Tag Archive | Times of Trouble

The Divided Church

divided church

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand”—Matthew 12:25b, New King James Bible

“It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

The above words were spoken in 1963, and they still ring true in 2021.

It should come as no shock then that just because the calendar reset on January 1, our lives didn’t. We’re only halfway through the first month of a new year, and we’re still dealing with the same stuff we left behind on December 31. It’s a new day, but the same old problems exist. We are still a nation divided.

We see the division in Congress with politicians voting along party lines on issues instead of acting in their constituents’ best interest.

We see it in our neighborhoods where schools have gained reputations of being predominantly “white” or “black.”

Sadly, we also see it in our churches.

Now, let me pause for a second to say that it’s natural for people to join institutions in their local communities. If that community looks like them, then of course, a church will have a predominant composition. The appearance of a church’s membership isn’t my issue. It’s the divided hearts that concern me the most.

Those who represent God have gotten drawn into the blue and red debate, putting politics over the unity of their faith. Politics is being promoted from the pulpit along with the “Black” Gospel and “White” Gospel. There is an “us” v. “them” mindset, forgetting that as Christians, we are all an “us.” “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). It’s the Gospel, plain and simple.

There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage. If there is, please pray for me because I like the melanin in my skin and all the characteristics that make me a proud Black woman. I wouldn’t trade identities with anyone in this world.

I will also admit that it’s easy to become callous when witnessing so many injustices. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds . . . just typing it caused a flood of emotions. That’s how long Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck. The memory of that moment incinerates me, and without the intervening power of the Holy Spirit, it could easily fill my heart with hatred. However, that is not God’s way, so it can’t be mine.
If we have any chance of healing our nation, it must start with all of us in the church—Black folks, White folks, and everyone in between. When the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by a demon, He responded by saying, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matt. 12: 25b.) America is in need of a great healing, but we’ve gotten on the crazy train if we think we’re going to do this without God.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14

I know that everyone doesn’t believe in God or the authority of the Bible. This Scripture doesn’t call on everyone; it is a plea to God’s people. If those of us who claim to know Him will unify in prayer, we can make a difference.

Father, Thank You for how You uniquely made each one of us. Let our differences be an avenue for learning more about one another instead of dividing us. Heal the hurts that have been caused among Your people by Your people so that we can be instruments of healing for the world. Thank you for establishing governments for order, but let us not misplace hope in officials to do the work that only You can do. Only You can change hearts. Start with ours. Let our love for You unite us instead of allowing the prevalent sin of this world divide us.

Jesus, Help!

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“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1, NIV

On October 19, 2020 around 7:15 a.m., it was dark and raining. I was driving on the highway listening to a podcast when my windshield wipers suddenly malfunctioned. The driver’s side wiper flew off and onto the road, and the other one stopped working altogether. One moment, I was in peace. The next, I was in a panic. There I was going between 60–70 mph, and I could not see a thing. The darkness, combined with the rain, prevented me from seeing the white lines on the road clearly.

“Jesus!” I screamed. “Help!”

I turned on my hazards and slowed down, inching over between the lights of other cars, praying that I would make it to safety. I finally got to a place on the freeway where it split, and I pulled between the two interstates, lacking confidence that I could make it all the way to the right shoulder.
Adrenaline pumping, I sighed. “Thank You, Jesus!”

I called for roadside assistance, then my husband and daughter. I also shared the experience with my prayer groups, expressing my gratitude for God’s protection, not only of me but also for others on the highway. I cried tears of joy and relief. My stomach was in knots. I was shaking, but I was safe.

There are so many things that this experience signifies to me. First, it’s a reminder of personal growth. I recall a time in my life when calling on the Name of Jesus would not have been my first choice of words. Oh, I would have had a four-letter expression of some kind, but I doubt that it would have been “help.” It’s amazing to reflect back on the old self and see God’s transformative power at work in your current life.

Second, the experience reminded me of how accessible God is via prayer. I didn’t have time for fancy words or a long introduction. He was present in my time of trouble and answered both my spoken and unspoken requests. That “help” encompassed a lot—help me make it to safety, help me not cause an accident, help calm my nerves, and more!

Third, it was an opportunity to praise Him. Sure, I could have been upset by the inconvenience of having to re-arrange my plans. After all, I had a ton of responsibilities for the week, and I’d outlined what I needed to do and when I’d planned to do it. However, I wasn’t the least bit upset. I was grateful for so many reasons. The situation could have been much worse, but it wasn’t. I got home safely, the wipers were fixed, and the next day I did all the errands I’d started the previous day.

The psalmist referred to God as a present help. Whether we need Him at the spur-of-the-moment or during a long, drawn-out trial, He is with us. I pray that You not only know that He is present, but that you feel His presence as well, and that it gives you comfort in whatever situations you may face.