“The Zombies Are After Me” Continue reading
“The Zombies Are After Me” Continue reading
The Article About Anger That Might Make You Angry
I have to confess, I was reluctant to write and publish this article about anger, because I’m concerned it will make people angry. But maybe in spite of my better judgment . . .
If you follow my Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ accounts you know I put up scripture on these almost every day. More than one person has criticized me for it, but what can I say — I’m a Jesus nerd. I’m completely fascinated by this ancient Jewish Rabbi, so much so that I just can’t help myself. I want to learn all that I can about him, and I want to share him with others. Anyway, recently, on Facebook, I posted the words from Jesus, “. . . I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…” (Matthew 5:22) And a friend of mine, Danny, asked in the comment section, “What do you think is meant by ‘brother’?” Continue reading
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:34-36
When I was a firefighter we were allowed a certain latitude that normal people (yes that’s right, firefighters, a least the ones I know, aren’t normal) aren’t allowed to have. We could Continue reading
I was angry yesterday afternoon. Some problems stacked up over the week, stupid problems, relatively small problems. But as they built up I finally became angry and frustrated. So, as I often do when I’m angry and frustrated, I went for a walk with my Lord. I hiked up a trail that leads to a place called Hobart Bluff. It’s a beautiful viewpoint at a high elevation, more than 5,000 feet. So as I’m hiking and praying and listening to what our Father has to say, I’m getting a distinct and definite word from Him that goes like this: Continue reading
Read Genesis 49:1-28
“Simeon and Levi are brothers—
their swords are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!”
Steve Jobs’ Anger at Apple
I love apple products. I bought an Apple IIC when they first came out (to this day I can say that was the best keyboard I ever set my fingers upon). I love my iPhone. I love to Face-time with my family when we’re away from each other. I even love Apple commercials, especially the one where the girl throws the hammer at the big screen with Big Brother talking. Steve Job’s penchant for perfection resulted in some amazing products and some incredible marketing. But he also had an anger problem.
In 1985 Jobs’ boss, John Sculley, who was then the CEO of Apple, decided to remove Jobs from his position as head of the Macintosh division. When Sculley gave Jobs the news, Continue reading
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.(v.4-5) It could be that there’s a problem with Cain’s sacrifice. It may be that a blood sacrifice was required, as the word says in Hebrews 9:22, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Different Bible scholars teach it different ways. But without question there’s a problem with Cain’s heart. The way of Cain is identified in Jude 1:11 as a way that is polluted by a problem with the heart. We don’t know for certain what that problem is but a clue is given in Hebrews 11:4 where we’re told that By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. (Hebrews 11:4) We don’t know for certain what was at the heart of the issue, but Cain did, and God did. Two people standing next to each other in church, both singing the same praise song or hymn, perhaps God respects the worship of one but perhaps not the worship of another. Two give the same amount of tithe, perhaps God respects the giving of one but perhaps not the giving of the other. You and I may know that the same amount is given, we may hear the same song, but the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. (1 Chronicles 28:9)
So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (v. 5-7) Here we are, barely four chapters into the Bible, and God’s grace is manifested yet again when he comes to Cain. Adam and Eve were hiding after their sin, and God came looking to help them. Cain is angry, having sin in his heart, and God comes looking for him. God always comes looking for sinners, but, unfortunately, not all sinners go looking for God.
One thing we do know for sure is that Cain is angry. Often times behind anger lies jealousy, and always behind jealousy lies pride. Isn’t it amazing, the things that make us jealous? We get jealous because someone gets a cubicle that’s a little bigger than ours, or someone gets assigned a better parking space than we did, or someone’s son or daughter plays a sport better than ours does, or someone makes more money than we do. God help us. We each have a little bit of Cain within us, don’t we. We all want our desires to be God’s desires, and when God does what God does that’s not consistent with our own wants, how angry it can make us. Each of us thinks that we should have an immunity from the problems, unfairness, and injustices that everyone faces in life.
First cousins Willy and Georgie never got along well. Willy was especially envious of his cousin Georgie, which isn’t all that unusual among cousins. But the consequences of Willy’s jealousy and envy were different than those of other children, it carried on into adulthood and ultimately effected most of the world. You see cousin Willy was Kaiser Wilhelm II, ruler of Germany. And cousin Georgie was King George V of England. Cousin Willy, in his adult years, was jealous of cousin Georgie’s far flung British Empire. Also, at the annual yacht races Germany lost regularly to Britain which contributed to cousin Willie’s intense envy of the British navy. Many don’t realize the great extent to which Kaiser Wilhelm’s envy of his cousin George contributed to the start of World War I.
God in His mercy warned Cain that “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (v. 7) God is saying, don’t treat jealousy lightly. If you allow it to take up residence you’ll soon find yourself in the grip of a power greater than you thought possible. In Romans 12:15 God teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice; and to mourn with those who mourn. But envy turns that all around. When we envy, or when we’re jealous we often rejoice when that certain person mourns and we mourn when that certain person rejoices. Therefore, rid yourselves of all envy. (1 Peter 2:1) Or you’ll find yourself doing things that you never thought you would do. I’ve lived it, I’ve been there, take heed. Rid yourself of it for who can stand before jealousy? (Proverbs 27:4) And envy rots the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)
If only Cain had responded differently. What might have happened had Cain asked God for His help. What might have happened if Cain had said, like David, Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love (Psalm 51:1) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) This is what Cain should have done. This is what you and I must do whenever we encounter anger, jealousy, pride, envy, or any other sin. We must return to the Father like the prodigal son. (see previous post) But Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:8)
Anger, jealousy, pride, envy, they’re all cousins. They’re all emotions that are related and intertwined with each other:
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Robert K. Massie, Dreadnought
Amy Bishop, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, was arrested for killing three of her fellow professors and wounding three additional University employees. In a faculty meeting, after sitting quietly for thirty minutes or so, she pulled out a 9 mm and started shooting. Some believe that the motive for the shooting was the University’s denial of her tenure. Bishop is a woman who was apparently successful in business, as she and her husband have recently invented an automated system that cultures cells — if successful their system could replace the petri dish. Yet she’s been quick to complain, even to new acquaintances, about the unfairness of her not making tenure. Complicating this recent tragedy is a report that 23 years ago, Bishop also shot her then 18 year old brother.
Beware of unforgiveness!
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Matthew 18:21, 22:
Why did Jesus so emphasize forgiving others? Like every other admonition that God gives us in the Bible, it’s for our good. Dr. George Vaillant, the head of a Harvard University Study that followed 268 men over a 72 year period was asked,
“What have you learned from the Grant Study men?” Vaillant’s response: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” (Joshua Wolf Shenk, The Atlantic)
It’s been said that not forgiving is like drinking poison then expecting the other person to die. Forgiveness is freeing. Forgiveness opens up a life that is God’s best life for you. Having trouble forgiving someone? By far the best way to help yourself to adopt a forgiving attitude is to spend time with Jesus Christ. “And just how do I accomplish that?” you may ask. Spend time with the body of Christ in church, spend time in prayer, spend time in His word. Take communion and remember how He has forgiven you.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:14, 15