Don't ignore the alarms

alarm-bells

by J. Randal Matheny, editor

In Taubat√©, Brazil, the church rents a room in a private kindergarten for its Sunday meetings. The owners come open up for us. Yesterday, the alarm went off shortly after they opened it and wouldn’t shut off. It sounded on and off, mostly on, for the entire period. Near the end, they managed to get it shut off. Blessedly, the alarm was at the other end of the small school, but still loud enough to be heard.

Seems most of our songs fell into the beat of the alarm’s beeps. (I was the song leader.)

After a while the alarm became more background noise, as we kept trying to ignore it.

Our efforts to ignore the alarm were laudable, but other alarms ought to be heeded.

Do other alarms, from the word of God, sound during our meetings, or during the living out of our faith, that we try to ignore?

Perhaps moral alarms are sounding, as we edge toward infidelity or immorality, and we pretend all is quiet. Instead of fleeing (1 Corinthians 6:18-20), we flirt.

Maybe doctrinal alarms clang over practices that push the envelope and go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6), but we close our ears to the warnings. We prefer innovation to faithfulness.

It could be that attitude alarms scream against hatred, bitterness, envy, judgmentalism, and divisiveness (Ephesians 4:31; Hebrews 12:15), but we squelch the sirens. Rather than repent, we rationalize.

Or perhaps alarms of idolatry break the silence, as greed (Colossians 3:5), entertainment, or other invisible gods seep into the soul, but we pull the plug on the protests against divided loyalties. Instead of wholeness, we run unrestrained after idols.

Yes, the alarms are sounding. But we smile as if the spiritual cliff we’re about to drive over is but a bump in the road or even steps toward progress. And off we go to dream up more ways of making the alarms go off and of pretending it’s all just a question of perspective.

These alarms will stop only when we appear before the Judge of all the earth, who judges each one according to his deeds (1 Peter 1:17).

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet. His microblog is randal.us.

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2 thoughts on “Don't ignore the alarms

  1. thank you for such a timely article. It would be great if each of us would tune our hearts to the alarms of God’s word. (Hebrews 2:1-4).

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