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June 16, 2024

John Byron, blond, blue-eyed, handsome, was the son of nobility.  He grew up in a castle by Sherwood Forest.  However, his older brother wasted the family fortune, so John joined Britain’s Royal Navy at age 14. 

Conditions on board ships in those days were horrendous, and at age 16 he survived a shipwreck on an island off the coast of Chile.  He was captured by Spaniards, and returned to England in 1744.  He published an account of his adventures that went through several editions.  He eventually captained a ship that sailed around the world in less than two years, a record for the time.  He also fought in the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution. 

He had a son, John “Mad Jack” Byron, who had a son, George Gordon Byron, known as Lord Byron, one of the greatest poets of all time.  His poem, “Don Juan” has a shipwreck scene inspired by his grandfather’s book. 

I love the poem by Bryon, “The Destruction of Sennacherib” which describes God defeating the Assyrian forces that surrounded Jerusalem.  It closes with the lines,

And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord.

I like to think about the fact that if young John Byron had never lived through the shipwreck and multiple voyages and wars, we never would have had the great poetry of his grandson. 

Who knows what kind of legacy we might leave to our children and their children?  Sunday I’m preaching on “Be Fulfilled in Your Family” from Acts 16:22-34.  We’ll talk about “Make Sure You’re Saved,” verses 22-31; and “Bring Your Family into Salvation,” verses 32-34.  It’s the story of Paul and Silas singing praises to God in prison in Philippi when an earthquake frees them, and they submit themselves to the guard who receives Christ, and brings his whole family to Christ. 

May we have the kinds of relationships that cause us to receive salvation and share it with our family!  Let’s leave a legacy worthy of poetry in which the problems of the world will melt like snow in the glance of the Lord.


Jim Meek


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