Moving Beyond Anger to Meekness

Elbow Lake in Alberta, Canada-Photo by: Mark J. Booth

Anger is a common human emotion that negatively affects us and others.  Anger often leads to emotional, social, spiritual and physical problems in our lives.  We would like to control our anger, but we constantly fall back into the same trap.

Anger is a choice.  We may blame others for our anger, but we can move beyond our anger and live a life of meekness.  Meekness is: “Yielding all of my rights and expectations to God.”  Whenever we become angry, it shows that there is an area in our life that we have yet to yield to God.  Here are three ways that we can move beyond anger and live a life of meekness.

UNDERSTAND GOD’S VIEW OF OUR ANGER

1. God’s commands us to put aside anger. Psalm 37:8 says: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Anger leads to wrath which leads to evil actions.  Anger destroys our Christian testimony. Our anger shows that we are defending our rights.  Our focus is not upon Christ, but upon ourselves.

2. God tells us that anger causes strife with others.  “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” (Proverbs 15:18) Anger creates strife in marriages, in parent-child relationships, in friendships, in work relationships as well as church relationships.  Our anger is divisive and very self-centered.  This is the very opposite of love.

3. God tells us to avoid friendship with angry people.  “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”  An angry person not only causes strife, but he also causes others to take up his angry cause.  Anger is like a contagious disease that goes from one person to another.  For this reason, we are not to develop close friendships with this type of person.

TRANSFORM YOUR ANGER TO MEEKNESS

1. Meekness is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)  Anger is often the symptom of something seriously wrong in our lives.  When the Holy Spirit controls us, anger will no longer control us.   Meekness must come from the Holy Spirit because it isn’t natural for us to yield up our rights to God.  

2. Meekness learns to pass over a transgression against us.  When somebody wrongs us, we react in anger.  Yes, this is natural, but it is also very destructive to us and to others.   Jesus Christ said: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44) This is only possible when we yield the right to our time, possessions, reputation, etc. unto God.   Is this not what Joseph did in response to the treachery of his brothers?

3. Meekness remembers who we are in the eyes of God.   Angry people have an inflated view of their own importance.  We develop meekness when we look at ourselves from God’s perspective.  Paul didn’t become angry throughout his trials with others because he remembered that he was the greatest of all sinners, whom God saved.

4. Meekness is seen in the life of Christ “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)  When Christ came to earth, he gave up many of His rights “  He would experience hunger, pain, rejection and eventually death.  Why did he do this?  Christ demonstrated meekness because He saw that His rights were much less important than His mission to die on the cross for our sin.

Our anger says that my rights are more important than ministering to others.  Where would we be if Christ choose not yield his rights?  When Christ prayed to the Father, he laid down his rights.  “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Can we say the same prayer?

FOCUS ON THE FRUITS OF MEEKNESS

1. We will enjoy God’s presence and teaching: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psalm 25:9)

2. We will walk in God’s peace and joy. “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11)

3. We will respond eagerly to God’s Word. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)

4. We will experience contentment. “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him:” (Psalm 22:26)

“Lord, I find it easy to become angry with difficult circumstances and difficult people.  My anger keeps me from enjoying your presence, peace and power.  I need to learn to yield all of my rights to you.  Please help me to develop a meek spirit.  Thank you for sending Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who yielded His rights for my salvation. Amen”

 

Three Truths to Start the Day

Sunrise-Photo by Jonathan Snow (By Permission)

How we start the day often dictates how the rest of our day will go.  When we start our day with anxiety, worry and fear, these emotions likely will continue to affect us during the rest of the day.  David faced many trials and obstacles; yet he could be encouraged by focusing upon His Lord in the morning.  Starting our day with a focus upon God enables us to walk with confidence, peace, and joy.  Our life will not be dictated by the events of the day, but by our faith and confidence in our living God.

David shares his faith and confidence in God by writing Psalm 31:3:  “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3) David  didn’t start his day alone.  He was aware of God’s presence throughout the day.   Here are three truths about God that gave David peace, joy, strength and direction each day

1. “My Rock”-David understands that God brings stability to his life.  We don’t know the future.  There are many dangers and pitfalls that we face each day.  We are tempted to worry.  We feel unable to handle what is happening.  We feel like we are drowning; however, we can find stability in the midst of the instabilities of life.  God is our rock!  He is there to steady us. He is there to enable us to withstand any storm.  Like Peter, when you feel like you are drowning allow the Lord to take your hand and place you on the Solid Rock.

2. “My Fortress”-David understands that God brings security to his life.  Worry, fear and anxiety can control our days because of our insecurity.  We feel insecure about our relationships, our finances, our health, our future, and our reputation.  We can say “goodbye” to these insecurities when we flee to our Fortress, the Living God.  He can protect us from whatever “enemies” or destructive thoughts that may be attacking us.

3. “Lead me and guide me”-David understands that God brings direction to his life.  Each day presents its challenges.  Often, we face situations which confuse us.  We don’t know what to do.  God is our Shepherd.  He desires to lead us each day.  As we start each day, God will guide us as we seek Him in His Word and in prayer.  James shared with his readers: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5)

“Lord, every day has new challenges, problems and unexpected trials.  Thank you for bringing stability, security and direction in my life.  Help me to begin each day focusing upon you as my Rock, my Fortress and my Guide.  Thank you for taking a special interest in me and what happens in my life throughout each day.  Amen”

 

Our Own Debate with God

 

This evening many of us will be watching the big debate between President Obama and Governor Romney.  We will be pulling for our favorite candidate in the debate.  In the end, we will probably conclude that our candidate has won.

Debating has been around since the fall of man.  When Adam and Eve fell in sin, they debated God by blaming Him for their sin.  Moses debated with God when He had called Moses to go to Egypt.  Peter debated with the Lord Jesus when Peter told Jesus that he wasn’t suppose to die on the cross.  Satan also debated with God when he discussed Job’s life.  We also have had our debates with God.  We have questioned God about various areas in our lives.  Here are a few of our debate questions for God and His answers.

1. Why did you give me the family you gave me?  God answers: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:14)

2. Why did you allow this tragedy in my life? God answers: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

3. Why don’t you get rid of this problem in my life? God answers: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

4. I don’t understand what you are doing in my life. Can you tell me? God answers: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8, 9)

5. How should I respond to those who have hurt me? God answers: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)

6. Have you really forgiven me of my sin? I still feel guilty! God answers: “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12)

7. Why aren’t you answering my prayer? God answers: “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1)

8. Where can I find satisfaction in my life? God answers: “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9)

God always has the right answer for each of our questions. Don’t be afraid to take your own questions to God.  He is always ready to answer them.  By the way, He doesn’t need any prep time!

 

Delighting in God in Stressful Times

 

God’s is waiting for us to come to Him. Photo by: Mark J Booth
The cares of this life often seem to build up until we feel overwhelmed. We become discouraged and feel stressed about life. Is there a place of comfort in the midst of the cares of this world? “In the multitude of my thoughts within me (cares of my heart) thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19). The Psalmist is saying: “No matter how stressful life is, God is here not only to bring comfort, but delight to my soul.”
There are many things that can be overwhelming and bring stress upon us:
  • the stress of our own failures, sins, and worries.
  • the stress from our concern for our loved ones.
  • the stress from people who oppose us.
  • the stress of work
  • the stress of growing older
  • the stress of keeping up with others
  • the stress of trials in our lives
  • the stress of loneliness
  • the stress of not knowing the future.
  • the stress of making decisions
Stressful situations fill our lives.  However, In the midst of the stresses of life, we can always flee to the “God of all Comfort”.  We can flee to Him:
  • by prayer and praise unto Him
  • by opening up the Word of God and listening to Him
  • by submitting our lives completely to Him
  • by confessing any known sin unto Him
He is always available to bring comfort, peace and hope to the soul who is coping with stress in their lives. Will we flee to Him in midst of the cares and stresses of life? Yes!
GOD WILL CHANGE OUR STRESS INTO DELIGHT IN HIM!

 

Where Can I Go?(Psalm 18:2)

 

Photo of the Alps by Mark J. Booth

I am drowning in the midst of a storm.  I feel alone.  I don’t know where to go?  What does the Word of God say: “The Lord is MY ROCK, and MY FORTRESS, and MY DELIVERER; MY GOD, MY STRENGTH, in whom I will trust; MY BUCKLER (shield), and the HORN OF MY SALVATION, and MY HIGH TOWER.” (Psalm 18:2)

Jesus reminded the disciples that in this life they would experience tribulation.  We have all experienced tribulation.  We try to resolve the situation.  We try to cope.  We try to ignore the storm; yet we feel like we are sinking deeper and deeper into the raging waters.  David experienced many storms in his life.  Where did he go for deliverance and relief?  He went to “his God”.  Likewise, we can go to our God regardless of how strong the storm.

1. We can go to Our God because He is our Rock.  When a person is sinking into the water, they are looking for something solid on which to find their footing.  We often stumble and fall because we don’t stand firmly upon our solid rock, the Lord God.  Do you feel like you are wavering in every direction, then go to the Rock.  

2. We can go to Our God because He is Our Fortress.  A fortress is a place of refuge from the enemies we may have in this life.  Many people talk about being hurt by others.  Yes, others may try to hurt us, but we have a fortress to whom we can run.  We don’t have to be hurt by others, we can go to the Lord God, Our Fortress.

3. We can go to Our God because He is Our Deliverer.  The disciples were fearful in the midst of a terrible storm.   They were without hope until they cried out to the Lord.  The Lord stopped the storm.  No matter how awful the storm, the Lord is ready and able to deliver us.  No matter how strong the temptation the Lord will deliver us.

4. We can go to Our God because He is Our God.  David knows that he has a personal relationship with the Lord God.  He can go to His God at any time.  When we know God, we can trust Him.  We know that He loves us with an everlasting love.  We know that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

5. We can go to Our God because He is Our Strength.  David couldn’t handle his enemies in his own strength, but he knew the All-Powerful God.  We can do nothing apart from God.  As Paul stated: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13).  We may get tired and want to quit, but God’s strength enables us to carry on.

6. We Can Go to Our God because He is our Shield.  Satan throws his fiery darts of doubt, denial, guilt, temptation, discouragement, and rebellion against God.  In ourselves, we have no defense against these darts; however God is Our Shield.  He comes between us and the fiery darts of Satan.  There is no safer place than behind God, Our Shield.

7. We can Go to Our God because He is Our Savior.  Our salvation solves the greatest problem in life, which is how can a sinful person approach a Holy God.  Jesus took our place upon the cross and paid for our sin.  Through Him, we have eternal life.  If God has taken care of our greatest problem in this life, why can’t we trust Him with the storms that pass through our lives?

8. We can Go to Our God because He is Our High Tower.  We often see a bird flee into the sky as we approach it.  The bird knows that there is safety in the heights.  Likewise, our Lord places us in the heights to keep us away from the traps and snares of this life.  The storms have little effect upon us when we are safe and secure in the Lord.

As a result of all that God is, David says: “In whom I will trust.”  David knows the Greatness of God.  He trusts God because he knows Him.  Do we know our Great God.  Yes, the storm may be strong, but we do have One to whom we can go.  Will we?

 

Lean Hard! What to Do When the Burdens are Heavy.

Outside of Mexico City from a plane: Photo by Mark Booth

Is your burden too heavy to carry?  Are you facing difficult times?  Are you without hope? Are you without direction?  Does anybody care?  Yes, there is One who does care. His name is Jesus Christ.  What does God say: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) God is ready and waiting for us to place our burdens upon Him.

Here is a devotion written by Octavius Winslow that expresses God’s desire for us to Lean Hard upon Him.  Octavius Winslow was a pastor during the 19th century who was known for compassionate and doctrinally sound preaching.  He is one of my favorite authors.  I would encourage any of my readers to look up his books and download them for free.  Enjoy the following devotion and don’t forget to Lean Hard! 

Lean hard!

(from Winslow’s, “The Burden Cast upon God”)

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord; and
He shall sustain thee.” (Psalm 55:22)

It is by an act of simple, prayerful faith we
transfer our cares and anxieties, our sorrows
and needs, to the Lord.

Jesus invites you come and lean upon
Him, and to lean with all your might upon
that arm that balances the universe, and
upon that bosom that bled for you upon
the soldier’s spear!

But you doubtingly ask, “Is the Lord able to do this
thing for me?” And thus, while you are debating a
matter about which there is not the shadow of a
shade of doubt, the burden is crushing your gentle
spirit to the dust.

And all the while Jesus stands at your side and
lovingly says, “Cast your burden upon Me and
I will sustain you. I am God Almighty. I bore
the load of your sin and condemnation up the
steep of Calvary, and the same power of
omnipotence, and the same strength of love that
bore it all for you then, is prepared to bear your
need and sorrow now. Roll it all upon Me!”

“Child of My Love! Lean hard! Let Me feel the
pressure of your care. I know your burden, child!
I shaped it- I poised it in My own hand and made
no proportion of its weight to your unaided strength.
For even as I laid it on, I said I shall be near, and
while she leans on Me, this burden shall be Mine,
not hers. So shall I keep My child within the circling
arms of My own love. Here lay it down! Do not
fear to impose it on a shoulder which upholds the
government of worlds! Yet closer come! You are
not near enough! I would embrace your burden,
so I might feel My child reposing on My breast.
You love Me! I know it. Doubt not, then. But,
loving me, lean hard!

Will we LEAN HARD upon Him??

P.S  Here are a couple of websites with more writings by Octavius Winslow.  Enjoy!
http://www.gracegems.org/BOOKS/Octavius%20Winslow%20books.htm
http://octaviuswinslow.org