November 17

Today's Bible Reading
      I Chronicles 9-10
      Hebrews 12
      Amos 6
      Luke 1:39-80
            “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: 'My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens,and scourges every son whom He receives."  (Hebrews 12:5-6)
            The Scripture warns us against grieving the Spirit of God,and that is so easy to do. We do it by despising the discipline of the Lord,or by becoming discouraged when He rebukes us. When the Spirit of God gives us a sense of warning or restraint, we are apt to say, mistakenly, ''Oh, that must be from the devil."
            I Thessalonians 5:19 exhorts us to ''do not quench the Spirit." The writer of Hebrews is encouraging you to never despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him. We begin to pout, becoming irritated with God, and then say, ''Oh, well, I can't help it. I prayed and things didn't tum out right anyway, so I'm simply going to give up on everything." Just think what would happen if we acted like this in any other area of our lives.
       The truth is, the difference between receiving God's discipline with joy, and rejecting it in disobedience, may be the difference between becoming bitteror becoming better. To despise the chastening of the Lord will definitely lead to discouragement and perhaps even to a bitter attitude. Great emphasis is being placed today on living longer and better.                                                                                                              Advances in medical science are making it possible for more and more people to have better health, but in spite of this,none of us can avoid growing old if we are blessed.  One day, aging will overtake all of us, and our bodies will shut down. What is preventable, however, is an attitude of bitterness and regret as we grow older. A good example is the life of Moses. When he was 220 years old, he stood with the Israelites before they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land. He could not go with them because he had disobeyed the Lord when, in anger, he struck the rock in the wilderness. (Numbers 20:12, 24)  How easily Moses could have slipped into a self-pitying and resentful frame of mind . He had been disciplined by the Lord and he accepted it with contentment.
            In Psalms 118, the Psalmist declared that he would not die, but that he would live. What a declaration of joy and confidence. It is in the very next verse, however, that he realizes that this sickness, though not unto death, is the correction and chastisement of the Lord.
            So, as we grow older, we can dwell on the failures and hardships of our past, or we can remember God's faithfulness. accept His discipline, and keep looking to the future, in faith. To accept the correction and discipline of the Lord is the only way to avoid a bitter attitude. We cannot avoid growing old,but we can avoid growing cold.
Focus your prayers today on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This is a country of some 200,000 people. Almost the entire population is Muslim, but is also very secularized. About 10% are regular Mosque-goers. Pray that the historic prejudice against Christianity may be broken down. There is little known focused outreach to them. There are about 20 Turkish believers who have a great challenge of reaching this population for Christ.
The religious of the world say ''do and live''. The religion of the Bible says ''live and do."
Dr. Bob Jones