Back to School Clothes

Back to School Clothes

Ephesians 6:10-20 Today the kids go back to school – my two, and all the kids here in Cherokee County, NC.  All over social media you can find pictures of fresh-faced students in their back-to-school clothes. Ah – that first outfit.  On it will rest the hopes and fears of all the [school] year.  Or was that just me? The back-to-school outfit was so important to me, I can clearly remember a couple of them.  Like the stonewashed pair of Guess jeans that were so tight, they had zippers at the ankles to get them over my feet and I had to lay down on my bed to button them up.  At the other end of the spectrum were the wide-legged JNCO pants that I bought with my own money – because my mother would never have financed that foolish endeavor. My style changed from year to year… but my hope to put my best foot forward remained the same.  My secret dream was that the campus came might come to a state of hushed awe when I stepped out of the car.  “Wow, Mary really changed over the summer!”  “She looks great!”  “Maybe I should ask her to go to homecoming!”  “Maybe we should make her the homecoming queen!” Of course, that fantasy is only for the world of teeny-bop coming-of-age movies.  But it does make a difference to have the right outfit, does it not?  A little extra confidence and a good first impression can go a long way. That’s what draws me to Ephesians 6:  this idea of putting on the right things.  Not clothes –...
How (and how not) to be angry

How (and how not) to be angry

“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). How can we be angry, but not sin? That’s the goal that Ephesians puts in front of us.  Not to not be angry – but when we get angry, to do it without sinning. All week long I’ve been trying to figure out just how to do that.  Anger is a powerful but dangerous emotion, one that can easily get away from us.  If we’re not careful… While I’m sure you’ve never grown muscles and turned green in your anger… I bet you’ve had your anger turn you into something you’re not (or don’t want to be).  How can we be angry, without those kinds of things happening? For starters – I think we want to be angry like God is angry.  Six times Scripture describes God as “slow to anger” (Exod 34:6, Num 14:18, Neh 9:17, and Pss 86:15, 103:8, 145:8).  The Psalms match this description with “merciful and gracious” in each instance.  I’ll back that up with personal testimony, as this has been my own experience of God:  full of mercy and grace, slow to be angry. But let’s not confuse that with never getting angry. If you’ve read the Old Testament, you are well aware of God’s anger.  God gets angry so often we might question the “slowness” of it:  when people do what is evil (Deut 4:25), break his covenant (Josh 23:16), or worship other gods (Deut 6:15, Judg 2:12).  God gets angry when the Israelites touch things they’re not...