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Friday, September 1, 2017

Following the Rules!


In the area in which we live, there are many small unincorporated communities that once flourished in bygone days.  Most of these are now only known by the road signs that acknowledges their presence.  Some still have a few old buildings from the past and even less have modern businesses within their boundaries.  For instance, if you were to turn right and go south out of our neighborhood you would come across Chalybeate Springs (pronounced phonically: Ka-lib-it Springs) which has a convenience store and gas station, and then Kipling before entering the county seat at Lillington.

Our neighborhood is actually located in the unincorporated community of Rawls and is  only marked by the shared named road of Piney Grove-Rawls Road that bisects our neighborhood and by the typical brick with tall white pillars, Rawls Baptist Church building down the road on the next corner.  Heading north a little over a mile away there is a slight bend in the road where it turns into Piney Grove–Wilbon Road which as the name implies, leads to the community of Wilbon.

As we were driving down this roadway on Wednesday, taking the backroad which by-passes downtown Fuquay-Varina to the Super Walmart for our weekly grocery shopping extravaganza, we had a couple of interesting occurrences.  When driving to the store at just near the spot where the roadway changes names, I spotted a Wake County Sheriff’s patrol car hiding behind some trees to my left. 

Well, I’m not sure what you would do, but I automatically looked down at my speedometer to see if I was going the posted speed limit, which at the time I thought, “whoops, it’s a 45 mile an hour zone and I’m going 52!”  So without trying to be too obvious, I took my foot off the pedal and drifted past his position at 45 mph... Phew! Then I thought, “What is he doing there anyway, this is still Harnett County?”  But when he didn’t flip on his lights and pull behind me, I relaxed and almost forgot about it, until I realized that I was wrong on both accounts… We had already crossed the county line and the posted speed was still 55 mph in that area of the road!  So I got a little chuckle at my anxious antics!

Then on the way home after shopping, we were heading down the same road a little further up from the first incident, but going the opposite direction.  As we drove past some country homes toward the stop light at highway 42 and the large brick with white pillars Piney Grove Baptist Church, we were passed by a silver and black North Carolina State Trooper police cruiser.  I didn’t think too much about it, except that you don’t see many of them on the back roads… until I suddenly heard a siren and saw the flash of red and blue lights in my rear-view mirror.

It was a little unsettling as the road narrows when you cross the railroad overpass and come up to the stop sign, plus there was a fair amount of traffic coming both ways.  My first thought was, “Where do I pull over?”  And as quickly as I had the thought, I noticed a small turnout just before the red light.  But alas, my anxiety was short lived as the patrol car pulled the car behind me over and the officer literally jumped out of his car to address the driver… Whew!

When the light finally turned green and my heart started to beat at a normal cadence again, I began to consider why some of us get a bit anxious when we see a police car in our proximity.  I’ve always considered myself a law abiding citizen, and usually have nothing to be concerned about.  I tend to keep a close eye on my speedometer and obey the caution signs along the roadway.  I do think that it is funny though, how I immediately wonder if I am breaking the law or not following the current rules of the road… especially when I see blinking lights coming up from behind!  How about you?

2 Timothy 2:5 tells us that “Whoever enters an athletic competition wins the prize only when playing by the rules.” (God’s Word ©)  The Message Bible simplifies the idea by stating “An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere.”  But with either scripture, the stated truth is the same.  We can’t win the race, if we don’t abide by the prescribed rules of the game!  Similarly, I guess you could say that I sort of won the race of the road the other day because I was following the prescribed rules (posted speed) of the road!

Well, I’ve come to realize that the same is true when it comes to “winning the race” in our spiritual lives!  In particular, I am referring to taking a stand of faith for any situation in our lives.  Piper and I have learned that in order to enjoy the benefits of our salvation (See: Galatians 5:1 and Ephesians 1:22), we have to play by God’s prescribed rules of faith. 

In my previous posting I spoke about Paul’s direction to not entangle ourselves in the affairs of life when believing for the Father’s help in our lives.  I spoke about how there are many people, places and things that will try to entrap us and pull us away from the Word of God that we are standing on or seeking to follow. (See: 2 Timothy 2:4)  Well, this next verse seems to take that teaching one step further by explaining that just as we do in the natural world, we have to follow the Father’s Biblical rules as outlined throughout the New Testament, and within Paul’s epistles especially.

When push comes to shove, and your stand of faith in God and His Word is your only answer to the pressing need at hand, you have to make sure that you are only following God’s rules, and not some others that a well-meaning individual is doing their best to convince you to follow.

We’ve come to learn through repeated experiences over the last 47 years, that when it comes to our walk of faith, that God’s rules are the only way to go!  They may not be the easiest to follow and they might not (in fact usually won’t) agree with what the natural circumstances are displaying as the best way to go, but in the long run… they always work… every time!

As for me and my wife…  We would rather see the blinking lights that signify success in obeying God’s rules before us, than the blinking lights of a patrol car signaling that we broke the rules, behind us!  Have a great weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose RULES am I expecting to follow… in order to win the prize… today?”

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