Let All Bitterness And Wrath And Anger And Clamor And Slander Be Put Away From You Along With All Malice

by Mike Ratliff

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV)

Steel is made through the smelting of iron ore. Iron becomes steel as carbon is added while the iron is very hot. What makes steel much harder than iron was not really understood by the ancients who created it. All they knew was that at a certain point in the shaping of a sword they would lay the red hot blade into the coals for a few minutes then resume the process of hammering, cooling in water, re-heating, hammering, cooling in water, et cetera. The finished product was a sword that would not bend in battle and could be sharpened over and over. The blade was actually made up of many pieces of iron rods that were heated, flattened, and folded upon themselves over and over. It was hard work, but that was what it took to create a fine, usable steel sword.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

When we are born of the Spirit at regeneration we are new creations. However, that does not mean that we become instantly sinless. Nor does it mean that we are instantly mature and able to know the will of God in walking before Him for His glory alone. No, these attributes come over time and after much “smelting, hammering, cooling, re-heating of us in the fires of sanctification. When I was a young Christian I remember many times being on the verge of walking away from my faith. Why? It seemed that I was “in the fire” all the time. I am very glad that God preserved me, but I want to share with all of you reading this that God has not stopped this process in me. I have been a believer since 1986, but I am no where near complete and this is obvious as God has not relented in showing me how much I must suffer for the name of Christ. Continue reading

Doest thou well to be angry?

I had a rough day today. it wasn’t a few big problems just a lot small aggravations. I had to pay a visit to my heart doctor today. He is in a very large hospital. We had to fill out lots of long forms. I had to reply to questions that were really aggravating like, “Are you depressed?” and then others that were related to it. I am not depressed, nor was I as I went through that process, but I was aggravated or annoyed, if you know what I mean. I had to have an EKG done and then I got to see my doctor. He said I was doing great physically and he saw no reason why I couldn’t get back to working out again, hiking, etc. within reason of course. Then we got to leave. Our van had been parked by valet parking so we had to wait our turn to get it back and so we stood on the curb while the only valet Parker working at that time day had to handle cars coming in and those of us leaving. Did I mention how hot it was out there today? in any case, I am very glad to be home.

The other main aggravation I have is my own fault. I translated all of the NA28 Greek New Testament to English a few years ago. I have had several people contact me who are interested in it. I had a computer crash since then and even though everything is back up, I replaced my old MacBook Pro which I used to do the translation work with a new MacBook Air 2020 M1 Silcon system. What that means is that the software I used do the translation work runs only on the old PowerPC Macs and Will NOT run on the new Macs like mine. I have my translation files. I have the program files. I just don’t have an old Mac to run them on. I do have Parallels on my new Mac and it can run other Operating systems on it in emulation mode  on my new Mac. I have been unsuccessfully trying to load the old OSX that I ran on my old MacBook Pro into Parallels, but it refuses to load it. Blah.

This is 1,000 times more mind bending than any of the Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy stuff they have been making me do in Therapy since I had my stroke. I feel like I have a plan, but nothing I try to  make it work actually works. So, I guess the best way to describe where I am at right now is Frustrated! I am not angry with anyone other than myself for this problem. The only other thing I could do is to redo the translations and that is without the translations software. I need some prayer and encouragement. Then I thought of Jonah after I read this devotion this morning.

9 Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” Jonah 4:9 (NASB)

The following Devotion is from Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning for July 13.

“God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry?”—Jonah 4:9.

ANGER is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this enquiry, “Doest thou well to be angry?” It may be that we can answer, “YES.” Very frequently anger is the madman’s firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, “NO.” Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honourable to our Christian profession, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature. Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Some one told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. “Yes,” said he, “but the fruit will not be crabs.” We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

Soli Deo Gloria!