Each summer, I plant zinnia seeds harvested from the previous year’s planting. Butterflies and hummingbirds swarm the tops of the flowers, seeking the sweet nectar presented in little 5-pointed yellow flasks. Goldfinches pluck petals while clinging to the stems just under the flowers; treats in the form of seeds present themselves at the base of each petal. Small piles of rejected petals collect on the leaves as evidence of a goldfinch satisfying his hunger.
Included in the requirements for a college degree was the obligatory psychology class lesson on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. As psychology was a general education class for me and not part of my major, I must have pushed the lesson to the back of my mind. However, it was not altogether forgotten. This message in Pastor Bryce Beale’s series “Christ and No More” brought Maslow’s theory to the forefront of my mind for good purpose – to abolish it!
At times in my life, I have found myself angry or bitter, but seemingly unable to figure out how to “not be angry.” It just doesn’t seem to be as easy as that. However, at the conclusion of my reading of Jonathan Edwards’ message, “Charity Disposes Us Meekly to Bear the Injuries Received from Others,” I found that I was no longer angry about a situation with a doctor, and I was glad.
God’s patience with me not only causes me to want to imitate Him, but it also creates in me a desire to express my gratitude to Him by obediently being patient with others. This is the second point made by Jonathan Edwards in his sermon on how to meekly bear with others with a loving and forgiving heart.Read More »
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
There was a day recently when I was feeling inclined toward bitterness regarding a particular doctor’s ill-treatment of two of our children. My babies have suffered greatly for a long time while seeking help for a medical issue, help that hasn’t been helpful after all. Despite objective evidence to the contrary, this doctor insisted that the prescriptions he ordered were doing what he said they do. Even the ineffectiveness of doses beyond the standards would not sway his steadfast opinion that his methods were correct.
From Charles Spurgeon’s Verse Exposition on Job 19
See the gardener going up to that beautiful tree. He takes out a sharp knife, feels its edge to be sure that it is keen, and then he begins pruning it here, gashing it there, and making it to bleed in another place, as if he were going to cut it all to pieces. Yet all that is not because he has any anger against the tree; but, on the contrary, because he greatly values it, and wishes it to bring forth more fruit than it has ever done. Do not think that God’s sharpest knife means death to His loved ones; it means more life, and a richer, fuller life.