Friday, April 30, 2010

Our fences get rickety

3:39 p.m. Today's project was to begin the work on repairing the sections of fence that blew down in yesterday's wind. I'm involved somewhat in the planning, but this is really Steve's project. As a courtesy, we also want to talk with our adjoining neighbors, to ask them to lend a hand or contribute suggestions, but they never seem to be around. At least our dogs can't get over into their back yard because of our garden fence, and their dogs have a chain link dog run. Thank heaven for small favors!
Last night at Bible study, our Woodcrest friends were amazed that the wind was so strong at our house, and frankly so were we--it sure didn't seem to be blowing that hard to us either, when the fence fell down. I think that after 22 years, the fence was just rickety and ready to collapse!
A wooden fence was all we 4 neighbors could afford to chip in for in 1988, just enough to keep kids and dogs corralled. New homes call for plenty of expenses--putting in lawns, sprinkler systems, covered patios, curtains and blinds, and it adds up. In the last several years, we erected brick and iron walls in the front yard, after two cars busted through and smashed a poorly built wall and our front wood fence!
Fences and walls are gatekeepers, demarcating boundaries and ownership, dating back to biblical times. God was very exacting when He designated the boundaries of Israel as His people settled in the Promised Land, driving out the pagan nations, with allotments by tribe and by family within the 12 tribes. (See Joshua 13-22) Boundary markers were set up clearly and were to be obeyed. But these new lands came with both promises, provision, and conditions, as Joshua's farewell address in Joshua 23:3-7 makes clear:
You have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He that has fought for you. See, I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations I have cut off, to the Great Sea westward. And the LORD your God will expel them from before you and shall drive them out of your sight. So you shall possess their land, as the LORD your God has promised you. Therefore be very courageous to keep and do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.
Promise, provision and conditions characterize our Christian walk, don't they? Jesus promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5); God provides the very air we breathe, the earth we walk on, and everything we need to live (Genesis 1:1).
But God creates conditions as well! He knows how humans tend to take His blessings for granted and wander away from the boundaries He has set, whether in all-too-commonplace ways, like spiritual laziness, or grave sin, like adultery or capital crimes. Instead of bolstering and reinforcing our "fences," with obedience, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, seeking Him when we are tempted or afraid, and confessing and repenting of sin as needed, we put off or slack off in our time with Him and in reading His Word. Then comes along a breeze of temptation and our unguarded, unkempt hearts lack the strength to stand! Over we topple, bringing wreckage down upon our own--and others'-- heads!
Let's commit to keeping our boundaries intact and our defenses strong!! Don't think--"I'm young, having too much fun now...I'll just wait until I'm old and worn out and then get right with the Lord."
I love Ecclesiastes 12:1, 6-7: "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, 'I have no pleasure in them.'...Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."
Our physical structure will falter with the years, no doubt about that. But may our faith, obedience and joy in the Lord grow stronger each day!

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