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Old 09-20-2010, 08:25 PM
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I often lurk these forums more than I contribute but will always be grateful for the sobriety this group has helped me put together. This morning I was able to witness a magnificent sunrise and experience a clarity of thought, appreciation of beauty and outright sense of awe at how my life has been transformed. Luckily I had my trusty iPhone with and could snap a few pics and then jot down the outline of what became this essay. I could think of no better place to share it than the forum that, with God's grace, got me to this place. I know not everyone here believes as I do but I hope this post won't offend those that don't, it's simply an expression of my beliefs and what has helped me on my journey. Without further ado, some Thoughts from the Beach....

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Modern ships are amazing vessels. Though they travel the same seas as their ancestors, they do so faster, safer and more reliably, all while giving their crews the comforts and conveniences of home. Stepping on board of such a ship, one must be impressed by the sheer marvel of it all - how such a massive machine can cast off from land, from all dependence on the world as we know it, and travel across vast distances to arrive safely at their destination port. The truth is, of course, that the ship itself can't do much of anything without the crew, and further that the crew would have nothing to crew without a ship builder.

Aboard an oceangoing ship the evidence of a Designer and Builder is all around. Complex systems for propulsion, safety and comfort are comprised of thousands of carefully designed components that all work together to accomplish the primary goal – to deliver passengers and cargo safely to their destination. The Designer must take into account how to achieve this goal in the extremely harsh environment of the open sea. The systems on board must be robust, reliable and, in the event of failure, repairable while under way. A well designed and built ship is thus able to withstand both treacherous winds and tumultuous waves and yet remain true to course and deliver on its purpose. Like a ship, the evidence of our Designer and Maker, our Heavenly Father, is around us. We should likewise trust that we’ve been designed and equipped to safely make our journey no matter what the seas hold. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” - Psalm 139:14 (NIV).

A ship designed and built but not properly crewed is quite obviously useless. As everyone knows, the Captain heads up the crew and is the ultimate authority responsible for directing the task of getting the vessel safely to port. As the leader of the vessel, the Captain must possess the qualities of a true leader – earning respect by setting the example, exposing the crew to varied and progressively more challenging roles, allowing the crew to gain experience as they grow in roles and encouraging them as they do so. By definition, the Captain cannot do this job from the shore - he must be right alongside the crew, ever present to direct and guide, to correct and encourage. Like an oceangoing crew, we must not only acknowledge Christ as Captain of our life, but, when rough seas come and we’re tossed by the waves, remind ourselves that He’s doing His job not from shore but right alongside us. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Matthew 28:28 (NIV).

On board a modern ship, the Chief Engineer is viewed by many as having equal importance to the Captain. Without the Engineer to maintain the complex machinery and electronics the ship would soon break down and be unable to complete its journey. The Engineer does his job through a maintenance process of constant rejuvenation and renewal with a goal of preventing breakdowns before they happen. Like the Captain, this is a job that can only be done alongside the crew, on board at all times while the ship is under way. What may be news to some is that on board the ship the Chief Engineer’s cabin is often just as large as the Captain’s, is usually located on the same deck as the Captain’s and is often appointed in a manner that conveys the highest of status. As with the Chief Engineer on an oceangoing vessel, the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to rejuvenate and repair. We would be wise to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s station as equal to the Captain’s and likewise indispensable to our journey – we simply can’t make the journey safely without Him. “I will ask the Father to give you another Helper, to be with you always.” – John 14:16 (ISV).

Maker, Captain and Engineer all work together to make a modern vessel what it is. Without any one of them the vessel could not accomplish its purpose. Without Father, Son and Holy Spirit in our own lives we cannot accomplish His purpose for us. We may forget how fearfully and wonderfully we’re made to withstand the rough seas, fail to grow into the roles we need to safely cruise the open ocean, head to the wrong port only to be disappointed on arrival or simply not remain constantly rejuvenated and ready to carry out our long journey. God in three Persons gives us every reason to not only hope for but to trust in the successful voyage of a lifetime. If man can build, appoint and crew magnificent vessels able to withstand rough seas and harsh conditions yet remain on course, how much more so is God able to create, equip and sustain man for safe passage through this life? Bon Voyage everyone, our home port awaits...
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Old 09-20-2010, 10:22 PM
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Amen!
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:21 AM
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Awesome my Fellow Floridian!!
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