Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Monday, April 25, 2016

Today's Scripture

"Let us test and examine our ways." (Lamentations 3:40 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

Have you ever experienced marital conflict? Parenting issues? Relationship challenges? Depression? Grief? Most of us can identify with at least one or two of these or similar challenges. During the experience did you ever feel angry? Did you admit that you were angry? Often the anger is there bubbling beneath the surface, but we do not recognize it as a problem or issue. Instead we deny or hide it.
 
Anger may be the most common emotion we humans share, yet most of us don't want to be examples of losing our temper. We would rather appear as controlled, calm, and peaceful. However, anger is part of being human. All of us have lost our temper and lashed out at God, ourselves, or others. Often we hold the anger in—silently boiling in rage or frustration at someone or something. Have you ever done this? Perhaps you are reluctant to come to terms with the fact that we are people who get angry. Anger is not a passing fad or "psychological issue" that demands our brief attention. Anger is here to stay. It has been here since creation and still is—just look around. 

Consider this …

Although we may not want to admit it, everyone does get angry. Think about it. Anger is one of the earliest emotions expressed by an infant. As the baby develops some security with parents, he or she will begin to display anger and rage, usually because of an unmet need. We have all seen that sweet little baby stiffen his body, take on an angry facial expression, and scream in anger. As adults, we may not display our anger in the same ways a baby does. Sometimes we may verbalize or lash out in some way, but often we will deny the anger—even to ourselves.

How about you? Are you angry about something? Today's scripture calls us to "test and examine our ways." Are you willing to do that? You must recognize and admit your anger before you can begin to deal with it.

Prayer

Father, if I'm going to be honest with you—and with myself—I must confess I have been harboring anger. Forgive me for not admitting it sooner. Help me understand the source of my anger and give me wisdom about how to deal with it. In Jesus' name . . .
 


These thoughts were drawn from …



Anger: Our Master or Our Servant
by Larry Heath. This study offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. It not only ministers to church members, but serves as a powerful evangelistic tool. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


 

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©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Today's Scripture

"Short-tempered people do foolish things." (Proverbs 14:17 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

Anger in daily life can range from irritation to explosive responses. Without emotional expression, life would be "unfelt" and appear as only rational or cognitive. However, thoughts and behaviors are connected to our feelings. Rational thought alone will not provide the energy needed to function as human beings in experiencing life. We all require feelings to motivate us sufficiently to do the enjoyable in life as well as experience suffering and pain. Anger is one of those feelings.
 
We all feel angry at times. It may be righteous anger . . . or anger aroused by selfishness. We can choose how to respond to that anger. As today's scripture points out, we sometimes make matters worse because we respond with foolish behavior. Children, youth, and adults differ in their expression of anger. Children may yell, pout, hit, or even become depressed by holding in the anger. Teens may respond to their anger with by withdrawing, becoming isolated, fighting with peers and siblings, or becoming aggressive with parents, teachers, and authority figures. Adults often express their anger through bitterness, resentment, self-pity, and depression.

Consider this …

It is important that we learn to manage our responses to anger rather than just erupting and lashing out at others . . . or holding everything in. The Bible makes it clear that anger is an ethically neutral instrument or force that we can use to glorify God rather than for expressing sinful thoughts or behaviors. It has potential for danger and can lead to sin.  God wants us to deal with it quickly—and wisely—lest it lead to greater harm. "And 'don’t sin by letting anger control you.' Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil" (Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT).
 
Christian mental and spiritual health that can help us manage anger wisely is characterized by humility, teachability, and peace—not a stubborn, angry, unteachable spirit that gives Satan a foothold.

Prayer

Father, I know that sometimes I let anger take over and I respond foolishly. Please forgive me. Help me to be more teachable and humble. I know I need your help to manage my anger wisely. In Jesus' name . . .

 

These thoughts were drawn from …



Anger: Our Master or Our Servant
by Larry Heath. This study offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. It not only ministers to church members, but serves as a powerful evangelistic tool. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


 

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©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Today's Scripture

"And 'don’t sin by letting anger control you.'" (Ephesians 4:26 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

Anger is a normal emotion we can use for either good or evil. Even Jesus experienced anger—and he expressed it. But He always used it for good. One example can be found in Mark 3:1-6. The Pharisees wanted to find some reason to trap Jesus. They watched him carefully to see if he would break the law of the Sabbath by healing a man. Jesus was angered at their lack of compassion and disregard for healing. He healed the man immediately! 
 
Another example can be found in Matthew 21:12-17. The Temple had become a commercialized marketplace instead of a house of prayer. Jesus drove out the merchants and turned over the tables of the money changers. In verse 13 (NLT), he angrily declared, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
 
Did Jesus sin by becoming angry? Of course not. We know he was without sin. "This High Priest of ours [Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15 NLT). He expressed anger over ungodly actions and attitudes. Through his anger he rebuked and taught—and glorified God. Anger was his servant, not his master.

Consider this …

The Bible encourages us to find ways to manage our anger. To make it our servant rather than our master. As we accept anger as a common part of life, we must learn scriptural, practical, and healthy ways to make anger our servant. 
 
Is anger your servant . . . or your master? Perhaps you are not sure. Consider keeping an anger log this week. Ask yourself the following questions at the end of each day and record the number.* 
  • How many times did I get angry inwardly or outwardly? 
  • On the average, from 1-10, what was the intensity of my anger today? 
  • How many minutes did I usually remain angry? (Use an average.) 
  • How many times did my anger lead to positive expression? 
  • How many times did my anger lead to negative expression? 
  • On the average did my anger today help or hinder relationships? (9=helpful; 1=disaster)
Keeping this log could be a real eye-opener for you. Ask God to help you take steps to make anger your servant, not your master.

Prayer

Father, I know sometimes I hold on to my anger. I often use it in negative ways and have hurt some people along the way. Please forgive me and help me make anger my servant instead of my master. In Jesus' name . . .

 
*Questions taken from When Anger Hits Home by Gary Jackson Oliver and H. Norman Wright, Moody Press, 1992. Used by permission.
 

These thoughts were drawn from …



Anger: Our Master or Our Servant
by Larry Heath. This study offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. It not only ministers to church members, but serves as a powerful evangelistic tool. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


 

Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Today's Scripture

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." (Hebrews 12:15 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

Unresolved anger can lead to a "root of bitterness" and wreak havoc on a person's emotional life and personal relationships. Unchecked resentment can grow into hatred and could even lead to physical or verbal abuse. 
 
Genesis 4:1-8 tells about this happening between two of Adam and Eve's sons, Cain and Abel. Cain was jealous of Abel and the resentment grew and festered to the point that anger became his master. The result? Cain killed Abel.
 
Of course, unchecked anger doesn't always lead to murder but it can lead to other painful results. Angry words we can't take back. Depression. Broken friendships. Divorce. Losing our focus on Jesus and what he wants us to do. The list is endless.

Consider this …

Are you having a problem dealing with anger? Is anger ruining a special relationship? Prayerfully consider these scriptures and others like them. What answers do they provide? How can you apply them to your situation?
 
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 NLT)
 
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye." (Matthew 7:3-5 NLT)
 
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16 NLT)
 
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)
 
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1:19-20 NLT)
 
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ. (Ephesians 4:15 NLT)

Prayer

Father, I know my anger has affected my relationships. In fact, it seems to control my attitudes and behavior much of the time. Please help me apply the teaching in your Word to my life. Help me let go of the anger so your love can flow through me to others. In Jesus' name . . .

 

These thoughts were drawn from …



Anger: Our Master or Our Servant
by Larry Heath. This study offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. It not only ministers to church members, but serves as a powerful evangelistic tool. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


 

Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Friday, April 29, 2016

Today's Scripture

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

Part of making anger your servant instead of your master involves making choices. Make choices about how you will respond when those feelings of anger are rising up in you. Choose to keep your words and your attitude pleasing to the Lord. And ask God to help you do that.
 
A good place to start is to examine how you are expressing anger now and then prayerfully overcoming the negative responses with positive ones.
 
Think of the people in your life: spouse, children, parents, employer, coworkers, friends, and others. Have you expressed anger to any of them recently? How? By holding it back? By expressing it indirectly? By expressing it directly? In each instance, how did they respond to your expression of anger?
 
What can you do to make your expression of anger healthier and more productive? Set some goals and ask God to help you meet them.

Consider this …

Use these scriptures and others like them to guide you in your goal setting:
 
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)
 
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1 NLT)
 
Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4 NLT)
 
There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. (Proverbs 29:20 NLT)
 
A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted. (Proverbs 12:16 NLT)
 
Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT)
 
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 3:13 NLT)
 
"Do to others as you would like them to do to you." (Luke 6:31 NLT)
 
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4:2 NLT)
 
"But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" (Matthew 5:44 NLT)

Prayer

Father, help me be more aware of how I am expressing my anger. Give me the wisdom and strength to make right choices. I pray that anger will be my servant, not my master, and that I will use anger only for God's glory. In Jesus' name . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …



Anger: Our Master or Our Servant
by Larry Heath. This study offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. It not only ministers to church members, but serves as a powerful evangelistic tool. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


 

Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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