Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Root of the Problem
by Barbara Henderson

(Part one of two parts contained in this edition)

It started out as a lovely Saturday. The whole family was home. No one was sick. Everyone was in a good mood. All the bills had been paid on time or early. There was a good nest egg in a FDIC insured bank. They family had a great church to attend tomorrow with an excellent preacher. All the Saturday chores had been done on Friday. It was a day to just relax and enjoy life. Then, sitting on the couch trying to relax, mom began to get a tickle up her spine.

‘Is something amiss?’ She wondered quietly to herself. ‘Naa,’ She answered herself. ‘It is just too perfect a day. I’m just being negative.’ She sank back into the couch and began to consider whether they should eat out tonight, or stay home and watch a classic movie. ‘Stay home,’ She thought sleepily. ‘It is just too much trouble to figure out somewhere to eat that would please everyone. Besides, I didn’t learn to do that ‘dinner is in the freezer’ thing for nothing. I just have to stick a few things in the oven, and we will have a meal that is already paid for.’ ‘Now let me think, what should I thaw….

Her thoughts were interrupted by her husband screaming.

‘Oh No! It’s Mortimer Humperdink at the door! Quick! Everyone hide!’ Dad shouted.

‘Too late. He’s spotted us,’ Mom said in a resigned tone. Sadly, she began to walk slowly toward the door; knowing she was in for at least an hour of angry bitter conversation from her husband’s distant cousin. She glumly opened the door and invited Mortimer inside. Looking around ,her despair deepened. Her husband and the children had all quietly exited by the back door. She was alone with the most unpleasant company she could possibly imagine.

And, Mortimer did not disappoint her. He was just as gloomy, bitter, and angry as ever. By the time he left, mom felt like she had been in a fight with a grizzly bear. In fact, she would have rather fought a bear.

‘HONEY,’ she yelled at her husband, ‘You coward. You might be able to leave me alone with him, but you aren’t getting off scott free. Get in here and face the music!’

Unashamedly, her husband walked through the door. ‘Look here,’ He said firmly. ‘I was busy cleaning out the clutter around the back fence. Weeding is hard work. And I needed both the boys to help me, AND I thought it would be good for our daughter to learn a thing or two about yard work. You never know when she will have to do a few things by herself. I could die tomorrow. You know I have high cholesterol.’

‘Listen Bozo!’ Mom said. We both know you just ran out of the room because you didn’t want to visit with YOUR cousin. You behaved like a rat fink and you know it.’

‘Well, did he want anything specific, or did he just want to make people as miserable as he is?’ Her husband asked.

Mom thought for a moment. ‘I believe he was asking for advice on a specialist for a medical condition. I’m really not sure. He was just so awful that I couldn’t really pay attention to anything except just what dreadful company he happens to be.’

After a moment of silence, mom said, ‘I’m sorry. I know he is a lonely man, but he is just so overwhelming. I don’t know if I even told him anything about the specialists that I know.’

‘Well, I’m sorry I left you to deal with him by yourself. I know how awful he can be.’

‘By the way,’ Mom said, ‘Does anyone know exactly WHY he is so angry and bitter?’

‘Not really,’ Dad said. ‘He has always been that way as far as I know. He may have had some really good reasons for anger at one time, but I guess he didn’t know the consequences of holding onto anger like that.’

The family tried to calm down and go ahead with their plans for a pleasant Saturday. But, the mood was ruined. Everyone was tense. Nothing was quite as much fun as it should have been. It actually took until the next Wednesday for things to get back to normal. The family made plans to go out of town the next three weekends and pray for the end of the world before they had to see Mortimer again.

But, Mortimer stayed on their minds. Dad and Mom talked it over. They agreed that Dad was going to have go and visit his cousin and tell him that his anger and bitterness were causing problems for him and everyone else.

Dad prayed for a week that he would have the courage to go to his cousin and speak the truth. Finally, he knocked on Mortimer’s door. Mortimer was quite surprised because no one ever came to see him. His wife had died about five years ago. After her funeral there hadn’t been any relative even in his neighborhood, much less actually knock on his door and want to come into the house.

Mortimer invited his nephew into the living room and they sat down. There was an awkward silence and then dad began to speak.

He said:

‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:29-32

‘You mean, in spite of EVERYTHING that has happened to me in the past, I am supposed to give up my anger and bitterness?’ Uncle Mortimer asked.

‘YES!’ You are supposed to let it all go, and even more,’ dad replied.

Then dad went on to say:

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;’. Hebrews 12:15

‘Look Uncle Mortimer, whatever reasons you may have for your bitterness and wrath, they are not worth hanging onto. It not only makes you miserable, but it hurts all the people who have to be around you. When you visited us the other day you had my wife so upset that she barely heard that you were sick and wanted to know what she thought about a specialist. Your anger and bitterness were just so overwhelming that she couldn’t see past that. Actually, we now realize that she DID see the real problem. It just wasn’t’ the problem that YOU were seeing. Your real problem is holding onto anger and bitterness.’

‘Well, good bye nephew,’ Uncle Mortimer said. ‘The first problem I have to deal with is my illness. I will think about the anger and bitterness when I get well.’

Part Two

Are YOU (yes you – the reader) facing a difficult situation? It would be quite odd if you weren’t facing something difficult. In fact, if nothing difficult is going on in your life at the moment, your are really blessed, or you are not facing the truth about what is happening around you.

Are you praying about your problem? How are you approaching God? Are you getting an answer or are you just getting dead silence? Could it be that you, like Mortimer, have a different perception of what the REAL Problem may be?

I will just be upfront here and admit that I am having a problem with anger and probably some bitterness because of the horrible economic and political situation here in the United States. Those lame brained politicians get on the news and spout socialist or out and out Marxist solutions to our problems, and then they smile like we are too stupid to understand they are just a bunch of power hungry thieves. I am angry and bitter that what one person works for can be taken away and given to someone else who supposedly ‘deserves it’ because they are ‘poor’ and ‘have lacked in opportunity’. Where is the justice in that? In fact there isn’t any justice in it. There is no justice in murdering unborn babies because their mothers are ‘inconvenienced’ and the justice system is staffed by morons! There is no justice in giving money to mothers who don’t bother to marry their children’s fathers. Why should THEIR children have more than my children? I am angry when I consider that the government takes MY money and spends it on garbage called ‘art’. They take MY money and spend it on brainwashing the children of America in public schools. My freedoms are eroded daily, and society as a whole degenerates into barbarism and behavior in which even animals would not participate willingly.

Thank goodness I know EXACTLY what to do. I take these problems directly to the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. He can solve the problems. There is no doubt about that. I know a lot of you readers know the same thing. I know a lot of you reading this DO take these problems directly to God.

You probably have a standard way in which you approach God, such as praise, thanksgiving, repentance, humility, meekness, and boldness.


Well….. It could have something to do with ‘letting corrupt communication proceed out of our mouths’. I know I am not the only one here who is prone to call politicians, newscasters, and celebrities ‘lame brained knuckle heads.’

I am probably also not the only one here that doesn’t speak only ‘that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.’

This grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit tells us, ‘Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Most of the politicians don’t deserve our forgiveness. They deserve to be tried for treason or at the very least for subversive behavior that is detrimental to the United States of America.

Most of the celebrities need committed to a place where they will be cared for, and not allowed drugs or alcohol or sharp instruments.

BUT – there seems to be a problem! Hmmmm – what could it be?

If the Lord were to write us a letter explaining the problem, He might say something like this:

‘Listen Kiddo, (‘Kiddo’ is a word I learned from my dad. When dad used that word – I knew I was in big trouble and that I had better listen carefully to what he had to say; and then take immediate actions to rectify the problem.) Anyway – God might say something like this:

Listen Kiddo!

I know all about what is going on there. I know there are real problems, and there are real people who are at least part of the problems. BUT, I will not listen to you rant and rave about the problems. I won’t listen when you speak to me in anger, bitterness, and wrath. I won’t listen when you speak to others with anger, bitterness and wrath. If you want to speak to Me about getting My help in these troubled times, you better come to Me with a thankful heart that has emptied itself of all anger, bitterness, and wrath. I am not interested in you dumping your bad mood on me. I want to help you. But that requires that you come to me in humility with thankfulness. I want repentance of your bad attitude. When your heart is right, when you have turned from your wicked way, THEN you can ask and expect help.

The fact is God doesn’t want to deal with angry bitter people any more than the nephew wanted to deal with his uncle Mortimer. It is very likely that our anger at what is going on is standing between us and God. There probably is some honest righteous anger mixed in, but I can tell you that personally my anger goes beyond that. It goes to just a mad fit. I am really frustrated with politics, economics, and ‘celebrity status given to trashy women and ignoramus men! (ignoramus – an offensive term that deliberately insults somebody’s level of intelligence or education (Encarta))

I know what needs to be done. I need to forget the problems I see and deal with the problem God sees. I know I will have to deal with my own anger, bitterness, and wrath BEFORE I expect God to help me. I think it is under control, and then I accidentally listen to some idiot politician speaking lunacy, and there I go again with the anger and wrath. And I’m not the only one. I see it everywhere I look.

I know the Lord is not seeing the current problems of the world in quite the same way we are seeing them. We are looking at how things appear to be outwardly, but God is looking at the hearts of mankind. He is looking particularly at the hearts of His own children. I believe He is telling us to ‘calm down so we can talk’.

Now, I know without a doubt, I want the help of the Lord MORE than I want to hold onto my anger. I know He is able and willing to help me let it go to Him. I definitely do not want to be the one who stands in the way of blessing for me, my family, my country, and the whole world. I also just want a more effective life. I want success on the Lord’s terms and according to His definition of success.

Now, let’s be honest.

What do you want for your future?
What do you want for the future of your country?
How far are you willing to go to change what is bothering God in your life?
Is hanging onto your anger worth forgoing the best that God has for you?
Do you believe God will be more willing to hear you and help you once you have heard and obeyed Him?

Dear Christian brother or sister, don’t let the mountain or obstacle in your path be your own self. Do the things God asks of you, and see what He will do for you.

AND – please – let us pray for one another especially during these troubled times.

There are two paths set before Christians right now. We can grow more thankful and tender hearted and closer to God. OR – we can grow more angry and bitter until we can’t even stand ourselves, much less be an effective prayer warrior or helpful to anyone.

The song for this article is ‘Master the Tempest is Raging’. It is a great song for any day, but especially now in the perilous times in which we live.

I am also including a link to “We’re Marching to Zion’. I am saving that song for a future article called ‘A Better Country’, but it is a great song to sing along to after God has calmed the tempest that is raging today in the hearts of many Christians.

Thank you for reading my article.

Barbara Henderson

Master the Tempest is Raging

Master, the tempest is raging!The billows are tossing high!The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,No shelter or help is nigh;Carest Thou not that we perish?How canst Thou lie asleep,When each moment so madly is threateningA grave in the angry deep?
The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,Peace, be still!Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,Or demons or men, or whatever it beNo waters can swallow the ship where liesThe Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,Peace, be still! Peace, be still!They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,Peace, peace, be still!
Master, with anguish of spiritI bow in my grief today;The depths of my sad heart are troubledOh, waken and save, I pray!Torrents of sin and of anguishSweep o’er my sinking soul;And I perish! I perish! dear MasterOh, hasten, and take control.
Master, the terror is over,The elements sweetly rest;Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,And heaven’s within my breast;Linger, O bless├Ęd Redeemer!Leave me alone no more;And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,And rest on the blissful shore.

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