A House Divided

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Mark 3:25 (NIV) – ” If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

A house is generally strong when it’s set on top of a solid foundation. Maybe that foundation is a simple concrete slab on grade; maybe it’s a solid wood crawlspace; or just maybe it’s a good old fashion poured-concrete wall basement with a 6-inch concrete slab. Whatever your foundation is constructed of, it’s an integral part to building a strong house that will eventually be weather retardant.

On top of that underground foundation, the builder constructs solid walls of treated wood framing with insulation and brick facade. Maybe your home has steel reinforced dead-bolt doors, vinyl weather-guard windows and seamless gutters circling a pristine asphalt-shingle covered roof. Even your chimney flue is cover protected. Can you see it? Of course you can! You’re picturing it right now, in your mind.

Now imagine that I’m actually a 25-feet tall gremlin, dangling a gigantic screaming chainsaw monstrosity over your beautiful roof. The blade on this demon-tool is 24 inches wide and spinning so fast, the teeth are glowing red hot. I’m smiling at you, because we both know what’s about to happen. You watch horrified as I arc a tremendous chop, bringing the chainsaw down and through the center of your new dream home. As I pull the machine free of the smoking cut line, we watch your house collapse into the gap left by the chainsaw. For a few moments, your house bucks and strains against its own weight. Wood beams splinter. Glass windows crack. Bricks fall from the facade. Where the structure was once a single solid unit, the two separated halves now struggle for balance, pushing against one another. Finally, the strain proves to be too great. We watch your ramshackle abode implode, falling into the basement. Your home is totally destroyed.

Do you understand that example is exactly what the devil has planned for your marriage? Or how about those relationships within the church (the church, people!) that are toxic. Sister so-n-so is mad at brother what’s-his-face over something inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. That toxic relationship and that struggling marriage are bound to drive a wedge between what should otherwise be a united body. Gossip and rumors divide a church. Power struggles divide a marriage.

This afternoon, I was in Kroger going through the checkout line with my wife. The bagger was an older woman who happened to glance at my River of Life T-Shirt (shameless plug for my home church, y’all), before smiling at me.

“You have a home church or something?” She asked. I was a bit bewildered because she had just checked out my T-Shirt.

“Yes ma’am,” I said. “We’re in Belleville, and we love it.”

“You should think about visiting us sometime. Some of those other churches are just too ‘churchy’ if you know what I mean.” She said. “We’re non-denominational and encourage people to come as they are. We don’t get into all of that extra church stuff.”

I was stumped on so many different levels. Did I not just tell this woman we loved our home church? Why in the name of Jesus would she ignore that and suggest my church might be too “churchy”? By the way, what does “churchy” look like? And, what is all that other extra churchy stuff?! In the body of Christ, we should honestly encourage each other, rather than divide one against another.

Could you see your left eyeball having a conversation with your right foot?


“Hey, how’s it going down there? You enjoying kissing socks all day?”

“Uhh–”

“You know, you should seriously consider coming up here where right and I hang out. We don’t do that ‘Walk-N-Balance’ stuff. We see no point to it.”

“Did you seriously just invite me to  park on top of face? Who’s gonna get us all to the car in the morning, if I’m not where I belong?”

“Don’t worry about that. Just come on up here where our vantage point is way better than anything you’re looking at down there.”


Yeah, when we fight each other–whether it’s a spouse or a brother in Christ–we’re destroying our own home. Power struggles have no place in the body of Christ. Think about it.

 

 

The Eleventh Hour

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Destiny's Journey

This short story was recently published in the new release from Faitherwriters entitled, “Mixed Blessings-Classically Inspired”, available now on Amazon. Enjoy!

“Adam.” Henry whispered.

“I’m sorry?” Paul knelt down to get closer to Henry. Surprisingly, the younger man seemed calm given the gravity of what was about to happen. During his 25 years in this business, Paul Whitney had seen the gamut of emotions run through men, at this stage of the process. Some cursed, others cried, still others begged for mercy. Never had he come across a man like Henry Jones: so reserved; almost peaceful. Paul reasoned the kid must be in shock. He needed to hear what was going through Henry’s mind.

Henry slowly turned his head as far as the restraints would allow. Smiling up at Paul, he spoke.

“I said Adam, boss. It all started with Adam. You see, his life was perfect. He had everything…

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Soldier At War

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1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV) – “Pray without ceasing,”

My nephew recently enlisted in the Marine Corps. As we speak, he’s being trained (physically) in the ways of a fighting military soldier ready to defend our nation and our interests at a moment’s notice. He will receive special weapons training; learn to be proficient in hand-to-hand combat. He’ll be taught mental toughness techniques; learn to use his fear as a self-motivating tool to press forward. The military will teach my nephew to become a man ready for war.

My cousin recently made the decision to give his heart completely to the Lord. As we speak, he’s being trained (Spiritually) in the ways of a fighting Christian soldier ready to defend our beliefs and our faith at a moment’s notice. He will receive special weapons training; learn to be proficient in apologetics combat. He’ll be taught mind-renewing toughness techniques; learn to use his own fear as a catalyst to seek the help of the Lord and press forward. Jesus will teach my cousin to become a man ready for war.

I am a Christian soldier. I do not use an assault rifle; I use fervent prayer. My frontline is not a physical land border, but a spiritual realm plane. My sword is not a sharpened blade, reserved for close encounters. It’s my bible, and I use it in daily battle. I’m not trained to push my body to its physical limits through rigorous physical activity. I’m trained to push the physical limits of my aging knees, as I assume the prolonged posture of prayer.

My brothers and sisters in arms are with me–and I with them–as we stand in the gap for those in need, just as our respected veterans stand beside one another in defense of the weak and helpless. Military soldiers muster courage in the face of insurmountable odds. Christian soldiers stand fast in the face of overwhelming hostility. Although our battle is not against flesh and blood enemies–but against rulers of the spiritual realm–we are ready to fight against our adversary at any time.

I am a Christian. I believe Jesus is the son of God. I believe He died on the cross and was resurrected. I believe I am saved by grace through faith in Him. I am a saint of heaven’s army. I am a soldier at war.

 

 

God’s Creativity

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You see that photo up there? That’s my family. God took two different people, brought them together and produced two boys and two girls. What’s funny is, not one of them resemble any of the others. They each have different physical traits but, if you look close enough, you can see little hints of Ennis and Misty in each new creation.

I think that was God’s plan all along. Way back in the beginning, when He spoke the words, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” clearly He wasn’t talking about making clone copies. I think He was speaking on giving us all His identity and distinguishing traits that would easily separate man from beasts. One would never confuse a boy for an ape, for example. Men look different, despite sharing opposable thumbs, two arms, two legs, two eyes and a mouth just like apes.

When I was young (really young), I used to wonder what it would be like to find out there was another kid running around the world who looked exactly like me, except his skin color was white. One day I held up a picture of myself at age 21 and simultaneously looked into the photographed eyes of my 21 year old son: Nate. Although he was gifted with his mother’s eyes, he’s the spitting image of his dad, at the same age. The only difference is his fair skin. How about that for creativity? God’s amazing. My son grew up to favor my physical image and my physical likeness, while also bearing the image and likeness of Jesus. And yet he is his own man, so very different from me despite sharing similar tastes. I’m in awe watching him and his siblings grow up into their own identities. I wonder what my grandchildren will look like someday?

I’ll bet God enjoys watching his children grow in His image and become independent adults, while still leaning on Him for guidance. Not all will make wise choices. In every family, there is that one kid who goes astray. But, I’d like to think He loves us all despite our flaws.