I think Autumn is the best time of year with falling leaves, football games, pumpkins, sweaters and cooler weather. The thing I cherish most about fall is the beloved pumpkin spice latte. Can I get a witness?
I recently heard a story of a lady who…wait for it…HATES pumpkin spice lattes. (I know it’s hard to image.) She shared the reason for her aversion and it painted a bigger picture for me. When she was a little girl her dad made pumpkin spice bread for the family. Instead of adding baking powder he used baking soda! The bread smelled heavenly, but it tasted too salty and rancid. Today whenever she thinks of trying anything with pumpkin spice her mind runs to that first bad experience.Her brain classifies and judges ALL pumpkin spice items as distasteful. She needs a memory redemption. I wish I could invite her to the coffee shop.
How many of us do the same thing? If we’ve experienced a painful incident we judge everything associated with that event as painful, and label it as dangerous. This is the precursor of prejudice–judging all by the actions of a few.
I got hurt in church, thus all churches are hurtful. I was abused by a man; all men are abusive. I was robbed by a teenager; all teens are criminals. My boss was unfair; all bosses are out to get me.
You get the idea. You’ve just discovered the devil’s major scheme to STEAL our future. He tries to trick us into judging one negative incident as life’s forgone conclusion. That negative memory does not have to be your fate! It can be REDEEMED and exchanged for God’s greater purpose.
We can’t change the FACTS of what happened to us, but we CAN change our response and embrace the TRUTH of God’s redeeming power!
Memories are powerful and real. They can be triggered by smell, sound or a feeling. How many painful memories occupy real estate of your head?Continue reading…
I love all kinds of wedges, let’s see…there’s cheese wedges…
and my favorite (especially for testing my grace and agility) high heel wedges…
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)