Nearly every morning, I have to yell at my kids, at least once, because we're usually on a tight schedule, and if something's out of whack, someone will be late, either for school, work, or whatever we have planned. I say yelling, but I like to think of it as "Motivational shouting." Sometimes, though, keeping the schedule becomes a bit difficult, the boys get distracted, and I need to take more stern measures. It's not something I like, but I want my boys not simply to be successful, but godly young men who are respectful and kind. With four boys 9 and under, this seems to require a lot of discipline. We've built up a negative connotation in our nation about the word "Discipline." I think some of it stems from actual abuses by parents, but most comes from this idea that if we are harsh or stern with our children, they will think we must not love them. As my boys grow older, I notice the need for discipline grows less, but the smaller two seem to need that stern guidance more. At first, I was like many parents, thinking my children would not like me if I disciplined them. Yet I noticed that, as I outline the rules, and the consequences for breaking them, it seems to make my children feel safe, and they actually grow closer to me. In the same way, the Lord does this for us. He wants us, not merely to be blessed or to have a "Good life," He wants us to be godly men and women who grow to be more like Him. This requires discipline! I am a sinner, and as such I often receive discipline from my Father. I'm certain, as I don't like disciplining my children, God takes no pleasure in disciplining me, but He disciplines me that I may grow obedient and discerning of His will, so that my life will give Him pleasure. Today, if you've felt as though you've been on the receiving end of God's discipline, be encouraged! God is molding you for His pleasure, and so that you may live a life by which He is well pleased! Hebrews 12
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Do Not Grow Weary
3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken
18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assemblya of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29for our God is a consuming fire.