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Warning Signs

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Slippery When Wet. Dangerous Curve. Watch Your Step. Bridge Ices Before Roadway.

These are warning signs we see almost daily in our lives. In fact we see them so often that the tendency is to ignore them. They are there for a reason, but how well do we heed them? How often do we heed them? They declare very real dangers to our well-being, but for the most part, we tend to ignore or overlook their advice.

Is that your practice? We frequently read in the paper or see on TV where someone has ignored a warning sign and paid a dear price. The pictures show automobiles torn in half by an accident with ambulances standing by. All because someone was driving too fast, was intoxicated or didn't see the ice.

Our habits are so strong they lead us to ignore good advice. In London, the crosswalks have large, painted signs at the curb which caution "Look Left" because in most nations of the world the traffic moves the opposite of what it does in Britain. The traffic is traveling on the opposite side of the street for most people, and they just naturally look to their right before crossing. I have seen numerous tourists nearly step in front of oncoming traffic. They read the sign, but habit made them look the wrong way.

My wife and I lived just outside London for five years and had visited the city dozens of times before living there. Yet I have to remind myself to look left when in London. The traffic pattern is especially difficult for tourists driving in Britain when turning a corner or backing out in a parking lot. It's so natural to pull to the right side of road. The momentary lapse can have serious consequences.

Health Warnings

Medical groups have made a practice of posting warning signs for cancer or heart problems. Every package of cigarettes in the United States is legally required to carry a warning message. It is well established that smoking causes cancer, and yet millions of people contentedly puff away. The reasoning, if there is any, is that this is a low-tar cigarette or it is filtered. There is no sensible explanation for their actions other than "it can't happen to me." Health warnings about cholesterol or high blood pressure abound, mostly to little avail.

Americans lead the world in obesity. The majority of Americans are at least a little overweight. A smaller but significant number are severely obese. It is also an established fact that being overweight leads to heart and circulatory problems, diabetes and other aliments. This problem is especially serious with young children. I recently saw a television program that featured a young boy around 3 years of age who weighed over 100 pounds. His mother couldn't pick him up.

How did he get this way? His mother fed him. Then she fed him again. He couldn't prepare his own food. The mother had to know what she was doing to her child, yet she couldn't say no to his demands. Unless dramatic steps are taken, this child can look forward to numerous health problems as he grows older. All the signs are there.

Sexually transmitted diseases are another tragic area ruining multiple thousands of young lives. In reality, there is no safe sex outside marriage. Unfortunately, it isn't always safe in marriage if one partner is not (or was not) faithful. Young people who ignore this advice place themselves and future generations in jeopardy. The number of sexually transmitted diseases is frightening.

Spiritual Warning Signs

As Christians, we need to be aware of warning signs in our spiritual lives. It is so easy to let down in our daily need to pray. It actually is a need. To ignore the need is dangerous. "I don't have time right now. I'll pray later," can so easily be the excuse. Often later never comes. I know of a man who used to require of himself that he pray every morning. He also had an amount of time in prayer he required of himself. If he didn't meet those standards, he didn't allow himself to eat the next meal until the standard he had set for himself was met. That action, of course, necessitates the exercising of even more willpower.

The letting down could include ignoring Bible study, church attendance and a myriad of other things. We tend to ignore our habits of being short-tempered with others or of passing judgment without the facts. People allow themselves to overindulge in a favorite drink or to eat too much, and a little white lie is certainly no problem, is it?

All of these should be warning signs just as much as "Dangerous Curve." Don't just see the signs. Follow them and act upon them so you can have a safe and happy journey through life. UN

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