Mind Renovation – Day 7 – It’s Your Choice

Celebrate! We’ve made it through one week!

How’s your mind renovation coming? Can’t you just see the Father, the master designer and architect, walking through the rooms and smiling over the progress?

We built a house a few years ago. It was a grueling process, but my favorite thing each week was walking through hunting for improvements and rejoicing over each little completion.

rooms

 

Be patient. Mind renewal takes time. We’ve had bad thought habits for years (some of us decades), so it’s a process of daily faithfulness to renew those old patterns. I love what Kris Valloton says about process.

“If you embrace the promise without the process, you are living in a fantasy.” (Kris Valloton)

I wish it was possible to take BEFORE pics of our minds to see the progress we’ve made in just one week! How are your thoughts begin to shift?

Life Begins with God’s Choice 

Life begins with God’s choice; he choose you! (Ephesians 1:4) Then out of his love for us, he gives us our turn to choose. 

Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Ephesians 1:4 Message 

Continue reading…


mind reno

Mind Renovation – Day 6 – Demo Day!

It’s Demo Day! 

If you’ve ever watched any home renovation show, then you know how exciting DEMO DAY is! Well…IT’S DEMO DAY! (The crowd goes wild!) People go crazy swinging sledgehammers and shattering outdated bathroom fixtures in a cloud of glorious dust. All caution is thrown to the wind in an attempt to remove the old and prepare a fresh palette for the new.

2 Cor. 10:5
Demo day pic

It’s demo day for our minds! Instead of a sledgehammer, we have a sword and it’s time to clear out everything that’s not in the original design. Our powerful “God-tools” aren’t purchased at the corner home improvement store and exerted with physical force, but with spiritual strength through the blood of Jesus!

We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Corinthians 10: 5-6 

stronghold

Second Corinthians chapter 10 gives us our DEMOLITION list of items that must go. (Note: Regrettably, many times in demolition old things can’t be torn out and renewed because the budget doesn’t allow. GOOD NEWS! The renovation of your mind has been funded and spared no expense! Woohoo–better than Carrara marble and shiplap!) 

 

1.) Strongholds: 

ochyrōma = a castle, stronghold, fortress, fastness; anything on which one relies; of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavours to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent

Put simply, a stronghold is anything that has a STRONG HOLD on your mind, pulling it away from God. Notice the Strong’s definition, “anything on which one relies.”

“A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, “pretending” to be bigger or more powerful than our God. It steals much of our focus and causes us to feel overpowered. Controlled. Mastered.” Beth Moore

2.) Arguments or Imaginations 

logismos = a reckoning, computation (to count or reckon); a reasoning that brings a verdict

You remember the original argument the enemy brought to Adam and Eve in the garden?…Did God really say not to eat from the tree? (Genesis 3:3These arguments start with a hint of truth (or else you’d never listen) and then pervert and distort against the knowledge of God. God has given us a creative imagination, but the word used here is a bullying quarrel that tries to dishonor God’s authority.

3.) High things that exalt itself against the knowledge of God

hypsōma = thing elevated, height / an evil spirit or principality

There is no remorse in taking these enemy thoughts captive. There will be NO MORE negotiating with these mind terrorist. If you’ve ever renovated a house, you know the joy of getting rid of pea-green tile, 60’s orange toilets and moldy floors. What joy to be free from the strongholds that have HELD your STRENGTH? Pick up your sword and swing! It’s DEMO DAY!

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 

take thoughts captive

RE:think

  • What STRONGHOLD is causing you to rely on it, instead of the strength of God?
  • What argument or vain imagination has been wearing you down in your head and talking you out of victory?
  • What “high thing” or principality threatens or whispers in your mind?
  • What is your DEMO DAY plan? Is there any physical things you need to trash (or give away) as a symbol of your freedom? (Many times in home renovation shows the designer secretly gives away the owners old ratty chairs and beloved ragged sofas so they won’t sneak them back in later.) What do you need to physically do so you block access to the old strongholds?
  • Do you ARGUE with other people in your mind? How would they respond if they could see your thought bubbles? Pray about adjusting your self-talk towards others.

Scripture:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

Prayer:

In the name of Jesus, I tear down every stronghold, argument or high thing that’s been built in my thinking. I exalt the knowledge of Jesus as my Lord and savior over every lie and declare that the TRUTH will make me free. I receive freedom from ______________(insert your own). I declare I am set from from the power of any EVIL thoughts or spirits by the blood and power of Jesus. I break any agreements or vows I have made with these thoughts. Lord, demolish them out of my life. Holy Spirit empower me to take them captive when they try to reason their way back into my mind. The peace of God stands watch and will not let them enter! I am free!


mind reno

Mind Renovation – Day 5 – Conformed or Transformed?

Growing up we had this awesome toy similar to Play-Doh, called Silly Putty. It came in a plastic red egg and could stretch out, conform over shapes and (the most fun) copy the images of any picture it was pressed upon. I saved the colorful Sunday comics to impress my putty on. (Maybe we were easily amused before tablets, but we thought it was entertaining.) What images are being IMPRESSED onto your mind? 

sillyputtytransferink

 

Romans 12:2 encourages us NOT to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. It’s easy and comfortable to conform. Every culture and generation has systems and strategies to stereotype and limit. The devil’s plan is to use outside forces of circumstances, media, popular opinion, and fear to push and pressure you into CONFORMING to the shape of this world.  Continue reading…


mind reno

Mind Renovation – Day 4 – Self Talk Sabotage

Is Your Self Talk Sabotaging You?

Have you ever had a friend who says all the right things, but you still wonder what they really think about you? Or, if you’ve ever been estranged from a parent, the question is always pressing, “do they ever think of me?” We can’t control anyone else’s thoughts, but I have amazing news for you. Someone’s thinking about you all the time; yes, you might say he’s obsessed with you and has been known to do a bit of stalking!

If you’ve ever wondered what God really thinks of you, here’s your answer.

Psalm 139 New Living
O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
2You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD .
5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Do your thoughts agree with HIS thoughts?

You stupid idiot! You never do anything right! You’re the ugliest person ever! You’re such a failure! You’re a sorry excuse for a human being! You always mess everything up! 

Most people (let’s hope) would never shout these venomous words to someone else, but easily disparage themselves in their own self talk.

Self-talk: the internal conversation or inner monologue, in which you provide opinions and evaluations on what you’re doing as you’re doing it; one’s constant internal conversation

talk-to-yourself
Continue reading…


mind reno

Mind Renovation – Day 3 – Party Crashers

Have you ever had a guest stay past their welcome? Twenty-four seven we are hosting a party in our mind. There’s an A-list of approved guests, but PARTY CRASHERS scheme to sabotage your celebration. They try to sneak in unnoticed or promise they will only stay a few minutes, but before long they’ve moved in, invited friends and trashed your house! Lust knocks on the front door of your mind and says, “I just want to show you something. Can I come in?” But before you realize he’s invited shame, anger, addiction and anxiety and turned your fun soirée into a nightmare.

matthew 9:4

Philippians 4 gives us the A-List celebrities invited to reside in the walls of our mind. Here are their names, are you ready? (drum roll)

TRUTH / NOBLE / JUST / PURE / LOVELY / GOOD REPORT

The Bible says to mediate on these things. No you don’t have to assume the downward dog yoga position, meditation is older than yoga. God created it. He created our minds to work this way, processes and learning with repetition. Sadly, we are just more familiar with the opposite action—Worry!

Meditate: “to mutter, to muse or to speak to one’s self.” It is the process of mulling something over in your mind and mouth.

Worry: (Meridzoe in Greek) used most often for worry & anxiety, “to be divided, to be pulled in opposite directions, to choke” / (Wyrgan in Old English) to cause anxiety, like a dog gnaws a bone; to disturb or interfere with someone’s comfort or peace of mind 

Chances are you are either meditating or worrying about something in your mind most of the time. Matthew 6:25 “Do not worry about your life. Notice the definitions of worry. “To be pulled in opposite directions, to choke, to cause anxiety like a dog GNAWS a bone. Isn’t this what worry feels like in your stomach–a gnawing aggitation? Joyce Meyer says, “Worry is like a rocking chair, you stay really busy but it gets you know where.”

40% = things that will never happen

30% = are about the past, which can’t be changed

12% = about criticism of others, mostly untrue

10% = about health, which worrying makes worse and adds stress

8%= are about real problems that can be solved.

(source unknown)

Call Security!

There’s good news, Jesus has sent security to guard your mind party; it’s called PEACE. Peace is the bouncer at the door that checks the true identity of a thought to see if it’s allowed entrance.

Peace is like the umpire in baseball that stands behind the plate and announces if it’s SAFE or OUTTA HERE!

This peace isn’t like the world gives (like a magic number in the bank, perfect circumstances, or a respected diploma), it “will always be with us” (vs. 9) and it passes understanding (vs. 7)—it’s beyond our mind—tapped into God’s mind!

philippians 4:7

Okay, I know you’ve got a burning question. If we’re only supposed to “think” about the good stuff, what about the annoying bad stuff ? Notice the word says to MEDITATE on these things–those high truths in Philippians 4. Yes, we have to address the “not so lovely things” too, but they are not the TOP PRIORITY. Negative thoughts need to be addressed and evicted, but positive thoughts get to stay and hang their pictures on the wall. Cheers! With the A-List thoughts to hang out with, it’s going to be a party to remember!

Evict negative thoughts that are crashing your mind party!

RE:think

  • Recollect your thoughts from yesterday, are they on the A-list?
  • Have any evil thoughts crashed your party and forced you to serve them? Plan your eviction notice!
  • What are some ways PEACE can protect your mind? (Ex. When my husband is traveling I never watch shows about plane crashes or loved loves tragically dying because it can invite fear and worry.)

Scripture:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 6-9 NKJ

Prayer:

Jesus, I thank you for your blood that cleanses my heart and mind. Right now I ask you to clean out an evil thought or spirit that does not belong in me. I send fear, shame, insecurity, (insert your party crasher) an eviction notice that they do not belong in my mind and I will NOT entertain and obey them any longer! I pray for PEACE to come be the security guard of my mind. I invite things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report to attend my thoughts and decorate my walls.

Big God Thought: Peace that passes understanding guards my heart and life.

 

 

 


mind reno

Mind Renovation – Day 2 – It’s the Thought that Counts

We think of the phrase “it’s the thought that counts” when given a handful of dandelions or a homemade potholder, but the truth of this statement far exceeds a gift. YOUR THOUGHTS COUNT EVERY SECOND AND ARE SHAPING YOUR LIFE!

sowthought

 

Until the last thirty years, scientists did not consider a significant connection between our mind and our physical brain. But new technology for research proves what many Christians believed for centuries: there is a physical link between our minds and our body. Thoughts are electronic impulses feeding our brain with positive or negative energy. These impulses affect the body’s chemistry, hormones and mental well being.

Taking this to a deeper level, research shows that DNA actually changes shape according to our thoughts. As you think those negative thoughts about the week ahead that hasn’t happened yet, or that person who hasn’t actually said or done anything yet, (even in the absence of the concrete stimulus) the toxic thinking has changed your brain wiring in a negative direction and thrown your mind and body into stress. According to Dr Herbert Benson, MD, and president of Harvard Medical School’s Mind-Body Institute (http://www.massgeneral.org/bhi/research/), toxic thoughts lead to stress, which affects our body’s natural healing capacities. Toxic thinking literally ‘wears down’ the brain and the rest of the body. – Dr. Caroline Leaf www.drleaf.com

Continue reading…


mind reno

Mind Renovation – 21 Day Thought Detox – Day 1

Download the FREE 21 Day Thought Detox Scripture Guide rethink-thought-detox

What shape is your mind in? Is it in need of some updating, refreshing and cleaning out the junk? Romans 12:2 encourages us to RENEW our mind. Our mind or our SOUL (mind, will and emotions) is the part of us that makes choices affecting our physical brain and well being of the whole body. Our MINDSETS (habits and automatic responses) are called to look and smell like God’s Spirit and Kingdom–no “STINKIN’ THINKING!

Continue reading…


psalm 118:13

Are You Feeling Pushed Back?

Is it possible to experience PUSH BACK and not be “set back”? 

YES! We finally experience the breakthrough we’ve been praying for, and then comes…the PUSH BACK! We should’ve expected it, right? Shouldn’t we know there’s a Red Sea after the Egypt victory strut? The thief always comes to see if the seed can be stolen. Around every promise a new Goliath bullies progress.  We sniff victory. We can glimpse the promise ahead…and then, the opposition pushes back. Just when we’re running faster and gaining momentum, the big foot of difficulty trips us up.

2 Corinthians 4:8 – “We are pressed in every way, but not crushed.”

Recently, I’ve have seen some huge breakthroughs and miracles this summer. God always does astonishing things during youth camps, missions trips and the annual LTS course we have every summer.

One breakthrough was with an inspiring lady in our church who adopted a special needs child about 15 years ago. The little girl had been neglected and abused, but this amazing couple opened their big hearts to give her a home and the love she deserved. It’s been a roller coaster throughout the years caring for her and trying to understand her needs. This year a new faith rose up in their hearts to see a breakthrough. They believed God’s purpose for her was greater than confusion and anger, and started actively asking God to bring healing and peace–and He moved! We were seeing God do remarkable things. The angry outbursts lessened, she started enjoying worship and coming to church, she was making friends and getting along with the other people in her home. They were standing up against the limits. PROGRESS…MOMENTUM. Slow, but steady…AND THEN, the PUSH BACK.  An unforeseen traumatic event occurred that caused her to regress.

Sadly, I’ve heard this story of opposition many times this month…

  • A mentor and friend made huge strides through a surgery…and then the push back came, which caused her to end up in the hospital again.
  • A couple made huge progress in their relationships and then…PUSH BACK, a massive fight.
  • People testified about financial miracles and how God had blessed them with two cars for the first time in their life…PUSH BACK, a lay off and car accident.
  • My husband was making huge strides in his health. He met the sunrise for his morning run every day, organized a connect group to run and encourage others and ended the day with push ups and sit ups. He made huge progress and then…the PUSH BACK! He developed bursitis in his hip to the point that he needed a wheelchair to help him off the plane in Canada last week.

There’s only one word to describe the initial feeling that comes with the push back…FRUSTRATION!

Frustration = the feeling of being upset or annoyed especially because of inability to change or achieve something; prevention of progress, success or fulfillment (Oxford dictionary)

Deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfilled needs. (Webster’s)

Frustration exists when progress toward a desired goal is blocked. Frustration is a threat to one’s feelings of adequacy and can be an obstacle to reaching a goal…How we REACT to frustration determines in large extent whether or not we reach the desired goals. (Understanding Human Behavior)

That frustration arises because we see the potential in front of us. We know we are capable. We’ve seen the possibility, tasted the reality and then suddenly…the rug is pulled out from under us in an attempt to stop us. Frustration makes it clear the potential is there, but annoys because it’s not realized. Is there a way to harness the power of the push back to actually thrust us forward? 

Three Things to Harness the Power of the Push Back:

  1. Don’t doubt God’s goodness. It is always the enemy’s ploy to twist the plot, and despise the hand that helps us. In all of life’s opposition and obstacles, we cannot let our hearts be torn from our refuge and rescue. Whenever those lies start to invade our mind, we have to take them captive. Thoughts like, “Does God really love me? Why would He let this happen?” Voices determine choices. In times of struggle, we have to hear God’s voice closer and louder than the lies and doubts of the enemy. (In times like this, who we hang around is crucial. Are they feeding my frustration or feeding my faith?)  Dr. Graham Catto always reminds us during the LTS course how, “We only feel the resistance of the wind when we stand up against it, if we’re just lying down we don’t feel the opposition.” If you’re swimming upstream, yes–you’ll feel the push back of the opposition, but don’t blame God for it! He is there to guide you and give you strength. Psalm 118:13, “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.”Resistance
  2. Push back in the opposite spirit. We’re not going to quit and go home. There’s more to us than that. We win if we don’t quit–because He has already won the war! As 2 Corinthians 4 vs. 7 says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” We don’t fight back in natural strength or in logic and reason. We don’t counter back with attacks that resemble the enemy’s–revenge, anger and pride. We fight with supernatural strength that opposing doubt with faith, depression with hope and disappointment with grace. As chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians continues, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Maybe you’re on the sofa recovering physically today, but your spirit can soar in His strength. Many theologians believe that we place the wrong emphasis on the phrase “like a flood” in Isaiah 59:19. We are used to hearing, “When the enemy comes in like a flood (meaning the enemy is overwhelming with a huge PUSH BACK), the Lord will raise up a standard against it.” While this is a great promise of the Lord’s response to the enemy’s attacks, many theologians believe it is better translated like the Amplified and many other versions read. It places the emphasis on the LORD being the FLOOD that will push back on the enemy! Picture a tsunami. His strength makes the enemy’s PUSH BACK attempts look small. Praise can unlock this strength. (Psalm 118:14-16)

So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun. For He will come in like a narrow, rushing stream, Which the breath of the drives (overwhelming the enemy). Isaiah 59:19 (Amplified Bible)

3. Let the push back be your sling shot. Without Goliath there was no David. Without Pharaoh, who would Moses be? There are no great stories without an antagonist. There are no great victories without PUSH BACKS to overcome. God uses our enemies to reveal his glory. The resistance grows our faith muscles. The opposition makes us stronger.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 Message Push Back

Let the PUSH BACK cause your TAKE OFF! 

If you google “push back,” you’ll see another popular way of using this phrase. When a loaded aircraft is ready for take off, it has to be “pushed back” from the gate. A small tractor or “tug” pushes the several ton aircraft away from the terminal and toward the runway. You are like that 737 — packed with potential and ready to take flight and see the places and faces of your calling. If we can change how we see our obstacles, we can let the PUSH BACK propel us to our destiny, instead of setting us back in frustration. Maybe instead of setting us back, God’s purpose all along was to “set us up”.

We are ready for take off. Come on, push back!

 

 

 


correction2

Why is it hard to feel loved when corrected?

This week my dog, Winston, and I had a showdown of wills—my desire to trim his horribly long nails and his will to be left alone. I’m not sure where his complete and utter abhorrence of nail trimming originates. I’m sure it’s from some dark moment from his puppyhood. The fact remains he is in danger of harming himself and others. Because I love him, his nails must be corrected!

winston the Olde English Bulldog

This job is usually a two-man task. My daughter feeds him wienies, while I sneak up and grab a paw. This week I had no help, but I determined—today is the day, this has gone on long enough! As you can imagine, it wasn’t pretty. I persevered and ended up with a small tooth mark and bruise on my hand from him biting me! I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. In his mind, he was only defending himself from the horrible silver-trimming monster. He saw the potential hurt, not the intended help. Why is it so hard to be corrected?

Correction: a change made to something in order to correct or improve it, or the action of making such a change (Cambridge Dictionary)

Sometimes I’m like Winston and bite the hand that’s trying to help and heal me when it looks like correction. Correction comes to keep us from hurting others, and ourselves, but why does it sting? Hebrews 12 says God only corrects those He loves, but why don’t I feel loved during the initial correction? It’s uncomfortable, it’s scary and it requires change. Sadly, our first response is defense.

So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. (Hebrews 12: 5-6, MSG)

A few years ago, the doctor warned my husband that he had to lose weight in order to correct his blood pressure. He tells the story how his first thought was, “well, you’re not so trim yourself!” The Lord quickly corrected him, “Well, we’re not talking about the doctor now are we?”

I’m loving the Olympics right now. Listening to a coach’s correction is crucial (even in table tennis)! Can you imagine an athlete looking at their coach and saying, “Well I’d like to see you do it!” No. They are getting paid to correct and train them. But sadly, this is often our defensive response when God sends people our way to train and correct us.

Correction requires a choice. Will I RECEIVE correction and change, trusting God has my best in mind? OR, will I RESIST and grow stagnant in my defense? That decision will be the mark of maturity.

correction

A poignant verse in Zephaniah 3 reveals the results of resisting correction.

“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.” Zephaniah 3:1-2

If we draw near to Him, we’ll see His love behind the correction and hear His true voice. Instead of hearing, “You screw up, what are you thinking? You better do better!” We hear the Father’s heart saying, “Hey, let’s tweak this and you’re doing to be a lot happier with the results of your life.” Maybe the next time we sense the Holy Spirit’s correction; we’ll welcome the scary trimmers that help heal us. Even if we don’t feel “loved” at the moment, we’ll realize how LOVE is the motivation and will be the result if we obey.

If you love Me, obey the commandments I have given you. John 14:15 (The Voice)

My prayer of correction…

Lord, keep your finger on my heart. Give me a teachable spirit. I don’t want to be a know-it-all, because I defiantly have more to know! Help me to keep growing and learning. I boldly say…(brace yourself) CORRECT ME Lord, and I will obey. Because no matter rather I FEEL loved at the moment or not—I trust your heart for me is good and your lovingkindness leads me to life through my repentance.

 

 


The One Wedge I Hate

I love all kinds of wedges, let’s see…there’s cheese wedges…

auribella_beauty

potato wedges…

Super-Wedges-Pic-8

door wedges…

huperwoman.com

and my favorite (especially for testing my grace and agility) high heel wedges…

converse wedge

 

Wedges are powerful things. They are one of the six ancient simple machines devised for making a job quicker and easier by using leverage to multiply the force. It’s two inclined planes that come to a sharp edge. If you can get the edge “wedged” in between two things, they separate and start working against each other to move apart.

He drives wedges between us.

Being a pastor for over twenty years, this device sounds very familiar to me. It’s the exact method the devil schemes to separate relationships–he drives a WEDGE between us. Same game he’s played through the ages. Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel. Paul and Barnabas. He looks for any gaps–hurts, disappointments, misunderstandings–to bring separation and ultimately destruction.

It starts out small, but sharp enough to hurt. Then the force behind it continues to drive the wedge deeper and deeper until it’s jammed between hearts. Vain imaginations, gossip and insecurity are the hammer force to the WEDGE which splinters offense, mistrust and even disdain as it obstructs the beauty that once was.

Romans 8:35, & 39 assures us nothing can drive a WEDGE between us and God’s love for us.

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us?…I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:35, 39 Message

The Message translation uses the word WEDGE for the Greek word chōrizō which means, to separate, divide, depart, or pull asunder. Jesus tried to tell us how important it was to take THAT unswerving love from the Father and let it fuel our love for each other. But…and this is a BIG BUT, I know… It’s so much harder to love others! The Lord never fails. His unconditional love is always patient, pure, selfless, mature and purposeful. He’s perfect, people aren’t. People are broken, fickle, hurtful, manipulating, and self-centered. People fail. I fail people.

What is the glue that can heal our relational wedges?

Paul instructed the Corinthians that “there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:25 KJV, underline added) Isn’t that a lovely King James word, “schism”? It means division, split or gap. Paul knew what he was writing about. At this exciting time in the New Testament, there was ripe opportunities for believers to take sides and stick to old mindsets. He and Barnabas decided to stop being travel buddies, when they disagreed about John Mark, who was Barnabas’s nephew. (Add in some family expectations and tension and we have a real wedge on our hands!) Paul didn’t believe John Mark cut the mustard because he had run out on them before, and this could have been a permanent wedge of hurt between them.

And Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. [Acts 15:37–40]

We don’t know what happened in Paul’s heart or Barnabas’s heart or in John Mark’s, but at the end of Paul’s mission while imprisoned he asks Timothy to send for John Mark because “he was profitable” to him. 2 Timothy 4:11 Somewhere love removed the wedge.

We know WEDGES will happen.

The threat of wedges are unavoidable. Husbands and wives, fathers and sons, sister to sister, friend to friend–no one is immune. The definition of a wedge is very interesting to me. I thought it would simply be “something used to pull apart.” But look…

Wedge: 1. a block of solid material, esp wood or metal, that is shaped like a narrow V in cross section and can be pushed or driven between two objects or parts of an object in order to split or secure them. (dictionary.com)

What the enemy schemes to SPLIT us — God intends to use to SECURE us!

FACE the wedge!

Yes, it’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Yes, it’s easier to splinter off and stay hurt and offended. Yes, it’s easier to fall into the devil’s schemes to stop God’s purposes and Kingdom relationships in your life. But, YES, it’s worth it! Do all you can to pursue peace. Maybe you just need to face the wedge in your own heart and forgive, or maybe you need to talk to the other person to work it out. You stand before God for your heart condition. Are there wedges and splinters there?  You aren’t accountable for other’s choices, and you can’t control them; but you can control yours!

Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. (Hebrews 12:14-15 Message)

Here’s to seeing more cheese and potato wedges than bitter wedges! Oh wait, and “door wedges” too! Let me be a person that holds doors open for others–not slam them shut. (And then they’ll know that we are his disciples, because we love like him. John 13:35)

What kind of wedge will you be?