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Dodging Copperheads

When I was a boy, I loved to walk in the woods near our house. They held old trees and vines. There were ruins from the Civil War, and cypress trees, and right in the middle was a swamp teeming with nutrias.

One day, my friend an I were exploring through the woods, playing along the creek that fed the swamp. We each had machetes, because what boy doesn’t want to be dangerous? As we hopped along the cypress knees, my friend hollered for me to look down, and as I did, I saw something that gave me a fright! At my feet was a copperhead snake coiled up and reared back to strike!

In a split second I jumped, and it struck, both at the same time. As it struck (fortunately, just an inch or so in front of my leg), I swung my machete and took a chunk out of it’s back. I watched it slither away through the water and disappear under the root of a cypress tree growing in the creek.

It took me a couple minutes to regain my composure as my adrenaline flushed though my system. If I had been bitten, it would have meant certain hospitalization, and depending on the severity of the bite, some have even died from copperhead venom.

Have you ever had something dangerous sneak up on you like the snake did on me? Have you ever stepped into a dangerous situation accidentally?

The Bible says the devil is prowling around constantly, like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He is also a serpent in the garden looking for someone to trap into death.

Lately there have been many things happening in our world that cause us to react strongly within our minds. The school shootings in Florida, Kentucky, and even here in Aztec, NM are great examples. Government policy often creates emotional dissonance within us. Even the male commentator for figure skating at the olympics dressed like a girl has many expressing consternation.

It’s easy to have opinions. It’s easy to allow our emotions to control our reactions to situations. It’s easy for Satan to sneak right up and cause us to sin, creating moments of death in this world by our words and actions and attitudes.

We must be constantly on guard. We must monitor our responses to stimuli. We must react with love, not hate or division.

But how do we do that? James says the man who can control his tongue will be perfect in every way, because the tongue is a restless evil full of deadly poison (James 3:2, 6). How do you use your tongue when you are caught up in the emotional response to negative stimuli?

Maybe you need to distance yourself for a moment until you can calm down. Maybe you need to take a sabbatical from Facebook or other social media that is fostering so much division in our culture. Maybe you need to remember you do not have to respond at all.

It is better to remain silent than to murder someone with hateful speech (Matthew 5:21-22). For when we let our anger, our sinful impulses, control us, Satan saddles up and rides us all the way back to death (Ephesians 4:26-27).

If you’ve been guilty of letting your negative emotional response to some situation damage your relationship with others, you need to make amends (Matthew 5:23-24).

May we be people who speak life in this world, not letting the copperheads at our feet cause us to stray from the ways of Jesus.


Context is Key

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Thibodeaux was driving his car past Boudreaux’s house and saw a sign out 
front that read: “Boat For Sale”.


So Thibodeaux marches up to Boudreaux front porch and raps hard on the 
door. When Boudreaux opens it

 Thibodeaux says, “Boudreaux! How long we ban frands?”


Boudreaux says, “Well………………..All our lives, Thibodeaux.”


Thibodeaux says, “Why don’t you told me you gotta boat?”


Boudreaux says, “I ant gotta boat!”


Thibodeaux says, “Da’sign say ‘Boat for Sale’.”


Boudreaux says, “Oh-No Thibodeaux! See dat old ’72 Ford pickem’up truck 
over dare?”


Thibodeaux says, “Yas, I see dat old pickem’up truck.”


Boudreaux says, “See dat ’76 Cheverlet see-dan?”


Thibodeaux says, “Yas, I see dat see-dan.”


Boudreaux says, “Well, dey boat for sale.”

Context is super important. This joke cracks me up every time because I have spoken to people just like this. I grew up in Louisiana, and my family was from Arkansas. If one of my family members was talking about “abode”, it was either a piece of wood used to build something or a winged creature with feathers that flew through the sky.

How would we know that if we hadn’t taken time to get to know that person? How could we decipher their “code” if we hadn’t looked at the context.

This may seem rather obvious, but lets look at the next example:

“Immediately after the distress of those days
“ ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. ’
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”
Matthew 24:29-30

What is this passage about? I know many people who swear that this is talking about the end of time. There is a whole theology that stems from this chapter about when Jesus returns at the end of time to set up His kingdom.

However, let’s look at the context. This passage comes in a discourse immediately following this passage:

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Matthew 24:1-3

Do you see the context? Jesus and his disciples are talking bout the destruction of the temple. They were talking about buildings being destroyed. This passage is NOT talking about the end of the world after all.

As you study the bible be sure to pay attention to context. Without it you will be easily confused.

If you’d like to study more about this or anything else regarding the salvation Jesus brings freely to you, feel free to contact me at 334-6626 or via email at mrjdobbs@gmail.com. God bless you as you study His Word.


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