Friday, June 1, 2017
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As I sit at my desk, I'm looking at this framed, century-old newspaper on the wall. It's there because I never want to forget the story it tells or the choice it represents. I guess, in short, I'd call it the tale of the three ships.
Everybody knows one of them - the Titanic. The one that 2,200 passengers thought was unsinkable. But that fateful night in the ice fields of the North Atlantic, the Titanic went down and over 1,500 passengers died. Only about 700 survived. Their only hope was a rescue.
Only about ten miles away, the SS Californian saw the flares from the endangered Titanic. Captain Lord decided it was too risky to try to reach her in the dark, so the Californian stayed where she was.
The Carpathia was a daunting 58 miles away when they spotted the flares and they heard the distress calls. There were some 700 passengers on board that night as Captain Rostron gave his fateful order, "Mr. Dean, turn this ship around." See, Captain Rostron ordered that all heat be turned off so that all the power could be directed to the ship's engines. Actually, the Carpathia's maximum speed was supposed to be 14.5 knots. She averaged 17 knots as she steamed toward Titanic's last known location. On the captain's orders, rooms were converted to infirmaries, hot food and drink were prepared and lifeboats were readied. Somehow, the Carpathia navigated around a deadly field of icebergs in the dark. Later, actually, Captain Rostron would say that it was like an unseen hand was guiding them.
But his heart sank when he arrived at the site, because there was no trace of the mighty Titanic. What he did find was 20 lifeboats, carrying those 700 survivors, whose lives were in jeopardy from hours of exposure to 28-degree temperatures. Had it not been for the Carpathia's courageous intervention, there probably would have been no Titanic survivors.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Tale of Three Ships."
Three ships. The Titanic. The ship where people thought they were safe, that in reality, was a ship of death where their only hope was a rescue. The Californian. The ship that was within reach of the dying people but did nothing to save them. The Carpathia. The ship that did whatever it took to rescue the dying, no matter the risks.
We all either are - or were - on the Titanic. Because God says, "Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard," and "the wages of sin is death." But n our word for today from the Word of God in Galatians 1:4, the Bible says, "Jesus gave His life for our sins...in order to rescue us." Our eternal destiny depends on our reaching for the Rescuer - Jesus.
Some of us who have been rescued by Jesus are like the Californian. We have spiritually dying people within our reach. And the command of God from Scripture is to "rescue those being led away to death" (Proverbs 24:11).
But we're doing nothing. It's too risky. We've got all these fears of what might happen if we tried to tell them about Jesus and if we tried to rescue them. You know, they might not like us, whatever.
But some of us are like the Carpathia; more concerned about the dying people than we are about ourselves. Doing whatever it takes to save them. Well, that would be like our Jesus. We'd be recognizing that we are under orders. And here's how the Bible puts it: to "snatch others from the fire and save them" (Jude 23).
Three ships. This tale of three ships confronts me, and all of us, with a soul-searching question. It might even be a life-or-death question for you, "Which ship am I on?"
If you don't have Jesus in your heart; if you've never been to Him to have your sins forgiven, your ship's going down even if you feel like it's unsinkable. No religion, no achievement, no relationship can save you except a relationship with Jesus Christ who died to pay for your sins.
This is your day to turn in death for life and feeling dirty for feeling clean, and lonely for love, and hell for heaven. If you've never reached out to the Rescuer, would you do it today? Say, "Jesus, I'm yours." Go to our website. Get the rest of the story there. It's ANewStory.com.
This is the day of rescue!