Friday, April 13, 2012

Do Not Feed the Prairie Dogs

My good friend Lori says that I live on the “prairie” in Colorado. I like living on the prairie. I have a full view of the glorious Rocky Mountains. I have greater opportunity to see both ends of a rainbow. Lightening storms are amazing from my vantage. And hot air balloons have landed in my back yard.

I also am surrounded by prairie dog colonies. Large prairie dog colonies. Upon first glance, these little critters are very cute. They scurry and scamper across the prairie. They stand on their hind legs to view all that’s going on around them. They “bark” to other dogs when danger is near. And they disappear under ground to avoid said danger.

Yes, they are cute. Upon fist glance. Prairie dogs are rodents and they have fleas. Some of these fleas can carry the bubonic plague. While the chances of this disease being transmitted to humans is slim, pets have been known to have contact with the fleas and become infected.

As a means of controlling the large colonies around my neighborhood and for our safety, two signs were posted. “Do Not Feed Prairie Dogs.” Occasionally a McDonald’s bag could be seen near the colonies and I suppose they were munching on a few fries. But I believe the signs are really for the children who live in the homes that are directly by the colonies.

On one occasion, I saw three children standing on the top of the play area in their back yard throwing pieces of bread over the fence…for the prairie dogs to eat. The children clearly had not read the signs. They were not aware of the importance of keeping prairie dogs away from their home and their safe environment. They were unaware of the possible danger.

As with our physical lives, we see in Scripture the warnings against spiritual dangers. The Hebrew nation was warned to watch out for spiritual and physical dangers. The list is abundant in the book of Deuteronomy.

Joshua was told over and over again to be strong and courageous, but he was also encouraged multiple times to be careful. Joshua 22: says, “Be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.” That’s quite a list!

Jesus warned of false prophets, of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (hypocrisy and teachings), of temptation, of deceivers, of dissipation, drunkenness, the anxieties of life, and of all kinds of greed.

And the Epistle writers cautioned us to remain faithful.

  • Romans 12:17 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.”
  • Ephesians 5:15 “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.”
  • Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
  • Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.”

Sometimes, like the children mentioned earlier, we are unaware of how close we are to spiritual danger. How near we are to entering into temptation or falling short of God’s rest. Not following His commands. Or not giving God everything.

I believe these are the very reasons God gave us the warnings. Maybe we need signs placed near all of our danger zones. Why not use Scripture to remind yourself of the danger you’re getting near? Sticky notes, labels, or a piece of paper with a warning will do just fine. Whatever helps you to steer clear of the danger.

I still enjoy watching prairie dogs…but from a distance. I pray that God’s Words would continue to caution me of the spiritual dangers I wander too closely to. And I thank God for the signs He continues to post along my path.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


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