On Discipline and Repentance

A few of my favorite quotes from “Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted”, homework from week 3, with Priscilla Shirer:

“Adversity is redemptive, not punitive.”

“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:10-11

On the heart:

“Whether or not Jonah knew God was never the concern.  Clearly he was well acquainted with God.  He could discern the leading of God.  Yet Jonah had a problem agreeing with God and changing his mind, attitude, and actions to comply with God.  His heart was out of alignment with the heart of God.”

On repentance:

“Jonah still did not desire to go to Ninevah… Repentance doesn’t necessarily require that your feelings have changed about what God is asking you to do… Repentance means that you are willing, despite those feelings, to put it aside and stop travelling the wrong way.  True repentance requires a change in direction.”


Disciplined for Running Away?

A few of my favorite quotes from “Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted”, homework from week 2, with Priscilla Shirer:

A simple choice:

“There’s no gray area in obeying God either, you know.  When God speaks or allows you to see His hand, giving you the opportunity to participate in His purposes, you don’t have an array of options to choose from… It’s clear-cut, plain and simple.  You can either choose to obey or choose to disobey.  No neutral ground.  Choosing to do “nothing” is really a decision to delay obedience – and the word for delayed obedience? Disobedience.” (p.35)

On running away:

Sometimes we literally run from God, like Jonah did.  But more often we are “running away on the inside”.  We are more like Israel than we care to admit:  “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me consists of tradition learned by rote.” Isaiah 29:13  “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to Him, but repudiated Him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” Acts 7:39

On the Sin Cycle:Wrong-Way-Sign-K-6172

“It wasn’t this bad in the beginning… If only I’d known where those first bad decisions would have led me, maybe I would have chosen differently.” (p.43)

Then suddenly we stand with Jonah, with David after his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, with the prodigal son and we ask – How did I get to here?!  What happened that brought me to this ugly place?!

That’s our wake-up call!  God is so gracious that He reaches down and shakes us sometimes – WAKE UP!  You’re going the wrong way!

How did you get there?  The answer lies in our very first decision to disobey, to ignore, to allow something that should never have been…

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15

The decisions you are making today will impact your tomorrows.  How you choose to respond to God’s leading right now will determine how your future unfolds. (p.46)  “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval.” Romans 6:16

On the Lord’s discipline:

The Lord’s discipline in your life is a sign of His relationship with you.  Those whom He loves, He disciplines. “I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.” Psalm 89:32-33

The conviction of the Lord is never to condemn us, but always seeks to restore us to a right relationship with Him.  Indeed, He waits for us to return like the father of the prodigal son… “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18

“Do you think a season of your life held wasted years with no redeeming qualities?  God can use anything.  He’s the Master of taking the bits and pieces of our leftovers and making something amazing out of it… for His glory.” (p.53)


As a side note, I keep thinking of Les Miserables.  Jean Valjean’s choice to steal a loaf of bread sent him to prison and into a downward spiral he certainly never imagined.  The graciousness of the priest who gave him the silver was a chance for personal redemption.  Valjean grasps this opportunity and makes the choice (and keeps making choices) to live differently, righteously, correctly, for others.  It’s a beautiful picture of the horrors and unknowns of the sin cycle and the challenges and joys of redemption – don’t miss it.


 I know you’ve seen this picture of the Costa Concordia this week. (Reuters/Max Rossi)  I have been completely fascinated by this wreck, enough to actually pull up the nautical charts for the Island of Giglio…  If I understand correctly this is what happened in a nutshell – The ship’s course was electronically set when it left Rome, and it was to pass through the main channel.  But the captain turned off the alarms and changed course to sail much closer to the island because he wanted to “salute” the little town on that side, which happened to be where his head waiter was from.  And he hit some rocks, ripped a big hole in a 450 million dollar boat, killed some people, scared the snot out of everyone who had to relive the Titanic, nearly bankrupted Carnival cruise lines, and will probably get to spend the rest of his life in jail….

He chose to take the other “un-approved”route to impress some people?!?!  And it cost him EVERYTHING!!  Not to mention what it cost other people!

There is a way that seems right to a man but it only brings him death. (Prov 14:12)

He’d probably been through there before.  He thought he knew where all the hazards were.  It looked like a simple thing to do, little bit of fun, even if it was against the rules.  Just for the record – the rocks are on the charts, and so are some other wreck sites where other ships had troubles in the same area.  But he obviously didn’t notice that.  He was too busy turning off the alarm systems.

Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God?  Or am I still trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Gal 1:10)

Let me tell you something I’ve learned – sin is exactly like that in our lives.  It’s just a little deviation from the “acceptable, righteous” path.  It doesn’t seem like a dangerous thing.  And maybe you’ve even tried it before and nothing significant happened.  And often you do it to impress somebody else, or just to make them happy and not cause a ruckus.  Or just because you feel like it.  BUT you don’t always see the rocks!  And you for CERTAIN cannot correctly estimate ALL the consequences of your choices.  And there are ALWAYS consequences for sin.  ALWAYS, but they are not necessarily immediate.

The “approved” path is there to keep you safe, to protect you.  God is not trying to take all the fun out of everything… it is for your own good.  Trust Him.  Learn from the shipwrecks on the chart and DON’T GO THERE.

He guards the course of the just and protects the way of the faithful… Walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. (Prov 2:8,20)