Sing to the Lord, and praise him! Proclaim every day the good news that he has saved us (Psalm 96.2, GNB).
For the final two days in this long series looking at Proverbs, I will return to the first chapters, and look at some of the key lessons contained in this important book. During July there will be a pause; if you would like these to continue after that, please contact the church office.
Speak these words out loud:
Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6.9 (NIV)
Read the proverb through three or four times, slowly. Pause in-between, maybe write it out by hand – savour the words, let them speak deeply to you.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (NIV)
My child, when the Lord corrects you, pay close attention and take it as a warning. The Lord corrects those he loves, as parents correct a child of whom they are proud. (GNB)
When bad things happen, what’s going on? When trouble and strife, death and pain, fear and hatred take hold of our lives, what’s happening? Is God punishing us?
‘No’, ‘yes’, and ‘no, but’ (!).
No, because when something bad happens to you, that’s not because you are worse than everyone else and are being singled out by God for special punishment. Jesus made that clear in Luke 13 (see verses 1-5). Sometimes, sadly, bad things simply happen – that is part of the pain and frustration of the world we live in (Romans 8.20).
Yes, because the bad things in the world are a consequence of our collective sin, which has marred and damaged God’s good creation. The world as God made it was not like the world we have made for ourselves.
No, but… God can take bad things and use them for good. Sometimes he might allow a bad thing to happen, and use it as a warning, to nudge (or maybe even shove) us back onto the right path. In my life there have been several of these jolts – some small, some really big – that God has used for good, to teach me to live his way, not my way.
The most important thing though? That’s the way the Proverb ends. We can get so caught up in worrying about what it means for God to ‘discipline’ or ‘warn’ us that we forget the most important part: the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
That is the most important truth in today’s Proverb. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and ask God to help you know how much he loves and delights in you.
Pray for Five – pray for your five friends / family from Thy Kingdom Come.
Our daily prayer sheet includes the names of everyone for whom we have a signed church family directory form – and local parishes and senior church leaders. Today we are praying for:
Mark Waterstreet (Dosthill)
Father, please bless them with your peace, and a deep awareness of your presence with them, every day and in every way.
We also pray for: Coleshill & Polesworth Deanery
Please pray for our leaders and healthcare workers, and all those working to keep us safe, well, and fed. Please pray that people would unselfishly put others before themselves.
Church Family Prayer
Come Holy Spirit,
and make us one in heart and action,
so that we can serve God faithfully:
abounding in love,
maturing in holiness,
and seeking out the lost.
Help us grow as disciples of Jesus –
in commitment, in depth, and in number –
that we may be a blessing to Amington;
to the glory and praise of God the Father.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus
the only way to the Father.
Psalm 127.1, Hebrews 12.2 & John 14.6
May Christ our Saviour give us peace.