December 17, 2016 – Marcy Williams

Hebrew 12: 6 - “…the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (NIV)

Oh, how well I remember the last time I heard, “Just wait until your father gets home!” I knew that meant I was going to get a spanking. I was getting it because my older brother smoked grapevine! That wasn’t fair at all! Actually, though, I was in trouble because I had struck a match to light his grapevine. There was a rule that we were never to strike a match outside, because we lived on an acreage and the fear of pasture fires was a reality. Of course, I know now that the spanking hurt my dad as much, if not more, than it did me. He was a loving father, and this punishment was for not following the rules, a part of disciplining his children.

This is so very true of our Heavenly Father. The Bible has rules from beginning to end, rules that God has established for our protection. From not eating fruit from the tree in the Garden of Eden to the Ten Commandments to loving your fellow man and sharing what you have… so many rules. Those rules establish the discipline of our lives, a very needed discipline to create boundaries, to teach responsibility, and most importantly, to show that God loves us unconditionally.

God knows what we need without our need to ask. Sometimes we think we do not need what we receive, we interpret punishment as discipline. But in reality, being disciplined children of God is His gift to us and given in return to Him. Mary and Joseph did not deny God’s gift. They followed His instructions delivered by the angel, even though that was certainly not the gift they thought they needed. May we follow their example and say, “I am the Lord’s servant” and receive God’s gifts with the understanding that He knows what we need.

Holy Father, may we honor You and say “yes” to the gifts we need, even though we may not see the need. You are our Loving Father. Amen

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