Denison Forum – How to survive a shark attack

You have almost survived “Shark Week.” The Discovery Channel phenomenon began in 1988. This year’s installment ends Sunday.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal hosted this year in part to overcome his fear of sharks. Producers had to build a larger-than-usual cage for him. They included extra-large windows for better visibility. As a result, a small shark squeezed through the bars and into the cage.

This was a first in the show’s thirty-year history.

The team behind the camera was able to get Shaq out of the cage quickly. One of the show’s producers said, “Shaq hasn’t moved that fast since he was in the NBA.”

If you find yourself in a similar situation but without a cage or television personnel to help, what should you do? Jimi Partington, one of the world’s leading great white shark experts, has some advice. In essence: fight back.

If a shark attacks you, you must convince it that you’re not its usual food. You do this, not by swimming away (this will mimic its typical prey and probably encourage an attack), but by standing your ground. Partington says to “go for the eyes and the gills, as these are the most sensitive areas of the shark.” You can also strike the shark on the nose.

The article concludes: “It’s best to be dominant, be confident and, in most cases, the shark will swim away. That might be hard to do in that scenario, but it could save your life.”

Mark Zuckerberg lost $15.1 billion in five minutes

You may not be anywhere near an ocean today, but Partington’s counsel is still good advice.

Mark Zuckerberg lost $15.1 billion in five minutes yesterday morning. This after Facebook forecast years of lower profit margins. It was the biggest one-day wipeout in US stock market history.

Zuckerberg can quit his job, resign himself to financial decline, or fight back with new entrepreneurial ideas and perseverance.

As football training camps begin this week, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck is being called “the biggest wild card of the 2018 NFL season.” After a debilitating shoulder injury in 2015, he played through pain in 2016 and missed all of the 2017 season.

The Stanford architectural design graduate could have made a far safer vocational decision. Instead, he followed a courageous and painful rehab regimen that he hopes will return him to NFL success.

There is no spiritual Switzerland

Today’s theme is especially relevant for our souls.

God’s word instructs us: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7b). “Resist” translates anthistemi, meaning to “set yourself against” or “oppose.” It describes a person who makes an active, intentional, initiatory decision to refuse or reject someone else.

To resist Satan successfully, however, we need more than courage and skill. The first part of James’s injunction empowers such spiritual success: “Submit yourselves therefore to God” (v. 7a). The next verse is critical as well: as we resist Satan, we must also “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (v. 8).

To summarize: submit to God, and you can resist the devil while drawing close to your Father.

Psalm 36 echoes the need to resist Satan by describing the “wicked” (v. 1) in this way: “He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil” (v. 4). David is right: if we do not “reject” evil, we will eventually submit to it.

Remember the serpent’s strategy with Eve: discuss the forbidden fruit, consider eating it, eat it, then share it (Genesis 3:1-6). The best way to win an argument with temptation is to refuse to have the argument.

There is no spiritual Switzerland, no neutral ground in the spiritual battle of our day. We must be in God’s will, or we are out of it. We must be obedient to his word, or we are disobedient.

Why God will “tax the remotest star”

Striking back at the sharks of the soul is the key to victory today and reward in eternity. Hebrews 4:13 reminds us: “No creature is hidden from [God’s] sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Lest you take this verse as an ominous warning, remember that your Father “happily rejoices over you” (Zephaniah 3:17 GW). He loves you as much as he loves his Son (John 17:23).

Oswald Chambers notes, “When we choose deliberately to obey Him, then He will tax the remotest star and the last grain of sand to assist us.” God wants the prospect of judgment in heaven to motivate holiness on earth because he knows that godly living is best for us.

Such obedience leads to eternal reward that far outweighs its cost.

“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation”

One last fact: Christians are to “resist the devil” in our personal lives but also in our public witness. We are called to stand for biblical truth, not because we are moral policemen, but because we care about those who are victimized by our fallen culture.

Francis Schaeffer, a bastion of conservative theology, nonetheless observed: “Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.” Henry Ward Beecher was right: “Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.”

What cultural victim needs your compassion today?

 

 

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