Different Eyes

Good Morning Brothers…

My wife and I enjoy walking in the woods and going hiking together. On vacation in the mountains, she will be quick to rise in order to hit the trail head at first light. While she is not interested in shooting arrows at animals, she is interested in shooting digital images at animals, and she realizes that desire means early mornings. Although, between us, we possess two sets of eyes, we see the trail and its surroundings a bit differently. It is impossible for either of us to step foot on to the trail without bringing our preconceived desire for the hike with us. My wife hits the trailhead with beauty in mind. She has a desire to see, experience, and capture beauty with her super-duper whiz bang camera. She notices small colorful flowers along the trail and the odd contortions of dead trees with their swirls of shaded brown colors. More than once, I have had to hike up stream to remove an errant piece of trash, stuck in the rocks, in the middle of the violently flowing water, in order for the ‘picture’ to look pure and undefiled. My desires when hitting the trailhead are a bit different. I want to spot, stalk, and put myself in a position to take an ethical shot…even if its not hunting season and I’m not carrying a weapon. I’m not much for conversation along the trail. Some may think that is because of my red face, chest gasping for air, and considerable girth…but it’s really about attempting to sneak up on animals. I notice things like tracks, rubs on trees, hair left on the underbrush, the direction of the wind, and advantageous (or disadvantageous) changes in topography.

I don’t know where you live. Some of you reading this undoubtedly live in the same area I live. Some of you are on the other side of the country. But wherever you live, think about your town, or city, or community. How do you view your area? How would you describe it? Is it a “nice place to raise a family”…or is it a “quiet neighborhood”…or maybe an area with a “low tax rate”…or it could be “the city that never sleeps, stuff to do all the time.” Have you ever thought for a minute, that our descriptions for our community’s our influenced by our desires? I really desire to live in a quiet neighborhood so I moved to the country. Even though I can hunt deer on my own property, I can also hear the tools of the body shop which is nearby. I still think of my home and property as a quiet neighborhood…even though most neighborhoods in suburbia would be much quieter.

When we drive along the roads of our city, do we notice the city? Do we notice how the railroad tracks intersect the city at odd places? Do we notice the neighborhoods along the tracks which seem run down and in need of repair? Have we ever driven down the alley’s of some of these neighborhoods and noticed the 3 dogs inside the backyard fence and no electric meter on the house? Have we noticed the placement of the bars and liquor stores within our city? It is no accident that the majority of them are within walking distance of the different neighborhoods bordered by train tracks.

Have we ever noticed the strongholds of satan within our community? It is not uncommon to find places of business, sprinkled through out, which promote sexual immorality, violence, and dependence on chemical addiction. I find it disheartening to realize that our national freedom often promotes spiritual bondage. The whims of our hearts and the freedom to pursue those whims leads many to lives of bondage and chains anchored in darkness. As our society becomes increasingly purposefully God-less…these chains thicken. The former ‘whispers in the dark’ have become overt advertising for products for purchase. Sex sells, violence sells, drunken erratic behavior sells, and our society keeps buying. Do we see it? We lament the ups and downs of the nations economy and spend countless hours in debates about potential new laws and tax codes. We refer to the ‘tubes’ that our country is going down and find political scapegoats to affix and place the blame. We ask “Why God would let such and such happen” while we stand by and bear witness. Have we, like Jesus, cried over our city?

My wife has influenced my desires when I hit the trail. I still read sign and look for animals, but now I notice the beauty along the way. My words for describing the little purple flower are certainly less eloquent or less scientific than hers…but I now notice them. As we seek the Lord and fix, and focus, our attention on Him…our eyes start to open to the oppression around us. We begin to recognize the common denominator behind the destitute, the immoral, the fornicator, the proud, the desperate, the angry…evil. Our fight truly is NOT against flesh and blood, but it is against the flesh…our flesh. Our flesh, which is so vulnerable against the influences of satan wrapped in an American flag and packaged as freedom. Our cities, towns, and communities are built on the lies of satan wrapped in an American flag. We segregate the poor into neighborhoods they can call their own. We hide behind ‘freedom of speech’ laws which enable the porn shops to sell their poison. We promote and pass tax laws which enable the construction of Casinos in our communities under the promise that after they rape and pillage the wallets of their patrons…they will give a small percentage of their profits back to the area schools. All of this we allow, and do, under the banner of ‘freedom.’ All of this we allow, and do, because our flesh is weak and vulnerable.

Heaven has a “HELP WANTED” sign…as our eyes open to the realities in our communities, we need to realize that we have already filled out the job application and gone through orientation. My great-Grandfathers little black book, which has been passed down to me, speaks to this in a poem:

Our Mission

Christ has no hands but our hands
To do His work today;
He has no feet but our feet
To lead men in His way;
He has no tongue but our tongues
To tell men how He died;
He has no help but our help
To bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible
The careless world will read;
We are the sinner’s gospel
We are the scoffer’s creed;
We are the Lord’s last message
Given in deed and word;
What if the line is crooked?
What if the type is blurred?

What if our hands are busy
With other work than His?
What if our feet are walking
Where sin’s allurement is?
What if our tongues are speaking
Of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him
Unless from Him we learn?

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