Monthly Archives: January 2016

Anger Versus Rage

Anger is like lighting a candle.  When you light the candle it is a sudden presence of  light that can be useful. If it continues to burn it, eventually it melts the wax. Rage is obsessive anger that lingers close and below the surface and causes meltdowns.

There are a lot of self-help books on anger management and the dangers of anger, but anger in and of it self is useful. It informs us of the atmosphere or a condition so that it can be dealt with. Rage on the other hand is sizzling and frying to the nerves. When anger is allowed to remain it goes underground and eventually resurfaces or it explodes out of control. Problematic anger is really a rage issue.

In Ephesians 4, God tells us not to let the sun go down on our wrath. It is a great admonition. He also says “Be ye angry and sin not”. Sin is  really not the black mark on the mirror of our soul;  it is a condition of our thinking when we look to other things beside God for help. Anger is a tool, not a sin.  It is an alarm clock that invites us to handle things the way God would have it handled. Ignoring anger can be a deleterious way to deal with anger, but there are many ways to deal productively with it.  Keeping rage out of confrontation, anger may mean speaking the truth in love. Sometimes it may mean making a decision, based on discerning good and evil, to walk away  and do it without rage.

Honest, loving communication is vital.  Even when you discuss confrontation with others, people attach the rage issue to it and it casts a negative shadow on an effective way to handle things. Confrontation is simply laying something out in front between people (between the foreheads). I have a blogging friend who says that writing a blog is cathartic to him. I get that. It feels so good to explore truth and lay it out in front of you. Putting things on paper makes you think and careful how you say things.

Truth always, always and can I say it again, always, frees the heart! There is no excuse in the world that can stand against truth.  That is why effective prayer is going to God with an anger alarm and giving him the situation completely without obsessing over and over about it as to things like excusing psychobabble, political correctness, manipulation and ultimately revenge. Understanding of a situation does not mean excusing it. Understanding is another tool to arrive at a powerful solution that changes things and people. Benevolent humanism and the five-sense mans fall so short of this kind of inspiration. Only God can bring on this effect. There is a big difference between man’s logic and God’s logic.  God is way more logical! I Corinthians 1:18-31 !!

The next time something lights your candle, go for a walk and think about nothing but listening to the Sage of All Ages. Package the problem in a lump (meaning don’t obsessively unravel the thing over and over in your mind) and lay it on Him. Don’t talk, just listen. Not only do your spiritual muscles get built up, your physical muscles do too.  It’s a win-win situation.

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The Thirsty Lady of John 4!

John 4 records an absolutely astounding dialogue between Jesus Christ and a Samaritan woman. The context of this whole dialogue is about thirst, both physically and spiritually.

9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

The words “our father Jacob” indicate this woman felt a kinship to Israel.

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

Samaria was a mixed bag of paganism and worship of God. In 721 BC (approximately), the Hebrews existed in two camps, the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. Assyrians invaded the kingdom of Israel which was located  in Samaria. The Assyrians carried off many (not all) of it’s inhabitants to their own land. They also sent groups from their country back into Samaria. This introduced five different languages and  religious cultures into the Samaritan culture. Conquering kingdoms often did this to keep control of areas they have conquered. This started the mixed bag of worship practices found in Samaria.

24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon (who had many gods), and from Cuthah (who worshipped the god Negal), and from Ava, and from Hamath(who worshipped the god Ashima), and from Sepharvaim (who worshipped the god Adramelech), and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. II Kings 17:24

Many theologians have commented on this woman’s morals. Others have said she had had 5 husbands die while married to her. Poor woman!! There just might be something deeper here that fits with the whole context of John 4.  This woman was obviously respected as she brought practically the whole town back to meet someone she considered to be the Messiah. She herself seemed spiritually thirsty and was obviously a leader as seen in subsequent verses.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. John 4:16-18

Now check out this interesting verse in Isaiah:

Isaiah 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Could the one that is not her husband, be the God of the Hebrews?

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. John 4:19-22

The beauty of John 4 is in the next verse. Samaria was a hot outreach area in the book of Acts! Regardless of where they worshiped, Judeans, Gentiles and the Samaritan half-breed will be united in the glory of the new birth:

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

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Moving Mountains and Mustard Seeds

The area around Jerusalem is mountainous. A mountain is a great illustration used by Jesus Christ to drive his point home to the heart of those listening. The mountain was visible. It is was used to make a point to the people standing around him. Throwing a mountain into a sea is really unimaginable.  It is a tough order but Jesus is saying that it can be done. God can do it.

23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23 (probably the Mount of Olives)

The mustard seed is a small seed that produces rapid, large growth. This too is an illustration to impress the hearers. Sometimes it is amazing how just even one verse read from the Bible, will grow so rapidly in one’s mind that it changes the whole atmosphere in the environment. Sometimes it happens so fast, it feels like a person has just suddenly woken up from a nap and is not able to remember a bad dream!

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:20

Adding love to faith, is empowering. Love is an energizing force to action:

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2

These are great verses about moving mountains and what the word can do in our minds. God has wonderfully communicated to man on so many levels. It just needs to blossom in our minds.

 

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