Lesson From A Slave Castle

As you may already know, I had the opportunity to go to Ghana, West Africa on a missions trip a few years ago.  I will be going back very soon.  As the date gets closer, I find myself doing a lot of reminiscing about my previous visit.

During my last trip to Ghana, I had the opportunity to visit Elmina Slave Castle.  This castle, erected in 1482, became one of the most important stops on the route to the Atlantic Slave Trade.  I could not begin to describe to you the atrocities that occurred in this building as described to us by our tour guide.  I would, however, like to share this quick lesson with you.

Taken by Aluka Digital Library

Our guide told us there were three reasons why someone would become a slave.

1. Crimes you committed.

2.  Debt that you could not pay.

3.  You were born into it.

We fit all three conditions of slavery to sin.

  1. We have committed crimes.  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
  2. We all have a debt that we cannot pay.  “…without the shedding of blood, there can be no sacrifice for sin.”  Hebrews 3:23
  3. We were all born into sin.  “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5

I am thankful that we have an advocate!

  1. I have committed crimes.  BUT! Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us… and took it our of the way, nailing it to His cross.” Col. 2:14
  2. I had a debt that I could not pay.  BUT!  “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
  3. I was born into sin.  BUT!  I have been “born again of water and of Spirit.” John 3:5

No more shackles, no more chains….

Pro Se

 Pro Se: “for oneself”

“There is an old saying that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, and not many lawyers try it.  But people like you and me apparently do.  The number is actually kind of shocking.  In New York state alone 1.8 million people represent themselves in court in a typical year.”  – This American Life Podcast “Pro Se”.

What is the reason that most people represent themselves in the court of law?  They simply can’t afford a lawyer.

As I listened to this podcast I thought, “how often to do I try to represent myself ‘pro se’ in the court of life?  It is only natural for man to defend himself, right?  We are always the first one to stand up and defend ourselves.  We defend our choices, our opinions, our prejudices, our lifestyles, and our beliefs.  But this is what I have found, I stink at defending myself!  I need a lawyer!

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

I have an advocate!  He is someone who will speak on my behalf.  He is someone who will come to my defense.  This is good news for someone who isn’t very good at defending himself.

Not only is He my advocate, He is the propitiation for my sins.  He is the appeasement for my sins.  That is why He alone is uniquely qualified to defend me.

I am in good hands.

I rest my case.

Addicted to the Service of Israel

Reading through Exodus 7-11 makes it pretty plain to see that Egypt was addicted to the service of Israel.  Why else would they continue to hold them after all they went through?  It just doesn’t make any sense except that they didn’t believe that they could go on without the services of their Israelite slaves.  It really makes me wonder, “who are the real slaves here?”

Look at what they went through:

Their main water supply, the river, turned into blood.  “Let my people go.”  “No!”

Frogs…everywhere (streets, houses, ovens, beds).  “Get rid of the frogs and I’ll let your people go.  Wait, the frogs are gone?  Nevermind.”

Lice on every man and animal.  “Let my people go.”  “No!”

Swarms of flies.  “Okay, you can go, but don’t go too far.  Wait, the flies are gone?  Nevermind.”

All the cattle died.  “Let my people go.”  “No!”

Everyone got boils.  Let my people go.”  “No!”

Hail kills man, animal, and plants.  “Please make it stop!  I’ll let you go.  Wait, it’s over?  Nevermind.”

Locust cover the face of the earth.  “I have sinned.  I’m sorry.  Please, pray for these locust to leave!  What?  Let you go?  No!”

Darkness so dark that you couldn’t see your hand  in front of your face.  “Okay, this time you can go.  Just leave your animals and your kids here.”  “We all must go.”  “No!”

Every firstborn dead.  “Get out of here!”

But it still wasn’t over!  Pharaoh still changed his mind after all that.  He chased the children of Israel and sent his army into the midst of the sea where the walls of water crashed in on them and consumed them in a watery grave.

How silly these Egyptians were!  They were so addicted to the services Israel that they would rather keep them with all the negative consequences than try to live without them.  It ended up costing them everything.

Most of the time, we compare ourselves to the children of Israel.  “God has brought us out of Egypt!”  But I realized something as I read this account recently, we actually have a lot in common with Pharaoh.  Yes, Pharaoh, the one who neglected every warning sign because he was addicted to the service of Israel.

How often do we do the same thing with sin?

Your Title Here

Pay Attention! Give this post a title in the comments section.  The best/most creative title wins a $10 Starbucks Gift Card! (Winner will be chosen Friday).

In my first post, I had said that one of the things that I would be writing about was failures.  Now, I have to admit that even as I wrote that, I didn’t think I would actually write about any of my failures.  But today, that is what I am going to do.  I am doing this for two reasons; (1) because God is merciful, and (2) maybe it will help you…or me.

I’m sure you know about and have experienced that deal.  You know, that one where things are going good.  You just got out of Indiana District Men’s Conference (or you had some other wonderful God encounter), everything is cloud nine, and you are feeling great in the Lord.  The DEAL is, the enemy doesn’t like that.  And he is an expert at knocking you off your feet when you begin to run.

Well, needless to say, I got the raw end of the deal today.  To say that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed is an understatement.  I woke up downright mad.  No reason in particular.  I just didn’t feel like ___________. (You can feel free to fill this in with anything).

If you know me at all, you know that I am a list person.  I got stuff to do.  I have a whole list of stuff to do, and today was no exception.  So I drug my weary, whiney self out of bed and started working on the list.  Problem was, when you don’t feel like __________.  It’s hard to get _______ done.  And my attitude went south.  I mean, I was nasty.

And at the end of the day, this is what I accomplished:  Almost nothing crossed of my list, I was mean to my mother (she is in bed, I have to apologize in the morning), I was mad at other people (people who didn’t even know that I was mad at them and that I didn’t even have a reason to be mad at), I made myself feel like a complete and total loser, and worst of all, the great connection that I had felt with the Lord just yesterday…it was gone.

But I’m so thankful that we can come to Jesus when we fall.  Where would I be without His grace?  I would be the person I was today.  But, Jesus loved me so much that He died so that THAT person does not have to live.

“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise” (Micah 7:8)

To anyone that has ever been knocked down, His hand is reaching to help you back up.

So…what’s your title?