We all have had dreams of what life would be like. We hoped to be fulfilled in our work, to be remembered for our legacy of a life well lived. In our foolish years of youth, we all knew better than our parents or the established way of church and state. The truth is we were all born with a rebellious spirit against being governed. The US Military recruits youth to train and discipline them for battle. The war for our eternal souls continues. It is a battle that requires the right weapons to win. It is a fight until death. One cannot win this war on their own, but with God all things are possible. On this day 90 years ago, one life impacted many others for eternity.
A young sailor named Dawson Trotman, was arrested one night for being under the influence of alcohol. On the way to jail the arresting police officer took pity on the youth and asked “Do you like this kind of life?” Without hesitating, the sailor replied “Sir, I hate it.” The officer did not take him to jail but took his car keys away and allowed Dawson to sleep it off on a park bench. Three hours later, Trotman had sobered up and the policeman returned his keys to him on the strength of a pledge to do better. That very weekend, Dawson wondered how he could keep his promise to change and found his way to a local church.
That Sunday a youth pastor assigned Dawson ten Bible verses to memorize. After attending Sunday school for three weeks, Dawson had twenty verses swirling in his head. He missed his buddies and drifted back into his preferred lifestyle. Drinking was easy, it was not so serious, it was a quick way to escape responsibility. Alcohol made no demands, it soothed his conscious about being reckless and carefree. Growing up Dawson attended church as a duty to his parents, but he did not pay any attention to the messages. As a kid he would steal without any guilt even while he was the president of a church youth society. Going to church did not change Dawson, memorizing scripture did not change Dawson and without change, there is no guarantee of eternal life in heaven. We all have eternity staring at us and there are two final, eternal destinations.
Waking from another night out, even with a headache, a word of God clicked within him. Dawson realized that he could have everlasting life in heaven just as a Bible verse had said. It was a promise in John chapter 5. Jesus asked a man who had been sick for 38 years. “Do you want to get well?” After the man was healed Jesus said “See, you are well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” The end of chapter five says “Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.” Dawson did not want to waste his life for 30 more years, and he prayed, “O God, whatever that means, I want to have it.” Another verse “You pour over the scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not accept glory from men, but I know you, that you have no love for God within you. I have come in My Father’s name, yet you don’t accept Me.” Dawson was willing to “receive” Jesus right then–he wanted the love of God to be in his heart, whatever that meant. At that moment, Dawson’s life changed.
While working as a truck driver in California, he taught a sailor named Les Spencer how to live for Christ. Another sailor asked Spencer the secret of his obvious changed life. “We don’t see you at the bars anymore, how come?” Spencer brought the man to Trotman and asked him to teach the other man. Trotman felt exasperated. He had just spent months passing on to Spencer everything he needed to know to do the job himself. “You teach him!” he said. That was the beginning of the Land Navigators. On this day, March 3, 2023 we celebrate that Trotman and his friends founded the Navigators on March 3, 1933. One life changed multiplied over 90 years —- and heaven celebrates as it welcomes thousands of changed souls. What will be your ripple impact?
Dawson Trotman, a dashing man who had been valedictorian of his class and student president, continued to put his talents to good use. Both changed sailors, Spencer and Trotman were teaching 125 men aboard the USS West Virginia. They taught them to share the simple truth of God’s word. Soon many sailors were changed and they shared the gift of eternal life with others aboard the ships that soon would be sunk at Pearl Harbor. Today over 100,000 people subscribe to its Discipleship Journal. More than 3,000 people work for the Navigators in almost a hundred nations. That is how one man’s decision to accept Jesus as Lord positively changed many more lives. Trotman died in 1956, rescuing a girl from drowning. Billy Graham, whose ministry used Navigators’ material, preached at his funeral. Our faith in God Almighty builds with testimonies about changed lives. Time is short so share how God has changed your life. There is one way to eternal life in heaven and that is through Jesus Christ. Spending eternity in heaven or hell depends on a relationship not religion. This is the simple Gospel message of the Land Navigators.
Going to church cannot save your soul. Only a relationship with Jesus Christ can save and change your soul. The signs of our times indicate that Jesus will return soon to take up His bride which is the church. Like Dawson find out what it means to receive eternal life. Open your Bible and read it, attend a Bible teaching church and listen. Seek God with all your heart and you will find everlasting peace. God wants to rescue ALL from the deception in this world. He created man and woman, He created all that exists and God is without beginning or end. Eternity is real and we all face it with God, or without God. We must make a choice.
Get your reward for earnestly seeking God. Be supernaturally changed into a better version of who He created you to be. Together with Jesus, you can change the world. Don’t blindly believe any messenger who might knock on your door. For sure and certain, we are wise NOT to believe everything we hear just because it quotes a Bible verse or wraps itself in the label “Christian”. Listen carefully to what a person writes or says. Then get your Bible open and get to work. What does God’s word have to say about men dressing as women? Our minds and hearts are changed by the Holy Spirit, not an argument. Allow your beliefs to be clarified or corrected by the Word of God, not by a person, a pastor or false teacher. People are fallible. God’s word is not. Loyal devotees of a false teaching can become vicious. Their idol will be stiffly upheld. We are to be salt and light, and prepared to be hated. Our Father will judge all based on what we say, and for what we do not say. Another testimony with impact True Story
Do not be deceived like the religious leaders described in the book of John chapter five. You either love God, or the love of God is not in you. Your eternal destination depends on the truth. God is for you, not against you. He loves you and He waits to hear from you. His love letter to you is all spelled out in the Bible. Look at the condition of this world. The war is raging and it is a battle between good and evil. The devil says “wait, you do not need God, just have fun and enjoy life”. The world we live in is desperately wicked as it twists the truth to deceive you. Dawson realized that his way was leading him straight into hell. The book of Hebrews, chapter eleven lists the names of ordinary, broken people God used. He used these Sea Heroes
3 thoughts on “A Changed Life”
What a powerful testimony and fascinating background to the Navigators!
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Yes, his testimony was sent to my brother Ben, the sailor drifting at Sea of Cortez.
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