A Righteous Anger

As my eyes welled up with tears of rage, I cried, “I’m tired of trying so hard to be the Proverbs 31 woman at the expense of losing the dating game. I’m not even playing the 21st Century Edition! I’m playing the Bible Edition (and I may be the only one at the table).  If men are really looking for Ms Proverbs 31, why are they forever snared in the trap of Ms Proverbs 5? Seriously! Are women being taught to behave one way while men  are being taught to pursue the opposite?”

Righteous Anger – an oxymoron?

You may be thinking, “I thought it was a sin to show anger! I mean, after all, doesn’t Ephesians 4:26 say ‘don’t let the sun go down on your anger’?” Yes it does, but the first part of the verse states, “Be angry and do not sin.”  The apostle Paul recognizes that we will be angry. He is cautioning us to not sin as we respond to our anger. If you need further convincing from the scripture that anger is an acceptable emotion, let me remind you of the actions of Jesus in the temple:

“Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭11:15-18‬ ‭NASB‬‬

http://bible.com/100/mrk.11.15-18.nasb

Not only was Jesus angry, but he took dramatic action! Now I’m not a theologian, but my understanding of this practice of buying and selling of the sacrifice livestock, was that the merchants were weighing down the scales to make profit off of what was supposed to be sacrificial giving to God Almighty. That is why Jesus accused the merchants of turning the temple – the physical house of God – into a den of robbers. This is a vivid example of a righteous anger. 

The other lesson that we can glean from Christ’s action, is that even an appropriate response to a righteous anger  will offend others. Jesus’ actions at the temple drive the religious leaders to plot his death. Jesus died less than a week after this action. There is a cost to standing up for righteousness. 

Righteous or Narcissistic

So how do we know if our anger is a righteous anger, or a deep hurt to a crushed dream or seeming unfairness?  Let me answer by paraphrasing conclusions I made after reading Anger, by Gary Chapman. Ask yourself where does this anger originate? If it’s based off of an injustice or can cause you to make a positive difference in your sphere of influence, chances are it’s righteous. If the anger is eating away at you because of how it personally offended you, or disrupted your plans, chances are it is not righteous. It isn’t wrong to have the feeling of anger, but it is important to recognize the trigger and how to respond appropriately to the personal offense so that you can communicate more effectively to the offender in the future. 

My Personal Call to Action

When I finally gave my counselor a chance to speak, she replied with, “Well, write a book! You’re clearly passionate about it; write about it!”

So here I am, never married Renee, sharing how I survive as Ms Proverbs 31 in this 21st century world. I cannot promise that if you heed my advice, you’ll be walking down the aisle within a year. But maybe you’ll receive something better. Maybe you will experience freedom from the chains we share in common with Hosea’s wife, and instead sing with the Shulamite woman, “I am my Beloved’s and he is mine!”

If anger eats at you, and is effecting your personal relationships, I urge you to read Anger, by Gary Chapman. Don’t base your opinion of him based on my application of the book. 

56,405,766+

Every number has a name. Every name has a story. Every story matters to God

Every number has a name.
56,405,766+ names belong to children that were only given names by their Creator – God. Their brief lives ended shortly after they were conceived. Only 2 people know the reason behind this decision: God, and 56,405,766+ names belonging to their mothers.

Every name has a story.
56,405,766+ women have a story. Now before a Pro Choice hater corrects me with stats on woman who have multiple abortions, I’m pretty sure that there have been 56,405,766+ women who faced unplanned pregnancies. Each of them have a story. All have a story behind a relationship that resulted in said pregnancy. Many have a story behind why they chose death for their child (this is the blunt reality), Many chose life. For those who chose life, there are stories of women who chose adoption for their unexpected child, and many who chose to raise their unexpected child. One thing that I know to be true. Unless you’re one of those 56,405,766+ women, you have no idea what races through their head when they face this unexpected news. You can say “well I would have…”. The fact remains, it was not a choice that you had to make. Such phrases may proclaim personal conviction (one that I also hold to), but please be careful…

Every name, and every story matters to God.
On this anniversary of the decision for Roe Vs Wade, my heart breaks for the 56,405,766+ abortions performed in this country since the court’s decision 42 years ago. But more than that, my heart breaks for the 56,405,766+ women whose stories are demonized by the criticism of opinionated, bigoted people who would’ve done things differently. There is a deeper story going on in the hearts of these 56,405,766+ women, stories that they may not even know yet. Stories that can only be written by God Himself. I just pray that these stories have an eternally happy ending, because these women matter to God. All 56,405,766+.

Psalm 100 – Thankful

Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (Psalms 100:3 NASB)
I’m thankful that the one who created us knows how to take care of us. He knows when it’s time to slow down and rest. He is not bound by our agendas. If he thinks we need a time out, it’s going to happen. I’m also thankful that he is not bound by our stigmas. If we swallow our pride to admit we need help, he’ll provide the grace for our humility.

Since When has Anything Watered Down Ever Been Good?

I recently read a man’s article on his criticism of the church, blaming the people inside the four walls for the exodus of attendees. I will agree that there is no perfectly imperfect church. That’s probably because we’re made up of humans, and humans make mistakes all the time. So before I rip apart this young man’s blog, let me pause to really process my response as kindly as possible…
Though we are living in a seemingly post-Christian country, Christianity is still the fastest growing world religion. So some people of God are still obeying him in living out the great commission, leaving their comfy four walls to meet people where they are. So, no I don’t think my “side of the exodus sucks.” Should more Christ followers be doing this? Of course they should! Frankly, if they’re not doing so, they are disobeying God just like any other sinner.
The writer was spot on and his criticism of choosing religion over relationship. Christianity is all about relationship with the only living God. When we get distracted by our own Sunday morning preferences and personal experiences, we’re choosing Christianity the religion, but we’re missing the icing on the cake that the Holy Spirit is trying to feed us!
Christians are flawed too. The only difference is that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (because there is only one absolute truth), so that we can be more like Jesus and less like the world. To be a Christian is to be sanctified – set apart. This means that as we’re growing in our walk we are shedding off the old sinful nature, and being renewed in Christ. So Christians really should look different. So what does this transformation look like? Paul described it this way:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭19-25‬ NIV)

Sin is still sin. What was sin 2000 years ago is still sin today. There’s a penalty for that sin. It’s called death. Sometimes it leads to an unexpected physical death, but it always leads to spiritual death. The law of the land (and its amendments) will never change God’s law. Romans 3:10 says “there is none righteous, no not one.” That is why God the Son came to earth as a baby, living in the sin sick world that we live in today. He would empathize with us and later sacrifice his life for us. Luckily the story doesn’t end there. He rose again defeating death so that when we figuratively died to our sinful self, we could be alive in Christ. I’m so thankful for that part!
I’m so thankful for his grace that saved me! I’m so thankful that when I screw up, he’s right there waiting to pull me out of the pit! But do I keep sinning willfully just because I have grace? Absolutely not! That’s why the Holy Spirit gave me self-control with that fruit of the Spirit.
You see people focus so much on love while they ignore the self control part. Now I’m not going to condemn nonbelievers to hell; that is not love. But since the article was addressing people leaving the church, it is safe to say these people know that the lifestyle their choosing (whatever it is) is in contrast to scripture. If the believer is choosing the world over God, it is not judgmental to confront a brother or sister in Christ about known sin. Jesus expose the sin of the Pharisees and the non-religious. He just did it with the love of a parent who wants the best for their child.
Now, as a church we need to go to the hurting around us. We need to share the message with love, but we should never water it down to the point that it blends in with the rest of the world. After all, we’re called to be set apart.

In The Beginning…

“In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created” (Jn 1:1-3).
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). 

In the beginning, God.

God was the Word. God was the Creator. His word, truth; His creation, good.

As I begin a new year, my prayer is that I will trust His Word and His creative ways more than in 2014. After all, since He was before all things, he must know more than me.

Let the King be Enthralled By Your Beauty

Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. (‭Psalm‬ ‭45‬:‭10-11‬ NIV)

For much longer than I care to admit, I have struggled with my appearance. Proverbs 31:30 can only encourage an insecure girl for so long. We exhaust ourselves with all the self talk that we’re beautiful on the inside, and character is what really matters. But then you get another wedding invitation from another pretty friend (inside and out), and you’re left alone wondering, “is beauty really vain?” After all, if I’m such a wonderful person, why don’t I have it – whatever “it” is?
Psalms 43:11 reminds us that The King of kings and Lord of lords is ENTHRALLED by our beauty! We don’t have to try to fit into some cookie cutter mold that the world thinks we should resemble in order to put a ring on it. We just need to be who He created us to be, and honor him with the bodies and gifts He gave us.
I wish I could say that I am cured of this toxic thinking, but I have to remind myself of this passage everyday. If I want to overcome this way of thinking, I need to be intentional about retraining my brain to think and to see me the way that the King sees me. I need to forget the lies I heard in the past. The King is enthralled by my beauty. And his opinion is the only one that matters!