Facing The Wall – A Pondering On Problems

If you think of a problem as being like a medieval walled city, then a lot of people will attack it head on, like a battering ram.  They will storm the gates and try to smash through the defenses with sheer intellectual power and brilliance.  I just camp outside the city.  I wait.  And I think.  Until one day – maybe after I’ve turned to a completely different problem – the drawbridge comes down and the defenders say, “We surrender.” The answer to the problem comes all at once.”  -Arthur McKinsey

We all face the wall from time to time.
No, not like a child being placed in “time-out”, but like the insurmountable walls of our problems and stresses.  The kind of wall that seem to effortlessly and ominously climb into the sky and cause us to panic at the sheer magnitude of our problems.
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You know the old saying, “making a mountain out of a mole hill” – this is the mountain becoming a super mountain.  This is the small speed bump in the road of life becoming a sink-hole.  Sometimes we can do nothing but watch the city burn as we attempt to blow on the flames.  I don’t wish to paint a dark gloomy picture today for you, but I would be lying if I said walls of this magnitude never come our way.   They do.  These types of problems will come knocking on our doors.  They will just show up sometimes.  Other times they have been cresting on the horizon for a while…perhaps we just ignored the warning signs.

wall2Are you facing the wall today?
Does it seem  insurmountable?
Do you feel heavy with burdens and heart sick with these problems you are attempting to carry?

I won’t sugar coat it for you today.
There isn’t some magical pray for you to recite and *poof* all of your problems will fade away, but I would like to offer you some perspective on your walls.

The Truth: 
wallsWe all face walls.
We all endure heartache, stress, hardships…and sometimes more hardships.  Life isn’t easy…this we know all too well.
BUT – We aren’t alone.
We should all know that each of us carries difficulties, we carry stress, we face walls together.

Jesus says this still to us today –
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” -Matthew 6:25-27

handAnother Truth: 
God will show up for us!
He will be there when we call.
Sometimes He provides a means to overcome these walls.
Sometimes He provides us the endurance to wait it out.
All of the time – WE AREN’T ALONE!

Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.” -Psalm 55:22

Waiting is the hardest part…but, we can either hem and haw about it or find the resolve to be patient.  Many times I have opted to hem and haw – (gripe and complain) about my situation instead of waiting patiently.  Did it help?  No.  Was it the best use of my time?  Absolutely not.

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” -Psalm 27:14

I don’t know what wall you’re facing today.
It might be a small fence, or it could be a fortified city.
Either way, you will survive this!
You matter to God!
This life we live has it trials and troubles…but I believe in the One who overcame the world…do you?

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

So…a Liberal and a Conservative walk into a church…

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It might sound like the beginning of a good joke spiked with plenty of political jargon and party stereotypes but the truth of the matter is that this is often the case.  Although it is good to recognize what the differences are within political ideologies it is also most helpful to remember if both are Christ-followers the later should be of the utmost importance.  Before and even after our political allegiance must come our relationship with the Almighty.  If we have these priorities backwards (politics first, relationship with Christ second) then we will ultimately face a difficult road ahead which will either lead us to a reshuffling of priorities or taking exit lane on one of them.

County, state or even city governing politics in church is a very tricky subject of which I will not delve too deeply into within this entry, I will leave that for another day.  But is there a place for politics within the church?  Of course there is, but be mindful that God’s divine authority and governance should always precede that of any other political affiliation.

With that being said, do I believe there to be true practicing Christ-followers within both political camps?  Absolutely!  But even within that self-imposed question I find the crux of the issue, there is a division.  There is a line in the sand here that I think begs discussing. Has it ever been God’s desire for His people to be so divided over earthly things including politics?  NO!  Jesus even prayed over and for His disciples (John 17:21) so that “they may be one Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  Naturally there is a context here, which we must understand.  Jesus was praying for a select group of people as His message would be spread throughout the earth in their unity and mission.  But has that mission ceased since their calling so long ago?  NO!  We are still called by God to fulfill the great commission!  (Matt 28:16-20)

So what am I getting at in this simple discourse today?  I have three main discussions to challenge us with today:

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1) Stop the division among the church! 

When we draw lines in the sand around each other, and say cruel things about people who do not see the world as we see it we are guilty of drawing lines in the sand.  There becomes this “Us vs. Them” mentality within us.  We don’t see a unified body any longer, instead we see a splintered body who cannot get along.  Can you see how this might benefit our true enemy?  Can you see how Satan might truly enjoy twisting us into political pretzels over one or two issues and cause us to hate our fellow believer in Christ?

1 Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”  This passage says nothing about lording your opinions over another, nor does it say we draw lines in the sand, but it does remind us to be “like-minded”.  So how do we once again become like-minded?

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2) Common Ground:

Yes there may be political areas in which we may never agree upon.  But what are the things that we do agree upon?  Do we both believe Jesus was God’s One and only Son?  YES.  Do we believe that we have been redeemed by His blood and that because of Him we can find eternal life?  YES.  Do we believe that there is still a mission to fulfill in this world for the lost, the sin-sick, and the poor?  YES.  I believe we have common ground even if we cannot see eye to eye on some very specific issues within the political sphere of our world.  If we are to become like-minded once again then we have to stop demonizing those who we feel do not share our same political beliefs.

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3) Break down the barriers with helpful, loving discourse.  

Ephesians 2:14 “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…”

I recognize each verse that I have quoted has specific contexts but it still has something very powerful for us to apply to our own lives today.  We may not see eye to eye, but this shouldn’t stop us from discussing important issues together of which we share different views.  Be mindful that we don’t fall into the traps of division by name calling and condescension either.  We cannot afford to appear superior in anyway towards one another as we humbly discuss our differences.   When we are able to sit together, division lines are crossed and barriers, that have been erected, can be torn down.  Helpful and loving discourse, with Christ at the center, can lead us into deeper fellowship with one another even if we don’t always see eye to eye.

Jesus said;  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 

Is this over simplistic?  Probably.  But I believe it to be true.  Far too many Christ-followers have aligned themselves to specific political parties and have forgotten ultimately in whose authority we live and serve under.  If we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will lift us up.  May that be our call to unification in the body of Christ, as we seek to work together instead of tear each other apart.

-Just a thought for today.

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