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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Message: conflict

I haven't been very good at getting Sunday messages out the last couple weeks.  I have been, to put it one way, conflicted.

About my faith?  With God?  Of course not.  My conflict has been with myself, my attitudes, how I react to things, and the continuing struggle of "not understanding the plan".

If you read other people's comments and landed on this week's Time Machine, you'll see that it fell to a pretty sorry state.  If not, trust me.  I had to pull down a response I made to an upset commentor because I gave a BS answer that I couldn't live with.  Over something THAT stupid.

Today pastor Jeremiah made several large holes in my path, beginning with, "You cannot worship whom you do not love, and you cannot love whom you do not know."  Time for a show of hands of just who hasn't been reading the Word lately like he should, or immersing himself in lessons as he should.

Thus, I flat out issued myself a challenge this morning.  Placing my Bible on the table entering my bedroom, I said, "You WILL NOT enter this room without reading from this book."

And as God would have it, I was ready to enter Romans 7 and 8.  And at first, I saw right away a grouping of things that applied to my current mindset.  But then, with a deeper look, I saw how each of these things were a set of conflicts that I was letting derail me.

CONFLICT #1: Who's in charge here?

Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15 For that which I do, I know not. For what I desire, that I do not do; but what I hate, that I do.
Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I do not desire, I consent to the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17 But now it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
Or to put it as I did on my hastily-scratched-out notes, "The desires of the body will NOT lead me to anything good."  Which leads me to the second side of this coin:

Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Or, "As long as I have a desire to do the RIGHT thing, I am going to face conflict."  So say here I am at work and something goes wrong (imagine that?).  So I immediately begin blaming everything around me, including God... and then blame myself because the reaction was all on me.  And neither one is what God wants- He's trying to teach us to face conflict by giving it to Him.  What I'm trying to say here, conflict is a part of life.  Expecting to avoid it by doing the right thing, or resolving it by playing the blame game, just don't cut it.

CONFLICT #2: So, take me to the battlefield.

Rom 8:5 For they who are according to the flesh mind the things of flesh, but they who are according to the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace
Rom 8:7 because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be.
The battle is, as Paul tells us elsewhere, to replace the flesh mind with the spirit mind- a thing that CANNOT be done by half-assing your reading or prayer time.  Another of pastor Jeremiah's bon mots today was, "Ladies, imagine your husband only communicated with you by a box of chocolates and a bouquet of roses, once a week, no words, no notes,"  connecting that to how God feels about OUR service sometimes.  A few weeks ago, we learned the lesson, "Faith PLUS motion".  The lack of motion ( in my case the half-assing mentioned above) works to give the carnal mind dominance- and we all know how THAT works out.  Just being a Christian doesn't automatically turn you into "the new man".  That's a choice we make every step.  And that is another conflict in the whole thing- will we be the man we were born, or the man we choose?

CONFLICT # 3:  So why were we brought into this underfed, overpopulated, polluted world (apologies to Meathead)?

This one I had to figure out in reverse order.  Part one:

Rom 8:20 For the creation was not willingly subjected to vanity, but because of Him who subjected it on hope
Rom 8:21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Or, as my Bible puts it, Creation was "subjected to FUTILITY".  Borg spirituality?  Not quite.  But as we look around we feel a lot of, "I'm stuck here in this job and going nowhere, when I should have been doing something important by now" (My son's words this morning), or "I have to make these products for rich people, things I'll never be able to enjoy myself, 'eating the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table' " (My version).  Guess what?  That is our world in a nutshell, and all the righteous indignation or angst-ridden excuses for prayers in the world ain't gonna change it.  What we should be thinking, though, is what Paul said earlier:

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed in us. Our time is coming- just not here.  And it WILL be worth it.  But when you've been a sloppy Christian, wallowing in all manner of major and minor disasters, it's hard to see it that way.  The stock answer is, "If you know Christ, if you have been saved, it should be easy,"  But that ain't QUITE right.  And why it ain't easy brings us to:

CONFLICT # 4:  Whaddya mean, the papers ain't signed yet?

Why is it so hard to keep the promise in mind?  Well, when I read on, I got an idea why:

Rom 8:15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father! We all know this verse (or at least most do) and we take it and say, "I am a child of the Father!  I am safe and secure!"  But we're missing one important part, just a little bit further on:

Rom 8:23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruit of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, awaiting adoption, the redemption of our body.

Guess what?  When we become Christians, we take on an air of privilege sometimes... and it's a bit too early.  The adopted child lives WITH his Father, and if you're reading this, you ain't there yet.  Thus we are yet subject to these conflicts.  Thus, all the "If you really loved me, God"s ever prayed can be answered with, "The adoption isn't final yet.  We haven't moved you in yet."

So here we have four conflicts- between flesh and spirit; between the mind we were born with and the mind we choose; between the future of hope and the present of futility; and between what we expect from God and what God really offers- that serve to keep us from having peace in our Christian walks.  And this is where Satan drives a wedge between us, because we keep expecting a sign, we expect God to "come through" for us,   And this brings us to one more conflict:

CONFLICT # 5:  Where's your proof?

Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope; for what anyone sees, why does he also hope for it?
Rom 8:25 But if we hope for that which we do not see, then we wait for it with patience.

Here is where the atheists claim that (a God that demands this is not worthy of worship"; But God is asking us for this.  He is asking:

-That we choose against flesh desires;
-That we discipline our minds;
-That we ignore the futility for the Promise;
-That we wait for the Promise to be delivered AFTER this life;
-And that we be blessed by "having not seen and yet believed".

Every one of these thing sets us up for conflict- for physical, mental, and spiritual battle- with the Devil, the world, and our own physical being.  Not every Cross to be borne involves moving mountains or raising the dead.  Sometimes it involves sitting your stubborn butt down and reading, turning off that stupid TV and listening.


  1. and isnt it cool that you can open the bible and it never fails that its exactly what you were supposed to read.
    Its so important to sit quietly and open your heart when you devote time to HIM. I need to do this more myself.

  2. Hey there! It's Kelli from the House of Hale.

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today. Thank you thank you thank you!! Also... sent you a message on FB (it went to your other folder). My stalking situation got out of control so I had to put The House of Hale on ice for a while. :(

    1. I'm glad that the Lord used me to help you.

      And you aren't the only one- I taped "Creation is in subjection to futility" to my work desk to remind me that crap's gonna happen... and why.

  3. Glad you prompted me to visit you and your Sunday Message. It spoke much that I needed to hear and think of. I especially liked your "adoption" thoughts. Great!

    1. No problem. I thought when I read your post that they were parts of a single whole.

      And the Adoption thing is one of those I never spotted before... and it made a lot of things make more sense.