{November 20, 2022}

Heartland Community Church


Slow To Get Angry

By Bill McMurtrey

Have you ever said something that you later . . . or instantly . . . wished that you hadn’t and could take back? We all know that old saying, "Don’t let your anger get the best of you.” Too often, it does.

Ever get mad because the car in front of you veered over without any notice? No blinker, no hand signals, nothing. Just “bam” there they were, all while you’re hitting your brakes trying not to hit them. Our first instinct is usually anger. We were wronged, maybe wave that "special" hand gesture, or start honking and hollering.
I was out running errands one night and found myself driving between a Walmart and a Lowes. I was on the garden side of the Lowes where they have the big giant gates to bring freight in and out. Though it wasn’t really dark yet it was getting closer to dusk. I wasn’t up next to the building, I was out in the center of the 2 stores. In a moment’s notice, without warning, a forklift operator came flying out the gates with a stacked pallet and almost t-boned me in my car. She (let’s call her Sally) didn’t have a spotter, and was definitely going way too fast. Luckily there weren’t any other cars around us and I was able to swerve, a really big swerve of about 5-6 feet, and avoid not getting hit. 

My first instinct was anger. I’ve shared before that I want my children to know, understand and utilize the principle that, “Life is only 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react.”  After I parked my car and allowed my heart to stop racing, I wanted to go over and ask her what was wrong with her, tell her what a jerk she was, and then tell her what I thought of her forklift driving skills. But I didn’t.

Instead I took a look around, I saw several pallets of freight. And only Sally moving them. I calmly walked over, saw the fear in her eyes, and simply asked, “Are you okay?” She was in shock and disbelief as she fought back her tears while apologizing to me, sharing with me how overwhelmed she was that she had to have all of that stuff moved before she could go home and it was only her. I then asked her if she needed help. That’s how our friendship began. 

The outcome from that encounter could have turned out a couple of different ways. But by slowing myself down, and considering what Sally might be going through that made her drive like that, I was able to respond instead of react, and anger didn’t get the best of me.

One of my saving graces is having a knack for turning lemons into lemonade. Being slow to anger by slowing myself down and considering what the other person is going through seems to help in that process. Since I adopted it years ago it has served me well. What helps you be a “slow to become angry” person?



{Sunday, November 20}

Read Ephesians 4:26-27

As Paul seeks to encourage and energize the faith of the Jesus followers in Ephesus, he challenges them to not let the sun set on anger. What do you see as the benefit of this practice? How have you experienced slowing, controlling, and addressing your anger in a responsive vs reactive way? Where do you need Jesus’ encouragement related to a divided relationship this week?


Reading Through Romans

For the next month we will focus our daily reflections on the book of Romans, Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome. The awesome thing about this book is the bold declaration that Jesus and the good news he carried into the world was for everyone . . . all who choose to believe and explore how to follow Jesus have access to this hope and all of his promises. Check out this overview of Romans 1-4, and Romans 5-16 from our friends at The Bible Project.


{Monday, November 21}

Read Romans 9:25-33

This passage is a beautiful reminder that Jesus made a straight path to reconcile every human being–every single one of us–to God. The only thing required of us is to trust him and turn toward him as we live out our days. We are also reminded here that keeping of the law was not what renconciled people to God. Trust and following well are all that is required, from the very first people, to every one of us today. How do these truths make you feel? Take some time today considering the paths Jesus made straight that are leading you toward him. How would you word a prayer of thanks to him?


{Tuesday, November 22}

Read Romans 10:1-21

Chapter 10 continues the teaching that everyone has access to a relationship with Jesus now, and the hope of eternal life going forward.

"But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”"

I want to call our attention to these words midchapter. How did you first learn about Jesus? What led you to believe in him? Who shared the good news of Jesus with you? Who have you, in turn, shared that good news with? Take some time this week and ask Jesus to reveal to you where your story of faith could be carried as a story of hope to someone else.


{Wednesday, November 23}

Read Romans 11:1-12

Write down in specifics how God’s kindness and grace met you and are changing your life today. Give thanks today for the incredible gift that is grace–an undeserved love and forgiveness that you can receive, or have received, from God. Take note that this is your story–the one you could share with others as a message of good news.


{Thursday, November 24}

Read Romans 11:13-24

"You are just a branch, not the root." I love how that verse right-sizes us, and reminds us that comparison is a bad path to travel. I am no better than the person who came to faith under the law, and struggles to remain faithful in keeping the law. The only one who can compare one to another is God, and even he does so with the desire that ALL of us would turn to him, trust him, and be grafted into his family tree. He is the root of who I am. My identity is rooted in Jesus, and when I get that right, I can trust that I am walking the path he has planned for me. How might you right-size yourself in a conversation with God today? Where do you need a right-sized perspective of self, God, and all of humanity?


{Friday, November 25}

Read Romans 11:25-36

This passage feels like a depiction of the circle of life. The Israelites are God’s chosen, but rebelled. That opened a path for Gentiles (literally, everyone else, including you and I) to draw near and be part of God’s family. Through God’s grace and forgiveness toward us, he will lead the descendants of the early believers back to faith in him. Take time today to pray over the circle of faith and life. Who in your life led you to faith–give thanks. Who is in your life that needs your invitation to consider following Jesus, and entering into this family of faith–pray for opportunity.


{Saturday, November 26}

Read Romans 12:1-21

So much in this chapter! Give yourself time to read the passage 3 times. The first time notice what jumps out at you. Circle any words or phrases that intrigue you the second time. On your third reading, ask God to reveal what he wants you to take to heart in the scripture. Pray over that this weekend, and allow God to guide your thoughts and actions around the piece you are taking to heart.


{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources). You can also download The Bible Project App HERE.

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get the free YouVersion Bible for your phone, tablet, or computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

The Bible App For Kids YouVersion partnered with OneHope to develop the Bible App for Kids, designing it specifically to engage children with Bible stories on an age-appropriate level. The Bible App for Kids is a free app for Android, Apple, and Kindle devices, available in over 60 languages.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

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12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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