Monday, November 28, 2005

Explosive Anger

Steve Tran of Westminster, California, had some roaches in his apartment. He decided that he would set off bug bombs to kill them. The directions on the can said that two would be plenty for his apartment, but he wanted to make sure he got rid of them all. He set off twenty-five of them. When the spray reached the pilot of the stove, it ignited, blasting his screen door across the street, breaking all of his windows, and setting his furniture on fire.

The blast did over $10,000 damage to his apartment building. Asked about the cockroaches, Tran reported, ''By Sunday, I saw them walking around." That story was reported in the Arizona Republic of April 25, 1995. I read it in Leadership Journal with this comment, "As Proverbs 29:11 says, ‘A fool gives full vent to his anger.’”

As we deal with people, we are going to become angry at times. That is true whether you are talking about a husband/wife relationship, parent/child relationship, employee/employer, employee/employee, or Christian/Christian. Jesus warned his disciples, “I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matt 5:22). Paul added later, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Eph 4:26).

The commands here mean that first, we are to have control of our anger instead of letting our anger control us. Watch your mouth, check your attitude, sit on your hands, and do not sin.
Moreover, make sure that the day of conflict is also the day of reconciliation. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Go to your wife, your children, your boss, your co¬worker, or your brother in Christ. Forgive where there needs to be forgiveness. Confront in love where confrontation is necessary, but do not put it off. Here's a good rule. If the damage done by the other individual is bad enough to make you angry, it is bad enough to deal with immediately. If it is not bad enough to deal with now, it is not bad enough to make you angry so get over it and go on in love. That’s Life at Work.

Friday, November 18, 2005

So Far From Want

Edward Winslow was actually at the first Thanksgiving meal with somewhere around fifty other colonists and ninety Wampanoag Indians. His account is the only extant firsthand account of that meal:

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

A great harvest, more fowl than before, plenty of venison from Massasoit’s men - enough to prompt Winslow to write in his journal that he apparently was sending to England that “we are so far from want that we often wish your partakers of our plenty.”

We are so far from want. God has chosen us to be holy and blameless; he predestined us to be adopted as his children; we have redemption through the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins; we are lavished with the riches of God’s grace; we have the Holy Spirit within us who guarantees our inheritance (Eph 1:3-9). “For this reason… I have not stopped giving thanks.”

Who have you thought about recently to whom you should say in regard to the spiritual blessings you have, “I often wish that you were a partaker of our plenty”? Maybe since Thanksgiving is an official holiday and you’ve got some time, the time is here to write that letter or make that visit.

Give thanks, and then give what you have to others.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Colic and Christ: Are You Desperate Yet?

Our daughter Brittney was incredibly colicky as an infant. I remember the seemingly endless crying. She could not be satisfied with diaper changes, feeding, or even the rocking chair. We spent countless hours in the rocking chair, but it wasn’t for her. It didn’t help or hurt her. It helped us. We felt so out of control. We needed to feel like we could do something, and we needed to get close to her so the frustration would subside.

I try not to think about those days too much. Brittney is so healthy, and she is so not a crier. I was reading a New York Times article about colic. The NYT interviewed Felina Rakowski-Gallagher a mother of two, on remedies for colic. She operates a business that educates women about baby care. She’s heard plenty of remedy rumors and knows how badly parents want help to get rid of colic. What she said became the NYT quote of the day for November 11: "You would boil pork rinds if someone told you it worked."

When people really become aware of their sin, they really want to know what to do about it. The Jews in Jerusalem at Pentecost, the Ethiopian Eunuch, and the jailer in Philippi are just a few of the people who, since the resurrection of Jesus, have sought the remedy for sins. They were ready to try any remedy, but only one is necessary; and only one works. The remedy is Jesus. Are you desperate enough yet? That’s Life at Work.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This Won't Disappoint You

Morey Amsterdam said about his musical pursuits, “I studied cello for five years in Italy, ten years in Germany, and fifteen years in vain.” I never heard Morey Amsterdam play the cello, so I don’t know first hand about the vanity of his lessons. I do know how disappointing it is to commit a great deal of time and energy to some enterprise, only to end in failure. Maybe you do, too. Maybe your entrepreneurial spirit is grieved because of your failed business adventure. Perhaps you devoted several years to a marriage that ended in divorce. Did you parent a child for eighteen years to end up with an adult son or daughter who wouldn’t even drive across town to visit you?

Here’s a promise from God that ought to motivate you to give yourself to something that won’t end in disappointment:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:1-5; New International Version).

Put your faith in God. Endure whatever you have to endure in this life to keep it. Your hope for eternal life will be realized. You will not be disappointed. That’s Life at Work!