Tag Archive | Forgiveness

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

~~~

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.

The Cross – – Herein is Love

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5,6

From Horatius Bonar, The Cross of the Lord Jesus:

Thus we see in the cross an epitome of the Bible. The whole revelation of God is there. From the cross we “Where sin abounded, grace has superabounded.”  All the love of God is there. The sinner’s condemnation and the sinner’s pardon are there. God’s invitation issues forth from it to the chief of sinners. “Come”; “Look unto me and be ye saved.”

God’s eternal purpose is here unfolded: “the good pleasure of His will.” The fountain opened for sin is there. The rest for the weary is there. The relief for the conscience is here. The refuge for the guilty is there. The balm of Gilead is there. Peace to the troubled is there. There God meets with man, and man meets with God; heaven and earth embrace each other.

HEREIN IS LOVE. It is love that takes in the worst; love that took in the dying thief; love that knows no bounds; love that looks for no qualifications in him who comes, but that he needs it; love which is yearning over the lost, and stretching out its hands to the most rebellious and unholy; love which offers not merely pardon, but the perfection of the Son of God to the sinner, with all which that perfection can claim.

And for more on this love, read C.S Lewis’ gripping poem at Beth Stone Studio (Love’s as warm as tears).

Communion

“Do this in remembrance of Me.”

~~

You have prepared for me a feast;
and though I am unworthy to sit down as a guest,
I wholly rest on the merits of Jesus,
and hide myself beneath his righteousness;
When I hear His tender invitation and see His wondrous grace,
I cannot hesitate, but must come to You in love…

While I gaze upon the emblems of my Saviour’s death,
may I ponder why he died, and hear Him say,

‘I gave my life to purchase ours,
presented myself an offering to expiate your sin,
shed my blood to blot out your guilt,
opened my side to make you clean,
endured your curses to set you free,
bore your condemnation to satisfy divine justice.’

O may I rightly grasp the breath and length of this design,
draw near,
obey,
extend my hand,
take the bread,
receive the cup,
eat and drink,
testify before all men that I do for myself, gladly,
in faith, reverence, and love,
receive my Lord
to be my life, strength, nourishment, joy, and delight.

In the supper I remember His eternal love,
boundless grace,
infinite compassion,
AGONY
CROSS
REDEMPTION
 and receive assurance of
Pardon
Adoption
LIFE
Glory.

As the outward elements nourish my body,
so may your indwelling Spirit
invigorate my soul,
until that day when I hunger and thirst no more,
and sit with Jesus at his heavenly feast.

~~~~

[1] Valley of Vision, Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, page 195.

Short List

It’s Titus 2sday!

Lists.  We love them! We make lists for shopping (even if we leave them at home), lists of chores, resolution lists, etc.  They help us by providing structure and direction, especially on those busier-than-normal kind of days.

But lists can’t be too long, or we get discouraged.  It’s been said that that’s why God gave us only 10 commandments (and even those are tough!)

Perhaps, like me, you’ve read books with lists on how to a better wife, to love your husband, to be kind, and all the things you think you should be great at by now.  But, after all the reading, the lists seem too long.  Maybe you remember one thing, but even struggle with that!   You don’t need another book, seminar, or list.  So, today, I humbly offering my short list:

~~~

How to Love your Husband

1.  Forgive as you’ve been forgiven.

~~~ 

That’s it!  This isn’t meant to nullify all the books and sermons that address the convoluted layers of such a deep and intricate relationship as marriage. But if we don’t start here, if we don’t seek God’s grace for ourselves, and then, by His grace, turn that forgiveness towards our husbands, then all the lists in the world won’t get us anywhere.

Review the story Jesus told his disciples, and ask Him to speak to your own heart:

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

Dear Father, Thank you for forgiving me! You rescued me when I didn’t even know I needed rescuing.  Through the Cross, you drew me with chords of love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.  So how dare I hold back my love, forgiveness, mercy and grace from anyone else, especially my husband? Help me, Lord, to be forgiving.  Help me to be an instrument of grace in my home, to accept your forgiveness for my own sins, then forgive others, starting with my husband.  I can’t do it alone, but your Word says that You are at work in me, both to will and to do of Your good pleasure.  I need you to make me willing and able to forgive.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~~~

Please join us every Tuesday as we learn together how to grow, love and serve the Lord by loving and serving our families.

 

Titus 2’sday

I wonder why I thought I could write for TWO blogs when I have a difficult time maintaining one? Some of you may know from my New Year’s goals, that I wanted to invest time into another blog, specifically for women, to encourage, train, and minister according to Titus 2:3-5:

Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 

With honesty and personal candor, I realize that I can’t maintain two blogs.  I’d rather do ONE thing well, instead of two things mediocre! 

Therefore, I’m closing up shop on Titus2U, and instead, designating every Tuesday at this site as Titus 2’sdays [groan], where we can discuss and encourage one another on how to love our husbands, love our children, be kind, sensible, responsible at home, and bring glory to the Lord and His Word! 

For starters, here is my first, and only, post from Titus2U:

Contrary Mary:

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

 

I always think of this nursery rhyme when I find myself being argumentative with my husband.  You know, it’s those days when he might say the sky is blue, and I say it’s gray. He wants to wait, I want to move forward, etc.  Have you ever found yourself being ‘contrary Mary’?

Maybe some cues of what contrary ‘looks like’ will help out:

From Webster:
“being so different as to be at opposite extremes : also,
being opposite to or in conflict with each other;  unwilling to accept control or advice

From Rogets:
Anti-  [anything!]
hostile
unfriendly
opponent
adverse
repugnant
negative
opposite
conflictive
alien
uncooperative
obstinate
clashing
discordant
competitive
hindering
disagreeable

From Vine’s:
against
accuser
antagonistic
adversary
set against
oppose
resist

This is convicting!  And now I know I don’t want to be Contrary Mary…standing there, with hoe in hand, pointing out why I am right, my husband is wrong, and “what’s more…yaddi yaddi yah”.

How can I keep from being this little controlling, contrary, anti-everything woman in my home?

1.   PRAY!!  Ask the Lord to change ME….not my spouse.

2.   Seek the Lord’s righteousness and kingdom, not My own kingdom of one.

3.   Take my cues from God’s Word.  Ephesians 4:30-32:

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.

4.  Remember, I am a sinner saved by grace, married to another sinner saved by grace. *

 

A little prayer for today:

Dear Lord, I don’t want to be a contrary Mary, but something rises up in me, seeking control, and wanting things to go my way.  Grant me the strength and grace this day to seek first Your will and your kingdom.  Help me to think first before I speak, to weigh my words against Your Word, and to be submitted to your Holy Spirit.  I need you and trust you, Lord.  Thank you, in Jesus’ name.  Amen

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Taken from Paul D. Tripp’s book on marriage, What Did You Expect?    We will discuss more from this book in the future.

Approach My Soul, the Mercy Seat

I blog hop.  Yeah, it can be a real time waster.  But if I submit my web journey to the Lord, and let Him take the mouse :-), there are little treasures, and pearls of grace and mercy, just waiting to be discovered.

Yesterday, I hopped from Miscellanies, to The Gospel Coalition, to Sojourn Music, where this gem of a song was available as a free MP3 download:  “Approach My Soul, the Mercy Seat.”  The hymn was originally written by John Newton, but updated a bit by singer/writer Jamie Barnes.  It’s quickly become a favourite of mine! You can listen from the Music Box, or go HERE for the free download. 

Approach My Soul, the Mercy Seat

Approach my soul, the mercy seat
Where Holy One and helpless meet
There fall before my Judges’ feet
Thy promise is my only plea, O God

Send wings to lift the clutch of sin
You who dwell between the cherubim
From war without and fear within
Relieve the grief from the shoulders of crumbling men

O God—Pour out your mercy to me
My God, Oh what striking love to bleed.

Fashion my heart in your alchemy
With the brass to front the devil’s perjury
And surefire grace my Jesus speaks
I must. I will. I do believe. O Lord.

O God—Pour out your mercy to me
My God, Oh what striking love to bleed. 

I must.  I will.  I do believe.    Thy promise is my only plea!!

Story of a Song

“For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods!” Psalm 97:9

I EXALT THEE!

Every song has a story, even thousands of stories.  The obvious story is what’s being said through the lyrics.  Then there’s what the writer felt but, perhaps, never verbalized through the words of the song.  And then, there’s a story for each and every listener of the song–the pain or joy they equate with it, or where they first heard it, what they were doing, who they were with, etc. 

We have a story for “I Exalt Thee” which, as Spurgeon says, ‘shows that the goodness of God has been the same to us as the saints of old.”

Flashback:  1977.  Okinawa, Japan.  I was pregnant with our first daughter (Joy).  In the decades before  Amazon.com, UPS, FedEx and other express-mailing days, it was so exciting to get packages overseas.  Every month we ordered a record album through an old-school Columbia House membership.  When Pete Sanchez’s album arrived, it didn’t take long to realize what a treasure we had received!!  All the songs were so worshipful!  John loved them so much that he made a cassette copy for us to use at a home Bible Study that we attended.   Sitting in the small living room of our friends’ military apartment, our feeble voices joined with Sanchez’s to exalt the Lord above all other gods!

Flash a bit forward:  1989-1994.  A time when we were far away from the Lord.  During that time, we’d occasionally find ourselves in church with family, or *accidentally* listening to Christian radio, and “I Exalt Thee” would be sung or played.  I would weep, realizing how far away we were from that humble worship time in Okinawa–how far our hearts were from exalting our Lord above all gods.  How far we had fallen. 

Present:  The video above—singing” I Exalt Thee” with His church and precious believers in Ottawa.   After sixteen long years of God’s wounding and healing, tearing down and building up, rescuing, restoring, and reconciliation, we sang as if we were back in Okinawa.  That could only be the Lord’s doing.

And that is our story of “I Exalt Thee.”  That God is faithful.  He sees beginning to end.  In 1977, when we poured our hearts to Him in worship, He knew there’d be days ahead when we would fall away for a time, just as He knew Peter would deny Him three times.  And what did Jesus say?

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus didn’t let go.  Jesus didn’t quit on us when we quit on Him.  That’s our story–His faithfulness!

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

 

PS.  You can read more about our church service on Saturday nites at  SaulGood  and Andy’s blog, HERE.