“God whispers to us in our pleasures and shouts to us in our pain.”
When I was in the Navy a long time ago, I was stationed on a Destroyer. We were deployed at the time in the Mediterranean Sea for 7 months. It is considered a pretty desireable cruise because you get to see a lot of European countries, the weather is usually pretty good and the sea is smooth as glass. During that cruise I had liberty in Barcelona, Spain; Naples, La Spezia, Rome, Italy; Athens, Greece; a city in Turkey I don’t recall the name of; the Greek islands of Mykinos, Tinos; Crete; Malta; Sicily; and a few other places.
One country that I didn’t get to visit was France. We were scheduled to go there 3 times during our deployment in the Med. Unfortunately, we had to remain Dead in the Water for 27 days observing a Russian submarine. It was during that 27 days that we were scheduled to go to France. Since the Cold War between our two great countries was still on, we were watching each other. One of the main missions of a United States Destroyer ship is to seek out enemy submarines and destroy, if necessary. Our ship was under orders to watch this particular submarine. I didn’t quite understand it all because as a sailor my job was just to follow orders. I was one of the radiomen that had to make sure that ship to ship/ship to shore communications was always up and running correctly and efficiently. We used transmitters/transceivers and radio teletype equipment. There was a lot of pressure involved but it was fun. I loved communicating by teletype to other ships, naval stations and other military installations all over the world.
During that period of 27 days we were not allowed to take on provisions or to run certain equipment onboard the ship and we were in General Quarters condition much of the time. It got hot because we couldn’t run the air conditioning. We ate a lot of powdered eggs and canned goods. It was not the best 27 days I’ve ever spent in my life.
At the end of the 27 days, the Russian sub surfaced. I don’t remember exactly what else happened but our mission was over. The Russian sub left the Mediterranean and we finally were allowed to take on fresh provisions, turn on the air conditioning plus the other machinery and return to normal ship operations. We weren’t Dead in the Water anymore.
Some good things have happened. The ENEMY may think he’s hidden in the murky depths but it’s not over yet. There is still work to do. Sometimes you just have to patiently wait. It may be uncomfortable. You may have to go through some hardships but eventually the ENEMY will have to surface, be swiftly dealt with and things will return to normal. One day I might get to visit France after all.
This is based on a true story I wrote in January, 2005. I was applying it, anecdotally to something that was happening in my life, at the time, but it can apply to the present, as well.
For every good thing about something or someone you read about on the internet, you can find the opposite and for every bad thing about something or someone you read about on the internet, you can find the opposite, too. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Do the research yourself. “15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:15-16)
About 7 years ago, I started getting harassed on the internet for expressing a political view that someone didn’t agree with. It was one of the few times that I ever mentioned politics. That person harassed me for about 4 years. I finally had to go the police and file a report because it just became too much. Wherever I was on the internet, like Live Journal, You Tube and even my own website, tommylane.net, this person went to those sites and slandered my name with serious false allegations and even threatened my life, once. The allegations that this guy purported were preposterous, but anyone who didn’t know my character, could have believed them. People that knew me would never have believed these lies because they knew my character. They knew my personality. They knew what I stand for. He attacked my character and my belief in God with some of the nastiest, most venomous and perverted statements you could possibly think of.
As a believer, have you ever felt isolated from friends or loved ones because of what you believe and who you follow or because you think differently from them? I’m not talking about the so called Christian who badgers everyone with his or her beliefs: who beats people over the head, figuratively speaking, with a Bible in one hand and a fist in the other; giving orders and commands to set people straight. God doesn’t want you to do that, either. Most people don’t want to be told what to do. As a matter of fact, most people run away from that. I never liked it, either. I used to run away from it, too. Still would. I believe in the spirit of cooperation, not lording over people.
In the book of John, Chapter 17, Jesus spoke these words to His Father in Heaven:
“14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
This means that if you follow Jesus you should expect adversity from those in the world that want no part of Him. They will hate you because they hated Him. Jesus declares here, that though believers are in the world, they are not of the world. Expect adversity from those, too, who take things out of context from the Bible. The Devil is very clever at confusing people. He knows the bible inside and out. He is a very skilled liar and the father of lies. He wants to bring you down with him because he knows his days are numbered. He wants you thrown together with him into the Lake of Hellfire that was prepared for him and his angels. (Matthew 25:41) He wants you to feel the hatred of the world, in the hope that you will give up your relationship with Jesus to avoid it.
When I was baptized on May 25, 1991, the pastor who immersed me in the water, picked a verse of scripture for me that was probably the best verse that anyone could have picked for me. It’s an encouraging verse; one with power. It is found in Ephesians 6:10: “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
The Lord knew I was going to make mistakes. We all do. He knows how the Devil deceives and attacks. He knows the road is tough. He knows everything, after all. I am reminded by that verse, that I can rely on Him. He has the power to get me through anything. Nothing is too big for God. Nothing is too hard for God. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
If you want to know biblical truth, research it yourself. Prayerfully study the words of Scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the Gospel. Jesus promises that He will. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26)
Learn about the character of Christ. Learn what He is like and let Him dwell in your heart. He wants others to see Him in you so that they can be drawn to Him, too. Jesus’ character will be seen in the lives of real Christians because He is dwelling in their hearts. He wants to dwell in your heart. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
So, don’t believe everything you read or hear unless you test the fruits by studying and researching the Scriptures prayerfully for yourself; precept upon precept, line upon line. If what was written or spoken is not according “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[a] 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39)
In this verse, Jesus is talking about how the Gospel, when revealed in its purest form, will divide people into two camps; believers and unbelievers. He most certainly did come to bring peace on earth and good will towards mankind, but in this context, He reveals the Gospel will be like a double edge sword dividing those who want to follow truth and those who do not. The Bible is the Christian’s sword. Read it and let the Holy Spirit guide you, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
There are only two camps. The worldy camp and the heavenly camp. The world offers death, sickness, sorrow, tears, destruction. Heaven offers eternal life without all the negatives. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4). —
You cannot belong to both camps. You cannot sit on the fence or have one foot in the worldly camp and one foot in the heavenly camp. You must choose. “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16) Satan does not want you to choose the Heavenly camp. He doesn’t want to lose you as a citizen of his camp, so he tempts you with the desires of the flesh, materialistic things, trinkets, false promises,booze, wine etc… The eyes see it and we must have it. He wants us to set our sights and goals on everyone and everything except God.
God offers something much better but we must keep our eyes on the prize and not be distracted with what the world offers. “However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) — We can’t even imagine how awesome, amazing and magnificent Heaven will be. We have never seen anything like it, but God wants each one of us there so much that He has prepared a place for those who love and follow Him.
Choosing the things of this world equates to eternal death. Choose the things of Heaven and you have eternal life and this life is in God’s Son. Choose the Son and you have eternal life. He paid the price of sin for you and me. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12)
I choose life.
10 years ago I took a few pictures of Paul McCartney and got his autograph when he was walking down the block where I worked. I didn’t realize I was filmed “stalking” him. Mike G. ripped this clip of the documentary that was released this week called, “The Love You Make”, so I’m sharing it here. I’m the chubby guy with the suit jacket, tie and camera. That was the second time I got his autograph. I got the first one a few months earlier at a book signing he did at Barnes and Noble, Rockefeller Center. I was one of 141 lucky people who waited online and got in. There were hundreds of people behind us on line. I was number 112. What a day that was. I was actually on line for 17-1/2 hours. I wouldn’t do that for anyone else.
Click here on this link to watch the clip.
The Love We Make