Devotional Week 45 Wednesday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
Ecclesiastes 3: 1
A Beautiful Life
“A life need not be great to be beautiful. There may be as much beauty in a tiny flower as in a majestic tree, in a little gem as in a great mountain, in the smallest creature as in a mammoth. A life may be very lovely and yet be insignificant in the world’s eyes. A beautiful life is one that fulfills its mission in this world, that is what God made it to be, and does what God made it to do. Those with only commonplace gifts are in danger of thinking that they cannot be a blessing in this world. But the smallest life that fills its place well is far lovelier in God’s sight than the largest and most splendidly gifted that yet fails of its divine mission.”
J. R. Miller
“Far better in its place the lowliest bird,
Should sing aright to Him the lowliest song,
Than that a seraph strayed should take the word
And sing His glory wrong.”
J. R. Miller
Today’s Study Text:
“Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen, for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.”
Esther 7: 6, 7
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“The Wrath of the Evil” Part 51
“Anger blows out the lamp of the mind.”
Have I ever found my good judgment to be clouded by anger?
What was the difference between King Ahasuerus’ wrath and the pointed words that Esther conveyed about the evil Haman?
“Anger is one letter short of danger!”
“No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to un-Christianize society than evil temper. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom off childhood, in short, for sheer gratuitous misery – producing power, this influence stands alone.”
To anyone who has lived in an environment where anger is frequently used as a way to express feelings and thoughts, you may well understand the expression: “The two best times to keep your mouth shut are when you’re swimming and when you’re angry.”
When Jim and I began dating, I found his effusive Cuban heritage to be a wonderful balance to my very reserved family who way too often pushed emotional needs under a rug and as we were taught: “Just keep your feelings to yourself.” As you might well imagine, through the years, the expressive side of Jim’s family reared itself in certain situations as anger. I have to admit, I never witnessed my precious mother-in-law angry. Believe me, she was a saint. But I did watch her behavior carefully for her kind and gentle way of responding to critical family events where anger was involved, was amazing. One particular family tussle that seemed to last way too long, was put to rest by the balm of her gracious behavior. In fact, as all the players in this drama began to show signs of sane behavior again, my father-in-law, who by his own admission was a key-player in this “brouhaha” pulled me aside and said something I have never forgotten: “Mama always has a way of calming things down because she has never been a person who throws gasoline on the fire. She throws water and puts the fire out.” Not too many years after Jim and I got married we were talking about specific words that our parents forbid us to say at home. Most of the words were identical until we got to the word, “shut-up”. I told Jim that if I had ever said shut-up to anybody, especially my parents, I would have been in a major heap of trouble. “Well,” he responded laughingly, “In my family, ‘shut-up’ is a term of endearment. At least it lets everybody know you were listening.”
Of course, his statement was rather hilarious at the time. However, both Jim and I took time in our own marriage to take classes about handling anger in a way that would bring out a positive result and didn’t end up with “words” being used to wound. One of the first lessons in the series was how out-of-control anger is often expressed when there is great fear bubbling up. This was such a tremendous thought for both Jim and me. Way too often fearful people become angry people. Fear fosters anger because when we feel totally vulnerable and exposed, it can put us in a position where like a fearful wounded animal, we ferociously attack those around us.
Now let’s pretend for a minute we were at the queen’s banquet of wine as the Bible calls it. Esther had finally expressed her petition to the king. And there sat Haman who had been fully exposed for the evil man he was. What’s more, with his mask off, King Ahasuerus could see the evil Haman for the wicked person he was. Face it, King Ahasuerus was not known for his even temper either. In a fit of wrath he had booted Queen Vashti. It is almost ironic that Esther was in the position of queen because of her husband’s temper tantrum.
But rather than letting the king’s wrath become the controlling factor, God’s providential working was exposed as the words of Psalm 76: 10 came true at the queen’s palace in Shushan, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee.” Let us not forget that it was the wrath of the evil Haman kindled against Mordecai that was the fuel on the fire! “And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then wasHaman full of wrath.” In the words of Hermas, “Angry temper is in the first place foolish, fickle and senseless; then from foolishness is engendered bitterness, and from bitterness wrath, and from wrath anger, and from anger spite; the spite being composed of all these evil elements becometh a great sin and incurable.”
As we come to the conclusion of the “banquet of wine,” may we learn from the wrathful king and Haman that there is great truth to be found in the Latin Proverb: “He that overcomes his anger, conquers his greatest enemy.” And this goes for all of us “hers” in the Garden as well.
Ephesians 4: 26
“Anger is quieted by a gentle word just as fire is quenched by water.”
Jean Pierre Camus
“The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
James 1: 20
Lord of Healing
“LORD OF HEALING
Lord of my darkest place:
Let in Your light.
Lord of my greatest fear:
Let in Your peace.
Lord of my most bitter shame:
Let in Your word of grace.
Lord of my oldest grudge:
Let in Your forgiveness.
Lord of my deepest anger:
Let it out.
Lord of my loneliest moment:
Let in Your presence.
Lord of my truest self – my all”
Let in Your wholeness.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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