SO TELL ME WHY, TELL ME WHY, WE’RE DIVIDED?

10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!

1 Corinthians chapter 10, verses 10-13 from the New Living Translation

Today’s title is from a line in a song by contemporary artist Mandisa. The name of the song is We All Bleed The Same. (Click here to listen to the song) Everyone’s blood is red. However, it seems our culture has forgotten this simple truth. Some think others blood is blue or red; progressive or orthodox; American or foreigner; black or white or some other color; educated or uneducated. And the list goes on an nauseam. It’s this kind of stinking thinking that is literally shattering this nation and the world.

So, tell me why, tell me why, we’re divided? Well, since you asked me, I’ll tell you why. People are looking inward rather than upward. Even those who say they are following Jesus are not exempt from this cancer. The world was in an evolutionary direction–meaning we were able to achieve more and greater things. But instead of evolving, our culture is devolving in a cauldron of something between swamp water and what you see in a septic tank. All of this is happening before our eyes because so many have turned their thoughts and desires inwardly rather than upwardly.

In an attempt to add value to their lives, people have become selfish, egotistical, pompous, narcissistic, puffed-up, and vainglorious monsters. And look at the mess this descent has made. But before I sound like Chicken Little proclaiming that the sky is falling–there is a way out of this hot mess. And it’s really simple–as are all principles of the Bible. Care more for others than you care about yourself. It doesn’t take a large mass of people doing this simultaneously–all it takes is one person. And that one person is you.

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Philippians chapter 2, verses 2 through 4; from the New Living Translation

ANOTHER ATTACK–BY EVIL!

Thursday, June 16, 2022, at approximately 6:22 p.m. another 911 call was made from a church because of an active shooter. This time it was at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama near Birmingham. A lone individual walked in during a potluck supper and opened fire–3 were shot. One died at the scene and another died at a local hospital. The third victim is recovering. This happened only 54 miles from us, measuring by the way the crow flies. The responsible individual is in police custody. At this writing, no motive has been released by law enforcement officials.

But what about the “motive”? Motive and cause are not the same. In fact, the cause creates the motive. And while we do not yet know the motive behind this horrendous act, the cause is plain to see. Evil! And while attempts are made through legislation to eliminate evil, the root of evil is being ignored. And he loves it this way. Without calling him out by his name, he has free reign of the house. Chaos, ruin, and brokenness lies in the wake of his work. The disciple Peter nailed it in his letter First Peter chapter 5, verse 8:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

from the New Living Translation

And he has been having a feast in our culture. It’s been an all-you-can-eat buffet for him. But there is something that drives him out of the cafeteria of life and sends him running as fast as he can! I said “something”, but what I mean is some ONE! His name is Jesus. But it takes more than just saying His name “Jesus”! It demands our surrender to Him. One of Jesus’ “half-brothers”, who by the way at first doubted his brother’s claim to be The Messiah, wrote in his letter James chapter 7 verses 7-10:

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

New Living Translation

We cannot agree with what the world tells us and take the hand of God in relationship and friendship. In a world of “selfies” and “pride” Satan continues to feast! But when we humble ourselves before God and place Him as our “above all other things” relationship, Satan goes into the famine stage! Casting Crowns has song called God Of All My Days. And it ends with these lyrics:

In my blindness
God, You are my vision
And in my bondage
God, You are my freedom
All my days

God of All My Days lyrics © My Refuge Music, So Essential Tunes, Be Essential Songs

Would you like to see Satan denied a plate at this all-you-can-eat buffet? You would? For this to happen it begins with you humbling yourself before God and resisting Satan. Don’t be the Gideon hiding in a winepress threshing wheat–be the Gideon who is greeted by the angel with these words: Mighty Warrior! Gideon became that Mighty Warrior when he walked humbly with his hand in God’s hand.

WILL YOU WASH SOMEONE’S FEET TODAY?

Will your agenda for today include washing feet? It’s Thursday. Jesus does no public teaching. It would seem to the discerning eye that Jesus’ thoughts are elsewhere. And they are. He’s thinking about all those lambs that will die tomorrow, but never be able to do what HE is about to do. In 24 hours He knows that He will die. It will be the most horrible way to die–on a Roman cross. And more than the horrendous pain He will face from the scourging, the nails, and hanging from that cross–He knows He will face the penalty for every sinner. So, yes, there’s a certain look on the face of Jesus they haven’t seen before.

Jesus tells Peter and John to go to Jerusalem and reserve an upper room. So, they do what Jesus tells them not knowing the implications. That evening the mood is festive. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good meal with good friends. They watch Jesus as He gets up from His reclining position, the position of a free person by the way. Sorry, Mr. Da Vinci, there were not sitting in chairs. He deliberately removes His outer garment, takes an empty basin, a pitcher of water, and a towel. They are wondering, “What’s He up to know?” And the mood changes from festive to somber as they watch Him kneel and begins to wash feet. Dirty feet. Feet, that in hours, will run and hide. The feet of The Betrayer. The feet of the denier.

Amidst objections, Jesus continues to wash those dirty (in more ways than one) feet. Do they realize they have been touched by the hand of God, Himself? When He is finished, the basin, pitcher, and towel are set aside. He puts His robe back on. Silence fills the room. Then His lips begin to move and He says, “Do you understand what I was doing?  You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am.  And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (Gospel of John, Chapter 13, Verses 12-15 New Living Translation)

Now, back to the title of today’s thoughts: Will you wash someone’s feet today? Will you remember verse 15? “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”  Never forget whose feet He washed. No one was excluded. Not Peter. And not even Judas! Can you do this? Are you willing to do this? Will you follow Jesus’ example? Or not? Think about it!