November 21, 2017

Slow to Anger…Quick to Love

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The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will He harbor His anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
Psalms 103:8-10

As a parent, I often find it hard not to grow angry or frustrated when my kids do something (or keep doing something) after I or their father have instructed them not to keep doing whatever they are doing.  I love my kids.  I love them to the moon and back.  I am usually slow to anger.  However, after a stressful day, I find that I am quicker to be angry than usual.  That is all part of being human.

Know this, my beloved brothers:
let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

God is the perfect example of what a loving parent should be.  He is:

  • quick to hear and patiently listens to our requests and confessions
  • careful in His answers to our prayers
  • patient, loving, and kind
  • puts up with a lot from us, but yet He still loves us

We, as humans, are not in any way getting the punishment or rejection that we deserve.  Many of us have rejected our heavenly Father, but He still does not punish or reject us.  He loves us in a way that we will probably never understand. Thanks to Jesus we will not receive the punishment that we deserve for sinning against God.

God does not harbor His anger His children.  He does not hold a grudge—like so many people do.  He does not hold our sins against us.  Instead, God forgives us and loves us.  He welcomes us back with open arms and helps us learn from our mistakes.

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Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for being slow to anger and always loving. We are so thankful that You do not hold a grudge against us. Your love is wonderful and compassionate. Because You love us so much, we do not have to worry about the wrathful punishment that awaits those who have rejected You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapter 8 – Love Is Not Easily Angered

16daylovechallengenotangryWhile studying for today’s lesson, I found this story (author unknown) that is just perfect to help teach us about this standard of “love.”

 A husband one day said to his wife,  “When I get mad at you, you never fight back.  How do you control your anger?” The wife responded, “I clean the toilet.”  He said, “How does that help?” To which she said, “I use your toothbrush.”

Ephesians 4:26 tells us:

In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

How many of us have done this?

How many of us let anger control us?

Anger does not happen easily…it creeps in on us when we least expect it; and the first little thing that someone says will upset us and then we explode.

I was called into my supervisor’s office last week for a special meeting and in the first two minutes of the meeting I was devastated with her announcement.   I was so angry that I could not even speak, and then my insides were ready to burst.

I wanted to get out of her office quick.   Instead of blowing up and shouting out, I began to cry and just told her, “I need to go. I can no longer talk about this subject.”

I left her office, went back to my desk and began to read a Scripture that I had posted on my computer monitor.

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3

I sat there reading it over and over so that I did not get up and explode and do or say things that later I would regret.  The more I said the verse and talked with God the more amazed I was that God was helping me to change my thoughts, my anger.  God was providing me the fuel I needed to squash the anger.

Anger is powerful.   James 1:19-20 says:

Everyone should be slow to speak and slow to become angry,
for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

How will we ever be able to live a life that pleases our God if we walk around with this kind of anger inside of us and not deal with it.   It will be just like a mouse running around on a wheel in a cage, or also as Cherie stated “we will be stuck in a continual rotation of frustration with everyone and everything around us”.

How can we show God’s love to this world, if inside us we have anger that is built up and ready to be unleashed at any moment?  When we fail to release our anger it will control us; it will even be who we become.

Love does not do that.  Love seeks to draw others. Love can’t draw when anger is present.

Love looks over the small things that creep up but anger magnifies the small things.

Think of the times in your life recently when you became angry with someone, and that anger then brought you to remember every wrong that person had ever done or said to you.  Going through this thought process is not “love in action.”

 “Love seeks to bind and to mend”

 Many of our angers are petty or personal, so we must learn to bottle them up and deal with them only with Jesus and not others for love’s sake,  then we can fulfill the commandment of God, in 1 Corinthians 13,  to “love and not be easily angered.”

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Let’s Pray:

Dear God, I pray for each lady who has studied this devotion today.  I pray that as they sought You, You were able to speak to them and show them if they are carrying around any anger that has affected their witness of You to others.  Help all of us, Lord, to seek, find and then to squash this anger out of our lives so that we can begin to show love, not anger towards others.  Help us, Lord, to be patient when others show anger and help us not to get drawn into it.  Help us to seek Your love that overshadows anger and—as You show us Your marvelous love—help us to show the world.  In Your name I pray.  Amen!

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapter 1 – Patience

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To Walk or Stay

I have a friend who is struggling with a situation in her life. The enemy is trying his best to steal, kill, and destroy all that she has. In the midst of this, God is reaching out to her and asking if she will walk in patience with Him. Will she give Him the time needed to turn this around?

We understand patience when the context is to be patient with our loved ones or others. But to be patient with God for the purpose of giving Him time to turn our situation around—this is asking a lot of a person, especially when they are looking back as a witness on the destruction of something that was once so promising.

I wonder if this post has found you in a place where God is asking you the same question: “Do you have the strength (patience) to turn to Me and let Me walk you through this?”

One of the most powerful things I have learned in my walk with God is that my trials tend to unmask my weaknesses. Once my weaknesses are revealed, I am left with a decision to make.

Will I walk away from the person and the situation or can I stand still and let God work to save my relationship?

In my pain and anger, I feel walking away would be the easy decision. After all, I have been hurt by this person and have a right to walk away. Entangled in my thoughts of leaving, I hear God’s voice softly speak to my heart.

The thing I LOVE about God is the fact that He is not demanding. He understands the hurt we have been through. He gets that our hearts can only take so much. So He gently asks us, “Will you walk away or can you stand still and wait for Me to turn your situation around?” James tells us why we should consider God’s request:

This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear,
slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man
does not achieve the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

Our anger (though understandable) will not achieve the righteousness God is looking for. He wants to develop Righteousness in our character and will use our trial as the vehicle to use when we are willing. Standing still means we are willing to not only be patient with Him, it says we are willing to recognize our weaknesses and walk through them -one by one.

Facing our unrighteousness can be tough. Sometimes this reveals where we are wrong in the situation. Facing ourselves means we are putting a Holy mirror in front of us. God’s Holiness reveals the areas we need to change. But God gives strength to those who are willing to be patient with Him…

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

God’s Word tells us that if we will wait on the Lord, He will renew our strength. We will mount up with wings like eagles. God spoke to my heart once again as I read this verse. Mounting up with wings is a promise to those of us who choose to walk in patience with Him to the end. The wings represent flight, or an easy flow of things. Once we overcome one of our weaknesses, the road ahead will be so much easier to navigate. Our character is strengthened and our relationship has the chance to turn around, as God is now able to use us as His vessels.

To the one who is reading this post and facing a trial of your own, I ask you the question: Will you walk or will you stand?  I pray you will choose to stand and let God turn your situation around.

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Here are a few more verses to further encourage you:

And let us not lose heart in doing good,
for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.
Galatians 6:9

And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly,
encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.
1 Thessalonians 5:14

Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.
For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.
Psalms 37:7-9

Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk
in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
showing forbearance to one another in love,
Ephesians 4:1-2