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An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Proverbs 29:22

Way up in northernMinnesotaa small stream barely 40 feet wide and ankle deep begins its slow meandering south. By the time the mighty Mississippi River reaches the Gulf of Mexico, some 2,500 miles and 90 days later it is 200 feet deep and several miles wide!

The mighty Miss has been the subject of many stories throughout history. Some whimsical and romantic, some terrifying and dangerous.

The river is deceptive. Although the surface can look calm and inviting, just below the glass-like appearance is a churning monster that has taken many lives, destroyed homes and farmland and wreaked havoc in its path.

The Mississippi has a lot of similarities to anger. Anger, like theMississippi, can start relatively small. Little things like waking up late can grow as the kids are slow getting ready for school and miss the bus, the car won’t start, you get cut off on the interstate, stuck in traffic and late to work.

Like tributaries add to the Mighty Miss, life circumstances add to the anger. Co-workers fail to pull their weight, the food delivered at lunch isn’t right, and the trip home from work is every bit as frustrating.

By the time you open the front door you are just like the Mighty Miss. On the outside you may look calm and serene. But just below the surface you are ready to lash out at the smallest infraction.

Anger can be most destructive because it lurks below the surface, ready to strike.  Like a raging river it destroys everything in its path, completely unconcerned about whether its destruction is of innocent or guilty parties. Anger, when unchecked can cripple us internally by leading to frustration, vindictiveness, bitterness and a critical spirit.

Physically anger can affect us too by leading to ulcers, heart problems and a variety of other maladies. Anger is a relationship buster as well.

So what can we do with anger? First of all, don’t let it grow. Take it to the Lord as soon as you sense anger beginning to grow. Jesus understands what frustration is like, He knows what it is like to be mistreated, misunderstood and wrongfully accused. He sees your attempts to do the right thing, and your failure to accomplish your goals.

Many times anger happens when we lose sight of who we are in Christ. Focusing on his love for us and his understanding of our frustrations is the first step to dealing with the anger issues. Realizing that we are not responsible for the behavior of others releases us to let God be God in the lives of those who disappoint us. Trust in God to do the right thing in his time can go a long ways to defeating anger and it’s destructive results before they happen.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess to you that I’m angry. I’m disappointed with the way life is treating me. I’m frustrated because I can’t seem to accomplish the things I set out to do. I’m tired of being falsely accused and misunderstood. Empower me with your Spirit to squelch feelings of anger before they start. Protect me from allowing my circumstances to affect my attitude. In Jesus name, Amen.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. Psalm 46:4

It’s only three feet deep and about 20 feet across, yet 2,348 miles later the mighty Mississippi River enters the gulf of Mexico. Along its way hundreds of streams and rivers join the Mississippi, making it one of the largest rivers in the world.

The Psalmist talks about a river that makes the city of God glad. The city of God is a symbolic term for the Church, the body of Christ, those who have chosen to be Christ-followers. The river reminds us of the many blessings that God has bestowed on His people.

Rivers have always been as source of prosperity and security to people. Even in the driest of times rivers provide water, food and protection. When the psalmist wrote this verse he could very well have been thinking about how important rivers were to the safety of a city. Many were built along or on either side of a river. Walls surrounded the city for protection. Many a city fell when invading armies would stop the flow of water to the city, thus eventually rendering it defenseless.

God’s blessings to His church never run dry. No enemy can divert the flow of His grace to His people. His blessings aren’t like the Mississippi at its beginning, small and insignificant. His blessings to us are endless because of His great love for us.

As followers of Jesus we have the promise of forgiveness even when we sin time and again. We are always forgiven. We have the promise of the Holy Spirit of God living within us to guide us, and give us wisdom. We have the Word of God, the Holy Bible to teach us about God and to show us how to live for Him.

Because of these blessings and many more we, as Christ-followers must use the blessings we’ve received to bless those around us.

PRAYER: Father, as I think of all the blessings you have given me, I am in awe that you even consider me. I’m stubborn, selfish and easily prone to sin and worry. Yet your blessings keep coming! You protect me and provide for me physically and spiritually if I will follow you. I praise you today that nothing can keep me from experiencing your blessing. I ask that you would empower me to bless others as I have been blessed by you. Amen.

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July 2022
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