Keep Your Eyes Open

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13, New Revised Standard Version)

Something really strange happened at the church yesterday. Our custodian was cleaning in the fellowship hall building. She went in to the men’s restroom and found a snake skin on the floor minus the snake. Apparently, a snake somehow made its way into the men’s room and shed its skin around the porcelain tree we call a toilet.

The snakeskin above is not the snakeskin found in the restroom. I don’t have the picture from yesterday. I didn’t think about the possibility of needing it at the time. For those of you who didn’t hear my sermon a couple of weeks ago when I talked about having an irrational fear of snakes. I was never thrilled about them.

The summer I was 15, I worked for the US Forest Service at Double Lake between Cleveland and Cold Spring. We built a cage and put some snakes in it that various guys caught. one was a buttermilk racer that was pretty aggressive. I had managed to catch it. Some time later I had the opportunity to get a picture with the snake. In trying to get the snake for the picture I got bit. My attitude of not being thrilled about snakes when to an irrational fear in real short order.

What bothered me most yesterday is, we had evidence that a snake was in a place where it wasn’t supposed to be. Somehow it got into our building and shed its skin. That didn’t bother me anywhere near as much as one little thing. We have the skin and by that skin, it seems pretty obvious it is a good sized snake. Even that didn’t bother me as much s this, WHERE WAS THE SNAKE?

This is serious. When I preached a couple of weeks ago and talked briefly about my irrational fear of snakes I said I didn’t even want to see a picture of a snake. For at least as long as Cindy and I have been married, probably longer, when a snake came on television or a movie screen, I am turning my head away or covering my eyes until she tells me its gone.

My first long-term job I had after the Navy was running the projectors at a theater in Houston. Raiders of the Lost Ark was a feature film. Every time I would go check on that screen. it was the snake scene. I was really, really happy when Snakes on a Plane came out my movie operator days were behind me.

I was scared. I admit it. I was scared after my snake bite experience, I was scared of the snakes in Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was a bit scared yesterday. There was a good chance that this snake, we don’t know what kind of snake, whether its poisonous or not, how big it is, and I still have to work in that building.

You may think I am being overly dramatic or at least melodramatic. I don’t think so. I don’t mind the idea of sharing the great outdoors with snakes as long as they keep five acres between me and them. In a building is a completely different matter. And, because snakes are not considerate of my boundaries, inside or out, if I am stomping around out in the woods, I am watching. Now I am having to stay alert even in the building. That guy might decide to curl up under my desk and one snake bite in a lifetime is plenty.

Truly that is the thing. We live in a world where physical danger is all around us. We can trip over tree roots, steps or uneven concrete. There is broken glass that can cut us. From time to time there are chemical spills and gas leaks that effect what we drink and what we breathe. I love peaches. I found out this week there is a recall on peaches for fear of salmonella. Then we compound that with the virus and so many airborne pathogens, it can be pretty frightening.

Even more frightening than that are all the spiritual pitfalls out there. Many of those pitfalls are accompanied with plenty of people who would like nothing more than to see us stumble on the spiritual mire and muck of life.

That’s all pretty scary stuff. It might even be enough to make us question whether its even worth getting out of bed in the morning. Why would we ever want to?

That’s the thing. I refuse to let my irrational fear take control of my life. To the degree I possibly can, I am going to give those snakes space. That means, however, for the snakes and any other dangers that are out there, I need to pay attention. When I fail to pay attention, when I am not alert, bad things can happen. God gave me the ability to see and notice the things around me. I need to use those things God gave me to protect myself.

But there is also one other thing. If I am alert and paying attention to what’s around me so I see danger before it’s actually danger, I just might see something out there that is a true blessing from God. If I wasn’t looking, paying attention, or failing to be alert, I might miss a blessing from God above and perhaps that is the greatest danger of all.

Be blessed!

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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