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Christian testimonies can have a very powerful effect upon those in desperate need of encouragement.  Are you a Christian who has received forgiveness, miracles or deliverance through Jesus and what He did on the cross. Perhaps you can tell about your conversion experience or how he brought you through difficult times.   You may have been delivered from some tragedy by the power of God or experienced a wonderful miracle.

 

Here you can share what God has done for you.

 

And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony....Revelation 12:11

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Has Anger Got the Best of You?

By Florence MacKenzie

 

Anger tends to get bad press.  It’s generally perceived as being destructive to those involved and often this is the case.  After all, it’s only one letter short of danger.  However, anger is not always something to avoid.  There are times when our anger is justifiable. For example, when we are indignant at those things that grieve the heart of God – where evil, malice, cruelty, injustice, and exploitation seem to know no bounds, we have every right to be angry.

 

Other times; however, the reason for our anger might be less honorable and all-too- easily we find ourselves coming under the control of this powerful emotion.  Perhaps we get angry when things don’t turn out the way we would like.  When we say, She makes me mad! we give power to that person to influence how we feel when, really, no one can make us mad unless we let them.  Other people may often be the source of our anger, but we have control over our angry feelings.  One way we can do so is by responding positively to two biblical instructions regarding anger.

 

The first of these is In your anger do not sin… (Ps. 4:4; Eph. 4:26).  This indicates it’s possible to be angry without sinning.  Take Jesus, for example.  On one occasion His anger was directed against temptation when He responded to a comment by one of His disciples that He wouldn’t be killed (Matt. 16:23); He was angry at those with hard hearts (Mk. 3:5); and His anger was focused on people who misused the place of worship (Jn. 2:16-17).  In all these instances, Jesus’ anger was controlled and appropriately directed.

 

Sadly, this can’t always be said of us.  Our anger isn’t always for the right reasons and, even when it is, we’re in danger of dealing with it in the wrong way.  Perhaps we harbor anger by clamming up, where we internalize or suppress our angry feelings.  A major downside of this is that the anger might surface at a later date and be redirected onto someone who has nothing to do with its initial cause.  We can also demonstrate anger by blowing up, where we vent or explode.  According to Proverbs 29:11, this is how a foolish person behaves, but a wise person exercises self-control and keeps anger in check.  This is such an encouraging statement because it suggests that an angry response to an unpleasant or provocative situation is not inevitable.  The decision to respond in anger or with self-control lies with us – it’s our choice.

 

The second biblical instruction is Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry (Eph. 4:26).  Sometimes, we can get so mad at someone that we go to bed angry.  The result might be we don’t sleep well and wake up feeling totally out of sorts.  But what if we made a conscious decision to deal with the source of our anger before we settled down for the night?  This might involve going to the person we’ve been angry with and admitting we were wrong.  Other times, it will mean telling ourselves we overreacted and deliberately letting go of our angry feelings.  Maybe the appropriate course of action will be to offer a heartfelt prayer of repentance.  Whatever way we choose to deal with our anger, let’s do so before the day is over.

 

When anger threatens to engulf you, “take five:”

 

One - take deep breaths to relieve the tension associated with your angry feelings.

 

Two - take a walk in the fresh air to clear your mind and relax your body.

 

Three - take time to identify the reasons why you are angry and try to discover a solution.

Four - take the opportunity to confide in a trusted friend.  She may suggest a way forward that you hadn’t thought of.

 

Five - take suggestions on managing your anger from books and articles that reflect biblical principles.

 

Many things are outside our control, but keeping our anger in check is not one of them. Isn’t it good to know that anger doesn’t need to get the best of us?

 

 

 

 

Be Still and Know That I am God

From The Christian Working Woman

 

Be still and know that I am God.” What does it mean?  How do we do it? At first, it seems like a very simple, straight-forward message:  Be still and know that I am God.  But I have discovered that it is not that easy to implement in my life, and I have a feeling many of you share that experience.

 

First, it’s not easy to simply be still, is it?  We live in a world that seems to be in perpetual motion.  All of us have more to do than we ever get done.  It is not in vogue to “be still.”  Successful people aren’t viewed as people who are “still.”  Rather, they are people who are active.  We have this idea that if we’re not doing something, we’re not being productive.

 

Those of us who are parents remember how often we would have given anything if our children would just be still! All that energy—constant movement!  And when they’re moving all the time, you can’t communicate to them, they don’t listen and you find it difficult to concentrate.  How many times have you taken your child’s shoulders, looked them in the eyes, and said, “Julie, please, be still!”  You feel as though you cannot get anywhere with them until they simply stop.

God, our Father, says the same thing to us. “Be still.  Stop!”  Stop walking, stop running, stop moving—just stop!  The first hurdle we face is to get our bodies to be still, to literally stop moving, and for most of us that does not come easy.

 

I have learned that I must plan this “still” time in my day. It has to be designated, and I must give it the highest priority.  For me, it has to be early in my day, before my mind is cluttered and my concentration is divided.  And it’s very helpful to me to have a certain place which I think of as my “still” place.  That one spot in my home that is more or less reserved for my time with God.

But I can get up early and get my body into that “still” place, and discover that I’m still not “still.” Now the battle really begins for me.  My mind starts going a mile a minute.  If I allow myself to think about the schedule for the day, there is no stillness in that time.  It’s easy to lose my concentration on the purpose of this “still” time, and even though the body is in the right place, I’m not still before God.

 

In order to be still before God, I have to have that inner focus which screens out all external thoughts and concerns, which centers on God and God alone, which brings me into that place where he is for that time my whole universe and no extraneous or conflicting information is allowed to interfere.

 

I have sat for an hour or more in bodily stillness, but without inner stillness before God. How can I get to the place where I can be truly still before God, so that I am completely swallowed up with his presence and his reality, and nothing interferes with it?  Frankly, I don’t think it’s easy for any of us, and I don’t think it ever will be.  Our three enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil, are all out to break up this quiet inner stillness, and a spiritual war wages when we sit down to be still before God.

 

Here are some things that I have found helpful. First, I begin by praying for inner concentration, by claiming the blood of Christ as protection, by putting on the helmet of Salvation to keep my mind from wandering.

 

Singing can help me “be still” before the Lord, so at times I sing a hymn or chorus which focuses on God. Our pastor once suggested that you keep a pad and pencil nearby, and when your mind starts to wander, thinking of what you have to do, etc., just quickly make a note to remind yourself later on, and then you can go back to your meditation time.  And then, simply be prepared to stay with it no matter how much your mind wanders.  Each time it starts, quickly re-focus and start again if necessary.

 

I find it takes time. I just can’t dash in and out, like I do at the super market, get what I need and run.  I cannot be still at the drop of a hat.  Sometimes it takes what seems forever for me to be still on the inside.  But until we are still, we really cannot make any further progress toward knowing that he is God.  We cannot have a right perspective without that stillness in our day.

 

The next challenge I find in these eight simple words is to know that he is God.  Knowing something means we understand clearly and with certainty.  It means we have it fixed in our mind or memory.  Knowing implies understanding.  Knowing requires training and education.

 

Knowing doesn’t just happen. It is a result of a process, and it requires involvement on my part.  Knowing develops confidence and trust.  Knowing dispels doubt and fear.

 

“Be still and know”—We need a rock solid confidence in our knowledge, and that comes as a process, a way of life. Let me ask you, do you know that he is God more today than yesterday?  Do you trust God more this year than you did this time last year?  Can you see a growth pattern in your knowledge and trust of God?  If we are in the process of knowing God, if we’ve enrolled in the school of the knowledge of God, then we must see a growth pattern in our confidence and our trust in who he is.

 

“Be still and know that I am...”

 

We read in Exodus 3 that Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me,  ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

 

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites:  I AM has sent me.”

 

That’s a rather strange answer when you think about it. But you see, “I AM” is God’s name, and when we understand that name, we are making great progress toward knowing God.  What does God’s name “I AM” mean to you?  Here’s how I think of it.  Fill in the missing word.  “I need ____________.”  Whatever word you can put in that missing blank, Jesus can fill it in, because he is I AM.  He is all in all.  He is our total need-satisfier.  Just listen to a few of the I AM’s we find in Scripture:

 

I AM thy shield.

 

I AM the Lord that heals thee.

 

I AM with thee.

 

I AM gracious.

 

I AM he that comforts you.

 

I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.

 

I AM meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.

 

I AM the bread of life.

 

I AM the light of the world.

 

I AM the door of the sheep.

 

I AM the good shepherd.

 

I AM the resurrection and the life.

 

I AM alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.

 

Jesus asked his disciples: “Whom do men say that I AM?” But then he personalized it and pointedly asked Peter, “Whom say ye that I AM?”

 

That’s our question today. What is our understanding of I AM?  Do we allow God to be to us all that he is willing and capable of being?  Is your missing blank today “I need a husband?”  Isaiah 54 says “For your Maker is your husband.” Is your missing blank “I need money?”  Philippians 4 says “My God will meet all your needs.” I guarantee you, whatever you put in that missing blank, our loving Father meets that need, because he is I AM. “Be still, and know that I AM…”

 

“Be still, and know that I am GOD.”

 

Oh, how easy it is for us to forget who is God. This world system tells us that each of us as individuals is god.  It will encourage you to worship yourself and make yourself the most important person in the world.  The business community believes our careers should be our god.  Sometimes we allow another person to become a god in our lives.  Often our dreams and desires become our gods.  Many of us, including Christians, are worshipping false gods today.

 

We need a constant reminder of who is GOD. We need to frequently check the thrones of our hearts and see what has climbed up there to take first place. “Be still, and know that I am God.”

 

Those eight words carry a strong message. They really hold the secret for us as Christians—the secret for a victorious life, the secret for keeping our priorities in line with God’s priorities, the secret for a balanced life, the secret for a life of peace and contentment, the secret for a life that blesses others and brings glory to God.  Can we—will we—”Be still, and know that I am God”?

 

If that is the desire of your heart, you might find it helpful to get a Bible study I’ve written entitled “A Guide on Getting to Know God.” It’s a suggested structure you can use to help you discipline yourself to be still on a regular basis and get to know God.  It is a method that has worked well for me in spending that quiet time each day to be still so that I can know that he is God.  If you find it difficult to do that, perhaps it’s because you’ve never found a structure that works well for you.  You can call us or go to our website to get further information on how you can obtain this workbook, A Guide on Getting to Know God.

 

But let me say once again that to be still for the purpose of knowing that God is God takes a lifetime, daily commitment to spend the time necessary. And not just finding the time in our schedule, but also disciplining our mind so that we spend that time truly focusing on God and who he is.

 

They tell us that the average Christian spends less than four minutes a day alone with God. I read about a minister who challenged his people to spend seven minutes each morning reading their Bible and praying.  I suppose seven minutes is better than four, but my friends you can’t really be still and know God on a steady diet of four to seven minutes a day.

 

In our instant society, where we stand in front of our microwave ovens and say “Hurry up!,” we somehow must readjust our thinking to understand that knowing God requires being still, and that requires time and commitment. But oh my, the return on that investment is glorious.  Everything in your life starts to fall in place when you make this your highest priority.  I pray some of you listening to me now will get serious about truly learning to be still so that you can know that he is God.

 

December 6, 2014 The Christian Working Woman

 

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