Dangerous Encounters Are Usually Only Seconds Away. Are You Prepared?

Life has a way of transforming from contemplatively peaceful to potentially dangerous in a matter of seconds.

A narrowed section of roadway lies at the bottom of a long hill which I walk each morning. The shoulders on either side of the section are virtually nonexistent, the sides being bordered by large holes leading into and away from a drainage culvert.

As I neared the section this morning, I saw a car heading toward me about a 1/4 mile away. This was only the second car to interrupt my peacefulness, 30 minutes into my walk. I looked up the hill behind me to make sure all was clear, then crossed the road to give the approaching car more room. A few seconds later, the driver slowed, flashed her lights and waited for a car which had come over the hill behind me. No sooner had these two passed one another, when two more vehicles entered the picture, each approaching from opposite directions. The meeting was completed successfully but only due to both drivers slowing and cautiously approaching the narrowed section which I was trying to quickly navigate. I saw no more vehicles for several minutes after that.

In a matter of seconds, and for just a brief moment, at least 5 lives were thrown together in a circumstance that presented potential danger to all. None of them had purposely planned the encounter, but it happened. Probably few other than I felt endangered, but the risk to all was real.

Thankfully, everything turned out okay.

But the lesson remains. One never knows when the joy of a peace filled day can instantaneously transform into a potentially life-threatening happenstance.

Be prepared.

“16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21) ESV

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Adjusting To Diabetes and Christianity Isn’t That Tough! Or Is It?

Walking into a hospital emergency room complaining of chest pains, and being diagnosed with vessel blockages and sugar diabetes is life changing. Many everyday habits must be modified to deal with these serious conditions.

Vessel blockages can be cured through intervention or surgery. Prevention of future problems may involve modification of diet and exercise. But the changes to a person’s life style may not be extreme, depending upon his past habits.

Diabetes, on the other hand, offers special challenges since it involves monitoring blood sugar levels multiple times per day, injecting medicines, and tracking carbohydrate intake so that one’s blood sugar may remain consistently level.  One can never be completely cured of diabetes. All he can do is gain control of it.

At first, lying in the hospital room, one experiences denial. He reasons that the lab techs must have made a mistake. He tries to get the medical staff to admit that the established standards vary from person to person and that the levels he is experiencing may not be high for him; that they are peculiar to his health. He may go through a phase of making light of the seriousness of his condition; he tries to convince himself that gaining control of his diabetes really doesn’t make any difference.

But eventually, the fact sets in, and he realizes that he must deal with this undesired condition.

While lying in the hospital room, one begins reasoning that dealing with diabetes will not be difficult. The nursing staff regularly checks his blood sugar levels, and injects the needed insulin.  The hospital dietary staff delivers tasty, balanced meals (yes, I did say tasty) at consistent times each day.  In those circumstances, there is no need for him to count carbs or starches.

So, he reasons, “This isn’t going to be that hard.”

At home, where the food choices are somewhat limited, the diabetic may reason to himself, “This is going to be a little more difficult than I thought, but still not too hard.”  The fact that his RN wife prepares his meals, doles out the portions, and helps him monitor his sugar levels adds to the diabetic’s confidence that he can indeed make these changes with ease.

But eventually, the diabetic must go out on his own. He must monitor his own health. He must make wise food choices.  And he must do so outside the confined room of the hospital or the semi-confined walls of his home.  He must do so in the mega commercialized food world.

The nurses and dietary staff are not around to ensure that he receives a well-balanced diet. His wife is not there to monitor his dietary intake.  It’s just he against the food world.

And the food world isn’t particularly concerned about his condition. Its main concern is presenting bountiful portions of food which the masses consider delicious. The food world spends millions of dollars on advertisement, hoping to draw as many people as possible through their door, or to their grocery aisle.

That’s when the diabetic experiences true temptation. That’s when it finally hits him just how hard it’s going to be to make the healthy lifestyle changes. That’s when he realizes what the rest of his life is going to be like.

And it’s tough.

Spiritually, many people begin searching for Jesus, already suspecting that they have a spiritual health issue.  Through the sermons they hear, they are convicted of their sin problem and they realize that they must do something about it.

The Bible teaches that our hearts are the cause of our spiritual disease. God and Jesus can cure the heart. Jesus can empower a person to transform from a voluntary slave of Satan to a humble servant of God. When one transforms, he realizes that he must make major changes in his lifestyle; he must give up sin. (Romans 12:1,2)

This may not seem difficult as long as the new disciple remains in the presence and worship services of the church.  Preachers and Bible school teachers serve the proper type and amount of spiritual foods. Fellow christians help the penitent sinner identify and keep check on those sinful activities that seem “sweet” to him. When confined within the church, adapting one’s lifestyle to a faithful lifestyle may not appear difficult.

Within the presence of a christian family, living a faithful christian life may not appear to be a difficult task. One’s parents, spouse, and children constantly encourage him to give up old habits, and to replace them with prayer, Bible study, and christian priorities. The temptations which one faces are limited. God designed the home to be a safe place for his followers.  And within the home, a new christian may be tempted to reason that adapting from sinner to disciple will not be difficult.

Then there comes the day when the spiritual babe must face the world on his own. His fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are not with him. He is absent from the influence of his family. He, and he alone, must make wise decisions as he purposely resists the temptation of the world.

And the world doesn’t care about his spiritual health.

Satan, through the world simply wants to market bountiful temptations which taste “sweet” to the masses.  He spends billions of dollars trying to entice as many people as he can to try his destructive delicacies.

Facing these temptations alone are the times when a christian will be more likely to give in to the destructive forces of sin. Facing these temptations alone are the times when a new disciple realizes that faithfully living his newly chosen lifestyle will not be easy.

These moments are the times when he must fall back on all the Bible truths he has learned. These are the times that he must appreciate the love and care of his family. But mostly, these are the times that the new disciple must learn to rely on his Master, his Savior, his Teacher, and his Counselor.

For when a newborn babe truly learns to trust Jesus, he realizes that he is never alone, and that the salvation of his soul is worth resisting even the sweetest temptation.

“18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me

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By Helping Others, We Help Ourselves

Being afforded the opportunity to help Evvy, our 25-months-old granddaughter, learn new abilities provides some of the most treasured highlights of the time we spend together. I especially like intellectually challenging her.  I love to hear her speak new words for the first time, and to correctly use them in sentences. I love being surprised with her imagination and ingenuity.  I especially enjoy hearing her correctly express abstracts as she tells me how she feels. “That car scared me.” “I’m cold.” “I’m sleepy.” “I love you.”

But I also like helping our granddaughter develop motor skills.  Several months ago, she learned to climb a ladder up to a barn hayloft which lies about 8 feet above the ground.  I always climb behind her for protection, and have always set her off the ladder onto the loft.  Today, she learned to dismount the ladder unaided.

Stair steps have been another issue.  For some time, our granddaughter has been able to both climb and descend steps, but only by holding onto a rail on one side, and my hand on the other. Today, she decided she would both ascend and descend a set of steps by herself.  She did not need Pa’s helping hand. She simply needed the railing to brace herself.  After about 15 trips up and down the steps, she could steadily go up them, but was very shaky in walking down. She had to turn sideways and hold to the railing with both hands.

At one point, Evvy decided she needed her baby to play on the steps with her.  I offered to hold the baby, but she insisted that she must carry her. To my surprise, Evvy steadily and confidently walked down the steps unaided.  The baby provided the balance she needed to accomplish her goal.

Everyone faces challenges and trials in life. Many times, we want to try to work our way through these episodes by ourselves. So, we shakily navigate the pathway unaided by a stronger hand, and unaccompanied by a friend or brother.

Then one day, we find someone else who is struggling with the same issue.  He or she may be struggling even more than we are. So, we begin to try to help him. In helping him, we find the support we need to navigate our own troubled pathway. In carrying him, we find the confidence we need to carry our own load. In turning outward to assist another, we overcome the fear which has been overflowing from within.

Sometimes, coming to the aid of another forces us to more confidently deal with ourselves.  When we are responsible for another, failure is not an option.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

“So, then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)

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Sweetness Can Be Enhanced By Sweetness

It was a plain bar of milk chocolate, but it may have been the “sweetest” candy I have tasted.

No, it didn’t physically taste any different than any of the chocolate we can buy here in the States.  The “sweetness” came in the process through which I had come into possession of the chocolate bar.

“I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you!’ for coming down to help us and for all the work you have done.  I hope you enjoy it.”

A Peruvian young lady of about 20 years old chose these English words to explain the reason behind the gift. She worked as hard as any of us in the optical department of our medical campaign.  She sat for hours each day, translating the patients’ questions from Spanish to English, and then our responses from English to Spanish. Yet she did not want credit for the work she had done. She just wanted to say, “Thank you!”

Each of us received this same type of gift expressed in different ways.  The spontaneous, fervent hug a physical therapist received from the mother of a small child who is confined to a wheel chair, after the therapist had shown the mother therapeutic exercises which will help the child develop.  The bright smile those in the “lentes” (lenses) department witnessed when a patient received a pair of glasses which corrected his extremely poor eyesight. The voluntarily offered hand of a child who felt safe and loved in the presence of strangers who had invaded his neighborhood.

This morning, I thought long and hard about the chocolate bar.

I sat in a plane seat clutching a small bag of pretzels, waiting for the stewardess to pour me a cup of soft drink.  I expected this refreshment.  It was a part of my airfare. I had paid for it. I would have been disappointed had I not gotten it. Those pretzels and that cup of liquid were a symbol of the commercialized, materialistic world we live in; a world where almost everything is for sale, and very few things come without a price.

At that moment, I once again looked into the eyes of an energetic, smiling young lady as she sweetly explained, “I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you!’ for coming down to help us and for all the work you have done.  I hope you enjoy it.”

That was the one of the “sweetest” chocolate bars I have ever tasted.

“Give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38) ESV

 

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Why Am I So Spiritually Tired? I Would Have Thought That I Would Be Strong Enough By Now Not To Feel So Worn Out.

Our Trailblazer has enough power to easily pull itself down the interstate at 70 MPH.  When the cruise control is set at 70, the tachometer averages about 2000 RPMs and rarely goes above 2500 RPMs, even on major inclines.

The Trailblazer came equipped with a towing package. Today, I pulled an empty single-axle, medium sized lawn mower trailer to Bowling Green.  The trailer is fairly new.  It is well balanced and light weight. It tracks beautifully. It produces very little drag resistance.

Yet, when I activated the cruise control today, the tachometer varied from 2000 RPMs to as much as 4000 RPMs.  The amply powered engine maintained the set speed of 70 MPH, whether I was traveling on a level strip or up a steep incline, but it had to work much harder today than the times the vehicle has made the trip solo.

Today’s experience surprised me.  I would not have thought that the light weight, well-balanced trailer would have placed such a strain on a SUV which was designed to tow.  Yet, it did.

Spiritually, we may be struggling. We may be wondering why.  The reason may be that we are pulling along baggage; baggage which we believe we were meant to drag with us. It may be that the resistance the baggage produces is far more intense than we realize.  This baggage may be the result of sin and guilt. But it may also be the result of non-sinful cares, worries, and anxieties.

No matter how spiritually strong we are, even the lightest load of unnecessary luggage can cause us to work far harder than God intends us to.  It can cause us to doubt, to become burned out and worn out, and it can cause us to quit if we continue to drag it along with us.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) ESV

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6,7) ESV

“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’ As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (Psalm 40:16-17)ESV

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Have You Reviewed Your Collection Of Tee Shirts Lately?

Our clothing tells those we meet more about us than anything else we put on our bodies.  More than makeup.  More than cologne.  More than hair gel.  Even strangers we briefly encounter and will never meet again receive a message from the clothing that we adorn.

This is especially true when it comes to the everyday, relaxed clothing that we wear; the kind that we just haphazardly pull out of the laundry basket or drawer, then rapidly throw on.

Everyday tee shirts that have a message printed on them definitely make a first impression on those we meet because they specifically express our thoughts in words and symbols.  Most of these shirts have accumulated through the years. They were once important to us. We bought them because they made a statement with which we proudly agreed, or maybe they illustrated a particular lifestyle in which we indulged.  Some of these shirts were given to us because we were involved in a charity or worthwhile event.

Through the years, these shirts were demoted from the “let’s impress someone” and the “let’s make a statement” wardrobe to the “let’s just be comfortable” drawer.  Yet, these tees still tell those we meet much about us.  They say that the message emblazoned across our chest is still important to us.  We have not discarded them, because the advertised slogan, lifestyle or event has become so much a part of our everyday lives, that we enjoy comfortably, openly proclaiming our approval of the printed message without so much as a second thought.

Do you want to know who you are?

Sometime, go through your everyday tee shirt laundry basket.  What do you see?  Save the whales?  Drink more beer?  Run for a cure?  Live for Christ?  Party until you can’t?  Go Cats?  Roll Tide? Sexually express yourself?  Curse the world?  Feed the poor?

If we haven’t recently taken inventory of those old messengers, the communication that the world reads on our chest may be totally different than that which we believe we are relaying.

“9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Col. 3:9-13 ESV) (Note: To “put on” means to “clothe one’s self”)

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:1-5 ESV)
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When Only Tears Can Pull A Man Through

The proverb of old
Is what we were told;
We heard, “Real men don’t cry tears.”
We tried to be bold,
When the world was so cold
With all its tauntings and jeers.

But one day it came,
The inescapable shame,
Our eyes overflowing with fears.
They burned like a flame,
No one was to blame
Still we dreaded the ragging of peers.

We misunderstood
We thought the tears would
Show us to be weak and frail.
But off came the hood
Which had hidden the good,
The strength of a genuine male.

True strength won’t deny
The emotions that tie
And which show it loyal and true.
Strength shamelessly cries
With its loyalty tried
For there are times when only tears can pull it through.

Stoic bravado has its place
In the running of this race,
But I’m thankful that I outgrew,
“When men cry they lose face”
The false notion of disgrace,
For there are times when only tears can pull a man through.

“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)

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A True Appraisal of Property Cannot Be Influenced by Family History or Sentimental Journeys. But Sometimes Family History and Sentimental Journeys are the Only Appreciable Value of a Property.

Jesse Stuart’s short story, “This Farm for Sale”, tells the tale of a tired old farmer who decides to unload his acreage and move his family to town. The landowner hires a real estate broker to advertise his homestead in the local paper.  The agent visits the farm and then publishes a beautiful description of the land.  He details the warmth and nostalgic feel of the house, the history and usefulness of the barn, the life-giving beauty of the creek that winds through the bottom land, and the bountiful resources found in the farm’s orchard and berry thickets.

The story concludes with the old farmer reading the outsider’s glowing appraisal of his farm, and his deciding that it would be foolish to sell such a valuable treasure.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve thought quite a bit about that story.  I’ve thought about how sometimes outsiders can see a value in a specific aspect of our life which we ourselves cannot realize.  Perhaps we have become so determined in a decision that we cannot truly assess the situation.

But notice that I said sometimes.

Sometimes, it’s just the opposite.  Sometimes an outsider’s sole purpose is to give an objective appraisal of the actual value of one of our possessions. To do his job, he cannot be concerned about family history or walking down sentimental pathways.  He is simply concerned with facts, and the current condition of the object.  Not what was or what may be in the future, but what is.

Several years ago, as a part of the process of obtaining a refinance loan, I had to hire a certified appraiser to assess the farm.

The appraiser noted the following on his assessment (paraphrased): “Located on the farm are a small house, an old tobacco barn, and a small operational dairy facility.  Due to their size, age, and condition, and due to the current farm economy, none of these permanent structures adds to the value of the farm.”

This young man did his job professionally and accurately. His job was to determine a value for a piece of property based upon expert opinions and the opinions expressed by community members through their recent bidding and purchasing of similar pieces of property. He was correct in saying, the house, tobacco barn, and dairy barn would appear useless to most buyers in our community.

However, value, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder.

The house was built for my grandparents (on my mom’s side) shortly after they married.  It was the place where a young love and family began to blossom.  My Granny (on my Dad’s side) lived in the house for 35+ years beginning with my early childhood.  Memories of her stories, habits, eccentricities, love, and care abound in that house.  Many a night was spent sitting at her feet and listening to her read “This Farm for Sale” and other short stories.

The tobacco barn was built by my grandfather in the 1940’s. No, it would not hold a crop of tobacco now. But the ground it stands on holds the blood, sweat, and tears of several generations of family members who learned the meaning of cooperation, perseverance, and communication.

The milk barn was built by Daddy and Mama in 1976.  At the time of the appraisal, that small dairy operation had and was providing a basic living for three generations. Through the years, it has provided the groundwork for Christian character to be instilled within all who have worked, played, visited, and written their names on the back wall.

Neither an appraiser, nor a buyer can appreciate the history of the three buildings.  Truth be known, the next generation of Waddells will never fully be able to grasp the buildings’ importance in the shaping of that generation’s character and integrity.  Only those who have sat at the feet of a loving grandmother as she read “A Penny’s Worth of Character” by Jessie Stuart; only those who have listened to their parents, aunts and uncles, and other close friends laugh and enjoy each other’s company as they passed sticks of tobacco from one to the other while sweat poured from their skin; only those who have trekked to the barn in the dark in order to milk cows or feed calves before heading to school, can really understand why size, age, and condition are not always a true indicator of value.

As I said, I have been thinking quite a bit lately about that fictional story and that factual real estate appraisal.

I am selling a portion of the family farm; the section on which the small house sits.  Although the house is still structurally sound, and although it is filled with fond memories, in the eyes of the typical buyer, the house adds little or no value to the land.  It is outdated and unsafe for the average American family with all its electrical and plumbing needs.

But I am not selling the land to an average American family.  I am selling it to an Amish couple.  And they will find value in the house; for they do not have the need for plumbing or electricity.

It saddens me to see that portion of our heritage leave the family.  I have no doubt that all of us will grieve when it changes hands. But I am glad to know that someone else will be able use the land to begin filling their own treasure chest with valuable memories.

1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 
2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. 
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. 
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 
5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:1-5)ESV

 

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Character Will Eventually Outshine Rumors

My family and I lived in Green County, KY for about 12 years. We have now lived in a neighboring county, Metcalfe, for about 15 years.  Some time back, I walked into a place of business in Edmonton, our current county seat. The store clerk noticed that the jacket I was wearing referred to Green County. He asked if I lived there and if I knew a specific man from that area. I will call the man, Jim.

I was familiar with Jim through the retail building supply at which I had worked.

“What kind of a name (reputation) does he have there?,” the young man asked.

I hesitated because from the first day Jim had walked into my former place of employment, I had been told by my peers, “Beware of him. He’s a miser and an ornery old codger. He may not cheat you or steal anything, but he will get as close to it as he can without crossing the line.”

The young man continued, “In my book, Jim is a man of character.” He then told how he had bought 3 beef cows from Jim at an admittedly high price, but their blood line made them worth the extra money. One of the cows died shortly after the purchase. The young man had not told Jim about it, but he heard the news of the loss through the grapevine. When Jim heard it, he contacted the young man and insisted upon giving him a replacement cow.

The clerk concluded with the simple declaration of, “That’s character.”

On that day, I entered that place of business with a long-held judgment of a man based upon rumors; when I left, my respect for the man was based upon an actual expression of character.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13: 6,7)

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12)

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Escape, Then Never Look Back!

I remember reading an article several years ago about the dilemma faced by many people living in Arizona and other arid states.  Over the years, several thousand people suffering from severe allergies had moved to these areas in an effort to escape high pollen producing plants.  However, the migrants found themselves missing the green grass and flowers which they had left behind, so they began importing and transplanting the more hearty varieties of grasses, flowers, and other vegetation.  At first, this action did not have a significant affect on the air quality, but as more and more plants were imported and established, the pollen count began to rise.  The migrants through their own actions had imported that which they were trying to escape.

Rural America is experiencing an influx of citizens who are leaving the fast paced rat race of city life.  These migrants move to the country hoping to escape many types of influences, lifestyles, criminal activities, and social norms.  However, after living in their new surroundings for a time, many find the slow paced, uneventful, conservatively moral lifestyle to be somewhat boring and unexciting.  They don’t want to go back to the city, but they want to bring at least a portion of the excitement which they left behind into their new surroundings.  So they start and promote movements to repeal 100 year old laws which prohibit some of the activities which they found exciting in their old community; not realizing that these activities form the root of many of the undesirable social characteristics they were trying to leave behind.  The migrants through their own actions import that which they are trying to escape.

Spiritually, lost, miserable souls turn to Jesus in order to escape the devastation of sin-filled lifestyles.  They seek salvation through forgiveness, and vow through repentance to live a new lifestyle.  At first, the newborn christian often finds his citizenship in Christ’s church to be a wonderful, exhilarating experience. However, as time goes on, the new disciple begins to miss some of the excitement which he enjoyed in his old lifestyle.  So he begins to look for ways to justify his becoming involved once again in just a few of his old vices.  He begins to search for biblical or ecumenical loopholes, examples, or statements which will excuse his giving in to his desires.  He doesn’t want to leave the fellowship of Christ and His church. He doesn’t want to go back to where he was before.  He just wants to bring a part of his old ways into the body of Christ with him.  And as a result, he eventually finds himself having to deal with the same miserable sin-filled lifestyle which he sought to escape.  The spiritual migrant through his own actions has entangled himself once again in that which he was trying to escape.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Colossians 3:5-10)

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.  What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22)

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