kori southwick
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Road Raged Christians, are we on the right path?

I spent a day in the big city of Pittsburgh last weekend. It felt a little out of place for this country bumpkin, but my friend Altah recently moved there with her sweet little family and we were long over due for a visit. Its been strange having her live 100 miles away, we have been 5 minuets away (if you take Zombie Road) sense we have been friends and we were so used to last minuet fishing and shopping and play dates with the seven;). Now when we want to get together, we actually have to have a plan, gas money and a gps (come to think of it, one of those would have been handy quite a few times before the move too lol;) Anyhoo, I haven't driven in a big city in a year. Erie doesn't really count... We have gone to New York City a few times, that's definitely some scary driving! I almost got run over by a dump truck...  and Ive gone through Washington DC at rush hour  with two babys in the back seat fussing after the long trip. That was pretty awful (I was pregnant with Cloud at the time too). So ive had my fair share of city driving to know Ill be fine as long as i keep up with the other cars and PAY ATTENTION!I made it down most of 79 with out any trouble. The construction was a little backed up, but no biggie. Once i got into the city, It started to go bad. I got honked at and almost hit by a guy who wanted on the same exit at a faster speed than i was going:( that was my first mean guy experience. I got in trouble a few other times and ended up lost on what i thought would be the wrong side of the river... at this point my gps got lost too:( After some quick phone calls, i was on the road again feeling a little better. turns out i was supposed to cross the river, just not there... and Dale said he would come get me if i wanted and that made me feel better;) I got honked at more  and even flipped off and called "STUPID*%#$@!" by the time i got to their house.=( Everyones just in such a hurry! and they all seem so mad! It hurt my feelings that i got beeped at so much. I was glad when i got there cuz i knew Altah was driving us around the rest of the day AND she has heated seats=DWe got to talking about the difference in pace from country life to city life. I think the most fun we had on country roads (gosh, theres so many storys!) was  trying to catch a run away horse (and his little miniature pony friend;) from the farm up the road, in the rain, barefoot... Yeah, good times~ OH! or "hummm which way do you want to do?" "go straight, that logging road looks fun!" hahaha some steep cliffs and no trespassing signs later we found ourselves somewhere between Sugar Lake and Cochranton... the best part was when we caught a glimpse of a truck stalking us, we just knew they were axe murderers! hehehe its so easy to get all worked up;)  The words that come to mind for city driving is Rat race. All the cars have scratches or dents... We saw a car accident, well actually, we got stuck in traffic for about 20 minuets and Then we saw the accident. this red car was crumpled like a piece of paper. Another car was being towed away and the cops were directing traffic. Of course, the accident happened right where we needed to turn. so we kept going up into the plaza.  We both guessed  how that car could have gotten so smashed, the speed limit was low and the road was leading up to a big mall and restaurants... Up the hill more, there was a gap in the median for cars to get thru to the lane leading back down on to the highway. There was a little red car sticking out into traffic trying to get into that side. He had about 3 feet of his car in the lane... A white car in front of him had about 6 feet of clearance between him and the car ahead, In city measurements, a bus could have fit;) Red car honked at White car and motioned for him to move up so he wouldn't be sticking out into on coming traffic... well, white car didn't like being honked at and they started yelling and waving their hands. We kept moving along and found another bank. about 15-20 minuets later, we could see little red car and white car from our vantage point higher on the hill,  they hadn't budged. white car man had his window down and his arm hanging out giving off airs of big and badness. Little red car man sat frustrated, and shaking his head. I felt bad for both of them, I couldn't help but wonder what if Little red car guy would have honked nicer (like not Blared on the horn)... maybe white car guy didnt notice he was trying to get in the lane and felt attacked by the mean honking...... or if white car guy would have been a little more humble and put himself in red car guys shoes, he would have moved up and they could have dont the head nod wave thing and made friends... I was sad by this and other displays of selfish mean spirited and dangerous driving...After all this, and a few near run ins with people trying to get in front of us. I asked her how she deals with the stress of city driving. Her basic answer was you toughen up. You learn to honk back and not take it to heart when people flip you off or yell because that just how everyone gets when they drive in the city. Mean. Now thats not Altahs preference at all, she, like me, took a lot of the beeps and flipoffs to heart and had a hard time hardening up...  I suppose I get all that, but again, I wondered... What if everyone who claimed to be a follower of Christ drove like they were  keeping their eyes fixed on Jesus? How many battles are made harder to win because we allow ourselves to harden our hearts, just a little at first and honk back. What if we started praying for and blessing the ones who cut us off and nearly ran us off the road. I know it sounds kind of nutty, but seriously, we are going to have to give an account for every word we say! I know from my own heart that if i let myself get mad or annoyed and start cussing, its awfully hard to read my bible that night or pray knowing that i behaved like the old me and not the new. The world says its ok to fly off the handle and curse out a stranger.But the Bible says in 1 Peter3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good daysmust keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer,but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”I dont know about you guys, but when i get in the car and i know im settling in for a long drive, my mind starts to run through the day. Its like switching the tv of my brain to the highlights reel:) this time it was the Greatest hits of Kori and Altah! I giggled to myself remembering funny things from the day, which rabbit trailed into past memories like getting locked in the fair grounds and having to bust our way out, Or the time i made her turn around and go the long way home because i was scared to go down Zombie road with a full moon and fog... hahaha OH or the time I sat at a red light for a whole second before imagining it was green and driving on thru, then i couldn't get why she was freaking out... ahhh funny times:)  I thought about how we should all be nicer to each other, because how could that be a bad thing!!!Galatians 6 says 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. ~This also made me think of a lesson I learned (the hard way;) a few months ago, Feelings, how ever justified they may be, rarely reap a righteous harvest. Feelings like anger, pride, woe is meish, alll of them are so fleeting and should not be trusted to guide us though our daily lives. We truly need to be slow to speak and slow to anger (like James 1:19;)I was deep in thought when out of the corner of my eye i saw lights in my side view mirror..I felt that prickle of panic, after a day of stressful driving and near misses,  I really wanted some cruise time, just me and my brain.... Of all the people they could have followed, they had to pick me, the 68-70mph comfort zone driver?? I figured they would pass once they saw i wasn't their speed. About 20 minuets later I started getting nervous, i dont like having people follow me that close on the highway! I had a semitruck about half a mile ahead of me, its not like we had to be in gridlock... I felt myself getting more and more annoyed and then after and about 45 minuets of gripping the wheel, sitting up straight in my seat driving i shouted "JUST PASS ME ALREADY!!!" phew, I said it! I felt a little better... then it was like i hit a brick wall of humble pie. You see, when i got on the interstate, there were high beams all around, so i tilted my mirrors down so they wouldn't blind me, but i could tract their movements by the reflections on the ground.  I also tilted my rear view up so it was tinted... the lights that i had been trying to out run were my own.  guh, I felt so stupid... Serves me right for trying out the shouting. sinking to the worldly level of road rage... It isnt me, and it didnt make me feel better. I let my  blind spot that I created fool me into thinking i was being attacked and pursued when that couldn't have been farther from the truth!. Yet, how often is that the case all along. We can be our own worst enemies when we focus in on the wrong perspective.  Yes that person may have just cut you off, but you know what? no one got hurt and we should say a prayer for their safety. What about the times accidents happen? well, if its a fender bender, exchange info, get a tow truck and  know there's a lesson in it. Pray for the person before you drive away. Sharing Gods love should be our first reaction... Nothing happens with out Gods approval. Just like the Sunday driver that you end up behind on the back roads. Maybe theres a lesson for us in our planning skills, maybe we should plan on leaving earlier. So we can obey the speed limit. I know we country girls often feel like we know these roads like the back of our hands, we have been on then since we started driving... but everyday is a new one, and today may be the day a little boy is out walking on the road looking for his dog that ran away, today may be the day a mother and daughter are taking their horse on the road for the first time. You never know what is around the next bend and its dangerous to drive like we are the only ones out here.  When i get behind someone going slow, It doesn't  get me annoyed with them, I start thinking, huh, maybe Gods telling me to slow it down and consider them my guardian angel rather than a road block. Ive come up to accidents that i would have been a part of, it it hadn't been for me getting "stuck" behind someone obeying the speed limits...  Im big on memory verses on pretty index cards. I think we as believers should have Gods word at the ready where ever we may be. If road rage is giving the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. ) If your finding it hard to fellowship with a clear conscience knowing that you just said some mean nasty things to someone you should have been blessing... I would suggest seeking out some key verses about taming the tongue. James paints us this beautiful picture in chapter3:2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. ~Let that sink in and He goes on~9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. I dont know if im making much sense, but the main point is WE GATTA DRIVE LIKE WERE HEADING TO THE PROMISE LAND!!!! COME ON GUYS AND GALS! LETS FOCUS UP THE MIRRORS AND DRIVE WITH A PURPOSE!!! to bring Glory and Honor to God our father who was and is and is yet to come. GLORY HALLELUJAH AMEN!;)

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James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from bein

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