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Good Morning Pioneer Baptist!

“Turn right on red, …. After stopping!”

Am I the only person obeying this rule? Of course not, it just seems that way as I watch driver after driver blow through red lights in the most cavalier manner, many times without even the pretense of stopping. I have close friends who are in law enforcement, and they tell me that drivers are running stop signs even knowing that the cops are watching them. It’s crazy! Call it “California-ing” or suggest that you are obeying the intent of the law by slowing down to 5 mph, but slowing is not stopping, and I’m pretty sure the intent of a law that tells you to stop is that you do so. It makes me see red.

I try to pretend that a cop is watching, I try to stop for 4 seconds in what son Ben told me constitutes a legal stop, and I try to be consistent in doing so. And no, I’m not perfect! I’ve had two tickets in my life, should have had more, and as a young fool probably broke most of the vehicle code laws on the books. I’m not proud of it, I’m rather ashamed. Stuck in my mind is the story of the ultra-popular and possibly first mega-pastor, Aimee Semple McPherson, who, fully dressed in a traffic cops’ uniform and with siren blasting, drove a motorcycle onto the stage of her Angelus Temple, sped to the pulpit, slammed on the brakes, and raised a hand to shout "Stop! You're speeding to Hell!" (The lady was quite an impressive actress!)

Yes, I resent the dangers and the pomposity of the perpetrators, but I also have an application to little ol’ me. How ironic would it be if I, after all of my conscientiousness, happened to slip up one time and was cited? Would that constitute an injustice or some misapplication of the law? Would it evoke one of those supposedly stereotypical condescending comments from an unsympathetic officer, “Tell it to the judge, buddy.” The answer is most likely a “no” on all counts. In the first place, at my age especially, most police officers call me “Sir,” and in “all of the other places” let it be said that I cannot build up immunity to future prosecution by stopping at 100 stop lights. It does not and cannot work that way.

And then I think about God and His laws. They are to be obeyed, and obeyed to the letter. Every time, all the time, as long as I live. There is no excuse accepted at the Judgment Seat of Christ when I say, “LORD, I was only guilty one time.” or “I committed that offense so much less than all of these others.” We are to do the job right for the One who did the job right for us. Does Jesus know that we are bound to fail? Of course He does, He died on the cross to pay for those sins that He knew we would commit. Does He forgive the Christian? Yes He does, completely, but He still hates sin, and He still hates our attitudes when we become cavalier in our approach to sin. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2.)

If you love Jesus, keep stopping at those red lights!

Love and Prayers to all,

Pastor

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