PO BOX 793 Swellendam 6740, Western Cape, South Africa
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0823739297
Web site http://www.morielmissions.org.za/
Dear friends and family.
Its been a busy year so far with a preaching trip to the UK in February/March and an opportunity to catch up with family and friends. Peoples love, generosity and support were overwhelming and it was good to see good attendances at the various fellowships.
Other teaching engagements have been a trip to Bread of life ministries where my friend David Nathan is Pastor where I taught on ‘God Disciplines those whom He loves’. I have produced the transcript as a teaching at the end of this Newsletter.
Then I was asked to do a conference with David Nathan and Bill Randles ar the Carmel center in George, Western cape. The theme of the conference was “The Bridegroom Comes”. There was some excellent teaching and a challenging word in season to the Bride of Christ. I looked at it from the perspective of Song of Songs and the typology of the Bride and Groom and Christ and His Church. I will put out the transcript at a later date but if you do want to here some good teaching from the conference please contact us.
The Children continue to grow and keep well despite their various health challenges. The farm side of things keeps them busy as we prepare for the onset of winter. This includes the not so glamorous things like collecting and spreading horse muck for the growing season ahead.
Last month our first holiday together in almost two years. We went for a week in Hermanus and the guys had a great time despite the power outages.
CD4 levels and viral loads are also good. N’tombi though still has problems with her joints in her shoulders and hands. As you can imagine this can be uncomfortable as she does her riding lessons. We would love to send her to riding camp in July and are looking for a sponsor for her. At the camp she would learn more skills aimed at helping her with a career in stable management. The camp will cost about $200 if anyone would like to help.
Johannes has begun oil painting classes. He wants to be able to sell some if anyone is interested I will send you some photographs of his work.
The next budgetary investment is beds. We just bought one now from a donation. They are about $150 each for your prayerful consideration.
Lyn is a real soldier. She will have her work cut out for her because I go into hospital on the 5th May for foot reconstruction. Seems when I was running for a train in October I broke my foot in na couple of places. Anyway the leg swelled and I am in a lot of pain. It was only spotted when I went for further xrays, MRI and cat scan. I will have to keep off my foot for 6 weeks then a Moon Boot till its healed in about 4 months. Pray for all our patience.
The wider family is growing well. Our youngest son and his wife Erin are expecting their second child in September. On top of this they move house in the coming week so please keep them in your prayers.
Anthony is roughly half way through his Masters program and is officially a Tutor at KEDS for their knowing your bible module. I am really pleased at how he is growing in this area.
Thank you once again for your love and support. I hope to be visiting the UK in Oct/Nov if you would like me to share at your fellowship.
One last prayer request. Out of the four vehicles we have access to, three are broken down. As you can imagine keeping these necessary vehicles is crucial to the mission and also expensive. Please remember us in your prayers.
You can contact me directly or you may contact the following people.
South Africa, David Royle email@example.com
UK Joanne Drinkwater firstname.lastname@example.org
USA David Lister email@example.com
Australia and New Zealand, Marg Godwin firstname.lastname@example.org
God Disciplines those whom He Loves
1: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 [a]fixing our eyes on Jesus, the [b]author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Himendured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary [c]and lose heart.
4 You have not yet resisted [d]to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had [e]earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of[f]spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
12 Therefore, [g]strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
One of the distinguishing marks of practically all of mankind is our habit of passing the book, passing the responsibility onto other people.
It all started in Genesis with Adam and Eve when Adam tried to pass his accountability on to Eve asnd eventually God Himself. Like Adam, when problems come along, when things go wrong we tend to look for someone to blame.
In fact when things are really bad God is certainly the one we blame for taking us through this, that or the other. And do you know what? Sometimes it is Gods fault, ‘because God disciplines those whom He loves”.
Think about that for moment. Maybe your here and even today have begun to go through a time of great anxiety. A torrid time, stress upon stress, anxiety upon anxiety and your thinking ‘why is all this happening to me?’ And so you put it down to;
- Bad luck – man I have been so unlucky this year nothings going right.
- Coincidence – what are the odds of all these things happening at once?
- Persecution – my family, my friends, my work mates have all got it in for me.
- Stupidity – I cannot believe how stupid the situation is.
- God – what did I ever do to deserve this from Him?
But sometimes do we ever consider thatour present experiences may be happening because there are some deep awesome truths to be learnt in our lives and that God is dealing with us because he loves us and God disciplines those whom He loves.
Look if we are silly enough to run our cars all year without checking the oil and the engine over heats and seizes up – who is to blame?
If you set off on a journey across the Karoo and you run out of fuel half way – whos to blame?
If you go through life without any form of spiritual check up and power for the journey – whos to blame? Your parents, your spouse may discipline you for the car but God disciplines those whom He loves as well.
So lets look at the portion of scripture from Hebrews to see what we can glean and in doing so lets structure the teaching in the following way.
- First of all lets look at the background to the scripture
- Lets look at the word for discipline and its uses
- We will look at the text itself
- Finally and God willing we will bring out a practical application
The author of Hebrews has been much debated over the years, some scholars say Paul, some say look and a few say Apollos. However its destination was to a group of Jewish believers just before the destruction of the Temple in 70AD.
The letter is full of Temple references in fact CH10:11 says
Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;
So the Temple sacrifice and services are spoken of by the author as a present day reality. Also look at CH13:10-11
10 We have an altar from which those who serve the [c]tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.
The author again speaks in a present context and usage, the Temple is obviously there and functioning.
Some commentators have also said that not only is the letter written to Jewish bleivers but that with the levitical content, that these people were attached to the Temple service in some way. People who were under extreme pressure to go back to their former religion.
And so to them this letter is a twofold encouragement. First of all to keep to their faith in Yeshua as messiah because He is a better High Priest who offeres a better sacrifice. But also secondly that this letter is an encouragement against a coming persecution that will end the Temple sacrifice by the hands of the Romans in AD70.
In effect Hebrews can be divided into two parts. First of all doctrinal issues and then from CH10:19 onwards practical issues regarding faith. Our text then falls into the latter area of practical living.
WORD USAGE IN SCRIPTURE
Now the main theme of our text is discipline and discipline is a major biblical theme that unfortunately the world, the flesh and the devil don’t like to look at nowadays.
There are several words in the Hebrew and the Greek, the Hebrew meaning to give either physical or verbal enforcement in order to reprove or educate. But the main Greek nwords have to do with the training and education of children. The Greek word is Paideia, to instruct a child by deed in order to educate.
Throughout the KJV if thats your bible of choice you will see it expressed in the following ways, chasten, chasteneth, chastise and other variations of the word.
Here are some of the occurances found it the Old testament.
Proverbs 3: 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Proverbs 19:18hasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Psalm 94: 12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law;
In the New Testament we see the following uses.
Luke 23:13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)
Here is Pilate who found nothing wrong in Jesus asking to chastise God made flesh.
1 Cor 11” 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
So we see here that when God disciplines us He does it so we do not share the same fate as the world.
Finally we see in the book of Revelation to the church of Laodicea, Jesus tells them and us if we believe this is the Laodicean church. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
So the area of discipline is widespread throughout scripture, the words virtually have the same meaning in the Hebrew and Greek. We see God disciplines the nations, He disciplines His own people Israel, we see His reason for discipline and that God disciplines those whom He loves.
AND YET! Sometimes we cant quite work out why God would want to discipline us.
Let us now look at the text and get some understanding as to the subject matter.
V1 “Therefore we also”. That word therefore links it with the previous verses in CH11 which is usually called ‘the chapter of faith’. Various people of God are set before us as examples of faith through trials and testing.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
The author apparently see little difference between us and the people of faith. God loves us all, We are also a people of faith. And throughout CH11, as we see Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Sarah and others, a whole host of predesessors, we must understand there is still a cloud of witnesses surrounding us today.
First of all, this is a warning to me and too you that as we go through difficult times that people are looking in to see how we handle the situation. ‘hey theres Dave Royle, believes hes a man of faith, hows he coping with that nasty situation?
But secondly it is also an encouragement. You see the author is using the language of the Arena. The saints of old have run their race and its as though they are in the stands cheering us on. Encouraging us as we fight our battles in the arena. They bear witness to the faithfulness of God in sustaining them through trial and testing and we can gain encouragement from their example.
Then the author begins to give us some sage advice , let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin
Let me tell you and maybe you can relate to this. When David Royle is under severe pressure, when David Royle is being stretched and tested and he thinks no one is looking and he is alone in the situation, it sometimes becomes easier to sin, it becomes easier to alleviate the pressure by any other means accept God.
But Dave Royle is wrong. Dave Royle is never alone, there is always a great cloud of witnesses. Be it my wife, my kids, my neighbours and friends – there all looking in. So the author says “get away from the things that entangle you and trip you up, for your sake and for theirs.
So how do we do this in times of testing? Times of trouble? Times of discipline?
2 [a]fixing our eyes on Jesus, the [b]author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary [c]and lose heart.
Yes there is a great cloud of witnesses whos example encourages and cheers us on and in a way when we think about it our lives are like a living epistle and is being read by others, but these others are not our final source of encouragement and strength. V2 says fixing our eyes on Jesus and V3 says consider Him and why should we fix our eyes upon and consider Him?
Because hes the author and finisher of our faith. It began with Him and it will culminate with his return.
Because He Endured. That word for endure is Hupmeno, to endure or sustain through a load of miseries, adversaries, persecutions and provocations. We look to Him because he endured on our behalf. And what did He endure? He endured the Cross, He endured such hostilities from sinners against Himself.
You see the men of faith, the cloud of witnesses with some great characters are just men. People who survived through Gods strength and grace. And yes it great to get encouragement from people of faith, but Yeshua, our saviour – fish our eyes upon Him because He endured.
Let Yeshua be the encourager, thats what the author is saying here, if your weary and discouraged in your souls, look to Him who endured, look to Him who started this race with you and be confident that He will finish this race with you.
Then the author brings two observarions concerning the target audience of this letter.
Firstly V4 4 You have not yet resisted [d]to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
Secondly V5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
Those on the receiving end of the letter were going through difficulties and there were harder times to come. You see sometimes we are in a bad situation and its hard and difficult BUT its all relative.
Our children through their earlier lives have gone through some horrible times with bad previous homes, illnesses and disabilities. But the orphans we had in Tanzania went through all that plus Rapes, plus abuse from church men. And even then we see now what they endure pales into nothing when we see what has happened to the children rounded up by ISIS and Boko Haram.
The Hebrews had pressure, they had difficulties but to the point of the author writing they had not yet shed blood. Nobody had died.
And not only that but in the middle of their woes they had forgotten Gods exhortation that speaks to us as His children. Not suprising then that in our situations we too forget the promises and counsel of God. I am trying to be as open and honest as it needs to be here so that Gods word becomes real to us. I am not perfect, I am still by Gods grace running the race and there are too many times when instead of acting in the spirit it all runs away from me and I act in the flesh. Because I forget the promises and counsel of God.
And so eventually we need to pause and evaluate the situation and say ‘Yes this is serious to me but I know others in more pressing situations and on top of that I have forgotton what God has said in His word”.
For these Hebrews God had set in place words that were a healing balm to them and through this letter a way forward to each of us as well.
V5-6 “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
My wife will tell you that when things happen to me and they are hurtful and out of my control – I sulk. I throw out all the rattles out of my cot and I begin often to point the finger. At my kids, my wife, my ministry – never myself though. I begin to despise things and then eventually I say to God “Why are you allowing this to happen.”
Yet God has been dealing with me as a son and yet still I cant see it. Even though I believe in disciplining my own children so they can learn some valuable lessons and its there as an example of my own fatherhood to them in front of my eyes and I cannot quite make it sink in that Father God would treat me in a similar way. And so I despise it and so I blame everybody and everything under the son – instead of looking unto Jesus, concidering Him and coming to terms with the fact that He loves me and He loves me so much that He doesn’t want me to have the same attributes of the world and so in Love he disciplines me.
Then V8 tells me too “8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons
Ever tried to train a rebellious 5 or 6 year old? I have this lovely little boy called Luke and he adores me, we are in his word bestest buddies. Hes 9 now but man he followed me everywhere right from being able to walk. We would share the same cup, food on my plate always tasted better. But when I disciplined him he would throw a tantrum. This kid is a long term project for me. But I love him. He acts like hes illigimate at times but to me he reminds me so much of our own relationship with Father God. The truth is God loves us, He disciplines us and yet we behave like we are illegitimate.
I hate some discipline, my own dad was an example to me too. In our home my Mumwas in charge of the daily mundane discipline because my dad was at work and he worked all the hours God gave so my dad only got to disciple the really serious stuff. It was a shame in a way because we would only see him before bed and it was good to see him and especially on Fridays because thats when he brought home treats on pay day. And so the few times he had to smack us, it was a bit of a shock, more emotional than physical pain because we were used to mum and it was unpleasant. V11 sums it up nicely when it says.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
You see our Earthly fathers chastened us according to V10 as seemed best to them and lets face it many fathers get it wrong. But when our heavenly Father disciplines us, if we endure these trials, we will yield the peacable fruit of righteousness.
That world righteous means right behaviour, right attitude, right relationship with God and even with each other.
I respect my dad and my mum and love them to bits. I think my kids love and respect me. So then if that is the case should I not respect Gods discipline? His discipline is for our good. His discipline will yield fruit if we are trained by it. His discipline sets us up for eternity.
So to conclude. I obviously don’t know everyones circumstances today or why you have to go through a certain time of testing and trial.
Circumstances can have us treading water or even sinking for years and I don’t know if every outcome can be clear in this life time.
As I said at the start, you maybe at that point where you are passing the book, or its your wifes fault or your just unlucky or even pointing and wagging your finger at God.
Well maybe its time to take some time out and consider the God option. You see if you know God loves you, He will discipline you.
If your going the way of the world, He will steer you back.
You may feel your badly done to, but if your hear seeking Him there is hope.
You may have forgotten His exhortations and promises, bur God would bring us to that place of remembrance.
You may think its painful, but God will use it to yield peacable fruit of righteousness.
Let me ask, are you a son or are you illigitamate? You see God disciples those whom He loves.