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Posts Tagged ‘Discipline’

Have you ever had your big toe poke a hole clear through your sock? A sore toe and maybe a blister is the reward for rubbing shoe leather all day, and it hurts.
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Auntie Marian sat on the front porch, in the cool of early evening, darning socks and rocking. And we were grateful for her diligence.

But whether you’re darning a sock, fixin’ and stitchin’ a hem, a family, or a life, it’s easier to restore when less stitches are required to patch the gap. These days we don’t stop to repair DSCF5450anything that breaks, just toss ‘em in the trash and shop for new stuff.

We’ve become the throw-away-generation.

Tired of a dress? Pitch it. Don’t like the sofa? Purchase a new one. Want a larger home? Get rid of the old one. And judging from the size of the malls, stores, and warehouses, we are indeed a nation of shoppers on steroids.

Newer, faster, sleaker everything—from cars to toothbrushes. Trouble is, our penchant for trashing objects has slithered into trashing people and relationships: Troubled kids, troublesome relatives, whoever and whatever flickers your feelings. Commitments? Disposable. Don’t even like the word. Gotta be free. Free to do my thing. My way. And in my time.

Like the three-year-old in the blog last week demanding a candy bar. Did I forget to mention the shopping cart was strewn with an empty cracker box, a half-eaten cookie, and a sucker wrapper? Bribes—given in place of loving enough to take the time and energy to properly discipline the child.

I’m so thankful God doesn’t toss me on the garbage heap when I wear out or offend Him. No, He takes the time to refresh me, to teach me to walk in accord with His Word. And I’m thankful His mercies are new every morning for those who love Him. God’s Word tells me He loves me so much He gave His only Son to die in my place. To die instead of me.

At the point we come to the end of our pride and arrogance and recognize we are hopeless without Him, He offers His amazing gift of grace and mercy to each person who repents, confesses, and truly believes in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to give them new life—now and forever.

What bribes have you allowed to creep in and litter the landscape of your home? What deceptive lies have caused you to refuse God’s repairing discipline?

And the rest of the world looks at God’s people. A world saturated in evil, poverty, and death. A world desperate for love, hope, and a Savior. Yet they look at Christians and wonder, “Those church folks act just like me. Why should I want to be like them?”

DSCF5451Could it be, church folks, we are full of rips and holes that need God’s darning needle? It sure is less painful to allow God to snip renegade threads from our hearts and take a few stitches in our character each day, rather than wait ‘til the distance between our hearts and His is an empty, dark cavern.

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives…All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:5-6 and 11 NAS).

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Don’t be where trouble can happen.

Grammar excluded, this is a profound statement, isn’t it? My Mama repeated these words to my brother and me often. So often it still plays like a recording in my brain. “See Mama, if you’re peeking through the pearly gates, I heard you all those years ago. And still do.”

But today we’ve thrown out those sayings of years gone by like the baby and the bath water. Why? Could it be pride? Wanting to DSCF4898do things our way—rejecting our parents’ way. After all, their ways are meaningless today, right? Times and people have changed. Or have they? Were those statements based on solid, biblical, historical truth?

It’s obvious we’ve raised several generations of young people on a different foundation than we were taught. A shaky foundation. A weak foundation that is cracking and crumbling. Is the substructure beyond repair? Only time, our response to truth, and God’s mercy will tell.

For the next few weeks I’d like us to dissect some of those ancient words from generations past. Let’s see if they were old wives’ tales or words of wisdom we’ve trashed in this super-sonic age of technology. And if you have sayings from your folks, please share them. Join the conversation and let’s learn from each other.

To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the DSCF4893sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel…The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:2-5, 6 NAS).

Last week, in Dallas, Texas, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed over her boyfriend and out the back window of a moving car. The car ran over her and she died. Alone. In the middle of the night. On a dark city street. Allegedly after partying at a club with friends. Friends who drove off and left her. With friends like that…
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This young woman made a fatal choice to spend her last hours in a place where trouble was bound to happen.

A young mother, shot in the early morning hours—3 a.m.—in the parking lot of her apartment. She too died alone, leaving behind babies and a grieving husband. An isolated parking area in those dark hours is certainly a place where trouble is apt to happen.

Boys love to climb. A young teen climbing on a school roof falls, breaks his femur, and spends the summer incapacitated. Then the teens who broke into a house and were shot by the owner. Dead. Gone forever because of wrong choices.

Two hormonal teens in the back seat of a car, or alone in a basement playroom watching TV long after the parents have retired for the night, a definite opportunity for trouble to happen.
And the list goes on and on. I’m sure while reading mine you recycled your own list, didn’t you?

We’ve all done stupid stuff, gone places we shouldn’t have, taken foolish chances, but the difference is the actions listed above are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Where have we gone wrong? What could we have done to achieve a different outcome?

Mama had another saying that answers that question. When you do bad things, bad things happen. And in our house, boy did they! Mama called them consequences and she made them happen. This godly woman believed God made bushes for parents to cut switches, and she sent us to cut our own rod-of-consequence. A new switch for each infraction of the rules.

Oh no! Not the dreaded word—rules. Yes, there were rules in our house. Rules set by Mama, carried out by Mama, and enforced by Daddy. There were no time-outs or removal of privileges. Consequences were swift, sure, and tailor-made for the crime. And the only political correctness in our home fled at the sight of Mama’s switch and Daddy’s belt.

The wisest man who ever lived said:

“Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory…Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 11:14; 12:1 NAS).

DSCF4894We’ve pitched the switch, banished the belt, and tossed the baby with the dirty bath water. But Solomon instructed:

“Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28 NAS).

Current psycho-babble encourages parents to be their children’s friend. God gives children many friends during their life-time, but He only gives a child one mama and one daddy. If you don’t parent, it won’t get done. We are the ones God appoints and holds accountable to equip our kids with His knowledge and understanding so they can learn to make wise decisions.

Parenting begins at the cradle and ends at the grave. And very often these days, the funeral is that of our children because many of them have failed or refused to make wise choices.

God didn’t give us babies, then leave us without an instruction manual. He gave us sixty-six books, but one in particular teaches the basic principles for living life right—the Book of Proverbs.

The teaching window is brief. The time to begin is now. Don’t wait ‘til tomorrow, because:

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15 NAS).

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