Anger is one of our defense mechanism in us that sometimes benefits us and at times not. We can get angry and do something about an injustice or something that needs to get done, and it works on our behalf. But, we can get angry and really blow things out of proportion, we can even sin with anger. The bible teaches us that we could get angry but we should not sin (eph.4:26). God told Cain that if did not master anger it would enslave him and become his master (Ge4:5-7). It also tells us that we should be slow to anger (Jm1:19), and the reason in part is because when we are angry we can become careless and become vulnerable to the enemies attacks. We all display anger differently, some scream off the top of their lungs, while some will shut down and not talk at all. Some will eat furiously, while others will drink like if there is no tomorrow when they are angry. But, the question that comes to mind is, when do we stop being angry? When do I just decide I am not going to be angry anymore.
4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah was living a happy life with is family and friends until God knocked on his door and sent him to preach to Nineveh. It was then that he decided to not do what the Lord had asked him to do and run away. We understand that Jonah was angry with the people of Nineveh for whatever the reason. One thing we learn that Jonah understood was that God is a merciful God and a loving God willing to forgive anyone, and that anger him even the more. The Psalmist says that God’s mercies are from everlasting to everlastings (ps103:17). We don’t know what happened between the people of Nineveh and Jonah, but he must have been really bothered by them to not want God to forgive them. I can’t imagine someone being so angry with someone that they would not want God’s loving kindness and forgiveness upon that person; although there are probably a good handful out there. Being angry with someone can destroy one’s life take for instance Jonah, that he did not consider the men on the ship he was riding on when the big storm hit them, he just simply slept inside the ship while they toggled and twirled.
Worship! What is it? Why is is important, or is it? Can we live without it? When do we worship? Worship is an act we do either with intent, out of fear or as a devotion, and we all do it to some thing or some one. It is something that we were all created to do, worship is within our human instinct. Vine’s Expository dictionary defines it as “to make obeisance, do reverence to” (from pros, “towards,” and kuneo, “to kiss”), is the most frequent word rendered “to worship.” It is used of an act of homage or reverence. Miriam Webster’s 3rd definition says : extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem. Worship is a responsibility as well as a duty of all man kind and that to God alone. Throughout the bible God specifically tells us that worship needs to be a part of our every day life. Jesus said that God is looking for people who worship him in Spirit and in Truth (Jn4:24). There are elements that come together when we worship; such as, singing(Ep5:19), giving, praying, reading scripture and having communion. Because of worship wars have taken place, marriages broken, and people have died.
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Worshiping God, the God of the bible comes with a price. Each and every one of us must be willing to pay whatever the cost to not be forced to cease from worshiping the Lord. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were willing to suffer ridicule, rejection, hate acts even death for the mere act of worshiping God. Out of 20 Christian women who were martyred for their faith two stand out Felicita and Cecilia. These two women suffered the most grueling event anyone could suffer for the act worshiping God. Like the three young men these two ladies had the option to recant their faith, but they did not (Lk9:26-27). The act of worship entails of one giving of one self without the thought of recant Paul tells that church that the true act of worship is just that giving of one self (Ro12:1). Worship requires complete attention. It is not something that we can multi-task on, because it is an intentional act, therefore, requiring that we focus. Luke tells us in the book of Hebrews that we need to be at awe when we worship (He12:28).
God’s word is full of wise sayings and counsel. If anyone needs a word that is tailored to their needs the word of God is that tool. It is the only timeless scriptures that has endured the tightest scrutiny know towards any scriptures. History declares that the bible; God’s word, was persecuted severely. For example, The King James Bible came out of a period of intense persecution and spiritual revival. The Wycliffe Bible was persecuted and was a product of spiritual revival; it was the Bible of the Lollards. Laws were passed against it and its translator’s bones were dug up and burned. The Tyndale Bible was persecuted; thousands of copies were burned and otherwise destroyed by ecclesiastical authorities; laws were passed against it; and its translator was burned at the stake.The translator of the Matthew’s Bible, John Rogers, was put to death for his faith. The Bishops Bible was translated by men who were persecuted for their faith. The Geneva Bible was also a product of persecution and spiritual revival, having been produced by men who were in exile for their faith (Way of Literature). God’s word came in stones fashioned with Moses from the mountain with the ten commandments of which was known as God’s testimony written by God’s finger and it became the laws of the land enforced by judges(ex24:12). These stones with the writing of God which were in the ark of the covenant had power. The walls of Jericho came down after the people carried the ark around the city seven times (Jos6:6-7). Imagine God’s word when it came in human flesh and no longer on stone, the impact it created.
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
Jesus came to his own town and as usual he spoke with great wisdom to the point that the people were greatly astonished. They could not believe what they were hearing. And, though the people became intrigued with the power of the word in Jesus, their unbelief kept them from Jesus doing greater things. Even his own family rejected Jesus’ word and sided with the unbelievers making the statement that a prophet is with out honor in his own house(Mt13:57). Through the spoken word Jesus healed this centurions servant (Mt.8:13). Now, God’s word that once was stones became flesh (Jh1:14) and dwelt with men and healed and brought back from the dead many. But, then it became spirit; the word that is, Jesus said my words are spirit (Jh6:63). Now this word of God came to his people but they rejected it so God lifted up people like Paul and Barnabas to spread the gospel to the rest of the world (Acts13:48-48). These words are written in the black and white text of the bible and anyone who reads them their lives will be changed.
Death is an over powering topic that no matter how interesting another topic might be, it has the influence to remain on top. Topics such as riches, health, relationships, and other are not compared to death. Death has this sting that will over weigh any other feeling or sensation from anything that else. Thanatophobia or fear of death is when the idea of dying affects your daily life. When the doctor mentions a time line to death in a person’s life, that person’s life has a 360 degree change and nothing else matters. For instance, when the prophet Isaiah mentions to king Hezekiah, who was sick, that he was going to die and that he should set his house in order, the king turned to the wall and prayed(Is38:1-3); sadness and fear took over. Life’s rule that man must die is not an easy one to handle, that is why we visit the doctor, watch what we eat, visit the gym; because we do not want to die. There are two types of death that we have to deal with; at least one more then the other. We die physically and spiritually, but most of us are more concern with the first; physical.
10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.
Jesus’ inner circle disciples, Peter, John and James experienced a glimpse of the eternal Jesus in earth at the transfiguration event at the mountain. They saw Moses and Elijah and heard the audible voice of God and saw Jesus with his eternal attire at the mount. Yet, when they were coming down from the mountain the impact that was most in their mind was the words of Jesus about his death. Death has a ring that catches our attention the most. Now, Satan has the power of death and he instills that fear in our hearts, which captures our attention in an instance (Heb2:14-16). Forasmuch, Jesus had to come down to earth to deliver us from that fear of death. So, Paul wrote to the church of Corinthians “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1Cor.15:55). The fear of death has been conquered, we now do not need to fear death because Jesus overcame. Jacob was dying and the bible tells us that instead of him worrying he just worshipped the Lord and blessed his children (Heb11:21).
Praying is vital. Through it we can communicate with our creator. We can find comfort, healing and strength via prayer. Prayer is practiced throughout the world by many people to various gods. And, prayer is done in many and in any place at any time, but certain places have been established to practice it such as temples and worship places. Now, there something has to happen in ones life that motivates him/her to continue to pray even if he/she is praying to something. The Jews have a wall of which they continually go to pray and insert prayers in, it is in Jerusalem at the temple mount. The temple mount is the second temple erected by king Herod and the first was done by Solomon. The wall is known as the weeping wall. Throughout the ages wherever the Jews were they direct themselves towards Jerusalem to the temple to pray. Like Daniel when he found out the mandate for everyone to worship his statue or be thrown into the lions den, went to his house and knelt in the direction of Jerusalem and prayed (Dan6:16).
2 Chronicles 6:21
21 Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.
Now, Solomon after he built the temple made a dedication service and initiated the pray too Jerusalem idea. In this dedication service he prayed and in that prayer he asked God that if anyone would pray towards Jerusalem that he should heal, prosper and forgive them(2Chro7:17). Jerusalem became a focal point in prayer until Jesus established that a place was no longer needed to engage in prayer when he spoke to the Samaritan women in John 4:21. He told this Samaritan women that worship would no longer take place in Jerusalem but in the spirit. Prayer is a spiritual connection with God where healing, prosperity and freedom takes place. When you are overwhelm with life’s ordeal prayer can be done (ps.61:1-3). Peter and John were threatened by the religious sect because of the preaching of the gospel in Acts 4:31, but after the church prayed the earth shook and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. These days we need the prayer of Habakkuk who prayed for revival (Hab3:1-2).
With much bad or evil happening nowadays it is easy to become engaged in faulting someone or passing the blame. In fact, most of the time evil or bad comes our way we try to search out why or by whom. The feeling of sorrow can push us to think certain way and behave another way. Dealing with sorrow is difficult especially when it escalate to heavily grieved. The feeling of sorrow can escalate and become a problem if we do not deal with it; it can break our spirit (Prv15:12). It can become like a mountain of sorrow piling up, and it will become a sickness like it happened to the Paul and the church at Phillipians with Epaphroditus (Phil2:25-27). There is a sorrow that leads us to repentance, but there is one that takes us to death and that is dangerous (2Cor.7:10). One of the characteristics of grief is that of LOWERED TOLERANCE LEVEL, and with that we find ourselves to offending others by the things we say. God has given us with the fruit of self control(Ga5:23), and we can refrain ourselves from saying things that can affect someone else; especially when we are feeling sorrowful. God is not in the business of adding sorrow to our lives (Prv10:22), unless is for repentance.
2 Corinthians 2:1-4 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
The church of Corinthians were having contentions with the Apostle Paul. They were having problems obeying his letter, and, so Paul along with the church were feeling heavy hearted. Now, Paul had all the rights to write a letter that would have turned their bellies inside out. With how Paul felt; the grief, and anger, he could have sent a letter that would pierce their souls. Instead, Paul determined within himself to be restrained from sharing a bit of sorrow and share a reconciling message with them. He understood that if he came shooting like a cowboy he could only make matters worst, so Paul wrote to this church sharing love and hope no matter how he felt. Like Paul, Jeremiah who while he was in his country with the poor and his people were taken captives because of the false prophets, shared a message of love and hope (Jer.29:11). It did not matter how hopeless or sorrow filled Jeremiah and the people felt, seeing his friends and family taken his message did not change. The circumstance does not change the message within us. It is easy to air out and let out everything in our hearts, but it is not always the best thing. Salomon tells us that if we release what our hearts tell us to say especially when we are hurting it will be cut out; that is the tongue (Pro10:31). He tells us that we need to remove sorrow from our hearts it is becomes an evil in our flesh (Ecc11:10).
We are children of light, because God is light (1Jhn1:5). In a world where darkness is growing and found everywhere, man can rest assured that a light can be found in the midst of darkness. Now, today man has figured out how to turn alter the color of light and shades from bright and shiny to dark and spooky. As a light it is up to us to decide what type of light we are going to turn out; if we are going to be dark and spooky or bright (Mt. 6:22-24). People are out looking for someone to light their way. They are looking for one whose light is bright not dark.
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Man has lost his way and therefore are walking a crooked path and unless some light guides them back to the correct path a pit so deep and dangerous awaits them. Now, in order for our light to shine correctly Paul tells us that we need to walk blameless and harmless. The difficult part of becoming a bright light is that we at one time were a dark light (Eph. 5:8), and so, darkness has always been a part of us. So, the exhortation for us is to wake up from sleep, or turn on the light within us and shine (Eph. 5:-1314). Now, the light itself tells us and others if we truly are walking in cleanliness of the soul. When we turn on the light and walk in it forgiveness of sins and the cleansing of our souls begins (1Jhn1:7). We can hide or limit as to where our light shines. We can decide to shine only when we go to church or are around our faith community, and not allow others to see the light in us (Mt. 5:14-16), but that is not the purpose for why the light exists in us. The light in us is to be displayed throughout and around everyone and with simple gestures and acts of kindness.
When you follow God’s instructions and his counsel you will not have loses that affect your life; He restores your wants. Yeah it seems like sometimes one is taking heavy loses, but it is not so, God holds on reserve our earthly possessions. The bible tells us that if we were to leave mother, father, children and all that we possess God will recompense us a hundred fold (Mt.19:29). Therefore, we should not worry when we embark to serving God. God supplies all our needs especially when doing his service. One of the fears that most people have when deciding if they should serve the Lord or become part of his family is “What will happen to my friends or family that at the moment refuse to serve God and what will they say?”, but God tells us that we should trust in him. The fact is that when one trusts God he will not come out in shame (Ro 10:11, Is. 54:4).
2 Kings 8:3-5
3 And it came to pass at the seven years’ end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land.4 And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.5 And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.
This woman’s son past away and she came to Elisha the prophet and resurrected him. She was about to be impacted by this famine that was come due to the sin Israel had committed. When sin becomes a part of our daily life God has no other choice but to send pestilence, or famine to straighten us out; the bible tells us that God chastise’ those he takes for children (He.12:6). This woman like each of us needed to learn to trust the Lord. She was called to leave this famine stricken land and move to a place she knew nothing of. She needed to learn to trust God with her family and with her possessions, two of the hardest things to trust God with. Proverbs 3 tells us that we need to trust God with all our hearts (prv. 3:5). She had already had an experience God with her family, but now it was time to learn to trust God with her possessions. Ruth learned to trust God through her ordeal with Haman and her people (Rth2:12). The psalmist though he had many enemies prowling on them, and though he was afraid he trusted in God (ps.7:1, 18:30).
While the way we think dictates our path it does not necessary mean that it is the correct way. In fact, today many people are engaging in some pretty crazy events that without giving any thought affect detrimentally others. The way man today is thinking has several main influences and one is movies and videos we watch. Another way our thoughts are being influenced comes from books and the things we read in social media. And, finally, the voices the enemy of our souls is bringing to our mind is altering the way we think. Just because the idea that comes to my head seems to be beneficial does not mean that it is correct. More and more people are reacting to ideas and thoughts that are affecting our society harmfully. But, God is calling man to abandon their thoughts and turn back from their wicked ways.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The essence of God’s thinking is a plan for restoration, healing and empowering man to live a victorious life (Jer. 29:11). Too often we find our selves pulling away from God’s plans because of the thoughts roaming our minds. Like Jonah, who was instructed by God to go to this land to speak the word of the Lord and without giving a thought to the plans God might have had for that land went the opposite way (jon1:3). God’s thoughts and plans are sure and will not be deterred by no one, so God stirred up the sea and prepared a big fish for Jonah (Jon1:4). Sometimes, God will stir up some storms in our lives, because his plans have to come to pass and me nor you will change that. Jonah knew that God was and is merciful and forgiving (Jon4:2), but it was knowledge without experience, so God gave him an experience. God prepared the worm and the branch. When the branch came up it provided shade to Jonah from the suns rays of which tormented Jonah; it was an agent of shield. God’s temporary plan works, but it is just a reflection of what is about to come. God’s plans is not based on our effort (Jon4:10); he tends to what he has planned. Now, God prepared a worm in Jonah 4:7 which injured the plant at the branch; this worm was an agent of distortion of which caused Jonah a total change of perspective with regards to God’s love and forgiveness (Is.1:18). The worm is known as a crimson scarlet which is translated as the worst sin man can commit. It dies on the branch after laying her eggs on the branch. It is a representation of Jesus and his death on the cross totally wiping away our sins (ps.22:6).
One of the most significant events that should happen in a Christian’s life is Communion; what we call the Last Supper. That moment when a piece of bread and a small cup of pure grape juice is served and we are asked to remember our Lords death for our sins, should be the highlight of that church service. It is a moment of solemnity, of meditation, and of reflection of what happened to him, but not of just what happened to him. When a prisoner is on death row he/she is given a last meal to give him/her comfort. With a full stomach we gain courage to go that extra mile, to do more cleaning, to accomplish those extra chores. Our brains function better when we have something in our stomachs. The last supper made a lasting effect on the disciples to the point that it became an established ceremony of the church.
35And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
36Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.
Now, Paul was on his way to Cilicia as a prisoner with other prisoners and guards on a ship when a Hurricane was loosed on them. The storm lasted for day and they did everything possible to keep the ship in tack with difficulties. On the last day, after not eaten anything for many days with all hope lost for survival Paul initiated the last supper. After they ate, everyone gain their energies back to the point that they were able to swim to shore and find safety. The effect of the last supper are courage, strength and hope. Paul became a practitioner of the last supper and exhorts the church to exercise it each time they gather even though the church was going through a turmoil (1Cor. 11:26). Jesus expressed this idea after he ate with his disciples when he said that he would rise on the third day (Mk14:28). It is important to note that each time there was a last supper something impacting would happen; In exodus 12:21 the passover, Elijah with one meal ran for forth days and nights 1Kgs 19:8, and Jesus’ disciples gained hope after the last supper.