Be Disciplined

August 31, 2013

Friends,
Pr. 19:18 says, “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.”

Sadly, the earth teams with people whose parents did not discipline them. Maybe the parents were too often absent, either at work, or indulging their own interests elsewhere, maybe they believed niceness and tolerance meant love and that this would cause a child to be loving and nice himself, maybe they didn’t know how to discipline correctly, or maybe they just didn’t care enough. Whatever the reason, many people, as is obvious, did not grow up under good parental discipline. Consequently, they were enabled to walk the path of death.

The broad path of death has many boulevards, many streams. But they all flow the opposite way of the narrow path of Life, and so therein is death –spiritual death, an untimely physical death, and eternal death. To be disciplined is the only hope for avoiding all three.

When parents neglect to discipline their children, this affects all of society. Not only do the undisciplined individuals entice and corrupt their peers, creating a multiplication factor there of wickedness, but even the general population, in watching others getting away with inappropriate conduct, learn that such behavior, because it is “normal”, is reasonable and so actually somewhat acceptable.

However, regardless of what the culture teaches, to be undisciplined is neither normal nor acceptable, nor is there any legitimate rationalization for it. Everyone has the ability to use their minds and consciences to tell them that the way they want to be treated is the way to treat others. Everyone has the ability to understand that they must use self-control in all aspects of life and living, and that they therefore must practice restraint. Even those without the Spirit of God know these things. How much more so should those know who claim to be in-dwelt by Him.

So, being we know that discipline is necessary and good, how do we make it less painful? We do it by submitting to the Holy Spirit, He who is not only a gentle, wise, firm, and persistent Trainer, but who is also the One who gives us His own power and joy. By giving us Himself, we can consistently say “No” to evil and “Yes” to righteousness as He leads us into all Truth. By being willing and eager to submit, we make it a habit to obey, to go to the Word to be taught more, and to put to practice what we learn. This is how we “train ourselves to be godly.” (See 1 Tim. 4:7) This is how we become disciplined people. This is how we, no matter what we were taught or not taught in the past, are able to get off the boulevard of death, begin walking the path of Life, obey the Teacher of that Path, stick to our commitment, and reach our final destination called Heaven.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
The Lord is so many beautiful things: He is the Mighty God, the Most High King. He is the Eternal Rock, the Living Bread, our Home of Righteousness, and the Prince of Peace. What a wonderful Lord we serve! What majesty, holiness, and beauty surround His throne! What rest He gives, what splendor He displays, what compassion He exudes. A friendship with this God is more than delightful. It is exciting, precious, and the Path of our salvation. Who should not revere and exalt and thank this Marvelous Ruler? –He who comes near His trusting ones and envelops them in His loving arms of care?

Where do we find this God? We find Him primarily in His Word –His Word which He has exalted above all things right alongside of His name. (Ps. 138:2) If we are meditating on the Word of God and putting it into practice, the Lord’s Spirit will fill us up with Himself to overflowing. Then we will be hearing even more instruction, be receiving even more insight, and be granted even more power –all so that we might further Christ’s Kingdom with ever-increasing boldness, faith, wisdom, and maturity.

What reward this all is! For the Lord, Himself our Reward (Gen. 15:1), is full of exceeding blessings for us, and as we live unified with Him, we have, and can participate in, all that He has and is. (2 Peter 1:3,4) Therefore, by having Him, we have strength, power, love, self-discipline, wisdom, knowledge, the mind of Christ, peace, confidence, security, rest, joy, and so much more.

Why are people not turning to this God who is so amazing? It is because the god of this age has blinded them. (2 Cor. 4:4) It is because others have persuaded them that the garbage, the darkness, the evil… is lovely and that sin is fun, pleasurable, and rewarding. Feigning pride in their deeds while actually knowing deep down that they are loathsome, they run from the Light’s exposure and thus remain in deliberate ignorance. No wonder the Holy Spirit says, “Go to this people and say, ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’ For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn and I would heal them.” (Acts 28:26,27)

Oh, that people would open up their eyes, ears, and hearts! If they would resist the temptation to flee and if they would submit to the godly grief that repentance insists must be present, then they could perceive the Truth, they could see the Lord, they could comprehend the gift of His enormous love. But most won’t. They won’t listen. They won’t turn. They won’t let go of their cherished sins.

Even so, for those of us who have let our hearts be broken, who have understood the privilege of the Offer, who have kept to Christ’s way without turning aside, we take huge joy in our Reward –our Reward who is the most beautiful and glorious God, the King who is full of all splendor and power, the Creator who is the blessed, honorable, and unfathomably majestic Eternal Sovereign Ruler, and the Merciful Shepherd who is also our own best Friend.

Who is He? He is the One who is called by the name that is above all names: Jesus. –The One who is the Eternal God, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
God’s Word warns us again and again about the danger of being deceived in spiritual matters which could cost us our soul. In Mark 13:22,23 Jesus Himself warns, “False christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the chosen. So stay alert! I have told you everything ahead of time.” 2 Peter 3:17 warns, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” So a believer who rests secure in Christ can be deceived by rebellious impostors and fall into their damnable falsehoods? That’s what Peter is warning.

Paul warns of it too, stating that many will adhere to vile sinfulness even while feigning godliness. (2 Tim. 3:1-9) In so doing “they will turn their ears away from the Truth” (4:4) and gather to themselves teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. (v. 3)

What do most people want to hear? They want to hear that they do not have to obey Christ’s words, God’s Word, or the convictions and promptings of God’s Spirit –unless, of course, they are in the mood to do so at some particular time (like when it might bring them renown or applause). The rest of the time, well, “God understands,” they chirp, “for He knows we’re only human.”

But what will become of those who swear allegiance to Christ in pretense only? What will be the end of those who claim to love, serve, follow, and obey Christ, but do not? They will fall. They will fall for deceptions, fall into the hands of pretenders, fall into the teeth of the devil, and be banned from God’s presence eternally.

What is our safety from such danger? We are told it is to stay alert, be on guard, take heed, and take precautions. We are told we must know the difference between the Truth and the False. However, how can people find wisdom and safety if they do not know what God’s Word really says? They can’t. It’s impossible. “‘Therefore, they will fall among the fallen. They will be brought down when I punish them,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 6:15)

Yesterday Daniel sent me a short, but very thought-provoking message that actually prompted me to write the above. He says in it, “I believe Psalm 91 has a spiritual meaning other than just a physical one, and when it speaks of a thousand falling at your side, it may also be pointing towards our position in the last days when there is a great falling away. If we make the Lord God our shelter and our might, if we leave all the world behind…”

May we all be wise and take heed.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
A few days ago some Jehovah Witnesses stopped by the home of a friend of mine and she told me about it. I then told her about the time when I engaged two JWs in discussion when they stopped at my door back in the mid-90s. I told her that it wasn’t but a week or so later that they sent two others, one of them being their top woman “witness”, as I guess they considered me a hard, but hopeful case. I had decided to listen to them as if they could be correct, and so they came many times after that, thinking, I’m sure, that they could eventually persuade me. At home alone I spent at least six months studying their beliefs, how they differed from evangelical Christianity, and checking both out against the Word of God. Later I did the same thing as I checked out numerous other doctrines, sects, cults, and religious beliefs as they compared or differed from God’s Word. It was certainly enlightening, to say the least. And I definitely learned the critical importance of knowing, for myself, what God’s Word actually says.

One of the most grievous falsehoods that most cults teach, including the JWs, is that Jesus was/is not God, but that He is only God’s Son. Many teach that He was created (or birthed) into existence, not that He Himself is the eternal God, the One who created all that exists, and that He Himself entered a virgin’s womb to be birthed as a human. However, to believe a falsehood about Christ’s Deity is damnable. Jesus made this clear in John 8:58 when He said, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” The Jews “picked up stones to stone Him” (v. 59) for they understood that His claim to exist before Abraham was born meant that Jesus was claiming to be God. Not only had He been teaching with authority, doing miracles, claiming to forgive sins, and declaring Himself to be “from above… [and] not of this world” (see v. 23), but Jesus also was stating, “If you do not believe that I am, you will indeed die in your sins.” (v. 24) Thereby Jesus was warning them of damnation if they chose to deny that He was the “I Am” (YHWH / the LORD / the Sovereign God) in the flesh.

I quoted Col. 2:9 to my friend and she eagerly wrote it down. It says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” But there are also many, many other verses and passages that declare that Jesus is the bodily image of the invisible Creator, the Father, the only Ruler, the Pre-existent One, the Eternal God. One is Col. 1:15-20 which states that Jesus created all things and existed before all things, another is John 1:1,14 which reveals that Jesus is the Word made human and that He existed with God from the beginning, and another is Isa. 9:6 which gives Jesus the titles “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father”.

One of the passages I took special note of back in the 90s was Isa. 45:21c where the LORD says, “There is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me.” How, I thought, could God the Father, say this, and still promote Jesus as the only one who could redeem (save) mankind? For in verse 22 the LORD continues, “Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Why then are we to look to Jesus to be saved? Why does Acts 4:12 say there is salvation in no other? And why, in Isa. 45:23, would the LORD say, “Surely every knee will bow to Me; every tongue will affirm [My sovereignty –see v. 24,25]” if this is being said of Jesus in Phil. 2:9-11? The reason is, is that Jesus is the LORD.

It is imperative that we study God’s Word carefully and continuously. Otherwise we are very likely to get fooled by those who promote doctrines which twist the Truth ever so slightly but ever so dangerously.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Ps. 40:8 says, “I delight to do Your will, O my God. Yes, Your law is within my heart.” Whether King David is saying this himself or is quoting Jesus, the Preexistent One, this should be the heart of all those who claim to love the Lord.

Doing God’s will is essential for belonging to Christ and getting to Heaven, which God’s Word makes very clear, such as in Mark 3:35, Mt. 7:21, and 1 John 2:17. Being this is the case, it would be wise for everyone to seek out how to know what God’s will is so that they can walk in it. To ignore God’s Word, that Book of Knowledge and Instructions which the Lord has given to mankind and which is the main avenue by which we find out God’s will and how to walk in it, is utterly foolish. Yet how many people, even self-proclaimed “Christians” fail to open up and study “Step One”.

Someone emailed me yesterday, telling me that the Lord has been impressing upon him the need to walk in His will at all times. He mentioned that he is reading an ebook on the subject by Andrew Murray. Ah, yes, Andrew Murray –that insightful South African preacher, writer, and servant of the Lord. We would do well to read his works too, even if his old English style may be cumbersome.

Many years ago I read Andrew Murray’s book entitled “Absolute Surrender”, including the one entitled “Be Perfect”, and also another one on prayer. I remember how shocking I found his doctrines to be, thinking, “How can a Christian possibly live up to all that?” But, with hope and faith, I tried to believe, and so set out to try to find out, through God’s Word and putting it into practice, if it was really possible. Of course for anyone who has been reading at my blog, it is obvious that I have come to find, and whole-heartedly believe, that it is.

Contrary to what Calvinists believe, humans have a God-given will of their own and are free to choose to seek the God who has made Himself conspicuous, or to reject the idea of getting to know Him. God woos everyone to make the correct choice, but He does not force. If someone chooses to seek God, God will help that person find Him, if that person shows genuine sincerity through persistence. Such a person will indeed come to the point of knowing Christ well, which will absolutely cause that person to delight to do what the Lord requires of him. It is still that person’s will doing the willing, but he has so eagerly and joyfully surrendered his will to Christ’s will, that the two wills are one. Thereby God’s will is done by God’s servant, for that servant has made a continuous habit of delighting to seek out, ask for, submit to, and DO God’s will.

For anyone else serious about walking in God’s will, below is a link to ebooks by Andrew Murray which should prove greatly beneficial. For truly, Mr. Murray was one of God’s holy, faithful servants who, before he left this earth, gave the rest of us a wealth of wisdom that we should definitely take advantage of.

http://swartzentrover.com/cotor/E-Books/holiness/Authors/Andrew%20Murray.htm

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Jesus calls us to rest, and tells us that true rest is found in Him. He tells us to stop striving in our own power and to advance in His. He calls us to die to ourselves and to live His abundant life. Oh, that we would believe so that we could remain in Him –in His rest, power, and life– without faltering!

Sometimes people will say things to us like, “Oh, take a break. Indulge yourself. Relax. Live for yourself for a day. Nothing bad. Just treat yourself to something harmless. Get some rest.” But is it restful to do any of these things outside of God’s will? Absolutely not. It is unrest. It is to slide down into depression, feelings of insignificance, turmoil in the soul, and even despair.

Of course the ungodly man will likely not even notice his negative position, for he has remained there so long that the hollowness of indulgence seems natural to him. But for those who know the Lord, who have followed Him closely, who have kept their lives in His life, then to turn aside even for a moment will be a distinctively unfavorable experience.

If we are walking in the Lord’s will at all times we should not be getting weary. If we do, then we’ve stepped out of Christ’s power and life where rest is continual. Does God get tired? Of course not. So if we get into a position of continued tiredness, then we have, in one way or another, stepped out of Him. We have turned away from His power, life, and will. I’m not talking about normal tiring that comes from a good hard day’s work, but about the fatigue and despondency that comes from trying to do things, whether those things be work-, fun-, or relaxation-related, on our own.

Jesus tells us, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened [all you who will admit you need help and rest] and I will give you rest. Take My yoke [My will for you] upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt. 11:28-30) The assignments Jesus gives to us are easy for us. Do we hear that? Yes, and they are easy because His Spirit is the One doing them through us. For those filled with the Spirit, even the burdens, trials, disciplines, and sufferings should be light because the Lord Himself in us always offers to bear them for us. Not only this, He is a gentle, kind, compassionate, humble Instructor who shields His faithful ones, cares for us, loves us, and guards us as the apple of His eye. (Dt. 32:10)

The Lord is our Rest. To get outside of Him is to find ourselves in unrest and misery. May we therefore be wise and take the necessary measures to remain in Christ so that that never happens.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
There are terms to the covenants God has made with His people. Both the Old Covenant, as well as the New, are about obedience. God’s people must obey Him, and He, in turn, will be their God. (Jer. 11:4) God’s people must separate themselves from all that is unclean, meaning all that is sinful, idolatrous, and of the dark realm. (2 Cor. 6:14-18 & 7:1) Why is this difficult to understand? Why is it hard to believe that God, our loving Husband, requires that His bride love Him (genuinely love Him) in return? True love is proven by purity, integrity, honesty, loyalty, trust, eager servitude, respect, honor, and faithfulness. True love is proven by adherence to (obedience to) the agreement, the contract, the marriage vows, the covenant.

Whoever rejects this reality rejects the one whom they have signed on with. If they have signed on with Christ, Christ Himself is then rejected. (John 14:15 // Titus 1:16) Whoever does this forfeits his salvation (Jonah 2:8 // 2 Tim. 2:12), because to deliberately sin is to sin defiantly, blaspheme the Lord, despise God’s Word, break His commands, defile His temple, and deny and disown Him as Lord (as Leader, Commander, and Boss). (Num. 15:30,31 // 1 Cor. 3:16,17) Such a person’s guilt will remain on him (Num. 15:31 // 1 Sam. 3:13,14 // Isa. 22:14), which means none other than God’s wrath, condemnation, and Hell. (John 3:36 & 15:6 // Heb. 10:26-31 // Rev. 21:8) No obedience to Christ’s teachings (His instructions and commands) equals no admittance into Heaven. (Mt. 24:48-51 & 25:24-30 // 2 Thes. 1:8,9 // Rev. 21:27)

Obedience is required. God has always required it. We, under the New Covenant, are absolutely not exempt. In fact, we have zero excuse to not conduct ourselves according to the righteous requirements of God’s moral law. (Rom. 8:4) These laws are to “be fully met in us” (same verse) because we are in-dwelt by God’s own Spirit, with His power, His nature, and His very life being our own. (same verse // Gal. 2:20 & 5:16 // Col. 3:3,4 // 2 Peter 1:3,4 // 1 John 3:9) Thereby “we serve in the new way of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6), fully able to grow into the perfection commanded of us (Mt. 5:48) so that once we are fully trained, we will indeed be just like our Teacher (Luke 6:40 // Rom. 8:29), having His mind (1 Cor. 2:16), His attitude (Phil. 2:5), and His behavior. (1 John 2:6)

Obedience to God has always been a (required) term of the covenant God makes with man. He will be faithful to His end of the agreement, and He will even give us His own Spirit by which to uphold our end; but to rebel is to alienate ourselves from Christ, relinquish God’s grace toward us, wither, die, and be cast into the fire of eternal punishment. (Mt. 13:41,42 & 25:46 // Luke 3:7-9 // John 15:6 // Gal. 5:4) Those who think that forgiveness of sin is theirs, without a life transformed, are in for a terror we would not wish on anyone. God certainly doesn’t desire such a fate for anyone either, and that is why He came to earth to pay sin’s penalty. However, those who refuse to take warning cannot be forced. Those who repeatedly rebuff all efforts cannot be helped. They, and they alone, have chosen their eternal destiny.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel