Like most of you I have quite a few scars from burns, cuts, scrapes and such. Some were from accidents, some from mistakes and some are proof of my own stupidity. I can say of most of them that I learned ‘the hard way’ not to do this or that, in that way, again. Some scars are outward, and some are inward. I like my scars though, not their getting but their having. They serve as great reminders! They remind me that there are consequences for my actions. This scar reminds me not to “hold an oyster knife that way”; that one reminds me to remove my hand before closing a car door. These three fingers don’t have fingerprints anymore -a reminder about touching hot things. Life is like that isn’t it? It rewards good and bad choices. Proverbs 24:30 “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and lo it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down”. Laziness and neglect have their rewards – vs 34 poverty and want come like armed men to subdue and enslave. Back when I was a child, adults still knew how to get a belt or a switch and deal with unruly or disobedient children. They knew also that failure to do so would be a reward of bad behavior and choices which would ‘matriculate’ in that child’s adult life. Many of the circumstances people face are just the full-grown nettles and broken-down walls resultant from their own neglect of responsibilities and duties in the past. Lastly, sadly, those of you who are in fact saved may be facing some difficulty as a result of the chastening hand of God in your life. Hebrews 12:5-10 speaks of the chastening of our earthly fathers as illustrative of the chastening of the Heavenly father. You know as well as I do that God deals with ‘his’ children just as any loving father does. He rewards good behavior and choices, but he punishes poor behavior. Perhaps my hardships are just my own chickens finally come home to roost. Perhaps my hardship is my father dealing with me as a son because he loves me too much to let me continue in some neglect, rebellion or sin. I was never much pleased when I got the business end of a board, paddle, switch or belt {all of which had an uncanny way of getting my attention and attitude back where they were supposed to be}. Now, looking back I am thankful for the times my parents didn’t neglect to adjust my behavior, it has helped me in life. As well I am thankful that the Lord loved me enough to make me his child and I am thankful he proves I am his by dealing me when I need it. Remember this – a loving hand must be sometimes gentle, sometimes merciful, sometimes guiding and yes, sometimes firm. As Hebrews 12:7 …for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? Learn the lesson, repent of the behavior that brought the chastening. If your field is full of weeds you must pull them up by the root. We hope to see you soon at Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the Loop. 903-729-5924