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My husband John has just purchased one of those newfangled vehicles with built-in boo-boo detectors. This fancy SUV beeps when he strays over the road’s center line, fails to put his seat belt on, backs too close to an object, leaves his key fob inside it or does or fails to do many other important acts when driving. When the speed control is engaged, it even slows down if the car in front of it decreases its speed.
This car has its advantages. For example, it costs less insurance money. But it has one disadvantage: It beeps a heck of a lot, given that no driver is perfect, and after a while, the beeping gets nerve-racking, leading the driver to tell the picky thing to just hush.
We normal humans develop our own built-in boo-boo detector, don’t we? Ours is called our conscience. It can even be as bold as God’s voice telling us to cease and desist. The Old Testament prophets were good about letting people know when they were falling out of the will of God.
I’ve actually heard people say that all of us as Christians sin, basing their comments on Romans 3:23. And since that’s the case, they say, why worry about getting into trouble with God? After all, we can just ask for forgiveness. But intentional sinning is not what God had in mind.
True, we have our hands full with Satan trying to tempt us, but we don’t need to make it easy for him, do we?
Goodness knows, we have all sorts of temptations in this world, and to my way of thinking, things are getting worse. Even people in positions we consider respectable are using bad language and calling others despicable, ugly names.
A good friend of mine uses bad language even when she’s not upset. I keep asking myself what she’d resort to if she were really ticked off. But we hear so much of it now, even on TV.
So, friends, let’s use our beeping built-in detectors. OK?
My husband and I just returned from the Autumn at Oz festival on Beech Mountain. There we followed the yellow brick road at the old Land of Oz theme park. On it we met Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion and the good and bad witches, until we finally reached the Emerald City and met the Wizard.
As I think about the story of the “Wizard of Oz,” I think of the lessons to be learned from it — lessons in keeping with the principles of the Bible. For example, Dorothy was instructed to “follow the yellow brick road” until she found the Wizard in the Emerald City. She was told the Wizard could give her and her companions what they needed.
Similarly, the Bible tells us in Matthew 7:13: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction.” If we get off the “straight and narrow,” then we get into all kinds of trouble and will not get to heaven and God.
Remember that the Scarecrow wanted a brain. Tin Man wanted a heart. Lion wanted courage, and Dorothy wanted to get home. Now when they met the Wizard, they discovered he was a hum-bug, a man like any other man. That’s not surprising. After all, the Bible tells us in Psalm 146:3: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”
Instead, only God can give us wisdom (James 1:5), a clean heart (Psalm 51:10), courage (Deuteronomy 31:6), and a home in Heaven (John 14: 2-3). And these will be the real deal, not just tokens such as a diploma, a clock in the shape of a heart, a medal and powerful ruby slippers.
In the Oz book and in the movie, the Emerald City is portrayed as an amazingly beautiful place. But, praise the Lord, it does not measure up to heaven as described in the Book of Revelation!
Donna Crowe is a minister’s wife. Her devotional column could not be printed last week due to space limitations, so last week’s installment appears here beneath this week’s column.