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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winter barn (photo by Doris High)
Our friend Doris High made a trip north and shares this winter barn photo on her blog.

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"A TPR For Anger"

"Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming" (Proverbs 27:4). "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control" (
Proverbs 29:11). "Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:20). "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold" (Ephesians 4:26,27).

Stan MillerSeveral weeks ago our Sunday School teacher, Stan Miller, was teaching on the subject of anger and used an illustration I had never considered before. I sure appreciate illustrations from the regular stuff of life which is how Jesus essentially illustrated when he spoke in parables. Stan spoke of needing something like a TPR valve when we deal with anger. Since my dad did plumbing I knew what he meant when referring to a TPR valve.

TPR valveTPR stands for "Temperature & Pressure Relief". It's a valve virtually all of you have on your hot water heater that is designed to open if the temperature or pressure exceeds a certain point. This is an important safety feature to prevent the hot water heater from exploding. I have never had a TPR open up in my home but I am thankful for this safety feature.

Stan asked us to consider what might act as a spiritual TPR when we deal with anger. Well I've had over a week or so to consider this and want to share some thoughts.

Anger is an ancient human condition first seen in Cain prior to the first murder. Throughout the Bible we see evidences of unconstrained anger and certainly it is a human condition all readers are familiar with. It gets a lot of attention in the media - whether it's road rage, anger in the workplace, anger in the home, or wherever one chooses to unleash his or her fury on others.

However, as a follower of Christ and student of the Bible I believe there's a greater contributing factor to the increase of unconstrained anger. Through much of our history the teachings and principles of the Bible had a restraining impact upon our culture. This even impacted those who were not specifically followers of Jesus Christ. Most knew about the "Golden Rule" - it's just plain common sense. There was an unspoken understanding that we are to be kind and respectful to one another and practice self-control even if it was not reciprocated.

But now with this restraint missing we see an epidemic of anger and rage in many forms. Presently there is much discussion about the increase in gun violence such as the horrible school shooting up in Connecticut last month. Politicians are taking measures to deal with it, but virtually no consideration is given regarding the spiritual reasons for this increase in violence.

"In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." In our third daily verse the apostle Paul is giving practical instructions on life to the Ephesian believers. He acknowledges that there will be times the believer is angry. Anger itself is not a sin. The Bible records several occasions when Christ was angry (see Mark 3:5). In fact I believe sometimes it would be unhealthy not to be angry! God included it in our emotional bank and there are times when it is the appropriate response.

Yet in this text the Bible lists three vital constraints on anger. We can see these points as being like a TPR:
  • "In your anger do not sin." This indicates there are to be self-imposed constraints on the extent of anger. Obviously harming other people in our anger is sin! (Excepting self-defense circumstances.)
  • "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." This indicates there are to be self-imposed constraints on the duration of anger. This prevents the long term, harmful effects of seething anger that easily leads to destructive behavior or a bitter spirit.
  • "And do not give the devil a foothold" This indicates there are to be self-imposed constraints on the ultimate source of destructive anger. If we allow anger to seethe and fervently gather evidence to support or justify our anger we are giving the devil a foothold on our emotions which in turn feeds our actions. Instead of a godly response it will produce a knee jerk reaction from the enemy who holds us down.
Let God's Word saturate your life today: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:19,20).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when we are angry You tell us to stay above the fray and sin not. There are times when it is appropriate to be angry such as when we see a person harming another individual; when we have been lied to, when we have been unfairly accused or when we see the rotting decay around us due to the forces of evil. These circumstances along with many others stir up strong emotions with us and often require a response to the matter. Keep us prayerful as we are quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. May we respond as Jesus did to His many accusers, though innocent, He spoke not a word in His defense. And may we be careful not to keep a scoreboard of other's offenses. We pray this in the mighty name of Jesus who forgives us and does not count our sins against us, but rather took them upon Himself.  Amen.

Here's an observation on the third constraint from Clarke's Commentary: Neither give place to the devil - Your adversary will strive to influence your mind, and irritate your spirit; watch and pray that he may not get any place in you, or ascendancy over you. As the word διαβολος is sometimes used to signify a calumniator, tale-bearer, whisperer, or backbiter; (1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3, and Titus 2:3); here it may have the same signification. Do not open your ear to the tale-bearer, to the slanderer, who comes to you with accusations against your brethren, or with surmisings and evil speakings. These are human devils; they may be the means of making you angry, even without any solid pretense; therefore give them no place, that you may not be angry at any time; but if, unhappily, you should be overtaken in this fault, let not the sun go down upon your wrath; go to your brother, against whom you have found your spirit irritated; tell him what you have heard, and what you fear; let your ears be open to receive his own account; carefully listen to his own explanation; and, if possible, let the matter be finally settled, that Satan may not gain advantage over either.

This word from Paul Popov of Door of Hope International: On January 27, we received word that Pastor Saeed Abedini was given an eight year prison sentence in the notorious political Evin Prison. He has been charged with planting house churches “that are intended to undermine Iran’s national security.” This verdict is a terrible blow to his wife Naghmeh who is devastated. “With today’s development I am devastated for my husband and my family,” she said. “We must now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil.”

Please continue to pray for him, his wife Naghmeh and his 6-yr-old daughter and 4-yr-old son who need their daddy home in Idaho.

To read more on this story please visit www.dohi.org

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"All I Have Is Christ"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"Man's Anger"  Video  An interesting selection of verses on anger.

"The Fierce Fruit of Self-Control" article by John Piper

Today's barn photo was taken by our friend Doris High in her photo collection titled "Going to Prison"

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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