Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The anchor holds, my ship has come in: rapture

I lived by the water growing up and most of my adult life, mainly the ocean. Some years were spent on a lake. I loved it.

The ocean has moods, a personality, mystery, and power. Who doesn't love a day at the beach? Even better, who doesn't love a day ON the water? When we got a chance, we got on a boat. After a while, we had a boat. LOL, back in the day, a bunch of teenagers zooming around the bay on a 20 foot Boston Whaler wasn't unusual.

We grew up knowing how to use our knees to ride the waves, could look at the rocks to spot the state of the tide, knew how to anchor, dock or throttle up to reach plane. We kept a weather eye on the clouds, watched the whitecaps, and had a grand time.

Despite having such familiarity with the water, and were so comfortable on it, we knew its dangers. On Narragansett Bay there was a navigational hazard called "boiler awash".

It is a shallow patch of water near Hope Island near Prudence Island. A Navy tug sank there and its boiler, being tall, presented a hazard to the keels of boats passing over it. To make the shallow water issue worse, its boilers came to just under the surface of the water at low tide. It was a hazard all right. We always gave it a wide berth.

As an adult, I lived on a sailing yacht for two years and we sailed from Maine to Florida, crossed the Gulf Stream, and went on to the central Bahamas. We returned with the weather following the same route. Our route took us on almost every coastal river, sound, bay, and canal along the entire eastern seaboard as well as the Atlantic ocean waters off it.

Because we lived on the boat and were no longer teenagers messing around near shore, we well knew the hazards. Our VHF radio was full of calls from mariners in distress, the squawk of the marine weather station, and calls from the Coast Guard to alert to hazards (container awash, drifting and disabled boat, etc). Sailing in New England meant having intimate knowledge of reefs, shoals and rocks, and sailing in Florida meant having intimate knowledge of drunken fools, wannabe mariners and rich guy weekend warriors. In between, we learned to respect the fishermen, shrimpers, oystermen, and all the others trying to make a living.

We quickly acclimated to the water living and became respectful of the hazards. When you are underway, you are always on guard, even if it's familiar water. Always, every second. Because any second, anything could happen, and since your boat was both your home and your transportation as well as your life, well, if it required being vigilant, that is what you did.

That is why, when the anchor was set and the engine turned off, you breathed a special sigh of relief. Oh, anything could still happen, but the ratcheting down of the vigilance was considerable. As long as the anchor held, you were all set.

I remember feeling a wonderful sense of relief when the day's run was ended and we anchored. The engine turned off and all we could hear were the sounds of the birds and the waves. We were still, secure, and finished for the day. I hadn't realized how much tension I'd carried in my shoulders until the engine went off and the anchor was finally set. Day's movement done. Day's diligence concluded. Phew, we made it.

In bible days there were only three ways to travel. You got there by walking, riding an animal, or boat. Paul traveled a lot and because of that, he was on a boat a lot. He used many marine references in his letters, examples the people of the era would know well and understand immediately. Here are a few examples Paul and the other Apostles used:
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)

...tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14)

These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds (Jude 1:12)

holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, (1 Timothy 1:19)

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)
The interesting thing about that last one is that the drifting away in the Greek literally means from God’s anchor.

Strong's explains, to "drift away from,"pararrhyéō, only occurs in Heb 2:1 where it refers to going spiritually adrift – "sinning by slipping away" (from God's anchor). It means to "lapse" into spiritual defeat, describing how we slowly move away from our moorings in Christ."

Friends, stay moored to Christ. He is our anchor. Though our journey is tense, and long, imagine the sweet relief we will feel when we get there! When all storms are over, and there are no more hidden reefs. The empty clouds deceive us no more, and our friends and family's spiritual shipwrecks (so hard to watch!) are but a distant memory gentle Christ wipes from our mind. The sweetness and rest awaiting us beside the glassy sea is unimaginably wondrous. Rest in that assurance :)

Here is "The Story Behind - "The Anchor Holds" written and performed by Lawrence Chewning"

Mr Chewning shares about the year his father died, his burnout as pastor, division in his church, his wife's three miscarriages, his discouragement, sabbatical. It is tearfully affecting. Friends, if you are also going through a storm, rely on the anchor!



I have journeyed
Through the long, dark night
Out on the open sea

By faith alone
Sight unknown
And yet His eyes were watching me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

I've had visions
I've had dreams
I've even held them in my hand

But I never knew
Those dreams would slip right through
Like they were only grains of sand

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

I have been young
But I am older now
And there has been beauty
That these eyes have seen

But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Oh, that's where God proved
His love to me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

Songwriters
CHEWNING, LAWRENCE / BOLTZ, RAY

Read more: Ray Boltz - The Anchor Holds Lyrics | MetroLyrics

10 comments:

  1. Did you know that Ray Boltz "came out" and left his wife for another man back in 2008? I always loved his songs and was so sad when I heard this.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2008/september/ray-boltz-comes-out.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then he becomes the poster boy for what happens when you drift away and make a shipwreck of your faith. Hold fast to Jesus

      Delete
  2. Great post!

    I've noticed that sometimes something like this seems to go around the family of Christ. This Sunday our pastor (a 31 year coast guard veteran) taught on Philippians 4:1 standing firm to the Lord and used the same verse you did (Hebrews 2:1), I woke up this morning praying about an upcoming post which asks what an atheist moors himself to when determining what is good and what is bad, in the end I came up with not our true anchor, God, but fellow boats tossed in the sea. Now I see your post.

    I believe that the Holy Spirit sends out 'broadcast messages' like this when there's something God wants us all to understand.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm still of the persuasion that if you are truly born from above and inhabited by the Holy Spirit you cannot drift away. He is the seal of our security for our future hope. He does not come and go.
    My answer would be that those who profess aren't always those who possess.
    Otherwise our salvation would be up to us and the Bible doesn't say that.
    What about the Scripture that says He holds us in his hand and nothing can take us out of it? It's Jesus that is holding fast to us.
    Anyway, that's just my thoughts. Maybe I read this wrong.

    pam

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just one more thing. The Hebrews passage you mentioned, in context, was Paul's appeal to those who were being confronted by the Judaizer's not to turn back from what they were learning because if they did there would be no other way of salvation for them. In his hypothetical statement before that, he explained that if it were possible, which it wouldn't be if they were truly trusting in Christ for their salvation, there would be no other way to be saved. Those Hebrews were being told that if they wanted to believe in Jesus they could but they still had to be circumcised etc.
    It is always good to take Scripture in context to make these kind of points.

    pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. right...nautical language...don't drift away.

      Delete
  5. If we are truly born again, no, we cannot lose our salvation. However, speaking of Christians now, we can drift away, and we can make a shipwreck of our faith. Look what this pastor wrote of his friends, it is an essay called "Lives Destroyed." http://www.christwardcollective.org/christward/lives-destroyed#.UnFyxyembqIof

    "The past two years have been devastating. I have watched the lives of four Christian friends destroyed for want of care. These are men, I have loved and respected. All of them had families, loving wives, and children. Three of them were pastors and another was a nationally recognized professional at the top of his field. And all of them were consumed by their lusts. Everything in their lives destroyed because they chose to play with fire. For each of them it started small. One look at a website or the brush of someone’s hand. And now the three pastors are out of the ministry, one sits in prison, and two of them are separated from their children and wives. The professional’s wife is exploring divorce. All of them have lost their homes, their jobs, their friends, their churches, their reputations, their lives. Sin is deadly."

    David drifted away, he paid dearly for it, he lost his son. Solomon drifted away and made a shipwreck of most of his adult life. Gideon. Lot. Most times God brings us back after He chastises us. Sometimes He brings us home.

    That Christians drift away is seen not just in the verses above, but here: Some Christians arrive in heaven with no rewards, barely escaping the fire (1 Cor 3:15). Likely these are the ones who were on the downward spiral and before the time of repentance and reconciliation part of the sanctifying cycle.

    However, speaking of NON-Christians, many wear sheep's clothing, but are not of us. These, mask their unbelieving hearts for a while but they always drift away. John speaks about these. Their going showed they were not of us. 1 john 2:19

    So we always pray for each other, not knowing who is going to go and who the Lord will bring back. Either way, when we see someone drifting from the anchor, we plead with them with tears & prayers, night and day.

    Pam- rest assured, that I agree with you that it is scriptural to a certainty that no Christian loses salvation. If you ever read something like that on this blog you can be positive that is not what I meant. Just let me know and I'll revise the confusing language in an edit.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Elizabeth, I know you are scripturally sound or I wouldn't read and enjoy your blog. Like I said above, I may have misundertood what you were saying.
    Anyway......

    pam

    ReplyDelete

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