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Some thoughts on Anger

“Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”     James 1:19, 20

We are to take extreme CARE with the emotion of anger.  I’ve heard it’s okay to be angry, because after all, the Word says “Be angry and don’t sin.”  But I find there’s quite a blurry line in my life between anger and sin, one I can’t see very well, so perhaps I should avoid that contested boundary if at all possible.

Jonah offers an interesting contrast between man’s anger and the Lord’s.  One is quick.  The other, slow.

But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.

He prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

But the Lord replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”

Jonah also illustrates the great chasm between our anger and God’s forgiveness.  Jonah gets angry over a plant dying!  Yet, for the life of him, he can’t grasp God’s mercy towards the 120,000 people (and their cattle) He spares due to their sincere repentance!

He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

In the book of Job we read, that even when we feel sick and tormented, a rash and angry response will undoubtedly lead to sin. “Beware that wrath does not entice you to scoffing” (Job 36:18).

However, God’s slowness to anger always results in compassionate redemption:

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

He will not always strive with us,  nor will He keep His anger forever.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:8-13

And finally, our anger often usually leads to unforgiveness.  Jesus is pretty clear how he feels about that in his parable on the unforgiving servant:

“Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?”  Matthew 18:33

Ultimately, humans have a bad track record with anger.  We are encouraged to put it aside, along with all the junk it creates in our minds (and bodies).  So….

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:29-32

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Dear Lord, Help us to have mercy on others as you have had towards us.  Help us to forgive as we’ve been forgiven, and love as You have loved.  Only then can we experience release from the burden of anger, draw others to You, and accomplish Your redemptive purpose.  You are so merciful, Lord.  Amen.

 

P.S.  A little ♪ note on mercy can be heard in the Music Box above.  It’s a new song by Sovereign Grace Music called, Have Mercy on Me.  You can listen on this site, and dowload at Amazon.com or Sov Grace’s website.

Perfectly Weak

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  2 Corinthians 12:9

[Travels, transitions, family times, grandparenting, border crossings, and more…my excuse for a big, bad case of blogger’s block.  But I can’t wait to share of God’s grace through all this…in between our routine days, like Titus 2sday!]

Last time we ‘met’ for Titus2sday, we were discussing sin, control and being out of control{!}  This sense of being out of control, whether in marriage, parenting, emotions, family matters, health, the work place, finances, or  ___ [fill in the blank], generally makes us feel pretty weak. Or perhaps, like me, perfectly weak!

But this awareness of our weakness brings us to a better place than perceived strength or control ever could—to pure reliance on Him.

These excerpts from Spurgeon (my fave) encourage us in our utter and perfect weakness:

Are you mourning over your own weakness?  Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you a victory.

Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust in; therefore, he is compelled to cast himself on God alone.

There is no moment of our lives, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding.

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I am SO weak.  I come to the Lord with empty hands…therefore…

“…I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me!”
2 Corinthians 12:9

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Dear Lord,  We are all so weak.  We rejoice in the day when our faith will be sight, and we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is! (I John 3:2) But until then, our weakness weighs us down, it interferes with our relationships and daily lives.  We need you, Lord, we need Your strength to be made perfect in our weakness..whatever that looks like.  Help us let go of the controls, and trust in the power of Christ that dwells in us.  In His Strong Name, Amen.

Sin in Control

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”      Psalm 51:4

I’m not a theologian, I don’t read Hebrew or Greek, and I’m not a subject-matter expert about much of anything. There.

But sometimes I’m burdened about something so much, that I’m compelled to step out of my comfort zone (as a warm-fuzzy encourager), and share my heart. It’s my sincerest prayer that through today’s post and future Titus2sdays, you may grow in the Lord, pleasing Him in every respect, and His name would be glorified.

Even though it’s quite clear that the desire of  human nature is to control and be in control, I think women struggle the most with this battle. I  know—I am one.

Genesis 3:16 reminds us why we’re so encumbered:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

When boundaries are set, we instantly to try to step over them, climb under them, or reason our way around them.  The apostle Paul discusses this inclination extensively in Romans 7.  Specifically, verse 7 says,

For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

So, just as the Word revealed Paul’s coveting as sin, we too face an uncomfortable fact:  Our desire for control is sin. We don’t want to be ‘ruled’ by anyone, God or man.  Perhaps because we don’t trust others to make the right decisions on our behalf.  Or, we don’t trust God.  And that equates to sin.

But desiring to control is more than not trusting God, it’s attempting to be God.  One of my favourite authors, Paul D. Tripp, discusses this dilemma:

  • The desire to be God rather than to serve God lies at the bottom of every sin that anyone has ever committed…. Sin is rooted in my desire to live for me. [1]
  • Self-sovereignty is the dream of every sinner. It’s hard for us to trust ourselves to the wisdom, power, and control of another. We want to write our own drama, and we want to be the central character of the story. But the spiritual reality of the universe is that we are not authors of our own story. Our story is a part of a larger story written by the Lord. In this story we are never on center stage. That is a position to be occupied by the Lord alone. [2]
  • You and I can change no one. Ultimately, personal change comes from only one source: the gracious act of a powerful God. When people try to change one another, typically the focus is on behaviour. Yet behaviour is not really the issue…the root problem is the heart. When we attempt to do God’s job and change someone’s heart, we only cause frustration to ourselves and pain to the other person. [3]

So try to control others according to our limited wisdom or for our benefit, we become self-serving, we hurt others, and, we’re sinning against God.

“Against You only, I have sinned.”

Thankfully, the Lord is gracious. He is compassionate, wise, understanding, and above all, forgiving. He is able to help us. We can and must depend entirely on Him, yielding our hearts and minds to His control.

What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!!  Romans 7:24

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Let’s pray together about this during the week and ask ourselves:

Where do I need the grace of God to say no to the temptation to step over God’s boundaries and control?

How have I sinned against the Lord by trying to control others?

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Dear Lord, Thank you for the victory we have through Christ! We are incapable of living out this Christian life apart from you.  Sometimes it’s so difficult, we feel like quitting. Please meet us first thing each morning and all day long, with your mercy and grace, to enable us to relinquish our behaviours, thoughts, and words to You. Your kingdom come, Your will be done…not ours. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen

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[1]  Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

[2]  A Shelter in A Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble

[3]  Broken-Down House

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Join us next Titus 2sday for more discussion on control, trust, and the help available through Jesus!

One day late..

…on my Titus2sday post for the week! 

For a few weeks, I’m going to delve into something very touchy for us as women. Or at least, for this woman!

Control.  Or…

Before delving into a discussion, I thought the following verses might help lay some groundwork: 

 “The Lord is the stronghold of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

“..your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”  Genesis 3:16

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.”  Psalm 51:4

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”  Matt. 6:10

I know these seem like a mish-mash collection of verses, but I’m hopeful we can tie them together in a life-changing way that will bring glory to the Lord!  Yes, I’m optimistic! 

And perhaps, you could ask yourself these questions: 

What do these verses mean to you?

Where do you tend to look for security?

How does my kingdom tend to get in the way of God’s kingdom?

 

Some parting encouragement for the week:  This struggle to live for the Lord and not ourselves is not waged with our own feeble weapons.  We are SO weak.  We feel so alone in this battle.  But God’s Word comforts us  over and over again that He is with Us.  He is praying for us.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  His grace is greater.  His grace is enough…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness!”  2 Corinthians 12:9

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It’s my deepest desire and prayer that these verses and questions will bring all of us to a greater and utter reliance on our relationship with the Lord, and away from our perceived strength, stamina, and control.  Looking forward to going deeper with you in His Word, next week!  Blessings!