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  • Writer's pictureToni Wilbarger

What's Your Sign?

While driving home from a recent vacation, I laughed at an exit sign that pointed to Stinking Creek Rd. in Tennessee. For the record, here's the history behind Stinking Creek's name, written by George L. Ridenour, an early historian: "The winter of 1779-1780 was known as a cold winter. Snow began in late October. Intense cold followed for weeks. Streams froze over. Animals that had drifted to the cane breaks and timber perished in the bitter cold. When spring and summer came . . . all the animals had perished from the cold. . . . For months hunters avoided the place by reason of the carrion stench. Turkey buzzards and animal scavengers that had dens in the cliffs gorged on the putrid flesh of the dead animals. From that time until the present the name of the creek and the beautiful valley has remained Stinking Creek."

A few years ago my husband took a motorcycle trip to Arkansas. He and his group ended up in the town of Toad Suck. (There's the sign to prove it!) And I remember another road trip with my parents where we laughed ourselves silly over the town of Bucksnort, TN. An internet search also showed town names like Nothing, Arizona; Hell, Michigan; Nowhere, Colorado; Santa, Idaho; Accident, Maryland; Satan's Corner, Massachusetts (yikes); and Embarrass, Minnesota, among others.

But town names don't just pop out of thin air. Usually there's a reason for the title--a story connected to the area, mixed with a little bit of truth--as in the case of Stinking Creek. Even my high school was named for the farmer who originally owned the land.

As writers, we like to ask "what if" when plotting our stories. What if this happened? What then? So I asked myself this question: What if God decided to hang signs on us that represented the truth about our sins? What if He placed a sign around your neck naming your personal sin, right out there for the whole world to see?








What would your sign say? I wince when I think about mine.

But there's a way to bypass those awful, soul-exposing signs. Scripture says the Lord makes a new promise to His people through the life and death of His Son, Jesus. "I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:10-12 NIV)

Belief, repentance, and trust in Jesus for our salvation changes everything. The Lord of Heaven no longer remembers our sins.

God removes our sin signs and replaces them with new ones that now display brand new truths about us.








So I guess I have a few more questions. Have you asked God to forgive your sins? Do you believe in Jesus as your Savior, the only Way to eternal life? Has God changed the words that identify you? What's your sign?

Until next time,


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Nov 20, 2023

Wonderful analogy!


Nov 20, 2023

I love it-- the new "signs" God has given us!


Nov 20, 2023

Great post, Toni. Funny, convicting, faith encouraging.

In Jamaica we have a town called “Wait-A-Bit.” I relate to that Name. —Rachael M. Colby

Sandy Beach

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