Posted in testimony, theology

A Testimony. Part 2

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday in part 1 I got personal, which is hard to do. But the Lord must be praised for what He does in our lives and that goes for me too. I can’t praise Him for His comfort and kindness if I never seem to have any trouble.

I do try to stay positive, because after all, we are co-heirs to the Kingdom, have treasure stored in heaven, and possess the greatest gift of all eternal life- salvation through Jesus and His indwelling Spirit. Believers have escaped the wrath of God because of Jesus’s voluntary death and His resurrection. It’s all good, literally.

But the boots on the ground, coming to terms with that gets harder to preach when trouble comes. Which is why trouble comes.

Paul had constant trouble and asked three times for the Lord to relieve him of it.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. (2 Corinthians 12:8).

The Lord declined. He had His reasons. It was so that Paul would not become conceited after having been given such great revelations. (2 Corinthians 12:7). John had received surpassingly great revelations, too, and in one case, John wrote a whole book about it. To my knowledge John was not given specific trouble to keep him from being conceited. The Lord tailors our afflictions to our internal needs, which only He knows. So I accepted the troubles because I trust Him.

During the last months I prayed, sought the Lord in His word, and waited. It’s what I know to do and what we’re instructed to do as we work and live on this earth. My prayers included asking to appropriately glorify Him through it. I was not successful with that as much as I should have been. I became gloomy and too introspective, which I have a tendency to do anyway.

I felt like I was in a vise, being squeezed from every direction. Tightly. My constriction felt severe.

As I was studying one day, I happened on a word for afflictions from external circumstances, a pressure, called thlipsis, from thlibo. I wanted to learn more. But the more I searched the more I could not get a handle on it. The meaning didn’t settle completely in my mind though I searched and searched.

So I waited some more.

I spoke about it with a friend at church. I wish I could say I was godly, but the conversation from my part was just complaining. Grumbling, Worrying. All sins. When I got home I repented of that. Again.

The next morning as I was closing my Bible and the pages flipped closed, I suddenly saw from barely the corner of my eye, a verse.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).

BLAM! Well that hit me right in the face. No matter that I’d read it a hundred times, this time the Spirit impressed it to my heart and mind with an illumination that made me sit up in my chair. This is a blessing and a relief and a grace I value and love. I’m humbled when He illuminates the scripture to me in such a way.

I laser-focused on verse 8, We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair

I laser-laser focused on the word afflicted. It was thlipsis! Strong’s-

Cognate: 2346 thlíbō (the root of 2347 /thlípsis, reflecting an original “b”/bēta) – properly, rub together, constrict (compress), i.e. pressed together; (figuratively) oppressively afflict (distress), i.e. like when circumstances “rub us the wrong way” that make us feel confined (hemmed in); restricted to a “narrow” place. See 2347 (thlipsis).

It helped just reading the verse. Just reading it. I felt all my perplexity and afflictions melt away. This peace can only be from Him. It surpassed my understanding.

I’m still afflicted, a number of things are coming like a train. But I feel comforted about it. The Word itself was like a pin that pricked the balloon and gave me comfort. From 2 Corinthians 4:8 Paul gives wisdom. The Spirit illuminated it in my mind and helps me apply it. The MacArthur commentary on the passage gives further explanation.

I turned to my MacArthur commentary for verse 8. I read,

By a series of four contrasts, the apostle demonstrated that his inabilities did not cripple his ability to minister. First, he was afflicted in every way, but not crushed

Afflicted is from the verb thlibo and refers to being under pressure. As noted above, Paul was under constant physical and spiritual pressure, so much so that he wrote earlier in his epistle that he was “burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

But despite the pressure, Paul was not crushed. Crushed is from the verb stenochoreo, which refers to being confined to a narrow, tight place. The pressure he faced could not keep Paul’s ministry bottled up.

Second, Paul was perplexed but not despairing. The Greek text contains a play on words, the participles translated perplexed and despairing are from the verbs aporeo and exaporeo, respectively. He was at a loss, but not a total loss. He was at his wit’s end, but there was still a way out; he was at the brink of defeat, but not defeated.

I’ll spare you the rest of the explanation. The paragraphs really spoke to me. I was truly relieved to read this, and there is no earthly reason why. I’m still afflicted I’m still in the midst of my little trials. Certainly I am weak, unable, and powerless. Yet, we have a LORD who sees.

He saw Hagar in the wilderness crying. (Genesis 16:1-13). He spoke to her. He told her to go back and submit to her mistress. He also promised her that her descendants would increase and be too numerous to count. Her afflictions didn’t only not evaporate but increased as when she returned things got worse.

But she blessed him and was comforted by the fact that He saw and spoke to her. She named God El Roi, the God Who Sees.

We are not blessed with personal visits from an incarnated Jesus as Hagar was blessed by a visit from a pre-incarnate Jesus. But the Spirit indwelling us speaks to us and comforts through His word.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

How can His power be made perfect in me unless I acknowledge my weakness? How can I boast of my weakness and His strength unless I acknowledge my weakness?

My goal is to be purposely joyful in the face of tremendous pressure (thlipsis) from external circumstances. Since the Lord is obviously the author of these pressures and troubles I’ve been experiencing, I can only maintain a joyful confidence in the face of them, as Paul did and said we must, in 2 Corinthians 4:8

I will pray for strength to be joyfully confident. But also people will not know it’s the Lord’s strength and confidence & not mine unless I reveal my pressure-ridden trials and attribute to Him the result. That is what this 2-part testimony is about.

He has given me understanding in the scriptures. He has given me peace by dissolving my increasing perplexity and feeling of being crushed. These are the gifts. We have a Lord who sees. We have a Lord who hears. I will try always to look to Him, boast in my weakness, and pray His work in me continues, no matter how uncomfortable it becomes. This isn’t an easy prayer, but it’s a necessary one.

Jesus is compassionate in His majesty and majestic in His compassion.

I am always leery of proclaiming a testimony. I’m not skilled and rather untactful and I don’t want to make it about me. It’s about Jesus. I pray that I’ve touted Jesus and His wonderful work in me this week to Him. All glory goes to Him.

 

Posted in testimony, theology

A Testimony. Part 1

By Elizabeth Prata

In an unusual move, I’m going to get personal. This is a testimony in 2 parts. Part 1 is what was wrong. Part 2 is what came right. As hard as it is to openly discuss my personal challenges, I must praise the Lord and give Him glory for what He has done. His glory comes first.

Since May, I’ve been under an increasing pressure from one thing after another happening, to such an extent that it’s obvious it’s God applying the pressure.

During the last week of May, I got pneumonia. It came suddenly. I’d had a cold and a slight sinus infection but I thought it was going away. It was actually gathering strength at the bottom of my lungs, only to spring up and try and defeat me one night as I slept.

I woke up not being able to breathe. I sincerely thought I was about to kick the bucket, a scary thought at 3 am for someone living alone. The doctor wanted to put me in the hospital but I wanted to recover at home. It was touch and go, since I had a bad bout of it. I was in and out of the doc’s office for breathing treatments, meds, and oxygen checks for the next two weeks. Fortunately it had been the last days of school, just the teacher close-up days, so I didn’t miss much work.

During the first week in June, my cat also got sick. He began defecating outside the box, usually the only signal cats give when they are ill. Even though I had a temperature of 102, I brought him to the vet and they gave some pills and advice. I waited for the meds to kick in, but his bathroom times were still a problem. It was very stressful to be so sick and also to see him in pain. Having to constantly watch for poop bombs and cleaning up was exhausting, too.

Both me and Bert got worse. One night during the next week, at about 8 pm, Bert flopped down on his side and howled. He had tried to go, I saw him trying, and instead he stopped and just howled in pain. I loaded him in the cat carrier and zoomed to the only place (and the best place) open at night, University of Georgia Veterinary Emergency Hospital.

Bert was there 3 days and didn’t come home. I cried so hard. UGA then sent me a four-digit bill, and I cried harder, lol. No regrets, though. Bert was a good cat for 12 years.

That was the end of May and June. During my near-constant visits to the doctor I’d asked her about my IBS. I’d been in increasingly constant pain in my gut for about two years and had the other associated issues with IBS too. My mom’s a celiac.

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. … Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. Source

Knowing celiac runs in families, I had been decreasing the amount of wheat based foods over the last couple of years but it had become obvious that I needed to rid myself of it entirely. They tell you about the physical pros and cons of gluten sensitivity but not the emotional impact. Foods that I’d associated with my heritage were now forbidden. Foods I’d associated with pleasant or holiday memories, all had to be abandoned. This was a loss.

Deleting gluten from my diet helped but didn’t solve my IBS. So I gave up dairy also. That helped more, but again, not totally. I was physically tired. Fast transit from intake to expelling meant few nutrients were being applied to my body. Vitamin count was low. Tiredness was high. I was also demoralized and at my wit’s end. So when I had opportunity to speak with my doctor, I did. She steered me to a nutritionist who was up on new science. When I met with her in July she put me on the FODMAP elimination diet.

FODMAPs are short-chain carbs that are resistant to digestion. Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, they reach the far end of your intestine where most of your gut bacteria reside. Your gut bacteria then use these carbs for fuel, producing hydrogen gas and causing digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals. FODMAPs also draw liquid into your intestine, which may cause diarrhea. Source

Sorry to be so specific. The problem was causing serious quality of life issues. It was also impacting my work. I drew the line. The situation had exceeded my capacity for resolution and I needed an expert. The elimination diet is difficult and complicated. I was glad I’d had a chance to experience it during the summer when I was home from work. But it demanded a large quantity of time, money, and mental capacity. It’s helpful, but it’s a struggle. So, another struggle.

The timing of the conclusion of the elimination portion of the diet trial and complicated  reintroduction of food phase coincided with my return to work: August. We received our new schedules at work and they were yet ever more demanding. The 8-hour day is a blur and we are extremely busy. My brain was fried almost right away and my body rebelled against the demanding schedule.

In September, I saw that an enormous quantity of oil had been spraying along my passenger side transom. Scary. Ever since in a previous car my idle pulley fell off and I lost steering, electronics, and my engine overheated at once, as I was traveling 55 mph, I have a near paralyzing fear of driving. Though I have another car now, the memory of that scary moment is emblazoned on my mind. Car issues send me into a blind panic. It turned out I needed a new axle on my car. Oh, no.

In October, my tooth broke, necessitating three trips to the dentist for reconstruction and then a crown. Another 4-digit bill loomed.

And in between there were many other things. It got to be almost humorous. The moment I solved one issue another popped up immediately. I don’t mean the next week, I mean the same day. I was praying a lot.

A person doesn’t have to endure a huge diagnosis or a death or something terribly tragic to be burdened. The constant drip-drip-drip of small-to-medium issues constantly draining one’s  pocketbook and demanding my mental problem-solving attention is also a burden. A person can fade from a thousand paper cuts.

I sought the Lord, never asking why, though. I wasn’t saved until age 42 and I lived as a terrible sinner, the chiefest of sinners. I know the Lord can do anything He wants with me, the creature. I’m still amazed He saved me and I’m still grateful that I am saved. I know through and through I am a vessel, His to do with as He pleases. But I worried about a sin I was overlooking, or a displeasing attitude or something, something that I could correct so as to end the discipline (if that is what it was).

I know He sharpens us for His glory and for better service, and that is OK. But no one mentions how much the process raises unease or how bad it hurts. I do not like to disappoint my Lord. And to be honest, being under so much pressure and needful circumstances was uncomfortable. I was reaching a frustration point. I was in an ever-tightening vise.

Part 2 tomorrow, Lord willing.

burdened verse.jpg

Posted in encouragement, testimony, Uncategorized

Sipping wine in the place where the grape is grown

In the late 1980s I was inspired by the movie Shirley Valentine, a film that depicted a middle-aged London wife unhappy with her boring husband and her dreary life. “I want to sip wine in the place where the grape is grown” Shirley had said. So she chucked her husband and her life and jetted off to sunny Greece, swam topless, had an affair, and decided to stay. I guess she liked the wine better than her husband.

grapes
Vineyard, Chiusi, Tuscany. EPrata photo

I was very much taken with the notion of changing one’s life. I was entranced by Shirley’s life mantra, of ‘sipping wine in the place where the grape is grown’. I had tried a conventional life, but my husband had chucked me, I was saddled with a house in a dreary climate and three jobs to pay for it. I wanted more. Sipping wine in places where it’s grown was certainly not the dying mill city of snowy Lewiston Maine. It bespoke of gentle Tuscan hillsides, green California dreams, or Greek whitewashed stucco. What a goal, Shirley, what a goal.

I went to wine places. California, Tuscany, South of France, rolling hills and grape vines abounding. But wine was just wine and the problem was the same. I met my goal. It was empty.

I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. …

What was the meaning of life? Where was permanence, solidity, something that would not disappear in a breath? Something that would give lasting joy, meaning, and purpose? What is man’s chief end??

Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:2-4, 11).

Question. 1. What is the chief end of man?
Answer. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. Westminster Shorter Catechism

The Puritan Thomas Watson preached on this in his sermon, Man’s Chief End is to Glorify God

Here are two ends of life specified. 1. The glorifying of God. 2. The enjoying of God.

First. The glorifying of God, 1 Pet. 4:11. “That God in all things may be glorified.” The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. l Cor. 10:31. “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial; now, man being a rational creature, must propose some end to himself, and that should be, that he may lift up God in the world. He had better lose his life than the end of his living.

The great truth asserted is that the end of every man’s living should be to glorify God. Glorifying God has respect to all the persons in the Trinity; it respects God the Father who gave us life; God the Son, who lost his life for us; and God the Holy Ghost, who produces a new life in us; we must bring glory to the whole Trinity.

Q. What is it to glorify God?
A. Glorifying God consists in four things: 1. Appreciation, 2. Adoration, 3. Affection, 4. Subjection. This is the yearly rent we pay to the crown of heaven.

Watson continued in his sermon to explain what and how to appreciate, adore, love, and submit to God.

King Solomon, who wrote Ecclesiastes concludes with the eternal wisdom:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of every human being. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Wine is vanity, travel is vanity. All we do when we relocate is bring our depravity with us. We are the problem. Godless, we are adrift in a sea of evil, wafting from one vain flurry to another. Drifting as dust motes upon an acid air, we leave evil, bring evil, and expire as evil. We believe ourselves to be maidens of rosy blush and coy innocence, when we are simply mud mounds cast upon miry shores. Godless, we are drenched with corruption.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. (Genesis 6:5,12).

When we are saved by His grace through faith, we are cleansed, our sin nature is given a Helper. We are dressed in white robes and stood on our feet, no longer to crawl in the dust like the serpent. We are given a will and testament that promises eternal peace, treasures, crowns, and dwellings in glory with the Savior. Our goal shifts to one of giving Him glory and enjoying Him forever.

What a goal, what a goal.

Posted in chris powers, patreon, testimony, youth

A testimony from Chris Powers

Since last August, I’ve written four other times about Christian artist and animator Chris Powers. The most recent mention was a few days ago. I think he is doing wonderful kingdom work.

In the mention a few days ago, I said that I enjoyed the animation he created for the song Dead Come Alive, and that it was one of my favorites. I also mentioned that the target audience for his creations are the youth, and asked you to please consider sharing his work with the youth in your circle. Powers’ work is so much better than the watered down, meaningless, seeker-sensitive hogwash we are subjected to on a daily basis.

Well praise the Lord, he posted a testimony. Here it is:

I [Chris Powers] wanted to share a testimony with you. A brother in Christ named Rogelio translated a few of the Full of Eyes resources into Tagalog and used them to help explain the gospel to a group of youth at a Bible study he leads. He used “Dead Come Alive” as well as the translated gospel tract and said that afterwards about 16 young people prayed to make Christ their Lord and Savior. Praise God for that! Hearing that is an answer to prayer and an example of what this ministry exists to do – point people to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, Rogelio said that there is a famine of youth-oriented materials in his area, please pray for him and especially for these 16 souls – that they would truly know the Lord.

Testimonies like the one Rogelio shared are such a blessing from the Lord and an evidence of his great grace to take the fish and loaves of our feeble offerings and multiply them to feed many.

Tagalog is an Austronesian language with about 57 million speakers in the Philippines, particularly in Manila, central and southern parts of Luzon, and also on the islands of Lubang, Marinduque, and the northern and eastern parts of Mindoro.

Chris Powers–

Chris Powers AKA Action Jones, and his ministry Full of Eyes

The End Time: Chris Powers’ next animation: Idolatry!

The End Time: Visual Theology: Chris Powers & Full of Eyes

Girls, stop cutting, Jesus loves you

Website: Full of Eyes

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Posted in creation, God, sailing, salvation, testimony

A Testimony

Yah, here’s some personal stuff, which you know I hate to talk about. Someone had asked me in a comment if I have a testimony on the blog. I don’t, so here it is. Jesus is great.

As an 18 year old, I’d decided I wanted a traditional life. It felt right and good to pursue that. I’d grown up in a time which normalized everything that was contrary to God: open marriage, adultery, feminism, gender roles were reversed, experimentation was encouraged, drugs & alcohol were everywhere, etc. It was the 60s. None of that seemed right or good to me. I decided I wanted a marriage, home, and a career as a teacher. I wanted a solid, grounded, traditional life.

When I went to college I found the man. We hooked up when I was a freshman, and moved in together by sophomore year. We married when we graduated. We saved for a house, those were the days when you saved up, and put 20% down on a home. It was new, and we saved up for the furniture, and by then I’d gotten a teaching job. My husband was an engineer. Normal!

By the time I was age 26 he had found another woman, had an affair, and left. I was against the divorce. He left anyway. What happened to the traditional life I’d worked for? I did everything right, but it hadn’t worked out. I was perplexed. Where had it all gone wrong?

I was left with a mortgage to pay on a beginning teacher’s salary. Hard. I got a second job working 4 nights a week at the local movie theater, and still not making it, I got a third, weekend job at a local bookstore. It was still obvious to me that it was better to go through life two by two, a married man and woman, but no man was on the horizon. Alone, I had to deal with the chimney sweep who wouldn’t leave the house when he’d finished cleaning the woodstove, the tax preparer making crude and inappropriate comments as he looked over my W2s, the car salesman who said we had to finalize the car deal at the local bar, the rapist stalker I worked with the police to catch… It is clear that it was much better for a woman be married to and under the protection of the husband, emotionally, financially, and safety-wise. This is a philosophy many women today reject.

By the time I was 29 I was wrung out, tired, and frustrated with life. I pondered the following questions constantly:

–Is this all there is to life? It seemed that life was so short compared to whatever else was out there. What was it all for? To work 50 years, retire and die? It seemed all pointless. Humans had obviously not evolved but there had to be another purpose to man, since biological human complexity far outweighed the vaporousness of what seemed like a relatively short life.

This was the 80s and consumerism was at its height. I had a house, a new car, a 27 inch tv, a VCR (expensive item in those days) yet none of the ‘stuff’ fulfilled me either. I had friends and literary and cultural pursuits and dinner parties and jaunts to the beach but those didn’t satisfy for very long either. I was totally confused as to what life was about. I knew deep in my heart, though, that something else was out there. I kept looking.

That was the Ecclesiastes portion of my life.

By the time I was 29 I’d had it with traditional living. It was not cutting it for me. Maybe the 60s were right, a NON-traditional life was the way to go, except that people picked the wrong experiences to have and I’d pick better ones. I decided to dump my life and find a new one. My version of a non-traditional life was to not work a 9-5 job but instead to travel. I joined an Earthwatch Archaeological expedition and went to Italy for a month, the first two weeks traveling by myself and the second two in Tuscany digging up a castle.

At this exact time my friends set me up with a date with a man. We went out a few times but didn’t really connect, until he asked the $64,000 question. “If money was no object and you could live any way you wanted to, what would you do?” I answered right away that I’d get on a boat and sail to Bora Bora. He dropped his slice of pizza and said that he was in the middle of buying a yacht and he planned to sail to The Bahamas. We discussed our philosophies of non-traditional living, and by the time I came back from my August in Italy, he’d bought the boat and we went sailing away by October.

And so began the Romans 1 portion of my life- God revealed in creation.

We sailed about 11,000 nautical miles, we delivered a 22 foot motor boat from Naples Fl to RI adding another 1100 miles under our keel, we went across country in the VW van, we went in an ice breaker ship in Labrador, we drove around Ecuador, train traveled around Europe a bunch of times etc. I was still looking for that ever elusive something, and indeed my heart connected with God by seeing His creation, but not Jesus and my sin.

It was not until the third portion of salvation road that got me over the salvation threshold, something from the book of Mark (a story for another day).

Sailing was interesting. I saw the entire US coastline at a 3mph rate. We docked in every port. We passed every type of marine conveyance from kayak to aircraft carrier. We learned about canals and locks. The Dismal Swamp, Intracoastal Waterway, barges, fishermen, Chesapeake watermen, bridge tenders, smugglers. In the photo below, we had decided to make an overnight passage sailing from Charleston SC to St Augustine FL. The photo was snapped by my husband at about 6AM, it was sunrise and I’d had the dogwatch- 4-6 am. It’s the coldest, darkest part of the night and you are never so happy as when you see that sunrise. Everyone hates the dogwatch. I’m dressed in three sweatshirts and two pairs of sweatpants, and gripping a cup of hot, black coffee my husband had just passed me as it it was a life preserver!

Ocean sailing at night is disorienting. You look and look for the Lighthouse and when you see that light you sigh with a deep relief because now you know where you are and where you are going.

The famous diamond pattern on Cape Hatteras, NC lighthouse.

In the ocean, there are things to hit. Buoys. Whales. Even containers. When a container ship is in a storm, some of the containers fall off the deck, did you know? They float just a few feet below the surface for a few hours or so on their way to the bottom. If you’re sailing at night, there’s no way you’d see it in the dark. During the day you might notice a strange wave pattern- if you happen to be looking that way. Sometimes you read in the paper that a container washed up, once a container full of Nikes spilled out onto a WA beach. This is a snippet of a news article from 1999 Nat Geo:

“The sneakers were lost at sea when the container ship P&O Nedlloyd Auckland encountered a hurricane mid-Pacific. Heavy rolling threw a dozen 40-foot-long (12-meter) containers overboard, two filled with Nike shoes.”

Hopetown Harbor, Bahamas lighthouse

Anyway, until the container is either picked up or washes ashore or sinks completely, it presents a hazard to mariners. Sometimes you hit one and you sink. Or you could hit a whale. Steve Callahan’s story was made famous in the 80s with the publication of his book, Adrift: 76 Days Lost At Sea. He “hit an unknown object” and his badly damaged boat sank, he later said he thought it was a whale. He made a sextant with three pencils and an elastic he had in his pocket and navigated himself in the lifeboat that way. Cool.

Coastal overnight sailing is more hazardous than mid-ocean overnight sailing. Objects in the mid-ocean are there but the chances of hitting them are reduced dramatically. Sailing at night along the coast means you have to be ever vigilant that the wind doesn’t push you toward shore- and hidden reefs- or that the current doesn’t push you, or that you don’t hit other boats out there fishing or smuggling (illegal fishermen and smugglers don’t use running lights). The biblical metaphor here is that in coastal sailing you have to constantly check course. Even being a half a degree off for any length of time could wash you up on the rocks pronto. That’s why I don’t give an inch on doctrine. None of the Apostles did, warning us severely.

Below is a photo of our vessel. A Tayana 37, Taiwanese made 37′ boat with wooden mast, wooden bowsprit, full keel, faux-lapstrake, beamy, lots of beautiful teak, and 24,000 pounds of solid, if not immediately responsive, live-aboard sailing yacht. I used to joke that we had to make a reservation to get her to come about. She was a good boat.

Anyway, she was my home for two years, along with my husband and the myriad of motley non-traditionalist fellow sailors out there who became friends. We were all looking for that certain something. I know I found it and it turns out that I didn’t even have to sail 11,000 miles to find it. Or maybe I did.

The sailing ended at age 34, the world traveling ended at age 40. Then I got saved at age 43. Ah! So THIS is what life is all about!

When Jesus talks of Him being the Lighthouse, I can relate. When Paul says do not make a shipwreck of your faith, I can understand. When Hebrews writer says do not drift away, I get it. When Jude warns of hidden reefs and wild waves of the sea swept along by winds, I know what he means.

Shakespeare was right, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” (Hamlet) I knew it, I just knew it.

“For the invisible things of him, that is, his eternal power and Godhead, are seen by the creation of the world, being considered in his works, to the intent that they should be without excuse” (Romans 1:20)

The LORD made a wondrous world, set me adrift in it, watched me from the beginning, gradually shortened the leash, and in His timing, brought me to His bosom. I traded the leash of sin for the chains of glorious servitude to my master. More to the metaphor, my anchor holds, He is Jesus, and the chain will never break. As beautiful as this world is, I know that the next one will defy comprehension and exceed in beauty anything we can conceive. “No man has seen…” I think we will all be there soon.