All Consuming Ire

I have married friends who have been in a state of war for months. The husband is so angry he can’t see anything but his rage. I spoke to him privately, but he was so furious and unreasonable he couldn’t even look at me. He has an all consuming ire that has made it uncomfortable to visit the restaurant he and his wife own.

The wife just smiles and shakes her head. She’s given up.

When people see only red, no matter what you say or do, no matter what happens around them, their anger is in control.

I’ve been in a situation with a continually angry person. The anger resulted in drug and alcohol addictions, sexual affairs, arrests and jail terms, attempted murder, broken promises, lies and violent arguments. It destroyed everything the person touched.

God tells us in the Bible, “Be angry and do not sin”; do not let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26). Unjustified anger is a problem when it controls your actions, motives, and thoughts. Never let your feelings lead to greater sin. Sin has no place in the life of a Christian.

Don’t allow angry feelings fester or explode. Defuse them immediately by:

(1) Remembering that God, not you, is in control of all things, including the things we blame for our anger. God never tempts us to sin.

(2) Refusing to blame others or circumstances for your feelings, but humbly accepting your feelings as your own personal issue. Unrighteous anger is all about you.

(3) Repenting of your unjustified anger. Repentance is recognizing what God says about yourself, agreeing with Him, and turning from the sin back toward Him.

(4) Returning your thoughts to God’s Word. Think about what He says in the Scriptures about your situation and how you should respond as a child of God.

(5) Restoring the focus of your anger by forgiveness. Forgiveness is an evidence of love, and it’s very difficult to be angry with someone you love deeply. Forgiveness doesn’t mean ignoring a problem or circumstance, but reflecting love upon the one you were angry toward.

An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression. A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor (Proverbs 29:22-23).

Advertisements

Changed by God’s Grace

Biblical history records that when the ark was completed, God entered first. He didn’t command Noah to “Go into” the ark, but called the man and his family to Come into the ark (Genesis 7:1) where God was already waiting. God never sends His people into a place He has not already prepared and waits.

We’ve all seen the cartoon pictures of Noah standing outside the ark watching the animals go in two by two. The Bible, however, says that after Noah entered the ark the animals went in to join him (Genesis 7:8-9, 15). This work of salvation was not by Noah’s effort or oversight; God was fully in control as Saviour of His creation.

On the very day the last animal entered the ark, the rains began to fall for 40 days and 40 nights. The water falling from the sky was joined by water coming up from within the earth (Genesis 7:11-12). Noah, his family, and representatives of the land animals were in the ark 370 days before the ground was dry.

During that year inside the ark, how was it that life didn’t erupt into utter chaos? What kept Noah’s family from bickering, the dogs from chasing the cats, the goats from butting Mrs Noah, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex from stepping on the mice? All those aboard the ark were changed.

The change in nature of those saved within the ark wasn’t by works of self-effort, the exercise of will-power, or attempted obedience to rules and regulations. Changed behavior wasn’t the result of engaging in religious rituals or Noah’s pleading and preaching. There wasn’t a bit of outward compulsion, threat, or bribery. Each of the creatures God called to Himself in salvation were changed by the power of God at work within them according to His grace, eternal purpose, and absolute power.

God was at work conforming each of those He saved to His will – sanctifying them, if you will. What makes you think He’s not the One at work changing you by the very same means? If you have been born again, He is actively transforming you by the power of His Spirit according to His grace alone.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Are You Washed in the Blood? – Elisha A Hoffman (1878)

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow’r?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Refrain –
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless?
Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Saviour’s side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

When the Bridegroom cometh, will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin.
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean.
O be washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered … (Hebrews 13:12).

Jews and the Nation of Israel

My photo of Jerusalem, Israel, from the Mount of Olives, 1993.

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32).

Earlier in March, the Democratic Socialists of America [communists] voted by 99% to condemn the nation of Israel and immediately after the vote delegates began chanting that the land from “the river” Jordan to “the sea” [Mediterranean] belonged to the Palestinians. That land is the nation of Israel.

I stood in that land in 1993. You can literally see one end of the State of Israel from the other end. The nation of Kenya, for instance, is 28 times larger than Israel, and about equal to the size of the US state of New Jersey.

In the Bible, God gave that land – and much more – to Abraham and his descendants throughout their generations (Genesis 15:18; 17:8). God repeated this land grant to Abraham’s son Isaac (Genesis 26:3), grandson Jacob (Gen 28:13), and 450 years later to Moses (Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:1-12). Jesus was Himself an Israelite living in the land given to Abraham and his descendants.

But today there is a growing vocal, political, and militant anti-Semitism around the world. The overt hatred by the political left of the Jewish nation and Jewish people across the globe is appalling. In the US congressional election of 2018, several Muslim women were elected who are outspoken anti-Semites. These women have the support of many of the leaders of their political party. They also openly support and are supported by the Reverend Louis Farrakhan, who has called Adolph Hitler a “very great man” and Jews “Satanic” and “the greatest controllers of Black minds.”

As Christians, we must rebuke all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.

We believe that God has a plan today for the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the land which He promised to them. We also believe that the same God has a future plan for the Jewish people. His plan will include the redemption of the Jewish people at the Second Coming.

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins” (Romans 11:26-27).

But God Carries Out a Plan

I’ve written before how I enjoy watching the wide variety of birds that frequent my bird feeder each morning. A few months ago, my feeder attracted a squirrel, God’s much cuter version of a tree-dwelling rat. I watched it climb into the birdhouse and eat all the food before the birds even got a chance.

Over the next days I imagined all sorts of ways to get rid of the squirrel so my finches, sparrows, wrens, doves, and robins could eat. I finally gave in to the suggestion of my wife and bought a squirrel feeder. The cedar box came with a notched, clear Plexiglas front so the squirrel could see there was food inside and easily remove the seeds and nuts.

I screwed the new feeder into the maple tree outside our bedroom window and waited. It took a few days, but the squirrel finally bypassed the birdhouse and went for his own dinner table.

Later that day I went out to see how much the squirrel had eaten. It not only ate all the food, but it chewed a huge hole in the Plexiglas cover and gnawed away the sides of the cedar house.

Adding insult to injury, I now have THREE squirrels raiding both the bird and the squirrel feeders. I’ve given up! Experiment over! So what do you do when you have a surplus of lemons? I’ve posted a “Rice Zoo” sign outside my yard and charge $1.50 per visitor. No takers yet, but I know you’re just waiting for better weather.

When He saves us, God gives us a new nature that loves Him and desires the things that honor Him. For reasons known only to Him, He also leaves our sinful nature intact. The two war within us, the old nature loving sin and the new nature loving God. The desires of the two are incompatible, but don’t give up! God knows what He’s doing. He has no unfinished works. As William Hendricksen wrote, “Men conduct experiments, but God carries out a plan.

Trust God’s promise to form within you the very character of Jesus, producing fruit of righteousness in you. He’s promised that we can be confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).