Godly-Discipline: Stubborn, Steadfast, Grace-Centered Love . . . .

This is the sixth post in a series featuring ways God
used my family and the Scriptures to draw me closer to Himself.
I share them to urge you, to trust in God no matter what your circumstance may be. ❤️

WORDS TO GROW BY:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace,
seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Colossians 4:6

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud,
abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love,
unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good . . . .”

II Timothy 3:1-3

Are we in the last days?  We do not know, but certainly we are closer than the Apostle Paul was when he wrote his letter to Timothy 2,000 years ago.  What we DO know, is that God gifted us with the Scriptures to equip us with everything we need to navigate through life.

When it comes to disciplining/discipling older children (pre-teen, teen and young adult), the challenge for us is often to resist being run by fear, anger or resentment.  Instead, Godly discipline endeavors to provide the stubborn, steadfast love (GRACE) we otherwise lack.

Godly Discipline: Stubborn, Steadfast, GRACE-Centered Love . . . .

In this post Godly discipline, as it relates to GRACE, will be our focus as Insights #8 through 12* (posted 5/8/17) are expanded.  The following are the Insights touched on in that post:

  • Insight #8:  The key to effective Godly discipline is PRAYER.
  • Insight #9: Speak truth in love–relying on the Scriptures for the best means of ministering to the mind and heart. 
  • Insight #10:  When dealing with sin, resist the temptation to minimize it.
  • Insight #11: With older children/teens, resist using long-term restriction as a weapon.  
  • Insight #12: Problems seldom occur at convenient times.  Check your attitude by giving thanks that God’s timing is always perfect. 

When it comes to connecting GRACE to Godly discipline,
stubborn, steadfast, GRACE-centered love is key.

One of my favorite examples of a parent extending stubborn, steadfast, GRACE-centered love in the Bible was a parable told by Jesus.  The story begins with the youngest son demanding his inheritance from his father.  The father gave it to him and, soon after, the son left to squander his inheritance on everything that went against what his father had taught him.

Jesus does not comment about what the father knew or thought, He only says that the father did as his son demanded of him.  Almost predictably, this is what happened to the son:

“After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine . . . and he began to be in need.
So he went and hired himself out . . . to feed pigs.
He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating,
but no one gave him anything.
“WHEN HE CAME TO HIS SENSES, the son said,
‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare,
and here I am starving to death!
I will set out and go back to my father
and say to him:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

I am no longer worthy to be called your son;
make me like one of your hired servants.’”
Luke 15: 14-19

A thought to ponder: Repentance inspired by conviction is beautiful in God’s sight.  

Most certainly, the father who thought he’d lost his son forever, saw such beauty in the face of his son . . . even at a distance:

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him,
and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

(verse 20)

 

But there was a second son, the older brother, who was less than delighted to hear music and dancing when he came in from the field.  When he learned that the festivities were in honor of his “low life” brother, well . . . suffice it to say, he was extremely unhappy:

“‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you . . .
I have never neglected a command of yours;
and yet you have never given me a young goat,
so that I might celebrate with MY friends;
but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes,
you killed the fattened calf for him.’
 “

Luke 15:29 & 30

Humanly speaking, most of us can relate to the older brother’s anger. But jealousy combined with self-righteousness is as ugly as the sins of the younger brother.  The father’s reply reflects God’s call to forgive as we have been forgiven:

““And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.
‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead
and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”
Luke 15:31-32

In these times of uncertainty, when children raised in Christian families are denying the faith they were raised in, do not give way to despair–God is absolutely worthy of your trust.  Insights 8 through 12 are especially meant to encourage you:

  • Insight #8:  The key to effective Godly discipline is PRAYER.  The older my children, the more precious the gift of PRAYER became.  There is no greater weapon when applied in stubborn, steadfast, grace-centered love that rests in God’s Sovereign Goodness.
  • Insight #9: Speak truth in love–relying on the Scriptures for the best means of ministering to the mind and heart.  Lean on God and the Scriptures to know when to speak and when to be silent.  Remember that the spiritual battle for souls has been ongoing since the Fall–trust God to help you stay on His path.
  • Insight #10:  When dealing with sin, resist the temptation to minimize it . . . but also resist the temptation to make a mountain of it.  Learn from the father who, after all had been said and done, let his son go his own way.  (You can bet that in the weeks/months/years after his younger son left, prayer became his greatest ally as he watched for his sons return.)
  • Insight #11: With older children/teens, resist using long-term restriction as a weapon.  (Review Insight #6 for my perspective on this.)  If grounding is necessary to keep them safe, do what you can to draw that child closer by spending time with them.  I taught one of my daughters to sew during such a season and looked for ways to build good character by serving others with all of them.  Attending church worship and youth group activities were maintained as part of our regular routine.  Lastly, encourage them to get into the Scriptures for themselves by making Journey Notes entries.  (See Journey Notes Praise Journaling page).
  • Insight #12: Problems seldom occur at convenient times.  Check your attitude by giving thanks that God’s timing is always perfect. 

Along the pathway of raising children, prayers such as, “Lord, I didn’t know it was going to be so hard”, are common.  It is my prayer that blessing will abound in your life (no matter what the season), as you seek God’s wisdom in applying His stubborn, steadfast, GRACE-centerer love to those He puts on your path.

All to His Glory!

*The Key to Godly Discipline
**To read the story in Luke 15, PRESS HERE.

 

 

A Guy Writes a Confession Letter to His Daughter with Down Syndrome

Giving thanks for this reminder that “Every good and perfect gift is from above . . . .” (James 1:17)   Blessings in abundance as we celebrate God’s Goodness!

Morsels Of Bread

This story will stop you in your tracks and make you think about the real meaning of life. It will make you realize that there is a time and a purpose for all things that happen in life. There are no coincidences, nothing happens per chance, and God makes no mistakes. This story will help you realize that life is not all about “you,” but rather true living comes in learning to live our life serving others and helping to attend to their needs. We may never know the “Why?” of everything that happens in life, but if we remain faithful, and continue to put our trust in the Lord, His grace is enough to see us through any situation.

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The Cosmic Grace of Prayer ~ God’s Gift to His People

I love the cosmic beauty pictured in Revelation that portrays God savoring the prayers of His people as they are poured out before His Throne:

The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.  
Revelation 8:4  (The New Living Translation)

 Prayer is a grace-filled wonderous gift; God’s cosmic provision whereby we can best communicate with Him and love one another.  I write this to thank those of you who have so faithfully extended the gift of your prayers before God’s Throne for my family.  Although my dad still has pneumonia and is considered “medically unstable” he does appear to be improving.  When I left Dad, all of his meals were delivered to his room; now, he is going to the dining room for most of his meals in a wheelchair.   On Veterans Day my brother reported Dad was alert and seemed to enjoy their visit.  Norm even expressed a hope that Dad might eventually be able to return to his assisted-living apartment–baby steps!

As I reflect on all that has taken place in the past three weeks, I have been blessed by the cosmic grace of your prayers being answered in accordance to God’s Plan for my family.  He has not only provided the care Dad needs but has given my brother and I a deeper appreciation for how every day of this journey is a gift of grace no matter what happens.  The Apostle Paul expressed what is truly on my heart in Ephesians 3:20-21,

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.”

It is my prayer that the gracious working of God in your heart and mine, will broaden and deepen our appreciation for such an amazing, out-of-this-world gift.

All to His Glory!

To My Stained Glass Friends

I pass this on in the hope that it will bless you as it blessed me this morning. Praising God for the Light of His Love that shines through even the darkest days. All to His Glory!

Wings of the Dawn

Tiefenbach, August 4th, 2013 035

Your life, a gift – by God’s own will,

Created to reflect the Light,

Was placed with perfect thought and skill

To mirror God’s amazing might.

~

Hope, Light, and Love through you He sheds,

While holding you in precious hands,

Illuminates what once was dead,

Shows those around you hopeful plans.

~

His wisdom manifold displayed

through you, my precious stained glass friend.

Your fragile frame let it not sway!

Perfection’s promised in the end.

~

“Father, thank You for the friends in my life
who continually lift my eyes to You.
Bless their obedience to You and continue
to use them and their gifts to point others to You.”

(Heidi Viars, 2013)

Tiefenbach, August 4th, 2013 036

And we all, with unveiled face,
beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

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A Meaningful Reality Check!

It felt good to return to work after traveling half-way around the world and back.  I love to travel because it reminds me of just how big this world is–a healthy reality check! However flying twelve hours in a plane to begin and conclude the adventure was hard!   What helped on our return flight, was watching a map of our progress as we flew out of Beijing to Toronto over oceans and seas, land areas and towns I had never heard of.  As we made our slow progress traveling the nearly 7,000 miles across the globe (“slow” being a very relative application here!) I thought about what a speck in God’s amazing cosmos we actually are!  It is amazing to me how we humans live as if the reverse were true; viewing ourselves as big and God as small and distant.

Travel is not the only way to receive that much-needed reality check.  The Scriptures also serve as an excellent means of keeping us straight as to who God is and who we are not!  That is why in the Counseling Room, frequent trips to the Bible are the key means of keeping our bearings.  There are a myriad of places to go for help, depending upon the need.  Often, when the problem(s) seem particularly daunting, I have found the broad spectrum comfort and assurance of Psalm 121 a helpful beginning.  (I invite you to stop and read the following passages aloud, just as my clients do.  Allow God’s Spirit to minister to whatever need you have as only He can do.)

I lift up my eyes to the mountains-
     where does my help come from?  
My help comes from the Lord,
     the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
     He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
     will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
     the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
     nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
     He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going–
     both now and forevermore.

God knows and cares about what is happening in your life and mine!  Even as we sleep, He is at work watching over us.

Another one of my favorites we frequent for a spiritual reality check (especially when the problems are nasty and overwhelming) is chapter six in the Apostle Paul’s letter to his friends in Ephesis.  The passage reminds us that the battles we face are far larger than we can see; that God will provide the courage and power we lack to stand as we lean fully on Him.  (Again, be blessed as you read this slowly aloud.  Pay special attention to the scope of the battle and be encouraged by the Source of our strength as we are called to stand)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  (Ephesians 6: 10-18)

No matter where you are in your life, be you problem-free or facing challenges like never before, referring to the Scriptures on a regular basis is a good and needful part of walking well with Christ.  However, honoring the highlighted portion of the Ephesians is what makes for a truly meaningful reality check in each of our lives.  When we “pray in the Spirit on all occasions”we entrust ourselves to God’s enormity as our Creator and Provider.  There is no more meaningful reality check than that!

Having the Right Perspective

One of the unexpected benefits of blogging is being introduced to other bloggers. Bill, at Unshakable Hope, is one of my favorites. Read and be blessed!

Unshakable Hope

I’ve discovered how essential it is to keep things in perspective in order to maintain hope when you’re in the midst of a trial. The first and most important lesson I learned was focusing on what I have and not on what I’ve lost.

blog family pic

Our family before I was diagnosed with ALS. (Mary still had BIG hair).

Perspective: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. (Webster’s Dictionary)

I know of many people close to my age, even some close friends, who have died of ALS, Cancer and other diseases or were killed in tragic accidents. These moms and dads have missed being able see their children growing up. They weren’t there to take pictures before prom, to watch with pride as their child graduated from high school and/or college or to witness their son or daughter’s wedding.

I force myself to think about these friends…

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