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Archive for May, 2015

I’m sure we have all heard the verse, be angry and sin not, let not the sun go down on your anger. I always wondered what that meant, was it OK to get mad? The verse is from several verses talking about our new life in Christ and how it is different from our old life.

Growing up in the organized church, getting mad was a sin. We were always told you should not get mad or show anger toward anyone. Yet this verse always confused me. When talking about our new life in Christ, was it really OK to be angry?

I thought about the day Jesus entered the temple and was causing a big commotion with the money changers. It sure seemed to me he was mad at that point.

moneychangers

At work one day, I sat and listened as a couple guys were talking and noticed the conversation was getting heated. I could hear in their voices the anger rising up. Yet, when one of them needed some help with a certain project, he asked the guy he was arguing with to help him. Surprisingly to me, the guy stopped and went to help do what was needed.

I thought to myself, wow, I have been in numerous church administrative board meetings in the past and heard people get mad and argue, and literally storm off like they were enemies. Yet, here were two people arguing that same way, yet not showing any hatred toward the other.

I think that is what this verse is saying, it is not wrong to have feelings, opinions and reactions. It is not wrong to get mad and argue, but do not let your arguing lead to hatred of the other person. Do not let the sun go down on your anger to me is saying get mad, let your thoughts and feelings out, and get over it. Do not hold onto your feelings of being mad.

I think a lot of times that old teaching from my Sunday school days keeps coming through and I hold my feelings and emotions in rather than express myself. I am coming to find that the best thing to do is communicate my feelings, even get mad if necessary, but be respectful and do not hold onto those feelings. Get mad, get it out and move on.

arguing

Of course that does not mean we get mad and argue over petty things all the time, but when something deep within you needs expressed, you should do so. It seems that when we are free to express ourselves, discuss our thoughts, even get mad about it, we are actually creating a more open and real relationship with the other person. As long as we can do so without holding onto the bad feelings and get over being mad.

It is a hard thing to be mad about something and argue with someone, yet do so in a loving and respectful way. It is certainly not the natural way, but with God’s love within us it can be a reality.

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With all that is going on in the news these days, especially here in the U.S., it makes a person wonder what this world is coming too.

Bruce Jenner and his gender change is getting national attention. Various police situations, the most recent being Ferguson and Baltimore are in the headlines. Racism, gay rights and many other situations are going on that seem to be escalating rather than improving.

There seems to be more and more unrest, with people getting very dissatisfied that nothing seems to be changing.

I’m not going to take up these issues directly and I certainly don’t have the answer that will satisfy everyone, but I will say that Christianity is not the answer. When I say Christianity, I’m talking about the religion with rules and regulations, do this, don’t do that, and all that comes to mind when talking about modern-day religion.

Loving and accepting others by the power of Christ from within is the only way that will make a difference.

I am disappointed to see so many people who follow Christianity being so mean and argumentative towards others who feel differently.

I see Christian people arguing, yelling at others, trying to prove their point and basically condemning them to their face. This kind of behavior certainly does not showing the love of Christ.

I personally feel that showing the love and acceptance Jesus showed to everyone he came in contact with while on earth is what is needed.

loveandacceptance

We are not called to condemn others, judge others or try to prove our point over theirs. Jesus said to love God and love others. It is not our job to judge and condemn, only to love.

That does not mean we have to agree with everyone. It doesn’t mean we condone everything others do. It just means that we can love and accept others as they are, and trust that God will bring about any changes. We are not the ones that need to point out things in others’ lives or try to force them to change. We can love them as they are and allow God to do the work.

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A recent mishap the other day made me think about objects, things and relationships.

Those of us who have lost a loved one know how objects or things that belonged to our loved one has special meaning. The person is gone and all we have are the special items that used to be theirs.

sugar bowl

On Mother’s Day, I got up and was making coffee for my wife and myself. We have always kept my mom’s sugar bowl and used it each day. When I was putting it away, I hit the bottom of the cabinet and it slipped out of my hand and shattered all over the counter. I felt so bad, it was like another piece of my mom was gone.

This brought to mind how we get so caught up on things. It makes sense in the human aspect, the loved one is gone and all we have are the things that bring to mind good memories. These things are not the person, but they help us think about the person.

Spiritually speaking, we seem to do the same thing. We have been taught that God is up in heaven, separated from us and we are waiting for some future day when we will be united. Because of this, we get caught up on the things of God more than on God directly. We look at things about God that help us think about Him, learn about Him, remember Him, yet they are not Him.

We start looking to the Bible as the only way to hear from God. Sometimes we go so far as to make the Bible part of the God-head and worship it, not seeing it as a book inspired by God. We look to a building we call the church for a place to go and meet with God and his people. We pray for God to show up or the Spirit to fall when we meet in ‘God’s house’.

The truth of the matter is the living Word of God, Jesus, actually lives within us through the Spirit. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are God’s house. We are one with God as Jesus prayed in John 17: 20-22: “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.

Humanly speaking, when a loved one dies, all we have are things that were from our loved ones. All we can do is use those things for pleasant memories of the relationship we once had with that person.

Spiritually, we do not have to focus on the things of God, we have God right here within us. We can enjoy reading the Bible and seek truth as the Holy Spirit guides us. We can attend services together in a building, or anywhere else two or three gather, but we do not have to look to another human being as our spiritual guide. We should not make the things of God the main and only way of knowing our Father. To do this is to miss the most important part, which is a daily relationship with the living God who is within us.

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My wife and I have some friends who are very much involved and active in certain areas of ministry. We were recently talking about the passion these friends have for their particular ministry.

That got me to thinking about passion. The dictionary says passion is: ‘a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything’. This certainly describes our friends and we are happy that they are involved so much.

We both stated that we felt we did not have a passion like this for any particular thing. It actually made us feel a little disappointed and wondered why we did not seem to have a passion like our friends.

I think passion is great. In some ways, passion for the wrong things or done in extremes can be very tiring and frustrating. A passion for money can cause a person to work many hours, consuming their energy. Passion like that can take your strength and drain you of all energy. Yet, people who have passion for showing God’s love, helping others and use it in moderation see their lives enriched, strengthened and seem to have endless energy.

Passion for Jesus

The only trouble I see with passion is that it can sometimes become an obsession with the ones involved, and they can begin to expect everyone to have the same passion they have for the same thing. This is where we have to realize that God designed each of us with different gifts, abilities and passions, and they are displayed differently in each of us.

I think each of us has a passion for what God designed us to be. We may not be as outspoken or even act the same way as others with passion, but God works through us in a way that is effective according to the personality and gifts with which he designed us. We may not even realize the passion that shows through us to others, but rest assured, God will work through us to touch others with his love.

We are all designed differently, and we all act and respond in our uniqueness. I think it wrong to think we are not useful to God because we do not act like someone else. God works in us and through us based on the way he created us, each unique temples of the Holy Spirit, each making an impact on those we have contact with, through the power and love of God within us.

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