Anger: The Wind that Blows out the Lamp of the Mind

Despite number of miles driven dropping 8.6 percent due to COVID-19, car crash fatalities jumped 14 percent. Road Rage … Righteous Indignation … and Refusal to Let it Go … are the fuels of anger and bitterness. Bitterness is simply anger that has petrified, hardened and entrenched in its position over time.

Mandrel Baboon

Yesterday I experienced the strangest road rage at the hands of a fellow driver. A little irritated from forgetting my wallet, I left my cart in Home Depot and pulled out of the parking lot for what I thought was an uneventful three minute trip home. Then the unexpected happened.

My grown sons, and grandson, chide me for my slow driving. “Have to drive the speed limit or less, you know the dashcam records speed.” At tortoise speed I traveled a mile per hour below the speed limit. Then behind me a gray import car drafted on my rear bumper.

Then the ominous signs – headlights flashing in my rear mirror and horn honking like an enraged goose. Not just once or twice … Multiple times. Beyond the first stop sign, that car still glued on my bumper in the no passing zone. So I did the only Christian thing to do … I slowed down two more miles per hour. This is a good time to teach that little gray haired lady a lesson on safe driving.

Upon my reduced speed, I saw the driver’s hand extend out the window, gesturing at me. “This is too much!” I told myself. I will skip my turn coming up and teach this “little old lady from Pasadena” a godly lesson on obeying the speed limit.”

“What if I brake checked her … and dealt her a real lesson? She would deserve it. No one would know. Wait, my dash cam would capture it. Can’t do that. Lord, help me. I am weak!”

Wait, the blue-haired speed demon is turning right; so I made a sudden lane change at the same right turn to stay ahead of her. Now, I see instead of her hand … she’s holding her cell phone out the window. “Just great! She’s possessed and capturing my slow driving on her phone! Another mile or two at turtle speed limit should reinforce my righteous lesson. Someone must hold forth the banner of safe driving.”

At the stop sign, I saw the driver’s door crack open. “Oh, no. She’s not going Rambo on me, is she? I guess you can find all types in a good neighborhood.” She followed me as I made my next left. “Oh, no. I hope she doesn’t live on the same block.” Now almost attached to my back bumper … I look her right in her glaring eyes through my rear mirror.

There she was looking right back at me! Then as though someone gave a lunatic the oxygen mask of sanity, the expression on her face, I realized was not anger after all but … puzzled … The puzzled expression… on the face of my wife, Carolyn!

After I left for Home Depot, my wife saw I left my cell phone with my credit cards. So, she followed me to Home Depot and intercepted my car as I made my turn out of the parking lot.

What I thought was a mobile lunatic was someone who loved me trying reach out to me with a gesture of love.

The hand extended … not as an obscene gesture but one offering help.

The phone not invading my privacy but an offer to return my own phone and help me complete my purchase. My wife ran to the side of my stopped car and gave her embarrassed husband his phone and credit cards. I thanked her for her love and consideration (while wondering what the outcome might have been had I brake checked her, causing her to damage her 2019 Honda CRV, possibly even deploying the air bag. “Didn’t you not recognize me?,” she pleaded.

The Apostle Paul addressed the central issue in Ephesians –

Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV)
31  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind. -Anonymous

Are you angry? Bitter? Pretending that anger is not there does not erase the problem but delays the healing. Paul does not say, “Put those who irritate you away from you with all malice.” That makes us angry people who are alienated with those closest to us.

Do you feel that you have a “good reason” to be angry? Justified even? Righteous? Before you “brake check” your closest relationships, ask God to release you from anger. Take a time out before your anger dims your mind and you hurt those who care most for you.

Keep Both Hands on the Wheel!,

Pastor Jim

A Little Grace for a Hard Place

This weekend an old grief returned to haunt me. My faith felt weak and limited in the presence of this old foe. So, I reached back into a sermon I preached August 19, 2012 and rediscovered the simple faith of a widow and her gift of two small copper coins and remembered a prayer that can help you when you feel you’ve run out of your resources to cope.

Prayer for Uncertain Times

Learn how to pray like the Apostle Paul when facing uncertain times. St. Paul, quarantined under house arrest, gave us a map to discover power in prayer and tap into the power of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

*The Sun Valley Motel (1952) shown in the video was owned by my grandparents and was where my father returned to Phoenix in 1947. It was there also I was taken after my birth at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Behind the scenes, my grandson, Jaden (12), operated the video camera. This was about take six as he would stop the camera as I tried to explain to let it record without stopping and I would edit it later. Some of my smiling was related to his antics.

Relief

I thought I missed something … with our new toilet paper free bidet system. No sooner had I returned daisy fresh to my bedside that I felt something hard slide down the back of my leg inside my jammies, bounce off my foot and onto the floor with a plop.

I glanced at Carol and asked her if she wanted an update. I turned on the bedside lamp and there it was! My AARP card stuck to a book cover and fell into my jammies before standing.

Never have I been “more relieved”! Never had I felt more like an AARP member. #Relieved

Discover the Place of Your Resurrection

How to follow the will of God when faced with life’s uncertainty. The Apostle Paul under house arrest in Rome discovered the will of God working through him in the midst of a difficult time. St. Brendan, the Irish Monk of the 5th and 6th century reminds us how the Celtic Christians practiced pilgrimage in seeking God’s will by floating in a rudderless, hide covered boat, a coracle, until it came to rest at “the place of their resurrection.” Where is your pilgrimage taking you in God’s will? Can you rest in God’s assurance that He will unfold his plan through you?

PRAYER OF ST. BRENDAN

“Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown.

Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You.

Christ of the mysteries, I trust You to be stronger than each storm within me.

I will trust in the darkness and know that my times, even now, are in Your hand.

Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,and somehow,

make my obedience count for You.”

AMEN.

from http://praoh.org/st-brendan-the-navigator/


Ultramodern Church: Space for Worship

Contemporary services gravitate to 1990’s Jesus light rock, decibel metered sound and Walmart clad clergy. Worship leaders interpret “improve the service” as sing a tenth chorus while adding a dozen more projection slides.

So holds true Jesus teaching, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

Inked words still wet scribed on the worship papyrus are: ultramodern, virtual and space. Ultramodern worship forms a seamless union between the church building and the members’ remote experience. The days of “My pastor never calls on me” translate digitally into “My pastor is but a click away.” Video-conferenced home and small group teaching, healing and communion bring the invisible universal church to the digital. This church’s local building could hold 50 while serving a congregation of 50,000 free of the shackles of brick-and-mortar.

Beyond a church mission plant in locations like Antigua, the ultramodern church tasks its denomination to slate a mission to Mars in order to charter a church open to person of all nations … and galaxies. Churches pass out Space-X piggy-banks to remind the children that your faith can take you places.

Live long and prosper. Amen.

SpaceX