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Barnacles

Posted by John Bechtel , 14 October 2010 · 2621 views

sanctification; sin; Holy Spirit
One of the highlights of growing up in Hong Kong as the son of C&MA missionaries was to travel to The Alliance Bible Seminary which is located on an outlying island about an hour away from the hustle and bustle of downtown metropolitan Hong Kong. Cheung Chau Island is basically a typical fishing village and when I was there as a boy there were all kinds of interesting lessons to be learned on a day in the heart of the village whilst my Dad was pontificating up at the Seminary.

Lessons of life are often learned through curious observation and I have a case in point. Quite often I would see the fishermen put ropes on a rather large wooden fishing vessel and pull it up onto the beach and turn it on its side. They would then proceed to collect bushes, twigs and other flammable material and ignite a brushfire along the underside of the wooden boat.

You can imagine a young boy being fascinated by such a sight and I even caught myself thinking they might be trying to destroy the boat by burning it. Being fluent in Chinese, I went up to them and asked why they were burning up what appeared to be a perfectly good fishing boat. That’s when I learned a lesson I have remembered my whole life. I was introduced to barnacles. I had cut my feet a few times on those ugly little monsters which attach themselves to the hull of a boat but I had never seen one up close and personal. They do not look like much BUT try to remove them and you will discover that they know the true meaning of adhesion. They are STUCK and you have to light a controlled fire to remove them with much sweat and tears under the hot blazing sun. In the last two days I have been reminded of those barnacles.

My first flashback occurred when I had my feet elevated, head lowered as a dental assistant with grotesque magnifying glasses on scraped, scratched, and pried in a valiant effort to remove plaque which had adhered itself with a passion to my few remaining good teeth. I mean she was really going after that stuff all the while using suction to remove the residue, blood and anything else it could suck out of my mouth. Barnacles on my teeth is all I thought.

Yesterday I had a second epiphany when I went to the dermatologist. There are a lot of them in Florida as most of us are growing old and with that process, come barnacles. I sat patiently in the office (Doctors tend to run a little late..the guy before me always seems to have had some condition which took an inordinate amount of time) waiting for my name to be called. I noted that all the people hobbling out of the innermost sections of the office had various and sundry band aids on their heads, faces, extremities and probably some places not to be seen. Obviously the doctor had removed their barnacles and they were smooth again.

I knew it was time for me to go to the dermatologist because everyone I met, whether they knew me or not, said, “Hi John, what is that growing on your face?” Sadly, a barnacle had appeared and I had not had it removed when it was small but I had given it an opportunity to start to conquer my face to the point where it could not be ignored, even by 5 year old children.

I entered the office with fear and trembling because I had myself believing that this might be that which would finally be fatal in my life. It looked ugly enough and it reminded me of those Cheung Chau prize fighting barnacles which had to be BURNED off. The Dr politely said hello but his razor sharp eyes were looking at the ever advancing blemish on what was otherwise, as my mother often told me, a beautiful face. I was waiting for him to light a fire to burn it off BUT, alas, he CUT it off. Remember the barnacles? In a second, it was gone. I was declared clear of the blemish which stood out like a sore thumb. I could face people again!! I was CLEAN!!

The lesson here is abundantly clear. In our walk with the Lord, we often allow barnacles to attach their ugly habits to our lives. We get blemishes and spots which are usually obvious but often hidden like the barnacles are on the bottom of the boat. The barnacles have to be removed so the boat can move smoothly through the water. Barnacles, if not taken care of, will eventually sink the boat.

Hebrews 12:1-2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Get those barnacles that hinder you taken care of before they grow to the point where they have to be burned or painfully removed. There is an answer for barnacles, and don’t try to tell me you don’t have any. I John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Do you need a visit to the spiritual dermatologist? He is waiting to remove the barnacles so you can sail swiftly, unhindered by drag of these cruel crustaceans. But DO IT NOW, or He’ll have to bring out the really big torch. Ouch!




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Peter Burgo
Oct 14 2010 09:50 AM
Good word, John. Those barnacles are indeed tenacious--but they CAN be removed. But the longer they stay, the tighter their grip. A good admonishment to deal with them early on.

I bet the C&MA Web guys will have a tough time removing this blog entry.

Your blogs are always insightful and full of application. Keep them going, friend.
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Duane Wheeland
Oct 15 2010 05:21 AM

Good word, John. Those barnacles are indeed tenacious--but they CAN be removed. But the longer they stay, the tighter their grip. A good admonishment to deal with them early on.

I bet the C&MA Web guys will have a tough time removing this blog entry.

Your blogs are always insightful and full of application. Keep them going, friend.

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Duane Wheeland
Oct 15 2010 05:23 AM
John,

I liked it too! Very descriptive of the stuff in life that so easily besets us. Time to clean house!

Duane
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Carmine Jose Bruno
Oct 18 2010 06:26 AM
Thank you so much John,
You always have such vivid stories which fit in so well with the teaching the Lord has put in your heart to share with us.
Much appreciated.
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Robert Sanford
Oct 25 2010 06:03 AM
John,

Thank you for the great story and timely word of encouragement. But, I am most grateful for your life. You continue to be a man of the word, missionary statesman and ambassador for Christ. It would be easy to assume that your vivid story-telling or international networks bring God the greatest glory. In my opinion it is simply John that brings Him joy. Thanks for sharing John with The Alliance family.
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Debbie Schermerhorn
Oct 27 2010 08:37 AM
John--

Thank you for a good reminder! Something my church advocates is setting aside a specific day each month for confessing our sins before the Lord. Its a good practice for removing spiritual barnacles before they take hold and become something more in our lives!
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    Barnacles
    - Oct 27 2010 08:37 AM
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    Barnacles
    Robert Sanford - Oct 25 2010 06:03 AM
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    Carmine Jose Bruno - Oct 18 2010 06:26 AM
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    Barnacles
    Duane Wheeland - Oct 15 2010 05:23 AM
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    Barnacles
    Duane Wheeland - Oct 15 2010 05:21 AM