DJ Gorena

Life as I see it

Month: September, 2013

Anger: How to Get Rid of It!

Have you noticed how it seems that there are so many angry people in today’s society? Everywhere you look it seems that people are upset about little stuff . . . and big stuff, too! I remember that I was driving down the highway and a guy decided to cut in front of me. My reaction to the dude was, “What an idiot! He could have made me crash into him or someone else!” Then, not but just a few moments later, another guy that was hauling some furniture in the back of his truck had a chair fly out of it and I almost hit the chair in the middle of the highway. So I sharply said, “What an idiot! I live in a world of idiots!” Without delay, my wife quickly looked at me and said, “And you’re the king of it!” Now I’m sure that you’re already laughing at the situation, but get this next statement that she said to me: “I’ve been waiting to use that for so long now!!”

At any rate, anger really is an issue in today’s society. But it’s not just society. It’s an issue with me as an individual. What I mean by this confession is that anger has been a real part of my life for so many years. Whether it was something that someone said or did to me that angered me or the feeling of loss or something stupid that I’ve said or done, anger has been there. It rests deep within my heart, and I know that it’s there. It’s not the easiest of things to admit to anyone. Think of your own status in life. Are you dealing with anger? Perhaps you’re angry about the direction America is heading toward. Or perhaps you’re angry with your wife/husband/children. What about the jerk that you have to call “Boss” or “Mr. So-so”? He comes into the office with such a high and mighty attitude toward you and everyone else and treats you like a doormat. Anger has set in and it is something that is seated in the heart of man.

So how do you handle it? What are you supposed to do to get passed the hurt, the loss, the stealing, the lying, or whatever else is causing anger to spring up in your heart and mind? How are we supposed to deal with what is deep-rooted in our hearts and minds? Well, here’s a list of things that I think we need to consider when it comes to dealing with anger. And this list is not exhaustive by any means. Moreover, as you well know if you read this blog, I will refer to the Scriptures for the answers to the questions posed.

  1. First, realize that not all anger is sinful or evil. For instance, God is angry with the wicked according to Psalm 7:11. He actually gets angry with His people at times. Consider that He was angry with King Solomon in 1 Kings 11:9 and He was angry with His people Israel in 2 Kings 17:18. Even Jesus Christ was angry at times as in Mark 3:5 when He was angered with the Pharisees. There is such a thing as “righteous” anger and because these verses deal specifically with God’s anger, we know and believe that His anger is always righteous because His very character is righteous in perfection and without limitation. Moreover, although He has righteous anger, He is also patient and shows loving-kindness to us as in Psalm 63:3 and 69:16. For this I am most grateful.
  2. Second, realize that we need to learn to be slow to get angry. A quick-tempered man does foolish things according to Proverbs 14:16-17, but a wise man is going to shun evil and fear the Lord. Additionally, a quick-tempered man is going to display folly while the wise man is going to be patient and have great understanding according to Proverbs 14:29. The best thing for us to do is to be quick to listen and slow to anger according to James 1:19-20. James tells us that a “man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
  3. Next, realize that love covers a multitude of sins. Love really overlooks a lot of bad stuff that goes on in people’s lives. Hatred caused by anger on the other hand only stirs up strife and dissension according to Proverbs 10:12. When a man is full of anger he’ll show his annoyance at once and it makes him out to be a fool; but a prudent man is going to overlook an insult according to Proverbs 17:9. If a man is wise instead of living by anger, he will show his wisdom in being patient and overlooking an offense according to Proverbs 19:11.
  4. Fourth, sharp and uncalled-for words are only going to stir up strife and dissension. Proverbs 15:1 teaches us that a gentle answer turns away wrath. Sharp words and angry words (even the tones that we use) will stir up anger not only in us but in those who are having to listen to us rage on and on.
  5. Finally, we need to learn to be self-controlled. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” When one is hot-tempered he not only stirs up strife and dissension, but he also commits so many other sins due to his uncontrolled anger according to Proverbs 29:22. In other words, uncontrolled anger leads to many other sins for which we will be held to account.

Ouch! I hate to admit it, but these five suggestions are hitting home to me. I see where I have failed in this area of not dealing with my anger properly. Or should I say where I have failed in this area of not really dealing with it at all! But the great news is that God is forgiving, reconciling and restoring. Read what He tells us in 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Isn’t that wonderful news? I can read all of these verses that change the hearts and minds of men so that anger will not be deep-rooted but will be plucked out and uprooted altogether. It doesn’t mean that I won’t ever get angry again, but at least I have a direction to go and a place to turn for relief from anger; not just my own anger, but even anger from others around me.

So what about you? How do you handle anger? What suggestions would you have to handle anger properly? Any stories that you’d like to share to help others?

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How to Handle Anxiety

Have you ever wondered how to handle anxiety? I mean truly handle it? As a pastor, I have had anxiety. If it’s not one thing it’s another. Perhaps someone has gotten upset about something that I said or preached and I’ve heard through the grapevine that they’re upset and want to talk to me about it. Of course, as you just read, I hear things like this through “the grapevine” instead of the person actually coming to me directly, but that’s a different post for a different time! Or there are times that finances at the church are short and seem to get shorter here and there. Or there is just plain old anxious thoughts about what the Lord is or is not doing in our midst as a pastor. Anxiety is a real problem.

I even have had church members in the last 29 years of ministry come to me with the problem of anxiety. They’re anxious about their children and their behavior or their finances or their marriages or their lost dog or cat or their . . . and the list can go on and on. It seems that anxiety is everywhere. Especially in today’s environment. People are really nervous about what’s going on in the world as a whole. The American President is thinking about attacking a sovereign nation who is in the midst of a civil war. Health care costs are rising at alarming rates while unemployment is at an all time high. Fuel costs have doubled since 2008 here in America and people are having to pinch every penny they can . . . that is, if they have one to pinch! People are worried about the price of their stocks going up and down so they’re buying gold and silver at some of the highest rates ever in modern history. Then people are just plain anxious about the stress they live under constantly. They’re not sure how to handle the problems they face from day-to-day and there seems to not be very much hope nowadays.

But the reality is that there is hope! Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:25-34:

25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 So why do you worry about clothing? COnsider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 35 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Wow! Three times Jesus says “do not worry . . . do not worry . . . do not worry.” Three times! So why do we keep worrying the way that we do? Why do I keep worrying the way that I do? Simply put, I’m not seeking His kingdom and His righteousness first. Rather, I’m seeking my own self-interests, self-preservation, self-whatever else is under the sun. And, yet, Jesus tells us that we don’t have to worry because if God takes care of even the least of things, then He certainly will take care of us. After all, we are the crowing work of His creation (cf. Genesis 1:26).

So how do you handle anxiety? Seek His Kingdom. In other words, seek Him directly, call out to Him and He will answer you. Secondly, seek His righteousness. In other words, seek to live according to His word: “do not worry . . . do not worry . . . do not worry.” It’s an amazing thing that happens when we start to apply what He tells us to do: we actually stop worrying about stuff!

Gloom, Despair & Agony on Me!

So I was sitting around one day thinking about all of the gloom, despair and agony that at times I feel about myself or about different circumstances in my life. I’m not even really sure why I suffer with such thoughts. When I start to think about it, God has been quite good to me and my family. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), His love for me is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3), His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), His goodness is satisfying (Psalm 65:4), and this is only the beginning! There are so many different ways that the Lord shows me in His Word that He loves, cares provides, encourages, emboldens and strengthens me.

But then those times of feeling down in the dumps. These feelings seem to creep up at the most inopportune time. I think some of you that follow my blog posts can relate to this. Everything seems to be going so well then all of a sudden the light in the room is so dim that we lose sight of what’s really important. Someone will say or do something that hurts you and you think that your whole world is caving in around you. Or something tragic in the world will be taking place and it takes its toll on you. Whatever the circumstance is, it seems to take your eyes off of Jesus Christ. I know that this is the case for me at times. And when I take my eyes off of Him, then gloom, despair and agony on me!

What do I do to fix it? Most Christians today will give the cliché answer: “Just pray more and read your Bible more!” That answer is all well and good but that is not what most people want to hear. At times I can’t stand when someone says something like that to me. However, it’s exactly what I need to hear! In fact, it’s exactly what you need to hear when you’re in the thick of it! We do need to pray more and read our Bible more, but not for the reason that most people tell us to do it. They think that if we pray more and read our Bible more then God will begin to bless us again. As long as we are “doing” our part then He will “bless us.” So this sort of mentality means this: if I do this, then I will get this. I’m not so sure that this is the attitude that God wants us to have. In fact, I don’t think that’s what He desire for us at all!

Then you have this idea: I have to read my Bible more and pray in order to be right. It’s like having April 15th every single day of the year! I have to do this or that in order to be happy or blessed. It is something that I have to do otherwise I will never be judged or zapped by God. There will be a penalty that I’ll receive because of not being obedient to every letter of the law. The problem with living like this is that we are imperfect human beings who are so tainted by sin that we just can’t keep every letter of the law. So we only have gloom, despair and agony on me. This is what this sort of mentality leads to. This is why Paul the apostle teaches us in Galatians that legalism is the number one killer in the Church today. Yet, with all of our understanding (or lack thereof), we tell people that they need to do this do that otherwise they are not living a Christian life.

Then there’s a third option to consider: I get to live for the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, even though I may feel like everything is gloom, despair and agony on me, I get to turn my eyes off of my circumstances, hurt words or feelings, and put them back on Jesus Christ. I get to do this not because of anything that I have done, but because of everything that He has done. Remember at the beginning of this post some of the things I listed that God affords me to have? He affords these things for you, too. As a matter of fact, He desire for us to turn to Him because in turning to Him–and this means depending on Him–He blesses us. And we get to turn to Him when we pray and read our Scriptures. When we do this knowing the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we realize that we get to do this, then there is true freedom. I don’t do this to be blessed because I’m already blessed in the Lord with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3-14). I don’t do this to get something from God because in Jesus Christ I am His joint-heir in all things (Galatians 3:26-29). I

Gloom, despair and agony on me . . . sure, there are days that I feel this way. But the truth of the matter is that in Jesus Christ I have everything. So in the words of the author of Hebrews:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Did you see it? We get to throw off everything that’s holding us back–even the sin that “so easily entangles us”–and we get to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ. And for what reason? Why would we do this when we’re feeling all gloomy and despairy and agony like? Because He endured far worse than we ever have or will. And this was His joy knowing that we can fix our eyes on Him and in so doing we “will not grow weary and lose heart.” It’s in the times that we take our eyes off of Him that we “grow weary and lose heart.”

So be encouraged today. Even though that somebody may have hurt you deeply or the world around you is falling apart at the seams, be encouraged to stay calm and fix your eyes on Jesus Christ. There you will discover perfect peace, a peace that passes all understanding.

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