I have often said that I feel that the experience Lea and I went through in Hartford during her life threatening illness was the will of God. It was a means of getting my attention, pointing out the error of my ways, and restoring me to an active role in His church family. I believe that restoration to the church family is sometimes forced on those of us hard-headed enough to persist in our belief that we can practice religion on our own terms.

I used to feel that I could adequately serve God by demonstration of my faith without serving in a church. I was trying to live my life, as a good person, professing my faith through prayer at group meetings, outside a body of believers. Scripture clearly tells us that behavior is not sufficient. Discipline is for believers who need to be brought back into the fold. I needed to be brought back. I had to have a biblical spanking.

When you are under discipline, and you know God is working in your life, it is time to get serious about your personal ministry and walk with the Lord. Going through discipline, in my experience, is not at all pleasant, but is a glorious, humbling, calling for an erring Christian. God disciplines those He loves, just as a parent who truly loves their children will discipline them, not let them run amuck unguided. Proverbs 3:11-12 states, “My child, don’t ignore it when the LORD disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.”

My brother, David, has a really accurate perspective on another way you can stray from the Lord’s plan for your life. He was baptized as a six-year old, along with his older siblings and his mother. He has “always” been a Christian, he says, and found being a Christian was easy; going to church pretty regularly and giving tithes generously.  He felt pretty comfortable.

Then one day he was led to a new church (www.livingstones.us), got active in small group bible study, and eventually was led to become a deacon in this church. He began a much closer walk with the Lord.  He had whole new worlds of understanding opened up to him. As you help others find their way to Him, and you minister to His children who are struggling with life’s challenges, you receive such deep personal satisfaction it really stirs and comforts the soul. He found that walking with Him can be tremendously rewarding!

He recently reflected on his previous adult Christian life, and commented that it was much like experiencing religion while on cruise control. It was like being on an expressway, maintaining an easy drive toward that heavenly reward he would receive someday. No bumps, no stops, no slowing down or speeding up. The road to Glory seemed pretty smooth.

He has found, however, those stops and bumps along the way can be very rewarding! You don’t get those rewards on cruise control. You pass by too quickly to even notice the opportunities you are missing. David’s cruise control perspective points out another life pattern Christians get into which can invite the Lord’s discipline in their lives. I can’t recommend biblical discipline. I think it is better if you can avoid it.

If you have lost your perspective on your purpose in God’s plan or you have just been cruising along in your faith, perhaps it is time for you to correct your course. Each believer has a role to play in God’s plan. We never know, we may do something in our own daily walk that helps someone realize the error of their ways, and bring them back into the fold.

You might be the one to help restore a fallen brother or sister, and not even know it. On the other hand, perhaps you are the one who needs help with the sin that has led you to stray from your walk with the Father. You need to get right with Him now. Pray that your purpose will be revealed to you, and that you will be given guidance to know how to use your talents in His service.

I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen miracles worked as a result of the prayers for Lea. Even the doctors could not describe the miraculous healing they saw in her. God certainly works in mysterious ways, and He is at work performing miracles every day. You, too, can receive these blessings. I am willing to pray for you. f you would like to be added to our prayer list, just add a comment in response to this post. May God bless!