Tag Archives: Curtis Kimbrell

A Shipwrecked Faith — Curtis Kimbrell

Our faith is one of the most cherished assets which we possess.  Yet there are many times in our lives when our faith is stronger than at other times.  When I am truly honest with myself and do some real “soul searching,” I may ask myself, “How can I really make myself more faithful?”  Or I may ask myself, “What can I do as a Christian to improve my faith and make it stronger?”

To answer these questions, I could easily revert to the well-known verse:  “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God” (2 Ti. 2:15).  I may think of improving my prayer life as is stated by Paul to the Thessalonians:  “Pray without ceasing.  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Th. 5:17-18).  When we take our Christianity seriously and it becomes more than just showing up at the church building on Sundays and Wednesday nights, it will greatly impact our lives and the lives of others.

But what do we do when something happens that threatens every thread of our faith?  When an event takes place in our lives that challenges us to even dare to ask God, “Why me?”  What if another person or Christian hurts us so badly that we feel like we are falling into a bottomless pit of hopelessness and despair?

Let’s briefly consider God’s servant Paul as we examine just one of his many hardships and how he dealt with it and overcame all odds with God’s help.  In the latter part of the book of Acts, we find that Paul was literally shipwrecked while sailing to Rome (27:13-44).  He was a prisoner sailing alongside many other prisoners and the ship’s crew when a wind known as the Northeaster hit them so badly that they eventually had to give into it (vs. 13-15).  They couldn’t fight what was coming at them.

In our lives, things are find at certain times…but sooner or later something beyond our control comes our way and there is absolutely nothing we can do.  Part of us says, “Give up!”  Another part tells us that God has a plan and we just need to hang in there a little longer.

Paul and his shipmates tried with difficulty to secure the boat.  They even threw over cargo in an effort to desperately save themselves (vs. 16-19).  In like manner, we try various ways to stay afloat through the storms that occur in our own lives.  It’s often difficult, even when others are there trying to help us.  Again, this goes back to the question:  How strong is my faith in the fact that God really will take care of me?

The others on Paul’s ship abandoned all hope (v. 20).  Each of us knows that we have felt like this in some way or another in our own lives.  No matter your age or experiences, it’s easy to think that giving up is the easiest and perhaps even the only way to handle things.  We forget that God’s timing and our timing do not always coincide.

While everyone was feeling hopeless on the ship and things were at their most critical, Paul began to encourage them.  He even told them that no life would be lost (vs. 21-24).  Do we encourage others when we feel hopeless?  Paul’s faith was at a stronger level than the others’ and he was reassured by the Angel of the Lord.  God’s Word reassures us that things will be okay in the darkest of times (Ro. 8:28).  Yet, so often we neglect to read it.

Paul had been told that he must stand before Caesar (v. 24).  God was not done with him, and he knew it.  He still had much work to do and a purpose to fulfill.  So as he continued to encourage these men, he told them to “take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told” (v. 25).  Yet, notice that he also gave them a warning that the journey wasn’t going to be easy because they would have to run the ship aground (v. 26).  The crew knew this would not be pleasant at all.  That’s why they were so fearful (vs. 29-30).  Yet, Paul cared enough to exhort them to not give up.  He told them to eat for strength, that “not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you,” and still managed to give thanks throughout all that was going on!  (vs. 33-35)

When we go through the worst times of our lives, do we have Christian friends who support us regardless of the cost or hardship?  Do we have that kind of support from our brothers and sisters even if we are fearful?  Are we ourselves willing to offer this needed support to others during their dark times?  It makes a world of difference in the outcome of our faith!

Paul gave the crew enough confidence to trust in God enough to throw the remaining food overboard (v. 38).  After that, they had to run the ship aground just as Paul had told them.  All 276 lives were spared thanks to Paul (vs. 39-44).  The apostle was leading and directing…but God was in control.  So many times control of the situation was out of the crews’ hands, but they continued to believe in God’s Word, spoken through Paul.

I truly believe there are times when we all feel that our faith is shipwrecked.  It could be a situation out of our control, a problem with another Christian, sickness, depression, or a host of other things which come up in this life.  If it becomes such an issue that we “quit church,” our faith was misplaced.  It was placed more in people than in God.

All of us need to read Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 11:25-28.  Being shipwrecked was only one of the vast amounts of hardships which this man endured for Christ, His church, and ultimately for God.  Since we do not endure anything close to these types of events, it should make our faith easier to sustain.  Our faith is something which no one can take away from us.  We are the ones who decide to grow spiritually, stay spiritually idle where we are, or fade away.  Our faith should describe who we are, how we live, and every aspect of our lives.  Don’t get me wrong.  We all fail.  Sometimes we fall flat on our faces in our spiritual walk.  This is where our faith is tested.  It helps us overcome, repent, and then lean on God’s grace and mercy to continue walking down the narrow path.

Friends, I do not even feel worthy to write these words to you.  Because of two loving brothers that encouraged me to do so, it has helped to edify me and build my own faith.  I hope and pray this has been helpful and encouraging to you, and that it will get you even more motivated about wanting to grow in your own personal faith.  God bless you all!

curtisk29374@yahoo.com

 

 

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Youth That Fall Among The Thorns – Curtis Kimbrell

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The youth of the church are the present and future of the church that Christ established,” or at least something very close to it. Yet, what happens when those young individuals begin to lose heart, grow weary or just give up? Jesus explained to us that the Word of God affects different people in different ways (Mt. 13:3-9).

In the Parable of the Sower, some seeds were instantly devoured (v. 4). Jesus also tells us of the seed that fell on the rocky soil that they had no depth of ground and were scorched by the sun (vs. 5-6). They also had no root, and withered up. Many of our youth have no root, no firm foundation of Bible principles, and they wither up spiritually (vs. 20-21). However, the seeds that fell among the thorns and were choked up is really where I want to focus our attention on (vs. 7, 23).

If we ask ourselves what can choke us in life, immediately all the distractions of this life come to mind. Everything from entertainment to the instant gratification of technology at our fingertips can distract us from God. Places to travel, shopping, the sporty car we can barely afford, all of these and more can distract us. One of the biggest things that distracts us & that chokes our love for God is the love of money. As Paul wrote, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils..” (1 Tim. 6:10).

Seeing a teenager study for themselves and decide to put Christ on in baptism is something to treasure. All the work, studying, and the advancement of the spiritual life that is forming is worth more than any physical pleasure in this life. The majority of teens continue to study and grow. On the other hand, there are a small percentage that begin to miss services. They don’t show up for devotionals or other events. When reached out to, they have excuse after excuse for why we aren’t seeing them as much. Slowly, they slip away back into the old lifestyle that they had before.

The thorns that begin to choke out the new Christian grow tightly around the youth when they are weak and when the old friends remind them how much “fun” they are missing. Because of the intense peer pressure the youth of this generation have to deal with, it is just so easy to say yes to sin. This is why Jesus tells us to be careful of our enemy. The Bible says, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pe. 5:8).

A few of the very frustrated ones that have slipped away, or have been devoured, have given the following excuses for leaving: “I’m frustrated with myself and with other church members,” “It’s just easier to walk away, “bad things still happen to me!”, “It’s too hard, I’m done!”, or “I’m tired of being judged.” When thorns begin to grow around something that is beautiful, they eventually take over and consume what once was blooming. Yet there are ways we can help in almost any situation.

First and foremost, pray! Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Ph. 4:6). Next, reach out to the teen in a kind and loving way. Give advice but listen just as much. Be patient with any of the many problems they may be dealing with (2 Ti. 2:24-26; Ja. 1:19). Finally, when you have exhausted all resources, you may have to acknowledge that it’s not going to be you which pulls them from the thorns (1 Co. 3:10). It may take time and another individual to help them come back just like the prodigal son did. It took time for the prodigal son to come back. Luke 15:17 starts off with Jesus saying, “But when he came to himself..” Sometimes, it just takes time and hardships to make us come to our senses. Whatever you do, never lose heart and never lose hope.

It’s very disheartening and disappointing to see the Word of God choked out in a teen’s life. It is heart breaking to see the teen overcome with the thorns of sin. The one thing for the teacher, parent or friend to remember is that you did plant the seed. It will always be there. Even though the thorns may linger for a while, and the teen may go through many storms, the seed is still there. In due time, it may come back and thrive again.

Jesus wore a crown of thorns upon his head as he suffered for the world. The thorns upon his head were just a small part of his suffering here on this earth. The thorns that choke out the beauty we are to show as Christians can eventually be removed as well. They do not have to be permanent. Just because the thorns are removed, it doesn’t mean that the scars are going to be to be removed. The only blessing of the scars we bare is that they remind us to do better, to live better, and to honor God in the future in everything we do. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).

The youth that fall among the thorns are living in a harsh world. It is a world of greed and self satisfaction. The main thing we must always remember is that those teens who are covered in thorns are teens who are still Christians. When we are suffering or see a loved one suffer, we immediately try to fix or help with the problem. Do we reach out to those who may be suffering spiritually in the same way? We can’t be harsh with those who are straying. We can’t say, “Oh well, I tried,” and then give up. I would like to say to anyone trying to work with the youth that if you are trying to help a teen that is entangled in the thorns of this world, don’t ever give up on them! Physically you may have to move on, but keep them in your prayers often. They are still one less soul that Satan can have…if we do our part!

curtisk29374@yahoo.com