Shipwrecked

Shipwrecked

Author’s Note:  I will be speaking frankly about the perils of allowing sin a foothold, even to the point of a believer embracing and loving sin more than their calling or ministry to the Kingdom.  I am speaking as a man, but temptation, sin, and destruction of faith can occur in the life of any believer.


1 Timothy 1:19

Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.


2 Corinthians 11:25

Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.


The Apostle Paul knew a thing or two [actually three] about shipwrecks.  In carrying out God’s mission to spread the gospel, Paul saw and experienced many hardships.  And a ship is a hard thing to slam into reef or rocks.


And thus, Paul – having experienced shipwreck firsthand three times – saw it as the perfect metaphor to describe what happens to certain believers in Jesus Christ who are sucked into temptation, sin, depravity, greed, pride, the lies of the Devil, perhaps even outright rebellion against God.  Essentially – usurping His rightful place on the throne of their hearts.  And suffering massive damage to their faith in the process.



Recently as last night I was told of a believer who is currently going through divorce.  He has led ministry groups in the church.  But now there is rumor of a long history of infidelity and affairs.  To be fair, I haven’t spoken with the man in question, or even confirmed the rumor.  But it brought to mind the devastation that Satan is wrecking on the church, especially with those in positions of ministry and leadership.  Particularly with men and sexual sin.


Several years ago, a pastor friend of mine recounted the story of a church elder who was widely respected in the community, led ministry and Bible study, started new churches, etc…  My friend relayed the story of an unnamed woman who came to him and described this elder often spending the night and getting up next to her in the morning.  The Elder was unmarried.


Unfortunately, I have other examples of shipwrecked ministry.


Of course, it doesn’t have to be sexual sin; it could be greed. It could be pride and desire for power and control.


I have seen the darkness of the soul, and I have no desire to see it again.  But always it looms, watching and waiting for an opportunity.


Here is the bottom line:  We can never, repeat – NEVER – take a day off from guarding and protecting our hearts and souls from the demonic forces that foment sin.  NEVER.  We can never take off the armor of God, never allow some shallow, worthless pleasure in this life take the place of Jesus Christ the Messiah in our hearts.  NEVER.  Never give in to the siren song of temptation that leads us to steer our ship of faith right into the rocks.  NEVER.


If you are struggling with a sin that is crippling your relationship with God, I am praying for you now.  Father, we say “we are only human”, or “we have needs,” but that is a lie from the devil, because we use it to rationalize and justify sin.  Forgive all of us who have glorified hedonistic pleasure, greed for money or material things, or the desire for power, as idols in place of you.  Cleanse us of all unrighteousness.  Give us a desire for more of You, then to be filled with the Spirit, to spread the gospel to others – who like us – struggle with sin.  Hurl our sin to the bottom of the sea and give us new hearts for You.  Turn our shipwrecks into monuments of lives radically changed; not drowned with sin, but rescued by the Life Preserver, Jesus Christ.  To Him be all honor, glory and praise, forever and ever, and in His mighty name I pray. Amen.


No Dichotomy for Human Life

embI just recently added a link for a poem I published on my Wattpad page.  The piece, entitled “Dandelions” is a reflection on the unborn, who never had a chance at life.  In the end, it is our society and culture that is forever damaged – by missing the contribution of so many millions whose life ended before it began.

Many writers/bloggers/commentators [all of whom are doubtless more talented and eloquent than me] have written pieces regarding the tragic events of this week [murder of police officers in Dallas, et. al.].  I want to instead address a deeper issue, but one which underlies much of what dominates the headlines.

I believe that God created the universe and every living thing.  To us of the human species, He invested the gift of relationships.  First and foremost with Him as our Creator, but also with our fellow human beings; family members, neighbors [Pastor Terry preached on the Good Samaritan today ~ “who is my neighbor”], and other people that God places in our path.

All are invaluable.  All are irreplaceable.  All are made by God with the divine stamp of His image.

I have no delusions about the state of the world.  We live in a fallen world; seemingly to fall to greater depths each day.  People do unspeakable horrors to other people.  Children are abused.  People lie to and cheat on their spouses.  People react out of anger, jealousy, fear – and the consequences can be damaging or even fatal.

The Evil One, Satan, seems to be having a field day.  People and groups are divided against each other.  Blaming others/society/government and sanctimoniously taking on the banner of victimhood are byproducts.  Please don’t misunderstand; I know there are real victims ~ including the most innocent of all, the unborn lost to abortion.

I only wish to say that every single human life matters, from the moment of conception to natural death.  There is no dichotomy in human life.  We know that “God made them male and female”, and that every human is unique to the soul (even identical twins).  We live in different parts of the earth, speak different languages.  But we are all human.  We all have the same I.D. [“Imago Dei” ~ in the image of God].  We are all fallible, we all make mistakes, we all sin.  We all need a Savior.  Jesus Christ.

Zombie Euphoria

No denying it.  I had heard the frequent buzz about the hit show, The Walking Dead [AMC], but always from the periphery.  Not much into television drama, my viewing runs from sports to World War II documentaries.  That about covers it.  Finally I decided to check out a recent episode, but I didn’t watch long.  Too violent for my taste.  Perhaps it was this particular episode; I will leave that to the show’s devotees to confirm or deny.

Still, I was interested in the name of the show.  It reminded me of an idea that I had been cultivating for several years.  It began with the concept of convicted prisoners on death row.  Such are often labeled as “dead men walking.”  Although still breathing on earth, these prisoners are yet condemned to die.

I believe that a parallel exists in describing the state of unbelievers.  There are many all around us who have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, Redeemer.  One might accurately state that these individuals are dead men and dead women walking.  Breathing daily the earthly atmosphere.  To all outward worldly appearances, many of them are models of prosperity.  Secure, successful, and strong.  Others have made trainwrecks of their lives through a string of poor choices, with disastrous consequences.

Yet all have this in common.  If any of them died with their next breath, they would face an eternity in Hell.  The Bible is unambiguous about this.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  [Heb 10:26-27 NIV]

One might say today that the “foolishness “ of Christianity is trumpeted more loudly than ever, although it’s probably been prevalent throughout the history of two millennia.  God is mocked, Christians are mocked [or much worse depending on the spot on the globe], and hedonism and evil have their way.  For a while at least.

For argument’s sake, suppose the atheist or unbeliever is correct.  There is no god, no heaven, no hell.  This life is all there is, and when we die the body, mind, and spirit are simply annihilated and disappear.  Believers in Christ such as myself are fools.

If the above is true, then my life (although considered foolish) would have been on balance a fairly decent one where I attempted to serve my fellow man, love my family, and leave a legacy of selflessness for my grandchildren.  The downside if the above were true – believing in an eternity that doesn’t exist [i.e. a victim of a sham].  But I would rest uneventfully in non-eternity just as everyone else.

Yet if I am right [and I firmly believe that I am], the downside for the unbeliever is not only probable lack of peace in this life but eternal and everlasting torment in Hell.  It is a bad place to be.

I pray for any and all who do not know Jesus as their personal and eternal Savior.  Those who are the “walking dead” and seem not to know it.  Lord, convict them of their immediate need.

Never forget:  there is forgiveness, peace, love, mercy, and joy in Jesus the Messiah.  Freedom from guilt, anger, and the many side effects of sin.  Just believe in Him!

Zombie Euphoria

Not a clue, or at least not a care

of the coming judgment and

    Holy wrath

None spared, save those saved

    by Christ and His death

The remnant gone in a flash

the wider highway awash in walking dead

Blissfully unaware of what lies ahead

05/30/13

Man to the Moon…And back again

My life [at least this temporal one] runs parallel to the space age of mankind.  Just a few months before my birth, President John Kennedy laid down the gauntlet of flying to the moon and returning our astronauts in one piece.   A year from my advent in this world, the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted.  Kennedy and others diffused the missile crisis, but of course he did not live to see Apollo astronauts meet his deadline in 1969.

During my junior high years, I was excited to be able to travel to Florida.  Besides visiting Aunt Sarann [best cool Aunt ever] and Uncle Kenny, a highlight for me was visiting Cape Canaveral.  I will not forget the experience of standing next to the massive Vehicle Assembly Building and looking up.  I nearly fell over backwards.  As I recall, a dirigible of some kind was inside the VAB.

Suffice it to say that I grew up in an age of technological advancement.  Dad’s Super 8 movies were really high tech for the period.  We later had them converted to VHS.  Now we need a DVD conversion.

We humans have made multiple trips to space and countless other discoveries and advancements, yet in our own cleverness we have made no advances in solving our sin problem.  Precisely because we cannot.

Each of us lies trapped in a device of our own making, out of which we are completely and utterly unable to extricate ourselves.   And of this plight, there remains only one recourse.  Bizarre as it seems, we must cease our pitiful attempts at self-rescue.

By confessing our sin and placing our trust in the Creator of the world ( and Creator of us), we open the way for forgiveness, redemption, and restoration.  Life as it was meant to be lived.  Not a bed of roses, but roses above the thorns.  And the moon thrown in for good measure.

Psalms 8:3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained…