Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Lord, teach me to discipline myself.

Tuesday 9-13-2016 Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading: Eze 33 - 35    Rev 18
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ezek 33:11 As I live,' says the Lord GOD,'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'  NKJV

O.  God’s dealings with the nation of Israel reveal His heart. When they rejected His ways of honesty and kindness and filled their land with the shedding of innocent blood, He had to turn to judgment upon them in an effort to cause them to reflect, repent and return. He was not seeking their harm. He was seeking their good. And here the prophet records the spoken words of God himself. He finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Their wicked ways lead to death. He is trying to turn them back to the path of life, health and happiness.

A.  Some Evangelicals have given religion a bad reputation. They are perceived as “God is coming after you to get you and bring you down.” The truth is the opposite. God is after us to help us out of a life of sin, destined to bring us disaster…  and into a life of blessing, usefulness, kindness, finding our happiness in bringing joy to others.

P.  Lord God, teach me to discipline myself so that You will not find it necessary to discipline me. Your Word shows me a clear path of kindness and thoughtfulness of others. Help me to take my focus away from my own happiness and to focus upon the needs of those within my reach. May I live within the perimeters of the joy of giving! May I suffer when others suffer and rejoice with them in their happiness. Guide me on Your chosen path to real joy. Amen.


PS. Back in the days when I used to paint a picture every night in front of the public, I would sometimes do a picture of a pathway leading to a dangerous cliff dropping off into fire and smoke… and right in the middle of that wide path filled with people heading for destruction, I painted a huge open Bible blocking the way. To continue on their way to destruction some people stepped around the blockade… while other chose to stop and consider the path that leads to safety and eternal life.  Eze. 33:11 fits well with that picture.

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