About Anger and Stress

Our society seems to take two stances on anger – either it is 100% unacceptable or it’s funny. The Lord doesn’t think there is anything funny about our anger nor does the Bible teach that anger is 100% unacceptable. In fact we are given permission to be angry with an admonishment to not sin when we are angry.

Anger management is important. Learning how to discern what we are angry about is equally because it helps us express our anger in more appropriate ways and can move us towards taking some constructive action. Continue reading

Giving Up to Take It In (Fasting to Feast)

DoveAll around the world Christians and non-Christians are talking or hearing talk about this season of change that many churches have named ‘Lent.’  Traditionally it is taught about as a season of fasting.  As a child it was all about giving up meat on Wednesday and Fridays, especially Friday.  Friday Fish Fries got started this way – the fishermen must have started it, I thought, when I was a child.  I thought it was the disciples who were fisherman who started eating fish on Friday – the day Jesus died, maybe fish helped them remember him.   That was my childlike faith and since I wanted to be like the disciples I, like my family ate the fish on Fridays.

Then I grew up a little, and I heard the story about the disciples and Jesus after the resurrection and the fish fry they had and then I thought it interesting that the first disciples Jesus called were fishermen and how he said he would teach them how to fish for people and now he was asking them to feed him fish for breakfast.

Then I grew up even more and learned some of the purpose behind the season of lent and about purposeful fasting.  I learned it didn’t matter so much that you gave up meat, you could give up candy or soda or any kind of food and that the money and time you spent purchasing and devouring could be given to the Lord’s purpose . . . to the church or a family or person or organization in need or perhaps some of the money and time could be well spent on items that would help mature your own faith life, devotional books, calendars, prayer and thought journals.

Several years ago when I went on a silent retreat I was inspired to consider giving up my own attitudes and will to take IT in – IT being the Spirit of God.  Some people talk about having the will of God like it is so easy and natural – but it isn’t, and Jesus never taught that having a holy spirIT filled life would be easy or comfortable.

40 days of fasting in the wilderness is what happened to Jesus after the Spirit of the Lord descended and rested upon him.  I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like you are in the wilderness, but this world has a lot of wilderness places where we can find ourselves alone . . . having the Word of God resting in our hearts can help us resist all the things that Jesus resisted.

So, if you’ve never fasted for your own benefit – I’m giving you permission to do that.  Not that you need my permission, but more that you need to give yourself permission to give up whatever you want to – an attitude, television, shopping, desserts, coffee, cream, anything and take the time to care for yourself,  if you need to do that – and you do – fill yourself with the loving words of God, “Come to me all of you  who are tired and weary, afraid, busy, overwhelmed, lost . . . Come to the Lord and allow the Lord to help you care for yourself during this season so that you can care for others feeling a little less pressured, forced or rushed. God loves cheerful giving . . . because God loves you he want you to remember that caring for yourself is a loving thing to do and Jesus wants you to love yourself as well as the Lord and your neighbor – you are in the middle of that equation:  Love of God + self + neighbor = the 2nd greatest commandment.    The first is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength . . . maybe give up doubt, fear, or anger toward him . . . toward yourself . . . toward other people . . .   let this be a season of letting the Spirit of the Lord Rest Upon You . . . .

Timely or Untimely Delays

watch clock[1]Ever been delayed?  It can be somewhat frustrating can’t it?  Today, I unintentionally delayed someone who wanted a telephone interview.  At least it was supposed to be a taped interview and not a Live On Air interview.  That wouldn’t have good for anyone.  Not that it was good for me to miss the call this morning and I certainly was berating myself for the error and then I prayed about it.  ‘Lord, help me place this circumstance in your care.’

Delays are frustrating – no doubt about it.  The verse  “All things work for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)  rolled through my mind shortly after my prayer.  I believe we’ll manage to get this interview rescheduled.   And if for some reason it isn’t scheduled, then perhaps the Lord has a different plan than what the interview was about.

Stories about delays are written in the Bible too.  Mary and Martha were distressed when Jesus took so long to come their brother Lazarus when they sent for Jesus.  They told Jesus their brother might not have died if Jesus had come right away.  Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb and asked everyone to take his grave-clothes off.   Wow – that wasn’t a bad thing!

In the Old Testament it, when you read through the story about Joseph’s brother selling him off and telling their father that their brother died (how terrible is that?!)  it certainly must have seem to Joseph that God was delaying just a tad bit too long in reuniting him with his father – but in the end of the story – the timing is perfect and Joseph is able to save his family from famine because the Lord had been with him all those years.

So who is to say if the delays in our life are timely or untimely?  If all our lives are intertwined and the Lord is in the center of clock radiating out to all of us, if to him a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day – well, then if an interview is rescheduled to another day and time next week I guess it’ll be ok, because ultimately – God is the one in control and his is a grace filled kind of control.

Having been a manager of a finance office, a secretary who scheduled appointments, a patient in the doctor’s office, a mother of 4 teens, a person who lives where late starts and snow days occur every winter, whose husband was late to church the day of her wedding and whose honeymoon was cancelled due to a snow storm that closed down the entire interstate system, having been a self-employed direct sales representative, and a pastoral care giver I understand the frustrations that delays can give a person, but I also have learned how to make good come out of those situations.

God’s timing is perfect and so are His plans.

Do you have  story you can share about a delay that resulted in a great outcome?