Blog Banners.001I would remember growing up that my mom would often say, “I am disciplining you because I love you.”

As a child, I would be confused.
“But mom, if you loved me, shouldn’t you give me everything I want? Why are you preventing me from getting the things I like which will add to my happiness?” This was how I would respond.

When I became a parent, I slowly started to understand what she meant.
But when I read certain verses from Hebrews, it made even more sense.

Reading through the book of Hebrews will give us a perspective.

You might ask, “How can hardship be an indicator of God’s love?”
“If God loves me, shouldn’t He always rescue me from tough times?”

An Act of Love

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6)

As a father, God disciplines us to prevent us from hurting ourselves.
There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is destruction.
If it seems that what you want you haven’t been getting, maybe there’s a greater reason.  Though you may not see it at the moment, trust that He has something bigger in store.

Treatment As Children

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.” (Hebrews 12:7)

There are times that hardship is discipline. When those moments come, remember that God is treating you as His son or daughter. He doesn’t only knows what’s best, He desires what’s best for you.

Painful But Productive

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

Discipline is never pleasant. I have yet to see a child request discipline from his parents. Our sinful nature has the propensity to push the boundaries and when caught, we are more sorry because of the consequences we receive rather than genuinely being repentant.

Discipline may not be pleasant. But in the end, we are harvesting righteousness and peace as we are being trained… even through the discipline process.

But remember this, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
Because of this truth, we can be rest assured that He is at work though we may not see it at the moment.

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I grew up playing baseball. And in baseball, there’s a thing that you would call as a pinch runner. A pinch runner is a baseball player who comes in the game for the specific purpose of replacing a player on base. The pinch runner substitutes for the other player either because of an injury or simply being skillfully better at base running.

In 1974, Herb Washington played Major League Baseball for the Oakland A’s. He played as a pinch runner. That year his team won the World Series championship. Washington, in his entire career, played 105 games, scoring 33 runs for his team without ever hitting a single baseball.

The Bible says that Jesus took our place in Calvary. Because of our sin, we should have been the ones nailed to the cross to pay for the penalty of our sin. But because Jesus became our substitute, God looks at us with approval and acceptance, forgiven and righteous as if we’ve never sinned.

Herb Washington received a trophy (with the team) in 1974 without ever hitting a baseball. Points were accredited to his stats when he scored runs even if he didn’t had times at bat. He never hit a homerun and yet he got a trophy.

We didn’t do anything to receive approval from God and yet we have a trophy on our hands, being given a thumbs up sign by God not because of what we have achieved but because of what was achieved for us by Jesus.

If we wrap our brains around this truth, this is so powerful that we will realize that we can approach and enter because we are assured 
of His acceptance and approval. Now, the ramifications are endless.

If you are a student, you don’t need to succumb to peer pressure because you know that you are accepted by the most important person in your life – Jesus.
If you are a single man/woman, you don’t need to compromise your convictions to feel accepted. Your Heavenly Father approves of you and gives you a thumbs up sign because you have Jesus in your life. You don’t have to get drunk with friends to feel accepted nor give in to your boyfriend/girlfriend’s sexual pressure to gain their acceptance and approval. The Lover of your soul accepts you and approves of you for who you are.

It also addresses a gamut of issues in life, particularly rejection.

Low self-image
Displays facade
Man pleasing spirit
Self-hate/self-rejection
Fear of rejection
Withdrawn personality
Earns approval by hard work or being good
Feels incomplete
Can’t receive love

These can work into our souls without us even realizing because we forget that we have been accepted by our Heavenly Father as we place our faith on Jesus’ atoning sacrifice in Calvary.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.(Ephesians 2:13,16)

Remember this, you are loved, accepted and approved by your Father in Heaven. Because of that, you can live life without the pressure of trying to perform, impress and measure up.

Nothing to prove. No one to impress.
I am accepted.

Lord, thank you for this truth. Help me grab a hold of this truth daily. I go to school or work knowing that I have nothing to prove and no one to impress. Take away the man-pleasing spirit in me. The only One I am called to please is You. In my understanding of the approval of God, I can live freely knowing that my Father looks at me with a thumbs up sign each and every moment because of Jesus. In Your name I pray. AMEN.

What do you do when people step in your situation and begin to tear down anything and everything you have?

Jude had a few thoughts…

Jude was the half brother of Jesus and the brother of James who wrote the book of James.

He was writing the letter to followers of Jesus who were being discouraged by scoffers.  Unfortunately, there are a few of those we’ll meet in this life who feel like their ‘calling’ in life is to keep scoffing.

Jude 1:20 says,

1. Build up your most holy faith.

There are different ways this can be done. To some it’s listening to praise and worship songs. To others, it may be studying the Bible for hours like my friend Rich Blaylock. Others feel they are really connecting with God when they are in solitude praying. Still, there are those who listen to podcast to build their faith.

However that pans out for you, Jude encourages us to build our faith.

2. Pray in the Holy Spirit

God’s given us a powerful way to connect to Him – and that is through prayer.

Prayer is not trying to twist the arm of God so that He can do what we want. It is actually aligning our will to His so that we see the fulfillment of all that He has planned – for our benefit but ultimately FOR HIS GLORY!

3. Keep yourselves in the love of God.

I do this almost everyday.

I preach to myself where I was, how I was rescued and where I am now.

And everytime I think about His grace and goodness through Christ, I can’t help but be utterly thankful for how He took me from a life of sin to a life overflowing with His goodness. I am forever grateful.

Preach the gospel to yourself daily. In so doing, all the more we appreciate His love and truly understand that none of all we have we deserve and yet we have what we have by the grace of God.

Amazing.