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Thursday: Our Father’s Discipline — 13 Comments

  1. The existence of all God's creations whether animate and/or inanimate are good/fit for purpose.

    The golded achievements of God's creations are children in his image.
    Genesis 1:26

    The greater the position in his Family of immortal Sons and Daughters the greater the discipline!
    Matthew 20:20-28

    Q:What is the source of discipline?
    A:God's workmanship
    2 Timothy 2:20-21
    Job 10:8-9
    Romans 8:28-29

    Q:What is our response to discipline?
    A:confusing, struggle, dependency on the Spirit of Christ,
    jury is still out, on the final product!

    Q:What is the goal of discipline?
    A:Fitness for immortal purposes in the kingdom of the Son of his love.
    Matthew 5:48
    Romans 8:28-29
    1 Corinthians 15:38
    1 Corinthians 15:41
    1 Corinthians 15:42-49

    Keep on trucking (meme)
    Shalom in his work in the inner man. 🙏
    Philippians 1:6

    1 Corinthians 15:28
    28 When everything is subject to Christ, then the Son himself will also be subject to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

  2. When I went to school back in the 1950s corporal punishment was still in vogue. If you were just ordinarily naughty, you could get two whacks across the backside with the cane. Serious offences were given "six of the best". Nowadays, such practices are considered barbaric - such is the speed of social change in our society. I have to say this though: the immediacy with which corporal punishment was administered meant that it was over quickly and that you could get back to your school work, even if your backside hurt a bit. I experienced the pain of corporal punishment a couple of times during my schooling, mostly for getting into fights with other students.

    Most teachers administered corporal punishment without any malice. I have often seen a student who has been punished, being helped by the same teacher to do his school work only a few minutes later.

    I am not arguing for a return to the "good old days", but for myself, I have no regrets about being canned. I had earned it and I learned from it.

    One of the things that I have learned about discipline over my years of high school teaching is that some students accept their discipline and learn from it, while others treat the discipline as undeserved, claiming they have been treated unfairly. Getting rebellious students to admit that they are wrong is sometimes very difficult.

    We often argue about the relationships between discipline and punishment in our spiritual lives. Does God punish us or discipline us. We have this rejoinder that God allows this or that to happen to us for our own best good. I prefer to think that God uses life's experiences to help us to grow and develop. Sometimes we have to feel pain to learn.

    Paul found out the hard way:

    And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Acts 9:5 KJV

    Paul was going the wrong way - thinking it was the right way - until his way hurt him. It was time to grow and learn.

    • As one of those who provides input regarding discipline and punishment, I will say that I too essentially share your 'bottom line' (no pun intended!) that God utilises life's experiences to help us grow and develop. And I too have observed that some people, unfortunately, only learn the hard (ie painful) way.

    • Thank you, Maurice and Phil for your comments. Regarding: "One of the things that I have learned about discipline over my years of high school teaching is that some students accept their discipline and learn from it, while others treat the discipline as undeserved, claiming they have been treated unfairly. Getting rebellious students to admit that they are wrong is sometimes very difficult... Does God punish us or discipline us?... I prefer to think that God uses life's experiences to help us to grow and develop. Sometimes we have to feel pain to learn."

      I agree. Sometimes God uses life's experiences to help us grow and develop. Wouldn't it be great if we could learn and grow from all of the challenging experiences of others? Based on all of the faults, failures and mistakes of folk in the Bible alone, we would be pretty put-together people!

      Or what if God could just state some principle for life and we would just immediately get it - and adhere to it? Unfortunately, we often have to feel pain to learn.

      Many of my therapy clients are challenged with abusing drugs. Three weeks ago, a number of them relapsed. Typically, one relapse at a time doesn't faze me, but many at the same time was disheartening. My clients realize that from me, there is no condemnation. Whether they are spiritual or not, I share that the ground is level at the foot of the cross, and we all struggle with something. They appreciate the warmth, empathy and understanding.

      What made three weeks ago particularly challenging wasn't really the relapsing - except that one of those client's sobbed, stunned during our emergency session that Monday morning because he had found his girlfriend dead in their apartment a few hours earlier, due to overdose.

      Some clients shared outright that they had relapsed. Others lied. Some lied, then later confessed that they had relapsed.

      Some of the lies were quite elaborate. Many of these clients have been granted probation by Community Corrections and since drug tests are administered during our therapy sessions, one client did not attend his appointment.

      He called in advance to be excused because he said his mother was in the hospital and it didn't look like she would make it. Of course, I told him to care for himself and his family, and compassionately noted that he didn't have to bring in a letter from the hospital verifying his absence - a photo of the nursing board in his mother's hospital room would suffice. He could simply text us the photo. Only he couldn't. Every week since, I have requested the photo and every week, he shares some reason he doesn't have it with him, along with a pledge to bring it next week. His rationales for not having it are beginning to contradict themselves. He gets antsy, he stutters and has trouble forming complete sentences only when we speak of the missing verification. Yet, inconceivably, he's actually shared how disappointed he is that his word is being questioned!

      We have processed how irrational his position is. How, if anyone would have shown me such grace as to just request a simple photo, I would have hurried to provide it; and how suspect it is that he cannot. Although he has agreed, he has continued in his denial.

      Denial is common in substance use recovery. Clients commonly deny having used drugs while actually reviewing drug screen results reports from Abbott Laboratories with me. They then typically question whether the lab results are wrong, but usually stop when I say that I won't entertain such thoughts. Most still claim to have no idea how the drug(s) ended up in their system.

      I share with clients in such situations that I don't find relapse particularly disappointing, but spending hours debating such matters is a horrible use of therapy time and of physical and mental energy. I don't aspire to be a lie detector, so debating denial is painful for me. Why should either of us share one word if we are both aware that we are speaking about lies.

      God ever whispers entreaties to us, but we tend to not learn from His words alone. Perhaps this is why God is often silent in our stubborn waywardness. Perhaps communication would not be productive.

      Clients in denial are running and hiding from consequences. They're not seeking to learn or to grow. They just want to get their immediate needs met and not face consequences. They deflect or rationalize their behavior with claims of being treated unfairly or unjustly, e.g., Abbott Labs is to blame for their situation.

      What makes these exchanges especially painful for me is that my reason for being there is healing and growth, and we COULD be addressing the source of their need vs. detecting or debating lies, or rationalizing behaviors.

      When all the while, there is no condemnation from me, and very lenient (if any) consequences from community corrections while they are in treatment.

      God must find conversation unproductive when we have chosen wayward paths. We typically choose them in order to fulfill some need or attain some desire. We're not necessarily seeking to learn or to grow. We just want to get our need met. And we don't particularly want to deal with consequences, either.

      It must be painful for God because His purpose for us is healing, learning and growth, and to get us home - and He COULD be addressing the source of our need if we would stop running, hiding, being despondent and/or ignoring Him as we pursue unmet needs in harmful ways.

      Because paths we choose are often harmful, we naturally experience painful consequences.

      When all the while, there is no condemnation from Him. Just love. And a desire to be in our midst. “For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'."

      Sometimes God uses life's experiences to help us learn, grow and develop. Also, in our waywardness, He sometimes allows them to.

      • Thank you for your message. I am passing through now these trials. Praying for God's intervention so it will end up to praising His name forever. 🙏

        • Eduardo, I am remembering you in my prayers. I'm praying His strength will support you and provide healing, as only He can. And if it would help to talk, I'm here.

  3. The "hard way." The "School of hard knocks." Yes, the Apostle Paul was going the wrong way and God had to knock him off his horse and blind him etc. And sometimes God has to do the same with us too.

  4. I see the Father’s Love to be the source of our discipline; acceptance is our response to His discipline; learning to live our life according to the Father’s righteousness is the goal of His discipline.

    Heb.12:1 …., let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, , this is the practical advise which our new heart and mind needs to understand to be essential to learning this spiritual lesson.
    Heb.12:9-10 - ”Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
    Heb.12:12-13 -
    ”Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rater be healed.

    To have found the source of all Truth and to be able to sit at the Father’s feet to learn to live His Truth in righteousness is life's true blessing.

  5. Dr. Sharen, I share with you the experience you mentioned in your comments, as I worked for many years with „Anonymous Alcoholics“.
    The problem starts when drinking becomes out of control. When therapy starts, there‘s a lot of denial, lies and relapse.
    A.A. applies the principles of the book „12 Steps and 12 Traditions“ to achieve healing. These steps are quite useful and can be applied in the life of any faithful Christian as well.
    I‘m quoting only the first 5, but please feel free to check the rest browsing the internet. When reading one can exchange the term „alcohol“ with any other shortcomings.

    Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our life has become unmanageable.
    Step 2: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    Step 3: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    Step 4: We made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.
    Step 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to other human beings the exact nature of our wrongs.

    • Thank you, Amina. I share your feelings about the 12 Steps, as being Biblical principles that are essential for growth in our Christian walk. I wasn't aware of what they were until I began working with clients challenged with substance use, and I was surprised at how comprehensively they characterize the Christian's experience.

      I think of Steps 1-3 as representing surrender:

      Step 1: I realize who I am - how sinful and utterly unworthy I am. And I am unable to save myself.

      Step 2: I realize that God alone is able. Only He can transform, save and redeem me.

      Step 3: So, I surrender.

      I think of the rest of the steps as spiritual maintenance:

      Steps 4-7: I make a searching and fearless inventory of myself - or I search or examine myself and I ask God to search me, as the Psalmist does. To see where wickedness is, to forgive me and to remove all wrongdoing from me - to lead me in His everlasting ways.

      Steps 8-10: I try to make amends to those I have harmed. I must continuously search myself and continually make amends, as, being imperfect, I will have to do this the rest of my life.

      Step 11: I dwell as closely as I can with God, through prayer and study of His Word.

      Step 12: I'll go and share this beautiful message of deliverance with any and everyone who will hear.

      Thank you for sharing about the 12 Steps, Amina, for the work that you've done with AA, and for the encouragement to me for therapy practice.

  6. 2 Peter 1:4 and 2 Corinthians 7:1 are also very clear that it is God's Promises that will give us success in escaping the corruption of the world, cleanse us from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfect holiness in the fear of God, and become partakers of God's Divine Nature. And what better promises are there than Jesus own words in Matthew 6:12-14 to ask God for power to escape temptation and sin because He has all power to do this because He has all power to do this in this world that is now His in all glory and honor etc. and etc.

  7. I am not so sure about the 12 steps being Biblical at all. Maybe some of them are. But the Promises of the Bible are definitely the ones that can never fail at all and they are very clear and safe. Maybe like someone said that the first three are. Luke 11:13 is very clear about the gift of God's Holy Spirit and they are Jesus' very own words about this Gift of His Father for us. Then there is the Apostle Paul's words in Philippians 4:13,14 to "Forget what is behind and press forward to God's high calling in Jesus, etc. and etc." How can anyone truly "forget," if one is in a group sharing with that group their negative past etc.?


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