Lessons from the Titanic
The Titanic was the largest, most luxurious ocean liner of its time and called “unsinkable” by many. During its first voyage from England to New York City, the British steamer sideswiped an iceberg around 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912.
Two and a half hours later, it broke apart and sank. The ship carried enough lifeboats for only half of its 2,200 passengers and crew. Approximately 1,500 people lost their life.
Many assumed that the iceberg had ripped a long gash in the ship’s hull. When the wreck was recovered in 1985, no such tear was found. Researchers learned that the hull was made of steel that became brittle in the frigid North Atlantic waters, causing it to fracture easily during the collision. Some suspect the Titanic was traveling too fast for an area where there was a possibility of icebergs.
One night, Jesus walked on the water, and his disciple Peter wanted to join Him. Peter left the boat and was doing fine until he looked around at the high waves. Then he became terrified and started to sink (Matthew 14:25-30).
Like Peter, we may be accomplishing great things with God’s help, and we look around at our frightening circumstances. Then our faith starts to waver, and we get more than a sinking feeling.
At other times, we start to look at our successes and ignore the need to safeguard our spiritual growth. We may start to feel unsinkable, like the Titanic.
But there are always hidden dangers that can wreck our witness and ministry. The only way to safely navigate life is to keep our eyes on Jesus, not on ourself or the circumstances around us. He will help us complete our voyage, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me.” (Psalm 69:1-2, NLT)
Joy in the Morning – Streams in the Desert – April 14
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
It was “very early in the morning” while “it was yet dark,” that Jesus rose from the dead. Not the sun, but only the morning-star shone upon His opening tomb. The shadows had not fled, the citizens of Jerusalem had not awaked. It was still night–the hour of sleep and darkness, when He arose. Nor did his rising break the slumbers of the city. So shall it be “very early in the morning while it is yet dark,” and when nought but the morning-star is shining, that Christ’s body, the Church, shall arise. Like Him, His saints shall awake when the children of the night and darkness are still sleeping their sleep of death. In their arising they disturb no one. The world hears not the voice that summons them. As Jesus laid them quietly to rest, each in his own still tomb, like children in the arms of their mother; so, as quietly, as gently, shall He awake them when the hour arrives. To them come the quickening words, “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust” (Isa. 26:19). Into their tomb the earliest ray of glory finds its way. They drink in the first gleams of morning, while as yet the eastern clouds give but the faintest signs of the uprising. Its genial fragrance, its soothing stillness, its bracing freshness, its sweet loneliness, its quiet purity, all so solemn and yet so full of hope, these are theirs.
Oh, the contrast between these things and the dark night through which they have passed! Oh, the contrast between these things and the grave from which they have sprung! And as they shake off the encumbering turf, flinging mortality aside, and rising, in glorified bodies, to meet their Lord in the air, they are lighted and guided upward, along the untrodden pathway, by the beams of that Star of the morning, which, like the Star of Bethlehem, conducts them to the presence of the King. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
The last census
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there.’ Psalm 87:6
Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 20:11–15
The matters with which the census shall have to do will be decisive. Perhaps, my hearer, your name could not be written today among the regenerate, but there is hope yet, and we trust by God’s grace before you leave here you may have a portion among the sanctified. If we could take today the number of God’s people, at present converted, I thank God that before another hour it would be imperfect, for there would have been others added to the visibly called of God. But the last census shall be decisive. To its number none shall be added; from its multitude none subtracted. Once let that be taken, and the angel shall cry in heaven, ‘He that is holy, let him be holy still;’ and his voice shall reverberate to hell, but other words shall he sound there, ‘He which is filthy, let him be filthy still.’ That shall be decisive, the last polling of the people, the last counting of the jewels and casting away of the counterfeits, the last bringing in of the sheep and banishment of the goats. This makes it all-important that you and I should know today whether, when the Lord ‘writeth up the people,’ it shall be said ‘that this man was born there.’ Oh that we were wise to look into futurities! We are so short sighted we see so small a distance. We only see time and its trickeries, its paint, its gilt. Oh that we were wise that we understood this, that we would remember our latter end! So, come the census day when it may, we may each have our name written beneath our Lord the Lamb in some humble place among the chosen of the Lord our God.
For meditation: While voting at an election may be voluntary, registration before a certain date at a census is compulsory and failure to do so is a punishable offence. God has commanded all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) and trust in the Saviour. Failure to register and be found in Christ (Philippians 3:9) will spell disaster (Revelation 20:15).
“You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you … You shall keep My statutes.” – Leviticus 18:3-5 NASB
In the wilderness, the Israelites had been isolated from many temptations. But God knew they would face a series of new challenges when they entered Canaan. He warned them not to live like the people living in that land, no matter how tempting this might seem. They were to remember that He had given His people different standards that were to shape and govern their lives.
He also gave them the key to success. What was the key? Keeping His statutes and judgments. This meant they had to know His Word. They could not be conformed to the world, but they were to live by His rules! God even promised that whoever lived His way “will find life” (v. 5 NLT). Finding life is the guarantee for all who obey God and His Word.
These same principles are true today. In our culture, we can find it easy to copy the people around us and adopt their values. But just as He did for the Israelites, God warns us not to allow their rules to govern our lives. We must know God’s ways and follow them.
Be alert for temptations and traps. Don’t be conformed to the world or let its rules govern your life. Renew your dedication to God and His Kingdom. Fill your mind with His Word, so you can know it. And base your life on His rules.