The Boundary

April 18, 2021
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Listen while you read: "Father We Thank Thee"1 (Lyrics)

There had been so much snow that I was now able to walk over the corral fence, instead of having to open the big gate to go in. Interestingly enough, however, Frank, my gelding, and the three goats had made no move to cross the boundary fence to come out. They all chose to stay within the safety of their corral.

Over the years, many people with whom I have talked have stated that one of the main reasons that they would not follow God was due to what they perceived as the strict boundaries that He sets in regard to people's lives. They see His moral principles — the principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a social group — as being far too restricting and taking all the fun out of life. Yet God's boundaries are always for our good and wellbeing, our peace and joy, our safety and encouragement, and our mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

Such fruit comes from knowing and applying God's principles to our lives through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His Word. They are not stifling. They are not boring or uninteresting or limiting. In fact, they open our world up to limitless possibilities within ourselves, our relationships, and the work that we are called to do.

Many years ago, a very wise person said to me, "No one can break God's commands. They can only break themselves upon them." The truth of these words still stands today. Even governments choosing to make legal what was once morally wrong does not always make it right in God's eyes or in regard to truth.

Long ago, God spoke these words to us through Moses: "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse — the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known." (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 NIV)

Frank and the goats could have easily stepped over their boundary fence because the snow was so deep, but they chose not to. You and I have the same type of decision before us each and every day: adhering to and reverencing the moral principles and boundaries that God has laid out for His people, knowing and trusting that they are for our own blessing and good, or stepping over them and moving away into our own direction instead of His. The choice is ours.

Today, I don't know what choice you will make. But I know which one I am making. After all, in the past, I have learned the hard way: I can't break God's commands. I can only break myself upon them.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great and faithful love, a love that always and forever has our best interests at heart. This day, through the power of Your Spirit within us, may we each choose to stay within the boundaries of Your love, through the principles that You have set before us, and therefore reap the blessings that You have promised. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.

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About the author:

Lynne Phipps <>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank God for boundaries! Thank you for this devotional. Blessings.

    Well written, well said. Solid truth always give us solid ground to stand on.

    Thanks for your message today and your prayer. Blessings on your week and stay safe!

    Thanks Lynn,
    Great analogy, great wisdom.

    Good afternoon Lynn,
    Good words indeed.

    Wise words! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading your messages.
    It would be fun to be in a study group with the Presbycan writers.

    Love thinking of Frank And The Goats, that beautiful entity you share with us, your readers! What a joy your stories are, of them and their response to life. Very grateful.

    Thank you for this encouraging email.
    May God bless you and keep you and your family safe during these trying times.

    Dear Lynne,
    Thank you for your fine devotion today. My own love for our blessed Lord says Halleluiah for your every word.

    Thanks again, Lynne. We mentioned you today as we did the dishes, saying that we had not heard from you recently. Now, another good inspiration has come, and as always, a good story to reflect upon. We hope your snow story is not a current one!

    Dear Lynne,
    Great way of showing us how to respect the boundaries that God has set for us and why they are important. I hope God has provided a lovely spring for you and your family. Blessings.

    Dear Lynne,
    What a loving picture you have drawn of keeping the boundaries that we sometimes cross. Even horses know when something is different and unsafe to cross. We can follow their example. Blessings to your work.

    Dear Lynne…Your devotion today is for the people of the world. However, it seems to me, it is especially for the people in the province of Ontario as we deal with new ‘commandments’ set down by our provincial government. May we be strong enough to endure!
    Thank you and stay well!

    Good morning Lynne
    Thank you for your devotional today. You always encourage me and usually I recognize your warm thoughts in the first few lines of your message.
    As the Presbyterian Church struggles with changes in our present day, your note today gives me strength.

    Hi Lynne,
    Your devotionals are always so special. Today at church our pastor challenged us to think of someone who had influenced our Christian lives. I immediately thought of someone and later thought to myself that question would be the basis for a good devotional if only I were a writer.
    Thank you once more.

    Hello Lynn
    Thank you for this reminder, we are so protected by God when we stay in the boundaries.
    Before Christ, I too thought the rules just took the fun out of life, but wow, was I wrong!! Never had so many great if not fantastic experiences when I was in control.
    It will soon be 28 years since I gave my life totally to Jesus, never looked back. I cannot believe it is 28 years. wow!
    God bless and have a great Sunday!

    Dear Lynne,
    Frank and your goats know what truly is best for them, so they have stayed within their corral for their own safety. We as a society feel we know far better than God does so we have taken Him out of our schools, out of our courts, legislatures, and parliament. God being the gentleman that He is backed off waiting for us to repent and return to Him. We have reaped the reward for our disobedience.
    I pray we, like Frank and the goats, will learn it is best to stay within the boundaries God has established for us so we can dwell in His Almighty arms.

    Dear Lynne,
    Greetings and many thanks for your devotional this morning. Yes, we are so fortunate in having our loving Saviour ever ready to guide us with the right decisions and actions to keep us safe and free from harm. It is also interesting to us how animals can know what is the better thing to do in order to avoid harm to themselves. God’s hand is certainly at work in each of His creations and we humans need be ever thankful for the ongoing protection and direction we receive when we accept Jesus into our life. Blessings for these special writings you do, and I do hope the snow pile is receding in your area now that warmer weather is happening.

    Lynne thank you for this and a viewpoint I have not seen presented before.

    You’ve made some very good points here, Lynne. I’ll be able to think about and use some of your thoughts.

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