Jan
14

Losing Our Bearings by Randy Rowley 1/14/16 ©

By

In late November, four friends and I went on an FCS blast and cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip) near Corpus Christi.  On Friday afternoon, we hunted in the marsh between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas off Wilson’s Cut.  The water was the highest we’d seen – there was no dry ground on the island we usually hunted, which borders Wilson’s Cut.

We got our limits of redheads (ducks) on Friday afternoon in short order, and Burl Fulenwider also bagged a hen widgeon.  We ended up with 11 ducks bagged.

We decided to fish the following morning and hunt in the afternoon because we didn’t want to be on Corpus Christi Bay after the projected high north winds hit early in the afternoon.  We fished the Port Aransas harbor by the old Fina dock on Saturday morning and caught mangrove snapper, undersized sheepshead, perch, and a toadfish, keeping the snapper.  Burl led the way with around six fish.

We hunted Saturday afternoon, but the high north wind blew all our decoys to shore.  We set them back out again, and the wind blew them to shore a second time.  We gave up without firing a shot.

On Sunday morning, we decided to walk out to an island on the leeward side of Wilson’s Cut that was too shallow to get to via Champ – my bass boat.  Unfortunately, we encountered very soft mud that made wading almost impossible.  It was also a bluebird day – the ducks we saw were sky-high.  Again, we didn’t fire a shot.

Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy (of Murphy’s Law) joined us on the trip home.  After passing through Kenedy, Burl, following me in his truck, called and said, “Pull over now!”  I immediately pulled into a construction business’s parking lot.  (Burl and Ken Miller had seen my boat trailer’s right wheel smoking.)  Ian Daniels pulled the tire off and confirmed what we feared – the wheel bearings had broken.

We quickly discovered only parts stores in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin had the right parts.  Unfortunately, they were all around 100 miles away, and none were open on Sundays.  I started to think at least I wouldn’t make it home that day, but after trips to the Kenedy O’Reilly’s and Tractor Supply and several trips to AutoZone, we finally found parts that fit.  We installed them and filled them with grease.  We made it to Austin around four hours later than usual.

Numbers chapters 13 and 14 tell a story of unbelief.  The Hebrews had arrived on the edge of Canaan – the land God had promised them when they were slaves in Egypt.  After leaving Egypt and escaping the pursuing Egyptian army that planned to return them to slavery, the Hebrews had finally made it to the Promised Land.

God instructed Moses to choose 12 men – a leader from each of the 12 tribes, to explore the land, return, and report to the people.  Moses did so, and those spies returned from exploring the land at the end of forty days.

Numbers 13:27-30 (NLT) says, “This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey.  Here is the kind of fruit it produces.  But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified.  We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!  The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country.  The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.”  But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses.  “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said.  “We can certainly conquer it!’”  And Joshua agreed with him.

But the other ten spies, fearing the size of the land’s inhabitants, didn’t agree with Caleb and Joshua.  They said, “We can’t go up against them!  They are stronger than we are!” and “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there.  All the people we saw were huge.  We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak.  Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too! (Numbers 13:31b and 13:32b-33 (NLT).)

That night the people wept and complained about Moses and Aaron, wishing to have died in Egypt or the wilderness instead of certainly dying in Canaan.  They discussed choosing a new leader and returning to Egypt.

Joshua and Caleb tried encouraging the Hebrews and dissuading them from rebelling against God.  Joshua and Caleb said in Numbers 14:7b-9 (NLT), “‘The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land!  And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us.  It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.  Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land.  They are only helpless prey to us!  They have no protection, but the Lord is with us!  Don’t be afraid of them!’”

The rest of the story is heartbreaking – the people sided with the ten fearful spies.  Their decision caused God to have his fill of them.  Numbers 14:28-30 (NLT) says, “Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say.  You will all drop dead in this wilderness!  Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die.  You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you.  The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.’”

Then the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  They lost their bearings, and everyone twenty years old and older died, except for Caleb and Joshua.

A reality of a Christian’s life is we lose our bearings from time to time.  This is a rare occurrence for some.  For others, it is frequent.  We’re cruising along and are right with God, and then a trial or succumbing to temptation happens, or we become complacent, and boom – we’ve lost our bearings!

In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells a parable about a lost son.  (A parable is a simple story providing a more profound lesson or teaching.)

The young man demanded his inheritance from his father, who gave it to him.  The son went to a distant country, squandering his wealth on wild living.  Then a famine hit.  The son took a job feeding pigs and started starving because he ate poorly.  Then he came to his senses remembering his father’s servants ate far better than he was.  So he returned home, hoping his father would hire him as a servant.  His dad saw his son coming from afar and ran and greeted him.  The son attempted to confess his sin to his father, but his dad didn’t allow him to finish – instead commanding his servants to put the best robe, a ring, and sandals on his son, kill the calf they had been fattening, and host a celebration.  Luke 15:23b-24a (NLT) says, “‘We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life.  He was lost, but now he is found.’”

When we lose our bearings, we should follow this son’s example – recognize we’ve sinned, repent (turn from the direction we were heading and turn to God), confess our sin to God, and submit to his control.

1 John 1:9 says, “For if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Confession spurs many emotions – sorrow and anger at ourselves and ultimately peace and joy at being forgiven.  But confession also involves humbly acknowledging we can’t keep ourselves on the straight and narrow road apart from God.

But confessing our sins is only part of what we must do – we must also repent.

Many Christians associate repentance with salvation.  While they go hand in hand, repentance must also be a Christian’s typical response to sin after we have asked Jesus to be our Savior and Lord.

Revelations 2:5 says, “Consider how far you have fallen!  Repent and do the things you did at first.  If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”  John 3:3a says, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent.”

Even for long-time Christians, it’s easy to lose our bearings and feel like we won’t return home to God, just as when my friends and I lost my boat trailer’s bearings after that coastal blast and cast and feared we wouldn’t make it home anytime soon.  But thanks be to God for enabling us to return to him through confession and repentance.

Burl, Randy, Ken, and Earl Prochnick

Categories : Devotionals

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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

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