Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When Faced With Conflict

Fall in Florida
     Some days in the office run as smooth as silk, but there are other days where it seems as though there is one challenge after another.  Our challenges run the gambit too from computer issues to difficult people to deal with.  In either case, I find myself wanting to escape to a quiet place where I can gather my thoughts and breathe again.
     After I got home, I snatched up my laptop to peruse my emails and visit some of the blogs I so enjoy.  One site that I like to read is called "The Aquila Report".  There are many interesting articles there and one in particular piqued my interest, "Puritan Help for 21st Century Conflict."  This article is written in three sections and can be found at a wonderful blog "God in the Wasteland" by Michael L Johnson (  The timing could not be more perfect at this hour of conflict within our own country over economics.
     Perhaps the greatest reason I was drawn to read this, however,  was that God knew my heart needed some humbling wisdom.  My ruffled feathers needed smoothing and my jangled nerves needed calming.  The article accomplished this in short order.
Beautiful blooms of October
     In the blog post, the author pointed to a book entitled "The Christian Directory" written by Richard Baxter, a Puritan writer in the 1600's.  One section of this book deals with how to cultivate peace and deal with conflict.  Perhaps this is why it was so meaningful to me because we as Christians need to keep in mind how we are to react when our day turns out to be stormy.
     Some of the practical wisdom includes things like:  humble yourself, be gentle and meek, love your neighbor.  While we may know these things, it is the description that Richard Baxter gives which really touches the heart of the matter.  One such example is the description of not coveting but being content:

"Be not covetous lovers of the world, but be contented with your daily bread.
Ambitious and covetous persons must have so much room, that the world is not wide enough for many of them…[they are like] boys in the winter nights, when the bedclothes are too narrow to cover them; one pulls, and another pulls, and all complain."
     What an accurate description here of what it means when we covet and how it destroys contentment and promotes conflict.  I could not help but think of the Lord's "Sermon on the Mount".  There are so many things we are called to "BE" in Christ that only with His aid can we accomplish them.
     We forego God's peace which passes all understanding when we easily take offense with others, when we covet what someone else has or want things our way.  We are to have the humility of heart that our Savior demonstrated as He walked in this world.  He knows our frailties and is more than able to minister to us.  Hebrews 4:15-16 reads:  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Our Trees have color too!
     My friends it is when we draw near to the throne of grace that we find not only mercy but also the strength to live as Richard Baxter has suggested in his book.  Our Savior understands how easy it is for us to fall into conflict over many areas of life including government.  However, He will help us to live in peace even in a world that seems to be filled with turmoil.
     I hope you will take the time to visit Michael L. Johnson's blog and read the entire three part series.  It doesn't take much time and I promise you will be blessed.  If you wish to obtain a copy of Richard Baxter's complete book "The Christian Directory", you can find it on Kindle for free at Amazon.  I pray that each one of us can learn to live with contentment, peace and joy in Christ so the world may see the work of Christ in us and glorify God in heaven.  Selah!

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