Galatians 5:19-24 (excerpts) Now the works of the flesh are evident:... I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no Law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Warnings can be wonderful, life-saving things, if people pay attention.
Living as I do in Texas, my phone will occasionally light up with a public informational message called an Amber alert. The Amber Alert informs the public of a child's abduction in hopes that someone will spot the child and call the police.
But there are also other alerts which are sent out. For example there is
1. the Silver Alert for seniors who disappear and may not have the mental wherewithal to find their way home;
2. the Blue Alert to inform the public to be on the lookout for someone who has attacked a police officer;
3. the Endangered Missing Persons alert which lets people know a younger person with limited abilities to get home has been taken or wandered away.
As far as I am aware, neither my community, nor any other Texas community, has had a "fugu alert." No, I'm not making that up. Recently, the central Japanese city of Gamagori had to use its warning system to put out a fugu alert. In Japan, eating blowfish is a topflight meal ... as long as you don't consume the fish's liver, sexual organs, or skin.
Those all contain tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin which needs to be removed by a chef who is specially trained in the fish's preparation.
The alert was sent out because it appears a local supermarket had sold five packages of blowfish without removing their livers. Three of those packages had been recovered, but two were still out there.
You should know that, in Japan, every year, there are people who die of respiratory arrest after they have eaten contaminated fugu.
In the book of Galatians, the apostle gives a warning to the Savior's followers. It is a warning which says the Lord's people ought do their best to lead a moral life. Paul knows that falling back into immoral sin can be more deadly than eating fugu.
Remember, we lead the moral life not to earn heaven. Forgiveness and salvation are a blood-bought gift to those who have been brought to faith by the Holy Spirit.
No, we try to lead lives filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. By doing that we give praise and honor to the Lord Jesus whose life was given up to ransom us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me remember that when we are called to follow the Savior, we are also called to leave our past sins behind. Grant that I may honor the Savior who died so I might live. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Scott Neuman for NPR on January 16, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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