Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Life's Journey - Guest Post from Jim Parrow

This post was written by our brother and friend Jim Parrow, who presented it recently to the Keller church of Christ. Jim is not only a fine man; he is a native New Yorker and a very capable speaker. Thank you, brother! Note: this post appears unedited, just as Jim gave it.

What was started after the French had given up on a project they began in 1881 and was restarted by John Findlay Wallace in 1904, then handed off to John Frank Stevens in 1905, completed under George Washington Goethals between 1905 -1914?
48 miles long
110 feet wide
37 feet deep
Displaced 211 million cubic yards of earth
Took 10 years to build – Once the US took over the project
Cost $375 Million dollars and 25,000 lives 1881 -1914
Connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean
Connected through the 164 SQ MILE manmade GATUN lake
Now used by more than 15,000 ships per year
Construction was through very dense jungle
Swarming with venomous snakes, insects, and spiders
Exposing workers to mosquitos carrying Malaria and Yellow fever and a host of tropical diseases.
Workers were dying at the rate of 200 per month.
The project required the construction of housing, cafeterias, hotels, water systems, sewage systems, repair shops, warehouses, and a railway ALL IN ADDITION TO THE Project itself.
Years of arguments, disputes, claims, counter claims, accusations and a flood of criticism overwhelmed all the Engineers in Charge but especially Col Goethals. He never let the obstacles or criticism sway him from the completing the monumental and very difficult task before him.
Oh yes - the project is known as the Panama Canal
Helped to shorten a war that the critics could not have foreseen in 1914
while enhancing world trade and reducing a 67 day journey to 8 hours.
We can turn to Genesis 5:32 through 10:1 and find another overwhelming project that was put before a man to accomplish facing odds and challenges we cannot comprehend, and at the time, unlike the Panama Canal, for no apparent reason to every ones understanding, except of course for Noah. Do ya think Noah would be criticized???
At the age of 500, he was assigned his civilization saving task. I’m only 69 and I already have lower back problems, hurt when I carry in the groceries, along with a host of other issues, so I can’t begin to imagine what Noah must have felt like at his age doing such tremendous manual labor, let alone the mental challenges he would face.
Vs 5 of Gen 6 tells us “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”
In Vs 7 he went on to say – “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created and with them the animals, birds, and creatures that move along the ground” – but Vs 8Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord”.
Ch 6 vs 9 / Ch 7 vs 4 outlines the specific instructions of WHAT he was to build, HOW he was to build it, WHAT would be permitted to go into it, and HOW he would need to provide for the survival of the precious cargo and VS 5 tells us Noah “DID ALL THE LORD HAD COMMANDED HIM”!
At 600 years of age the floodwaters came. Noah, his wife , Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives entered the ark and after 150 days, God sent a wind Ch 8 vs 1and “the water receded”.
On the 601st year on the 2nd month on the 27th day the land was once again dry and God told Noah to come out of the ark. Ch 8 vs 13-15
Ch 9 then goes on to tell us about God’s covenant with Noah and via the rainbow in the sky declares unto Noah God will never flood the earth again.
Noah lived to see God’s plan move forward until at the age of 950 years he died. Noah never allowed the difficulty of the task, or his obvious critics to sway him from him completeing his God’s task – God’s Way.
We know that George Goethals lived with 10 years of critics who kept telling him he was a fool, the project could never be done, it was not worth the time and money and lives, and on and on.
We do not read the specific of the Critics that must have berated Noah as he and his family followed God’s commands, but I believe it is logical to believe that building a huge boat in the middle of dry land with no water in sight could not have been accomplished without a century of criticism and ridicule.
Those who do not know God will always criticize those who do and though we live in the world we must refuse to be a part of the world.
2 Peter 2:5 – goes right back to Noah – “And spared not the world, but saved Noah the eighth person, A PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.”
1 John 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, if any man love the world, the love of the Father IS NOT IN HIM
John 15:19 – “If ye were of the world the world would love his own: BUT because ye are not of the world, I have chosen you out of the world , therefore the world hates you
In our schools, our jobs, our athletic teams, our business dealings our neighborhoods, our political system, the world will tempt you to cheat, steal, gossip, backstab, lie, fulfill the desires of the flesh, hate, seek revenge or look the other way when someone else does, OR FACE THE RIDUCULE, CONTEMPT AND REJECTION OF THOSE WHO DO! They may be your Boss, Co-Worker, Neighbor, Class mate, your closest friend or even a family member. The Devil does not give up! He will not stop trying to tempt you to “go along to get along”. Even when you don’t, others will claim that you do.
Matthew 11:19 claims Jesus was a glutton, a wino, friend of sinners
Mark        14:64 claims Jesus spoke blasphemy
John          8:48 - 52 that Jesus was possessed by the devil
As Children of the Almighty and Everlasting God we MUST heed the words of Romans 12:2Be not conformed to the world, but be ye transformed [Metamorphose – Metamorphosis – change from one thing into something else] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God
Like a Spiritual Panama Canal – We must make our own spiritual journey from the Kingdom of the World to the Kingdom of Almighty God through a world full of even more challenges and dangers than Goethals faced.
Like Noah we must enter into our own Spiritual Ark to carry us through the crashing waves, and stormy seas that are all around us here on earth.
2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us that “. . .if any man be IN Christ [Our Spiritual Ark] he is a new creature. The Old Things [like life on earth before the flood] are passed away, behold ALL things become new [like Mankind after God directed Noah to leave the Ark.]
If you need help to face your critics, to face the challenges before you, this making your life difficult and effecting your walk with the lord, we are all here for you. These are challenges common to us all and no one in this family of God will judge you because you have fallen and need help to get back up and make yourself right with the Lord.
If we can lift you up and lighten your load
As we sing # 394 “What Will You Do with Jesus” Ask yourself - What will “I” do with Jesus? Will “I” enter in to His Ark of Salvation so “I” can make my Journey to Eternal Life Safe in His Care?
If we can help you in any way 
Come forward now as we stand and sing!   

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