6-30-2019 Love through Discipline


June 30, 2019


Our front porch has two square pillars on each side. The top of each pillar stops short of the ceiling, narrows to the connection, and provides a very convenient, irresistible, flat ledge. From year one, come Spring, the robins have tried to build nests on the ledges. So far, I have been able to discourage them through various means. This spring they started again. I was in a hurry and quickly put a gallon paint can on each ledge to fill the space. The cans are just tall enough, so the Robins don’t have room to build on top of the cans… problem solved. So, I thought!


Seemingly, overnight a pair of swallows discovered how nicely I had prepared the perfectly protected nesting spot for them, built their nest, laid their eggs and was sitting on them by the time they were discovered. They’re pretty birds, graceful in flight, eat lots of insects and are usually docile. At least they were until the young were hatched. Now, they are the guardians of our front door and no one… and I mean no one, dares step foot on the porch. If they do these little demons dive bomb and attack the intruder. In doing so, they aim for the eyes or the top of the head. We can’t even water Connie’s flower pots without feeling as if we’re participating in an aerial dog-fight.


For Connie and I this in no problem, we just use the garage door. For others, like the mail man delivering packages, there is a different story. Apparently when he delivered a package the other day the birds didn’t take his intrusion kindly and physically attacked him (his words, not mine). The result was that he left me a form letter in the mail box writing in the comments section that I needed to remove the nest. For all the bird lovers, please note, I refused and made other arrangements to receive packages. Soon the birds will be gone,  pushed from the nest, and I will fix the ledge so they never have opportunity to use it again.


I must say, I am more than impressed with the commitment of these two little adult birds who are in continuous motion feeding the 5 (yes, 5) littles ones on that nest. My heart goes out to them. If I had to spend that much time feeding that brood, I’d be grumpy too. But what a lesson in dedication, love and yes, discipline they provided.


We as humans, also brood over those who have been entrusted to us by God. From their stage of helplessness, we feed them, cloth them, change them. As they grow in understanding we move to training in life skills, teach them how to cope, how to live with others, how to face life's challenges, how to be part of social society. We don't leave them to their own devices but gently prepare them for the day they will be pushed from the nest.


As I read God’s Word it is clear that children are to be loved, taught, trained (yes, there is a difference between teaching and training) and believe it or not (exercise it or not), disciplined. In fact, God’s own actions toward all those He loves, teaches, and trains are seen in His loving discipline. God's discipline is never punishment... I believe, always the last consequence, but also, always used to steer us back to a full relationship and useful service. 


Hebrews 12:6-11 (NASB)
7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry