Tag Archives: Rescue


The divers came upon a whale, tangled in an abandoned net, who would die if not released.  Trouble was, the whaled was freaked out and likely to injure or kill them if they got close enough to help.  But by their gentle and peaceful approach they gradually won her trust.  She allowed them to begin the tortuous task of cutting away the tough net to set her free.  Their gentleness, their kindness, convinced the whale she could trust them and submit to their rescue procedures.  I watched this amazing story with awe and will give you the link below.  But read this verse from Romans carefully and think about that principle:

4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?   (Romans 2:4)

God’s kindness was costly.  He accepted the risk of excruciating death in order to draw close enough to cut away the net that holds us captive.  Don’t dismiss that kindness or take it for granted.  Submit to what He is trying to do for you.  Let Him cut you free.

To watch the whale video, click HERE.  Make sure to watch all the way to the end to see a pretty good image of what Jesus meant by “life to the full.”




Mom stands by the curb, tearfully watching her little one board the schoolbus for the first time.  Dad swallows hard and wraps his son in a fierce embrace.  The young man will board a plane and head off to his first deployment overseas.  This is the heartbeat of God as He allowed His chosen people to be carried off to exile.  Here’s what He told them:

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  (Isaiah 46:3-4)
Almost sounds like God is saying, “This will hurt Me more than it does you.”  But notice carefully God’s promise to sustain them and carry them, even in their time of banishment.  And rescue them.  That’s the heartbeat of God.  “For God so loved the world…”

That’s His heart toward you, too, even if you have wandered off into an exile of your own making.  You may have run from Him, but He loves you and will never run from you.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

(Psalm 139:7 -10)

Taproot – Part 4

“I command you to love me!”  That’s a non-starter, isn’t it?  The greatest commandment, Jesus said, is to love God with all your heart and soul.  But, can love be commanded?  But, instead of hearing the word, command, as a strict order to do something we don’t want to do, think of it like this: This “command” is the most important thing to remember to practice so that things will go well for you. 

God’s 10 commandments were given after He first had arranged a rescue for the people from slavery. 

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”  –  (Deuteronomy 5:6)

His commands were given to protect us from falling back into any kind of slavery.  In other words, His commands were given to bless us.

Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

“Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.”  –  (Deuteronomy 5:33; 6:3)

Our love for God is not grudging and forced, it is the natural response toward our Rescuer who loves us and wants the very best for us.  Our love for God is reflected in our paying attention to how He taught us to live, loving and honoring  Him by obeying.  As John said it, “We love because he first loved us.” – (1John 4:19)

The same is true of our love for Jesus, Who rescued us from spiritual slavery to live life to the fullest.

When You’re Ready

My wife and I got mugged in Savannah, not physically but verbally, by a guy holding a sign and yelling Bible verses at us.  He literally followed us down the street, trying to “save” us by forcing Scripture on us.  He probably thought he was earning brownie points from God.  I was annoyed.  More than that, I was frustrated, wondering how many people he had chased away from God’s grace that day.  If you get accosted by someone shoving God or the Bible down your throat, don’t fight back; run away.  Because God doesn’t work that way.

It’s not that God doesn’t care; He really does.  Jesus’ brother, James, wrote of how God intensely yearns for His Spirit to live in us, just as He intended.  (That is my rough and loose paraphrase of James 4:5)  God is passionate that we be restored to the fullness of spiritual life by having His Spirit alive in us.  He wanted that for us so much He paid a terrible price to accomplish it.

BUT HE DOES NOT FORCE HIMSELF ON US!  He waits for us to be ready.  James continued his thought with this:

“But He [God] gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 – my explanation in brackets)

“The proud” in that verse are those who think they have life figured out on their own and who have no use for God.  He waits.  Stuff happens.  Sometimes “the proud” become “the humble.”  In the words of Bob Dylan (Like a Rolling Stone)

You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

When “the proud” become “the humble,” when they are ready to receive Him, then God approaches.  With grace.  Not with loud, angry shouting.  He sent His Son to find you and rescue you.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

Jesus invited people to come to Him and find rest, saying He was “gentle and humble in heart.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

I remember seeing a video on Facebook about a guy who rescued an abandoned, starving dog.  The dog was aggressive, unwilling for anyone to approach but the guy just sat there and waited him out.  After a long time, when the dog was ready to receive it, the man gave him “more grace” – care, nourishment, healing and a new life.  There was no yelling involved, no signs, no scolding.  It was very much like my own experience with God, Who waited until I was not so full of myself.  Then, when I was ready to receive His grace, without holding anything against me, He gave me the life of His Son, Jesus.

He waits for you, too.

Quotes:  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Like a Rolling Stone lyrics: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/rolling-stone#ixzz3UwbEdylf

Ready or Not

The waters of the North and South St. Vrain are rising again.  So are the fears of the folks in Lyons, Colorado.  Last September, after 18″ of rain, those two rivers ripped through town and left little behind except twisted, mud-soaked wreckage.  The River Church building clung tenaciously to its foundations, against a 6′ surging torrent, until a telephone pole swept down and knocked the corner of its foundation out from under it.  By God’s grace, most of the rest of the building hung on.  By God’s miraculous grace, scores of volunteers from around the country have reconditioned and restored that building from the foundation up (see more below).  But now the heavy snows in the Rockies are melting.  The St. Vrain is rising.  If you are praying for rain, please be specific about where you need it!

Jesus said life on this planet would resemble the Lyons flood.  But He also gave us words to survive by – the Sermon on the Mount.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Live by the Sermon on the Mount and you will survive the pounding floods of life.  Easier said than done.  Living with an awareness of spiritual bankruptcy, hungering for righteousness, being salt and light in the world, loving your enemies, never thinking about sex outside of marriage, avoiding the pull of materialism, …  putting the words of Jesus into practice seems impossible.  It’s like saying to a caterpillar, “Just become a butterfly and you will be able to survive life’s troubles.”

Don’t despair or quit.  Just as there is a way for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, there is a way for you and me to begin to live by the words of Jesus.  They both involve a complete transformation, from the inside out.  We cannot make it happen or pay to have it done.  The charges have already been fully paid at the Cross.  Our only part is surrendering to Jesus, confessing our bankruptcy and inability, asking for and accepting His forgiveness, and then trusting His Spirit to begin the transformation.  Our part is to humbly call out to Him for rescue.  As Jesus begins the work of transformation, your life will begin to conform to His words.  I wonder if caterpillars feel amazed to look down one day and discover they are flying.  If so, they must feel like people who trust Jesus and discover the new birth and growing influence of His Spirit in their souls.

One last note:  Jesus didn’t say that if we follow Him there would be no floods, only that we would stand.  You may not live near the St. Vrain, but know this:  the water is rising.

PS – You can see pictures and find more about The River Church here.

Jesus’ Zip Line

Yesterday, the Big Thompson River, in Colorado, was ripping away lower portions of her house as a woman stood, helplessly, watching rescue workers assemble on the far side. She was stranded. There used to be a bridge, connecting her to the highway but it was submerged, and being disassembled by the angry waters. It’s worth watching the You Tube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b43XEfPXy6c . It shows a zip line being set up across the river. When all is ready, the woman is strapped in and hangs on as they drag her over (and a bit through) the torrential flow to safety. She’s scared, she’s wet and bruised, but she’s alive.

Question: What was her part in the rescue? Accepting it and hanging on, right? There’s a picture there of what it means to say that Jesus is the “Author and Perfecter” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2a) If you haven’t read that verse, check out “Keep the Faith – Part 4“. It is important to understand that Jesus reaches out to rescue us, that He is the One to set up the “zip line,” so to speak. Our part is to accept His rescue and to hang on. The woman had to trust her rescuers to strap her in and then to hang on. But what she was hanging onto was the equipment that they brought in, that they provided. Jesus brings faith to us and says, “Trust Me; Hang on.”

He gives us the faith and it is by that faith, that we hang on! Admittedly, that is hard to understand. Religion teaches that we must provide the effort, that we must do enough to rescue ourselves. But religion does not work. Like the woman on the far side of the river, there is no way we could do enough to affect our own rescue. That is why Jesus showed up and brought us what we need.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – (Ephesians 2:8

The woman who was held by and who held on to the river zip line was ultimately given more days to live. If you trust Jesus, if you are held by and hang on to His zip line, what can you expect on the other side of the river? It is eternal life, an intimate connection to God through His Holy Spirit.

Let’s begin a closer look at the Holy Spirit. Stay tuned. And by the way, please pray for us out here in Colorado. Over a foot of rain has fallen in some places near here and the devastation from the flooding is unprecedented.