Control Your Anger

Proverbs 14:29

“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” (KJV).
“Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes.” (NLT).

The Emotion of Anger

The Book of Proverbs gives us a smorgasbord of wisdom that applies to every area of our life: It gives us wisdom in our relationships, family life, dealing with finances and walking in righteousness. But it also gives us a window into our heart, and helps us to consider our emotions as well. In the above Proverb, Solomon addresses the emotion of anger.

Anger is not necessarily a bad thing. It is an emotion, and when we are treated unfairly, we are going to get angry. However, what we do with that emotion is what makes it good or evil. If we can control our anger, it proves that we have great understanding. But those with a hasty temper will make mistakes. I’ve seen people get angry and then do things that they later regretted, impulsive and often embarrassing mistakes. When we control our anger, we can avoid some of those blunders.

How do we control our anger?

So what is the antidote to a person who struggles with anger? It’s easy to say, “Stop being so angry!” But it’s another thing entirely to try to control those emotions in your own life. What is the answer then? I believe it’s found in a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to a church in Galatia. He starts out by identifying the problem: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21). He then gives the solution: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23).

How do we get more of this fruit of the Spirit in our lives? Spend time with Jesus in prayer! Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

Lord, help us to abide in the secret place of prayer, abiding in Jesus the Vine, so we can bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Amen!


Worthy to Receive Honor

Proverbs 14:28 

In the multitude of people is the king’s honor: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
A growing population is a king’s glory; a prince without subjects has nothing. NLT

Which King?

When I read this verse I wondered if the reference was to earthly kings or to our Heavenly King? Here in the UK we still have a royal family so it is easy for me to consider what constitutes a king’s (or in our case queen’s) honor or glory. Queen Elizabeth II has been a worthy monarch. Although her powers are restricted to constitutional and representational matters, she is generally loved and admired by a multitude of people.

This proverb links population to honor and glory. The UK population has certainly grown during the Queen’s sixty-year reign, mainly due to immigration, much of which has taken place in the last few years. But does the growing population bring the Queen honor and glory? No. The fact that the Queen is so highly regarded in the UK and around the world is because of the way that she has fulfilled her duties, and continues to do so despite being eighty-six years old. Will Prince Charles be similarly loved and respected when/if he is crowned as King? That seems unlikely. While Prince Charles is first in line to the throne, he is not as well received by his ‘subjects’ as his mother. Queen Elizabeth will be a hard act to follow.

Another King

One of the UK’s most rousing and patriotic songs is ‘I Vow to Thee My Country.’ The words begin with loyalty to the nation, but end with a poetic description of heaven, and a King above all other kings, a King who seeks a growing population, a multitude of people who choose to bow before Him. A King who stands at the door of every human heart and knocks, waiting quietly for an answer.

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar, the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
 
And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.

Listen: Katherine Jenkins sings ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’


Life from Death

Proverbs 14:27

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”

Have you been made aware of the fact that you were born dead?

Allow me to show you some evidence:

1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Ephesians 2:1-3, ESV

You see, our sin drags us down toward death (see James 1). In effect, we live in death. Death ensnares us and tries to keep us there.

And while 1 John tells us there is no fear in love (chapter 4, verse 19), if we are under the wrath of God, we have reason to fear. We are still under judgment.

Good Fear

The plus side to this fear is that it can push us toward God. When we look to God, something truly amazing happens:

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins …
Colossians 2:13, NIV

Following God is the only thing that can free us from death, and only by the blood of Christ shed on the Cross. Only God can give life to our dead souls.

Turn away from your sin. Turn to God. It is all that can save us.

Gracious God, thank You for making a way for us to live. Thank You for rescuing us from death, and especially for giving us You. We believe Jesus died to save us, that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We believe Jesus is the only Way.


Prayers for Chattanooga

All of us here at Proverbial Thought would like to request your prayers for Chattanooga, TN, in the wake of a terrible tragedy which involved the killing of four Marines at a Naval Reserve training center.

Dear friends, this is just the beginning of what America is going to face, especially when we refuse to acknowledge who our enemy is. Those who are behind attacks like the one today in Chattanooga are not atheist, or Christian, or Jewish, or politically motivated; they are motivated by the desire to convert the world to Islam.

We may differ on how to combat the enemy we face, but those of us who believe God’s Word know that the answer to peace can be found in the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

DSC_1496

A view of downtown Chattanooga.

Chattanooga is the hometown of several of our contributors: Katie Baker, Jason Sneed, Grady Davidson, and myself (Anthony Baker). Some of us know people affected by today’s horrible murders.

Folks, this is a sad day, but it should be a wake-up call – in more ways than one.

May God give our leaders Wisdom, and may they use it.

Anthony Baker

The sign in front of Riverside Baptist, where Anthony Baker is pastor.

The sign in front of Riverside Baptist, where Anthony Baker is pastor.


Delivering or Deceiving?

Proverbs 14:25

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.”

Oh, So Sweet

There is a terrible crime that has arisen within the Church. It first reared its evil head, oh, about 2000 years ago.

You see there have always been people who have twisted the message of the Cross to serve their own desires, whether that be for money, fame, or truly wicked schemes.

Paul once wrote, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:7b, NIV)

Perhaps you have seen this today? If you are not sure, here are some examples of perverted gospels that can be found within organizations that call themselves churches:

No Sweet-Talk?

While some of these things are based on some truth, none of them are necessarily true.

Just before the reference above, Paul said “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all.” (Galatians 1:6-7a, NIV)

The truth is that the Gospel of Christ – while having some pretty sweet promises of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness, and everlasting life – is a message that convicts us of our sin and leads to repentance. It tells us that there is only One True God, and we can not get to God on our own, so He came for us. It tells us that the life of a believer will be difficult (John 16:33). It tells us God provides what we need (Matthew 6).

A deceitful witness will tell you what you want to hear or make you believe what he wants you to hear, and it will only end badly for both of you.

A true witness will tell you how much you need a Savior, how much You need a God full of love, mercy, and grace.

Merciful Father, thank You for the truth that is Your Son. Help us to believe His gospel and be a faithful witness to the world for the Gospel. Help us not to be deceived nor to deceive; rather move through us to save those who are deceived!


Don’t Hate ‘Em, Join ‘Em

Proverbs 14:24

“The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.”

 Class Warfare

One of the greatest tools of the powerful is to prey on the jealous tendencies of men and women. The ones seeking votes pit the rich against the (perceived) poor and create something called class warfare. In order to manipulate votes they try to make the poor think that their lives will improve if the rich are punished for being wealthy, or “make ’em pay!

In the last national election I heard things like, “Rich people don’t need all that money,” and “We need to tax the wealthy in order to provide for the poor.” I even heard a teenager essentially say of Mitt Romney, “He’s nothin’ but a rich (anal orifice) that wants to take away our food stamps!

Don’t Blame the Rich

This proverb doesn’t condemn the rich, however; it praises them. Actually, it praises the wise who become wealthy by saying that their riches are tangible evidence of their wisdom.

Many times the poor are tempted to come up with all kinds of reasons to hate people with more money. They accuse them of all kinds of things, from unjustly inheriting fortunes to steeling from elderly. The jealous and envious run around condemning the rich, while hypocritically wishing they were sailing on the same yacht.

What the “fools” of this proverb fail to understand is that the wise are wealthy because of wise choices. The poor, on the other hand, are poor because of foolish choices.

Choices and Consequences

It has been addressed before, but choices lead to consequences. When we make poor choices regarding money we end up poorer. When we make wise choices we are better off in the end.

For instance, most millionaires in America became wealthy as the result of long, hard work and taking calculated risks. They rarely drive the newest cars, wear the most fancy watches, or live in the biggest houses. Instead of sports cars, according to a book called The Millionaire Next Door, the most common vehicle driven by a millionaire was a used Ford truck. And instead of flashing a Rolex, most wear watches that cost lest than $200.

But as for the “foolish,” well, that’s a totally different story. Instead of working hard, they try hard not to work. Instead of investing in the future, they waste multiple thousands on tobacco, partying, tattoos, lottery tickets, check advances, booze, big screen TV’s, bass boats, jewelry, cell phones, and even wheels that cost more than the cars they drive.

So, the next time you find yourself hating those crowned with riches, take a look at your own investment portfolio. Instead of hating the wise, why not learn from them?


Employment Issues

Proverbs 14:23

In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.

No Work, No Pay

In February 1980 I lost my job. I had been married for just under a year, and my wife was pregnant with our first child. Although my wife was still working, she had part-time work only, and we could not survive without my income.

My first visit to the unemployment benefit office was educational, and I was surprised at the number of people claiming benefits who appeared to have no desire to find employment. Being unemployed was not an option for me, but it took seven weeks of filling out forms and knocking on doors before I managed to find a job as the UK was in recession at this time. Sitting down and talking about finding employment would not have worked. I needed to take action if we were to be able to pay our bills. I needed work.

Low Pay

My new job paid less than half of what I had been earning a few months earlier when I was still serving at sea. I came ashore six months after our wedding because I did not want to be separated from my wife for two-thirds of the year. My new job was somewhat different. I exchanged my navigating officer’s uniform for overalls, and my ship for a van. My days were spent driving around the county delivering motor parts to garages.

Despite the low pay I enjoyed my new job. Instead of the freedom of the high seas, I had the freedom of the countryside. Instead of having a salary transferred directly into my bank account at the end of each month, I received my wages in cash at the end of each week.

Job Satisfaction

photo-9The fact that work is about more than wages is most evident in the face of one of the assistants at our local supermarket. He regularly mans the self-service tills. Customers use the self-service tills because they are supposed to be quicker. Inevitably they are not and there are often problems. When problems occur the assistant manning the tills is frequently on the receiving end of significant abuse. This particular assistant smiles his way through the day, despite the abuse. He told me he enjoys his work. It is a joy to watch him in action…a man who is satisfied with his job, because in all labor there is profit, and profit is more than hard cash.


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