Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Day I Will Never Forget

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13

Over the course of my life there have been some special days where the presence of God was made real to me in a very dramatic way. I want to share one of those.

Back in 1976-77 I was working with Youth With A Mission in American Samoa. During my first year there, an opportunity arose for me to visit one of the outlying islands of the Samoa chain. This island was in the Manu’a group, and I believe it was the island of Ta’u. My purpose for going was to show a film about the life of Jesus.

I left Pago Pago harbor on a small inter-island passenger boat and traveled overnight to Ta’u. Upon arrival, a group of about 10 burly Samoans rowed through the surf to meet our ship in a large wooden lifeboat. To get into the lifeboat I had to wait for the right moment. When a swell came through, the smaller boat rose up about even with the deck of the passenger ship and I stepped across into the lifeboat. The swell passed and we sank 15 feet below the deck. The Samoan crew skillfully navigated us through an “ava,” (cut in the reef), and we rode the surf right into the shore.
My hosts showed me to my room, a nice little house right near the beach. The only other memory I have of the house was that I was greeted in the bathroom sink by a large cane spider. Arrrggghhhhh!

That afternoon I walked down to the empty, pristine white beach. Leaving my colorful lavalava and rubber flip flops in the sand, I waded into the warm Pacific waters.

I am an Idaho boy. I didn’t grow up near the ocean. At the time I knew little about the sea or the ways of it. I was unaware of the rip tide at the beach on Ta’u. 

After swimming out about 30 yards, I treaded water for a few minutes, enjoying the beauty of the island, the beach, and the sea.

Deciding to return, I did a few strokes and then looked at the beach to gauge my progress. It was not closer. I tried again. Still no progress. Then I began to swim with all my might. A minute later, I checked and realized, I could not get back in!

At that point, an inner voice said, “Don’t panic.” I remember rolling onto my back, just floating and thinking. What should I do? A minute later I decided to roll over again and swim once more.

As I rolled over I had a clear inner impression. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” In the midst of rolling over to swim, I said out loud, “Jesus!” I then swam 4 or 5 strokes. I opened my eyes under the 20 foot deep water. I saw a coral head coming up from the bottom to a much more shallow depth. With very little effort I put my feet down on it. Far from the beach, I was standing on a coral head in 20 feet of water! It was neck deep but I was standing. I looked into the water again and saw another coral head a few feet toward the beach. I leaped/floated/swam toward it, and put my feet down on it.

In that way I basically walked into the shore.

When I got there, no one was around. I wrapped on my lavalava and put on my flip flops. No one knew what happened. But I did. God saved me that day. I will never forget it.

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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