Some folks are city folk. Some folks are country folk. Some are just wherever they end up. I guess that would be the category I fall in. I live in the country now but it hasn't always been that way. I lived in the city when I was a child and always longed for animals that I couldn't have. All my dogs and cats usually ended up; let's see how I can put this nicely, well -dead. We lived on a busy city street. When I "grew up" things didn't change much as far as animals go. I was finally planted in the country a few years ago. You might say we went "hog wild". My son has had as many as twelve dogs at once. We have had horses, cows, pigs, guineas, ducks, chickens, coons, rabbits, cats, and even an owl with a broken wing. My son's favorite pet of all was a black and white billy goat. The goat loved my son just as much as he loved that old goat. The goat was as good as goats come I guess. We didn't know that much about goats. We did find he had a bit of an identity crisis. He was the only goat among a lot of dogs. He ate dog food with the dogs. Puppy Chow was his favorite. He slept with the dogs in their doghouses, that is, when he wasn't making his bed on top of my car. He played with the dogs, he walked with the dogs, and unfortunately, he ran with the dogs. The dogs wandered pretty far from home. Wherever the dogs wandered so did the goat. He wandered so far one Fourth of July that he never returned. We think he was probably the guest of honor at a holiday barbecue. My son cried for that old goat. We even put up lost and found posters. Today the goat remains gone but not forgotten.
I know we as Christians are usually compared to sheep who have gone astray. However, I have never had a sheep for a pet, so I will have to use a goatly presentation for this little story of mine. How many of us have an identity crisis like that goat? We simply forget who we are in Christ.
I Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, and behold all things are become new.
If we begin to wander, to drift back to our old ways, we can quickly be led astray by running with the dogs of this world. (Sorry to compare the world to dogs, but look what I am comparing Christians to in this goatly story!)
II Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness.
We do not need to have a love affair with the things of this world.
I John 2:15 Love not the world or the things that are in the world. If a man love the world the love of the Father is not in him.
It was indeed Christ's intention for us to go out into the world and share His gospel, but we need to prepare ourselves before we go so we can safely return where we belong. There is a way we can make sure we don't get burned in a barbecue.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God to stand against the wiles of the devil.
After we know who we are in Christ and are prepared we should indeed go out into this world.
Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless the sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world, a city set upon a hill cannot be hid.
Know that if you become entangled in this world it can be hard to find your way back home.
Isaiah 43:25 Your inequities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid his face from you.
Know if you do get lost out there, there is someone looking for you longing for you to come back home.
Ezekiel 34:12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out my sheep and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the dark and cloudy day.
He did leave us some instructions on how to get away from the things of this world so we can find our way back home.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Always know who you are, where you came from, where you are going, and how to get back home if you should wander in the wrong direction. Don't be the guest of honor at a barbecue someday.
By Judy Parker