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The Hunt for the White Whale of Anger

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18 NIV)

אִ֣ישׁ חֵ֭מָה יְגָרֶ֣ה מָד֑וֹן וְאֶ֥רֶך אַ֝פַּ֗יִם יַשְׁקִ֥יט רִֽיב׃

Recently I completed reading Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The novel tells a story of revenge and obsession. Captain Ahab, a whaler, loses a leg to a white sperm whale. A smoldering anger begins to grow in the one-legged captain.

Captain Ahab’s anger grows into a fixation on revenge against the sea monster. As his hatred grows, so does his lack of wisdom. On his final whale-hunting trip, the driving force in his soul begins to override good judgment, putting the man, the crew, and his ship into hazardous situations.

As the captain hurls Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_miro3d'>miro3d / 123RF Stock Photo</a>his ship, the Pequod, into the perilous seas of hate, his opportunity to take vengeance finally arrives. The white whale is within Ahab’s grasp.  His desire for revenge grows deeper, ignoring every danger. In the end, the ship is lost; the crew, is lost; and Ahab loses both his quest and his life. The white whale has won

In Proverbs 15:18 King Solomon once again acknowledges the power of unharnessed anger. In Proverbs 15:1 Solomon previously addressed the power of anger and response of the person on the receiving end,  “A gentle answer turns away wrath . . . ” (15:1).  However, in verse 18 his advice for removing the harpoon out of the hands of an angry person takes a different turn.

In response to my article on Proverbs 15:1, one reader commented the advice of Solomon is unworkable. A fair question. Face it, we all have tried to cool down a heated argument with a calm response,  but the flames rose higher regardless.  

Is there something we can do to convince an angry individual to drop his sharpened missile? (more…)

Need a foolproof map to guide your life?

“The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.”
Proverbs 14:15 NIV

פֶּ֭תִי יַאֲמִ֣ין לְכָל־דָּבָ֑ר וְ֝עָר֗וּם יָבִ֥ין לַאֲשֻׁרֹֽו׃

Picture a seasoned team of seamen with years of sailing experience making a blunder that practically shipwrecked their vessel. Remarkably, the 19th century polar expedition of the USS Jeannette, commandeered by Lieutenant George De Long ended in complete failure.

Captain De Long and his crew became thoroughly disoriented on their trek—not because of a faulty compass, but because of a mistaken map. De Long’s quest rested on a picture of the North Pole laid out in the maps of Dr. August Heinrich Petermann.

Petermann’s maps propCopyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_mcolleen'>mcolleen / 123RF Stock Photo</a>osed a “thermometric gateway” through the ice that opened onto a vast “polar sea” beyond the ice. As it turned out the ship was sailing to a world that didn’t exist.

Rather than an open polar sea, the crew observed the perilous ice surrounding the ship. Immediately, the  erroneous maps were scrapped and replaced with a comprehension of the way the Arctic truly is

Most readers conclude from this account Christians need a foolproof map from God to navigate His will.

Wrong!

I share this dramatic story to explain this is NOT how to identify God’s will.

The Lord does not have a hidden, faultless map to lead us to a treasure chest of priceless doubloons, aka His divine plan.

If there isn’t a GPS to steer us to the Lord’s will, what does Solomon in Proverbs 14:15 instruct us to do or not do to remove the mystery attached to “finding the will of God”. (more…)

Hell No!

Hell is a serious issue.  Make no mistake about it, there’s no room for theological mistakes when it comes to what you believe about hell.

On the subject of hell, it’s Rob Bell’s questioning of the biblical teaching on hell in his book Love Wins that earned him the notoriety of being on the cover of  Time magazine

In his introduction to the subject of hell, Bell breaks down traditional Christianity into one simple formula:  If you sin, refuse to repent, harden your heart, reject Jesus, and when you die, it’s over (pg. 64). You’re going to hell.

A Loving God Would Not Send Anyone to Hell

The writer then sets up the reader by reminding us that God is loving and kind and full of grace and mercy, and then hints it would be out of character for God to send anyone to hell. What a classic set-up!  Here’s another more creative way of saying the same thing: “Why would a good God send anyone to hell?  After all, people are good and no one deserves to be assigned to hell by a loving God.”

Does Bell even consider the fact God sent His Son to the cross to due for our sins to keep us from going to hell?   I hope so.  (more…)

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