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“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out…where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Prov. 26:20).  Notice the tongue ignites and the wood incites. But if there is no wood the fire will go out. It seems that some churches keep large piles of wood to keep the fire burning. The need is not more wood, but more water.  As Barney Fife of Mayberry often said, “Nip it! Nip it! Nip it!” Notice it seems that Paul wrote more about strife than sin. Once he was concerned about two women who just could not get along. “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2). Their strife was over non-scriptural issues which affected the whole church.

The whole church and the whole community knew about it. It needed to be resolved and restored. It has been said that 80% of the people who leave church do so because of personality conflicts. One woman said, “My gift is criticizing.” Her pastor fully agreed. We need to learn that God can use people who disagree with us. Also, it is all right to debate, discuss, and disagree, but not divide over non-scriptural issues. Learn to fight the good fight of faith, instead of the bad fight of failure (2 Tim. 4:7). Dr. Bill Rice often said, “Good Christians are always reasonable.” Learn when to walk away and when to run.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory…” (Phil. 2:3). Nothing means nada, zilch, zero, and no thing. We need to be more like the moon and just keep shining even when the dogs keeps barking at it. Many times the Lord was silent as a lamb and opened not His mouth. You cannot regret unsaid words. When opposed, do the opposite. Notice that both strife and unity are openly seen by others. “Behold (look), how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psa. 133:1).

There is a difference between union and unity. You can tie the tails of two cats together and have union, but not unity. People do not care what you know until they know that you care. “By this (love) shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). I often say, “The greatest testimony is a changed and consistent Christian life.” The world needs to see Christ not conflicts.  So let the fire of strife go out and then get rid of the woodpile. As Christians, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt.5:16). So shun strife – seek serenity.  Remember, where there is no wood, there the fire goeth out.  And all of God’s people said, “Amen!”

Timely Thought: I’d rather succeed than to have my way and fail. 

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