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  • A Musing Pastor

Warning Signs

They are all around us....and they are among us. (Insert sinister laughter here.)

No, I'm not talking about spies or ninjas (although they could be....). I'm talking about warning signs and labels. In our house, our vehicle, our community and almost everywhere we are there are labels that warn us. There is some foul consequence that could occur if we were to ignore said warning. Listed here are a few of those.

'No Trespassing!' 'Hunting Prohibited!' 'Remove cover before microwave use!' 'Turn vehicle off before fueling!' 'Do not use cell phones while fueling vehicle' 'Turn vehicle off before installing serpentine belt!' 'Caution! contents may be hot!' Debates, discussions, and a few arguments have ensued over these signs that appear to crimp a person's freedom. The general intent is such that one who encounters the sign would read, consider the message, and heed the cautionary advisement. Some of us do. Some of us don't.

Yesterday, my wife and I went for a drive. We got gas at the local grocery store to take advantage of our 'gas reward points' before they expired. I shut the engine off to do so. I handled the gas pump with protected hands and all went well. Imagine buying premium gas at 0.99 per gallon?!?!?

We then went for a drive out into the woods and came across the stream shown in the video. Normally, this stream is quite peaceful and really relaxing to visit. Yesterday, I felt a tightness in my gut as we stood nearby and witnessed the mighty force of this rain-gorged stream. Technically, this is Kishacoquillas Creek (Kish Crick to most around here). There were no signs to warn of flood waters. There didn't need to be. The stream was offering a growling warning. "STAY BACK!"

The chilly breeze, the roaring stream, and the uneasy feeling made our stroll short-lived. I was replaying episodes of an old TV show "Rescue 911" through my mind. I envisioned someone carelessly stumbling into this creek and being swept away. I envisioned rescuers trying desperately trying to save that person. I shuddered. Retreating back to the truck we continued on.

Our town and as a matter of fact our world has changed and it no longer offers peaceful vibes. Everywhere one goes there are signs of warning. The news media broadcasts growing angst around the world of the coronavirus. Warnings, restrictions, and definitions of essential and non-essential are the watch words in which we live. Our current state isn't unlike the rules for living that God offers. Whether Old Testament Israel or the 21st century, God offers guidance and in some cases restrictions. We as a human race have been too ready to bend, twist, and in many cases break God's rule. Take a look at Jeremiah's prophecy from God to the nation. This message of hope was offered to a nation that had rebelled many times. God did not turn away or give up on them nor will God give up on us.

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34, NIV)

God is so ready to offer the very best to us if we'll allow divine authority guide and direct us. God wants to bring life and thriving spiritual growth to us if we will embrace the command to love God and love our neighbors in our faith journey.

Self restriction isn't something we do well. Our willingness to self restrict is something that reveals our heart health and can ultimately prosper our physical health too. Today, let God be the desire of our hearts. Today, let the richness of God's word be our chief spiritual food. Today, let's wash our hands and minimize our movements. Stay safe. Take care. Remain in prayer for the world.

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First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com