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May 2018
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Tear Down That Wall!

August 13, 1961 – November 9, 1989 . . . do those dates ring a bell? Today is the 51st anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall, also known as “The Wall.” “The Berlin Wall was the physical division between West Berlin and East Germany. However, it was also the symbolic boundary between democracy and Communism during the Cold War . . . . The Berlin Wall was erected in the dead of night and for 28 years kept East Germans from fleeing to the West. Its destruction, which was nearly as instantaneous as its creation, was celebrated around the world” (quote source here). That wall came crashing down on November 9, 1989.

Here’s a bit of history on the Berlin Wall taken from an article titled The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall” at

“The Berlin Wall stretched over a hundred miles. It ran not only through the center of Berlin, but also wrapped around West Berlin, entirely cutting West Berlin off from the rest of East Germany. The wall itself went through four major transformations during its 28-year history . . . .

“The Berlin Wall began as a simple fence but evolved over time into a complex deterrent system. By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, there was a 300-foot No-Man’s-Land, an additional inner wall, soldiers patrolling with dogs, a raked ground that showed footprints, anti-vehicle trenches, electric fences, massive light systems, watchtowers, bunkers, and minefields.”

What started out as a simple fence eventually turned into a barrier so foreboding that anyone trying to escape to the other side was almost guaranteed certain death. Freedom, for them, came at a huge price. The Berlin Wall illustrates the depth of human hatred at it’s extreme. Hatred run amok . . . .

Today’s devotion in Our Daily Bread is titled, Tear Down That Wall! and the author compares it to another wall–starting with a brief history of the Berlin Wall and then adds the following:

Another wall needs to be removed as well—the wall between humanity and God. That barrier was built in the Garden of Eden when a man and a woman committed the first act of rebellion against God (Gen. 3). And we all have continued that rebellion ever since! Can you visualize that impenetrable wall? Isaiah 59:2 says: “Your sins . . . have cut you off from God” (NLT).

Jesus’ death and resurrection, however, has made reconciliation with God possible (2 Cor. 5:17-21). All those who accept Christ’s sacrifice for sin will have the barrier of sin torn down and be reconciled to God. Christ’s death has also demolished other restrictive walls—between the Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, male and female (Gal. 3:28).

Don’t let your own “wall” of indecision prevent you from accepting God’s gift of salvation.

The veil is rent; in Him alone
The living way to heaven is seen;
The middle wall is broken down
And all mankind may enter in. ~Wesley

The Bible is a record of man’s complete ruin in sin
and God’s complete remedy in Christ. ~Barnhouse

Just as sin separates us from God, and the only remedy is through His Son, Jesus Christ, it is also sin that separates us from each other. Hatred fuels our world as it explodes in “wars and rumors of wars” (Matt. 24:6) at every turn. But that hatred starts in the human heart–in each one of us individually.

Since my blog posts are written primarily to a Christian audience (although everyone is welcome to read them), let me be brutally honest. There is a lot of division among Christians in America and it’s because we have allowed sin to reign in our camp and it has built a wall between us every bit as foreboding as the Berlin Wall. We demonize each other while smugly asserting our own self-righteousness. We build denominational walls and fences and blast at the culture for doing exactly what most cultures do who live without God. We point accusing fingers instead of extending love–and we do it to each other all the time, too.

At times I know my blog posts have hit a raw nerve, but I address my concerns to a Christian audience, because, folks, we have a LOT of sin in our own camp. When I hit on topics like pride or gossip or porn or sex outside or marriage or the myriad of other “sins” that proliferate among us (e.g. Christians) it is because we need to clean up our act before God and each other. The culture at large is not our problem. We are . . . .

And I include myself as I am just as much a part of “Christian America” as everyone else who considers themselves to be Christian in our nation. Jesus made it plain that we cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24) so we need to lay our lives down at the foot of the cross and truly seek to live lives that are pleasing to God through the power of Holy Spirit, and not according to our own desires.

We need get rid of the parasitic sins that infest our own lives and tear down the wall that separates us (e.g. Christians) from each other before we can be salt and light in our culture. Until we do that, we are fighting a losing battle and blaming our culture for being at fault. The fault is ours.

Ephesians 2:14-22 states, “For he (Jesus Christ) himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

It starts with us, folks, not them . . . .

I am amazed at how often the words in the music of our contemporary culture often ring the truth that we need to hear, and often it is from the lips of folks who don’t claim to be Christian or prescribe to a Christian belief system. That is why so often at the end of my blog posts I post music videos from popular culture, especially from my era–the Baby Boomers–because truth is still truth even when it is embedded in popular culture.

Ringo Starr composed and sang a song titled, It Don’t Come Easy (YouTube video below) and I want to share the words from that song:

It don’t come easy,
You know it don’t come easy.

It don’t come easy,
You know it don’t come easy.

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don’t come easy.
You don’t have to shout or leap about,
You can even play them easy.

Forget about the past and all your sorrows,
The future won’t last,
It will soon be o’er tomorrow.

I don’t ask for much, I only want trust,
And you know it don’t come easy.
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time,
And you know it just ain’t easy.

Open up your heart, let’s come together,
Use a little love
And we will make it work out better. 

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don’t come easy.
You don’t have to shout or leap about,
You can even play them easy.

Peace, remember peace is how we make it,
Here within your reach
If you’re big enough to take it.

I don’t ask for much, I only want trust,
And you know it don’t come easy.
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time,
And you know it don’t come easy.

Folks, “it don’t come easy,” but it would sure help if we tried to get along, don’t you think? “Peace, remember peace is how we make it, here within your reach if you’re big enough to take it.”

Are we big enough to admit our shortcomings and “the sin that so easily entangles” us (Hebrews 12:1-2)? Let’s read those two verses together: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I’ll end this post with Hebrews 12:1-3 from The Message Bible: “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way (see Hebrews 11), all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

So folks, let’s look to Jesus to show us the way, and take our eyes off of ourselves . . .

YouTube Video: “It Don’t Come Easy written and sung by Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey):

Photo credit here

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