Ponderings
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February 7, 2015, 12:00 AM

In Times of Conflict......

NRSV HEBREWS 10:19-25

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

Someone asked me many years ago, “Why is there always so much conflict and turmoil in the church? What’s wrong with us?” I ponder that question always. No, I always do…I gave my life to Christ many years (too many to count) ago but somehow folks just don’t do what’s right (me included, for sure!). Why in the world would Jesus Christ’s body of believers seem to always be in conflict? WE are to Love God fully, neighbor as self and execute. Easy peizy….all we need is love.  Just look from day one to the present….oh brother… perhaps that is a bad thing to ask you to do? But if you look at Christianity and the persecutions that took place you can relate to the words in the text above.

 

How in the world do we find strength in conflict, especially when someone has “done us wrong?” How can we stay on the path? In a sense we are fighting a battle and look for victory. A victory over conflict…spiritual conflict.

 

I’ve thought a lot about this over the years because I have seen my share of conflict. When immersed in it, and immersed is the correct word, I am always strengthened when I am close to God. One of my pastor friends told me about the principle of Submit, Resist and draw near. She referenced James 4:7-8. Please look it up! She assured me that if anyone was to win the battle you could not win it alone. Well duh! God has never lost a battle but when you are in one you have to understand that it my be the fight of your life and you have to SUBMIT (turn everything in your life over to God).  It can only be done by God’s authority not ours. I don’t know about you but every battle I have fought alone I have lost. When I turn it over to God….the fight is never lost….never!

 

Sometimes we get into spots where we find ourselves tempted to attack, especially when being attacked. I think if we stand firm, convicted in our faith, we can RESIST the temptation to go it alone. We don’t take the bait offered up and resist it even though it looks really good and the time is right. If our faith is being tested have “faith with our hearts” that by resisting evil intentions and evil itself just goes and evil will “flee in defeat.”

 

We can’t just stop with submission and resistance. God is the only one that can protect us so we must come closer, draw near to God. We must use God as the armor and shield of protection. When you are close to God evil will not dare come close! It’s like Booth, in the show Bones, standing behind the intimidated character and the bully sees Booth and turns tail and leaves the weak character alone. If we draw near (approach) with a true heart in full assurance of faith we are assured that Jesus Christ is always with us, beside us and lifting us up when we need it. Just think of the poem, “Footprints in the Sand.” Having faith in an all loving savior who always has our back, especially when we struggle in that faith.

 

In times of need we look back and see that that two sets of footprints in the sand, of the journey of life, we begin to realize that Jesus Christ is, has and always will be by our side. It is when we see only one set of footprints that we realize it is Jesus carrying us through the turmoil. My hope is you have minimal conflict and turmoil in your life.

 

 May the peace, love and joy of Jesus Christ be with you all!

 

“Pastor Ken”


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