August 25, 2015

Grab a cup of tea, it's gonna be a long post!

Our son gave me a handful of these sesame seed and honey covered nuts
to eat the other day.
Guess what I found in the handful?
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It's hard to be grateful when you are angry. For years I thought it was a sin to be angry, so I would stuff my anger down inside until I exploded and woe anyone in the way (old habits die hard -- thank God for grace, 'cause I'm a work in progress.)
One of my school counselors, after a especially difficult day,  said I was full of anger.  Well, duh, kids can be real nasty to the different. I turned to God early because somehow I knew He cared, He listened to my little tales of woe, and He understood. It took me a little while longer though, to read the Bible, because I thought  reading it was to guilt me into the kingdom and I felt judged (little did I know the devil was beating me over the head with it). I didn't really read the Bible straight through until I was an adult. It took an experience of praying for God's love to wash over me before I actually opened the book to read his love letter to me.

The Bible gives clues, if you know how to decipher them about how to deal with anger. Even God and Jesus were angry from time to time.  (You know I can hear the wheel turning in your mind saying, "Oh, yeah, where does the Bible say they were? Hang on, I'm getting to that part.)
God's Righteous Anger: "How often they (the Israelites) rebelled against him in the desert and grieved him in the wasteland! Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. . . He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility -- a band of destroying angels. He prepared a path for his anger. . ." (Psalm 78:40-41, 49-50a).
An example of Jesus' righteous anger in action: "So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" (John 2:15-16).
However, thank goodness, God is slow to anger: "Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh; a passing breeze that does not return." (Psalm 78:38-39). . . "I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." (Jonah 4:2b)

Like children, the Israelites pushed God's buttons, but the Almighty was able to control his temper. And when he did get angry, it only lasted a moment: "Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. for his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." (Psalm 30: 4-5).
The first part of Ephesians 4:26 says "In your anger do not sin." It doesn't say "Do not be angry for that is sin." The second part of the verse says: "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold." This is the clue that I overlooked -- taking care of the anger issue as soon as possible, otherwise unhappiness grows into a monster.

Instead of immediately lashing out though, I must give myself the 10-second rule. Breathe, count to ten and try to calm down. Then  I must pray for wisdom and discernment (understanding). James 1:5 says: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Second, I must think about why I'm angry. Does it involve pride or principle? Someone once told me that I must pick my battles. If the issue involves a principle, then I must say something to the other person as soon as possible, just as Jesus did to the distracting cheats out in the temple grounds, otherwise it sits and festers like a boil.
However, I'm usually a coward and don't like to confront people, because under duress, I get intimidated, go blank and usually embarrass myself by  just crying. Sometimes it's just easier to stuff it and walk away, then to confront the other person.  It's really, really hard for me to be assertive, however, walking away doesn't always solve the issue.
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault; just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. . . 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: 15-22).

However, if it's a principle, then I pray for the other person: "pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:28), grit my teeth and get on with it.

A friend once told me to make a "sandwich." She's a child-minder and occasionally has to talk to the parents about something naughty their child did that day. Most parents get offended if she just spills her gut, so she has learned a technique to sandwich something negative between two positives. She said it makes the negative thing less offensive.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverb 15:1). My husband once told me that I would attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. I don't always remember to go sweet, but practice makes perfect or so they say! *smile* You know I've been writing all this, just to remind myself of what to do, right?

"If one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." (James 5:19,20).  When I was parenting, my youngest sister and I agreed we had to disciple our children for eternity's sake. Didn't make us always popular with the junior set, but we knew we had to do it, for the above reason. Sometimes talking to people doesn't make us popular with them either. I've had people walk away from our friendship because they didn't agree with me and couldn't say I'm sorry.  It's a risk you take.
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My husband and I stopped for a bite to eat last weekend at Taco Via. Down in the tray was a sheet of paper my hubby asked if I wanted to keep for my faith journal and I said, "sure, 'nuf!"
And speaking of my faith journal, I've been doing a little cleaning out (I had a paper challenge going on over on my craft blog) and I found a bunch of business cards that I obtained from various people associated with my churches. Shorty is one of them. He and his friends were called "The Joy Boys or the Witt Brothers -- Half, Nit, & Dim" Two of the Witt Brothers have graduated to heaven and I miss seeing their smiling faces, however the other one has recently been in the hospital. I'm sure he would appreciate prayers for good health!

I might have to use a little washi (decorative) tape on the inside of the business card plastic sleeve to keep them from sliding out. That sleeve is extra slippery.
I'm still currently using two notebooks -- the green one holds three months worth of material, but the other one is getting fatter as I slip out the old stuff and add in the new stuff. I saw a Youtube video awhile back and am thinking of adding an elastic closure to my big notebook to keep stuff from falling out.

 And last but not least, I have another "love note" to add. *smile*  Wow, two in one week!  Thank you, Jesus, for the new rose on my once-a-year-bloom rose bush. (Sorry for the blurry pic, I had to hold the camera at an odd angle in order to get the rose in the shot.)

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"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." (Hebrews 12:28).