God Chastises Us in This Life for Our Good, Not for our Destruction

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The chastisement of the Lord is something we seldom hear about from today’s pulpits. In my earlier years as a Christian, I can’t remember a single sermon about it, nor can I recall any books written specifically on the subject. But it is an issue that all Christians should learn about, because sooner or later, most will probably discover what it is to be chastened of the Lord.

In scripture, the term “chasten” is used to describe acts of discipline, correction, and corporeal punishment. According to the Bible, the Lord’s chastening is generally be considered painful and unpleasant (Heb. 12:11), intended as a “rebuke or reprimand” to change one’s behavior. In the Old Testament, the ordeals of the Children of Israel, including defeat by enemy armies, were often referred to as chastisement for sin and rebellion (Deu. 11:2). But the purpose of chastising is not to destroy (Psa. 118:18), but to lead to repentance (Jer. 31:18-19) and to restore God’s blessing (Psa. 94:12).

Chastisement is not a bad thing. Although unpleasant, it is not to be confused with the wrath or judgment of God. It is a reference to the correction and discipline of a loving Heavenly Father toward His children. God’s love for us is as a parent, finding the occasional need to correct us with a spiritual “spanking” whenever our sin and rebellion makes it necessary. The Bible says, “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” (Heb 12:5-6).

I must admit, I’ve never been fond of the idea of spankings — probably because as a kid I received quite a few of them! But as I look back, I recognize that the discipline of my parents was necessary to keep me out of trouble — and in many cases to spare me from greater pain and suffering. Furthermore, I realize today that my parents went trough the ordeals of correcting me, not because they disliked me, but because they loved me.

Regarding this process, the Bible says, “…we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:9-11).

God wants what is best for us. He wants us to have spiritual life, not death. For this reason, He will discipline us if we persist in sin, and will even administer correction if we show persistent signs of apathy or spiritual indifference (also a sin). He says, “I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God” (Rev 3:19 The Living Bible).

How does the Heavenly Father chastise His children? This will be a personal matter with each individual. Sometimes it may occur only as an inner “rebuke” or conviction that our Father is displeased with our sin. But from scripture, it also appears that when necessary, He will lift his hand of blessing and allow difficulty and trouble to come our way, not to destroy us, but to bring us back to our knees in repentance.

Certainly, not all our troubles are a result of the Lord’s chastisement. Some of our challenges may merely be trials of our faith or attacks from the enemy. But if or when chastisement comes, it will be accompanied by our conviction of our sin and rebellion. And as a loving parent who has found it necessary to spank his child, the compassionate arms of our Father will be outstretched to us again, desiring us to come to Him in repentance and humility, that He may restore His blessing! “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).

Article by Dr. Dale A. Robbins

Image by Catholic Faith

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13 Reasons People Think the Number 13 is Unlucky

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Happy Friday the 13th, everybody! Why is 13 considered unlucky, anyway? Here are 13 reasons.

1. There were 13 people at the Last Supper. It’s said that Judas Iscariot — the one who betrayed Jesus — was the 13th man to take his place at the table.

2. Similarly, there’s a Norse legend that has 12 gods sitting down to a banquet when the 13th (uninvited) god, Loki, shows up. Loki killed one of the other gods, which led to events that eventually resulted in Ragnarok — the death of a bunch of gods, a slew of natural disasters, and the eradication of everything on earth save for two human survivors. There’s a lot more to the story than that, but you get the general idea.

3. Let’s go back to Christianity for a moment. Many Christians believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday. Researchers, however, believe that it wasn’t a case of Friday the 13th lore – it was possibly something like Friday, April 3, 33 A.D. But that doesn’t mean the 13th is off the hook.  Many Christians also believe that the Cain and Abel debacle took place on that date.

4. Traditionally, there used to be 13 steps leading up the gallows. There’s also a legend that a hangman’s noose traditionally contained 13 turns, but it’s actually more like eight.

5. Apollo 13 is the only unsuccessful moon mission (intended to get men on the moon, anyway) thus far. An oxygen tank exploded and the survival of the astronauts on board was pretty touch-and-go for several days, but they did all come home safely in the end (but you already knew that).

6. There was a mass arrest and execution of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307.

7. According to Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants, there are 13 dirty words.Squidward must be a George Carlin fan, because he responded that he thought there were only seven. “Not if you’re a sailor,” Mr. Krabs replied.

8. Although a coven is now just considered to be any group of witches (or vampires, if you’re into a certain young adult series about sparkly supernaturals), it was once believed that a coven was made up of exactly 13 members.

9. There’s an old superstition that says if you have 13 letters in your name, you’re bound to have the devil’s luck. Silly, yes, but slightly more convincing when you consider that Charles Manson, Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all contain 13 letters (I know, I know, what about their middle names?).

10. Kids officially become teenagers at the age of 13, and we all know that’s a scary phase.

11. In numerology, the number 12 is considered to be the representation of perfection and completion. It stands to reason, then, that trying to improve upon perfection by adding a digit is a very bad idea indeed — your greed will be rewarded with bad luck.

12. In the late 1800s, there was a group called The Thirteen Club. Their purpose was to debunk the legend that seating 13 people at a table would result in the death of one of them in the year to follow. They met on the 13th of the month and had dinner 13 people to a table, and to make matters worse, they purposely spilled salt on the table without throwing it over their shoulders. The horror! They also fined members who showed up late — 13 cents, of course. Members of the club included five U.S. presidents: Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Chester A. Arthur. I’m not sure if it’s worth noting that two of these presidents were shot — one fatally, of course — but I’ll mention it anyway. And, if you’re keeping track, Chester A. Arthur only became president because he was vice when Garfield was assassinated.

13. Friday, October 13, 1972, was a bad day in the history of aviation. That’s the day that Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 infamously crashed in the Andes, killing 29 people. On the exact same day, 174 people were killed when a Soviet Aeroflot crashed in a lake about a kilometer from the runway.

To counter all of this undue hatred of the poor number 13, I’ll give you one reason to love it: a baker’s dozen. Mmm, extra doughnut.

Article by Stacy Conradt

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