my children and know they are worth all the time invested in the disciplining. Even the many long, sleepless nights.
Lord, I need You more than ever. I need Your strength, wisdom and leading to raise my children up in the way they should go. Help me! I feel inadequate most days. I know that through You I can do all things. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Interesting, isn’t it, how some childhood experiences are permanently seared into our memory banks? One of my unforgettable memories is of watching my boyhood friend Bobby getting hit by a car. After church one Sunday morning, he and I were standing on the front steps talking. Why he decided to bolt into the street between two parked cars I’ll never know. But that is exactly what he did. As Bobby ran between the cars, his mother, who could see a car coming, screamed: “Stop! Bobby, Stop!” Whether he didn’t hear her or didn’t care I’m not sure. He just kept running. What haunts me to this day is the memory of the sound of screeching brakes and the thud of his body against the car’s fender. I need to tell you that I am tired of hearing the thud of fellow followers of Jesus getting hit by Satan. Like friends who thought that the most important thing in life was career advancement, only to hear the thud of the long-term damage to their kids and spouses. Or of those who sold out to the allure of an affair—or to the addictive seduction of porn—and are now left with the regrets of the collateral damage of their choices.
It’s easy to think you can get ahead by putting other people down or that intimidation and manipulation are handy tools for staying in control. But the thud of ruined relationships and reputations is a big price to pay for doing whatever is necessary to keep yourself on top. Lying to weasel out of a problem erodes the trust factor and compromises the strength of your character. The list of thud-able choices is long and the consequences are often irreversible.
Granted, we are sometimes blindsided by our ignorance or instinctively wrong about our responses to life. But thankfully, God is never blindsided. And, He’s never wrong. From His vantage point He has a clear view of Satan’s destructive attempts to thud our lives. So, like Bobby’s mom, He warns us with clear and unmistakable shouts from His Word. God’s Word is full of warnings about things like greed, selfishness, lying, lust, gossip, hatred, bitterness, envy, argumentative attitudes, stealing, murmuring, oppression, and ignoring the needs of the poor and underprivileged. So, it’s not that there is a lack of clarity in His voice. The problem is ours. Too often, like Bobby, we either are not listening, or we just don’t care.
The warning shouts of Bobby’s mother came from a heart of love and concern for Bobby’s welfare and safety. God warns us as well because He loves us deeply and wants to rescue us from the impending disaster of that thud in our own lives. It’s easy to think of God’s warnings and prohibitions as His attempt to take all the fun out of our lives, but that’s so wrong. In fact, nothing would give Satan more joy than getting you to think like that, because the more you think like that, the easier it is for him to “devour” you. And that’s a thud that I never want to hear!
Hebrews 11:23-40 (Good News Translation)
From: American Bible Society
God’s Word: Renewing Us in Faith
Hebrews 11:23-40: Today’s reading continues the listing of people of great faith, beginning with Moses, and includes those who were persecuted for their faith.
Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 11:39a
What a record all of these have won by their faith!
23 It was faith that made the parents of Moses hide him for three months after he was born. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s order. 24 It was faith that made Moses, when he had grown up, refuse to be called the son of the king’s daughter. 25 He preferred to suffer with God’s people rather than to enjoy sin for a little while. 26 He reckoned that to suffer scorn for the Messiah was worth far more than all the treasures of Egypt, for he kept his eyes on the future reward. 27 It was faith that made Moses leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. As though he saw the invisible God, he refused to turn back. 28 It was faith that made him establish the Passover and order the blood to be sprinkled on the doors, so that the Angel of Death would not kill the first-born sons of the Israelites. 29 It was faith that made the Israelites able to cross the Red Sea as if on dry land; when the Egyptians tried to do it, the water swallowed them up. 30 It was faith that made the walls of Jericho fall down after the Israelites had marched around them for seven days. 31 It was faith that kept the prostitute Rahab from being killed with those who disobeyed God, for she gave the Israelite spies a friendly welcome. 32 Should I go on? There isn’t enough time for me to speak of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Through faith they fought whole countries and won. They did what was right and received what God had promised. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 put out fierce fires, escaped being killed by the sword. They were weak, but became strong; they were mighty in battle and defeated the armies of foreigners. 35 Through faith women received their dead relatives raised back to life. Others, refusing to accept freedom, died under torture in order to be raised to a better life. 36 Some were mocked and whipped, and others were put in chains and taken off to prison. 37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were killed by the sword. They went around clothed in skins of sheep or goats—poor, persecuted, and mistreated. 38 The world was not good enough for them! They wandered like refugees in the deserts and hills, living in caves and holes in the ground. 39 What a record all of these have won by their faith! Yet they did not receive what God had promised, 40 because God had decided on an even better plan for us. His purpose was that only in company with us would they be made perfect.
Faith, according to Hebrews 11, means trusting in God rather than observing certain rituals. What did you learn about those whose faith is described in Hebrews 11? In what ways do you demonstrate your faith?