Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Way to Cure Your Anger Problem

When we moved from Kansas to Georgia, my new job required me to start work before I could get my family moved. My wife stayed behind and cleaned out the house, getting rid of many things so we wouldn't have to move them.
      After we got settled in Georgia, I couldn’t find several items I had been looking for. One of those things was a carved wooden elephant that my mother had given to me. I said, “Honey, have you seen my wooden elephant? I can’t find it anywhere.”
      She said, “Well, uh, I sold it in the garage sale. I didn’t think you wanted it.”
      “You what?” I said in disbelief. “You sold my elephant in a garage sale? I loved that elephant! Why did you do that?” It really upset me that she had sold my prized possession for a few bucks.
      Sometimes God can speak unexpectedly, and in this case He did. As I was thinking about my loss, He said, “Why don’t you give the elephant to me?”
      “Because I don’t have it anymore,” I answered. “How can I give it to you if I don’t have it?”
      The Lord said, “It’s still in your heart. You can offer it to me as a gift.”
      I had never thought of that before. And so I did. I prayed, “Lord, I want to give you the wooden elephant as an offering. Even though I don’t own it anymore, it’s still in my heart, and I give it to you. It’s yours and I won’t ask for it back. Amen.”
      Suddenly I wasn’t angry anymore! How could I be mad about something that I had placed in God’s hands as a gift? I realized that I had discovered a truth that I could share with others. Since then, I’ve shared this experience with others who were upset over things they couldn’t recover. Just offer it to God as an offering.
      Later I was in a store and spotted a miniature elephant about the same size as my wooden one (see the above picture). I felt as though God wanted to replace the one I had given up, and since it was only $15, I bought it.
      Sometimes, if you’ll react in the right way and do what God says, He will find a way to make it up to you. (Slaying Your Giants, Hendrickson Publishers, 2013, p. 136.)
Read sample chapters of Slaying Your Giants at

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

If Chimps Could Talk

Chimpanzees have actually been taught how to use sign language, and what they have to say is revealing. Stephen Pinker, in his book The Language Instinct, talks about chimps expressing their thoughts through sign language. A chimp named Nim gave this message: "Nim eat Nim eat. Give orange me give eat orange me eat orange give me eat orange give me you."

Examining the chimp's messages, two things stand out. First, Nim tends to say the same things over and over. Second, nearly every sentence Nim utters is a personal request. (Marv Hinten, Light & Life, March/April 2004)

Now suppose that chimps were taught to pray to God. What would their prayers sound like? Reflecting on Nim's examples, we can assume chimp prayers would be repetitive and self-centered. "Me banana You banana me You give banana me eat." That sounds a lot like human prayers!

I'll admit that I sometimes sound like Nim when I pray.  I've prayed monkey prayers, repeatedly telling God what I want.  Jesus instructed us to not get caught in that trap. "And when you are praying do not use meaningless repetitions as the Gentiles do" (Matt. 6:7).

Perhaps we need to learn to pray in a new way.  Instead of repeatedly telling God what we want (you give banana me eat), maybe we need to intercede for someone we've never prayed for before. Can you think of someone on this planet who needs your prayers? Anyone? Maybe if we'll spend more time interceding for others, God will also give us what we want, even if we don't ask for it.

Coming April 30, 2013: Slaying Your Giants by Kent Crockett (Hendrickson Publishers)