All sin is enmity against God. Sin is a defiance and, in essence, a denial of God Himself. What should be our response when we come to realize our sin against God?
What was Peter’s response after he denied the Lord? “And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:62) What was David’s response to his killing of Uriah when Nathan reproved him and said, “You are the man!” (2 Sam. 12:7)? David responded by saying, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam. 12:13) And again, over a year later, “For I know my transgrressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:3-5)
Why are there no tears of repentance today? Why is there no brokeness over sin? When the Spirit of God transforms a soul, convition of sin, repentance of sin and a continual growing in holiness are realities of a true Christian. No conviction, no tears, no repentance, no holiness are results of false assurance and “worldly salvations” leading unto death.
Where are the tears of your soul?
~Jeremy B. Strang
He’s Passing Lessons Learned from His Dad to His Sons
The star of Man vs. Wild shares what his father taught him about embracing life and God’s love.
By Bear Grylls, London, England
I’ve been dropped into some of the most dangerous places on earth. Pinned in white-water rapids, bitten by a vicious jungle snake, narrowly avoided being eaten by a huge croc in the Australian swamps and had to cut away from my main parachute some 5,000 feet above the Arctic plateau.
I had no idea how many remote jungles, stinking swamps, searing deserts and forbidding mountain ranges we have on this planet until I started making the TV show Man vs. Wild.
I wouldn’t have made it out of any of those tough spots if I hadn’t learned a thing or two from my parents. My own three boys at their young age have already shown a tendency toward adventure: climbing very tall trees, catching worms and bugs, possessing a magnetic pull toward mud and ooze.
On my flights back and forth from our home in England, I wrote a memoir describing my adventures (Mud, Sweat, and Tears was published this May). It’s full of advice my mum and dad gave me and that I hope to pass along to my children.
If I had to sum up the secret of my survival in four words, it would be a combination of heart, hope, doggedness and faith. After all, we’re all survivors of some sort, even if we don’t climb mountains or jump out of airplanes.
So before I’m off on my next adventure, let me share a thing or two that I’ve learned on my travels.
Be the most enthusiastic person you know!
When I was a kid in London, Mum would take me every week to a small gymnasium for budding gymnasts. Mr. Sturgess was a military man and it showed. He ran the classes with iron discipline.
We loved it, even though we were only six. We would line up in rows beneath a metal bar, some seven feet off the ground, then one by one we would say: “Up, please, Mr. Sturgess,” and he would lift us up and leave us hanging.
The rules were simple: You were not allowed to ask permission to drop off until the whole row was up and hanging. And even then you had to request: “Down, please, Mr. Sturgess.”
I took great pride in being the last man hanging. Mum said she couldn’t bear to watch as my little skinny body hung there, my face purple and contorted in blind determination to stick it out.
One by one the other boys would drop off, and I’d be left hanging, battling to endure until even Mr. Sturgess called it quits. I would then scuttle back to my mark, grinning from ear to ear.
“Down, please, Mr. Sturgess” became a family phrase for hard exercise, strict discipline and sheer determination. To this day Mum says that I seemed destined to be a mix of Robin Hood, Harry Houdini and John the Baptist.
Give your family the bulk of your time, energy and love, and you will be happy.
Dad was a loyal, hardworking member of Parliament for over 20 years but he never reached the higher echelons of political office. He didn’t seem to want that. What he aspired to most in life was to be close to his family.
At prep school I was chosen for the under nines’ rugby team. Well, to be more accurate, I was chosen to be linesman, a kind of assistant referee and water boy, because I wasn’t good enough for the actual team
It was a cold, miserable winter’s day, and there were no spectators, which was uncommon. Normally at least a few boys or teachers would come out to cheer the school matches. On this blustery day the sidelines were deserted, except for one lone figure: my dad, standing in the freezing drizzle.
I hadn’t even made the team and he had still come down here to watch me run up and down waving a silly flag. When the halftime whistle blew it was my big moment. On I ran to the pitch, a plate of oranges in my hands for the team, with Dad applauding.
Lives are made in such moments.
Dad had a great imagination and on holidays he could turn a hike into something bigger. We would pretend that German paratroopers held the high ground on top of a sheer 150-foot chalk cliff. We had to climb silently and unseen and then grenade the German fire position at the summit.
In reality this meant lobbing clumps of manure toward a deserted bench, but what a great way to spent a day when you are age eight (or 28).
It is a sign of great strength to need Jesus.
As a young boy my faith in God seemed so natural. It was a simple comfort, unquestioning and personal. But once I went to school and was forced to sit through daily chapel services with prayers in Latin and people droning on, I thought that I had got the whole faith deal wrong.
Maybe God wasn’t intimate and personal but was tedious, judgmental, boring and irrelevant. The natural, instinctive faith I had known was tossed out with this newly found delusion that because I was growing up, it was time to “believe” like a grown up.
At school the day I got word of Stephen’s death, I climbed a tree and sitting there amid the branches, I prayed the simplest, most heartfelt prayer of my life: “God, if you’re like you were when I used to know you, will you be that again? Comfort me.”
Blow me down if he didn’t do just that!
My faith is about being held, comforted, forgiven, strengthened and loved. Faith in Christ has been the great empowering presence in my life, helping me walk strong when so often I feel weak.
Failure is a stepping stoneon the road to success.
I was never a very good student and I hated when my school reports arrived in the mail. I would always grab the official letter before anyone could open it. I would sprint down to the end of our garden where there was this gorgeous big sycamore.
It had amazing limbs, perfectly spaced for monkey-style climbing. From my perch in the sycamore I had a commanding view of the whole village.
When I opened up the reports I had the space to keep things in perspective. Okay, so I flunked another math exam and the Latin teacher says I must stop “sniggering in class,” but from here, the world looks all right.
By the time I came down I’d be ready to face the music. Not as if I had anything to fear from Mum and Dad. They loved me and that helped so much. My marks didn’t matter as long as I worked hard and did my best.
Dad had always been hopeless at sports and academia, yet he had done well and was greatly loved. That was good enough for me. I’ve never minded risking failure because I was never punished for failing.
Follow your dreams. They are God-given.
At age 18, I visited India for the first time. In the Himalayas I rose early one freezing mountain morning and witnessed one of the most wonderful sights of my life: the sun rising over Mount Everest.
I bought a large laminated poster of Everest and vowed that one day I’d climb the highest mountain on earth.
I had no idea then what such an expedition really involved. I had minimal high-altitude experience and was far too young to make a serious high-altitude mountaineer. But I had a dream.
Five years later, when I was in the Special Air Services and no closer to my dream, I was in a terrible parachuting accident. Three of my vertebrae were fractured and I came within a whisker of severing my spinal column. I could hardly move without excruciating pain.
Whenever I got out of bed I had to wear a big metal brace. I was stuck in my bedroom at home for three months, angry, scared and frustrated.
Mum always taught me to be grateful. I had to remind myself that I had survived. I realized I needed to do something bold with what I was being given. Life doesn’t often give us second chances. But if it does, be bloody grateful.
That old poster of Everest still hung on my bedroom wall. The mountain seemed to peer down at me. If I ever recover, I told myself, if I ever get well enough to climb again, I’m going to follow that dream to the max. I vowed to be grateful to my Father in heaven for having somehow helped me along this rocky road.
On May 25, 1998, 18 months later, I was at high camp on Mt. Everest, 28,000 feet above sea level and a thousand feet from the top of the earth, the night before our final push. I reached into the top pouch of my backpack and pulled out a few crumpled pages wrapped in plastic.
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary,” I read, “and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.”
The next morning we reached the summit. I stood at the top of the world with tears pouring down my frozen cheeks and gave thanks to God. I scooped some snow into an empty vitamin bottle.
Years later, my wife and I would christen our three boys with this snow water from Everest’s pinnacle, water that almost touched heaven.
I’ve never stopped dreaming and pursuing my dreams. If you see me on TV, mud on my face, knee-deep in a swamp or snow, the weather ungodly cold or insufferably hot, don’t let that fool you. The greatest adventure of all is faith.
[This entire blog came from Guideposts Magazine, June 2012, article]