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


In late November, four friends and I went on a blast and cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip) near Port Aransas.  We hunted in the marsh between Port Aransas and Corpus Christi off of Wilson’s Cut. The water was the highest that we had seen it – there was no dry ground on “our” island, which borders the Cut.

We limited out on redheads on Friday afternoon in short order and Burl Fulenwider also bagged a hen widgeon. We ended up with 11 ducks bagged.

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

We hunted Saturday evening, but the high north wind blew all of our decoys to shore.  We set them back out again, and the wind blew them to shore a second time.  We gave up and didn’t fire 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 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.  We again didn’t fire a shot.

Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy joined us on the trip home.  After passing through Kenedy, Burl, who was following me, called me and said, “Pull over now!”  I pulled into a construction business’ small parking lot.  What Burl and Ken Miller had seen was my trailer’s right trailer wheel had started to smoke.  Ian Daniels pulled the tire off and confirmed what we feared – the wheel bearings had broken.

We quickly discovered that the cities with the right parts (Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin) were about 100 miles away, and none of them were open on a Sunday.  I started to think that at least I wasn’t going to make it home that day, but after trips to the Kenedy O’Reilly’s and Tractor Supply and several trips to AutoZone, we finally bought parts that fit, installed them, and filled them with grease.  We finally made it to Austin, about four hours later than it usually took us.

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

The Lord instructed Moses to choose 12 men, a leader from each of the 12 tribes, to explore the land, come back, and report to the people.  At the end of forty days, they returned from exploring the land.

Numbers 13:27-30 says, “They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!  Here is its fruit.  But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.  We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.  Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”  And Joshua agreed with him.

But the other ten spies didn’t.  They feared the size of the inhabitants of the land, concluding in Numbers 13:33b, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

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

Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb tried to encourage them and dissuade them from rebelling.  Joshua and Caleb said in Numbers 14:7b-9, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.  If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.  Only do not rebel against the Lord.  And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us.  Do not be afraid of them.”

The rest of the story is heartbreaking – the people listened to their fears and sided with the ten unbelieving spies.  The Lord had his fill of them.  He promised in Numbers 14:28-30, “‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.  Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.”

Then the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  They lost their bearings, and every one of them, twenty years old and older, died, except for Caleb and Joshua.

A reality of a Christian’s life is we too will lose our bearings from time to time.  For some of us, this is a rare occurrence – for others, it is frequent.  We’re cruising along and are right with the Lord when suddenly a trial, temptation, or complacency happens, and boom!  We’ve lost our bearings.

In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus told a story about a lost son.  The young man demanded his inheritance from his father, who gave it to him.  The son went to a distant country and squandered his wealth on wild living.  Then a famine hit.  The son took a job feeding pigs and started to starve because he ate so poorly.  Then he came to his senses.  He realized that his father’s servants ate far better than he did.  So he returned home, hoping his father would hire him as a servant.  His dad saw him coming from afar and ran and greeted his son, who attempted to confess his sin to his father, but the dad didn’t allow him to finish his confession.  He instead commanded his servants to put the best robe, a ring, and sandals on his son, kill the fattened calf and have a party.  Luke 15:23b-24 says, “‘Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

When we lose our bearings, we need to follow the example of this son – recognize that we have sinned, repent (turn from our sin), confess our sin to God, and return to him.

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 to me, confession also involves humbly acknowledging that I cannot keep myself 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 do indeed go hand and 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 still easy to lose our bearings and feel like we won’t make it back home to God, just as we lost our bearings after that coastal blast and cast and feared that we wouldn’t make it home anytime soon.  But praise God that he enables us to come back home 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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 January 2022