Avoiding Division

Open Your Bible

James 4:1-12, James 5:7-11, Galatians 5:13-15, Mark 9:42-50, Zechariah 7:9-10

“I guess what I’m saying is that, while I see your points, I respectfully disagree. And that’s ok. [wink face].”

Would you believe me if I said that was a text message I received from a fellow believer on October 30, 2020? 

On this particular Friday, my dear friend had asked me to suss out my thoughts on some political hot topics. To say I felt apprehensive as questions flew and the telltale ellipses bobbed on my screen is an understatement.

Genuine discussion is rare in our culture, even, or sometimes especially so, in Christian community. So I was nervous to risk a friendship. It often seems that animosity rules the day more than brotherly affection, and social media comments reveal more “bit[ing] and devour[ing]” (Galatians 5:15) than “faithful love and compassion” (Zechariah 7:9).

At the end of the day, we did not agree with each other’s conclusions. Yet, we both agreed that we respected each other’s heart and love for Jesus as displayed through our lives and not our votes. The following week we made plans to go out for dinner; our friendship had survived, and though disagreement existed, division did not rule the day. 

James 4 shows us how this seeming contradiction is possible: the majority of the chapter is spent on orienting ourselves in a posture of humility, not towards others, but towards God! See, if we hold a correct view of our individual relationship to God, it will change how we interact with one another. 

“Submit to God,” James tells us in verse 7; “draw near to God” (James 4:8); “humble yourselves before the Lord” (v.10)—all of these actions lay the foundation for this culminating, simple instruction shared in verse 11: “Don’t criticize one another, brothers and sisters.” We cannot be successful in this pursuit apart from submission to God. James goes on in chapter 5 to remind us that if our focus is where it should be, it becomes much more difficult to complain about others.

If we live in submission to the Spirit with a genuine awareness of His presence, we will not  be prone to complain about one another. Our hearts will be changed. 

James closes chapter 4 with a searing inquiry: “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” (v.12). To judge or criticize another, we must assume an awful lot about our own knowledge; but, remember, it is God alone who can “save” and “destroy” (v.12). 

Be encouraged—God “gives grace to the humble” (v.6). Grace to uplift and not to criticize; in doing so, we show the world a better way, one of “faithful love and compassion” (Zechariah 7:9).

(62) Comments

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62 thoughts on "Avoiding Division"

  1. Laurel says:

    “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James v.12)
    Yes, who am I to judge, criticize, and/or complain? I need to align my thinking with God and put others first in love..

  2. Ada McCloud says:

    Again it come back to “love one another”

  3. Jennifer Lumley says:

    This reminder of having a correct view of our relationship with God will change how we interact with one another. So thankful for a reminder of this.

  4. Yoana Yordanova says:

    It’s definitely easy to be kind when people are kind to you but when they aren’t…well that’s when pride steps in and you want to defend yourself and put them down. God says differently to me. Have humility. Outreach a hand. Be patient. An emotion is taking hold of them or even satan. Help them or do not say a word against them. Pray for God to change their hearts. God’s word is truly different than what the world and flesh say.

  5. belle ingersoll says:

    if we have judgment on our ♡ s we cannot come to a place of showing Christ’s ♡ unless we rid ourselves of that judgment for ♡ does not judge < we can surrender all our negative emotions to God && ask for His guidance && the Holy Spirit to bind us with love , joy , peace , patience , kindness , goodness , faithfulness , gentleness , && self control !

  6. Susanna Schlecht says:


  7. Shaena Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful, thank you for sharing. I just might need to find a stone to keep with me as a reminder ❤️

  8. Leslie Warnick says:

    Wow. Thank you CHURCHMOUSE

  9. Marla SneedGibson says:

    Church Mouse welcome back! I am behind on my devotional so I just read your post. I needed this today. Thank you. Your words always resonate with me in such a profound way. Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Victoria E says:

    Thank you for praying for me Mari V. It really made my day to know that you are. I struggled today with this decision, with not being able (or willing to take the risk ) to fly to see my mom and dad for the holidays, with a lot today. Knowing that you prayed for me actually made me tear up a little. Thank you and bless you

  11. Victoria E says:

    Not sure if anyone will see this post it’s so late here on the west coast! Came back to look at the comments again and I’m so glad I did. Churchmouse that story is powerful!!!! Thank you for sharing. Mari V I have prayed about my decision all day I have come to the conclusion that I need to wait on this opportunity. I pray I will have it again/ later, it’s something I’ve been trying to do for some time without any luck, but I know God can open doors when it is the right time. I was just shocked to get a “yes”, in my very specialized field people usually want someone who can be full-time. I will be speaking with the clinic director again next week to talk logistics, hopefully I will be able to volunteer early next year after the baby is born, God willing.

  12. Widgeon says:

    Church Mouse, you have been so dearly missed. Your insightful comments help us all to see things in a sweet sweet light. I appreciate you in many ways. God has blessed you with wisdom compassion and grace. We all benefit from your posts. Keep them coming, girl! I pray you all have a happy, safe, and healthy Thanksgiving.

  13. Sandy Phillips says:

    Thank you, Church Mouse. So much truth in every word of this. Let’s all just love LIKE Jesus!!

  14. Kelly says:

    Skylar-rhank you for sharing the prayer…it is lovely

    CHURCHMOUSE – thankful for your obedience to the Holy Spirit and being a willing vessel of peace. May we all lay down our rocks. ❤

  15. Mari V says:

    Sorry this posted before I was finished. Needless to say since I’m resting I came here to read comments. And I was moved to tears as I read yours. I too experienced a church split about 20 years ago. I remember the pain. Thankfully it did not split up my most precious friend Gretchen and I. Your words and your example of what you spoke that Sunday touched my heart in such an amazing way. I am so moved. I thank God for people like you who obey the leading of the Holy Spirit and speak up with boldness with love. Thank you Churchmouse! I’m so glad you’re back with us. We missed you so much. You are deeply loved and I can’t wait to meet you someday.

  16. Mari V says:

    Churchmouse…… it’s almost 5 PM California time and I’m taking a break/rest from Thanksgiving preparation’s. I’m taking it easy as I’m still recovering from my injury.

  17. Cori says:

    Beautiful, Churchmouse. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Skylar Hilton says:

    Hello dear sisters! I hope you all are doing well!

    The section that spoke to me the most tonight was the Saint Mark section. I think these words are profound. I would rather lose a finger than to offend anybody and cause more strife in the world.

    “Let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.”

    So many of us need to her this message today. We are so willing to separate ourselves from others because of something small.. like different opinions.. but God watches everything and knows this sinful behavior. Instead of creating more division and more problems to the world… we should focus on truly loving other like how Jesus loved us

    Here is a prayer for overcoming a dislike for someone from my catholic book of prayers… I think it would fit with tonight’s teachings

    “Lord, I am aware that this is unchristian of me since Your love for everyone created in Your image is endless, and I, in my blindness, am unable to see you in them or the goodness in him/her that You do. Help me to love others as you do, especially this person that I will learn to forgive. Help me to see you in them. Amen.”

    Have a goodnight!

  19. Michelle Patire says:

    Dang!! Preach Churchmouse!!

    I love this so much. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. What a beautiful move of the Holy Spirit and your obedience to Him :)

    Praise God for that brave young girl — that part touched me. What a beautiful child. Grateful to know God has brought you and your church through so much division.

    I love your heart, Churchmouse. What a beautiful “memorial stone”– literally. Grateful for you!

  20. Church Mouse says:

    I survived two church splits. Both were ugly. When I saw division happening a third time I was deeply saddened and deeply burdened to promote unity and to honor God with our words and actions even if we disagreed. As a member on staff I was asked to speak one Sunday morning to the congregation. I was charged to address about growing dissension. I placed two large baskets of river rock on the floor on both sides of the altar (Yes it took me and my family a long time to wash them all off and find large enough baskets). I somewhat apprehensively approached the pulpit. The Holy Spirit impressed on me to refrain from directly addressing the issues that were dividing us. He gave me the idea of this visual aid. I spoke about the woman caught in adultery, judged by the teachers of the Law and sentenced to death by stoning. I reminded them of Jesus’ comments to the angry, self righteous mob. And I reminded them that all those teachers dropped their stones and walked away for all had sinned. None was without guilt. All had failed to follow the Law. I looked over the congregation and simply asked them to quietly pray and if they felt so led to come forward, pick up a rock and place it on the altar. Would they be willing to confess any offense they held towards another and would they sacrifice that ill will on the altar? I didn’t know if anyone would come forward because tensions were high. BUT GOD. I knelt before the altar myself, stone in my hand, prayed for forgiveness for my contributions to the struggles and then I placed my stone on the altar. I laid it down. I then sat down and waited. And waited. And waited. And then a young girl about age 7 walked up, picked up a rock, knelt down, prayed and put her stone on the altar. And then her parents came forward and her siblings. And other families rose and did the same. Everyone that was there came forward. There were tears shed and hugs given. It was the most precious example of the church setting aside their differences and recommitting to unity. Oh some folks did leave the church but those that stayed leaned hard into reconciliation. The Holy Spirit brought revival and the church is thriving to this day. It was a movement of the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t me at all . And that little girl drew a picture of me standing behind the pulpit, two baskets on either side on the floor and the altar covered in stones. I have that photo framed and hanging in the hallway by the door that leads to our garage. I pass it every time I go out or come in. It reminds me to be sure not to pick up any stones. For a long time I even kept a small stone in my pocket and I would hold it when I felt an unkind retort rising within me or impatience leading to an action I would regret. I would touch the stone in my pocket and remember that I have been forgiven much. Who am I to throw a stone?

    Unity thrives when we are willing to admit our culpability and to drop the stones. It’s hard to hold a brother’s hand when you’ve got a rock in yours. Lay that rock down. Open your fist. Extend a hand. That’s your brother /sister in Christ. They’re family. Just lay it down. That rock’s been carried long enough.

  21. Mercy says:

    Such a great and wonderful topic we have today. This is a harder conversation topic, and I really appreciate the transparency/ semi- anonymous part of our stories so we can boldly share and learn. I find it very challenging to work with people, even church people who know God/His words, but we still fall short and let the flesh arise. Since I started working from home, I find more peace and joy, so being in a group of people with different preferences/personalities/self-control capacities and opposite opinions can add a lot of aggravation, hurts and headaches. So what do you do when we are poked and hurt? I find myself sensitive, and easily hurt even just by comments and then withdraw to keep it all in. That’s how I normally react… though my blood boils under the surface. At those moments, I would envision Jesus, when He was mocked and spit on, He did not retaliate, He practiced self-control. Without wood, a fire goes out, without a gossip a quarrel dies down (Proverbs 26:20). Whoever can control his tongue, he can control himself. And ultimately I realize the solution boils down to us zipping our mouth (with all that we have) and suppress our emotions. I find myself coming to the Lord immediately (excusing myself from others) and venting through prayers, I often ask Him to forgive me on this weakness and ask Him to please cleanse my heart of evil thoughts and intentions to retaliate/ defend my honor/talk back/ avoid eye contact and complete interactions, etc. I find that when sharing with the Lord, what I say will be completely confidential, and my attitude will be supernaturally shifted shortly after, and He can correct my heart posture, and thought patterns. Though I trust others, sometimes they will spread what I say (though with good intentions) but that could be easily misunderstood by other hearers. May God give us wisdom and supernatural self-control to nicely navigate these situations. Be blessed sisters.

  22. Mari V says:

    Praying for you Victoria E. And I agree with you your first and foremost priority is your baby. Could it be possible that there will be future opportunities at a later time? I always try to tell myself is this only for a season. I will be praying for God‘s will in your decision.

  23. Victoria E says:

    Dear sisters. What a convicting reading today. I fail all the time at not judging, I judge myself most! Can I please ask for prayer for a work situation? I am considering volunteering in a clinic but I am concerned about putting our unborn baby who we struggled to conceive at risk of covid. I am a doctor but I work in research primarily which I do remotely now. I don’t want to pass up this opportunity but I feel my first job is to protect him. Thank you for praying.

  24. Mari V says:

    ❤️ this Angie. I too, got a late start as I work at a school and off today. I was very encouraged by your comment today.

  25. Mari V says:

    God morning my sweet SRT sisters!! I am off today for the rest of the week! My heart is filled with joy and contentment! I love how God works and gives us exactly what we need at just the right moment. This was a beautiful and profound devotional this morning. Exactly what I needed. Life at work has been a little challenging (as I’ve mentioned the last few days) but just as I was discussing with my son this morning I will not retaliate, I will not talk back. I stood there and listened to a fellow staff member who was frustrated with me and all my flesh wanted to lash back, but I didn’t……. I didn’t because I don’t want to misrepresent Christ. So I took it. And I responded by letting her know I would do as she’s asking of me. Trust me that was hard and I was hurt. BUT that’s OK. I will be OK. because of Jesus, and only because of Jesus nothing of me, I want to make sure I represent HIM right. An ambassador for Christ.

  26. Dorothy says:

    At my present job, being a private duty in home nurse, I have really had to learn to humble myself. The family I work for have complete opposite political views as I do. Many a time I’ve had to “bite my tongue” about something they said. But God, I will continue to do this and care for their daughter because I enjoy what I’m doing.
    Have a blessed and wonderful day sisters.

  27. Crystal Mazzuca says:

    Praying for you! We went though that exact same thing last year – Senior pastor left, then another. There is hope, there will be will be healing.

  28. AZ Walker says:

    Jumping on the bandwagon this morning – Me too me too me too! Suddenly, wham I get impatient over work situations – say things I should not – act in ways I should not – and then feel so sorry and ashamed. Please add me to the prayer list with Mari, Lexi, BetsyAnn and others here praying for our work situations. Let’s trust and stay hopeful. (My situation is I work for a federal contractor co and HR is still reviewing my exemption request.) Please also pray with me for my stepmom in the hospital with dehydration and kidneys not functioning well and my Dad who needs to travel alone now (3 hr drive) to help an elderly aunt (parents planned to help her out of rehab and home today) Also praying for my nephew Brandon who is still making bad decisions and homeless but his son baby James is doing well with foster mom and judge ruled birth mom still cannot have him due to her bad choices. Thank you so much for praying and blessings to all this Thanksgiving.

  29. Erin VanderMeide says:

    “13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. – Galatians 5:13-15” These verses really struck me as I live in the northwest and we are devouring each other up here and really throughout our nation.

  30. Michelle Patire says:

    Goodness, am I thankful for all the honesty in the comments. I’ve been so upset with myself the past two days because I’ve been gossiping a lot with my coworker about the issues I have with management at work. Things I’ve been praying about, but also, struggling with the past few months. I felt comfortable to be honest with my co-worker but it led to gossip…
    and I’m really upset with myself because this girl has been through so much with her family misrepresenting a relationship with Christ to her. I don’t want to contribute to that! I don’t know if she’s saved.

    That is not like me. As I read the comments, I feel less alone in failing to imitate Christ in my workplace.

    May God help us be faithful, as I feel that is what He has highlighted to me, today. “Be faithfully in love with your co-workers.” the sad part is that I was gossiping about another believer :( May the Holy Spirit work in me and help me to be more faithful than I have, this week. I can do nothing without Christ who gives me strength.

    I know I am forgiven. May I trust God to help me with relationships and things I perceive to be unfair.

    Also,really enjoyed your story today Elaine… I pray God will redeem messes I make, too!

  31. Sarah Eral says:

    Sisters, my heart is breaking today. I love my local church and feel like it is breaking apart before my eyes. Our pastor just resigned—the second one in just over a year—and while he said it wasn’t about the church, I don’t fully believe him. I’m the youngest person on our church board, and I feel useless. How can we find and confront the people creating division while avoiding judgment and complaints? It seems impossible. Today is a timely reminder that submission to God comes first; all else comes after. Your prayers would be appreciated as we go through a period of reflection, healing, and growth.

  32. Changed Life says:

    Avoiding division…what does this mean to me? Before I retired, I spent a lot of time complaining, blaming, and sometimes shaming. I thought I was a decent Christian then. I went to church, volunteered, and tithed. Boy was I misled. Fast forward 10 years and I find that my heart has softened and I work hard daily to keep the Lord at the forefront of my life. No more gossiping, griping, and punishing others. No more two-faced interactions with people. The Holy Spirit is truly at work in me.

    Like many churches today, my small town church has lost many regular attenders and members. Praying for my pastor in these difficult times – for strength to continue God’s work and to ignore criticism and discontent. May we all stay focused on One Another and appreciate the gifts before us this week.

  33. Kerry Rowley says:

    Thank you @Angie for the beautiful visual image of the fall leaves. Your words will remain with me while I’m out and about today seeing the beauty of fall.

  34. Lexi B says:

    Guys this convicted me this morning. I have been struggling with how I am being treated at work. It’s definetly hardened my heart towards them. I need to forgive them so I can be light to those who need Jesus. God, please forgive my hardened heart against my place of employment. Help me to forgive them so I can be light and point others to you.

  35. Kristen says:

    I played this message by Alistair Begg recently. I was reminded of this because of the Scripture above. The title is called: Sin is Serious and Hell is Real. Has anyone listened to him before? I think you will find him to be a good one to listen to. Here is a link: https://youtu.be/bQjJfgdIllA

  36. SarahJoy says:

    This is such a hard word. How easy is it to fall into grumbling, complaining, undercutting, gossip?? I work around women most of the time. Can I be frank? We can talk too much sometimes. There was a woman who retired, and she radiated Jesus in that space. How? By speaking with joy, love and walking away from any conversation that was negative. She didn’t even have to tell people she loved Jesus. It was obvious because she was different.
    Am I different?
    Do I walk away even if people misjudge my actions?
    Do I lead people to love?

    God, help me to live as You call me to live.

  37. Mandi says:

    Hello. This is my first comment but I have been doing the studies for about 7 months (and did them years ago as well.) I have been so encouraged and convicted by the Scripture reading, devotionals, podcasts, and community comments. Thank you to all who participate. The Covid season was particularly hard for me in terms of division. It really rattled me to all of the sudden find myself in disagreement with people with people who I had always been on the same “side” as. I didn’t handle it well at all first. Slowly God has been working on my heart and repairing relationships and I am learning the beauty of diversity and the unity of the Gospel. But even with all of the work God has done in me, I caught myself sending a judgmental text to my mom about how another family member is handling a Covid issue in relationship to Thanksgiving- and this is while I was reading today’s Bible passages. Ugh! Praying the conviction of the Holy Spirit causes me to truly repent!

  38. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    “James goes on in chapter 5 to remind us that if our focus is where it should be, it becomes much more difficult to complain about others.” …I so needed to (once again) be reminded of this! It is always my daily prayer – that God would remind me of His presence. If I truly remembered, I wouldn’t say or do half of the things I do… What a picture the words of Galatians 5:15 paint – biting and devouring one another until neither are left, both have been “eaten”up! That sounds painful and bloody and ugly!

    And as @Tina mentioned – it’s the injustices of long ago that rear their ugly heads and trigger remembrances that God has forgiven, and that He would have us forget. But to often we listen to Satan instead of drawing near to God.

    Lord God please help me to live in submission to Your Spirit, with an awareness of Your ever presence so that I will not complain about others.

    I loved the idea that was mentioned of putting a dollar in a jar ever time you complain – and donate to a charity…I fear I might be broke, if God doesn’t intervene!

    It’s a blessing to read all the comments and to learn from and encourage each other…prayers for you all my dear sisters!

  39. Rhonda J. says:

    Good Morning! I am a person that was raised to be nice to everyone. So I have to say I’m not one to speak up and cause division. When arguments arise, I tend to shrink and just go along. But oh boy, do I love to complain afterward and speak my mind to others! lol. I have gotten better the older and more into the word I am, But God, help me not to have bitterness, or to gossip with others and create division in that way.

  40. Heidi says:

    So many comments on here today basically heading to the same conclusion at heart- The enemy has every reason to rejoice in the praise we give him through our complaining and criticizing and judging. Why? Because it serves one thing- him; and? it breaks down relationships /prevents growth and unity. We were made for relationship. God has built His whole Kingdom to work through relationship. If we take that key factor out- His Kingdom is directly effected and diminished. If His Kingdom is diminished, the enemy’s kingdom is pushed forward.
    Yes- that can be heavy. And – it’s the truth of who is being served through my complaints and arrogant judgments. I’m challenging myself today, and asking God to join me, by opening my eyes every time I begin to complain about someone. And instead, in that same breath, find at least one truthfully kind thing to say about them.
    Even in traffic …
    Oh dear, what have I opened myself up to…?? ;) ;)

  41. CeeGee says:

    TINA, you highlighted the text I keyed in on and was going to highlight! You also spoke a lot of my morning prayer and even used one of the words I used (trigger). I said that prayer before I had coffee and read SRT!

    ANGIE, your words this morning created a very vivid picture! Glad you had that daylight to see and share!

    ERB, I, too, was drawn to look up the ‘salt’ references! Thanks for sharing your finds!

    KELLY, (I think it was you. ;) ), I like your pastor’s style!!! Sometimes the only way to give up a bad practice is to actually SEE what it costs us.

    THANKFUL for the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement here today!!!

  42. Kristen says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I too am convicted about my words and actions at work and at home. I was upset last night and then again this morning. May God forgive me for sowing discord and in His mercy bring unity and peace in spite of me. I was convicted about how many things I’ve said that didn’t need to be said. But, I just had to run my mouth. Things didn’t change or get better because of some of my words. ERB, I need this. I need God to change my heart. Yes, I can repent, but I need God to change my heart to never go back! I need His help to truly forgive, be humble, and desire His will and for God to be glorified more than me being given credit, accolades, or vindication. God is the judge. I need to the Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me. Like I said, I was feeling this last night. Doing what I’ve done is wrong and this isn’t bringing God glory. Its an amazing and beautiful gift that we can repent and that would even God forgive and cleanse me even when I don’t deserve it.

  43. Maura says:

    So much for me in todays reading and your comments. I always feel like an old dog when I have a process that works well in my work, and suddenly things change I am put out. Especially reacting when I feel I should havd been consulted, Ha, I am ridiculous and not always realizing the need for changethat others have a better vision for, I complain. Holy Spirit help me to see the ways I can grow in change, instead of such resistance to it, show me the good and help me to still my thoughts take captive and focus on You. Thank you Lord, for all the ways you correct us in your word. Thank you Sisters for your insights. ERB, loved what you posted. Whenever I see fire in scripture I always picture Jesus in the fire with Meeshak, Shadrack and Abednigo, and am reminded, we are never alone in it. Because God never leaves us. What we face He faces with us. Cling tight to our Lord. The battle is His. Love to you all.

  44. Eileen Dowd says:

    Thank you Angie – beautiful thoughts for this morning!!

  45. Chris Gruhlke says:

    @Tina thanks for sharing so openly. It seems that when I let the stresses of this life weigh on me, I’m more prone to forget that the Spirit of God lives in me, helping us through this life. If I’m mindful of this beautiful fact, I’m also mindful of Jesus’ perfect example of how to treat others. It helps me to watch my attitude and tongue!

  46. Laura says:

    This was very timely for me as well. My complaining takes place at my workplace, which is a non-Christian atmosphere and I am known there as a Christian. Such conviction today! There is much to complain about in my workplace (public school…the list is endless). I had a bad encounter with a co-worker on Friday. She and I disagree on how to handle a situation. She tends to lecture and come across as a know-it-all. I was sick of it, so I called her out on how she was treating me. I knew that others felt this way about her, but no one ever confronted her, they would just roll their eyes and complain about her behind her back. I tend to have a more “honest” approach with people and tell them how I feel, I hope with the goal of working it out so we can work together in harmony. BUT, here is the convicting part. I did all of this, and we did have an honest conversation, apologies were offered and I believe we will truly work together much better in the future. I also hope that perhaps she, as a younger member of the team, learned to better handle herself and not come across so harshly and authoritative. BUT, again, the convicting part to me was that I did all of this AND complained about her to my close co-workers and got them all riled up too and upset with her. Shame on me! Looking back, I am so sad that I didn’t just confront her (in love) and keep my complaining mouth shut. Thank you, Lord, for this lesson (hopefully) learned.

  47. Aimee D-R says:

    Father help us, help me, to bring unity not division through the power amd guidance of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, Amen

  48. Julie Hurst says:

    Oh how we need to “hear and do” this over and again! A great reminder right before Thanksgiving gatherings! Be humble!

  49. Angie says:

    Kelly – I love the idea your pastor presented. I “think” I am usually a pretty upbeat person but, I bet I would be surprised at the money in my jar if I did that, especially if I asked my husband to help keep me accountable.

    I laughed when I read today’s SRT title, “Avoiding Division…” my 3rd graders try to do that all the time. (Wink, wink)

    What a blessing to be reading my SRT and sitting down with my coffee and oatmeal at such a late hour today since we don’t have school. I looked out the window and it is actually light outside, and beautiful! There is a tree losing it’s leaves right outside my window. The ground is covered below it in the brightest orange and red hues. The tree has a good amount of leaves still holding on. I am watching them blow in the wind and occasionally one will fall.
    Just past the first tree is another smaller tree, with the ground similarly covered with golden hued leaves. That tree doesn’t have as many leaves holding onto its branches. As I looked, I was thinking about how the old has to come off to make way for the new, and how sometimes I fight to hold onto things that are not meant to be held on to. Sometimes it may just be ideas, sometimes it could be actual things or places, is it ever people? Hmmm. And I wonder if sometimes, when I am holding on so tightly if my good God doesn’t send a little stronger wind to help me release.
    The different hues make me think of how God has created each of us uniquely “us” and I think how even more beautiful it would be to mix the orange/red and golden leaves together into a big jumbled pile and then jump in (or lay in since my body is not as young as it used to be) and enjoy the beauty, the fragrance, and the anticipation of both the still waiting season of winter and the new life that comes in spring. And I pray that in this place God has placed me I won’t hold onto what He wants me to release, and that together with other brothers and sisters in Christ we will be a beautiful pile attracting others to jump right in to the Jesus they see in us. For He is the reason the old can be made new and beautiful!

  50. Taylor says:

    So thankful we have the Holy Spirit to convict us when we’ve been the cause of division or feel those thoughts creeping in, and can extend God’s grace not only to ourselves but also to others

  51. Claire B says:

    These are timely words here in the US with the current political climate and divisiveness. Pray daily for your leaders.

  52. Wendy Myers says:

    I think it’s much easier to disagree (and stay in fellowship) with other believers who we actually know. For all the good of social media, the bad is the freedom to say whatever you want. Scripture reminds me to “keep it local”. Heavy discussions with good friends only! ❤️

  53. ERB says:

    So I looked up what “salted with fire” (Mark 9:49) means… there were many interpretations, but what kept prominently popping up was purification and fiery trials/seasons. I found this very interesting, because it is through trials that we are tested and made sure. In other words, the trials we go through (especially the ones closest to our hearts and our flesh) are what brings out our TRUE character.. the good, the bad & the ugly!! For me this is DEFINITELY where Humility comes in!! ..And it reminded me of something very thought-provoking that I read the other day about repentance… (my mind always connects humility with repentance) it was saying that repentance isn’t just asking for forgiveness but it is actually turning your back to the sin and never DESIRING to go back to it!! Repentance isn’t a light-hearted decision nor can it be summoned up & forced… It is an actual CHANGE of heart, which in turn effects our behavior and the way we process things!! Very profound and very convicting!! I will definitely be reflecting on this for a bit… so good!!!

    Hope you all have a really blessed and wonderful day!!!

  54. Tammy says:

    This reading convicted me! I’ve been doing a lot of complaining and (I guess) judging of a co-worker who I felt was causing division in our team. But this made me realize I was taking on that same spirit with my response. Changing your environment can only happen when you change yourself first, then your environment will respond. From now on…focus on God, show grace and be humble. Done!

  55. Elaine Morgan says:

    I had a similar experience this week too Tina. I got upset with our worship leader at church on Sunday. He had asked the team to be there at 7:30 to start practice but as usual because he was not ready when we got there we didn’t start until 8. I began to complain to someone else on the team and got her and her husband upset as well. I sulked all morning through two services with no heart in my worship. But God wouldn’t let me stay there. His spirit worked on me and the next day I had to call him and ask for forgiveness for my behavior on Sunday. The best part is that the Holy Spirit also gave me the courage to speak candidly about my feelings and why I was so upset in the first place. It helped us to share our feelings and get it worked out. We are going to meet and work on a solution that will help him get everything done in time to start worship practice on time each week. I feel like this experience has brought us closer together and opened a door for us to be a help to each other. I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit and the corrections he gives me. He keeps me from destroying relationships and helps me to build them even stronger. This was a good time for me to learn a lesson in unity on the heals of my selfish desires.

  56. Penny Courtney says:

    What a timely message (no surprise there) that we are reminded not to complain about one another. As we prepare for one of the most shared holidays across this nation’s cultural history. Let’s gather in submission to the Spirit as we gather with our family and friends around a bounty of provisions. Don’t complain about each other’s cooking, lifestyle, fashion sense, political opinions and such. Let our hearts be changed, Oh God.

  57. Pam Seipp says:

    Submit to God; draw near to God and he will draw near to you! This brings me comfort!

  58. Julia Guice says:

    Amen. Thank you.

  59. Kelly says:

    TINA – the same stood out to me too! I can so relate to your story as well. There were many times that church leadership planned events then seemingly gave no thought to who may be available to help in the area I used to serve in (audio-visual) But God always provided the people to fill the need.

    From the He Reads Truth today:

    “In James’s instructions, he gives two solid reasons for avoiding criticism and slander. First, it represents an attack on another believer—someone created in the image of God and saved by grace just like we are. None of us have earned the right to feel superior to anyone else or to tear anyone else down.

    Second, James points out that such slander is also an attack on God’s law….Taken to its logical extreme, that attitude leads us to think we can “play God” and judge others. That’s not our place. Our only Judge is a Father who knows us better than anyone and loves us more than we can imagine.

    James also believed that avoiding criticism and disunity was important because disunity inside the church never appeals to those outside the church. Believers must pursue unity together to provide an effective witness to the world, pointing them to our Savior.”

    Thanks be to God that He has not left us alone to work this out in our lives. His Spirit is more than able to help us when we humbly submit to His direction (and correction).

    My pastor put a challenge to us at the beginning of November to not complain for the whole month. If we found oirselves complaining we were to put a dollar in a jar and at the end of the month give the money to the needy in some way or the church benevolence fund.
    May we all be mindfull of how we are loved and blessed even when going through hard times.

  60. Blessed Beth says:

    OH Tina I love reading your replies, you are so honest and we all have BUT GOD…’s.
    Bless you my dear.

  61. Tina says:

    If we live in submission to the Spirit with a genuine awareness of His presence, we will not be prone to complain about one another. Our hearts will be changed.

    What convicting words this morning!

    I had a co worker call me yesterday about an event that had not been put on my radar as the catering manager for the church. She wanted to check, 1)that, I knew about it, 2) what my thoughts were..
    Through our conversation, I found myself complaining that I am always the last person to know anything, and that my job is made difficult for being told things last minute. In my complaining, I referred to the senior leaders and their none communication of stuff, which, often I hear about through others or the newsletter.. which then means I, have to go and find out what this is about..

    I hope, my poor Co worker, did not feel bombarded by my words, and that her heart, took what she needed, ie, what she called about and that the other stuff fell away..

    My complaining, comes from hurts and injustices of long ago.. they still niggle. They still rear their ugly head on days like yesterday, when there was a trigger, a remembrance of times before..
    Quite rightly, today’s verse that I have copied above, is the opposite trigger and reminder that, by, with and in submission to the Spirit, I can overcome those triggers that cause me to complain.
    Each day given by the Almighty, is day of learning, a day of renewal. I am a work in progress, and though I am not where I need to be, I am thankful, that I an not where I used to be (Joyce Meyers quote).
    I place my life today in God’s hands, and pray that I will live the day in submission to the guiding Spirit of God, that by His presence I will not be prone to complain about another, but rejoice in Him who redeems, saves, and protects our hearts..

    BUT GOD..


    But God, sisters.. but God.
    Be Blessed in all you do and are today..❤

    1. Chris S says:

      Exactly Tina. Exact thing happened to me last week. I have really had to rely on the Holy Spirit to NOT repeat the “discussion” to others!! Thanks for this reading today.