Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beware the pirates!

A news item from ninemsn this morning reports of a "hijacked Saudi super-tanker, carrying $US100 million ($A153.95 million) dollars worth of oil, being anchored off a notorious Somali pirate port as sea gangs struck again and seized a Hong Kong cargo ship.

The biggest act of piracy yet by the marauding Somali bandits has stunned the international community.

... The Sirius Star, the size of three soccer fields and three times the weight of a US aircraft carrier, is the largest ship ever seized by pirates and the hijacking was the farthest out to sea that Somali bandits struck.

Its cargo has been estimated to be worth $US100 million ($A153.95 million) at current crude prices.

Maritime security experts said the pirates had approached the tanker from the stern in speedboats and thrown grapnel hooks tied to rope ladders, most likely boarding unopposed as the ship cruised on auto-pilot with nobody keeping watch on the bridge.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "They're very well armed. Tactically, they are very good," he said

I find it interesting that, through good planning, the pirates were able to take over a gigantic ship because those in charge were 'asleep at the wheel'. The pirates were able to take what was valuable because no one was keeping watch.

There's a lesson in that for us. 1 Peter 5:8 says it best, " 8 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. 9 Keep your guard up."

Just like the pirates, the devil is cunning. He wants to catch us napping, and then take what is valuable.

Why? Because "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy." (John 10:10)

What is valuable to us? Our marriage? Our Joy? Our contentment?

I once heard it said that the area in which we are most vulnerable is the very area we think we are strongest. Where we know we are weak, we put extra safeguards in place. However the area in which we think we have strength, we run the risk of letting our guard down because we don't think we're vulnerable.

For example, we may know we're not strong in the area of relational temptation - so we put safeguards in place.

However, what about other areas such as jealousy or pride? If I'm not careful, I'm caught napping at the wheel, start comparing myself to others - what they have and what they do - and then the enemy steals my contentment through jealousy. I take my eyes off the real purpose in life, and start aiming for what 'others' have.

How do we keep our guard up? Ephesians 6:11 and 13-17

"Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. "

"13 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. 14 Truth, righteousness, 15 peace, 16 faith, 17 and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. 18 In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. "

Another way to keep our guard up is to be quick to forgive:

2 Corinthians 2:10 "So if you forgive him, I forgive him. Don’t think I’m carrying around a list of personal grudges. The fact is that I’m joining in with your forgiveness, as Christ is with us, guiding us. 11 After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways! An Open Door "

Finally, James 4:6-7 says get serious for God and quit dabbling in sin!

" 7 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. 8 Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. 9 Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious"

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