May 26

Reflections on conflict from an Access member

Each person has unique gifts, interests, and past experiences and a unique personality. When I get to know someone well enough I usually discover something fascinating within their uniqueness. Last week I discovered that a member of our Access congregation, Dirk G. Sutherland, writes devotionals, which are reflections and prayers on Biblical topics and scriptures. Dirk shared one with me related to our recent sermon series on conflict. I found it insightful and vulnerably honest and want to share it with you.

Life By The Spirit
Galatians 5:22-26

A Devotional

Written By Dirk G. Sutherland

Sometimes we argue, fight, and lose patience with those we love the most.  It was during one of those times that I turned to the Bible, hoping to find some patience and some of God’s wisdom. Through prayer and reflection God provided me with the wisdom and answers I was looking for.

I always appreciate the powerful impact of God’s word and how often I found the answers I was looking for, even though they were not always the answers I was searching for. Perhaps it is because God always answers the questions in my Heart, while maybe not so often the ones I voice aloud. For only God could know my heart so well as to answer the questions that I don’t know or wouldn’t ask myself.

God knows what I want to ask, and what I need to ask, the questions that trouble me the most, questions that I don’t know, never thought or dared to ever ask.

God speaks powerfully to us, both through his written word, and when we come before him in prayer. Often we don’t credit God for much of what we fail to realize is him at work in our lives. God waits for as long as it takes for us to accept him, says nothing as he works among us, in us, upon us, and for us, never never calling attention to himself. Talk about patience, how lucky are we all to experience love from a God so amazing!

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and its desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.


God often we forget how single and narrow minded we can be, and we often don’t realize it until we get stuck, or confronted by your vast wisdom. God please help me to narrow my focus in life only where it is needed and to broaden my view and be more open minded in life where I am not.

God often we pray for patience when dealing with others, when we should be praying for them to have patience with us. Often are the times that we argue, and frequently those arguments are over the same points of contention. We become contentious with each other and argue only thinking to prevail over the other without ever giving thought to any real resolution. God it is with this in mind that we come before you, help us God, to have the wisdom to understand that the future holds many more conflicts, arguments, and disputes. Grant us God, the patience, love, and understanding to look for solutions to our problems, rather than arguing simply for the sake of winning or prevailing over another without resolving anything. That living by the Spirit is love, joy, peace, and patience, that it is gentle and kind and full of self-control.

Thank you God for your patience and love, your kindness, and the peace that you bring to our lives. Keep us sheltered in your hands as you continue to guide us and as we grow in Christ and live by the Spirit, in your Son’s Awesome name we pray……AMEN!


Thank you, Dirk, for putting your reflections and prayers in writing and for your willingness to share them with others.

Don't miss Access this Sunday! Julie and I kick off a two-week series of sermons called Head vs. Heart. This week I (the thinker) will make make a case for why I must have an irrational faith of the heart. And then Julie (the feeler) will share her reactions to my sermon. Next week we'll swap places and Julie will make a case for needing an intellectual faith of the head, and I'll respond. And as always Eric and the Access band will guide us into the presence of God through terrific music. It's going to be great!

In Christ,

Rich Rindfuss
Access Pastor
First United Methodist Church Richardson

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