Sunday, August 30, 2009

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Greetings in Jesus' name.

Just returned from five fabulous days spent at the Green Lake (Wis.) Conference Center taking a Christian Writers workshop. It's a treat spending time on the more-than-1000-acres of wooded property. Old, stone buildings house the participants; stone bridges and narrow trails beckon visitors to explore the flora and fauna. This time around, I watched a doe and her twin fawns outside my window and had to stop my car so two wild turkey families could cross safely.

The Fiction Writers workshop, led by author Patti Lacy, inspired me to greater writing heights and helped me solidify the plot and characterization of my second novel, TROUBLE AT FISH CREEK, in the "Ways of the Williwaw" series. As I work on this exciting story in the weeks to come, I'll be sharing excerpts with you.

Here is this week's devotional column. May God bless you richly. Sally

By Sally Bair


My garden is surrounded by a fence that protects the plants from deer and other large critters. I even cover the strawberries with nylon netting to keep the birds away. Safeguards help protect us, too, from invaders or harm—home security systems; brakes on our vehicles; warning labels on some foods, drugs, and cleaners.
Societal safeguards are also necessary. Years ago, men were taught to walk on the street side of the sidewalk—the unsafe side—to protect their female companions from being splashed, hit by vehicles, or attacked by thugs. Over 100 years ago, a God-fearing woman seldom went anywhere alone with a man who wasn’t related to her. And she always dressed modestly to avoid tempting men with sexual thoughts.

Most would argue that the prudish rules of Victorian-age society went too far. But for the most part, they served well in protecting women and children from danger.

Today, however, many of society’s safeguards have disappeared. In part because of today’s accepted dress code and behavior in both women and men, sexual abuse, pornography, and promiscuity have become rampant in our country. The value and dignity of our God-created bodies has diminished to the point where it’s now common and accepted even for many Christians to dress, speak, and act immodestly.
One church leader lamented that it’s nearly impossible, even in church, to avoid the sight of girls and women wearing suggestive clothing and displaying suggestive behavior. He said that Christians must walk constantly in the light of Christ’s Word and in His power to avoid temptation. Since many are not so spiritually strong, he added, they are more open to temptation.

“Therefore let us not … put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)

Fashion has changed greatly from Victorian times, for the better in some ways. But in the ways fashion has changed for the worse, we Christ-followers need to become a safeguard against temptation through our positive example of behavior. It’s a matter of loving our neighbor with positive words and action.

Lord, help us to use the safeguards given in your Word to keep ourselves holy and to guide others to do the same, by our example. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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