North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

In the mountains of North Carolina a certain sign, when seen for the first time, intrigues the highway traveler: “Truck Run-Away Ramp—One mile” or “Truck Escape Ramp—Two miles”. The sign is repeated as the distance diminishes. What a welcome sight this sign is for the weary, fatigue-ridden commercial truck driver who finds his or her brakes failing as the long steep descents stretch out before them. Gratefully the driver steers their vehicle towards the “off ramps”. The ramp becomes a steep upgrade that’s in sharp contrast to the threatening decline they’ve just left. They slow to a halt; the danger averted and, then they return to the main highway. Only a fool would refuse to take advantage of this safety measure (escape ramp), trusting rather to see themselves through the difficulty and trusting in their own experience and “good” driving record.

All God wants to do is love us and help us to live. He never seeks to cause trouble; but He does allow it at times. We know Satan is also alive and working overtime to cause chaos, temptations, and create train wrecks in our lives. When we cry out to God we must come as a “little child” (Luke 18:16-17) and simply ask Him to help us; then believe that He will. The first step is to turn to Jesus and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. There’s no scientific method to getting your prayers answered when facing trouble and temptations. The power of prayer has convinced me that God hears us and answers with “no”, “yes”, and sometimes with a “wait a while”.

Reflect on a passage from Isaiah 32:1-2, “See, a king will rule by what is right and good. Each will be like a safe place from the wind and a covering from the storm. Each will be like rivers of water in a dry country and like the shadow of a large rock in a wasteland.” You need to understand that Isaiah is talking about how the kingdom of the world has been ruled by wicked men’s hands; the judgments and justice they have used is not of God. People have suffered at the hand of this while the land is turning corrupt. There’s nothing of God’s love in the hearts of people apart from Him. For true love to flourish in our hearts we must abide in Him (John 15:7). As we begin to pray, evil forces seem to wipe us out and at the darkest moment, God sends Jesus and He speaks through an impression of the Spirit to our own hearts and He is here today as a rock in a weary land.

Ministers, chaplains, and Christians go through a lot these days. We preach our hearts out. We cry out to God for help and for strength. We go out and witness for Christ and through our efforts, but ultimately through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, souls are converted and people join the church. But there are still those who attempt to diminish Christianity and harness God’s work. Some call people who go to church hypocrites. We must remember that our churches are full of members that make mistakes; even ministers make mistakes. Mistakes are one of the few things that are universal. But it’s the true Christian who will admit their shortfall and ask God to help them to do better the next time. Christ tells us in John 8:11, “I don’t condemn you either. Go, but don’t sin again”. The true hypocrite is the one who makes a mistake, judges others, and acts if they have done nothing wrong without remorse. But thank the Lord as long as God is with us and we abide in Christ, and as long as we are sincerely trying to do the right thing, we will have a “rock” in a weary land.

God has His escape ramps all along the way a Christian travels. It’s the devil’s business to tempt us and to get us on his skids. We gain momentum with each defeat. However, there’s hope for us! 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “You have never been tempted to sin in any different way than other people. God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted more than you can take. But when you are tempted, He will make a way for you to keep from falling into sin.” The devil can and does tempt, but he can’t remove the “escape ramp” that makes us able to bear it. The signs are all through the Word of God

We live in a land that’s filled with chaos and trouble. To think we are not is to be in denial of reality. And strange as it may seem, it’s hard to put complete trust in any person. Yet, somehow there’s a deep settled faith in the hearts of godly men and women that we can unite as a body, as a group, as a church and go forward with the power of God. It’s important that we do this although we’re all tossed to and fro. In a world of chaos and confusion we’re joined and bound together by the words of Psalm 46 which says, “God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we’re in trouble. So, we will not be afraid.” Keep looking for the escape routes God places along your way. Be quick to take it when you know God provided it.

  • This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at
Posted by on Feb 16 2014. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *