Saturday, June 27, 2009

The wrath of man

What is the wrath of man? It's easy to understand the wrath of God. If we're disobedient and go against God's will and direction we can experience his wrath. But what about the wrath of man? Basically it can be the same way... if we go against what another man directs us to do and we disobey we might experience the wrath of that man. There's a problem however with the wrath of man. That is that man does not reproduce God's righteousness when he dishes out his wrath. God is all powerful and creator of all things. The world and everything in it are His to do with as he pleases. As for man, it's on loan to us. Whatever has been given to us is temporary. I know of no one that took all of his possessions with him when he died and if by chance they buried it all with him, you could go dig it up and it would still be there today. Nothing goes with us after we die. Yet we work so hard to gain possessions while we're here.

Relationships instead of possessions are what's important to God. To build relationships we must be sensitive and good listeners. The bible says to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. (James1:19) It's hard to listen if we're doing the talking. Be slow to speak and instead be quick to listen. This way we'll keep our anger in check and we'll think twice before we unleash our frustration, angered speech, or actions onto someone else... or as the bible calls it... our wrath.

In James 1:20 it says... the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
It's pretty clear isn't it? When we unleash our wrath on another person, the righteousness of God is not produced. Our anger never represents a loving God, instead it shows our true thoughts and feelings. Just remember, when we do lose our temper and unleash our wrath, be quick to know that's it's wrong and be quick to apologize for the error of our ways. Usually people are quick to forgive if they know we truly regret our actions and ask for forgiveness. We're all going to get upset with other people, it's our natural tendency within us, but through God's power and strength within us we won't unleash our wrath but instead calmly listen and redirect. Only God's people can endure trials and still remain calm during the storm. It's not from us, but from God. When someone wrongs us in some way our reaction is to retaliate, that is unless the Spirit of God is at work in you. With God it may be to forgive and restore the relationship instead of fighting.

Remember, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Growing Good Corn

Author unknown for this story:
A co-worker gave me this story today at work and I thought I'd share it with you.

The story goes...
There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his best seed with his neighbors.

"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.

"Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know?" The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to filed. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."

This farmer was very much aware of the connectedness of life. He can't improve his corn unless he also helps to improve the quality of his neighbors corn.

Proverbs 11:24-25
(24) Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
(25) The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

Just as this farmer shared his good corn with his neighbors, we too need to share with our neighbors. When I read this proverb and think about this story we can apply this lesson in many areas of our lives. To live in peace, maybe we need to help our neighbors to live in peace. To live well, maybe we need to help others to live well. It is possible to give things away and become richer and it's also possible to hold onto to tightly and lose everything. As the proverb says... those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. In other words, if we want to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.

Think about what you can do to help your neighbors and don't be surprised if you receive refreshing blessings in return. By watering others, we water ourselves. So today... start watering!