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Archive for May 2011

“ye have forgotten”….Have you forgotten?

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Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Heb 12:12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
Heb 12:13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Have you ever meditated on these verses?  Or, more importantly have you ever personally experienced the rebuke and chastisement of the Lord?  I’m not talking about experiencing conviction; I’m talking about the Lord personally rebuking you for something and chastising you for it.  I would assume that many people today who fall under the umbrella of “Christianity” have no idea about the Lord chastising His sons and daughters.  In many of today’s churches, with their unbalanced understanding of God’s grace, the concept of God chastising His people is totally foreign.  It doesn’t line up with their unbiblical view of the character of a God who always overlooks their sins and who certainly would never bring any harm to them.  Or, for some reason, people think that the way God has dealt with His people, in both the old and the new testaments, is not how He operates today.  I think this is usually because people place a high view on their personal “feelings” about a matter, and they have a low view of the scriptures.  After my conversion, I went to a non-denominational church for about 7 years and never heard anything about how God disciplines His children.  But for those who walk with God, and for those who love the scriptures, this really is a blessed portion of scripture.

The writer of Hebrews tells his audience that “they have forgotten the exhortation that speaks unto them as children”.  What is the exhortation, that if they exeperience, speaks to their being a child of God?  Very simply, it is that God disciplines those who are His.  He says, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”  God, who is the Father of those who believe, disciplines His children for their own good.  It’s not something to faint or be discouraged about, but it’s a sign of God’s love towards you and is “one” evidence that you are His child.  While being rebuked and chastised by God obviously means you’ve either done or believed something that is wrong (that is not good), at the same time, it shows that God is actively watching over your life to conform you into the image of Christ.  It really is a great comfort to those who do indeed belong to the Lord.

(On the other hand, while God chastises all His children for their growth in holiness, God sometimes brings judgment on false professors (false converts) in the church.  It’s similar to how God dealt with Israel.  Often times when God judged Israel he would judge all Israel even though many of them where unbelievers and called “Son’s of Beliel”.  The Lord will sometime judge false professors along with the children of God.  I assume that it is because since they claim to follow the Lord they are being judge on the light they say they have.  That’s why I said being chastened or judged by the Lord is only one sign that one is a child of God..there are certainly more.)

I think sometimes though because believers have either a low view of scripture OR they have too high a view of how they are walking with God they are sometimes not aware of God’s dealings with them.  If someone has a low view of scripture, they might not clearly understand that they are being chastened by God.  On the other hand, sometimes people have too high a view of their walk with God.  In their own eyes, they are always right, always walking faithfully with God, and are above being chastened by God.  Both types are unable to see God’s dealings with them in whatever form it takes.

Chastisement itself can take on many forms, however God chooses.  God may cause some trial to come to you, God may take something away from you, or God may even make you physically sick.  I would like to focus a bit on sickness as a form of chastisement because I think that many people today are chastened by the Lord with sickness, but they do not discern that this is the case.

Looking at 1 Corinthians chapter 11, you see a clear case in which God was disciplining His children with bodily weakness, physical sickness, and in come cases even judging them unto death as a form of chastisement.

1Co 11:27  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
1Co 11:28  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
1Co 11:29  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1Co 11:30  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
1Co 11:31  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
1Co 11:32  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

As the scripture says, many in the Corinthian church were taking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy man.  Because of this God was afflicting them with bodily weakness, physical sickness, and even judging some unto death.  I’m not even sure that many of them were aware that their illnesses were a result of their sin until the apostle Paul told them.  But Paul was making it clear that these people were being rebuked and chastened by the Lord for their sin.  Because of their sin, God was personally afflicting these believers (and professing believers) with physical sickness.

Now, lets imagine a scenario that has application to how many would address this situation today.  Imagine that the sick Corinthians notice their sicknesses and are wanting to be healed.  Instead of examining their own life and seeking God in prayer, they run to the doctor to get healed of their ailment.  The doctor knows they are sick, diagnoses them with some sickness, and prescribes them some remedy.  They might even have a “known sickness or disease”.  Yet instead of the sickness or disease being used to turn the believer to the Lord in repentance, they just accept it as some natural sickness or disease and live with it.  With the fact that today just about every illness and sickness has a medical explanation, I’m sure this is the case with many believers and professing believers.  They are unable to discern, for whatever reason, that they are being chastened by God.  This can lead one into great delusion.  They accept their bodily weakness or sickness as just something natural and think their walk with God is ok and even growing.  I wonder how much this is the case in the body of Christ today.  I’m personally convinced that many suffer physical weakness and illness because they are being corrected and chastened by God, but they either don’t come to realize it or refuse to accept that that is the case.

So what about pastors or recognized godly men when they get sick?  It could very well be that they too are under God’s chastisement for some sin or rebellion (I’m not saying every case is this way).  Many people think that their pastor or elder is such a godly man that there is no way his sickness is somehow chastisement from God.  But the truth is we really don’t know what God is doing in someone’s heart.  God could have spoken to them on some issue, and they have not responded and are in disobedience to God.  In fact, the closer one walks with God, the more accountable that person is to God.  While God may not chastise a new believer for a certain behavior, He may very well chastise someone for the same behavior who has walked with God a number of years.  Everyone says they want to walk closer to God, but they often fail to realize that this brings greater responsibility and can bring about swifter punishment for disobedience.  Take Moses for instance.  Moses simply struck a rock instead of speaking to it, and because of his disobedience, he was forbidden to enter the promised land (Numbers 20:11).  Such is also the case of the prophet who was killed by a lion for disobeying the command of the Lord (1 Kings 13).  Nobody is beyond the chastisement of the Lord, and scripture seems to imply that it gets more strict with the more knowledge one has about God and the more one has walked with God.  Again, no one is exempt.

What is the purpose of God’s chastisement?  It’s quite clear, as God says: it’s so that we might be partakers of His holiness.  It’s not simply punishment for the sake of punishment.  God wills that we partake of His holiness.  Or as 2 Peter 1 says, that we would partake of His divine nature.  God truly has our highest good in mind when He chastens us.  What could be higher or better than partaking of the very nature and holiness of God?  But this blessing only comes to those who are “exercised by it” or trained by it.  I wonder how many people today are chastened by the Lord yet fail to be trained by God’s discipline?  Those who are chastened by the Lord and learn from it find produced in them a great humility and dependence upon God, and as the scripture says, they yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

Hebrews 12:12-13 gives a great hope and a great warning to those who are being chastened by God.  “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”  If you find yourself under the rebuke and chastisement of God, then don’t be discouraged, MAKE STRAIGHT PATHS FOR YOUR FEET.  Listen to what the Lord is saying; repent and humble yourself before the Lord.  Allow the Lord to correct you with His word and cast off your pride.  You will find that the Lord is more than ready to heal you when you have repented and the Lord has finished the work He wanted to do in you through His chastisement.  But the warning is that if you don’t repent, you will be turned “out of the way”.  God’s chastisement might increase until you are judged unto death, just like some in the Corinthian church.  How one responds to the Lords rebukes can bring about either life or death.

So what about you?  Have you experienced the chastisement of the Lord?  Can you look back at your walk with God and see where the Lord has rebuked you and brought about correction?  Have you been trained by it and yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness?  Could you be in the midst of God’s chastisement at this very moment and you haven’t realized that this was the case?  Remember, God disciplines all those He loves and those that are sons of God.  Don’t forget the exhortation that speaks to you as children.  If God is chastising you, may you be trained by it and yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness and share in the holiness of God.

Written by Sean Scott

May 17, 2011 at 1:55 am

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Sobering Dream

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A few days ago I had a sobering dream.  In my dream I was on a hill looking down into a valley/plain.  It was luscious green and had a bright foggy glow to it.  It was incredibly peaceful and reminded me of the “green pastures” that you read about in Psalm 23.  In the pasture there were adult men and women walking around but their heads were down and they were sleeping.  They were dressed real nice.  For instance, one guy was wearing like kacky pants and a tucked in polo shirt.  All the people were in a slumber.  They walked real slow with a slouch and their heads down.  I knew that all that these people ever did was slumber and then when they were awake they would just relax and take it easy.  As I was watching them the Lord gave me revelation in my spirit.  I knew that the Lord was going to slay these people in His anger.  A great fear came over me because I knew the Lord was going to kill them all.  End of dream

When I woke from the dream I knew the Lord was speaking to me about the seriousness and sin of slumbering in Christ.  It was sobering.  The people in the dream were in the “green pasture” that the Lord leads His people too.  Yet these people had fallen asleep and were drunk with comfort and ease.  It reminded me of the part in Pilgrim’s Progress right before Pilgrim gets to the river to cross into glory.  I think it was called the Enchanted lands.  It was a place of beauty and peace that often put men to sleep and kept them from making it all the way to the celestial city.

Some people reading this might think the Lord would never do something like that.  But the Lord brought chastisement and judgment on believers in the Corinthian church who were taking the Lords supper in an unworthy manner:

1Co 11:29  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1Co 11:30  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1Co 11:31  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
1Co 11:32  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

God will judge slumbering Christians.  He will warn them, chastise them, give them sickness, and sometime even take their life.  What could be worse than putting your faith in Jesus, having Him forgive your sins, and then you neglect the salvation you have received of the Lord, fall into a deep worldly deluded slumber, and then get judged, unto death, by the very Lord that saved you and that you say you follow.

As I thought about this dream these other verses came to mind:

Amo 6:1  Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!

2Co 6:1  We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

When believers “are at ease in Zion”, have no burden from and for the Lord and His kingdom, living a comfortable life that’s no different from the world, they are certainly receiving the grace of God in vain.  What a sin it is to be purchased by the blood of Christ, be made a new creation, receive the Holy Spirit, and then spend your life in a drunken deluded slumber talking about the peace of God and the joy of the Lord, all the while really living for yourself, not carrying your cross, basically “asleep in the light” (as the Keith Green songs says).  This is the condition of many today.  Remember what the Lord says in Corinthians:  1Co 11:31  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  Judge yourself by the word of God.  Let it show you your true condition.  Are you slumbering?

God let me see the condition of many believers and let me know how He feels about it.  Slumbering believers will be judged by God for taking His grace in vain.  I take this as a warning and exhortation to my own soul…that I might be found diligent and faithful in the things of God.  Time is short.  I pray you won’t be found slumbering.  God knows that many are.

Rom 13:11  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Rom 13:12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Rom 13:13  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
Rom 13:14  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Written by Sean Scott

May 2, 2011 at 3:02 am

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Pray for your children…

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Just wanted to share a short story about God answering prayer.  I do bible study with my children and noticed that my six year old son, Ethan, listens but is not always interested.  He doesn’t really ask questions and doesn’t always remember a whole lot.  His older sisters, on the other hand, pay close attention and always seem to learn something about the Lord that they remember.  I began to specifically lift Ethan and his lack of hunger up to the Lord.  I began to pray that God, by His Spirit, would give Ethan a hunger and desire to know Him.

Just yesterday I was driving in Mexico with Ethan in the back seat.  I was in thought about something and it was quiet in the car.  Out of nowhere Ethan asked me what it means that “God is light”?  I was so thrilled to hear him ask that!  I got to spend the next 10 minutes or so explaining the wonderful truth of Jesus being the light of the world.  It was a wonderful experience and a direct answer to my prayer.  God is so faithful.  How much God is willing and waiting to do through us when we come to Him in prayer!

So if you have children, be encouraged, lift them up in prayer!  The Lord loves them and will do wonders in their lives through your faith and prayer.

Written by Sean Scott

May 1, 2011 at 3:28 am

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