Thursday, February 28, 2008
Background: Our church currently meets at a community center in Arlington. We do not have a building and are renting the space. So occasionally during the year we have voting booths partly blocking the children's "wing" or other clubs coming in to meet right after us. So, I got a text message on Saturday night from the office manager/ministry coordinator at our church. She was letting us know that Bill Clinton was having a rally on Sunday morning at the park by this community center. The streets were going to be blocked off at parts of the park, there were going to be people everywhere, parking would be a mess, secret service would be around, and we were still having service.
We pulled up Sunday morning and sure enough it was a madhouse. The parking lots were almost full and there were policemen directly traffic. People were lined up in the park waiting for Bill and police were everywhere watching. Inside the building was no better. It was an early voting weekend so the voting booths were up, which meant we had to be careful with the flow of parents and kids going to kids' church. Throughout the morning we had several people coming into the building looking for the rally. There was even one secret service guy who was lost looking for the rally.
The really cool thing was that several people came to our church service because they were already there. We saw them with their campaign signs sitting through the service. And I know that people who were voting got to hear the worship songs proclaiming the goodness of our God. Talk about a testimony. Pretty cool. Those are the times when I am glad we are in a public place where we can share through our worship who He is.
So, did Josh and I get to see Bill. No. But our friend did. Did we vote early? Yes. Did we vote for Hillary? My parents taught me to not tell who you voted for...but you can probably guess.
That's the Sunday story.
As I said before, anger is a normal human response and an attribute of God. Nahum 1:2,3:
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The LORD takes vengeance on his foes
and maintains his wrath against his enemies.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.
So, we see that God demonstrates anger. His is a holy and just anger, not ever selfish or inappropriate. We have been created in God's image (Gen 1:26) and therefore have some of God's attributes in us. However, we are also selfish and tend to seek our own motives and our own good in situations. Therefore, our anger is often short-sighted, selfish, inappropriate to the situation, and inappropriately expressed.
James 1:19, 20 says to be slow to anger because the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. It does not say anger is bad, but being short-tempered is not what will bring about the good things of God.
Proverbs 29:11 says a fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Hmmm...self-control. Not only fruit of the Spirit but also a sign of wisdom.
Ephesians 4:26 says not to sin in your anger and not to let your anger dwell. Don't hold onto it! Easier said than done for some of us (myself included). But the Lord knows that bitterness grows when we dwell on anger.
So what do we do about it?
- First, recognize it for what it is. A normal human emotion. An emotion that sometimes masks other emotions like fear or pain. An emotion that can, and should, be controlled.
- Learn to confess your anger to God, not because anger is a sin, but because you have only your limited perspective and could be missing the big picture.
- Learn to express yourself in healthy, helpful ways. One way to do this is through "I" statements like "I feel hurt when you say those things because it seems like you don't care about my feelings."
- Develop a lifestyle of forgiveness. Not merely "sweeping things under the rug," but actively forgiving others.
- Develop an outlook of thankfulness. It's hard to be angry with you are thankful for what you have and what God has done for you.
Thanks for reading!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Just in case anyone was wondering...
On Saturday we visited a Hare Krishna temple with people from our Perspectives course. This is a religion from India, basically a branch of Hinduism. It was a very interesting experience. They have 7 worship ceremonies at the temple each day and devotees (Krishna followers) are supposed to pray a chant-type prayer a thousand times a day. It was sad for us to think about the bondage they are in striving after an idol, repeating chants over and over hoping to draw close to this god.
We went to an Indian food restaurant for dinner afterwards which was delicious! For dessert there was mango pudding and rice pudding. I have to say I loved them both! The mango pudding was bright orange and I was a little nervous about trying it, but after one bit I wanted a gallon to take home with me. =)
Well, I'll tell you about that famous person later...
Friday, February 22, 2008
I am currently in the middle of a group project for my counseling practicum. We have to do a presentation about anger. (The irony is beautiful since group projects usually get me pretty angry.) We are to present a biblical view of anger and explain how to counsel someone in anger management type of stuff. It's been pretty interesting. One thing that was interesting was to find that anger is talked about in the Bible as much as love. Anger is one of God's attributes which means it is not a sin in itself because God is holy. Rather, our responses in anger are what causes problems. In regards to human anger the Bible usually cautions against it, since we often have selfish aims or see the situation incompletely and respond in anger. However, anger can be helpful when it motivates us against injustice. But be slow to anger, recognizing that our anger does not accomplish the things of God (James 1:19-20).
So, I'm writing a short paper about this. On Saturday we are getting together to record an example of a counseling session. Should be interesting. We have it totally scripted. haha - and our "clients" are pretty much model clients. We present on Tuesday and then this thing is over. Yay.
If you have any questions about anger, I'm your girl.
Last Saturday our friend Liz, formerly Schroeder, was in the Dallas area with her husband visiting from New York. I hadn't seen her since her wedding a year ago, and then only briefly (she was a little busy at the time). Another friend from college, Hannah, drove up from Austin on Saturday so that the three of us could have lunch and catch up. It was so fun to see them again and hear how things are going. I met Liz before classes started our freshman year at A&M. We were friends all through college, though it became a long-distance friendship when she first went to Germany for a year and then transferred to NY. While I studied abroad in Spain I was able to make a trip to Germany to visit here, which was just a joy! And now she's married and living in NY and I don't ever get to see her. =(
Here we are at lunch. Yes, we took a picture in McAlisters. Unfortunately the server was not as good of a photographer as he thought he was (notice the slight blurriness) but we are thankful he took the picture. It was an awful cold and thunderstormy day, but full of happy memories.
I love you guys!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Queen Noor is an American from Arab-American descent who married King Hussein in 1978 and became the Queen of Jordan. She converted to Islam right before her marriage. She worked to improve the situations of poverty, nature conservation, and increasing education and the natural resources and arts of Jordan. She was King Hussein's fourth wife. They had 4 kids together and then with all the other stepchildren, they had like 14 kids. King Hussein passed away from cancer in 1998 or 1999 (my book is upstairs).
Anyways, that is a little bit about what I am reading these days. That and textbooks and books for understanding how to help my clients in counseling. I think I'm reading about 6 books right now. And I love reading, so it's all good!
Friday, February 08, 2008
I have found that praying just before the session or praying on my way to the session or really even in the morning during my devotional time is not enough. It makes me think of the story in Mark 9 when the disciples tried to cast out a demon out of a little boy and could not. Jesus could, of course, and did. When asked why the disciples could not cast out the demon Jesus replied that that kind would only come out by prayer (and some translations say "and fasting"). No doubt the disciples said a quick prayer before trying to cast out the demon. But Jesus was explaining that it is a matter of lifestyle - a lifestyle of prayer and fasting and spiritual disciplines.
It's almost as if I've been saying to the Counselor, the One who created us and knows everything about us, "Hey, come along with me to the session and help me out if I get stuck. Otherwise, I got this one. We'll tag-team it."
It's amazing how much you can know with your head and not follow with your feet.
I have to say that I am grateful to be involved in a profession that requires dependence on the Lord in an obvious way. I think I need obvious. Otherwise I tend to get pretty comfortable with what I can do.
"Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength...Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:20-25, 31 (emphasis mine)