Hebrews 12:7-11 (NIV)

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.1 For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline),2 then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits3 and live!4 10 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.5 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace6 for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:9 (NIV)

9 Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

DEVOTION – Suzanne S. Austin (Florida)

My father was known for his “I’ll-give-you-the shirt-off-my-back generosity.  But when I asked him for a dollar to buy a toy from a classmate, I was surprised that he responded quietly and thoughtfully, “No.”  He explained that the toy was a want, not a need.

The next day when my father wasn’t home, I opened his top dresser drawer, stole a silver dollar, and bought the toy.  A few days later, when he discovered the silver dollar missing, he knew immediately that I was the thief.  He told me I had no reason to steal from him and that I could depend on his promise to give me everything I needed.  He expressed a deep disappointment in me, yet ended his stern reprimand by saying, “But I still love you.”

When I reflect on how my father handled my disobedience, it became clear to me that he exemplified the kind of love that God, my heavenly Father, has for me even when I fall short.

God said, “Honor your father” (Exod. 20:12).  Today and every day I honor my father for his loving discipline, and I give thanks for the unconditional love God shows to us.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Even in my disobedience, God loves me.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for the example of loving earthly parents and for your unconditional love for all your children.  Amen.