Sunday, January 27, 2008

SIMMERING STEW

SIMMERING STEW

One of my favorite things about the cold weather is cooking things like chili, homemade soup or stew. Stew is probably one of my favorite dishes. Everyone knows what “stew” is…it is the meat and vegetable dish that you put into a pot, simmer to a slow boil and then (yum!) eat.

There is another definition of the word “stew” :

WEBSTER DICTIONARY: “a state of being agitated, disturbed”.

Have you ever heard of the saying: STEWING IN ONE’S OWN JUICES. This saying is not referring to the juices boiling on the stove but rather allowing trouble and agitation to simmer, to continue in a disturbed state of mind.

We tend to overlap the two different meanings of this word “stew” . When we try to describe our troubled emotions, we often use cooking terms.

Do any of these sound familiar?

• I’m steamed! (An upset person)

• I am BOILING mad! (A very angry person)

• Their mind is fried! (A person who rages excessively)

• This place is like a pressure cooker. (One may describe their office as this)

• We are turning up the heat now. (Meaning to put pressure on)

• Somebody ought to light a fire under him. (A way to motivate someone)

• If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. (Describing someone who can’t handle the pressure)

• You are really cooking now! (Someone who is making progress)

ANGER: WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

We have all felt it. It is that rush of emotion that seems to flood through our veins. It is like a volcanic eruption that is screaming for release. It is that pot that has a lid that begins to rattle as the contents begin to boil over.

• Perhaps it comes from the car that cuts you off in traffic

• Maybe you feel it when you step on a toy (barefoot) in the middle of the night

• It happens when your husband doesn’t understand you

WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES US ANGRY?

In the book of Numbers (chapter 20) Moses got mad at the people of Israel. They were tired of wandering in the desert and they complained to Moses about the lack of water. Moses and Aaron gathered the people together and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water then gushed out, and the people and their animals drank from it. (Read it in Numbers 20:9-11)

Anger is not something new. It has been around since the creation of Man. Where does this anger come from and how can we overcome it? Four things about anger for us to consider:

1. ANGER USUALLY COMES AS A RESULT OF UNMET EXPECTATIONS

I tend to be very impatient and often times I will get angry when something unexpected detours me from my agenda. Waiting 3 minutes in a fast food line that I thought should have lasted 45 seconds can turn impatience into anger quickly.

Anger is what we feel when things do not turn out the way WE want it to.

PROVERBS 14:29 “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”

2. ANGER USUALLY COMES WHEN WE FEEL MOST OUT OF CONTROL

Imagine as you are in the kitchen cooking your stew for dinner, glancing over to the refrigerator where your two year old has just taken the jug of orange juice out, he begins to pour it in a cup but misses, and pours orange juice all over the floor. Just at that moment, your five year old comes yelling, “Johnny just broke the lamp!”

All these things happening at the same time may give you the feeling of losing control and the quickest and easiest way to regain control is to get angry!

PROVERBS 29:22 “An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.”

3. ANGER TAKES YOU FARTHER THAN YOU REALLY WANT TO GO

Getting angry is like putting your foot in raging water. At first, it may feel good, but if you are not careful, you will find yourself a mile downstream! How many times has anger led you to say or do something that you regretted later on?

JAMES 1:19 “But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger”

4. ANGER BOILS OVER TOO MUCH WASTE

Have you ever walked away from a pot of stew and it boiled over? You took all the time to put in all of the good stuff (potatoes, vegetables, seasonings) but when it boiled over…it became useless. What boiled over was wasted and you could not use it. Our anger is very similar to that. We can put in all of the good stuff (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) but when anger stews up in us …what spews out of our mouths and out of our attitude will not be useful!

Ephesians 4:26, 27 “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. (27) and do not give the devil an opportunity.”

THIS WEEK: take a test about your anger. In my blogspot last week, I asked a question of how others see you when you are angry. The poll results showed that 50% say that others see you as “simmering: I’m hot but under control”. When you find yourself angry this week, stop and ask yourself “why am I angry?” and “how does my anger affect me and others around me?”

The Psalmist David was an adulterer and a murderer. However, David did not stew in his failures. He repented wholeheartedly - and he could say, "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness" (Psalms 30:11).

The fastest way to “turn off the stew” is to trust in God’s forgiveness and God is ready to forgive at ALL TIMES!

I hope that this week’s devotion will help you to keep your anger under control, and that you will realize that even in our weakness of anger, God loves us and will forgive us when we ask and repent.

Thank you for being a WOMAN WHO TAKES A STAND. Post your comments on this devotion and share a testimony of how God helped you overcome a time of anger.

love and prayers, Laurie

YOUR OPINION MATTERS: Please take time to vote in this weeks poll: “Is your life in a rut?”


1 comment:

Pastor Rusty said...

Great blog, Laurie! I really enjoyed the teaching and comments on anger. Thanks for taking the time to blog. You are making a difference. Blessings!

Rusty Blann