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Commentary, Beliefs Have Consequences # 26
© 2000 Dorothy A. Miller
“Who Will Be God?”

     After the fall of the Iron Curtain a preacher who had been bringing Christians into Russia to minister and teach was speaking to a Russian pastor.  He asked, “What do you think of us coming here and teaching?”

     The Russian pastor enthusiastically replied, “We love it. There is so much to learn and for so many years we had to hide to worship and we did not have hardly any Bibles.  Your coming and teaching and bring Bibles means very much to us!  There is one thing though about the message you give to the people that concerns me.”

     “What is that?” the American preacher asked.

      “Well,” the Russian said, “you keep telling our people that they should be ‘committed’ Christians and that troubles me.”

      Much surprised the American asked, “I don’t understand. Why don’t you like that?”

     The pastor responded.  “I really think what God wants from us is not to be ‘committed’ Christians.  I think He wants us to be ‘submitted’ Christians.  You see as long as we are committed instead of submitted, we are still in charge.  We say, ‘I will commit to doing this job or that or going here or there.’  But when we are submitted we say, ‘God whatever you want me to do and where ever you want me to go I want to obey.’”

      To me this true story is one that beautifully illustrates the constant pull of wanting our own way, wanting to control even our service to God rather than letting Him lead us.

      In a sense we are still fighting the Adam and Eve syndrome.  What if God asks us to do something we don’t want to do.  Or maybe He would keep something from us that we want.  Can we truly believe that if we let God lead and work in our lives, that He will always have our best interest at heart and we can trust Him?

      Sometimes I think the biggest question we face, both before and after we ask Jesus to be our Savior and become Christians, is this.  Who will be god in my life, me or God?  Before we are saved we know the God describes us as lost sheep going our own way. Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.”

      But even after we have trusted Jesus as our Savior our tendency many times is to trust our own reasoning and want to be in control. Note the following words from Proverbs 1:29-33 certainly describe an unbeliever who is rejecting salvation.  But they also could define a believer who still wants to be in charge. “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:  They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.  For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”

      In the new Testament, two verses come to mind which remind us that we as Christians do not even belong to ourselves and that we should be willing give over control of our lives to God.

     1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” And Galatians 2:20. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

      So again I believe that in every question and circumstance we encounter, each of us should ask, “Who will be god right now in my life, Me or God?”...
                                                                Beliefs Have Consequences!        
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Commentary, Beliefs Have Consequences # 27
© 2000 Dorothy A. Miller
"Paths of The Sea"

      Throughout the Bible, God records impressive claims about the power of His words. 

      The writer Solomon, in Proverbs 2:1-6 promises, "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."

      Many people read the Bible, and believe it to be true.  But in every generation a few readers venture by faith into uncharted regions of life based on the information contained in God's word.  One such individual, whose step of faith helped all of mankind, is Matthew Fontaine Maury.

      Maury, born in Virginia in 1806, became a midshipman in the U.S. Navy at age 19.  During his training voyage aboard the frigate Brandywine, a chance encounter set the stage for Maury's later contributions to science.  The ship carried the great general Lafayette who was returning home to France for the last time.

      One day this elderly general discovered Maury studying spherical geometry by sketching problems on cannonballs.  Embarrassed, the young seaman tried to explain why his thirst for knowledge led him to draw on cannonballs.  Lafayette counseled, "Don't apologize young friend, I never ask why.  Only why not?  CUR NON is my motto." 

      The general's positive attitude toward problem solving greatly impressed the young sailor.  Maury, proud that the great Lafayette had shared such wisdom declared, "CUR NON will now be my motto too!"

      As an officer in the Navy, Maury continued to seek truth which led him to become an expert in navigation.  In 1839, at age thirty-three, a tragic stagecoach accident led Maury to a great scientific breakthrough. 

      After the accident, he convalesced at home to give his bones time to heal.  During this time of enforced rest, Maury's son frequently read to his father out of the Bible.  One afternoon his son read the eighth Psalm which expounds on the creations of God.  Maury's reaction to hearing the words of this Psalm demonstrated his belief in the scientific accuracy and reliability of every word contained in the Bible.  Coming to verse eight, his son read, "The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea." 

      Maury interrupted. "Read that again."  His son repeated the words whereupon Maury stated, "It is enough.  If the Word of God says there are paths in the sea, they must be there, and I am going to find them!"

      Sailors of Maury's day had not yet charted ocean currents nor had they discovered the advantages of using ocean currents to navigate.  Previous dangerous experiences at sea convinced Maury of the critical value of discovering these paths of which God spoke.  Based on his absolute belief in God's word which told of the existence of these "paths in the sea," Maury began his search.  Maury described his pursuit as, "nothing less than to blaze a way through the winds of the sea by which the navigator may find the best paths at all seasons." 

      His book, The Physical Geography of the Sea published in 1855, is considered a milestone in hydrography and the beginning of the science of oceanography.  Because of his work he became known as "The Pathfinder of the Seas."  He is recognized world-wide as the father of the science of oceanography, the dean of all physical geographers and a great contributor to the science of meteorology. 

      His dream of a school to perpetuate oceanographic knowledge actually brought into existence the famous U.S. Naval Academy.  In honor he was named the "Father of Annapolis."

      Today a statue of Matthew Fontaine Maury stands in Richmond Virginia.  As a tribute to Maury's work, the sculptor portrayed him with sea charts in one hand and the Bible, the inspiration for his search, in the other hand.  Behind, a globe of the world demonstrates his discovery of "The paths of the Sea."

      All of Fontaine's great accomplishments and contributions to mankind can be attributed directly to his unwavering belief in the supernatural perfection and accuracy of the Bible...
                                                                  Beliefs Have Consequences!       
                            Next commentary “The Alarm Clock Did It!”
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Bibliography:
Cox, Donald W. Explorers of the Deep: USA: Hammond Inc, 1968.
Rimmer, Harry. Modern Science and The Genesis Record: Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1943.
Lewis, Charles L. Matthew Fontaine Maury: Richmond VA: The Maury Assn.

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