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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Godly Restraint Leads to God’s Blessings

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

One day when my daughter Stephanie was about three years old and having a bad day, she lay down on the kitchen floor and threw the tantrum of all tantrums. She quickly discovered that was not allowed. She never did it again. Parents want their children to grow up obedient, well-adjusted, and prepared to succeed in this world. Good parents realize that this doesn't happen in a vacuum. God’s word teaches us that without boundaries—His guidelines and ways, human life would end up in chaos. That is the meaning of Prov 29:18: "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law." The meaning the original Hebrew implies is this: "Where there is no revelation or understanding of God's authority, the people are exposed, naked, without a covering of protection and consequently they wander around in chaos. But he that learns of and keeps God's ways is one that is happy and has God’s hedge of protection around him." This verse is in the central verse of instructional verses focusing on discipline and boundaries for children and adults alike.

God’s word teaches us of the need for and value of restraints and boundaries. It is not about do's and don’ts. Boundaries are motivated by God’s parental heart of love and desire to protect us. Of course this love extends to each and every one of us. God's boundaries and instruction for living are designed to keep us from hurting each other and from others hurting us. God teaching us boundaries and the need for restraint is His love spilling over to us. Boundaries are not confining but, to the contrary, liberating. They are designed to point us to that which brings blessing and to steer us away from that which could lead to a life of hurt, pain, destruction and death. Little Johnny and Sally’s parents tell them not to ride their scooters out into the street. Why? Because they want to take away their fun? No, because they want to protect them from harm.

If we love our children we lay these boundaries down for them, but then we also model them so they can imitate us over the progression of their lives. If you don’t want your children to scream, don’t you be a screaming parent—don't tolerate it from yourself or them! If we don’t love them, we let them do whatever they want to. But, that leads them to become unruly and uncontrollable children that have little to no respect for anyone. They then grow up to hate any form of restraint or boundaries while belligerently spewing, You can’t tell me what to do.  I’ll do whatever I please! They head straight toward life-long destructive behaviors. That is why Prov 13:24 says that part of love is discipline. “He who spares the rod (does not follow through with correction that results in a change of behavior) hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. If we don’t follow through in instructing our children in the knowledge and instruction of God’s Word and establishing boundaries with consistent discipline, then we contribute to their destruction. Prov 13:24 says, “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” (If you need to learn how, go to YouTube and watch SuperNanny.)

Parents need to know that they have only a few years to set the course for just how their little Johnny or Susie is going to respond to their authority and other authority figures for the rest of their lives. Our children had learned boundaries, received correction and discipline, and learned to treat people with respect. This was mostly established by the time they were five years old. It minimized bad behavior going forward and made raising our children an absolute joy! They have grown into adults and are now great people. We love them and they love us. Discipline applied consistently and appropriately is one real proof of your love. If this is done correctly it will help fill your life with joy. If left undone it will fill your life with grief. Proverbs 19:18 says: Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don't, you will ruin their lives. Make the effort to get this part right and you will be doing yourself a favor that will reward you for the rest of your life. It’s all about true love! Oh, and if you thought this post was just about children, it's not! Don't forget about yourself. God's Word is what is to chastise you! Receive it and respond to it or you will become unruly!

Proverbs 13:24 (NLT) If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don't love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

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