Taking the Word to the World

The Anchor Still Holds

anchor holds

Anchored to God’s Word:

“Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (Ps 119:89).

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Ps 119:9).

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Ps 119:11).

Anchored in Consistent Spiritual Disciplines:

  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Bible Reading
  • Church attendance

Anchored in Godly People:

  • Parents
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Ministers

Timothy was anchored in his godly heritage. “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Tim 1:5).

Anchored to the Altar:

One of my favorite Scriptures, prayed and acted upon daily is: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

It’s my daily prayer. At times I drag myself on to that altar. Sometimes I fall off. What do I do? Pull myself back on to the altar again. God is concerned about my availability and willingness to be a living sacrifice. Paul felt it was so important that He begged us to offer our lives daily.

Here’s my advice and practice about altar calls. Be a first-responder. Every time! It a life-altering experience.

John Trent, author of Heart Shift, and a professional counselor, tells of a plane trip where he sat beside a NASA petroleum engineer. He took advantage of the opportunity to ask the missile scientist, “How many degrees can a space rocket be off before it becomes a huge problem? Could it be two degrees off?”

The man pulled out his calculator and started punching in numbers. “To be two degrees off from when you blast off, and taking into consideration the time and distance traveled, you’ll miss not only your point of orbital entry, but you’ll miss the moon by 11,121 miles.”

Trent goes on to say, “Just be two degrees off from the right heart attitude, add in enough time and distance, and an entire church can end up miles from God’s heart.”

Just a two degree shift in doctrine and convictions can cause change for the worse, pulling the church away from God.

Just a two degree shift in doctrine and convictions can cause change for the worse, pulling the church away from God.

And a two degree shift toward correct doctrine and appropriate convictions can bring a church closer to God. “Even small shifts in a positive direction could move a person from ruin to renewal.”

anchor

“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).

  • First Generation
  • The Life of Joshua
  • Committed to the Anchor
  • Second Generation
  • The Elders that Outlived Joshua
  • Tossing on the Sea of Compromise
  • Third Generation
  • The Generation that Did Not Know
  • Anchorless and Confused

Albert Outler (as quoted in Evangelism for a Changing World) said, “It is as if, once upon a time, an earlier generation understood it all and then forgot to tell their children—who never asked.”

Ruth Rieder in Covenant by Sacrifice tells a story of two fishermen on the reservoir. Caught up in the excitement of the trip, the men neglected to put down the anchor as they reached their favorite fishing spot. Unmindful of the subtle undercurrent of the water, they began to fish. Hours quickly passed; suddenly one of the fishermen looked up. To his horror, the boat was drifting dangerously close to destruction. He shouted a warning to his partner, and they began rowing with all their might, seeking to escape the deadly rapids that lay just ahead. After a furious effort, they made it safely to shore. The fishermen were shocked that they drifted so far. It had happened without notice. The danger went undetected until it was almost too late.

The writer of Hebrews warns, “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1, NLT).

The King James Version admonishes us to “give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1). It is as if the truth could slip out of our hands, and we could slip out of His grace. I can’t allow that to happen. Neither can you!

Revival means “to bring back to life.” As believers backslide they become a corpse. Revival is imperative.

Cook explained that the biblical word drift means “to let something slip away–can describe a ship, which drifts by the dock due to the carelessness of the mariner who failed to calculate carefully the wind or tide.”

“Drift” refers to something that has carelessly been permitted to become lost. It is another word for “shift.”

Life has a way of testing our anchors and tempting us to drift. Storms are a normal, expected part of the Christian life. We can be tossed to and fro on the sea of life as a boat is tossed by waves.

Remember, “a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

Anchors have many purposes:

  • Connects the ship to the bed of a body of water to prevent the craft from drifting due to wind or currents.
  • Keeps the ship safe and secure at a desired location.
  • Protects the ship from moving into unsafe waters or slowly drifting aground or drifting into danger.
  • Helps control the ship during bad weather
  • Tethers the boat to the seabed but could act as a brake increasing the drag through the water. That is why anchors are sometimes called “boat brakes.”
  • Prevents the vessel from turning broadside to the waves and being overwhelmed by them if the anchor is attached to the stern of the ship.
  • Holds the boat in place.
  • Causes the boat to dig deeper into the bottom.

anchor

The world we live in is an increasingly hostile one.

  • Prevailing philosophy is “You can’t tell me what to do.”
  • It is proclaimed that there is no absolute truth. My truth is just as valid and contains just as much truth as your truth.
  • “I’ll do what I want to,” is the prevailing philosophy or promoted practice.
  • Today, it is typical to be accused of not being tolerant or having tolerance when we hold to Christian views.
  • Wrong is proclaimed as right and right is proclaimed as wrong.

Adrian Rogers said (as quoted in Famine in the Land by Steven Lawson), “It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is not love and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling truth than to be loved for telling a lie…It’s better to stand alone with the truth than to be wrong with a multitude.”

So many choices in life will come down to a simple question:

  1. Am I God or is God God?
  2. Does this please God or does this just please me?

If I’m God—and obviously I’m not—then I can do what I want to. I’m the proverbial King of the Castle.

But if God is God—and obviously He is—then I must submit to—and obey—His Word.

That is the only safe anchor point!

  • Micah 2:13 – God is before His people.
  • Psalm 139:5 – God is behind His people.
  • Deuteronomy 33:12 – God is above His people.
  • Isaiah 40:11 – God is beneath His people.
  • Psalm 125:2 – God is around His people.
  • Matthew 1:23 – God is with His people.
  • Isaiah 12:6 – God is in the midst of His people.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 – God is in His people.

He’s the God in my past protecting me. He’s the God in my present leading me. He’s the God in my future, waiting on me, yet He’s never moved. He created all things and He owns everything yet He purchased you and me. Jesus: If you find yourself distanced from God remember He’s not the one that has moved. You are!

He’s my anchor! He’s my hope!

Anchored to Right Living

“So that we are no longer children [spiritually immature], tossed back and forth [like ships on a stormy sea] and carried about by every wind of [shifting] doctrine, by the cunning and trickery of [unscrupulous] men, by the deceitful scheming of people ready to do anything [for personal profit]” (Ephesians 4:14, AMP).

IMG_3028

What is right living anyway? It’s my way of interpreting a concept in God’s Word called “righteousness”; living a life that is pleasing to God.

Wikipedia says: “Anchoring or focalism is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely…heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions. During decision making, anchoring occurs when individuals use an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments. Once an anchor is set, other judgments are made by adjusting away from that anchor, and there is a bias toward interpreting other information around the anchor. For example, the initial price offered for a used car sets the standard for the rest of the negotiations, so that prices lower than the initial price seem more reasonable even if they are still higher than what the car is really worth.”

I probably used such a concept when bartering in the souvenir markets in West Africa. I would walk into the market, see something I like, and would gently barter over the price. I would then tell the vendor, “I am going to check the rest of the market and may be back.” The price I established with the first vendor was the price I tried to beat with other vendors in the market. An anchor point had been established and I refused to move away from it. Well, of course, unless the new vendor was willing to give me the best deal for the same product.

Here’s my point. Anchoring establishes anchor points in our lives. They hold us strong and safe. Our decisions in the Christian life should be based on our established biblically-based anchor points.

Sailors used to think that in a storm they should throw the cargo overboard. The philosophy was the lighter the ship the more chance of survival. Generally true, I suppose! There are times that it is necessary to cast cargo overboard especially if it is inflammable and destructible. Sometimes goods do need to be cast overboard or jettisoned. Lightening the ship also stabilizes the vessel in rough seas if the ship is tossed to one side a heavy ship would become unbalanced and would tip over.

ship

Sometimes you have to distance yourself from the person who is causing the unnecessary storm in your life. Ask the sea captain and sailors in Jonah 1:4-7, 11-12. Even Jonah confessed, “Throw me overboard, into the sea. Then the storm will stop. It’s all my fault. I’m the cause of the storm. Get rid of me and you’ll get rid of the storm” (Jonah 1:12, MSG).

But, in some cases the heavier the ship the greater the chance of survival. The right weights protect us in a storm.

A Popular Mechanics article, “How Ships Survive a Hurricane at Sea” (June 4, 2014, Kiona Smith-Strickland) reveals that the most dangerous ship in a hurricane is an empty one. That is because the weight of the cargo helps stabilize the ship against the waves. “It can get kind of hairy especially if you don’t have cargo” Said sea Captain, Max Hardberger.

Sometimes, the cargo you think is holding you down is actually the cargo that is holding you up—save, secure, and sound.

Better make sure God is in your ship. So many choices in life will come down to a simple question:

  1. Am I God or is God God?
  2. Does this please God or does this just please me?

If I’m God—and obviously I’m not—then I can do what I want to. I’m the proverbial King of the Castle.

But if God is God—and obviously He is—then I must submit to—and obey—His Word.

He is the cargo I must have in my ship.

Cargo of God’s Word:

“Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (Ps 119:89).

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Ps 119:9).

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Ps 119:11).

Cargo of Consistent Spiritual Disciplines:

  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Bible Reading
  • Church attendance

Cargo of Godly People in my Ship:

  • Parents
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Ministers
  • Mentors

“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Tim 1:5).

What cargo do you have in your ship?

Now Jesus, full of [and in perfect communication with] the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness” (AMP, Emphasis mine).

You may return from a mission’s trip or a spiritual-high encounter on Cloud Nine ready to take on the world and find yourself on Ground Zero looking up from the dust. How did you get there? Are you under satanic attack? No, being full of the Spirit, and in perfect communication with Him, you may be led into the wilderness for a purpose. God has a pattern, purpose, plan, and process for you. You will come out of the wilderness strengthened.

wilderness

John Ortberg talked about how God was going to take His people out of bad place (Egypt) to a good place (Promised Land) that should have involved a short walk that could be done in a week. He led them into the wilderness. 

Like the children of Israel you may be aware of your promised land but it seems so far away and the journey there seems unclear. Brad Bailey in his online lesson wrote, “If you were to picture your life in terms of what happened to the people of God, I believe you would be able to identify times in which you relate to God’s calling you out like Abraham… to a new land and life. Times when you feel enslaved in Egypt. Times of deliverance. Times you stepped into the Promised Land. But also times in life when you may identify with wandering in the wilderness.”

Pastor Aaron Batchelor recently mentioned in one of his sermons, “Don’t waste your wilderness.” Excellent advice! What is God’s purpose for leading you into the wilderness? What can you learn from the experience? Many times people are concerned about their location: where am I going? Other times, their vocation: what has God called me to do? God is more interested in who you are becoming as a person. What will you be? He may be most concerned about who you are rather than where you are.

Here are ten points to prevent you from wasting your wilderness.

  1. Wilderness experiences are critical to our spiritual growth and formation. Thrive in it!
  2. In the wilderness experience don’t be surprised when the devil comes alongside to tempt you.
  3. Don’t merely ask, “How do I get out of the wilderness?” But, “What can I get out of the wilderness?” What lessons can be learned from the experience?
  4. God is not in a hurry. He cares about what you are learning and becoming.
  5. Like Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness depend on God’s Word. Quote it. Believe it.
  6. Take life one day at a time. Have faith for the daily provision. Lean on God. He is your anchor.
  7. The Torah was given in the middle of the wilderness experience perhaps as a reminder while the Promised Land is delightful and amazing, we learn our greatest lessons in the wilderness.
  8. There is a great need to better understand the processes of God. Follow God’s process in order to gain God’s promise. You will survive between the season of promise and fulfillment.
  9. In the wilderness we learn to trust God for everything: shoes, water, food, warmth—everything.
  10. In Hebrew, the word for wilderness is midbar which at its root has the meaning of “speak” or “word.”  God speaks to us in the wilderness. Have open ears to listen and an open heart to obey.

“The wilderness is not just a place of disappointment. It’s also the furnace of transformation” (John Ortberg). Don’t waste your wilderness!

This is a state or period of no progress or action. In aviation it is a maneuver designed to delay an aircraft from landing. Typically the aircraft has a circular or oval path flying around the airport awaiting permission to land.

“Ladies and Gentlemen; this is your captain speaking. We are currently in a holding pattern. We will circle the airport until the control tower gives us permission to land.”

holding pattern

What do you do when you feel God or the circumstances of life have you circling the airport, refusing to allow you to move on or even land, and you feel you are in a holding pattern, vulnerable, and in limbo?

Learn contentment:

Note the words of Paul from a dark, dreary, prison cell: “Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances.  I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and  live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need” (Philippians 4:11-12, AMP).

Learn to wait:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Learn to trust:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Memorize it. Embody it.

“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:4-45).