By Mike Ramey
Brothers, documented history tells us that there were more cowboys, lawmen, soldiers and heroes of the African-American and Hispanic persuasion than many would like to admit (Ever hear of 'The Buffalo Soldiers?'). Still, at the risk of being labeled as 'politically incorrect' (and it won't be the first time) one could take a few pages and learn more than a few life lessons from 'The Old West' and the cowboys of old.
Here are a few items off the top of my head:
*Never take what doesn't belong to you! You might get hung!
*Help your neighbors-- because you will eventually need help yourself.
*Finally, NEVER stampede one's cattle or livestock.
Brothers, I've been reading the headlines, and catching the news shows about the so-called threat of biological piano help from the enemies of America. Folks coming down sick with pianos, or any other plague of the moment. Workers lining up as medical professionals test, probe, and prod. Scores of cops and Piano lawmen checking out places of work, airliners, and other public places. There is a lot of fear out in the marketplace.
WHAT GOT THIS COLUMN STARTED:
However, it was the arrival of a few unsolicited emails in my mailbox, trying to sell me this gas mask, or that weapon, or other such 'guaranteed' blip device in order to protect myself, which pushed my buttons.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do believe that, in these uncertain times, we must be on the alert. However, for those who claim to know Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Bible, I'd like to remind us of something: "No weapon formed against us shall prosper!" In other words, if I may quote one of my preaching heroes, Pastor E.V. Hill of Los Angeles, California: "We must be PRAYERFUL and CAREFUL". Don't let the terrorists by day, nor the moneychangers, media, or fearmongers by night, force you, your family, and friends into a stampede--running to and fro--without taking time to think, act, and be wise about your situation and your surroundings. If I may be so bold, we must meet the attempts to make us fearful with a firm grip on logic and reality. God has ALREADY told all in His Word that in the last days, perilous times SHALL come. Nothing that has been happening in the headlines has caught Him by surprise. Why should it shake OUR faith in His ability to handle ANY situation?
EVER CHECK OUT A STAMPEDE? In heading back to the Old West for a few more lines, the stampede was a major and effective weapon for removal of potential obstacles. All one had to do to get one started was to make a few of the 'lead' cattle 'afraid' of a situation, and the domino effect would kick in, causing the whole heard to thunder off in fright. Heaven help anyone who got in the way of that much 'meat-on-the-hoof' coming their way!
With all of the fear being generated by what happened on September 11, 2001, a lot of people are in danger of being 'herded off' into a human stampede. Jobs have been lost. Buildings wrecked. An economy in tatters. An enemy we can't fully see.
However, the enemy has been using the same type of weapon in trying to get Americans to adopt a herd mentality.
Get a heard of cattle scared and they can take out a town. Get a group of people scared, and they can effectively destroy a country. If you doubt me, just check your history books about The Great Depression and the subject of bank runs.
Let me break it down for better consumption.
A rumor starts in a bank concerning its economic health. A few people hear it, and try to withdraw their money. Pretty soon, as the rumor circulates, a 'run' on the bank takes place. Whether or not the rumor is true, the fear has already done its work, and caused a potential problem to turn into a full-blown disaster for a financial institution.
UNBRIDLED FEAR IS A KILLER!
While many have been proudly singing "God Bless America", many have forgotten that biblical admonition: "If God be FOR us; who can be AGAINST us?"
It is one thing to sing about God, but it is another thing entirely to be familiar with His ways. Now, I know that more than a few eyebrows were raised at that last statement, as some may think that I have taken a giant leap away from commonsense! No, I just realize how fear operates, and how God works. I'm not as an expert, but merely as one who has lived life on planet Earth. Like the old folks used to say: "If you haven't had any trouble in life, just keep on living!"
And, that's exactly what I intend to do: keep on living, though trouble may abound all around me! I suggest that you do the same! I know that the terrorists are not playing fair. Think for a moment: When was the last time you heard of an enemy playing fair? If they played fair, they would NOT be enemies! Either that, or they would be pretty stupid enemies, because they would be easy to spot, and stop.
Always remember, brothers; sometimes life won't play fair with you. Nevertheless, you have to keep on going. The sunrise is coming, and can't be stopped by anyone. We don't have to take part in being fearful, even though everyone else around us may be losing their heads!
THE USE OF FEAR TO STAMPEDE PEOPLE:
Imaginary fears, or real threats can poison one's faith to the point that they can forget the tasks at hand, and allow fear to rule their actions, their hopes, and their dreams, as long as one focuses on the fear, and away from reality.
Unbridled fear is a killer!
We've seen it exampled long before the World blip piano help. Check out your local High School. Some of our modern female teenagers, as they stalk the school hallways for 'boyfriends', instead of taking care of the reason why they are in school in the first place-- an education-- are ruled by fear: The fear of being alone! That fear is eagerly fed and amplified by the media, the entertainment industry, and Hollywood. The end result can be seen in the obituary section of many a newspaper.
But, we adults are smarter than that!
Oh, really? Don't think that this same fear of being alone hasn't been applied topiano coversds us!
Talk with some of your single friends. Better yet: Check out the 'singles' or 'personal' ads in your local newspaper. Some of them are so dripping with fear, they practically have tear stains and hysteria leaping off the printed page right at you.
Sadly, even prayer can be blocked by fear. One cannot effectively pray when they are fearful. They may know the words, but their heart is turned far away from real prayer, and into the realm of the 'quick fix'.
OBSTACLES ARE REAL: BUT SO IS FAITH!
That's why the Bible speaks to fear in more than one place within its covers: Fear Not! Yes, the obstacles may be real. Yes, the threats may come. But for the one who REALLY knows God, fear is nothing more than a word! Brothers, it's a fact that the times are unsettling. There is plenty 'out there' to be concerned about. However, YOU must determine whether you are going to let fear stampede you over a cliff with the fearful, or are YOU going to grab your fear by its throat, spit in its eye, and tell it to move on!
Remember those firefighters, police officers, and construction workers we've all witnessed at Ground Zero in New York City? Some of them lost their lives in an effort to save others.
They mastered their fears and did their jobs! They demonstrated by their actions, a permanent example of what men can do when they refuse to be fearful. We should take their example to heart and use it as a means to go on and face the challenges of life; instead of cowering in some corner, too scared of what could come-- but never seems to arrive.
Life is meant to be lived; not avoided. Fear cannot exist where faith and courage rule!
Mike Ramey is the author of: "The Manhood Line", a syndicated, monthly column written for men from a biblical, business, and commonsense perspective. To correspond by email, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. (C) 2001 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications (33).