Archive for February, 2014

The depth of the mind is unknown. The reality of its function is incomplete. The fascination of its concepts are infinite! Its creation belongs to God and Him alone! With that said, we have a responsibility to our Creator to discipline our minds to be stayed upon Him. Our blessing in return is perfect peace!

             “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” ~ Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

Sometimes my mind is so filled with stuff. Circumstances, decisions, people, and expectations are just a few of the many thoughts that cross my mind several times a day. The results of these thoughts range anywhere from frustration and anxiety to complete unexaggerated exhaustion. They steal both my time and the heartfelt joyfulness of my Heavenly Father. It is in these moments I need to step back, in the second of their occurrence, and prepare my mind for the action of discipline.

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

~ I Peter 1:13 (ESV)

Within the power of prayer, through the intercession of Jesus for me to my Abba Father, this discipline overcomes the negativity of the moment and suddenly brings an overwhelming, almost indescribable peace. I am so grateful for this promise! I am so grateful for its hope. Above all,  I am so grateful that in God’s omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, I am always with Him and He is always with me in the depth of my mind and in the center my heart! Thank you Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. You are so dearly loved!

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Most consider themselves independent and the culture would contend that dependency is a negative to be avoided. Yet, Jesus, fully human and with all of the emotions, temptations and concerns we face daily, exhibited dependence and voluntarily disciplined Himself to be fully obedient in response to God’s will. “I have revealed You to them, and I will continue to do so. Then Your love for Me will be in them, and I will be in them” (John 17:26, NLT).

Discipline is the believer’s response to God’s call to holiness. Obedience is completing a specific task or assignment as directed. Disciple and discipline come from the same word. The disciple makes a simple decision to accept Jesus’ invitation to follow Him. It isn’t an easy decision, and, personally, I find I have to make that decision daily. But Jesus calls us to leave our natural tendencies behind and to follow Him just as He called the disciples (Luke 10, John 21:17-19).

Discipline was a word that represented punishment when I was a child, but as an adult I have come to understand that God calls us to choose to surrender control…surrender our independence and willingly discipline our lives to His standards. We voluntarily choose to place ourselves under God’s directives for every area of our lives—disciplining our thoughts to think as He instructs (Phil. 4:8), disciplining our bodies (Heb. 12:1), disciplining our minds (Rom. 12:1-2), our associations and lifestyle choices (I Cor. 10:21-31). When we do, we will freely experience the abundance and joy of His best.

“When we deliberately choose to obey Him, He will reach to the remotest star and to the ends of the earth to assist us with all of His almighty power.”   

~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (12/1)

For further study on discipline:  Psalm 94:12, Proverbs 12:1, Proverbs 13:8, Proverbs 5:23, Proverbs 10:17, Deuteronomy 8:5

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“Discipline is not my claim on Christ, but the evidence of His claim on me.”

~ Elisabeth Elliot

Discipline…Where would anyone be without it? Without discipline, development of character, growth, and, most of all, heart and mind would not take place; for it is discipline that makes us think about who and what we are. It brings us to an understanding of the principles of life.

Discipline is never easy on anyone. True discipline is hard for those on the receiving end, as well as those who must deliver it. However, TRUE discipline, enveloped in love, results in heart-rendering change and a life directed on a path toward success.

A familiar form of discipline to me is constructive criticism. To be truthful, my defenses have risen quite high at times when I have received constructive criticism, whether it was from a loving family member, a co-worker or perhaps even my boss. The truth is that it shaped me and taught me no matter the situation at hand.

God disciplines His children to mold them and teach them. He is the potter; we are His clay, beautifully uttered in this song by Sharon Wexelberg, from a human heart to the heart of God:

You are the Potter and I am your clay,

You are the Artist and I am the paint,

You are the Writer and I am Your song,

I will be Your Instrument my whole life long.

Mold me, change me, color me

In shades of You, In shades of You

Play me, sing through me a melody

So when they look at me

They will only see who You are.

You are my Father and I am Your child

An empty vessel and You are the fire

All that You are Lord, is all I desire

Master Creator, take my life.

Only when we submit and give in to the discipline needed to shape our lives can we become who God created us to be!

“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives…For 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.”

~ Hebrews 12:6,11 (ESV)

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All of us have seen ads and labels on packages informing us of the minimum daily adult dosages we need of certain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to have a healthy body. But have you ever considered the minimum daily “vitamin” requirement that God asks of us so we have a healthy Spiritual life?

Disciplining ourselves to follow God’s truths is the minimum daily requirement. For years, I fooled myself (certainly not God) as I walked as close to “sin” as I could without technically committing it. However, this was as much a form of rebellion from discipline to God’s truth as the actions of King Saul. There is a fundamental flaw at work in our thinking and rationalization when we greet God’s truths with plea bargaining and attempt to minimize His demands to discipline our hearts toward obedience.

The prophet Samuel explained to King Saul on several occasions that “obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening [to God] is much better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshipping idols” (I Samuel 13:13-14; I Samuel 15:22-23, 35).

Yesterday’s devotional (Yes to Wholehearted Devotion) urged us to commit our hearts fully and follow the call God has on our lives. The words of Samuel remind us God wants our willingness to discipline ourselves and say “Yes” to obeying His directives.

Discipline is focused discipleship. Being a disciple is not enough. After all, even Judas was a disciple, but he was unwilling to discipline his appetite for recognition, money or character. Over the next few days, the authors will focus on discipline and how it is a believer’s path to real freedom.

“Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.”  ~ Proverbs 15:32

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I am told that when he stepped off the train, after serving overseas in World War II, the girl who captured his heart with her letters also captivated him with her beauty. “It was love at first sight,” my grandpa recalls. Sixty-eight years later, his love and devotion to my grandma has not wavered. Their vows have endured hardship and distance and yet they have remained faithful to one another in a way that is rarely seen or understood today.

The commitment and devotion I have observed in my grandparents through the years has given me a glimpse of the devotion necessary for an intimate relationship with Christ. And, I am recognizing that devotion isn’t a byproduct of demand, but rather a multiplication of love, His love for us and in us. I John 4:9 reminds us, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” When we reciprocate His love, in essence, we say:

  • I desire Your way, not mine.

  • I desire Your will, not mine.

  • I desire Your design and plan for my life, not mine.

These “vows” are daily acknowledgments of self-denial, and we act upon them when we give our time and energy for the sake and cause of Christ, in spite of the cost. Every moment that we abandon self and pursue Him, we draw nearer to the One whose love propelled Him to die for us. And while our love for Him will not reach perfection until eternity, we can be encouraged in knowing that “His love is made complete in us” (I John 4:12). I pray that our “hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God,” for in this devotion we will secure His greatest and most fulfilling blessing: an intimate and enduring relationship with Him (I Kings 8:61).

“To fulfill God’s perfect design for you requires your total surrender – complete abandonment of yourself to Him.”  ~ Oswald Chambers

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