Last Saturday, a certain Baptist lady accompanied her husband to an automobile service center in the Harbison area. Although she drove her car, which was in need of professional attention, behind the white Ford F-150 extended cab longbed pickup driven by her husband, they were separated en route by a traffic light.
Consequently she arrived at the facility a few beats behind her husband who, as she pulled into the parking lot, was in fact already walking into the building.
The lady lodged her car in an empty space beside the white Ford F-150 extended cab longbed pickup -- which truck she knew not only by sight, but by the way it was parked: backed into the spot, as was her husband's habit -- and approached the passenger side. She tried the door handle, but found it locked.
Even though she felt silly standing there, and imagined that all the mechanics in eight bays were curious as to what she was doing, the lady waited patiently beside the truck.
But within a few moments she noticed something odd. A green-and-white sticker in the back window on the driver's side proclaimed the message: No Farms, No Food.
A black-and-white oval sticker in the back window on the passenger side depicted a surfer riding a wave beside the capital letters FB and bore the words Folly Beach in smaller letters beneath that.
While there was certainly nothing wrong with either sticker, there was a slight problem. The lady had never seen them before.
Casually she moved toward the rear of the truck and stole a glance at the license plate.
It was only then that she spotted the white Ford F-150 extended cab longbed pickup parked three spaces down, with a blue-and-white Citadel sticker centered in the top of the back window.
A sticker she very much recognized as belonging to her Citadel-graduate (Class of '74) husband.
The embarrassed lady sidled in what she hoped was an unobtrusive manner over to the correct white truck and tried the door handle, hoping the mechanics in the bays were too busy to notice.
The door opened up like butter and she climbed in to wait for her husband, who was even then loping toward his truck.
Signs. We rely upon them constantly, whether we are aware of it or not. Signs are virtually everywhere, telling us the direction in which to proceed and the speed at which we should be moving. Signs alert us to the presence of danger or potential harm. Signs inform us when we have reached our destination, or might reveal to us that we have arrived at the wrong place.
The information contained in signs is so important, it is difficult to imagine life without them. So much would go wrong if all the signs suddenly disappeared. Utter chaos would shortly ensue; lives would undoubtedly be lost.
Although human beings often wear signs, they can be more challenging to read and even more challenging to interpret. Tee-shirt logos, name tags, team colors -- even permanent tattoos -- can provide clues, but even so, it is possible to make an honest mistake.
It has become fashionable of late for people of any number of actual persuasions to label themselves Christian.
But all those who claim to be so are not Christians.
Here is a foolproof method -- a litmus test, as it were -- by which you can tell whether someone who says they are a Christian, is in fact a Christian:
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (I John 3:14)
The verse immediately preceding that one reads as follows: Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. (I John 3:13)
God said in His Word that the world would hate Christians, and it does. At no time in the history of the United States of America has that reality been more evident within our borders -- and indeed globally -- than it is today.
Hatred of Christians is extremely fashionable in America. Many wear it as a badge of honor, even while referring to themselves as Christians.
If someone claims to be a Christian but displays obvious hatred for true Christians -- meaning, those who follow and trust and exalt Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, as the only way of salvation -- they lie.
It doesn't matter if they tithe to every church within a hundred-mile radius and are on a first-name basis with Billy Graham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Jeremiah Wright, or anyone else appearing on the wide and often confusing spectrum of "spiritual leaders."
If a person, on the other hand, who claims to be a Christian, clearly loves the brethren -- i.e., those to whom he is related through belief in Jesus Christ as the only Son of God and the way, the truth, and the life, outside of Whom no man cometh unto the Father (John 14:6) ... you may rest assured they are the real deal.
It's a sign of life.
All Scripture quoted and referenced in this article is from the King James Bible.
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