Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crossing a Land so Wild and Savage

Crossing a Land so Wild and Savage
Barbara Henderson

Ballads are my favorite type of song.  They tell a story in a memorable way.  Of course the most wonderful ballad of all time is Amazing Grace.  Each verse tells a specific step of the journey of life.  It has a happy and eternal ending.  Love it.  Here is a link to an article I wrote some time back about that song.   And here is a link to a good singer pouring his heart into the song.

And so…  recently I was listening to a non-religious ballad called ‘The Northwest Passage”  This is the chorus…
‘Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.’

The song tells the story of the search for a ‘Northwest Passage’, or a way from the east coast of northern North America to the northern west coast.  The singer looks for the adventure of a lifetime – following in the footsteps of a previous explorer trying to reach the Beaufort Sea.  We can all relate to wanting a little adventure in our lives.  We look at adventures of people of history and wonder what it would be like to live just a little bit of that person’s life.  The line that stands out for me in this song is ‘tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage – and make a northwest passage to the sea’.  And I thought, that is what Christians are doing, or are supposed to do.  We are supposed to make one warm line leading to Jesus Christ.

From the most civilized land to the most remote and primitive, the earth is very wild and savage. You think I’m making that up?  Well, I read recently that no one is ever more than six feet away from a spider.  Now that sounds savage to me!  This year a deadly drive by shooting at a parade in New Orleans brought sudden death in place that was expected to be safe.  Deadly tornadoes have been trying to suck the state of Oklahoma into a black hole. Unborn babies are slaughtered by the million.  Forrest fires are always raging somewhere.  Anarchy or extreme tyranny reign in some nations around the globe.  We definitely live in a land that is wild and savage. People would like one warm line leading to true peace and safety.

Wild and savage lands vary depending on where you are living at the moment.  They require different cautions and preparations.  For instance, in a great desert you probably won’t need to take an umbrella or raincoat each time you leave the house.  However, you would do well to have an emergency water supply whether you are walking or driving.  If you are a mountain wilderness type of person then you need to have the knowledge and tools to survive before you take an extended journey in wild terrain.  If you must travel through an area of gangs and anarchy a Kevlar body suit and a lot of firepower would be a good idea. 

Most days none of us are trekking into the wilderness of the Brooks Range to get a good view of the Beaufort Sea.  However, each of us is facing a land that is both wild and savage no matter where we live.  The purpose of this article isn’t really to dwell on the fearsome environment in which we live.  It is to focus on the tracks we leave as we travel through each day.  We want to leave ‘one warm line across a land so wild and savage’.  We want to lead people to a better place.  To do this the individual Christian must make following our Leader Jesus Christ a priority in our own lives.  The path we walk should be a path pleasing to God.  We walk with purpose, knowing we are going to a better place; knowing even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will never be forsaken; knowing that God’s promises are sure; and knowing that we will never be disowned.  Christians are supposed to have a sense of purpose, and passion to do the things we are called to do.  Every Christian is called to the same generalities.  We are called to obedience.  If the Bible says something is to be done or not done in a certain way, then that is the way we should do it.  The Bible instructs us to be thankful all the time.  It is downright disrespectful to think God wants us to be thankful for harshness and sorrows, but in the midst of calamities we can always be thankful for the blessings of God that remain.  Our actions in times of turmoil can have a big impact on those around us.  Our actions in times of peace and plenty in our lives can also have a big impact on those around us.  If we are attempting to make ‘one warm line’, or a way that stands out as kind and loving to those around us, then we must choose to be thankful and obedient to God. 

Sometimes people look at Christianity as a whole, or individual Christians, and say, ‘Christianity has failed’ because they aren’t seeing the results they want to see.  Exactly how many souls are saved from hell is not in our hands or the hands of any individual.  It is God alone who saves, and there is no power in heaven or earth that has power to cast into hell or allow into heaven. Our job is to live our lives in a way that invites others to the God we worship.  How do we do this?

Obviously, it starts in the heart which is where great deeds and adventures begin.  The explorers who mapped unknown continents had more courage than fear.  When Dr. Livingstone went across Africa I know he must have had times of fear, but his courage was greater than his fear.  His courage was based on his faith in God, and that is where the courage of all Christians originates.  History tells us that Dr. Livingstone did trace that ‘one warm line’ through a wild and savage continent filled with souls who had never heard the good news of Jesus Christ. 

It is unfortunate but true that while many Christian might believe they have the courage to cross an unknown continent to light the way to heaven through Jesus Christ they don’t have the courage to light the way when it comes to walking from their home to their mailbox!  Fortunately, somewhere in the heart of even the faintest true Christian is the dream or idea of doing more for Christ.

As already mentioned, great deeds start in the heart. Many people want the chance to do one great deed, but that isn’t really how God works.  He works with people who do a lot of little deeds every day.  He works with people who are obedient to His commandments throughout the day. They are thankful every day.  They are kind every day.  This alone puts them in a different category than most other people.  They are people with purpose.  They have their eye on a specific goal. They want to cross a land that is wild and savage in a way that entices others to follow them.  They want a well done from God Almighty.  As their pattern for obedience and faithfulness continues God expands what He wants them to do.  That is the way it works.

There is a trend today for people of God to believe they can travel through life with their Christianity camouflaged by their worldly actions.  A very main camouflage tactic is to dress like the world.  This happens for two reasons.  First people like the look of the world.  Women want to look hot, and men want to look like someone who could attract a ‘hot woman’.  This is disgusting.  There is a way to dress that pleases God.  They way to tell if you are dressed appropriately is to stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself!  Ask yourself does this please God?  Ladies – here’s a BIG HINT!  If your boobs are hanging out, or your shorts have the bottom of your butt hanging out, or if less than 5% of your skin is covered by your swimming suit, then you are not pleasing God.  You are attempting to get men to admire your body.  And guys, if you are overly interested in how good you look without a shirt on then you are not dressing to please God.  You are dressing and probably obsessing to attract women. 

I do not believe there is anything in the Bible that gives an exact dress code.  We are supposed to wear clothes.  We are supposed to dress modestly.  We should dress in a manner that is appropriate for an ambassador of God Almighty and an adopted child of the same God Almighty.  I’ll give you a couple of examples of two ladies who had different budgets and different clothing styles.  One didn’t wear makeup and the other put on makeup before she got out of bed in the morning.  They didn’t dress overly fancy or overly plain.  They spent what they thought was an appropriate amount of money on clothes and shoes.  They were neat.  They were clean. Their hair was consistently done in a way they liked and found comfortable.  One wore bright colors to the point of gaudy.  That lady wore a lot of jewelry.  The other lady wore darker colors and practically never wore jewelry. They both wore dresses to church and some sort of britches the rest of the time.  They both attended something fancy that required dressing up every few years.  They both liked to get out for a picnic or even overnight camping.  They had clothes for that. They always looked very nice.  In other words there was nothing in their way of dressing that would be found objectionable or give the impression they were allied with the world even though their styles of dress were totally opposite.  A personal sense of style is a good thing.  These two ladies did not need anyone to tell them if they were appropriately dressed.  They looked in the mirror and their conscience told them. They were both attractive ladies with an air about them that suggested helpfulness and kindness. By the way, there is no benefit in the way some sects require their followers to dress in a particular type of garment.  They wind up attracting attention because of their clothing instead of their actions.  But there is no excuse for women of Christ to dress like women of the world.  Size and age are not measures of what is and is not appropriate attire.  Something indecent and provocative on a size 14 50 year old woman is also indecent and provocative on a size 4 16 year old woman.  Ladies, get with the program!  If you are a child of God then dress like it.  Nobody really wants to see your boobs, butt, or belly button.  It doesn’t matter if you have the body to be a Victoria’s Secret model.  Cover it up!  And then get on with your life.  One more thing ladies; television has set up women who use gutter language, ogle men, and are basically obnoxious self centered witches (Think the Rosanne Barr or Golden Girls TV shows) as normal or tough women doing what they have to do to get by while getting their own way.  Don’t fall for that garbage.  As a child of God you are better than that.  You are supposed to be an example to the world on how to behave.  You are not supposed to join the crowd of idiots!

And men, your job is to pay attention to what God has called you to do.  Totally ignore slutty women! 

Christians are most certainly free to pay attention to their size, to exercise, to follow a healthy diet, to take up sports, and do what is needed to maintain a healthy life.  But if your body becomes your obsession you have stepped over the line into sin. 

There is something called the Christian work ethic.  That means Christians are supposed to approach all their work whether at home or on a paid job as people who work within the boundaries set by God for all behavior, do more than is required of them, and have an over-all ‘get the job done’ and ‘I don’t care who gets the credit’ attitude. 

These are all things that do please God.  You would like to think this work ethic would get you promotions, raises, and lots of good will from employers and fellow employees as well.  That really doesn’t happen a lot of the time.  Your ‘well done’ is waiting for you at a later date.  Do not grow weary in well doing – for in due season you will reap if you don’t faint (or quit).  That is a promise from God, and He is faithful to keep His promises. 

How many times have you been in a situation where you did not know which way to go or what to do? Did you feel like you were trapped in a land that was wild and savage just like the land in the song?  In that time would you have liked to see ‘one warm line’ leading the way across that wild and savage land?  Your duty is to be a leader who shows others the way.  You have a calling.  You have a duty.  You have a responsibility.  Now comes the big questions.   Do you have the passion?  Do you have courage that is greater than your fear?  You may be saying, ‘What fear?  I’m not afraid of a wild and savage wilderness.’  OK, then are you afraid of being different?  Are you afraid you might stand out as a Christian?  Are you afraid of turning down that boys night out even though they always wind up doing things you really aren’t comfortable doing?  Are you ladies afraid of turning down that ladies night out because it usually turns into a either a gossip party or an evening spent bashing men in general?  Are you afraid of living a life that might get you called a prude?  (See my article on being proud of being a prude )

If you are truly a Christian, then you truly have a job to do.  Another way to say make one warm line across a land so wild and savage is, ‘Let your light so shine before men that others may see God.  Remember, people are not going to ‘see God’ if your boobs, butt, belly button, and ripped muscles, are blocking their view.  They will not see God if your gutter mouth or smart mouth are getting in their way. They will not see God if your gossipy mouth smokes like a fire breathing dragon.  They also will not see God if your selfish lazy work ethic or attitude dominate your life.  They will not see God if your Christianity is so camouflaged that you blend in perfectly with the rest of the world. You will not step up to the plate when you are called for a great mission if you won’t step up to the plate for simply daily obedience.

It is time for Christians to take God seriously.  It is time for Christians to do a 180 on any actions that are not in line with God’s instructions and the boundaries He has set for righteous behavior.  Today is the day to ask ourselves the question, ‘Does the light of God shine in me so that I lead others to the One who holds the key to everlasting life – Jesus Christ alone?’

What you do makes a difference – for good or for evil. 

Thank you for reading my article.

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