Bible Top 1000

"Struck by Lightening at 30,000 Feet"
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My home church (The church I was pastoring at that time) sent me on a trip to Israel, Europe and several other nations. Our Air France flight was in route from Paris when the pilot asked us to make sure our seat belts were securely fastened, as we were approaching some turbulence. As I sat looking out the window to my left the flash of what appeared like a celestial ball of fire struck the left wing of our giant aircraft, which rocked and reeled and began to feel like a toy in the hands of a child. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the interior of our aircraft, and within moments that great plane was like one of my fishing corks tossed around on an angry sea. One moment the airplane was lifted on giant ascending currents of air; the next, it plundered as if it were about to crash into the bellowing waters beneath us. The pilot was able to land us on the island of Cyprus so the aircraft could be repaired.

This personal account reminds me of another true story with a great moral lesson. I've read and used this story in many speeches and sermons across the country:

"The Pilot"

Years ago, I was enthralled as I listened to a pastor who for several years had faithfully served the church. His executive responsibilities had taken him all over this country. As he concluded his message, he told of one of the most frightening yet thought-provoking experiences of his life.

He had been on a long flight from one place to another. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on Fasten your seat belts. Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we're expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

And then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightning lit up the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash.

The pastor confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, "As I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm.

Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her! She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly.

Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm, when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid. The minister could hardly believe his eyes.

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, our pastor lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.

The child replied, "Cause my Daddy's the pilot, and he's taking me home."

There are many kinds of storms that buffet us. Physical, mental, financial, domestic, and many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane spinning out of control. We've all known such times, and let's be honest and confess, it's much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky.

Just remember: Our Father's the Pilot.
He's in control and taking us home!

Are We Conquering?

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
(Romans 8:37)

We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then...too often we look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" We must take our sins to Christ's cross, for "the old man" can only be crucified there: we're crucified with Him. The only weapon to fight sin with is "the spear which pierced the side of Jesus". To illustrate---we want to overcome an angry temper, how do we go to work? It's very possible we've never tried the "right way" of going to Jesus with it. How did we get salvation? We came to Jesus "just as we were", and trusted Him to save us. We must kill our angry temper in the same way? It's the only way in which we can ever kill it. We must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, "Lord, I trust You to deliver me from it." This is the only way to give it "a death-blow". Are we covetous? Do we feel the world entangles us? We may struggle against this evil as long as we please, but if it's our besetting sin, we'll never be delivered from it in any way...but by the blood of Jesus. Let's take it to Christ. Let's tell Him, "Lord, I've trusted You, and Your name is Jesus, for You save Your people from their sins; Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!" Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Our prayers, and our repentances, and our tears---the whole of them put together---are worth nothing, apart from Him. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints either. We must be conquerors through Him who loves us, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane.

Do We Fear Death?

"That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death."
(Hebrews 2:14)

Lest we forget, death "lost its sting", because the devil's power over it is destroyed. So, let's cease to fear dying. Let's ask grace from God the Holy Spirit, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of our Redeemer's death, we may be strengthened for that dread hour. Living near the cross of Calvary we may think of death with pleasure, and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It's sweet to die in the Lord: it's a covenant-blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment, it's a "return from exile", "a going home" to "the many mansions" where the loved ones already dwell. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it's not. We're not far from home---"a moment" will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to that sea which knows no storm? Let's listen to the answer: "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." Yon ship has just departed, but it's already at its haven. It did but spread its sail and it was there. Like that ship of old, upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, "Peace, be still," and immediately it came to land. Let's not think that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth, they open in heaven. "The horses of fire" aren't an instant on the road. Then, what's there for us to fear in death(?), seeing that through the death of our Lord, its curse and sting are destroyed? and now it's but "a Jacob's ladder" whose foot is in the dark grave, but its top reaches to eternal glory!