Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Whale: Fear Not!

A story I had long forgotten ... a true story! ... sent recently by a dear friend. 

One of the divers on the rescue team works on the crab pot lines that held the female humpback whale near the Farallon Islands. The weight of the crab pots was pulling the animal down. Marine Mammal Center photo via Associated Press
The Whale

If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
[If you're interested in reading the original December 2005 story, here it is from The San Francisco Chronicle:  Daring Rescue of whale off Farallones]

P's e-mail arrived at a good time -- providence?  I was once again going through my "Tasmanian Devil" spinning and fretting over some things to the point of sorrow and tears.  But, P's story of The Whale reminded me of the necessity of turning my burdens to friends, rather than just keeping it all to myself to deal with alone.

It seems we all have things we get tangled in, burdens that worry us and pull us down, at times barely keeping our noses above the edge of the water, swimming for all we're worth in a sea of troubles.   Fortunately, the Lord sends special friends -- like angels -- into our lives to help cut us free from our bonds and traps.  I think of the many times in the Bible where God speaks to various individuals or sends an angel to deliver His message.  It is interesting -- and instructive -- how each time God, or the angel, begins with these words: "Fear not." 
Genesis 15:1 "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."

Deuteronomy 31:8  "And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."

Isaiah 54:4  "Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more."

Matthew 10:28  "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Luke 2:10  "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

Luke 8:50  "But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole."
Luke 12:7  "But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:32  "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
John 12:15  "Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt."
Acts 27:24  "Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee."
Revelation 1:17 "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last."

When the Lord draws near, we must not fear.  And He is always near.  Fear not!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

King James Bible Celebrates 400 Years

From FoxNews ... (emphasis added) ...

Happy 400th Birthday to the King James Bible -- The Most Influential Book in the English Language

By Larry Stone
The poetic power of the King James Bible is part of our heritage. Around the world people have been comforted by the words, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” They have been challenged by, “Be strong and of good courage.” They have celebrated with the proclamation, “Fear not . . . For unto you is born in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

The early 16th century was a tumultuous time in Britain. England had been Catholic for more than 1,000 years, but when Pope Clement refused to annul the marriage of King Henry VIII, Henry separated the Church of England from the Church in Rome.

While Henry was still Catholic, William Tyndale sought permission to translate the Bible into English so that even “a boy who drives the plow” might know Scripture. Permission was denied, and Tyndale moved to Germany where he completed the first translation of the English New Testament made from Greek. It was published in 1526, and over the next ten years 50,000 copies were smuggled into England. Tyndale was betrayed, captured, and in 1536 killed for the crime of publishing the New Testament in English.

Although his body was burned at the stake, Tyndale had unleashed an enormous demand for Bibles in “the vulgar English tongue.” A number of translations were printed, including the Bishops’ Bible and the immensely popular Geneva Bible, which was the Bible Shakespeare read and the Bible Puritans carried to New England.

Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1558 to 1603, sought to bring peace among religious factions. But more importantly for our story, varied creative forces came together then to form the most splendid age in English literature. James VI of Scotland was a product of this season of creativity. When James VI became king of all Great Britain and Ireland in 1603, he called a conference to try to settle differences between Anglicans and Puritans. Out of this conference came the decision to create a new translation of the Bible.

Fifty-four scholars labored nearly seven years. In spite of its title page saying that the KJV was “newly translated,” the committees were instructed to follow the Bishops’ Bible when possible. Because the Bishops’ Bible depended on the work of Tyndale, more than 80% of the KJV is Tyndale’s wording. The KJV was published in 1611 and within 50 years it was the dominant English translation of the Bible—a position it held for 300 years.

Wherever the British went to build an empire—either for their monarch or for their God—the King James Version went too. When a clergyman in Scotland read the Scripture, when a student in America memorized a Bible verse, when a speaker in India or Australia told a story from the Bible, they all used the same words from the King James Version.

The King James Bible is the best-selling English-language book of all time. It has been in print continuously for 400 years. It has helped form our language; it has given context to our literature; it has inspired our music; and for centuries it was the one book a family would own and read before all others.

Larry Stone, is author of "The Story of the Bible: The Fascinating History of Its Writing, Translation & Effect on Civilization" (Thomas Nelson).
What an inspiring story!  Whenever we hold a Bible in our hands, we must pause to give God thanks for the brave people who literally fought so hard to bring it to us and to make so easily available today.  It is truly covered in the blood of martyrs.  I prefer other more modern translations of the Bible, such as the NIV and the newer ESV; but, no version can hold a candle to the beauty of the KJV.  It is poetry.