“Be Careful or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life…” Luke 21 14
A New Year but we are already into the month of February. And the World is already in turmoil and uncertainty, the first stage of Brexit is resolved, but we still face uncertainty as to what it will all look like in the end. Terrorism is still a constant threat, and now the Coronavirus that is plaguing mankind. A volcano Is erupting in the Philippines, uncontrollable bush fires in Australia where we have just returned from. No wonder Jesus issued these words above – the word dissipation has the sense of society breaking down in disorder and chaos. Perhaps many of us reading this may not identify with drunkenness – but inevitably it is often something that man uses to block out the anxieties he faces day by day.
Yes, we do have to be careful so as to not despair of life and its problems that each of us face.
Later on, in this passage Jesus tells us to watch and pray that so that we may be able to escape and that we will be able to stand before the Son of Man on that last Day! A sobering thought indeed, we need to be ready!
Why do I say that well as I visited one vessel I met two crew, Dennis and Erickson. We talked about many things, obviously concerned about his family and country back home in the Philippines, Dennis asked.
“Do you think that the erupting Volcano is one of the signs of the return of Jesus”
A serious question that needed an answer – and we had a serious talk about all this. And the necessity of Faith in Christ and a final challenge
are you Ready to face the Son of Man? – He sent me a farewell message as his ship left thanking me for my visit. ‘Have a good trip’ I replied but more importantly I reminded him ‘are you ready?’
Prior to Christmas we had a great response to making up the Christmas parcels. We are very grateful to Gideons UK who gave us over 400 pocket NT’s to put inside the parcels. This year we also placed Russian Bibles into the parcels as well – altogether we distributed 588 gifts to the Seafarers. Below folk from Church who came and helped out with the wrap.
I visited a number of ships and on one day I had help from Josh who is from one of the local fellowships here in Liverpool. This was his first-time ship visiting, and I think he found it a real blessing. I hope that he may come and visit again sometime in the New Year.
Into the New Year, and I have visited a number of ships and had some encouraging encounters with seafarers. Often a some of these men hide deep wounds from their past on one such ship I met the Boson below.
As we spoke about his life as a seafarer he opened up about the past. He reflected how as a graduate from Maritime school he had wasted 13 years of his life on the streets eating and sleeping rough. Earning a little as a taxi driver then spending it on drink and women. By this time, he was very remorseful and in tears as he spoke about how some had given him a second chance to get back to being a seafarer.
But he still felt the weight of the disappointment that he was to his parents. He was now reconciled to his family but his Father was now dead and it was clear he had many regrets. I spoke to him about the prodigal son in the Bible – and how that we are all prodigals to some extent away from God who desires to be reconciled to us in Christ. I am not sure how much he was taking in as he was quite upset and disturbed – but we prayed together.
I had a communication from my good friend Colin Jenkins who works for SCFS in Cork. We often exchange contact details and so it was that he told me about a young Filipino believer Stanley (below) who was coming in on the ship the Gentle Seas. Because of his duty hours he was unable to get off until the afternoon which was a pity. So was unable to get to Church or our House group in the evening.
Nevertheless, I did want to meet up with him and spend some time encouraging and strengthening his Faith. We spent an afternoon looking around the City – which gave us time for conversation. And had an opportunity to share our stories of how we came to Faith.
The previous week I had been blessed with a good number of 2019 Keswick DVD’s. A great resource to help him back board.I also encouraged him to use them to share with some of his crew mates when he got back on the ship. Later he messaged me to say that he had already watched one of them and they had been a great help to him. He was hopeful that others may join him later on.