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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Don't Quarrel

JEAN SAID:

Lord, I just read a simple sentence in Your Word that I've probably read many times. But this time it jumped out at me. Joseph is sending his brothers back to Canaan to bring his father, Jacob, & the entire clan to Egypt. As they left he called out, "Don't quarrel along the way."

Though his brothers were changed men when they knelt before him, though they showed repentance & humility, Joseph must have known that they could easily slip back into their old ways of disunity & squabbling.

I remember, Lord, when I was little Mama & Daddy would pile us four girls into the back seat of our old Ford, (there were no seat belts back then) roll the windows all the way down & head out for a lake in central FL, or to Aunt Mary's in Empire, GA. We sang silly songs, we played games like I Spy. But it wasn't long until two things inevitably happened.

"Are we there yet?" was one of those things.

Quarreling was the other. I'd try to sleep, but the others wouldn't let me stretch out. (How could they?) We would whine about being tired, or hot, or that another sister was touching us. Or one would want some little toy the other one had. We quarreled. We squabbled. We picked at each other. That is, until Daddy turned his head & gave us that look. You know the one.

I think that is a universal happening.

I see it in the Church, too. We quarrel, Lord. And I hate it. It demonstrates to the world out there anything but the love that Christ commanded us to have for each other. We bicker about details that should be over-ridden by the love of Christ which dwells in our hearts.

Even within a single local congregation we argue about carpet selections & budget items & service times & music choices, on and on.

Lord, help me to submit to those I love. Help me to defer my personal preferences to their needs. Help me to listen with my heart when other Christians speak. Help me to allow Your love to be the over-riding theme of my relationships with other Christians & my life.

GOD SAID:

Above all else, love each other deeply. Because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

Jesus left these words behind, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

It's not the logo on your tee shirt, Little One, that will show lost people you are a Christian. It's the love.

My love poured into your hearts and spilling out all over each other.