Monday, February 25, 2019

Seeking Wisdom for Stress

Prov 24:10 If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited. 

In other words, if you’re going downstairs and begin to fall your ability to catch yourself is less than if you’re going upstairs. You’re heading down already. It’s easier to fall than stay up.

My dad began to fall a bit toward the end. He said he learned to just go with it and then deal with the results after it was all over. It might hurt worst trying to catch himself.

What was Solomon doing in Prov 24:10? Giving an overview of life. In distress we need something to rely on other than our own strength. Why? Our strength will fail us.

Ps 71:9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength fails. 

Corrie Ten Boom said “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed, but if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”

When I look at the world, I am distressed. I’m distressed by:

Fake News Outlets:
·       Running a story before they have the facts.
o   The Cavanaugh hearings.
o   Covington Catholic School Boys’ confrontation in Washington
o   Jussie Smollett’s fake attack that went from outrage to embarrassment
·       If a story feeds into a certain narrative it gets headline news without investigation. Later, when it’s found to be false, or even before, if it doesn’t fit the narrative, it gets slipped under the rug.

Hollywood or the music industry trying to set the standard for morals and politics. Fame doesn’t make a person an expert to comment on what’s right or wrong.

Societies’ skewed view of the sanctity of life:
Fined for up to $100,000 and a year imprisonment if you “take, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, or capture any marine turtle, turtle nest, and/or eggs, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.”

Fined for up to $250,000 and two years’ imprisonment if you "take, pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb” a bald eagle.

            What if you take the life of a pre-born baby? What if you even wait until the point of birth?                   Legislatures will stand and applaud. That distresses me!

Having our senses dulled to evil. News of shootings and rapes and abuse are so common place, we don’t even flinch at the stories. Baltimore had 14 shootings between Thursday night and Friday morning. Even when the newscast says: we warn you, some of what you see may be inappropriate, what do we do? We look up and watch. I tell them, “Then, why are you showing it?”

Politics: people trying to change America into a godless, socialistic, amoral society. And it would appear nobody is rising up to stop them.

Social media: we’ve lost all decorum over what’s appropriate to say or do as long as we get some likes. Why are twitter feeds considered publishable news items? Who cares who comments on what? Who decides if someone is lying or telling the truth?

Distress is an internal torment caused by external affliction and when I look at the world I get distressed.

When I look inside, I am depressed.

I see my failure. We all have a standard by which we measure ourselves. Perhaps it came from our mothers or fathers, or peers, or church but we expect certain behavior, certain performance. And when we can’t achieve that, we label ourselves as having failed.

When I’ve failed, I feel condemnation. But who is the condemner? God said He didn’t do that. Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. If I feel condemned it’s the enemy at work. If I feel conviction, it is the Holy Spirit at work. Condemnation pulls me away from God. Conviction draws me to Him.

Inside I feel fear, hatred, doubts, loneliness. I have memories that haunt me, limitations that restrict me. I have illness and disease that cripple me.

Depression comes when we allow our suffering to define us to the extent we torture ourselves by our suffering.

When I look inside, I am depressed.

When I look at both the world and within myself, I become stressed.

Stress is the body's reaction to harmful situations – things we consider a threat. When we feel threatened, our "fight-or-flight” response kicks in. Our heart rate increases, we breathe faster, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. We’re ready to act, to protect ourselves.

Stress has common symptoms: What’s in the bucket starts sloshing out.

Emotional symptoms of stress include:
Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
Feeling overwhelmed
Having difficulty relaxing and quieting our mind
Feeling lonely, worthless, and depressed
Avoiding others
Physical symptoms of stress include:
Low energy
Stomach disorders
Aches, pains, and tense muscles
Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
Mental symptoms of stress include:
Constant worrying
Racing thoughts
Becoming forgetful and disorganized
Inability to focus
Poor judgment
Being pessimistic or negative

Some of these symptoms may need to be discussed with your doctor. There could be an underlying physical problem, or you may have simply stretched yourself too tightly.

A rubber band, if stretched, will return to its normal, relaxed position when it’s released. But if the rubber band is stretched for a long time and held, it loses its stretchiness. The same can happen to us when exposed to constant stress.

What’s our Solution: But when I look up, I see Jesus, and I am at rest. He said:
Is the load heavy?"Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain You." 
Are you afraid?"Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you."
Are you tired? ‑ "Come unto Me all you who are heavy laden and I'll give you rest."
Have you lost your strength?He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might He increases power."
Do you need comfort? ‑ "God...comforts us in all our afflictions."
Have you lost hope?My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.
Feel alone? Lo, I am with you always. And high when you’re in an airplane.
Lost your way? In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.
Feel pressed in? "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  

For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. Whatever we face, the Lord has a provision to counter it.

Biblical ways to handle stress
·       Recognize the Problem – Have I allowed the problem to become greater than God.

·       Disconnect from what’s driving the stress. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

  • Turn to God in Prayer. Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
  • Meditate on the Word of God. Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 
  • Spend Time Giving Thanks and Praise. 1Co 15:57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Thess 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Heb 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 

Embrace the Blessing of Suffering: In order to realize the worth of the anchor, sometimes we need to feel the stress of the storm.

Elisabeth Elliot has written a new book: Suffering is Never for Nothing. “Suffering is an irreplaceable medium through which I learned an indispensable truth.” “If we learn to know God in the midst of our pain, we come to know him not as one who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been over every inch of the road.”

Suffering exposes our weaknesses. Breaks our dependency on our own strength. Reminds us of how great our God is. How? It shows us God’s faithfulness.

Ps 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 

Paul had to feel the pain to accept that answer: 2Cor 12:8-11 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Years ago, a TV commercial advertised a glue with the claim that when it repaired a broken object, the point of the repair would be stronger than any other part of the object. Under stress, it would break somewhere else before breaking the bond of the glue. That’s what God did for Paul. He filled-in Paul’s broken place with His own strength, so that Paul was stronger in his weak place than anywhere else.

Distress from the world and depression within should press us toward our benefit not away from it, because when we look at Jesus, we are at rest.

We need to learn this now because more is on the way: it will get worse before it gets better. Because Prov 24:10 If we are slack in the day of distress, our strength will be limited. 

Dan 12:1 Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Dan 12:3 Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven

  1. If we look at the world for our hope, we will become distressed.
  2. If we look at ourselves for the strength to cope, we will become depressed.
  3. If we look to Jesus, we will be at rest because He is our answer.
  4. Suffering is never for no reason, so, let it draw us to the Lord, not pull us away.
  5. In all things remember: God’s grace is sufficient for whatever we face.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Seeking Wisdom: Scratching the Itch

Jorge Espinal was playing poker around 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning in his house when he got up from the table and walked into the bedroom. While there, he got an itch on his back, just beyond reach. He looked around for something to scratch with. The first thing he saw was a pistol on the dresser. So, he picked up the pistol and started scratching his back with the tip of the barrel. The gun was loaded and off safety. He accidently pulled the trigger and shot himself in the back. "Man Uses Gun for Backscratcher, Shoots Himself," Dallas Morning News, May 13, 2008.

Ever had an itch you couldn’t scratch? If you’ve worn a cast, you know what that’s like. You’re going crazy until you can slip a pencil or letter opener or ruler down inside and touch that irritating spot. Or get that itch in the very center of your back you can’t reach.

Animals get in amazing positions trying to scratch where it itches:

We can try to put it out of mind, ignore it, wish it away, but nothing takes the place of a good scratching when we’re itching.

Desire is like an itch begging to be scratched. It’s a message inside telling us to want more.

Prov 30:15 The leech has two daughters, "Give," "Give." There are three things that will not be satisfied, four that will not say, "Enough": Sheol, and the barren womb, Earth that is never satisfied with water, and fire that never says, "Enough." 

We’ve heard of: a burning desire, churning with desire, consumed by desire, unstoppable desire and irresistible desire.

Desire is an urge within us to give hope for a future, for an answer, for a resolution, for restoration, for fulfillment. It makes us want to get well when we’re sick. It makes us want sunshine on a rainy day or rain in drought. Makes us want back what’s been taken away.

A farmer found an abandoned Eagle egg. He took it into his chicken coop and placed it under one of his hens where it soon hatched. At first, the eagle scratched like a chicken and ate like a chicken. But the bigger he got, the more aware he became that he was not a chicken. A desire was growing within him each time he would stare up into the sky. One day, another eagle flew over and shrieked. The desire overwhelmed him. The farmer watched as the young eagle spread open his wings, flapped hard and flew away. The desire to fly carried him beyond the life of the chicken into the world he was made to enjoy.

Desire is a gift from God. It compels us not to settle for less than His best. It drives us to lay aside the restrains and encumbrances because there is a race to be run. It motivates us to press on regardless of the forces opposing us.

When Paul was in prison, he wrote: Phil 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Even within difficult and restraining circumstances, desire still cries out to press on.

Those who have lost that desire find a darkness of soul that burdens them with despair because, in losing desire, they also lose hope.

Prov 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 

Desire also defeats us. Just as there is the desire to seek God, there is the opposite desire to satisfy our fleshly wants. To reject the ways of God and follow a worldly path to destruction. Solomon wrote proverb after proverb warning us to avoid the practices that lead down the wrong road.

Matt 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 

Both passages are desirable. A desire to travel through the narrow gate and a desire to go the broad way. Desire isn’t the problem. It’s the result of choosing the wrong way.

Prov 13:19 Desire realized is sweet to the soulWhich desire? Either. There is a sweetness or pleasure to fulfilling a desire. But not every desire blesses or fulfills.

Prov 9:17  Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 

To steal is to take something that doesn’t belong to us. As Children of God, whenever we give in to the desires of the flesh, we are taking something that isn’t designed for us, it doesn’t belong to us. Though sweet, it sours not long after.

Prov 9:18 But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. 

David said: Ps 20:4 May He [the Lord] grant you your heart's desire…Sounds like he hoped we would get whatever we wanted, but David knew desire must be filtered through God’s best. He’s not saying may you get whatever you wish for but may your heart’s desire be what it pleases God to give you.

Ps 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; – Reverence, respecting His authority over our lives, expecting Him to do what’s best.

Matt 7:9-11 What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! 

What’s God’s criteria to granting our heart’s desire? What’s good. That’s what I should want. Why should I give in to a desire that isn’t good?

Nowhere in the Bible does God say He’ll give us whatever we ask for. God’s giving is always in the context of what He knows is best. Yes, we can ask, but He makes the decision.

Prov 18:18 The cast lot puts an end to strife and decides between the mighty ones. 

A common practice in Bible days to help make decisions was casting the lot. We might think of drawing straws, rolling dice or flipping a coin. Heads you win, tails you lose. But they didn’t think of it as simple chance. They believed God directed the straw being selected or the dice being rolled.

Prov 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. 

It was another way of saying God was in charge and what God directed us to would be best.

Ps 38:9 Lord, all my desire is before You;

Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. 

Criteria of God’s giving? Delighting in Him as our greatest treasure not the gift. So if He chooses not to give the gift, He is not diminished in our hearts.

Prov 3:13-15 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. 

But Solomon makes sure we see the other side of desire:

Prov 6:23-28 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life to keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids. Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? 

Solomon compares worldly desire to an adulteress who entices us to come in to her. She can fulfill a desire, but with counterfeit satisfaction.

A South American tribe was discovered who struggled with malnourishment. They ate a regular diet of a plant that had no nutritional value to their bodies. It satisfied their hunger cravings but accomplished nothing to nourish their lives.

Solomon helps us see the counterfeit so we can resist the temptation. That’s how God uses His Word. To help us recognize the counterfeit by making us familiar with the real thing.

1Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 

How? Through His Word telling us what to avoid. Or maybe giving us insight: RUN!

Prov 13:13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. 

What wins the day? Deciding in advance to want what God wants for us.

Prov 3:1-2 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 

Don’t look at immediate satisfaction. Look long-term.

If I submit to fleshly desire, I may have instant pleasure but long-term distress. If I submit to the Spirit, I am promised long-term life and peace.

John Piper: Pitfalls of fleshly desire
  • Falling in love with the present world. [in the world but not of the world]
  • Loss of horror at offending the majesty of God’s holiness through sin.
  • No sense of accountability or authority. [I decide what’s best for me]
  • Succumbing to itching ears as love of truth evaporates. [wanting to hear what I agree with]
  • A vanishing attention to Scripture. [failure to read, study and meditate on the Word]
  • A sense of being above the necessity of suffering and self-denial. [God only wants my happiness]
  • Giving in to self-pity under the pressures and loneliness. [I deserve better than this]

Gal 5:16-17 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 

If I do whatever pleases me, I very well may give in to desires that take me away from God’s best. Instead, I learn to want what God wants for me. Nothing more. Nothing less. Where do I decide that? The heart.

When you put a tea bag into hot water, the water activates the tea in the bag, releasing its flavor into the cup. The water doesn't create the flavor, it merely reveals it, or draws it out. The flavor is in the tea bag. If you don't like the flavor of the tea, then you change the ingredients within the bag.

Seeking to satisfy our desires by wanting God’s best opens us to a fulfillment nothing else provides. So, when we discover an itch, let God scratch it. When He scratches the itch, He always hits the exact spot.

  1. The ability to desire is a gift God has placed in each of us to want all He has for us.
  2. Because Satan can hijack that gift and make us want things we shouldn’t have, we need discernment to know which is best.
  3. Within God’s Word we will find help knowing the difference between the counterfeit and the real thing.
  4. By experience we learn whenever God says no to a desire, we shouldn’t ignore Him and go for it anyway.
  5. Life is littered by the destroyed lives of people who made that mistake.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Seeking Wisdom - Dealing with Anger People

A young girl who was writing a paper for school came to her father and asked, "What’s the difference between anger and annoyance?" Her father replied, "It’s mostly a matter of degree. I’ll show you." He picked up his phone and dialed a number at random. When someone answered, he said, "Hello, is Melvin there?" "There is no one living here named Melvin.” “Okay, thanks." “Now watch...." The father dialed the same number again. "Hello, is Melvin there?" "You just called and asked me that. I told you that there is no Melvin here!” “Are you sure?” “Of course I’m sure!" The receiver slammed down hard. The father turned to his daughter and said, "You see, that man is annoyed. Now I’ll show you what anger means." He dialed the same number, and when the man answered, the father calmly said, "Hello, this is Melvin. Have there been any calls for me?"

Why do we study the Bible? To increase our knowledge about the things of God. To gain insight into how we are to live in light of all God has done for us. Paul tells Timothy: 2Tim 3:17 so that the person of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 

Sometimes that good work is hard work, requiring us to go against the current of our own desires.

2Tim 2:24-26 The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. 

Those given to outbursts of anger are being held captive by Satan to do his will.

How can a Christian be held captive by Satan to do his will? We do the will of whomever or whatever we give our hearts to. Matt 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Heart: the control center of life.

The question today: what if we’re on the receiving end of that anger?

Rom 12:18-19 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. 

God has placed us in a quite vulnerable spot. Instead of fighting back against those whose actions offend us, we are to seek peace within ourselves. Why? Because the typical reaction to an angry person is to get angry. And James told us last week: James 1:20 the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 

Why leave vengeance to the Lord? Simple: we lack insight as to what’s behind their actions. Someone consumed with rage isn’t just upset at what’s going on in the present moment. Their anger is the product of a life that’s been compromised by Satan’s snares.

Paul says we are to act opposite to what’s going on. Don’t quarrel, be kind, patient, gentle. And perhaps, by that approach, God may regain a foothold into their lives to draw them to repent, and if they repent, they may open themselves up to the truth. When they do, they will come to their senses and slip out of the snare by which the devil has captured their heart.

Prov 22:24-25 Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself. 

That’s wise and practical advice, but really hard if you’re married to them or work for them. So, from the side of living with or relating to an angry person, let’s find some help.

Recognize the danger of adopting their angry spirit. How?
·       Matching their volume in arguments – staying calm is the hardest thing to do in the heat of an argument.
o   Takes one to assault – if they do call the police
o   Takes two to fight
·       Going defensive – acting against the offense to keep them from winning
·       Attacking instead of understanding – knee-jerk reaction
·       Harboring resentment that gets buried inside our opinion of them
·       Keeping our own embers hot because the argument never gets resolved.

Now, some people are contentious: meaning they attempt to force their will on another person without regard to the other person’s perspective, feelings or sense of right or wrong.

·       Prov 21:9  It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. 
·       Prov 21:19  It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman. 
·       Prov 26:21  Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. 
·       Prov 27:15-16  A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike; he who would restrain her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. 

Contend: to engage in a competition or campaign in order to win or dominate.

Solomon’s advice: Refuse to go there. Stop the quarrel before it becomes contentious. How? Become aware when things start spiraling out of control and before strife comes.

·       DISCUSSION – sharing opinions Prov 15:22 Without consultation plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.
·       DISAGREEMENT – acknowledging differences Prov 18:17 The first to plead his case seems just until another comes and examines him.
·       DEBATE – attempting to persuade – goal is to win Prov 18:1 He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom.
o   To have a winner you must also have a loser.

Here’s where contention come in – pulling into sides: me against them

·       ARGUMENT – to win at all costs Prov 18:2 A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.
·       FIGHT – to hurt the other intentionally Prov 29:22 An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression. Crossing the line.

So, what does Solomon tell us to do:
·       Prov 17:27 He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is man of understanding.
·       Prov 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.

Restraining and guarding are our methods for diffusing a situation.

But we don’t start by trying to diffuse them, we start with us. Like the little cup that drops down from the ceiling of the airplane if the plane loses pressure: place it on yourself first. Leave it off them until they pass out.

·       Keep or get yourself under control. Pray for wisdom, strength and the filling of the Spirit of God.

·       Get your responses from the insight God gives.

·       Let love dominate. Prov 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. 1Pe 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 

·       Commit your ways to the Lord – trust in Him: Isa 26:3 The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. 
o   Steadfast: braced against, leaning upon, stabilized by
o   You can be at peace even in an unpeaceful environment.

·       When things calm down, ask why until you understand. Why were you upset? Why is that a problem? Then ask what. What can we do about it?


“You can’t tell me how to feel,” the little girl shouted as she plopped down in the aisle of the store. “I’m not telling you how to feel,” her mother said. “I am telling you how to behave. And how you are behaving is completely out of line.”

There is an assumption that emotions are not controllable which gives us permission to express them. This mother took a different approach. She knew she couldn’t change the emotions, but she could affect the behavior prompted by the emotions. A lot of kid’s behavior could be adjusted if we would just reinstate motivational force.

Emotions are involuntary. We don’t plan our emotions. We don’t generate emotions. Emotions just come. Anger, empathy, fear, joy, sadness, anxiety all happen. We can’t turn them on nor can we simply turn them off. But what can we do? Take ownership of them and not let them take ownership over us. Just because I feel anger doesn’t mean I have to act out those feelings. Scripture helps us:
·       Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
·       Ps 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. 
·       2Co 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction
To every emotion that can control us, God has a provision to help us counter that emotion.

The little girl may feel justified to show anger toward her mother for not buying her the Pink Unicorn backpack, but lying on the floor screaming isn’t the appropriate way to express her frustration.

Can we re-train our emotions? 

Interesting how we learn things to fear and not fear. We discover appropriate words and inappropriate words. We find out what are good habits and bad habits. We can also learn right and wrong ways to deal with our anger. Eph 4:26-27 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. 

When does anger become a sin? When we act on it inappropriately.

To adjust how we act, go back to the heart. What fills our heart is what’s going to slosh out. The devil is trying to influence us to react. God is motivating us to respond. We get to choose. That should be great news! We are no longer slaves to our emotions.

Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 

Members of a Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, to meet with a Christian Church. Both had experienced similar tragedy. The Jewish group wanted to learn how to forgive and heal. Last October, 11 people were shot and killed at the Synagogue, and in June 2015, nine people were killed during a Bible study at the church in Charleston.

Polly Sheppard, one of the Christian ladies who survived the attack, told the Pittsburgh group they would have to forgive. “It’s a choice,” she said. “Either you forgive or you don’t, but if you carry it with you, there’s no healing. It’s like acid on a battery. Once it builds up, the car won’t move.”
Lack of forgiveness or unwillingness to get over hurts keeps the embers hot enough to easily rekindle the flames of anger. Best thing we can do: Forgive, then devote ourselves to looking out for the interest of others.

Phil 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 

Even though we can’t fix them, we can remain faithful to who we are as Children of God regardless of the choices they make. As far as it depends on us, we can be at peace. Maybe not with them, but within our own hearts and before God.

Though Peter was writing this to the wives, it can apply to anyone: 1Pet 3:1 even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by your actions, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 

  1. Remaining calm when those around us are losing it requires great control.
  2. The first objective in dealing with someone else’s anger is not to become angry ourselves.
  3.  Since we don’t always carry that control in our bag of tricks, we must practice yielding to the evidence of the Holy Spirit within us.
  4. When we become engaged in fighting over personal interests, we lose the ability to care about what’s best.
  5. What’s at stake? Giving the devil the opportunity to gain advantage over us.