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Thursday, August 19, 2010


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[August 19, 2010]   --"Endure trials for the sake of discipline.  God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?"-Hebrews 12: 7

With these words, the author of Hebrews begins a lengthy discussion of discipline.  He points out that God, like any good parent, disciplines God's children.  Now, before proceeding, it is important to understand that the writer is not trying to explain why bad things happen.  Not all trials are from God, in fact, most trials are probably not from God.  But he is saying that, on occasion, we face adversity so that we might be shaped and formed by that adversity.  If we think back over the trials of our own lives, do we not see how they shaped us in ways both good and bad?  The positive effects of enduring and experiencing trials may flow from the God who claims us as children. 

So, how should we understand all this?  Should we be angry at God?  No, we should understand that discipline occurs because we are not as we should be.  None of us are perfect.  None of us are getting it right.  We all need constant formation and transformation, and we should count ourselves as fortunate that God, rather than abandoning us, seeks to shape us through means both joyous and tragic.  We should never for a minute assume that something painful that is occurring in our lives is from God, but neither should we assume that God is absent in that pain.  Instead, we should seek God there, search our struggles for God's truth, and ask ourselves if this event that is causing us to struggle may, in the long run, transform us.  Hebrews is clear that God disciplines us, and for this, we ought to be grateful.

Prayer:  Holy God, help me in the challenges in my life, and help me to find meaning in my trials.  I want to be a better disciple and I want to grow closer to you.  Please give me the strength to endure and the wisdom


[text from file received from Phil Blackburn,

First Presbyterian Church]



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