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Im4God Newsletter 3.13.04@

Welcome to the / March 13th, 2004 Newsletter!

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Titus 3:1-11
- Doing What is Good

1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

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He Owns Our Reputation by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

Most people worry about how they are perceived, and their lives are often acted out for the benefit of others. We need to stop putting on the “game face.” God knows our every dark secret, and in the final analysis, God is in charge of our reputations.

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Putting Anger to Rest
by Dr. Charles Stanley
of In Touch

Have you ever known someone who seemed persistently angry? With their critical and grumpy attitude, you could always sense them coming from a mile away. Maybe you are that way yourself.

Angry people are easy to spot. Like an out-of-control tornado, they seek to destroy everyone and everything in their path. Instead of identifying the source of their animosity and resolving the true issue, they usually vent their frustrations on innocent individuals around them. Hurtful words, hateful tones, and harmful attitudes follow them like a black cloud. Quite simply, angry people seem to wallow in bitterness.

Unfortunately, anger permeates our society. In a culture that often operates under a "what have you done for me lately" mindset, we are bombarded by the consequences of uncontrolled, selfish anger. School shootings, road rage, domestic abuse, and terrorism are a few. Sometimes it's easy to look at these extreme examples and believe that all forms of anger are sinful; however, that simply is not true.

In Mark 3, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand in the synagogue. After watching Him perform this miracle, the Pharisees and Sadducees accuse Christ of healing on the Sabbath. Jesus looks at them in "anger, grieved at their hardness of heart" (verse 5). He could not believe they were so cold-hearted toward this disabled, disadvantaged man. So, through the example of Jesus, we can see that all anger is not sin.

But when does justified anger-or righteous indignation-become selfish and sinful? Like Christ, a righteously indignant person is solely concerned with correcting a wrong in someone else's life, not their own. Justified anger isn't explosive, rage-filled, and selfish. It isn't an excuse to hate someone but, rather, it is a caring, unselfish anger entirely focused on improving someone else's circumstances.

Think of how Christ handled His emotion. Did He explode and attack the Pharisees and Sadducees? Of course not. Jesus actually "grieved" over their callousness. He didn't become enraged toward them, but He sorrowed over their spiritually deprived state. Even though Christ was frustrated with them, He was also saddened by their hardened heart.

Unfortunately, though, most of our anger is far from righteous. Resentment and rage, if unmanaged, can lead to devastating consequences such as depression, an unforgiving spirit, and a host of physical ailments.

In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul tells us to "be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger," he says, "and do not give the devil an opportunity." These harmful feelings must be dealt with swiftly, because if we allow them to sit, seethe, and build up inside of us, our unforgiving spirit will alienate us from God and we will become prime targets for Satan.

Unless we turn to God and release our bitter spirit, Satan will begin manipulating our thoughts and actions. Resentment will turn to rage, rage may turn to violence, and we will ultimately find ourselves in a dire predicament-all because we allowed our emotions to control us.

We must make a conscious choice to let go of bitterness. Regardless of how we have been wronged, we cannot expect to live for Christ while this debilitating emotion consumes us. Selfish anger builds a barrier between us and God. With this sin in our life, we are useless to God, unable to display the forgiving nature of Christ to those who need His message.

1) Identify sources of anger in your own life. Who and what provokes you? Is there bitterness you need to let go or people you need to forgive? Prayerfully hand over your burdens to God.
2) Read the key passages for this month and think back on instances in your life where you became angered easily. How have these verses given you insight into what God expects of you when you are dealing with anger?
3) Do you know people that are being mistreated? Just as Christ defended the disabled man in the synagogue, how can you come to the defense of those that may need your help?
4) Commit Ephesians 4:26 to memory and recite it every night before you go to bed. Make a point to deal with your anger swiftly and never go to sleep in a foul mood. Instead, release your burdens to God and enjoy the peaceful rest that comes with a clear conscience.

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Article Source
To delve deeper into this subject and more, visit the In Touch Web site:

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