Friday, October 27, 2017

Lord I Am So Angry

Lord I Am So Angry
Lord, as I sit here doing my meditation, reflecting on your blessings, and engulfed in the warmth of your love, and the splendour of your grace, I am nevertheless deeply troubled. I can’t seem to put off this deep anger that seems to have cloaked my body like a second skin, and I am wondering if my anger is sin.

Lord, I know the scripture that is often quoted with regards to anger, but knowing it seems not to be working for me. That scripture is found in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus and says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26). True, Lord, one can be angry and sin not, meaning that anger is not the same as sin, but why does it feel so sinful, so wrong if it’s not. Or am I allowing my feelings to colour my judgment?

I was angry when I heard of the pointless, avoidable death of those Brazilian football players, and all the others, who died in a plane crash because their plane had run out of fuel. Before that anger had subsided, I heard of the  pointless, avoidable death of so many innocent souls in the raging fire at a converted warehouse in Oakland, California, USA, where the death toll is nine and mounting, and many people are still unaccounted for. And only a few hours ago, I heard that the naked body of a teenager  was found on the beach, with his head smashed in.

Lord, it seems my anger cup is full, and overflowing.

Then I remembered that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was angry too. I am in good company. That’s better. How did Jesus get on, and can I learn a thing or two? Let me check.

Jesus must have been angry when he saw the thieving Jews doing their dirty business in the temple, and when he made whips and drove the thieves out, and overturned their money tables. But the three mentions of this incident in scripture, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18 and John 2:13-22 did not say that Jesus was angry. The word “angry” was never used. No help here, so I am forced to move on.

Then I remembered that Jesus Christ was angry with some Jews because of their meanspirited, wretched attitude to a suffering human being. Bingo! I found the scripture, and here it is: “And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” (Mark 3:5)

Lord, meditating on this scripture is awesome. I get it.

Jesus was angry, just as I am, and my anger will remain a little longer, but Jesus did not sin. Jesus did not sin, although he was angry, because he dealt with his anger in the right way.

So how did Jesus manage it, and can I follow his example?

In his normal, exemplary fashion, Jesus dealt correctly with his anger because:

  1. He was angry for the right reasons. Not for some petty personal matter or some piffling annoyance. There was nothing personal, hypercritical or sneering in his manner.
  2. His focus was centered on a specific sinful behaviour. Jesus was infuriated when he saw their lack of compassion for a suffering soul.
  3. His anger was grounded in love. Love for the suffering man with the withered hand, but love also for the Jews, “being grieved for the hardness of their hearts”
  4. His anger was controlled. Jesus did not shed blood because he was angry, he never let his emotions get out of hand and beyond his control. The discipline that comes from a dedicated life was on full display, even when he chased those crooks out of the temple.
  5. His anger lasted just right. He did not allow the anger to fester, and perhaps turn to bitterness and resentment.
  6. His actions were righteous. Jesus had every reason to be angry and he acted in such a way as to bring honour and glory to God.

Yes, Lord, I get it, and as ever, it was the excellent example of Jesus that brought it home. My anger might be deep, but you have assured me that it too will vanish, even as your word comforts me with knowing that, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) Dr. Henderson Ward

Father, teach me always to remember that Jesus, “... was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), and that in every troubling situation, in every distressing event in our life, we can turn to him for consolation and guidance. Speak peace to your children everywhere, and give us all the reassurance we seek, that we might serve you better day by day. Amen.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Look Up and Don't Give Up

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Look Up and Don't Give Up
I only have eyes for you, Jesus.

Sitting flat in the dirt of the garden near an olive tree, Jesus was weeping before the Father while his companions were peacefully sleeping just yards from him. “Father, I really don’t know whether I can do this. If it’s your will … please may this cup pass from me … but I know … it’s not what this flesh wants but what you want, Father. This is what I need to do. Oh Abba …”

Jesus sinks his head into his hands as drops of blood from burst capillaries in his skin, mix with his sweat and dampen his fingers. Jesus knows he’s facing crucifixion; the consequence of sin for which he is not guilty! Slowly the Son of Man submits and as he does he straightens up and sighs, “Abba, not my will but your will be done.” Suddenly a surge of power of the Son of God that he is, comes upon Jesus’ flesh and he looks beyond the cross and sees himself at God’s right hand, glorified as King of kings!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus …” My friend, just as Jesus took his eyes off of the pain and anguish in his soul and looked beyond the cross, take your eyes off the pain in your body and fix them on God’s healing power. Take your eyes off that debt or poverty and see God’s provision for all that you need. Don’t focus on the problems in your marriage, look to the Lover of your souls and, with a softened heart, see the One who unites you in his love. Pay no attention to that bullying at work or school and trust in God’s love to heal those hurts and make you strong. Look beyond the hopelessness of your problems and know that God does have a blessed and a prosperous future for you. Never look down! Never look back just look-up! Press forward with joy and courage right now just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, declaring with me, “I only have eyes for you, Jesus!”

Look-up and fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God! Dudley Anderson

Dear Lord, forgive me for taking my eyes off of Jesus and looking at my problems. I know that you do have a purpose for me. Jesus, you are my example, my role-model. Help me to get through this time and meet my needs, oh Lord. Thank you for your joy and courage, I praise you now, Lord, for my healing and deliverance in Jesus’ name. I only have eyes for you, Jesus. Amen.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Living Room Light

Living Room Light
Aint love grand? That special someone comes into view and lights up the room. To others he or she may go unnoticed but you see a spotlight falling upon your beloved and breathlessly await the rapture of falling into loving arms. They not only briefly light up a room; your significant other lights up your life.

The Lord dispels darkness from spiritually blinded eyes and hearts draped in darkness of despair. “For you will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness (Psalm 18: 28 NKJ).” Lord, open my eyes; light up the living room. A dark cloud hovered over Job; he lamented over loss of light.

“Oh, that I were as in months past, As in the days when God watched over me; When His lamp shone upon my head, And when by His light I walked through darkness (Job 29:2-3 KJV).” Job endured through suffering and once more God lit a lamp and removed spiritual blindness. “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You (Job 42:5 NKJ).”

I hunger for the sight of my loving God. Will I mystically enlighten foreboding darkness through mind over matter or through positive thinking over negativity? No, God’s word envelops light. “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light o my path (Psalm 119:105 NKJ).” God keeps his lamp burning and lights my path from here to his everlasting arms! —PamFord Davis

Friday, October 6, 2017

Living in the Valley

Living in the Valley
People say that life is all about climbing the mountain, or life is full of peaks and valleys. Well, in a sense it is. Trials and things we must work through or overcome; tests to teach us who we belong to and depend on. On a short side note, I believe that when God tests us, He is not trying us to see what we are made of-He already knows. I believe the trials come so we can see for ourselves what we are made of, to strengthen our faith and our resolve.

Most people seem to believe the mountain top is the achievement, and the valleys are low points in life, and they want to stay on the mountain top once they arrive. Have you seen the top of a mountain? With the ice, cold wind, and thin air, life is not sustainable. Sure, stay and enjoy the view for a while, but you must come back down to the valley to survive. The valley is where you grow and harvest what you need for the next trip up the mountain. I think that’s where all the hard work is … The grind of everyday life; the preparation for the trip.

Romans 5:3-5 “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Without suffering, there would be no need for the Comforter.

Climbing mountains are only temporary excursions in our life here. We must learn to live in the valleys. Mark Miller