September 16, 2015
Got the Right Compass?
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart(Hebrews 4:12, NIV).
Friend to Friend
In 1804, the British ship HMS Apollo was leading a convoy of 69 merchant vessels to the West Indies on a route that put them parallel to the coasts of Spain and Portugal, about a hundred miles from land. A storm arose on Sunday, April 1. Even though it was April Fools’ Day, the captain was unconcerned because his compass assured him he was well into open sea. But in the wee hours of the morning, the ship wrecked against the jagged rocks of the coastline.
Jolted from their hammocks, the crew ran to their posts and tried to save the ship from the cold sea. The waves crashed over the hull, flooding the ship from above amid the screams of shipmen still below.
As night gave way to dawn, the surviving crew were amazed to find themselves not a hundred miles from land, but wrecked against the Portuguese coast, which was littered with the debris from many of the other ships in their convoy. Of the sixty-nine vessels traveling with HMS Apollo, forty were wrecked, some with total loss of life. It was one of the greatest disasters in the history of British maritime shipping.
The captain of HMS Apollo faced court-martial, but he was acquitted when it was learned that the fault lay not with him - but with the ship’s compass.
Because the Apollo had taken on a large iron tank, the magnetism ofthe compass was thrown off just a little - just four degrees - and the error accumulated day after day. As leader of the convoy, the captain had unwittingly led the others to shipwreck because his compass was defective.
Unfortunately many of us are living shipwrecked lives because of a defective compass. The Bible is the only compass we can count on for accurate and precise directions that enable us to navigate the treacherous waters of everyday life with confidence.
Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
We can always trust the Word of God. We can always count on what it says. If that is true, then why do we constantly doubt God? When a storm hits, why does our default emotion tend to be fear instead of faith?
You may have heard the familiar old Chinese saying, “There is a good dog and a bad dog fighting within each of us. The one that is going to win is the one we feed the most.” The same is true when it comes to faith and doubt. We weaken our doubt by strengthening our faith in God. The Word of God feeds the new nature God gives us when we surrender our lives to Him. As that new nature grows stronger, the old sinful nature becomes weaker … and as that old nature becomes weaker, our faith in God grows stronger.
A steady diet of the Word produces a strong faith. Read the Bible each day. Memorize a verse of Scripture each week. The more of the Bible you have in your heart and mind, the stronger the compass of His truth grows.
Now is the time. Check your compass.
Father, I realize that I have been using the wrong compass to direct my life. No wonder I am shipwrecked and a hot mess! Father, today, I turn to You! I choose the Word of God as the compass that will give me Your direction and purpose. Give me a hunger and thirst for Your Word. Please help me learn how to seek You with my whole heart and soul.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
The Word of God is powerful and will change your life if you spend time in it. Hear are some tips that will help you read and memorize Scripture.
Choose a verse of Scripture that is especially meaningful to you.
Read the verse several times and think about what each word and phrase really means.
Write the verse five times on a piece of paper.
Now say the verse aloud until you have committed it to memory.
Create a section in your journal for verses you plan to memorize.
Record this verse in your journal.
Recruit a friend to join you in your commitment to memorize Scripture. Hold each other accountable and encourage each other to make the Word of God your compass for life.
More from the Girlfriends
The Word of God is a powerful part of a healthy and dynamic spiritual life. If you want to pursue getting fit and healthy in every area of your life, get Mary’s new E-Book, Fit for Life.
Girlfriends in God
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Huntersville, NC 28070
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Originally published Wednesday, 16 September 2015.