Anger

See “Yourself” Through Scripture No Matter What…..

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To be rooted is perhaps the most
important and least recognized need of
the human soul.

Simone Weil

The year was 1858 and the Illinois legislature used what might be called a dirty political trick. The legislature gave newly elected U.S. Senate seat not to the man who won the popular vote but to the man who had the most support from the Illinois legislature. The man sent to the US Senate was Stephen A Douglas and the man left behind was Abraham Lincoln. A concerned friend asked Lincoln how he felt and this is what he said: “Like the boy who stubbed his toe: I am too big to cry and too badly hurt to laugh.” 

What is rejection?
Webster defines rejection as to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use to refuse to hear, receive, or admit

Rejection is a part of life and at some point we are all going to feel the cold sting of rejection. Rejection is something that we have all dealt with. Whether it’s on a personal level or a professional level, the sting is still there. 

We have felt the familiar pain of rejection in a variety of ways. The job or promotion we were not given, the loan that your bank turned down, the position that you were not given, the family member that stopped speaking to you. Rejection happens to us all and rejection inflicts pain. It comes and drives its fangs into our heart and unleashes its poison. 

You can take heart because if you have ever felt rejection, then you are in good company. There were many that felt the sting of rejection throughout the pages of the Bible.


Adam and Eve rejected the command of God 

Jeremiah was rejected by the people of his day and was thrown into a well

Jonah rejected the people of Ninevah after they repented

Jesus was rejected by the society and religious leadership of His day

Peter rejected Jesus by denying Him three times

Stephen was rejected and executed by the Sanhedrin

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My own thinking sometimes rejects my faith thoughts and at that very moment the battle begins. My creativity is at risk and my resolve to forge ahead is stifled. In trying to partner with God on this vision of Second Chance Alliance I am really at my wits end concerning fund raising and the philanthropic aspects associated with measuring success.  The concept of rejecting yourself is more apparent than from outside entities.

Rejection Started in Joseph’s home  in Genesis 37:3

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

When we first meet Joseph he had a favored position in his household. He seems to play the role of the spoiled child. He is the one whom his father played favorites with. To further make the favoritism known, Joseph was given an expensive robe to wear. This would have been a symbol of status. We see the response of his brothers to this was not good. 

The writer makes it clear that the brothers hated Joseph because of his favored treatment. The manner of their attitude toward Joseph is seen in their envy, animosity and their jealousy. 

5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

Joseph is given a vision through a dream and makes the mistake of telling his brothers about it. The response is only more of the same. Look at the end of verse 8, they hated him all the more. The burning hatred of Joseph’s brother roared out of control and consumed them. The consuming fire of hate would soon burn Joseph.

Notice the downward spiral that Joseph’s brothers went down and each step brought them one step closer to their rejection.

Bitterness
The brothers were bitter over the special treatment that Joseph received and from the negative report that he gave about them.

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Anger
The brothers became angry over the dreams that Joseph told them about. They felt that he would never have authority over them

Jealousy
The brothers were jealous of Joseph’s special place with their father and with his obvious special abilities.

Resentment
The brothers allowed their negative feelings to linger and then they infected the way they saw Joseph. Notice that they hated Joseph. These are strong words for an even stronger emotion.

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” 21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe–the richly ornamented robe he was wearing– 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. 28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. 29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?” 31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” 33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”

images (1)Notice what happened with the brothers and Joseph:

They mocked him; The brothers saw Joseph coming and they mocked him calling him that dreamer. The fuel of hatred moved them from hard feelings to hard words and hard hearted actions. They plotted against him as the brothers saw Joseph coming, they began to plot how they would attack him. The original plan was that they would kill Joseph and tell their father that he was killed by an animal.

They attacked him: Joseph’s brothers joined together and attacked him. The brothers got the jump on Joseph and physically assaulted him. This means that they grabbed him and held or beat him. No matter what they did they were physically abusive to him.

They stripped him:

The first thing that the brothers do is to take the favored possession from Joseph. The robe that made him the father’s favorite was stripped from him. The symbol of their resentment, jealousy and rage was taken. They took the thing that was withheld from them. In a sense they were stealing their father’s blessing from Joseph.

They threw him:

Before the brothers kill Joseph Reuben stops them and convinces them to put him in a dry cistern. They throw Joseph in and this means none too gently either. A cistern could have been anywhere from 15 to 30 feet deep and could have caused significant injuries.

They sold him:

The brothers agree to not kill Joseph but to teach him a lesson. Judah sees a trade caravan and gets the idea to make some money on the deal and the brothers decide to sell Joseph. Judah makes the plea to not kill Joseph because he is their brother, let’s just sell him instead.

The saddest part of the whole situation was that when they sold Joseph, they did so for the lowest price possible. Twenty shekels was the price for an injured slave. The fact is that they just wanted to be rid of him. Let’s do the math, ten brothers and twenty shekels of silver comes to two shekels each. These brothers sold their brother for about $10 each.

They ignored him:
As Joseph was in the cistern, he cried out for help from his brothers. They ignored him. When they turned him over to slave traders, Joseph cried out to them for help and they ignored him. This may have been the cruelest of all their actions, they heard and did nothing for Joseph.

They buried him:

This is figurative and not literal. The brothers slaughter a goat and dip the robe into it. The whole time trying to make it look like Joseph was attacked by a wild animal. They in essence gave Joseph a burial. They lied and told their father that Joseph was dead.

What do we learn from Joseph in this passage? What can we take away from all this? How do we live in the face of rejection?

Be open:

We have to be willing to be open to the work of God in our lives. Joseph was given the visions of God in dreams. This is an incredible ability. The abilities that you have may not be visions from God but they are equally important to the church. If you allow your life to be open to God, He will decide where, when and how to use you.

Be humble:

One of the downfalls of Joseph was the simple truth that he didn’t keep his mouth shut. Joseph was given a great gift from God but the manner in which he displayed it was totally inappropriate. Pride comes before a fall and Joseph’s pride caused him to be humbled in tragic ways.

Be patient:

Many times we look at the short term effects of the trials we go through and doubt God is using them in a positive way. Before things would improve for Joseph, they would sadly get worse. God is not finished working in us and through us. We cannot judge the outcome by the unfinished product. Allow God to finish what he has started in you.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Never forget that God is not done with your life and making you into the person he knows you can be until you die or Jesus returns. Until then be sure that God is working his plan out in our lives even in the rough spots and the difficult days. This morning if you are dealing with some form of rejection or other form of personal pain, I invite you take a moral inventory of self and give the situation over to God.

Bring the Rain
I can count a million times People asking me how I can praise you with all that I’ve gone through The question just amazes me Can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You Maybe since my life was changed long before these rainy days it’s never really crossed my mind To turn my back on you O lord my only shelter from the storm But instead I grow closer through these times So I pray:

Bring me joy, bring me peace bring the chance to be free bring me anything that brings You glory And I know there’ll be days when this life brings me pain but if that’s what it takes to praise you Jesus bring the rain.

Empower A Felon
Empower A Felon

I Wish You Understood Our Struggle- Fort-Hood Shooting Once Again

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At least one person is dead and 14 others were injured after a shooting erupted in Fort Hood, Texas, which may have involved more than one suspect, according to numerous news outlets.

The entire base is currently under lockdown and multiple victims were reported near the Battle Simulation Center on 65th and Warehouse Ave.

CNN reported that a suspected shooter died during the incident.

The FBI and the ATF were on the scene along with military police and local law enforcement.

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On Monday, Fox News reported that the FBI sent a tip to multiple law enforcement agencies entitled “Planned Ft. Hood-inspired Jihad against US Soldiers by Army Recruit,” which told them to be on the lookout for a recent Army recruit known as “Booker, also known as Mohammad Abdullah Hassan” who was allegedly planning an “imminent jihad.”

But the news outlet updated the story yesterday stating that he was no longer considered an immediate threat by the FBI.

FLASHBACK: FBI, military hunt ex-Army recruit suspected of plotting ‘Ft. Hood-inspired jihad’

Ft. Hood was also the scene of a mass shooting on Nov. 5, 2009 where Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, killed 13 people and injured more than 30 others.

As this day began I arose with anxiety and uncertainty of where I was exactly. After a few hours of reflection I was able to funnel the emotions I was encountering. I was in Kuwait and Desert Shield reliving the trauma associated with each of those encounters. The weather being dark and gloomy coupled with showers didn’t make my emotional state any better.

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The dissociation I experienced before hearing this horrific news of another soldier really made me feel like I just don’t want to be here anymore because I am afraid of acting out like this myself. While all of us would like to believe that we are going to escape the occurrence of terrible events in our lives, the chances are that any one individual will experience at least one major trauma in their life.

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Emotionally overwhelming events can send shock waves through every aspect of our lives. They can damage our psychological stability and take away our sense of well being. Uncontrollable, devastating experiences usually generate feelings of being unsafe, powerless, and vulnerable.

They can cause a group of symptoms called Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is as powerful and difficult to cope with as any other psychological disorder. A traumatic event may be a one time occurrence, such as a serious car accident, witnessing a
murder, or being raped. Or it can be a series of repetitive events such as ongoing incest or combat. Trauma may be physical, psychological, or a combination of both.

 

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Some people react more strongly to such events than others. Or two people may develop different types of psychological symptoms in reaction to trauma. This is because the impact of negative events is heavily influenced by the way in which it is perceived. For example, suppose that two different persons are involved in a car accident. Afterwards, one is frightened and has
difficulty riding in automobiles because they are convinced that they are going to die. They have difficulty driving and are bothered by images of another car running into them head on. They may blame themselves for reacting slowly and not getting out of the way in the original accident.  Another person may react differently. They may totally blame the other driver who hit them. Their reaction may be one of anger and retaliation through lawsuits. For them, the accident may prove that life is unfair and that others cannot be trusted. While they continue to be preoccupied by the wreck, they may have less anxiety and depression. They may instead feel primarily angry.

 

Did You Know?
–In North America, 17,000,000 people experience traumatic events each year, and of
those, 25% go on to develop PTSD.

–Forty percent of Americans have been exposed to a traumatic event before the age of
30, and of these one in four will develop PTSD.

–Current estimates are that 45% of women will be raped at some point in their lifetime.
The lifetime rate of occurrence of PTSD in rape victims is 35%.

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–The trauma of rape produces the highest rate of long term PTSD symptoms of any
single traumatic event. Survivors are more depressed a year after victimization than
they are immediately following the assault. And many have not recovered as much as
four to six years after the rape.

–Three percent of women develop PTSD after an aggravated assault.

–Ten to 30% of car accident victims will develop PTSD.

–Only 4 out of every 1000 soldiers in World War I probably had PTSD, but 31% of Viet
Nam vets had the symptoms of this disorder.

–Between 16% and 34% of women are physically abused by their partner at some point
in their lives. Some estimates are as high as one out of every two women experiencing
such abuse.

–34% of boys and 48% of girls reported attempted or completed sexual victimization.
Fifty to 70% of psychiatric patients report being abused as children.

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

People are generally very relieved when a traumatic event finally passes, feeling that now they can put the situation behind them and that everything will be alright. But emotional distress can sometimes occur to a degree that it leaves an enduring imprint upon a person’s life. Sometimes, people have difficulty coming to terms with frightening memories, and they may be strongly affected by them for years to come. They can become frozen in time so to speak. Images related to trauma can linger or resurface years later, and along with them can come feelings of terror or depression. Sometimes, the aftermath symptoms begin immediately following a stress. Other times, they being only years later, such as after a policeman has retired, or after a physically traumatized wife leaves an abusive marriage. Early repetitive childhood abuse can be so devastating that it actually interferes with the development of a sense of self and adversely affects the very foundation of the personality. When symptoms interfere to a significant degree with a person’s life, it may be an indication that they have developed a condition termed “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD).

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PTSD can occur in crime victims (such as in rape, assault, or bombings); witnesses to violent crimes; civilians and soldiers in war zones; victims of natural catastrophes (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods); victims of animal assaults; traumatic accident victims; victims of child abuse; and medical personnel and volunteers who assist in accident and disaster situations. PTSD can affect every area of a person’s life. Emotionally it can create feelings of anxiety, anger, guilt, loss of self-esteem, helplessness, loss of trust, and irritability. In terms of a person’s thinking, it can lead to confusion, difficulty concentrating and remembering, difficulty planning for the future, negative thoughts about the future, and intrusive memories. Following a trauma some people feel like they
are going crazy. Some may be filled with nervous energy while others feel exhausted and unable to perform even minimal daily tasks. Some react by withdrawing while others want to be surrounded by people 24 hours a day. Some feel solely responsible for what happened while others are enraged at the people or events whom they blame for the experience. Although PTSD is categorized as an anxiety disorder, it can also include additional emotions such as depression, shame, guilt, anger, and grief. Trauma victims may also have difficulty imagining that there is a future for them. This experience is referred to as having a “foreshortened future.”Trauma victims generally feel that they are now different from others. Their experience seems so removed from normal human events that they feel set apart. They believe that others cannot really appreciate what they are experiencing and what they have been through.

 

 

 

A Matter Of Perspective

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It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that most notably stated, “all progress is precarious and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” I had never contemplated my personal success as precarious progress, or that my success to this point could bring any non-materialistic problems, but I now find myself, like many of my fellow successful, young, black men, in a moment of crisis

The exact contours of my story do not parallel every young successful black male’s life, for some their path diverged in high school or college, for others they did not feel like an anomaly until they took their first job after school, and still for some the crisis has yet to make itself apparent. By way of example, I have several black male friends who recently graduated from law school and are trying to figure out what their impact will be with their newly attained degree. At the same time, I have black male colleagues who work at major Wall Street firms and are now trying to figure out where they should be spending their time and energy. Yet, despite the differences, the common threads of educational attainment, exceptionalism, and ambition are apparent. And now many of us have realized that we are in a metaphorical no-man’s land, where no one can guide us or point the way.

 

We are now forced to make it up as we go along and for many of us this is a nerve-wracking reality. Up to this point, we simply did the next logical thing, graduated from high school, went to college, took a career-oriented job track where we would be an associate for a few years before trying to move up, or went to professional school where we would pass the requisite exams and enter our professional careers. But now that we are here, where there is no next logical step, simply a vast number of opportunities, many of us find ourselves trying to answer the larger questions of life, like what I am supposed to do while I am alive, in order to gain a sense of direction.

I am sure that everyone who continues to be ambitious and pursue ever far-fetched goals eventually comes to the place that I just described. So, what makes it a crisis for young, successful black men, but simply a part of life for some others? The short answer is that it is a crisis because there are so few examples of high levels of success from which black men can mold a path.

Over the last 200 years of American history, there has been one African-American male President, one African-American male Attorney General, one African-American male Secretary of State, and two African-American male Supreme Court Justices. There is currently one African-American male governor, there have only been four in American History. Five (0.83%) of the Fortune 500 CEOs are African-American men. Approximately 1% of all law firm partners are African-American men. There has been one African-American male Surgeon General in American history. And fewer than six percent of all high-ranking military officers are African-American.

All of these statistics are an attempt to paint the picture that these laudable successes reinforce the crisis. The rarity of these accomplishments sends the message to similarly aspiring black men that getting into these positions comes with no guidebook, nor general path. Some might suggest that for many of the positions I cited there is no general path for anyone because so few people ever rise to those levels of success. However, this critique misses the point. For each position I named, there is a more or less common route, but those routes have not applied to African-American men who attained those positions.

I want to switch the tone from my perspective to a spiritual perspective to gaze into the scriptures to see how God views using peoples perspective verses His.

Exodus 14:1-14

The Message (MSG)
The Story and Song of Salvation

14 1-2 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon.

3-4 “Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are lost; they’re confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.’ Then I’ll make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn again and he’ll chase after them. And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

And that’s what happened.

5-7 When the king of Egypt was told that the people were gone, he and his servants changed their minds. They said, “What have we done, letting Israel, our slave labor, go free?” So he had his chariots harnessed up and got his army together. He took six hundred of his best chariots, with the rest of the Egyptian chariots and their drivers coming along.

8-9 God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea—all Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.

10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them!

They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”

13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.

14 God will fight the battle for you.
And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Whether that question is posed during a business meeting, a church council, or a family discussion, it often springs from a sense of exasperation in trying to comprehend why someone has acted in a certain way. More often than not, the answer is a matter of perspective.

If we had been among the Israelites leaving Egypt after four hundred years of slavery, we would likely have seen Pharaoh as part of the problem–and he was. yet God saw something more. Inexplicably, the Lord told Moses to take the people back towards Egypt and camp with their backs to the Red Sea so Pharaoh would attack them. The Israelites thought they were going to die, but God said that He would gain glory and honor for Himself through Pharaoh and all his army, “and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord”.

When we simply cannot understand why God allows circumstances that threaten to overwhelm us, it’s good to remember that He has our good and His glory in mind. If we can say, “Father, please enable me to trust and honor you in this situation”, then we will be in concert with His perspective and plan.

Your words of pure, eternal truth
Shall yet unshaken stay,
When all that man has thought or planned,
Like chaff shall pass away.

Faith helps us accept what we cannot understand……