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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Aggression

“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth:
Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:
Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Pet. 2:18-24).

The Bible has much to say about anger and hatred. It seems the Holy Spirit has made this an important aspect of evil that God particularly dislikes. This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating especially for those of us who don’t trust their short memory.

Do we have the right to hate anyone? “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.” (Lev. 19:17,18).

What about our adversary, our enemy, those who hate us? Can we get mad and hate them? “But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.” (Matt. 18:28). God loves each of His children as if there were not another upon the earth. Shouldn’t that be our determined effort for others also? “To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, to subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.” (Lam. 3:35-36).

We all have one right—to be loved and to give that love to those around us, to allow even our enemies their right to seek God’s face if they ever decide to do so, and not to prevent them by some cross word that we have ever said to them. “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matt. 18:6-11).

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8,9). Our natural-born wrath is not like God’s wrath, which is woven through and through with mercy and love.

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Eph. 2:3). We need to recognize unholy anger and to not allow it to manifest itself in us. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom. 12:19).

The previous verse before this one sounds like a loophole for this. That is, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom. 12:18). But Jesus set the bar for this when He died for His murderers. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.” (Lk. 23:34). “For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:3,4). He showed to what extent love will go, taking the Father’s condemnation of 1 octillion sins, heavy condemnation of black sins of gross sinners since the world began. It was a weight that caused Him to almost faint in Gethsemane. “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.
And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:37-39). And we must strive for His example.

We also have this counsel, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.” (Eph. 4:26,27). The Lord has allowed for some diversity in our responses to others’ hatred—but He does not excuse lack of love or any similar sin. His leeway is never expected by His called and chosen to be used as an excuse for sin. He set the standard on the cross and required us to take up His cross and make it our own. To follow Him is to follow His example and to copy Him.

Unholy anger must never be seen among Christ’s disciples. And anger is not necessarily violent outbursts. It can silently reside in the heart not at peace with God. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, envyings, murders,… and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21).

Let’s not put minimal importance on how God views our anger, in the whole spectrum of its manifestations. Let’s come under His sharp scalpel—His word—and retain His instruction.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness…maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity;…backbiters,…despiteful, proud,…without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” (Rom. 1:28-31).

“Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom. 3:13-19).

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness....
Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.” (Isa. 59:1-3,6-8).

“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1Jn. 3:15). Do we see the deep inspiration behind hatred and selfish indignation—murder. Likewise was Satan a murderer from the beginning. “The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:12-13).

“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.” (1Jn. 2:9). “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1Jn. 4:20).

Violence is wickedness. The Bible often uses the two words interchangly. “Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.
The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;
Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.
Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord.
Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when He bendeth His bow to shoot His arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.
As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
Before your pots can feel the thorns, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.
The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth.” (Ps. 58:1-11).

“Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man;
Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.
They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Selah.
Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.” (Ps. 140:1-4).

“The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.” (Ps. 11:5). “Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” (Prov. 10:6). “Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.” (Ps. 53:4).

What does anger do to the one who gets angry? Wikipedia says, “Anger may have physical correlates such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline.” The Mayo Clinic says, “If your mind and body are constantly on edge because of excessive stress in your life, you may face serious health problems. That’s because your body’s “fight-or-flight reaction”—its natural alarm system—is constantly on. When you encounter perceived threats—a large dog barks at you during your morning walk, for instance—your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies.”

The American Journal of Critical Care says, “During a junior varsity hockey game, a 15-year-old player was roughly handled and benched by his coach. An irate father watching the game from the stands ran down the stairs and in deep rage and anger struck out at the coach. The player’s father immediately fell over in what appeared to be a faint. He was moved to the sidelines and the coach and a parent of one of the team members, who was a nurse, initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Advanced life support service personnel arrived approximately 7 minutes later and found the patient unresponsive to cardiopulmonary resuscitation. An autopsy performed the following morning revealed coronary atherosclerosis with an occlusive thrombus in the paroxysmal left anterior oblique coronary artery. The family advised that there were no previous cardiac symptoms or history.
…Emotional stress, anger, or worry have a dominant influence on the severity, frequency, and treatment of angina. The natural history of angina is characterized by episodic variations in the frequency and severity of symptoms coincident with periods of emotional stress. When angina is associated with periods of emotional stress or anger, the angina is not usually a result of progressive coronary disease, but rather is due to an increase in oxygen demand.”

WebMed.com says that hostility can cause heart disease. “Increasingly, the negative, irritable, raging, and intimidating personality type worries heart researchers and doctors alike.... Explosive people who hurl objects or scream at others may be at greater risk for heart disease, as well as those who harbor suppressed rage.... To be specific, anger and hostility are significantly associated with more heart problems in initially healthy people, as well as a worse outcome for patients already diagnosed with heart disease. The same study also showed that chronically angry or hostile adults with no history of heart trouble might be 19% more likely than their more placid peers to develop heart disease.”

Job, the oldest book of the Bible presages modern medicine by 3,500 years, “For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.” (Job 5:2).  And Solomon’s counsels are 3,000 years old. “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom.” (Ecc. 7:9). “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself.” (Prov. 5:22). The outbreak of wrath kills the one who gets angry, even if slowly. Unholy anger causes adrenaline to be released into the blood stream and flow throughout the body. The heart is especially damaged by adrenaline; this is because the heart rate goes up and stays up for long periods of time. The high concentration of hormones in the heart and also sustained high blood pressure add to the problem. Silent anger is often the cause of our stress, which destroys the immune system and then disease and death come upon the hateful and angry one. Such a person may feel he or she has cause to be filled with rage, but they hurt their body temples and lay themselves in the grave, nonetheless. Anger, hatred, silent revenge, unwillingness to forgive and to have charity positively hurt the individual who does them. Practicing these might look like the perfect crime—but there is no such thing as the perfect crime! Ruined health will surely come. “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. 26:2).

Anger comprises the last generation of the world. The world that goes into perdition and devil possession will show its chief attribute in unbridled rage. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, …The nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Rev. 11:15,18). Everyone will be at each others’ throats because they will have the Mark of the beast.

“If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11).

The peace of God’s love could have filled everyone if they had only sought His love out until finding it while the Holy Spirit had been available. Now, at the seventh trumpet, the Spirit of God is completely removed from all who did not seek Jesus, and those desperate ones who are full empty of God are now filled only with Satan. Perdition—devil possession controls every human heart and mind except those who struggled to know Him while He was near. Now, they are like the land of Goshen, full of light and joy and expectant hope, when the rest of Egypt was in pitch darkness and misery and fuming with rage and fear.

Those who will have the Seal of God and be filled with the joy of faith will have no—zero—evil coming out of their hearts and mouths. “In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Rev. 14:5). “Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Ps. 119:165). “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9).

But, what makes an angry person. How does a person get the propensity to be angry? Why do they have a short fused temper? The scriptures spell it out plainly and give us guidance to escape it. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (Jn. 3:36).

Part of the song of Moses for Israel:
“They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger.
They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
And when the Lord saw it, He abhorred them, because of the provoking of His sons, and of His daughters…
For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.…
If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me.
I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.…
And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
And he said unto them, set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land.” (Deut. 32:16-19,31-33,41-43,45-47).

If Israel had sung Moses’ song throughout their generations, they would never have lost their place of leadership in the world, nor would they have crucified their Messiah. Instead of serving Jesus, the Lord of grace, the heart that serves Satan always leads to bitterness and meanness toward others. It always happens that way. This we see, as well as the previously stated message above from Revelation 14, which concerns the Mark of the Beast in the following warning of Moses,

“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: the Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deut. 29:18-20). Paul takes from Moses and builds on his words. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Heb. 12:15).

This describes the situation where people slip away from a knowledge of God’s loving-kindness and end up serving Lucifer while thinking they are serving God. Satan uses harsh life experiences to lead them to think that God’s character is violent and that He loves to torment sinners. He does this as he creates the harsh experiences. Remember when he caused fire to fall on Job’s flocks of sheep and then led everyone to blame it on God. The only survivor told Job, “The fire of God is fallen from heaven.” (Job 1:16).

The Lord does execute judgment sometimes, as He must in order to curb violent men or nations. But, His adversary points to God’s rare acts of justice, and immediately and perpetually he furiously spreads the rumor far and wide that justice is all God does and loves to do. The devil gives God his own attributes and then inspires people to view God and the Bible with disdain and disgust. Even the slightest distrust in God and His word will eventually neutralize all faith in Christ. And without trusting in Christ we cannot have the fruits of the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:22-24).

Satan knows how to poison our attraction to Jesus. He knows the chemistry of love and how to dissolve trust. Subtly does he work his spell on the disciples of Christ to break their bond with their Master. With those who are not vigilant he succeeds. Victims of his subtlety have been numerous; many shipwrecks line the path all along the way to eternal life.

It can be that while the lost are still in the church, they worship the devil. “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt. 11:12). “The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (Jn. 16:2).
“They feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.” (2Ki. 17:33). “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2Tim. 3:1-5).

Even the church leadership can be deluded to think they serve God when they minister to Satan. “And he [King Jeroboam who was chosen by God] ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.” (2Chron. 11:15). “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.” (Isa. 66:3).

“Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.” (Jer. 7:4). “Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal [Lord], and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” (Jer. 7:9,10). “Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.” (Zeph. 3:4).

This is why we need to always examine ourselves, even pastors and conference leaders.

It’s the cross of Christ that most clearly reveals the character of God. It was when humanity was the most violently under Satan’s control and opposed to righteousness and holiness that God endangered His Son on the mission to save us. All this to be able to convince the world that He would accept the worst, most hopeless sinner. By His goodness He changes everyone who goes to the cross to witness the event of the ages, and keeps going there. Witnessing the Son pouring out His love until His very last heartbeat must not be a one time event, but an ongoing, daily visit. It’s the daily sacrifice, morning and evening, even if we have nothing to repent of, even if we haven’t done anything wrong.

He will put His law of kindness in our forehead, because big trouble is coming to test His character in us. Are we getting ready for it?

A storm is coming, relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it? 8T, p. 315.

The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger--a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. Great Controversy, p. 621.

The time of trouble, such as never was, is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God. Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself: The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me. John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father's commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.

It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. Great Controversy, p. 622-623.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.…
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” (Isa. 53:5,6,10). It pleased God to pour all of His wrath and sorrow and grief from sin upon His Son instead of on a world of wretched sinners. And it pleased Jesus to be the recipient of God’s wrath, for our salvation, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,” “who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Heb. 12:2;Rom. 4:25).

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