Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When God Chastises

I remember as a child how devastated I was whenever my father punished me. Often times, I would feel the hardness of his hand across my cheek as tears stung my eyes. He never came to me afterwards to explain his anger or disappointment in me. I learned quickly to associate punishment with rejection. Whenever I would hear him raise his voice, I would cower fearing a physical assault. But I soon learned that a father's chastisement isn't always painful.

As I've grown in my walk with the Lord, I have come to realize that as I trust Him more and more every day; I have to accept his correction along with his love. The Bible says "For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights." Proverbs 3:12 and also "because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Hebrews 12:6. I had always had a hard time understanding this concept. If someone loves you, how could they punish and hurt you. But recently, God used something simple to teach me how he corrects us in love.

I've always been a purpose driven person. My husband tells me constantly that I don't know how to rest. Every day of the week, I am busy from the time I get up until the time I go to bed. There is always so much to do and so little time. A few weeks ago, I was busy working on laundry on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. My husband had tried several times to get me to come and sit down and just rest. Wanting to accomplish my goal, I continued sorting and washing clothes. 

As I stood in the laundry room working away, I heard a still, small voice in my spirit. The voice said "why are you rebelling against me?" I almost turned around to see who had said that but before I had a chance to turn, I felt God speaking to my heart again..."this is the day I set aside for your rest. You are being disobedient and rebelling against me by refusing to accept my rest for you." Wow! Talk about correction! I never realized that refusing to rest on Sunday was having a rebellious spirit toward God. 

I immediately stopped what I was doing and began to cry. I asked God for forgiveness for rebelling against him. I thanked him for lovingly and gently correcting me. No, I did not feel physical pain at his correction but I did feel the shame of rebellion in my heart. I am thankful that God loves me enough to correct me when I am in the wrong. I am also thankful that His love and mercy flow into the forgiveness he offers when we accept his correction for our disobedience. 

Is there some area of your life that you need to correct? Has God shown you an area of disobedience or rebellion? If he has, why don't you confess it to him now and accept his love and forgiveness? He is a loving father who only wants the best for us.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Vanity plates or prestige tags...If you're willing to pay the extra money, you can put just about anything you'd like to say on your license plate as long as it's not obscene and it doesn't contain any profanity . Driving around in Georgia, you see some pretty strange ones like "2 B Rich" or "1 Crash". Today, as I was driving home from church, I saw one that really made me stop and think. The car in front of us had "conduit" on it's tag. Now that's a funny word and if you don't know what it means, I'm sure you're curious by now. Conduit is a pipe or channel through which something flows. Electricians use conduit to feed electric wiring through. Plumbers use conduit to provide a way for water to flow. As I was thinking about conduit, it dawned on me that I am conduit, and let me explain why I say that.

Conduit doesn't possess any power in and of itself. It is merely a channel through which the power flows. As a Christian, I have the awesome responsibility to be a vessel through which the love of Christ flows out to others. I am a conduit for His love, grace, and mercy. If I am operating in the power of the Holy Spirit, the channel flows freely. All that God wishes to do in and through me will be accomplished according to His will. But, if my conduit, my channel, is blocked by selfish ambition or pride, then His love, grace, and mercy can't flow freely into the lives of others.

John 15:5 gives a good example of how my life should be as a conduit for Christ. "I am the vine, you are the branches. If you abide in my and I in you, you will bear much fruit for without me you can do nothing." For me to be able to pass on Christ's love, I have to be drawing my power and energy from Him. He is my power source! The only way I can do that is to stay connected to the vine. The vine has all of the sap and nutrients the branch needs to stay alive and to survive, but if you cut the branch off from the vine, it will slowly wither and die. When I am abiding in Christ, I am able to receive all Christ. Christ expects me to pass that on to someone else. He doesn't expect me to dam that up and hoard it for myself...therefore, I am a conduit.

The driver of the car in front of me never knew how much his car tag impacted me today. I'm sure he had some other reason for putting that word on his car tag and I'm sure I'll never know his reason. I do know that I want my channel, my conduit for Christ to be unobstructed so His love can flow from Him through me to others. My hope is that they will experience love, kindness, acceptance, mercy, and grace. In order for me to keep my conduit open, I have to daily choose to put aside pride, self ambition, and a self seeking nature. A conduit for Christ...I like the sound of that. How about you?

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
Mother Teresa