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South Fellowship Church

Week 04

Practice to Obey

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. (1 Samuel 3:1)

Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, ”Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call you; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. (1 Samuel 3:4-5)

Again the Lord called, “Samuel!”… Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel a third time and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me,” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
(1 Samuel 3:6a and 7-9)

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak for your servant is listening.” And the Lord said to Samuel: “See I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.”
(1 Samuel 3:10-11)

He (Samuel) was afraid to tell Eli the vision, but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son,” Samuel answered, “Here I am.” What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Don’t hide it from me.”… So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. (1 Samuel 3:15b-17a and 18)

While he lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as he offered up priestly prayers to God. Because he honored God, God answered him. Though he was God’s Son, he learned trusting-obedience by what he suffered, just as we do.
(Hebrews 5:7-8) The Message Bible

Obeying was hard for me as a child, particularly as some of the people were doing the exact opposite of what they told me to do. I often heard, “Don’t do as I do; do as I say,” and, “Are you listening to me?” It seemed to me that grown-up people could do whatever they wanted, but I couldn’t. What I didn’t know then is that it takes practice to learn to listen well and obey rightly.

I read 1 Samuel 1-4 to remind me of Samuel’s birth and early history as a boy ministering at Shiloh under Eli the priest. Samuel learned to listen for Eli’s voice and respond to his call. When Eli realized that the Lord was calling Samuel and told him how to respond to the Lord, Samuel was ready to do so, because he had practice in listening to and obeying Eli.

I have learned much about listening, obeying and practicing over a lot of years, but each season of my life from childhood until the age I am now reminds me that I will always have to practice. Sometimes it’s people I have to listen to and do what they tell me; but always it is listening to God and how he desires me to learn and grow in loving him and loving people.

By the Holy Spirit enabling me, my heart’s desire is to say with Paul:

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:12-14) MSG

How about you? Psalm 139 reminds us how completely God knows us in our uniqueness. Where do you need to listen to God and what might you need to practice doing in obedience to him? Take some time to read Psalm 139. Ask him to show you what he desires for you. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to obey.

Practice to Obey2022-06-26T17:13:50-06:00

Breakfast With Jesus

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21:10-14)

Something is comforting about Jesus being God. It means he is strong, wise, and in control. Yet, there is just as much comfort in the humanity of Jesus. He understands us; he isn’t distant. Instead, he is near. In this story, Jesus draws from his genuine human relationship with the disciples. He knows them. Jesus knows their stories, and he knows how to connect with them. In light of that, he makes breakfast. It’s such an everyday activity, so familiar, so disarming. These disciples had shared countless meals with Jesus over the years, and when he invited them to do it again, the light bulb went on.

The image of his hands breaking bread, and the sound of his voice blessing the food, must have been a bit of glorious Deja Vu. It is with this beach breakfast that Jesus decided to re-invite them to the story. Aren’t you glad that he knows you just as well? This is the kind of God we follow, patient, familiar, yet completely different from others.

Where might Jesus be inviting you into the story of his world? What is the beach breakfast that he is offering to you? You may wish he would show up with flashes of lightning and a booming voice, but he may decide to be more covert than that. Are you paying attention to his invitation to breakfast? One way to heighten your awareness of Jesus’ presence in your everyday life is to set aside time to pray a Prayer of Examen at the end of your day.

How to Pray the Examen
1. Place yourself in God’s presence. Give thanks for God’s great love for you.
2. Pray for the grace to understand how God is acting in your life.
3. Review your day — recall specific moments and your feelings at the time.
4. Reflect on what you did, said, or thought in those instances. Were you drawing closer to God, or further away?
5. Look toward tomorrow — think of how you might collaborate more effectively with God’s plan. Be specific, and conclude with the “Our Father.”

Breakfast With Jesus2022-05-15T21:14:10-06:00

How Many Fish?

[Jesus] called out to [the fishermen], “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” … Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. – John 21:5-7a,10-11

This story sounds all too familiar to another story of Peter fishing and catching nothing. Luke 5:4-6 recounts Jesus telling Simon Peter to, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.”

Here, we see Peter fishing all night, catching nothing, until Jesus comes along. In today’s text, Peter is back fishing, catching nothing, until Jesus comes along. As the Apostle John tells this second miracle concerning fish, he adds some intriguing details. He specifically mentions 153 fish and that the nets do not break. Some scholars wonder what this specificity means. What does the number symbolize? What does it mean about Peter’s ministry or Jesus’ Kingdom?

But, as we see with both miracles concerning fish, the purpose was never really about fish. Although the nets were bursting with swarms of fish in the first miracle, the sign pointed to a calling. Jesus prophesied over Simon Peter, “from now on, you will fish for people” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:10‬). And in the second miracle, although the nets stayed intact with an overwhelming number of fish, the sign pointed directly back to his original calling.

The miracle that day was that Peter’s calling to fish for people was still intact. The number of fish was likely only to prove the amazing strength of the net intact after carrying over 150 fish.Peter felt weak after denying his Lord, but Jesus returns to miraculously remind him of his unique calling to fish for people and the miracle demonstrates how Peter’s calling would still hold up with the help of his Lord, even though tested by trial.

Have you heard God’s voice speak a specific calling over your life? If so, remember what he’s said to you today and praise him that your calling is still intact, no matter what’s been happening in your life. If not, ask God to speak over you. Ask him, “Who do you say I am?”

How Many Fish?2022-05-17T21:36:14-06:00

CARRYING EXTRA WEIGHT?

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. (John 21:5-9 NIV)

Like the majority of first century men, Peter and other disciples of Jesus were laborers working physical jobs. As did the rest of the culture, they wore both outer and inner tunics. While working, men would often remove the longer outer tunic to allow greater freedom of movement. If a man wore only his knee-length inner tunic, he was said to be “naked”.

This description of Peter wrapping his outer garment around his waist prior to jumping into the water to swim toward Jesus raises my curiosity. Why did John mention it? Strapping on extra encumbrance to swim is counterintuitive.

What could we, two millenia removed from this scene, miss about this detail? Let’s skip to the end of this scene after the disciples’ breakfast with the risen Jesus on the shore of Lake Galilee:

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
….The [second and] third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:15…17-19 NIV)

How can we interpret these references to Peter putting on bulky clothing before a swim in his zeal to greet Jesus, his loving Jesus, and following Jesus? Consider these ideas:

Prior to this breakfast, evidently Peter hadn’t yet felt fully restored to fellowship with Jesus after the shame of denying Him three times. Peter carried the unnecessary burden of this failure. The weight of his water soaked outer garment reflected that impediment. Jesus’ three questions restored Peter’s focus to the love relationship between them.

Jesus also wanted Peter to know the Holy Spirit would provide the kind of energy needed to “feed my lambs”.

Finally, Jesus wanted Peter to be aware of difficulties ahead that would be unique to him. The human strength and freedom Peter enjoyed as a young man would be increasingly met by limitations. Peter would develop more reliance upon the Holy Spirit as that happened.

As you contemplate things that seemingly limit your relationship with Jesus, listen to this familiar song composed by Bill Gaither. He Touched Me

CARRYING EXTRA WEIGHT?2022-05-15T21:08:32-06:00

Encounter with a Holy God

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. John 21:4-7 NIV

When we read John’s account of the disciples fishing all night, but catching nothing, then Jesus telling these experienced fishermen to put their nets down on the other side of the boat – resulting in catching an extremely large number of fish – it sounds familiar doesn’t it? It should, we have seen this miracle before. Luke describes a similar scene in Luke 5:1-11. In Luke’s account Peter says and does something that I think is key in our relationship with Jesus.

“When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,” Luke 5:8-9.

What is going on here? I believe it is a recognition of Peter’s humanity, sinfulness and unworthiness when he is suddenly confronted with the incredible power of a Holy God. Peter recognizes this catch of fish as miraculous – only possible by an act of God.

We have other accounts in the Bible of men who were considered righteous – by God – declaring themselves to be sinful, nothing, dust – when confronted with the holiness of Almighty God. Abraham, Job, and Isaiah each expressed similar ideas in similar circumstances.

In John 21 the disciples have returned to what they know, to what they are familiar with – fishing. At this point in the story, John, the son of Zebedee, “the disciple whom Jesus loved declares to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’” John 21:7a. John has recognized Jesus – as often occurred in the post resurrection appearances of Jesus to his followers – recognition was a bit delayed, but once they recognized Jesus, lives were touched, changed and important teaching and understanding followed.

What about for you and for me? Have you encountered God’s holiness, His incredible power, his healing in your life or in the life of someone you know recently? Look at these passages in Luke 5:1-11, in Genesis 18:27, in Isaiah 6:1-5, and Job 30:19 & Job 42:1-6. Ask God to reveal to you what you need to see, hear and understand about the powerful, Holy God we serve and how we might show proper reverence, love and devotion to Him. Thank Jesus for loving you, for dying for you, for providing a way to be in the presence of a Holy God. It is an incredible gift!

Encounter with a Holy God2022-05-15T21:06:15-06:00

Familiar and Physical

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with Joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them, “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:8-10) NIV

After this Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.” The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. (John 21:1-3) – The Message

The disciples went back to Galilee from Jerusalem, because Jesus had told the women to tell his brothers that he would see them there. There were a lot of memories attached to Galilee for the brothers. The disciples named were Galileans and had been called from their occupations there to follow Jesus. There is speculation about the unnamed two in this report, but one of them was likely Peter’s brother Andrew, because Jesus called them while they were fishing. (Matthew 4:18-19)

Galilee is roughly 76 miles from Jerusalem. I wish it were possible to have heard what they talked about as they walked to their destination. Given the few hints we have as to the unique character of each of these men, some would be talkative and others would find it hard to say anything. Certainly they were all mentally and emotionally worn down and stressed about what might happen next. When Peter said, “I’m going fishing”, it may well have been a relief to do something familiar and very physical. And, if they caught something, it would provide them something to eat the next morning.

In a way I can relate. When life has caved in on me the greatest comfort at times has been the ordinary routine of doing something physical that meets my own or someone else’s needs. Sometimes it has been being in the sound booth at church making it possible for someone to be seen and heard as they led worship for Rock Solid High School or Teenage Community Bible Study. Other times it is simply to engage in a frenzy of house cleaning or gardening.

How about you? When you are mentally and emotionally exhausted is there some ordinary routine that tires you physically and releases stress in the process? Think about what it might be and plan to take one step toward doing that something. Ask Jesus to show what is causing mental and emotional stress in you. Often he tells you something you already know.Write down what you hear.Thank him for his care for you. Pray for grace to act on what you hear.

Familiar and Physical2022-05-15T21:04:34-06:00

Anger From A Pure Heart

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 NIV)

The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:29 NIV)

Some find it unbelievable that the Son of God expressed anger. Is it legitimate to think that Jesus, because he had a truly pure heart that always pleased his Heavenly Father, lacked that unpleasant, but valuable core emotion?

It helps to know anger can give energy for action while fear and anxiety most often compel retreat. Of course, immediate action isn’t always advisable and retreat may be the best path under certain circumstances. Here are the words of David: Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah. (Psalm 4:4 ESV)

John’s gospel records a really scary, seemingly impromptu expression of anger by Jesus. This event happens very close to the beginning of his public ministry.

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:13-17)

Jesus replicates this action three years later – again at Passover – just prior to his trial and crucifixion.

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying 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 den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. (Mark 11:15-18 – also see Matthew 21 & Luke 19).

Jesus celebrated the Passover for many years prior to that first incident. It’s not hard to imagine him becoming angry, pondering, and repeatedly asking his Father why the esteemed priestly class had turned the Court of the Gentiles in the magnificent Temple into a dirty marketplace. He must have had a righteous aching to challenge these officials and clear the space for its intended purpose. But he waited for his Father’s approval for action.

Several things are worth more thought. In both cases, Jesus acted alone rather than seeking support. Also, teaching regarding his body being the true Temple accompanied both actions. Here’s what Jesus taught after the first episode.

So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. (John 2:18-21 ESV)

Also reflect that Jesus cleansed the Temple a second time two or three Passovers later. So why didn’t he address the problem yearly? On one of those intervening Passovers it appears he remained in Galilee highlighting his teaching about the true manna from heaven rather than further irritating religious leaders in Jerusalem. Did his heavenly Father anticipate Jesus would jeopardize further ministry by escalating an already volatile situation?

There are no ten step formulas outlining how our Father wants us to process anger from a pure heart. The phrase “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (Psalm 69:9 ESV) seems to place anger in a realistic setting. Reflect on the surrounding emotions of the Psalmist as you read Psalm 69 and his appeal to the Lord to act on his behalf.

Anger From A Pure Heart2022-03-21T07:49:42-06:00

Anger Can Breed Contempt

But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. (Genesis 4:5 NIV)

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:1-3 NIV)

In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. (Psalm 4:4 NIV)

One of the first “difficult” emotions mentioned in Genesis is anger. In Genesis 4 Cain was angry because God accepted Abel’s sacrifice. Cain thought his offering of some fruit would be good enough. But when God accepted Abel’s sacrifice of the best of his flock and rejected Cain’s offhand sacrifice, Cain became angry. He plotted and murdered his brother Abel.

Another story on this theme of anger: In the book of Jonah, first the prophet ran away from God, then was swallowed by a big fish, next he was spat up onto the land, and finally, reluctantly, obeyed God’s command. He went to Nineveh and told the people that God was about to destroy them in 40 days. Afterwards, he went outside the city, sat on a hill, and hoped to watch the city’s destruction. But, when the people of Nineveh heard his message, they fasted, prayed to God, and they repented. God saw their repentance and relented; he didn’t destroy them.

Jonah became angry, sitting on his hill, because he believed the people of Nineveh didn’t deserve God’s mercy and compassion. Both Cain and Jonah thought they knew what God wanted, and both were mistaken in their understanding of God. Neither understood God’s compassion, nor God’s desire for worship by men who were motivated by a heart that was right with God.

Look at the 4th chapter of Jonah, note how many times God questions Jonah about his right to even be angry. Jonah’s whole world view is being challenged. Both Cain and Jonah were selfish, self-centered, angry men. Neither had compassion for other people. These men flew into a rage because someone else was being accepted by God, or wished to die simply because a vine had provided shade for only one day.

If anger in a person’s life is nurtured, instead of being acknowledged and rooted out, it can produce contempt for other people. Cain and Jonah are good examples of how anger can produce sin in a person. But Jonah himself says of God, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity,” (Jonah 4:2).

Paul quotes Psalm 4:4 in Ephesians 4:26 and then expounds on it. “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent,” (Psalm 4:4). Wise advice – when we are angry – stop – ponder – examine our hearts – let God tell us if we have a right to be angry – then listen to His answer.

Anger Can Breed Contempt2022-03-21T07:46:44-06:00

I’m Just Jealous

His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. (Genesis 37:8)

Anger is a funny emotion. Even though it tends to be one of the most powerful emotions, it is almost always a secondary emotion. What do I mean by that? I mean, anger wells up in us because we feel another emotion. In other words, anger is a byproduct of another feeling. The story of Joseph and his brothers is an excellent example of this. The hatred and anger that wells up in Joseph’s brothers is a byproduct of jealousy. Other emotions that manifest themselves as anger may include fear, imperilment, and depression.

Joseph’s story exemplifies how jealousy becomes unchecked and when it is undealt with, it results in the act of extreme anger. If you go and read the results of this act of rage, you will see how damaging it is to Joseph. There is evidence that Joseph harbored anger towards his brothers, but eventually, he learned to forgive them.

So what about us? How does this information help us with our anger? Generally, anger carries with it a powerful physical and emotional feeling. If we learn that those sensations are a byproduct, they can function as a warning bell in our lives. If you can learn to listen to the emotion of anger, it can help you discover and deal with the actual feeling that is causing that anger. The next time you feel the sensations of anger, ask yourself, where is this coming from? Are you afraid? Are you jealous? Are you immersed? I have found it to be helpful to ask God these questions in prayer. Once you find the emotions behind your anger, you are one step closer to being able to diffuse your anger.

Take a moment to reflect on what anger feels like to you. Do you clench your fists? Do you grit your teeth? Knowing these responses can help you catch yourself more quickly and may help you reflect before you act out your anger.

I’m Just Jealous2022-03-21T07:44:42-06:00

Dealing With Anger Intelligently

Abel was a herdsman and Cain was a farmer. Time passed. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering did not get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk. God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” Cain had words with his brother. They were out in the field; Cain came at his brother and killed him. God said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain said, “How should I know? Am I his babysitter?” God said, “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood is calling me from the ground. From now on you’ll get nothing but curses from this ground; you’ll be driven from this ground that has opened its arms to receive the blood of your murdered brother. (Genesis 2b-11 MSG)

This is a heartbreaking story about the results of the first biblical family’s broken relationship with God and the resultant broken relationships with each other. There are so many “firsts” in this story: Adam and Eve became the first to wait for the birth of a child. Eve was the first to experience the pain of childbirth and the wonder of a new life in the baby, Cain. Adam and Eve became the first parents of one child, then of two when Abel was born. And Cain and Abel became the first siblings.

What we don’t get to know is the daily interactions of this first family. Given all that went on in Genesis 3, what might have Adam and Eve’s attitude been toward each other, toward God and toward their children? Might there have been bickering? Perhaps favoritism shown, or competition between the boys that led to hidden anger in Cain? What kind of relationship to God was mirrored in the parents? There’s no way to know.

Both young men brought an offering to God. Cain brought some produce from his farm, and Abel brought choice cuts of meat from the first-born of his herd. Resentment and anger hardened Cain’s heart toward Abel and, in spite of God’s warning, he commits the first murder by killing Abel. Although he carries the consequences of his actions, God puts a mark on him to protect him from being killed.

As I read these first four chapters in Genesis and continue on through scriptural history and world history, I grieve. As I see what is happening in our world right now, I grieve. I don’t think I am alone, I think many of us grieve together.
During this time of Lent, in preparation for the events of Easter, I need to look deeply into myself and ask our Lord God if I’m harboring any resentment, anger or bitterness toward him or anyone. Join me in reading Psalm 51, Psalm 139 and John 3:16-21 during this time. Offer yourself and each other in prayer to God.

Dealing With Anger Intelligently2022-03-21T07:43:10-06:00
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