Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Punishment vs discipline, happiness vs joy, and other lessons

March 7, 2004

The Spirit of the Lord was really, really upon the service at church today. Thank You, Lord. And thank You for forgiving me for not praying this week for the pastor and the service. Thank You for cleansing me and changing me. Thank You for making clear to me how much the enemy wants to stop me praying, partly by getting me hung up on "learning to pray, teaching prayer, theory of prayer" etc. Oh Lord, help me to pray. Period. Pour out Your Holy Spirit on my spirit and help me walk in prayer, to pray without ceasing, to hear Your voice, to read and hear Your Word, and truly meditate on it so much that I will not be able to do anything but act on it for Your glory and honor and kingdom! Oh dear God, help me to walk without ceasing in Your Presence, by the power of Your Holy Spirit and the grace of God and the love of Jesus! Praise Your holy Name! Thank You, Jesus! Amen and amen.

Our pastor told us something neat today: God does not punish His children; He loves and forgives them. But He does discipline them to teach them to forsake sin and evil and to become like Jesus. Punishment is just anger lashing out. Discipline is done with love to make you a better person, to develop your character. God disciplines us in love that we may develop the character of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour; and so that we may enjoy sweet unbroken fellowship with our Heavenly Father. For when we have seen and known Jesus the Son, we have also seen and known our Heavenly Father. Praise You, Father! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You dear Holy Spirit! Amen and amen.

The sermons this morning were a joy, and they were for me! I understand now the difference between happiness and joy. You experience happiness when you get the world's pleasures (instant gratification but often negative consequences), but you experience joy when you get into relationship and get connected with God. It's not something we can work up or hype up in ourselves, but we can ask the Holy Spirit for it, and He will give it to us.

If we lose sight of the sovereignty of God, we lose relationally with Him. We must recognize His love and holiness together.

When satan wants to get you to sin, the first thing he tries to do is to discourage you so you'll lose your joy. Because the joy of the Lord is our strength, and if we let it go, we are powerless, because we start trying to fix things in the flesh. Stop! Go right back to God, affirm that He loves you, affirm His sovereignty, so that even if you don't understand what is happening, you still believe, and as you believe, God makes your joy complete.

Be the salt, the joy God sprinkles into all the world. God out, serve, become all that God created you to be!

The battle belongs to the Lord! But I have to give it all to Him...

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