Chappy’s corner “Always Be On Alert!”

The Minnesota State Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising golfers to take extra precautions and be on the alert for bears while playing on northern Minnesota golf courses.  They advise golfers to wear noise-producing devices such as little bells on their clothing to alert, but not to startle the bears unexpectedly. They also advise you to carry pepper spray in the case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch for signs of bear activity. Golfers should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings on the golf course. Black bear droppings are smaller and contain berries and possibly squirrel fur.  Grizzly bear droppings have bells in them and smell like pepper spray.


That story comes from Rev. Ken Johnson, a fellow Norwegian pastor who always is sharing such bits of wisdom.  I share it with you today as a warning for all of us to be alert to what is around us. 

In the military we are constantly warned about situation awareness, which means being aware of what is going on around you.  But every person needs to be on the alert to dangers around us because we never know when someone might do some harm to someone else.   By paying attention to those around us we can often be the best defense to threats and since 911 we have had many tragedies prevented because people were perceptive about suspicious behavior.  Unfortunately too often people must suffer first before others become more alert the dangers around us. 


But being alert means recognizing that not all dangers are from terrorists or foreigners. Many of the threats we face are not front page news stories, but they are deadly dangers.  Children are abused, spouses are beaten and these stories have just begun to hit the front pages due to the public figures involved in it. But, sadly for decades domestic abuse has been a problem and nothing was said.  Hopefully more of us will be on the “alert” to this danger in our places of work, in our schools and in our neighborhoods and homes.   Sexual assault is another evil that is constantly being committed and often the assault is committed by somebody the victim knows.  For years we failed to pay attention to the victim or we ignored it but there is no excuse for not paying attention to this danger.  We all need to be on the alert to those who may be abusing others, assaulting others and those who could be possible victims.  To be on the alert means we need to be sensitive to when speech and action is inappropriate. In such situations the one committing the offense needs to be confronted or we need to seek extra help in making them stop what they are doing.


How we deal with such dangers is the way we can make this world a safer place.  In other words to make this world a physically, emotionally, and mentally safer place we all need to be always on the alert.


Even we who call ourselves Christians are warned to be on the alert.  The Apostle Peter wrote, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8) His warning was to remind them that being a Christian didn’t mean life would be easy.  Like everyone else in this world we have our hardships and dangers, including the spiritual dangers out there. But thankfully for us there is one who has won the battle for us and that one is Jesus, who suffered, died and rose from the dead in order to set us free from the sin, Satan and the sting of death.  Because of Christ we can be confident in the face of any danger and at the same time work hard to help others as they face dangers.  Simply put all of us should always be on alert.

That’s just my thoughts from this chilly SE corner of South Dakota!


CH (COL) David Gunderson