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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Too Close"

March 23, 2007

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But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11.

Chickens. I like chickens as much as the next man. I like chickens in soup, barbecue and casseroles. I don’t like chickens in my bedroom, living room or bathroom.

Unfortunately, according to an article carried by Reuter’s News Service, people in rural Egypt have a custom of keeping chickens in all of those rooms. It’s a custom which had lead to problems. You see, some Egyptian chickens have avian influenza, the disease which you and I know as the bird flu. Since last year 24 people have contracted that deadly illness.

Now the people in rural Egypt are not fools. They know the bird flu is nasty business. That’s why, when they see a bird get wobbly and rubbery, they get rid of the birds. They don’t have the birds checked. They get rid of them. Some put their chickens in a sack and drown them in a nearby irrigation canal. Others get rid of the diseased birds in different ways. None of the ways are sanitary, and none will keep the flu from spreading.

It’s a dangerous practice. Of course you might sensibly ask: “Why don’t the people do the smart thing? Why are they putting themselves and their families at risk?” Good questions. There is an answer. The answer is “because.” “Because it’s not our custom; because we don’t trust the authorities; because they might take our chickens away and we won’t have any protein to eat.”

“Because.” Over the years I have talked to many who have placed themselves in dangerous situations. No, they didn’t keep chickens in their homes, but they did other things that were just as dangerous, getting caught up in sins and lifestyles they knew were wrong. When I asked “why?” they replied “because.” “Because it didn’t seem dangerous; because it was exciting; because I knew I could handle it.” They all gave a lot of answers, but it all boiled down to the fact that they simply wanted their will and not God’s will. Sort of sounds like the excuses Adam and Eve made after they got caught gnawing on the forbidden fruit, doesn’t it?

You might want to know that God has a solution to temptation. He says, “Flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” In other words God is saying, “Don’t bother to see how close you can get to temptation before you get messed up. Don’t see how long you can play with it before it burns you.” VERY loosely paraphrased, God is saying that His people, the ones who know Jesus as Savior, should lead a life in which they run like the dickens away from the bad stuff and run as fast as they can toward all the good the Spirit wishes to give.

To that end, we pray:

THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father; sin, Satan, and the world have put together temptations with my name on them. They have worked hard to find those things that will draw me away from You. Send Your Holy Spirit upon me that I may flee from them and follow the Savior who conquered all temptation so I might be forgiven and saved. In Your Son’s name, I pray. Amen.

Today's Bible Readings: Numbers 34-36    Luke 1:57-80

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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