Aches and Praise Three Hundred & Fifty Three

June 14, 2018


Dear friends,
Do you ever have a week when a bunch of things that were not working start working? That’s what happened to me this week. On Tuesday, two men came to install a railing on the steps in front of our house and asked my wife if they could use an outdoor electrical outlet. When Karen flipped the switch, the fountain nearby started to work for the first time this spring. It was a great relief to learn that the pump was not defective. The cord was plugged into a different outlet than I thought it was … mental error. The other thing that started to work was also outdoors: a salt-making apparatus for the pool. After a friend figured out what was wrong with our laptop the night before (my mental error #2), I began to think that the “low salt” indicator for the pool might be accurate and that I needed to add salt. A few hours later, the apparatus started working properly. Today, however, the light is back on … oh well … more investigation is needed.
I am reading (for the second time) “Reason to Rejoice,” written by the late Ray C. Stedman, who pastored a church in Palo Alto, California for forty years. I may have written about the following story before, but I find it so amazing that it is worth repeating. After First Mate Fletcher Christian led a mutiny on the HMS Bounty in April 1789, a remarkable series of events occurred. Stedman writes: “The mutineers took the Bounty back to Tahiti. Sixteen crewmen chose to stay there. But Fletcher Christian and eight other men took some Tahitian islanders with them and set out for a safe hiding place. They chose a lonely, uninhabited island called Pitcairn.

One of the sailors made whiskey from the native plants, and the resulting drunken orgies quickly turned to violent brawls. Though the island looked like a paradise, the mutineers began to view it as a prison. One by one, the mutinous crewmen were either killed in fights or murdered in their sleep. Even Fletcher Christian died violently.”

There is a happy ending to this story, however. The sole survivor – a sailor named Alexander Smith – found a Bible in a sea-chest, which transformed his life. Stedman writes: “Over the next few weeks, he read it from cover to cover. Then he asked God to take control of his life.” When an American whaling ship stopped at Pitcairn in 1808, the first visitors to the island in eighteen years discovered an orderly Christian society in which there was no crime, no disease, no alcoholism, and no illiteracy. Smith had taught the women and children to read the Bible and the result was, in Stedman’s words: “the wrath of God was replaced by the love of God, and Pitcairn became a paradise on earth.”
May we so reflect the love of Christ that many will turn to Him in repentance and faith and receive His forgiveness and peace.
Scripture for the weekend: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Romans 13:13-14 (NIV) 
Thought for the weekend: “Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not receiving more of the Spirit; rather, it is the Spirit’s possessing more of us. We are filled with the Holy Spirit when we yield to Him the master key that unlocks every department of our lives.” – Theodore H. Epp (from his book “Living Abundantly”)  
By His grace,