The Rescue of Our Stupid World that Feeds Anger

“The churning of milk produces butter…and pressing the nose brings forth blood;
So the churning of anger produces strife.”
Proverbs 30:33

There is a Cause to that Particular Effect…

This proverb is about the cessation of stupid. What did you think would happen if you kept prodding and poking at your nose? Haven’t you learned that if you pick at it long enough you will soon be rewarded with a blood bath? And here we also see by comparison the proverb states that if we feed the “anger monster” the battle moves to intensified strife. Is that helpful to any? I think not, except for the warmongers who thrive on inflicted misery.

The point of the proverb is the logical progression and necessary outcome of a stated course of activity. Garbage in…Garbage out. But what of the exceptions?  Agitate milk and voilà! Look what happens! Milk is magically transformed to cream and butter. Cream is a precursor to “ice cream” and we all know that is one of those “very good” things God made.

But alas, we live in an angry world. Even folks I know who ought be dancing for joy seem trained in the art of anger. Careful… it’s infectious. Abundant strife across our land is indicative of angry hearts within the breast. Men churn and agitate the flesh for ad infinitum reasons, most of no essential account, but they all produce magnified and multiple consequences.

How can we restore order to this chaotic mess? Simply put: That solution has never changed, so there must be a rending from above. We perish if God departs… or if He allows ordinary cause-effect to reign apart from radical intervening grace. He must visit us from on high. Simplistic? Ponder the rending of the heavens again; would that ever be simplistic? I think not, but always glorious and purposeful where the Gospel is preached.

Not all agitation is bad. One is a work of the flesh that stirs up enmity, and the other a grace and work of the Spirit that yields glory. There is hope for you, my friend. There is hope for me. There is hope for the nation. It becomes a question of who mans the churn and what we target as the end product of acceptable results. We desperately need the “Divine Agitator” to create some “butter”. If we continue to stir the cauldron, trouble will continue to brew up as surely as a pot of coffee is produced by my percolator every morning. (That’s Louisiana Community brand coffee, BTW.)

My experience: We are hard-wired to produce enmity, strife and jealousy by default until grace comes and conquers us. There must be “Regime” change in our hearts. Jesus must come and gentle us with restraint and self-control…the fruits of righteousness. (Consider, and then count the number of toddlers you know who play together with one toy by peaceful resolution vs contention and selfishness. Then consider even believing adults and the challenges of friendship… ungodliness and self-promoting jealousy easily rule the day. #HardWired for strife… from the beginning.)

By a gracious encounter with the One who comes to us, we are offered escape from the madness and self-destructive behavior as those who dwell in the Gerasenes. Not all those in Mark 5 were happy with the finished product. Not all will be rejoice today. There is always a pricetag. God values the individual, not the mass. Sheep crashing off a cliff hurts the bottom line in the temporal world, though we easily neglect that Eternity still rejoices over this same fact of the one clothed and in his right mind, until today. Just be aware: Many can temporarily profit from strife. Or war…

The God of grace and mercy stirs the pot, and we are refined. As we churn the same container via our efforts of fleshly indulgences we produce a sour and useless concoction that potentially harms many. Grace teaches we are perfected through the wonder of adversity, as we yield ourselves to grace as trophies, as vessels of honor and glory, going from anger to resolution of peace and gratitude in Him. Isn’t this worship? Worship is about knowing and enjoying our great “ChurnMaster” who refines us as gold or silver cast from the smelter’s pot.

From the beginning God has acted to bring light from darkness, order from chaos, He recreates something good from absolutely nothing to work with. He is Creator who does all things well and “very good.” He labors over us until Christ is formed in His people.

Today, we will encounter many who live in bondage to an angry heart. (Have you taken off the blinders to see the infection of anger all about? It has many nuances and flavors, but where is the joy of a glad heart in the world today?) What a wonder that the Gospel entrusted to us is the Light of escape from normative, fallen behavior into a glorious experience as that of the rich cream that rises to the top as milk is agitated within the churn. We never know when the Spirit will show up to stir in grace to bring glorious joy in any present circumstance.  Historically, we know the harder cases often become the brightest and purist vessels. Glory floats to the top in rich fashion. When God agitates He constructs something eternal: ordinary water is remarkably turned to exquisite wine. He makes all things new. Do we live in expectation that God is, and that His purposes CANNOT fail?

We have a saying in the OR about surgeons who keep picking at this or that, tinkering with an exposed area, needlessly prodding and poking at an vulnerable body part. If they pick long enough they are sure to stir up bleeding. So it is with picking and pressing the nose… leave it and anger alone with the expectation that God is the life and light Giver who alone can apply the perfect pressure to bring one to “Cease striving and know that He is God…”

My point probably is, (who really knows), don’t be angry; it never achieves the righteousness of God. Yet, be angry and do not sin. Turn your anger into an agitated prayer for the King to rouse Himself and “make a thousand hearts His own.” (Cowper) There are lots of churns going on all about us at any one time. May we be light and life with the Word of Truth entrusted so that we might offer escape unto joy to fallen men we know and love. May our contribution to the fracas be grace and truth, and not another voice of agitation.

A Poor, Mourning, Gentle, Hungry, Thirsty Pilgrim

Matthew 5:3-6 (NASB)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Poverty is not a virtue. Poverty of spirit indicates an awakened conscience to the richness of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, “…who though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich.” Our poverty is highlighted by our bankruptcy of inability to effect change or appease the Holy. Poverty is seen by the open Treasure of Light that we newly see by the chest filled with the treasure of the King and His presence. “In His light we see light.”

To mourn is not divine nor do tears of a broken heart ensure comfort that ends in a predestined resolve of happy hope. (“And they lived happily ever after.” Really? Yes! If we mourn rightly!) Crying does not ensure joy. Yet the glory here is that we who biblically mourn have eyes no longer transfixed inwardly upon our personal failures or guilt as serial lawbreakers nor upon our aggravated bitterness born of another’s lawlessness which relentlessly assaults our expectations with repetitious disappointments. Mourners are biblically comforted by being born again and from above by the Holy Spirit according to the imperishable word implanted within our hearts to birth a living, abiding hope, by which we now through tears say, “All my springs of joy are in you.”

Gentleness is not a passivity that woos others to give us an earthly inheritance as they marvel at our indifference to abuse received as our nonresponse to violence impresses them with super human tolerance or ignorance. Yes. It is not a candy-man, nor anti-man “hit me with your best shot…” A gentle man is a warrior-prince who knows his masculine options as well as His rights of inheritance, and he is bold as a lion as the wicked flee his presence as the Lord equips him with sword and shield. Moses is the preeminent type as Christ is the fulfillment. Don’t overlook the whip nor the sword welded by by the Lion-Lamb of the Tribe of Judah who for cause of truth and justice had to humble Himself to the point of death for a season that our redemption might be made complete. Our inheritance is a matter of adoption into the King’s family. We are in the King’s family by invitation. His gentleness makes us good and His goodness gives His delight in sharing the treasure of His presence with His own. Do we bear marks of being make gentled by the Good Shepherd who is the model quintessential One who is “gentle and humble of heart”?

Just because I hunger and thirst for spiritual stuff is no insurance that I will partake of the true bounty that is ever before me. Has my taste changed to long for and pursue that heavenly manna and that holy drink that truly satisfies my soul’s need for the water that springs up into eternal life and the Bread of heaven that gives life to the world? There are copy food cakes and fraudulent fad foods that promise the best in this life and the life to come. They always seem to taste so temporally sweet and earthy, yet they never touch the splendor of the King nor satisfy the deepest longing of our heart and soul. Yes, oh yes! Their delectable, attractive passing pleasure is ecstatic in temporal satisfaction but soon the soul is hungry, and a truly burning heart hungers for true food spoken of by He who came down from Heaven as the Bread of life to give His life for the world. I will only be satisfied as I “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” My journey can only end where it first began: in the Light of the One who called me by grace. He is the One who bids us to come drink freely of the waters of life that mysteriously become a well of water springing up within us into an ever-flowing well of water for the healing of the nations much as the water became wine to satisfy the celebrants at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee.

God’s call to me is to discern the counterfeits of today by a heart evaluation of myself in light of the instruction which the Lord Jesus gives me today. Am I real and do I pursue Him by establishing a life long obedience in the same direction that is characterized by construction of my house upon the Rock, so that when the storms come, He will ensure my standing when once again the sun shines on the New Day which He promises?

Careful. Better Re-Read the Entry Requirements. (This may be easier than you supposed.) But remember…there are no mulligans and no grading on the curve. 

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”Jesus

  
How paradoxical that you lose if you try more than believe. You lose if you work to the neglect of His work. The beauty of completeness of God in Creation as I see represented in George’s picture cannot be improved upon. It was all “very good.” In similar fashion the work of the new creation established by Christ by His labor for profit of His people is complete, “It is finished.” He entered into His rest. He sat down at the Father’s right hand “after He had made purification for sins.” Heaven and earth are one. Reconciled. All rebels are called to stack arms and sign terms of peace. We “have peace with God through Christ…” Herein we too find rest through and in Him. We bring nothing to the table but need and thirst that He alone can satisfy. “In Him we are made complete. And He is the Head over all things…” We enjoy peace; hostilities have ceased. “He has commanded all men everywhere to repent and believe.” Now how hard is that?



These principles of representation and substitution are at the heart of the gospel of peace, for therein is the imputed righteousness of Christ revealed. (That’s the one that counts!) The righteousness that sustains us in the coming Day is righteousness revealed to those who become as children in the Gospel, “from faith to faith, just as it is written, but the righteous man shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1)

We who believe embrace the truth of Jesus’ words, “The flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life.” Those who rest in Christ are beginning to understand the paradox that the harder we work to outdo the scribes and Pharisees the more of their likeness we embrace. Righteousness is not a badge of honor to be adorned and worn as we stand and primp in front of a mirror gazing upon our own beauty; it is a gift to be received as we gaze upon His beauty, His stunning and redemptive perfection. We are content to boast in the Lord. “Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”

I recently heard Doug Wilson say, “If you have never been accused of antinomianism you probably are not clearly preaching the gospel of free grace.” (I had basically just accused him of that, kinda-sorta, for liberty he took in some statements of “God not caring about a believer’s sin,” and he graciously gave helpful clarification at the recent 2016 Auburn Avenue Pastors’ Conference.) His defense of grace made an indelible impression upon me. I believe it true. Wilson pointed out that Paul spent an abundance of his time defending His gospel against this very charge. 

Why not close here?
Philippians 3:7-11

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.