Holy Emotions

Your emotions travel 80,000 times faster than your thoughts travel. Isn’t that amazing? This explains why when something bad happens, we are not able to immediately remember what to do or who to call. On the other hand, when something wonderful happens and we are wrapped up in the thrill of emotional exhilaration, at that moment, we do not have the ability to decide what to do next. All reasonable and practical thinking arrives in our nerve center long after the emotion has expressed.

The tremendous speed of our emotional responses to life helps to explain why even Christians often tend to operate out of feelings rather than out of principle. If you continually respond to life on an emotional level, you will always say things to are embarrassing, act in ways that are unbecoming and never be the person God intended you to be.

There is little in life that is of more importance than securing control of heart issues. When the Bible uses the word “heart”, it refers to the center of your mind, will, and emotions. Your hearts determines how you will act in any situation. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Heart

The problem is with the heart itself: it does not want to be guarded. It desires to express itself. The Bible never says we are allowed to express everything that is in our heart – it simply says to guard it.

What Did You Say?

You can’t control much of what happens to you in life. You can’t control who your parents are, where you were born, and a variety of things that have a significant influence on your life.

But you can choose how you react to what life throws your way. We have all heard people say, “They make me so bad!” Technically that is not correct. People may do things to you, lie about you or even cheat you but you have the choice how you will respond. The choice is always yours. Proverbs 29:11 (GW) says, “A fool expresses all his emotions but a wise person controls them.”

When we are mistreated, the proper reaction isn’t to blow up or clam up. Instead of responding in anger, God has a better solution. “A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.” Proverbs 15:1

Here is the bottom line: Trust God to settle the score. After all, He has more and better resources to do that than you do.

The Look

It amazes me that people are able to communicate with each other just by having a certain look on their face. A mother can give her child a certain look and the child knows they are in trouble. A young man, trying to win the heart of a young lady, can tell by the look on hrt face whether his efforts are welcomed. 

When Jesus Christ walked this earth, He conveyed a range of emotions by the way He looked at people. 

  • Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…”
  • Mark 8:33 “Jesus turned around. He looked at His followers and spoke sharp words to Peter…”
  • Mark 10:21  “Jesus looked at him with love…”

But the most notable look that Jesus gave anyone was when He looked at Peter after Peter betrayed Him. Luke 22:61  “Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.”

But Luke fails to describe what that look conveyed. Anger? Sadness? Disappointment? Compassion? Though no one can say for sure, I am inclined to believe it was a look of compassion. 

Amazing

I have never doubted that God knows everything. I have said many times in my sermons, “God is never surprised. He is never caught “off-guard.” In Matthew 12:25 and Luke 11:17 I read that Jesus “knew their thoughts” which I have no problem accepting.

But then I read Matthew 8:10 “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed...” Now that started me thinking; if Jesus is God (And He is) and if He knows what people are going to say before they say it (And He does Psalm 139:4), surely He should not have been “amazed” at this Gentile’s faith! Nothing should “amaze” God, right? 

As I looked at several commentaries, just as I expected, they explained it that it was Jesus’ humanity that caused Him to be amazed. I can understand their interpretation, for you can fully explain the incarnation; the God/Man? That is difficult to get our minds around!

I guess we will have to file this (and some others) passage under the Deut. 29:29 clause ““There are some things that the Lord our God has kept secret. Only he knows these things…”

 

True Anger Management

Have you ever heard someone say, “They make me so mad?” Of course you have, maybe you said that yourself. But is it really true? Can people “make” you mad? I know there are people that know which “buttons” to push to upset you. They know how to “get your goat.” But we need to ask ourselves, who is in charge of my emotions?

To say that someone, other than yourself can promote a certain emotional response from you is to they can control you to some extent. But the Bible is clear that each Christ-follower is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and not our emotions. Eph. 4:31 Psalm 37:8

You are to be in control of your emotions. I am not saying we are to deny our emotions (Remember Mr. Spock?) but don’t allow them to control you.

You get angry because you allowed yourself to get angry.

All I Got Is This Lousy T-Shirt

Tourists and travelers buy souvenirs from the places they visit. Souvenirs connect us to a place and an experience that become hooks for our memories. They prove that we’ve been to a specific place. Souvenirs can be just about anything: My wife likes seashells. I like collecting baseball caps. Some buy jewelry while others may collect postcards.

shirt

In the Old Testament there is a story of souvenir collecting. The Philistines grab a priceless Israelite treasure – The Ark of the Covenant. 1 Samuel 6:19 . About the same time, the nation of Israel began collecting Canaanite items. In both cases their “souvenirs” brought calamity to the owners.

When Israel began conquering Canaan, they were supposed to destroy all the idols they found. Instead, many people collected the idols, brought them home and eventually worshipped them. Exodus 20:4 Today’s idols don’t look like the ancient gods of wood or stone but they endanger us just as much. Whatever holds first place in a person’s life is in fact their idol. Money, success, pride or anything else can be an idol if it takes God’s place. If we have “foreign gods,” we need to dethrone them, giving the true God His rightful place.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

loveTomorrow is Valentines Day. A day in which millions will proclaim  their love. America is in love of “being in love.” Songs are written about love. Movies are produced about love. Poets and song writers write about this thing we call love. But do we really understand what love truly is?

In 1984, Tina Turner recorded the hit song “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Good question! But what is true love?

First, in its truest sense, love is not an emotion at all but rather an action and an attitude. The Righteous Brothers sang the hit song You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling which defines how most people see love. To them love is an feeling that must be maintained. But John 3:16 tells us it was love that motivated God to give us His Son. Biblically speaking, you can love someone without having a certain emotion.

Secondly, true love is not self-centered. Most people get married for the wrong reason. People get married with the idea (often unconcisouly) that this person is going to make me happy and meet all my needs. But true love is centered in others. God’s love was other-centered. 

Love is always concerned about what is best for the other person. God’s love was extended to people so that they would not perish though it cost Him His Son. Loving someone means doing what is in their best interest which is often not the easiest thing.

What’s got to do with it? Everything! Living is rooted it love.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Christianity is the only religion with love at its core. John 13:35 , 1 Cor. 16:14