Editorial Team Cristina Dy Editor-in-chief Rosalind Ngo-Li Editor Johnson Li Art Editor Marybelle Talania Artist Rev. Alexander Hsu Uy Ptr. Philemon Tie Ptr. Joselito Chua Spiritual Columnists
CCOWEspondence is a magazine published semi-annually by CCOWEF Young Professionals Philippines (CYP). This publication is distributed for free to FilipinoChinese churches nationwide. If you would like to extend financial assistance to help in the production and distribution of CCOWEspondence, it will be greatly appreciated. You can send cash or check made payable to: CCOWEF Philippines Metrobank-Sta. Cruz Branch S/A No. 025-3-02550155-2 Note: Views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent those of CCOWEF Philippines or CYP. Authors are responsible for their own opinions and articles. For comments and suggestions write to us at 3rd Floor Manhattan Bldg., 920 Banawe St., Quezon City, 1115 Telefax: 576-0724; 577-4030 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 2
Discipline with a Purpose
was having another stare down with my 4-year-old daughter.
I could feel my temperature rising. I could probably fry an egg on my head! My anger and frustration was so great that I could feel “smoke” coming out of my ears. It was such a bad time as I was running late for work and yet she would not give in. She just looked at me with determined eyes as she stubbornly refused to drink her medicine. I already explained to her the night before why she had to drink it whether she likes it or not, whether it tastes good or not, and whether it smells nice or not, because obeying me is for her own good; otherwise, she would not get well. As I talked with her, my volume inevitably rose from volume one to ten. Yet, she still would not budge! In times like this, what should I have done? Spanked her until she gave in to my request? Imposed my authority by forcing the medicine down her throat? Is this a good time to implement the word “discipline”? As I went to work that day, I contemplated upon these questions. When does discipline really start? Is there such a thing as the perfect age to begin it? Does it ever end? Do we ever graduate from it? Is it to be strictly implemented at home only or is discipline also being done in the workplace or church? Does discipline extend up to our Christian lives? Do we need to subject ourselves to some sort of self-discipline too? Eventually, all those pondering lead to the birth of this issue's theme. Each page attempts to show the readers the enforcement of discipline in the different aspects of our lives. We have articles on the implementation of discipline at home, work, and church. We even have write-ups on being disciplined in our diet and daily devotion. My friends, changing our outlook regarding discipline from a negative to a positive one may take more than an issue of this magazine. However, it is my hope and prayer that the views and experiences shared by our brothers and sisters in Christ will somehow open our eyes and mind to the purpose and importance of discipline. If we are in a position where we are the enforcer of discipline, then we should do so in love without any intention of making life difficult for others. If it happens that we are the recipient of a disciplinary measure, then we should take it as a learning experience. Discipline should serve as a teacher, ensuring that we will never forget our mistakes and its consequences. As for my daughter, well, I always try to exercise maximum tolerance. In the end, I was able to make her take the medicine without having to spank her. All it took was one deep breath to calm myself and another detailed explanation on why she had to listen to me and drink her medicine. May God's strength and grace help and enable us to live disciplined Christian lives!
by: Hansel David Co (Glory Evangelical Church)
For the past couple of months, regular television viewers have surely been inundated with telecasts from two significant events: the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton and the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley. We have been treated to numerous scenes of preparations, the latest buzz and of course, the most awaited royal wedding and boxing match itself. But what is the common theme for both events? Discipline. In the royal wedding, the discipline displayed by the honor guards, security personnel and all those involved, just to make sure an event seen worldwide goes without a hitch, is admirable. While in the boxing sleeping by a security guard while the machine the worker was match, the intense training that makes sure that one is well- handling was still running. The supervisor then made a report to prepared to go up against a world-class athlete showcases a the human resources office and the employee was subsequently certain discipline very few can match. But while only a few of us suspended for 12 days; this being his second time to be caught would ever get the chance to practice the discipline that was sleeping on the job. In this case, the worker would have even more involved in the two media spectacles, we are involved with difficulty in supporting his young family since any suspension discipline everyday in one way or the other. And what better would mean deductions from his salary. However, management example would there be than a place where most of us can relate to had little choice other than to sanction the employee or else the --- it's discipline in a workplace. others will likely follow what he did. They will not be encouraged to follow the rules and regulations in the workplace. Sherwin Ngo is currently the Assistant HRDD Manager for a company involved in manufacturing plastic wrappers and While being strict is very beneficial, what is also equally important is containers. Some of his responsibilities are the hiring and that the rules should be communicated well to the employees. termination of employees, training, and basically, be the eyes and They need to understand why such rules are important to be ears for his superiors in terms of plant efficiency. But most carried out. More often than not, employees never like it when they importantly, he is also involved with employee relations and meets are dictated upon. Encouragement is the key word here. When them frequently so that he may be able to address their concerns that happens, the employee will most likely be more willing to work and avoid any problems later on. hand-in-hand with his superior to achieve a common good for all. According to him, discipline in the workplace is extremely important since it has a direct impact on the company's operational plant efficiency. “If discipline is positive, then very likely, overall plant and operational efficiency would also be up. And if plant efficiency and operational efficiency are up, then the likelihood is that sales and profits would also be up. And if sales and profits are up, then jobs of employees are secured and the life of the company will be prolonged.” Sherwin also stressed that being strict is ideal and addressing a minor violation is as important as addressing a major one. He said that if minor violations are let go, then they may become major ones in the future if it is not dealt with properly. Some infractions that may seem to be minor are exceeding their breaks, sleeping on the job, and tardiness. “If you let go of a minor violation, other employees may feel you are playing favourites. Bottom line is, do your best to treat your workers equally and fairly. Management would always have to balance out compassion and fairness inside the workplace.”
But all this will mean nothing if God isn't part of our actions. We may be able to plan and execute a right formula for instilling the right attitude on discipline but without Him, something will feel amiss. Sherwin believes that we should consult God as often as we can. Giving the right judgement on erring employees can be taxing. We may feel as if we made the right decision but it turns out that we were wrong. He fondly looks back at the experience of King Solomon who asked for wisdom to decide which woman was really the mother of the baby. He further stated that, no matter how difficult a decision may be, God will always help us make the right call if we pray for wisdom faithfully. Sherwin also noted that Christians don't have a monopoly on discipline in the workplace. He has personally witnessed several instances when non-believers are even more disciplined than people who go to church regularly. Therefore, he suggests that it should be a challenge for us to be disciplined at all times. It's not just because we should be more efficient than non-believers, but rather because we should be doing our best for our employers and most importantly, for our Lord.
He cited an instance where one of their employees was caught 3
ow do you react when you discover that a fellow church member is living in sin? Are you quick to share the news to your church buddies? Do you approach and confront the person of his sin? Do you report him to your church leaders? Or do you opt to keep quiet and stay out of their business?
Exactly, what is the role of a church member and a church leader towards a sinning member? Rev. Danny Reyes of UEC Malabon tells us more about the foundation, the process, and the challenges of church discipline.
When A Brother Sins by Cristina Dy - (UECP)
What is the basis disciplining a believer?
When a believer becomes a member of a church, he acquires both the privileges and responsibilities of a church member. This includes moral and spiritual accountability. A church disciplines its members, not its guests. In that sense, being disciplined is actually part of the privilege. It means that a person is part of the family, meriting special care and attention. The fundamental reason behind the discipline is LOVE. It's not to punish nor put the person down. And the objective is to restore the person back to the Lord and walk His ways, with the ultimate goal of protecting and uplifting God's name.
Who executes the discipline?
It depends on stages. Discipline is actually every member's responsibility. Members usually hesitate to rebuke a brother or sister in Christ for fear of reprisal, for they themselves are not perfect. But that would be acting out of self-centeredness, not love. In a family, when a sibling commits a wrongdoing, you don't necessarily or immediately report it to your
parents. Out of love, you want to protect, correct, and lead him back to the right path as quietly and quickly as possible. When members come to me and complain about someone, I advise them to first speak directly to the person in love and truth. Then, if the person denies or refuses to repent, you bring witnesses and talk to him again. If there is evidence and witness, and still the person is unrepentant, then the case is brought to the church level. The church will assign someone to work with him, and if he refuses to change, the church terminates his membership and treats him as an unbeliever. Prior to deciding on excommunication or termination of membership, we must give the person time to repent and change his ways. If at any point during this process, the person admits his sin and shows sincerity to change his ways, then there is no need for more stern forms of discipline. The church may need some time to observe. When the brother shows proof of repentance, he will be fully restored. The most extreme form of church discipline is excommunication. This is executed only when the person
persists to live in sin. It is not applied to someone who admits his sin and is in the process of struggling to stop. Termination of membership does not mean the erring person cannot come to our church anymore. He, as with any unbeliever, is welcome to attend our church but he will be cared for as an unbeliever. Therefore, we must continue to evangelize him.
Are there particular sins that require disciplinary action? Certain sin like envy, for example, is intangible and harder to prove. But obvious or public sins, like intentional cheating in business transactions, backed by concrete evidence, must be dealt with because this brings shame to God's name.
Must there be a complainant? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Take the case of a married man who openly has another woman outside but no one complains. For the sake of love and upholding God's name, the church must deal with his sin.
When is public confession necessary? Why? Before answering that, we must
clarify that public confession is not part of the correction process, but the restoration process. The church does not impose public confession on someone as a form of punishment or shame. It is done at the compliance, sometimes even at the initiative, of the person who is truly repentant and decides to show accountability or to help others through his personal experience.
gives a closure to the case because we ask the congregation to speak no more of the issue and to pray for the person instead. This way, the person need not carry this baggage all his life.
What is the usual struggle that church leaders face when it comes to discipline? Discipline is not a pleasant process. A church may fear offending and losing a member when they exercise discipline. The greatest difficulty lies in balancing between justice and holiness on one hand, love and compassion on the other hand, more so if the person involved is close to you. But the most important priority is to uplift God's name.
How does the church ensure that the discipline is protective and loving? In answer to your question, public confession is necessary when it is a public sin and people know about it. A member who commits premarital sex and repents does not need to publicly confess. However, if this sin leads to pregnancy, it becomes public and requires a public confession. Second, when the church has to suspend or terminate a member and his ministry, a public announcement is naturally required. Afterwards, when the erring person is repentant, a public confession is called for. A public confession may not immediately lead to a public restoration. There are cases when we must wait for proof of repentance. At such time, the church restores his membership and ministry. Third, the church is a family. When a person gives a public confession, it is not to encourage gossiping, prying into another's privacy, or being judgmental. Rather, the whole church mourns together with a sinner in his remorse, and prays together in his struggle, and rejoices together in his restoration.
We accompany the person during the whole process. Many times the family of the sinning member supports the discipline process because they know we are not out to judge, but acting out of love. After a period of repentance and setting things right, the member is publicly restored to the church and allowed to resume his ministry. This indicates acceptance and forgiveness by the church. When people bring up the case, we say that the case is close. The person is forgiven and does not require our condemnation anymore. Of course, the memory is still there but this no longer brings harm to the church.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of instituting and practicing church discipline? Foremost of course, God's name is uplifted. Second, the person is restored. Third, it's a testimony to the unbelievers. Fourth, it sanctifies the church. Otherwise, God will not bless the church. The downside is that you can be misunderstood, relationships are strained, and it brings disgrace, especially since Chinese people want to save face.
What is your message to all church members regarding this issue? Prevention is better than cure. So, prevent yourself and others from falling into sin. Return to the Lord before you sink deeper into sin. Lead others back before it's too late. As Christians, we must live to protect God's name.
Finally, we must understand that “church discipline” is not only negative. Weekly instruction from the pulpit, personal counselling, caring for one another through fellowships and small groups, Sunday School classes, training classes — all these constitute church discipline. But they're positive — to give instructions on godly living. This article deals mainly with the negative aspect — as to what happens when a brother fails to understand instructions or defiantly refuses to obey. By this broader definition, church discipline, in effect, applies to The reason for public confession all believers at all times. is basically accountability. It also serves to remind all believers to be alert against Satan's pitfalls. Furthermore, it 5
UECP 2nd Runner Up
Glory Evan G1 Champion
CBCP group at Big Brother’s House
Glory Evan G2 1st Runner up
The 1st Young Pro Amazing Race
Glory Evan G1 in Luneta
Glory Evan G1 in Chinatown
UEC Phils with the Scouts Secret weapon St. Stephen’s group
Glory Evan G2 with the chickens
ICOM group at Quiapo
Glory Evan G1
ICOM with the yellow bike
UEC Balintawak in Arranque
CBCP group eating Buko
UEC Balintawak with people in Luneta
ICOM group at Km 0
UEC Phils prepares to start
UEC Phils with the yellow bike
St. Stephen’s group at Km 0
St. Stephen’s group in Marathon St.
16 CCOWEF Young Pro Reunion March 27, 2011 7:30PM @ CBCP
By: Jessica Chen (Christian Bible Church of the Philippines)
he day started with CCOWEF Young Professionals Philippines' holding its first ever Amazing Race which started from Glory Evangelical Church and ended in Christian Bible Church of the Philippines where the reunion was held. The number of people who attended the reunion was more than expected. It was filled with so much fun and excitement especially with the wonderful prizes being raffled off, the sumptuous buffet dinner that satisfied everybody's gastronomical delight and the live acoustic Christian music for the attendees' listening pleasure. A photo booth was also set-up entitling each one to have a solo or group picture.
The attendees were from various Filipino-Chinese churches such as United Evangelical Church of the Philippines (UECP), UEC Pasay, UEC Lucena, UEC San Pablo, UEC Balintawak, UEC Malabon, Christ Commission Fellowship, Glory Evangelical Church, St. Stephen's Church, Christian Bible Church of the Philippines, Jubilee Evangelical
Church, United Bethel Church, Grace Christian Church, Grace Gospel Church and many more. Pastor Don Huan was the guest speaker that night who gave a timely but simple message entitled “A Race Called Life”. He shared that “life is like a sport or race, because it's filled with lots of drama and sacrifices, but most importantly, one must have singularity of purpose and motivation.” He also reminded everyone that “the goal of life is to glorify God and God is most glorified when He is most satisfied with us.” A slide show of raw pictures from the race was shown during dinner while raffle prizes were drawn in between programs. Prizes for raffle include T-shirts, 2 units of brand new DVD players, accommodations at Punta de Fabian, and gift certificates from Serenitea, Ace Water Spa, Balay Indang and Punta Fuego.
SAFE MINSTRY / CONVERGENCE and the upcoming LEGASPI CAMP entitled “DARE TO RUN”. Also included in the report is the upcoming INTERNATIONAL CCOWEF CONGRESS in Bali, Indonesia. The night concluded with the announcement of the Amazing Race winners. The champion was the team from Glory Evangelical Church who was awarded gift certificates worth 5,000.00PhP plus gold medals for each member of the team. The 1st runner-up place went to the team who is also from Glory Evangelical Church. There were given gift certificates worth 2,500.00PhP plus silver medals for each member of the team. And finally, the 2nd runner-up place went to UECP team who was given gift certificates worth 1,500.00PhP and bronze medal for each member of the team. Wasn't that exciting?! Well, I'm looking forward to the next reunion already. Don't miss it!
CCOWEF As introduction to CCOWEF Central Ministry, a preview video was shown which included CCOWESPONDENCE, ICOM,
Whole Lot of
One Sunday afternoon while on my way home, something happened. I was in a jeepney with five other women passengers. While on a stoplight, the girl seated across me suddenly shouted. Her mobile phone was grabbed from behind by a thief. Nothing new, you might say. But instead of running away, he came back and stood at the jeepney's entrance to say “Miss, you're too noisy.” The girl pleaded, “Give me back my phone.” This must be the reaction that the thief wanted because he just taunted the girl by saying, “You want this back?” while acting like he was going to toss the phone back at her. What struck me the most was the fact that this guy was not even trying to escape. He was boldly staring straight at us with a sense of achievement – without remorse, without fear. What is discipline? Discipline is seen as a systematic instruction expected to teach or train someone to produce a specific behavior. It sometimes carries a negative connotation since obtaining obedience or its execution is through punishment. From a “child development” perspective, discipline is a method of molding a person's character and of teaching self-control and appropriate behavior. Irene Yang says that from a biblical perspective, it is the responsibility of parents to discipline children not for the sake of destroying them but instead of building them up through the wisdom that discipline entails. Children are being disciplined so that they will learn how to assert their willpower over basic desires and have self-control over them. Most of the children born decades ago will say that at one point or another they have been disciplined through spanking. But with the recent development in children's upbringing, different methods of disciplining children with various temperaments have been explored. Is spanking still effective? Irene says that spanking can be effective only if the situation really calls for it like in getting the attention of a child. But it must not be administered to hurt or break the child's spirit. Otherwise, they are being taught
By: Rhea Bless Lerado (Glory Evangelical Church)
that violence is alright. There are many alternatives to spanking such as taking away privileges, grounding to allow the child to cool down and reflect on a wrong action as well as help the child learn to wait by delaying instant gratifications. The best method is to process and analyze the situation, leading the child to admit his own mistakes. We often hear of Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” According to Irene, this verse simply means that we must not overlook the importance of discipline. As parents, we must be responsible to train our children either by instruction or by keeping them under control. But it does not necessarily mean that we must discipline by spanking them. How young should one exactly start disciplining a child? “As long as the child is conscious, discipline can already start even as young as infancy but it must be done appropriately according to age”, says Irene. What did my earlier story have to do with a child's discipline? Most parents would say that their child's willful disobedience will immeasurably hurt them and that one of the most gratifying thing to hear is for someone to say that their child did not grow up to be a menace of society. My Sunday encounter with the thief made me realized how over the years our discipline – self-discipline or methods of disciplining – must be going downhill for children nowadays can look you in the eye, do something really inappropriate or outrageous and act as if it was perfectly acceptable. Sometimes, unintentionally, we even praise them for being cunning, for turning around a situation to their advantage without regard for what is right or wrong. Parenting must be terrifying and I admire all the parents out there who are willing to take up the responsibility in rearing up a child and instilling in them the basic guidelines of life. But it will remain basic as their future and their decisions in life will remain their own. Parents can only hope and pray that their children will choose what is right over what is just a basic need to satisfy the self.
Irene Yang is a mother of three girls (23, 21 and 15). She has a Masters Degree in Family Life and Child Development at U.P. Diliman and a Candidate for Doctor of Education - Educational Leadership (Asia Graduate School of Theology). She is a preschool consultant and program director, teacher trainer, curriculum writer and parenting seminar and workshop speaker. She has taught in the Christian Education Department of Alliance Graduate School and BSOP, at present is a part-time faculty member of Febias College.
My Six Months Journey with “Bangus”
By: Johnson A. Li United Bethel Church
One cool breezy day in December, before getting off the bed, I did my regular morning routine. I stretched my arms and legs, did some sit-ups and a little air cycling to strengthen my back. As I swung my legs off the bed, I was surprised to discover that my right leg had no strength. It felt weak and couldn't support my weight as I tried to stand up. There was a little pain felt on the ball of my ankle like something was tightly wrapped around it. As I tried to take a step, I almost fell to the floor. So I flexed it up and down for a few minutes to loosen it and I was so glad when it returned to normal. Just like a rusty old wheel that needs oil to make it turn smoothly. But it happened again the next morning, and the days that followed it. The duration of the pain and weakness of the foot took a longer time to recover each day. And after a week, I started to panic! I checked my legs for polio. Good thing, it was not deformed … yet. I already had my anti-polio vaccine when I was still a kid anyway. I immediately consulted my doctor and after examining my foot, he prescribed a medicine to be taken for 10 days. He told me that I have gout and should avoid eating foods that are high in purine for at least six months. He also gave me two flyers as diet guides. I looked intensely on the two pieces of paper handed to me. One is a food chart showing the amount of “purine” content in certain foods. And the other shows what food I can eat anytime, those that should be eaten in moderation, and what I should avoid. I can't believe that those found in the avoid list are the foods that I commonly eat! I usually prefer to eat beef rather than pork because I consider it healthier. I would also choose meat rather than fish because it is faster to eat it; not to mention that I hate getting choked with fish bone in front of other people. I thought hard about what other food options I have and what would be good for me. Aha! Vegetables! I'm not a vegetarian but, I guess, broccoli will do as it is the only vegetable that I like. To my surprise, it was also listed in the avoid column! Poor me, I said to myself. What will I eat??? I felt down and depressed. I pitied myself. Then suddenly, the people that I know who have food allergies came to my mind. They are the ones who can't even eat chicken, shell fish, and peanuts … all their lives! These are the people who usually eat noodles and stay happy with that. After all those thoughts, I felt a little better. I know people who can survive in the jungle, people who are mountaineers and able to live. That's it. I
have to focus. Be disciplined! I am fired up, full of determination, full of energy, inspired! What a motivation it is for me to know that what I am experiencing is but temporary. And besides, I would not like for somebody to tell me with a grin on his face, “Mahina na tuhod mo, bro.” So it seems the only thing I am allowed to eat is fish. What are my options? I made a list of possible choices. Soon, I discovered that St. Peter's fish (Tilapia) is also not good for it is high in uric acid. Grouper (Lapu-Lapu) is also not good … for my pocket as it is too expensive. One by one, the list got shorter and shorter till I ended with only one choice that fits my physical health and financial health … Milk Fish (Bangus)! The next six months were not easy for me. Food temptations were everywhere. During special occasions or even during lunch at work, I have to bring my own Bangus meal. I can't avoid looking at the food of the people sitting around me enjoying their “non-Bangus” meal. With a heavy sigh, I couldn't help but feel sorry for myself and find their food to be better than my Bangus. But life must go on. Acceptance and patience will do the trick of a better living, and Bangus became more acceptable in my everyday life. It became my lifestyle. I discovered a thousand and one ways to cook Bangus. Sometimes it's fried, sometimes it's steamed. I even experimented with different spices and ingredients. Sinigang and paksiw became popular to me. My mom and sisters were very supportive by cooking me a variety of Bangus dishes whenever I visit them. And after two weeks, my foot got better. I was able to walk immediately after waking up and the pain had subsided. I was sorely tempted to quickly revert back to my usual eating habits, eating my favorite foods. But the thought of the pain returning made me think twice. I decided to continue my Bangus diet as per doctor's instructions. And for six months, I ate nothing but that. I know I won't finish my special six months diet without the help and moral support of family and friends. At that time, just thinking that Bangus is going to be my next viand is really tiresome. My friends, the recent fish kill of Bangus in the nearby provinces reminded me once again about my ordeal. Time has passed so fast and I didn't realize that it is already more than five years ago. But that experience taught me that discipline in one's diet is very crucial to one's health. And as for my humble Bangus, I will always be grateful to it for saving my right leg. 9
Under the Hand of God: By: Rev. Alexander H. Uy Grace Gospel Church
When one is asked to describe who God is, what answers do we usually get? I have no doubt many would answer that 'God is love' (1 John 4:8) and we would point to the Lord Jesus who willingly sacrificed himself in order to save us from our sins. We would point to the countless stories about how Jesus demonstrated love to his disciples and others. We would also quote Lamentations 3:22 â€“ 23 and even sing about God's steadfast love which never ceases and of his mercy which never comes to an end, for they are new every morning. While it is true that God is love, how exactly do we understand love? For many, they see God's love as some sappy, feelgood kind of feeling. Unfortunately, those who think this way are bound to get disappointed with God sooner than you think, because they will find that God's love actually has an oft neglected dimension that can be quite painful and may well be seen as being unloving if wrongly understood. That dimension is discipline. What exactly is discipline? The dictionary defines discipline primarily as being the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience (New Oxford American Dictionary). We can, no doubt, easily relate to this definition. For many among us, discipline has often been equated with punishment. I am sure many of us have received a spanking when we were still small. We've also 10
A Look at God's Discipline been grounded or disallowed from leaving the house, as well as being curtailed of our privileges to watch TV or play computer games. All these were done to us because we did not conform to a pattern of behaviour that our parents expected of us. Our parents implemented discipline in order that we would not continue on in our wrong ways, but that we would follow in the right path that they want for us to stay on. God, likewise, punishes us when we do wrong. The punishment however is never inflicted simply because God is capricious and brutal. God punishes us in order to correct us, to keep us from straying away from His rule. You see, God, just like our parents, has our best interest in mind. He doesn't want us to travel down the road to destruction; He cannot bear to see us doing the things that hurt Him as well as us. Just look at the life of King David. When he sinned against God by committing adultery and murder, God did not let him get off the hook; instead, God had to punish him in order that he would know the gravity of his sin and that he would not make the same mistake again. When the people of Israel sinned against God, He had to punish them to let them know that He takes sin seriously and that He did not want His people to sin. Following a life of sin is the road to destruction, and God has to punish in order to keep us from travelling along that road. Now, if the definition of
discipline is simply the implementation of punishment to correct wrong behavior or disobedience, then we are left with an incomplete picture of what God's discipline truly looks like. You see, discipline is like a coin â€“ it has two sides to it. Yes, we experience discipline in the form of punishment when we sin. It is done in order to bring us back to the right path. However, discipline can come even when we have not sinned, in the form of hardships. We've also experienced this from our parents in some ways. In Amy Chua's book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger, the author described how she made her two daughters work hard on learning the piano and the violin. While she may have gone overboard in the way she dealt with her daughters, her intention was for both her daughters to excel. In some ways, what she did paid off as the eldest daughter is an accomplished concert pianist while the youngest daughter is a competent violinist and tennis player. Both would not have reached their heights of achievement if they did not go through the hardships of being disciplined. Likewise, we would never reach greater heights of holiness, love and righteousness if we do not go through hardships. In fact, this discipline was described by Jesus in John 15 when He talked about His being the vine and believers being the branches. A branch that is attached to the grapevine has life flowing through it, but for it to be fruitful, it has to be pruned. Certain things have to be cut off in order for the
branch to bear fruit to its fullest potential. Believers go through the process of pruning in order that we can become more fruitful and useful for God. It may be that He allows us to go through certain circumstances in order to test us and to make us better as His disciples. Sometimes it may be the people that He has placed in our lives who make us better and fruitful followers of Jesus. It may be a particular action that we need to repeat and improve on. Whatever it may be, this aspect of discipline does not come about because of sin, but simply because God wants to mold us into the kind of people He intended for us to be. If given a choice, most of us would probably prefer a life where we don't get punished for wrongdoings and we don't need to be placed in certain circumstances that are painful; however, it is discipline that will make us more holy, righteous and loving. It is discipline that will make us more like Jesus Christ. The author of Hebrews tells us to embrace discipline (Hebrews 12) because it is a way in which God tells us that He loves us and that He doesn't want for us to settle for a life of sin or for a life less than special. Will we embrace His discipline? Will we allow Him to correct us? Will we allow Him to mold us to become better followers of his Son? Choose discipline and you will never regret it in the long run.
A Delight and a Discipline by Ptr. Joselito Chua United Evangelical Church of Greenhills – Marikina Chapter
“How's your Quiet Time?” “Have you been doing your devotions lately?” How often have you heard these questions from a pastor or a church leader? The issue is not how many times we have been asked these questions, but why do we constantly ask them? Could it be because it is that one area where we as believers constantly fail in? We need to be constantly reminded as much as we need to constantly remind others to read the Bible. If this is a recurring problem, then what is a possible solution? I propose that, for us to have a constant and fruitful time with the Lord (daily devotions), we need to approach it both as a discipline and a delight. In the very first Psalm, the psalmist gives us a description of a happy or blessed man as one who does not follow the ways of the world, but that of the Word. In Verse 2 we read, “…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” To be truly happy, one must look at the law with delight and discipline oneself in the study of it. The Word has captured our Full Affection - Delight God's Word should first and foremost be a delight, a desire to read and study it. Until this is true of us, Bible reading and study would simply be a duty or a Christian responsibility. Never reduce Christianity to a matter of demands and responsibilities. It is a matter of what we love, what we delight in, what tastes good to us. “How sweet are your words to my taste,” the psalmist says. (Psalm 119:103). What does it mean to delight in the law? What does it mean to delight in someone or something? We normally think about what we delight in. There was a song in the 90's entitled “Only Heaven Knows”. The first line of that song says, “She's always on my mind, from the time I wake up till I close my eyes, she is everywhere I go. She's all I know.” That is the same as delighting in the Word of God. It is being preoccupied with it. It can best be expressed through meditation. The Word has captured our full Attention - Meditation The Psalmist says that the blessed or happy man meditates on the Word. Meditate is a very figurative word. It pictures a cow chewing on her cud. The cow has several compartments in her tummy. She can go out in the morning, graze on the grass when
the dew is out in the cool of the day. Then when it gets hot in the middle of the day, she lies down under a tree and begins to chew the cud. She moves the grass she had in the morning back up and now she masticates it, she goes over it again. That is what we do when we meditate. We go over what we have read again and again. To meditate is to mentally chew on the Word of God till it becomes part of our life. What do you do when you chew on something? You really grind it till it is small enough for proper digestion. There are people who are prone just to swallow. These are people who just read through the Bible without taking time to reflect and meditate on what they have read. But there are those who are trained to really chew their food and in the process take time eating. I would compare this to those who take time to digest the words of the Bible --- reading, studying and reflecting on what it means. So how do we meditate on the Words of God? We could read it slowly. We could put ourselves in the character of any person in the story. We could choose a verse and concentrate on it. We could read it over and over again and each time emphasizing a different word. The Word Requires our Constant Action - Discipline The Psalmist says that the happy man meditates on the Word day and night. Study of God's Word requires discipline. Day and night is a simple way of saying 'throughout the day.' How can we develop the discipline of reading and studying God's Word throughout the day? Lately, I have been going through a system of reading and studying the Bible that takes me through the whole day. I call it the 5R's of Bible Study. I begin the day by simply Reading through a particular passage. Usually I would use the inductive method of Observation, Interpretation, and Application as I do my reading. I would then Record my thoughts on a journal. Writing down my thoughts forces me to truly read with the purpose of understanding and applying what I have read. During lunch, I would take 15 minutes Reviewing what I have read. I would also take the time to memorize a verse from that passage. At night, I would Reflect on the insights that I have gained and how I have Responded to God's Word throughout the day. This process helps me maintain the discipline of doing my daily devotion. It is not a burden borne out of duty, but a true blessing borne out of delight. Have a delightful and disciplined daily devotion! 11