It’s now been over a week since we were all at camp together. School is about to start back up again for many of us. Others have work. Our old routines are beginning to settle back in, and what we learned at camp may be feeling a bit foggy by now.
So much can change even in a week. You know what doesn’t change? God loves you, and He is with you.
He wants to see you succeed.
He wants to help you grow.
He never gives up on you.
He is walking with you through every situation, no matter how difficult.
Have you ever felt abandoned or alone? Have you ever felt like someone who is very close to you had pulled away from or forgotten you? Even our most cherished human relationships can include pain and difficulty. But let’s look at Isaiah 49:15-16 and consider how our relationship with God goes even deeper.
Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.
There is no other human relationship quite like that of a mother and a child. Yet even that relationship does not compare to the love and tenderness of God. Look at the verses again. God tells us that He will never forget us. Never, no matter what we do.
Take comfort in that today. As you seek to move forward and continue in the things you learned at camp, be aware that you might slip up. But God still loves you. As you go back to school, friendships and circumstances may change. But God hasn’t forgotten you. As you live with and love your family, there may be bumps along the road. But God is always with you.
You are loved. You are cherished. You matter. God has not forgotten you, and he never will.
- Romans 8:38-39
- Psalm 27:9-14
- Jeremiah 29:11-13
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
- Psalm 34:8
- Psalm 31:19
Life in community is a common theme in the Bible. “Love your neighbor” and the practices of the church in Acts show us that community is a good thing. We are supposed to live at peace with those around us.
But what happens when our community hurts us?
To live in community is to be vulnerable. We open ourselves up to others. We share life together and help each other through struggles. We encourage and lift up one another. We love each other.
But sometimes communities can be broken by sin. Boundaries must be in place. That’s what today’s passage talks about.
Nobody likes discipline. It isn’t fun. It’s meant to be a deterrent to sinful behavior. But a good community has boundaries in place to protect its members. What’s interesting about our passage is how it distinguishes between the moment of discipline and the after effects.
As we’ve already discussed, the moment of discipline is anything but fun. It hurts. We sometimes feel shame and guilt. Hopefully, it causes us to reconsider whatever action brought on the discipline. But what does our passage have to say about the after effects of discipline?
“Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
True discipline yields peace. Our communities should have boundaries in place that make that possible.
So, what communities are you a part of? Your church, your family and your school are all communities you interact with on a daily or weekly basis. They probably have strong boundaries in place.
But what about your friend group?
Do you and your friends set up boundaries so that you won’t put yourselves in bad situations? You and your friends should be building each other up. That means having rules in place so you won’t fall into temptation.
Pray this week and ask God to help you live in peace with each community you’re a member of.