The Deterrence of Consequence

Experiencing the partial consequences of a sin is a powerful aide for future deterrence from that sin. This is just a fancy way of saying that punishment (also called discipline) works, for both children and adults.

“[Our human fathers] punished us for a little while as they thought best… God punishes us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No punishment 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 ‭12:10-11‬

When God punishes us here on earth, it is intended as a deterrent from further sin. His discipline is only a partial consequence of what is fully due to us; a full measure of sin’s consequence is death (“The wages of sin is death” ~Romans 6:23). Instead, the ‘partial consequence’ punishment is intended to build our character and instill within us a deterrent from future sin.

The full consequence of our sin is hell. Yep, there I said it: HELL! While God’s full intention is that we would obey Him because we love Him (just as any father wants from his own children), He has warned us about the full consequence of our sin. The partial consequence that we experience is hardly even a twinge of discomfort and is hardly even a micro-second in duration when compared with eternity’s hell.

Let’s be motivated to follow and obey Christ because we love Him, and when our immaturity and yet-to-be-perfected character prompts us to sin, let’s remind ourselves of the partial consequence in this lifetime and the full consequence in eternity for those who reject God and His ways.

Personally, the longer I walk with Christ through this life, the more I find that I love Him with a deeper and deeper passion. This passionate love is a powerful motivator to stay with Him and obey Him. But, the partial consequence and the full consequence remain helpful deterrents when temptation comes my way.

image

#PastorsTip #Hebrews12 #Deterrent #Consequence #Discipline #Punishment #Love #Obedience

The Discipline of Happiness

What is a “Discipline?” This word has several meanings, it can be used as a noun or a verb, and it is often defined by the larger context when used in a phrase or sentence. The use of it in this devotional is along the lines of dictionary.com’s 11th definition (there are 12 definitions listed!):

“to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control”

What is “Happiness?” Happiness, joy, and rejoicing are usually thought of as spontaneous expressions of heart-felt emotions, but they are much more. They are also deliberate expressions of heart-embraced truth. Most of the Feasts in the Laws of the Old Testament commanded the people to “Rejoice in the Lord,” a deliberate act of rejoicing that was based upon their recognition of a particular truth about God and His provisions.

Jesus told the parable of a woman who asked others to help her rejoice:

“… suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she… search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together… ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’”

‭~ Luke‬ ‭15:8-9‬

Happiness (joy, rejoicing) doesn’t have to come only from spontaneous emotions. We can exercise happiness through a deliberate recognition of the goodness of God in our lives. When the scripture says “Rejoice in the Lord,” it is a self-disciplined pattern or lifestyle.

Being happy on the outside is not being phony or fake. It is a self-discipline with a greater objective: to help guide our daily walk in conscious and deliberate agreement with the truths of God that truly do lead to times of spontaneous expressions of happy emotions.

image

#PastorsTip #Luke15 #Discipline #SelfDiscipline #Happy #Happiness #Joy #Rejoice
#FeastsOfGod

Customer Service in Family Relationships

My wife is a real customer service professional. She has managed restaurants, worked for school administrations, worked in churches, and for about fifteen years now has worked for city governments, with great effectiveness serving the citizens with kindness, patience, and sincere engagement. She has been a real role model for me in my own ministry as a pastor.

In looking back on the qualities of an effective customer service representative, things like serving with a happy countenance and being emotionally engaged with the customer, it dawned upon me that too many family relationships are missing the benefits and blessings of a simple “customer service professionalism” in their relating with one another.

What if every family would be nurtured and blessed by their treating one another with the same heart-qualities of a Customer Service Professional? The scripture admonishes us to do this, but does so by using a different wording:

“… dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience… And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… and be thankful.”

‭‭~ Colossians‬ ‭3:12-15‬

While the use of the term “professionalism” might sound cold or insincere, consider the “cold” and “insincere” words, attitudes, and actions that are making so many families miserable. If they will raise the quality of their family “customer service” to at least that of a professional, it will grant the family breathing room to calm their hearts and to reset or reboot their relationships. Besides, there is nothing cold or insincere about basic kindness and gentle love within family relationships.

image

#PastorsTip #Colossians3 #CustomerService #FamilyRelations #Kindness #Professional

Jesus Embraces Medical Doctors

There seems to be several perspectives in The Church as a whole on the subject of healing for the sick or injured body. Some groups teach an exclusivity in their acceptable source for healing, such as (1) healing by miracle alone by faith in Christ alone because [they say] the Cross is now complete and “by His wounds we are healed;” or (2) healing by medical science alone because [they say] God’s miracles ceased with the completion of the New Testament writing.

My personal study and interpretation of the scriptures (and subsequent experiences that seem to confirm what I have concluded in the scriptures) has lead me to believe that God provides healing through various avenues, supernaturally and naturally, while ultimately our faith remains centered in Christ. “Whatever is not of faith is sin” (Ro. 14:23) is not just about a vegetarian or Sabbath issue, it is concerning all issues.

A brief devotional, which this article is, cannot explore [and counter or affirm] every group’s healing doctrine that is within The Church. What we can do in this brief moment is look at a few scriptures that show God’s positive and affirmative comments about doctors (who represent the medical community and medical science).

Jesus compared Himself and His mission to that of a doctor that treats and heals the sick, recorded for us in three of the Gospels:

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

~ Mark‬ ‭2:17‬, Matthew 9:12, Luke 5:31

The Apostle Paul, whom we believe was inspired by God in his writings (along with all of those who penned the scriptures) also expressed God’s affirmation of doctors, the representatives of the medical community and medical science, when he wrote:

“Our dear friend Luke, the doctor…”

~ Colossians‬ ‭4:14‬

As we can see in several passages, Doctor Luke was a fellow minister and friend of the Apostle Paul. He was also the author of two books of the Bible: the Book of Acts, and one of the gospels, the Book of Luke. He was a doctor before he entered the ministry, and he continued to be respected as a doctor during his godly ministry.

Again, this is a brief treatment of the topic of doctors and medicine. But, one thing that we can know for sure, those who practice medicine and care for the sick are being like Jesus, just as He was being like them in His ministry.

image

#PastorsTip #Mark2 #Doctor #Medicine #Healing #Jesus #Medical #Science

Forgiveness First, Then Healing

A normal experience in life (unfortunately) is to be hurt by others, either deliberately or accidentally. The hurt might include physical pain, but it always involves soul-pain. The soul-pain may be short lived, or it might be a long term pain due to an actual injury or wounding of the soul.

It has been said that “time heals all wounds,” but this is misleading if time is considered to be the only element in the healing process. While the healing process may take place over a period of time, there is a critical element that must be highlighted.

“Forgiveness heals all wounds” would be much more accurate, if a simple and short statement is being sought to describe the healing process.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…”

~ James 5:16

Confession to each other and prayer for each other implies that forgiveness has been established. Only then can healing taking place. This principle of ‘Forgiveness First, Then Healing,’ is illustrated throughout scripture in both the Divine-with-Human relationship and the Human-with-Human relationship. For example:

“if My people… will humble themselves and pray… I will forgive their sin (Forgiveness First) and will heal their land (Then Healing).”

‭‭~ 2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬

Too often we unwittingly want to wait until we are healed [and don’t feel the soul-pain anymore] before we will consider forgiving the person who hurt us. This is contrary to the truth that actually does bring healing: ‘Forgiveness First, Then Healing.’

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro. 5:8) so that He could offer to us healing for our body, soul, and spirit. Likewise, while those who hurt us are still hurting us, we should begin our internal struggle of “dying to ourselves” so we can reach the place of being able to give them total forgiveness, even if we have to do it “seventy-seven times” (NIV) or “seventy times seven” times (NKJV, Matt. 18:22).

Our unforgiveness of them is just as deliberate an act as would be our forgiveness of them. Our ongoing act of unforgiveness is tantamount to us rubbing salt and poison into our own wounds which they initially inflicted in us. In studying the scriptures regarding forgiveness and unforgiveness, I am convinced that our act of unforgiveness is worse in the eyes of God than any injurious sin another person has committed against us.

Forgiveness of others is not easy because we hold so strongly to a general principle of giving only what is deserved, like: wages for work, applause for good entertainment, or a bonus for an extra effort. However, the very definition and nature of forgiveness is that it is NEVER deserved, but is ALWAYS required.

image

#PastorsTip #James5 #Forgiveness #Healing #Unforgiven #2Chronicles7 #Soul #Pain #Injury