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Saturday, 13 October 2018

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 1

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 1
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Exodus 22:24; 32:10-12
                Anger burns furiously hot in these passages from Exodus     
and it seems to consume others. But how are we to cope when we know that we will and do become angry? The Bible often paints a bitter image of anger yet God did get angry too! God’s anger was with his enemies or with his own people.
                Anger is neither: wrong or right until there is a motive. Anger can be productive and loving just as it can be destructive and selfish. We need to take time to discern our anger in order to see it for what it is. There are different kinds of anger. The first kind involves a person to do harm to himself or others and this is selfish. It is the kind of anger that destroys rather than buildings up. It is like a wrecking ball.
                 Genesis 4 tells the story of Cain and Abel. Both men brought sacrifices to God that reflected their occupations. But only Abel brought a sacrifice which pleased the Lord. Cain was very angry and his face was downcast. He became angry. God approached him and made it clear that he desired to accept him, but Cain had to come on God’s terms, not his own. God warned Cain telling him that if he did not do what is right, sin was crouching at him. Cain’s choice was difficult. He was hurt and angry because God would not accept his offering like his brother Abel’s. God gave him an opportunity to deal with his emotions. But Cain refused to do what God had asked and took matters into his own hands. Cain murders his brother and his heart is hardened. Instead of speaking to the one to whom he was angry, Cain killed his brother. God asked him where Abel was and he said “I don’t know.” God knows what happened to Abel and Cain was condemned. Cain paid for his anger because instead of humbling himself and accepting God’s direction and correction, he was rooted in self-centred efforts. His anger was to destroy.
                Have you ever been angry that you took it out on a wall or hit something in order to release the anger? What resulted because of this? Another person hurt, a wall damaged or relationship ended? How are we to control the anger that enrages us? How are we to calm ourselves down?
                It is important that you be angry and not bottle it up inside. But in order to alleviate and cool down, how do you cope with the anger within? Some people box—literally beating out the anger, others show their anger in their interpretation through arts and crafts. Others just play the piano or musical instrument in order to say it is ok from within. But you should deal with any anger promptly and then let it go.
What or who are you angry at or with? Why?  Are you able to fix this relationship? Do you want to? Often when there is anger it is not a good time to fight, but to do so means that emotions are out there and they are free to be heard and seen. But are you willing to listen and hear responses from others and not get angry again? Controlling our angry is a skill we learn over time. Sometimes it is confused with frustration but there is hope. This hope is in knowing that it is ok to get angry but it is better to figure out why, let it out and move on.  And sometimes God’s help, strength and guidance is required we just need to ask.

Holy God we praise you that we have emotions which include anger. This shows that we have the ability to think and reflect and to act on circumstances which we face. This also shows that we need you to guide us and lead us to something better as we strive to control our anger of self. Help us O God to be able to replace these moments of anger with hope and love. Amen.

RESOURCE  “When Anger Burns: A Biblical View on Handling Anger” by Tim Jackson. Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread Ministries .

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Love in the Air

Love in the Air

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

                “Love is patient kind not jealous or boastful” Paul’s letter  Both couples were excited about getting married, being married and had anticipated their wedding day for years.  Different circumstances led both brides and grooms to wait a while to celebrate this happy day which would forever change their lives.
to the Corinthians includes information about how people were to get along in love, and with love being the focus. Yet what is love? This past week I had the privilege of officiating at two weddings of two very different couples experiencing life to its fullest and experiencing love.
                But what I experienced by sharing with these two couples will never soon be forgotten. Genuine love in the hearts and minds and in the actions and tears of all involved. There was joy on the grooms’ faces as their brides met them at the front of the church—not only did their brides radiate beauty through their smiles, but their eyes told the story that what they saw in each other was well beyond the physical attractions both couples had.  There is love, there is wonder and hope and through their smiles, there was also tears. Both couples acknowledged those around them, but it did not seem to matter as they held hands, looked into each others’ eyes and made their vows.
                Love between people is honest and giving. But this kind of love is only a portion of the love God has for us.  And as humans we cannot comprehend the depth of God’s love for us.  And what is also amazing is that the love these couples share now is only the beginning, a strong foundation of love which will grow stronger each day.
                God’s love is deep for each of us and to truly experience His love we need to practise it with everyone we meet. And especially those whom we call spouse/ partner/ husband or wife. Others who see you with your spouse should see love—like I have seen on many couples on the wedding day. It is hoped that this love will endure as we know it does not fail. But rejoices in the right!. May the love you experience from your spouse and/or family members be joyful and cause you to smile!  And remember God loves you even more!
God we pray for those who have and experience love. We ask for your blessing upon spouses-newlyweds or those married for many years. Bless them O God and remind them always of their love, when it was a twinkle in the eye as on the wedding day. Remind us all that love never ends and that we are called to love others as Christ did and to do so means putting aside all problems and focusing on another and their needs. Call us to love as you first loved us, we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Praying for Unknown People and Concerns

Praying for Unknown People and Concerns

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

                Paul’s teaching to the church people of Thessalonica
called them to pray to God. He writes,” Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Praying in celebration of human events is easy. Rejoicing in God’s blessings is wonderful but what happens when you listen to the news of the day, whether international or local. How do you give thanks to God in these moments? Or even how do you pray for unknown situations or people? Why do we do this?
                The phrase, “I’ll pray for you,” is often uttered by both the faithful and those on the edge because these words may come across as negative. I’ll pray for you- because you need help from God. I’ll pray for you for a better outcome than this. I’ll pray for you because this is not what God or you wanted, is it? Yet when in earnest we say, “I’ll pray for you,” there is so much if we truly sit down and pray for people either aloud or in our hearts. The Spirit stirs us to what we focus upon and that is to focus on the individuals we know who need support for the circumstances they are in- facing losses, experiencing good news,. But it is not up to really know the end result, all we are to do is to lift up the people and the situation and let God answer in his way in His time.
                We pray for people to be ok during and after a flood, because we are aware the God can provide what is needed with the many faithful and willing people who share of themselves. God knows the bigger picture and who is willing to help. Our part is to pray and ask God to intercede through the Spirit by calling his followers to use their hands and feet to respond.
                We also pray for people we do know as they face surgeries, illnesses and chronic care issues. We become aware of situations we know and offer our concerns our thanksgiving and yet we know that it is  God who will respond, yes, no, not yet. So whether we know the individuals or do not it is important to pray . To talk with God about the situations and people who are in need is a vital part of our faith life and growth. To share about the needs of others is how we grow within and care for others. Praying is an act of faith with hope knowing that God will respond. Let us pray!     
Wonderful God as we pray for those affected by hurricane winds and flooding we know that you are holding those affected through this difficult time. We pray that you would comfort them in this time of loss, and enabling them to see that life is not over just changed. We also pray for those who feel that they are alone in this world and are searching for you. Be with all who are in need of comfort, healing and to be loved.  We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

What does it mean to be INCLUSIVE?

What does it mean to be INCLUSIVE?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mark 7: 24-37

                This scripture passage is the story of Jesus being challenged   Yet Jesus’ response was that he came to save the children of Israel. But the woman did not give up. She said the dogs in Israelite homes receive scraps that the children have left behind. Surely, the crumbs left by the dogs could be used for healing a Gentile woman?
in his ministry by a Syro-Phoenician woman who was Greek. This woman had heard of the man who performed miracles and healed people. When Jesus had left Galilee and gone into Tyre, this woman became aware of his presence because she was searching for a miracle for her daughter. The daughter was possessed by a demon and out of faith, this woman begged Jesus to heal the daughter.
                Jesus whole ministry was changed for not only did he come for the redemption of Jewish or God’s chosen people, Jesus can to save all people. As he was talking with this woman he acknowledged the strength of her faith and he told her that her daughter was healed.
                Did Jesus’ have a new perspective upon healing and even a wider perspective about his mission for all people?
                Jesus had just taught that everything God had made was good. There was nothing that was unclean. Yet in this story he was ready to exclude the Greek speaking Syro-Phoenician woman and her plea to heal her daughter.
                When we think of the church we say we want to be inclusive but are we really? Do we have conditional love for all people? We will welcome you to our church family, but… then the conditions are not made clear but one learns to see who is asked to do things, who is excluded from others. We also see that there are people who want everyone involved yet they themselves do not take part. Is this inclusive or exclusive?
                After Jesus healed this woman’s daughter, the passage continues with Jesus healing a mute and deaf man. The people were overwhelmed with amazement at his ability to do this. He has done everything well. But Jesus’ eyes were also opened—to realize that in his coming to earth, he would become the Saviour not only to the Jewish people, but to all who would receive him. Jesus became inclusive of all  people because this woman spoke up and asked for the crumbs of faith.
                Are you in need of healing? Or maybe you are searching about how to grow in faith? Realizing that Jesus too grew in his understanding of his mission, we may be content to know that we too will continue to learn to grow in knowledge of heart and mind. But we must be ready to ask the questions, to seek the answers and to be open to the Spirit moving in us all!
Wonderful Jesus, we ask for healing upon those who are not well physically bring healing to the bodies of those who have had surgery, mentally bring clear thoughts and hopes to those not sure of what is real; and openness to all who pray knowing that spiritually they are growing in you.  We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.