Redeeming and Resolving Conflict

Fight
We all have conflict from time to time. Sometimes it is with our spouse or children. Sometimes it is with our parents or a family member. Sometimes we have conflict with a neighbor, co-worker, employer, or employee. Conflict is inevitable. The question is, how do we resolve it in a God honoring way?
Truth: We were created for God’s purpose and Pleasure, and are called to do all things in Jesus Name, and to His Glory.
Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Conclusion: In the challenges we face with others we are commanded to work through it for God’s purpose and pleasure. We are also commanded to do it in Jesus Name and to His Glory.
When dealing with conflict try the peacemaker approach.
The Four G’s of Peacemaking (From Peacemaker Ministries)
1. Glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31): “How can I please and honor God in this situation?” Without attacking or dishonoring each other we will discuss the challenges we face from our perspective.

2. Get the Log Out of Your Eye (Matthew 7:5): “How can I show Jesus’ work in me by taking responsibility for my contribution to this conflict?” Apologize and ask for forgiveness.

3. Gently Restore (Galatians 6:1): “How can I lovingly serve others by helping them take responsibility for their contribution to this conflict?”

4. Go and Be Reconciled (Matthew 5:24): “How can I demonstrate the forgiveness of God and encourage a reasonable solution to this conflict?”
Start by discussing the challenges you face from your perspective, in a God honoring way, without attacking or dishonoring each other. Make sure to show Jesus’ work in us by taking responsibility for any contribution you may have made to the current situation. Apologize and ask for forgiveness where appropriate. My prayer is that you will demonstrate the forgiveness of God and embrace a reasonable solution to the challenges you are facing.
The truth is God is always wanting to redeem and restore whenever possible. We are quick to destroy and run away. There is a greater love, joy, and peace on the other side of this conflict than you could imagine. If you are struggling in a conflict I greatly encourage you to pray. God knows both sides. He can help you say the right things as well as gently help you see areas you need to grow in as well. Friends, my prayer is that this article would be instrumental in helping you take the next step toward redeeming your conflicts for God’s glory. Let me know how I can help. Contact me through the web site and I’d be happy to assist you as you make your way toward peace. God’s blessings!
Pastor Brian H. Fontaine

Prince of Peace

Peace

 

 

 

 

As God’s church approaches the celebration of the birth of God’s Son I’m reminded of the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Messiah.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Sadly many of God’s churches are not experiencing the fullness of the Prince of Peace. In fact they would confess if they were honest that what they are living is the exact opposite of peace. I spoke with a Pastor’s wife this week who wept as she described the way the enemy had destroyed their church through conflict and quarreling over doctrine.
If we want to experience the true peace of Christ this holiday may we follow these powerful biblical principles for resolving conflicts within God’s family.
Quarreling over doctrine can be one of the most useful weapons in the arsenal of the enemy to bring down even the strongest churches. In Titus 2:1 we are encouraged, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” The first question we need to as is, “Are we teaching or allowing anyone to teach false doctrine?”
In 2 Timothy 4:3 Paul write to Timothy, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” The second question we need to ask is, “Are people subverting the gospel, or twisting Scripture in an effort to justify sin?
In these two passages we are warned both not to teach bad doctrine and to beware of those who twist the Scriptures in an effort to suit, or justify their own sinful behaviors.
If this is happening at your church God’s word directs us how to respond. Galatians 6:1a, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”
I’m going to be blunt here. If your motivation and method in resolving doctrinal differences in your church are not gentle restoration you are not acting in accordance with Scripture.
The Apostle Paul also speaks of those who have differing opinions or interpretations of doctrines. He warns us not to quarrel over them and to avoid petty controversy, as seen in the next two passages. Romans 14:1-4 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
2 Timothy 2:14 AMP Remind the people of these facts, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God to avoid petty controversy over words, which does no good, and [upsets and undermines and] ruins [the faith of] those who listen.
Further we are called to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
When dealing with conflict in the church it is vital we keep this principal in mind. In John 10:10 Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” God’s plan is always redemption, and the enemies plan is always destruction. The question we need to ask ourselves is this, “Are my actions and attitude leading to redemption or destruction?” “Are my actions and attitude summed up with the words from Scripture such as, ‘Quarreling, passing judgment, and petty controversy’, or are you ‘eager to maintain unity and peace?’”
When dealing with doctrinal issues within the church the key questions you need to ask yourself are these:
1. In the current situation do we have anyone teaching that which is not in accord with sound doctrine? If you asked them not to teach a particular belief they have that is contrary with the teaching of the church or denomination have they complied with that request?

2. In the current situation do we have anyone who is misusing the Bible as is spoken of in 2 Timothy 4:3 where people twisted the scriptures in an effort to pervert the gospel or justify sin?

3. Is the heart of the church to restore that individual in a spirit of gentleness as commanded in Scripture?

4. Are we really just quarreling over opinions with one who is weaker in the faith as we are commanded not to do in Romans 14:1?

5. Are we passing judgment on God’s servants as we are warned against in Romans 14:4?

6. Are we avoiding petty controversy over words as commanded in 2 Timothy 2:14?

7. Are we eager to maintain the spirit of unity and the bond of peace as is commanded in Ephesians 4:3?

8. The Bible says the enemy came to destroy and He came to redeem; are my actions and attitude leading to redemption or destruction?
Answering these 8 questions will help you enter into the redemption God has in store for you!
God’s best blessings! Pastor Brian H. Fontaine

Problem or Promise

Promises

Often as believers we get stuck because we focus on the problems of life rather than the promises of God.  This creates a crisis of faith in our personal lives and ministry.

Jesus came to give us an abundant life. He set us free from the bondage of sin, and set us free to serve and worship Him with our lives. We sometimes fail to enter into the abundant life God intended for us because we fail to believe God’s will is best. God set us free from the bondage of sin but we like Adam and Eve in the garden question God’s wisdom and doubt His word.
Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Satan wanted to be like God and it cost him his position before God’s throne (Is. 14, Rev. 12), and Adam and Eve wanted to be like God and it cost them their position in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3). You and I want to be like God and it prohibits us from experiencing His blessings!

• By focusing on the problem rather than the promise when things don’t go our way, we take God’s job by insisting we have sovereignty and are in control in every situation, not trusting God to be in control.
• By focusing on the problem rather than the promise when others sin, or fall short of our expectations, we take God’s job by judging and condemning others, not trusting in God’s justice.
• By focusing on the problem rather than that promise when thing are troublesome, and the outcome is unsure, we take God’s job by worrying about the future, not trusting in God’s provision.
• By focusing on the problem rather than the promise when faced with temptation we take God’s job by living in sin, setting a new moral standard to live by, not trusting God’s way to bring us the fulfillment we desire.
• By focusing on the problem rather than the promise when ministering to or alongside those who are challenging we give up, not trusting in God’s power to see us through.
• By focusing on the problem rather than the promise when ministry gets tough, gets dirty, takes too much, or is too far outside of our comfort zone we give up, not trusting God to complete the good work He has begun in us.

Let us focus on the promise and not the problem, trusting God’s will and His way are best, and ultimately let God be God!

Doris’s Story

thepen

This week I have been encouraging readers to send in their stories.  If you have been redeemed by Jesus you have a story.  You, like the rest of us are not perfect, but you have a story.  Would you consider sharing yours?  Tell us who you were Before you met Jesus.  Tell us how you Believed in Jesus as your Savior.  Then tell us what changed in your life when you Became a child of God.
Doris of Valparaiso Indiana USA wrote,
“I was the middle child between two brothers who were easy-to-raise children.  I presented more of a challenge to my parents who both indicated I “was born stubborn, then took a setback.”  (However, in later years they seemed to enjoy telling the stories which validated that conclusion.)  On my fifth grade report card, I earned A’s in reading, spelling, & arithmetic–and “poor” in cooperates in work and play.
I was raised in a Christian home and regularly attended church.  When I was in either the fifth or sixth grade, the Gideons came to our school and gave each student in the class a New Testament.  They asked us if we would promise to read it, and I promised.  Being entirely too proud to think of myself as a liar, I started reading at the beginning and over a period of several months read the whole New Testament, and in doing so I fell in love with Jesus.  When I was 13 years old, our church had a revival.  My family did not go the first night, and when I talked to a girlfriend before the service on the second night, she said five words that have impacted my life.  She said, “I got saved last night.”  As soon as she said that, my heart responded with, “I want to get saved tonight–and I did.
Since that time, God has taken my stubbornness and changed it into steadfastness.  He has taken my pride, and He’s still working on that.  Do I have any regrets?  Yes.  I regret the hurtful things I have done and said, things that I knew God did not want me to do or say–but He forgives!  Not only is it well with my soul, but the joy of the Lord is my heart’s delight.”
Doris

Angie’s Story

letterThis week I asked readers to share their story.

“If you have been touched by the heart of God, if you are redeemed, if you are forgiven, if you are a child of God, you have a story to tell!  This story is powerful because it it your miracle  story.  The story of death of your old self.  The story of rebirth.  This is a story of hope for those who have yet to receive God’s great gift of grace.  Won’t you tell your story?”

This response came to from Angie Croarkin from Merriville IN.

Before:  I can’t remember a before. I have believed in God for as long as I can remember. I distinctly remember understanding that I had a soul separate from my body at a very young age. This was a blessing I didn’t even understand at the time and one I would take for granted.

Believed:  My Grandfather died when I was in the 2nd grade. My mother explained death and heaven to me in a little more detail given the circumstance. I went outside afterwards to play. I was walking to a friends house contemplating all I had heard. I looked up at the vast blue sky with white clouds and I “knew” there was a huge powerful God up there. I knew it so much that I wanted to cower under a bush. I was terrified. I knew He was powerful and huge. I believed with the child like faith we read about. I wish I could say I did all the right things from that day forward but I didn’t.  I was in and out for a long time.  I have to say that even at my worst, God would call me again and again until the light-bulb finally stayed on. If I wrote about this process it would be a novel. It was ridiculous how a believer could be so blind.

Became:  Oh, I have become ever so thankful for the realization that no matter how far I fell that Christ was there every second, every minute, patiently forgiving, and waiting for me to call on him in repentance. I had much to repent. So much so that it took me years to accept that his grace was enough!  He finally led me to the Samaritan woman passage, Go and sin no more!  Praise be to God!  I started spending daily time in study and prayer. How in the world I didn’t get that missing link all those years I may never know. He has used me in visions, in prayer for someone I had never met, and He has shown me just how blessed I am. He has held my face, and comforted the deepest part of me with the knowledge that eternity is a very long time!  I can’t wait to live in the presence of God, face to face. It’s where my soul longs to be.  If I had one thing to pass along it would be to get in the Word everyday of your life.  I have witnessed his presence, his blessings, his forgiveness, and his almighty love. All it took was a little bit of commitment and the floodgates he opened are amazing!

Angie Croarkin

Go tell it on the Mountians!

go tell

If you have been touched by the heart of God, if you are redeemed, if you are forgiven, if you are a child of God, you have a story to tell!  It is a story of who you were before you met Christ.  It is a story of how you believed in Christ.  It is also a story of who you became once you were a new creation in Christ.

This story is powerful because it it your miracle  story.  The story of death of your old self.  The story of rebirth.  This is a story of hope for those who have yet to receive God’s great gift of grace.  Won’t you tell your story?

My Story is this:

b's

The summery of my story might look like this.

Before: Rebellious, Selfish, Skipped School

Believed: Trusted in Christ, In High School, Through Youth For Christ

Became: Adopted child of God, Forgiven, Made New, Free from Condemnation, Care for the hurting

Now it is your turn.  Send me your story as a, “Comment,” to this blog, or in an e-mail.  I will post your story here on A Minute in the Word.  Then you can send your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to read your story and the story of others who’s lives have been changed by the Savior.

Send your Before, Believed, and Became stories to bfontaine74@gmail.com.  And go tell it on the mountains!